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News & Notes© More from this issue
Notre Dame may have more problems with the NCAA
Notre Dame has hired a law firm which specializes in assisting colleges under investigation by the NCAA to help the school in the continuing saga of a booster who gave improper gifts to Irish football players. It appears the program may be in more trouble with the NCAA than originally thought concerning the case of imprisoned booster Kim Dunbar.
"Notre Dame wanted us to accept this case as a secondary infraction investigation, but we would not. We are looking at it as a major violation case," said Chuck Smrt, director of enforcement for the NCAA.
NCAA enforcement officials earlier this year sent a recommendation to the committee on infractions that the contacts with Dunbar be considered secondary violations. But the committee decided to hear the case as if there were major infractions, prompting fears the school could be cited for lack of institutional control and lose scholarships, recruiting days or TV privileges.
Dunbar has admitted to showering her boyfriends (Jarvis Edison and Derrick Mayes) with lavish trips and expensive presents. She is currently serving time for embezzling $1.4 million from her employer, some of which she spent entertaining Notre Dame players.
Oh Brother... Oliver sues Auburn and influential booster
In a story that appears to have no end, the recent controversy surrounding the Auburn football program continued as former defensive coordinator and interim head coach, Bill "Brother" Oliver filed a lawsuit against the school, athletic director David Housel, and university board member Bobby Lowder (the subject of an unflattering article "Au-burned," in the May 21, edition of ESPN The Magazine).
The people around the university were hoping the trouble of 1998 with the Terry Bowden mid-season firing/resignation, the 3-8 record, and the cancellation of the 1999 game with FSU was a thing of the past, and with subsequent hiring of Ole Miss head coach Tommy Tubberville, the program was headed in the right direction.
The basis of the lawsuit is that Lowder and Housel misrepresented facts to Oliver and in effect promised him the head coaching job, and, therefore, have caused irreparable damage to Oliver's career.
Once considered one of the top defensive coordinators in the college game, Oliver is now without a job and feels his career is in shambles. Oliver was promoted to interim head coach after Bowden left before the season's seventh game, and was considered to be a leading candidate to replace Bowden on a full-time basis.
Oliver's attorney Kenneth Ingram said, "We want the truth about the way Auburn is really being run to come out, because the facts of this case alone are going to surprise a lot of people."
Auburn athletic director Housel said," The lawyers will handle it from here. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves because, in our opinion, we have done nothing wrong."
Diamond resigns from Vikes after 24 years
The Sporting News 1998 NFL Executive of the Year, Jeff Diamond, who spent 24 years working for the Minnesota Vikings, recently resigned.
"I'm walking out of the Vikings with my head held high, because I know I did a good job here and I feel good about what I did," said Diamond, the team's former senior vice president of football operations.
He said he and Vikings owner Red McCombs were "parting amicably," although he also said they held differing views about salary caps. He called his departure a mutual decision. He said he might seek sports or business opportunities in Minnesota, or perhaps with another NFL team.
McCombs said Diamond will remain with the club as a consultant through Jan. 31.
"Jeff built a model that has been successful for the Vikings," McCombs said in written statement. "I have different ideas how that model will be."
McCombs told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press that discussion of Diamond's future with the club came about because of Diamond's desire to be a general manager, and McCombs' unwillingness to give him that position. McCombs hired Tim Connolly, formerly with the Kansas City Chiefs, last October as the team's general manager.
Texas will retire Williams' No. 34
The University of Texas will retire football jersey No. 34 worn by Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams during his record-shattering career in which he set the NCAA Division I career rushing record.
"Retiring his number is appropriate and it was earned," men's athletics director DeLoss Dodds said.
Williams, who also wore Nos. 11 and 37 at Texas, becomes only the third UT athlete to receive such recognition. Earl Campbell, who won the Heisman in 1977, was the first. Longhorns pitcher Roger Clemens, who went on to win five Cy Young awards in the major leagues, was second.
Williams, the first-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, will be honored at a ceremony in Austin later this year.
Liberty Bowl strikes deal with Mountain West, C-USA
The Liberty Bowl, for the first time in its 40-year history, will guarantee a matchup of champions. The winner of the Mountain West Conference will take on the Conference USA champion for the next three years.
The Mountain West Conference includes Air Force Academy, Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Utah and Wyoming.
Conference USA members are Alabama-Birmingham, Army, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Southern Mississippi and Tulane.
Arizona voters send Cardinals a loud message...NO!
Voters turned out in large numbers May 18 to reject a $1.8 billion convention center and sports complex by a 3-to-2 margin. It was a blow to Arizona Cardinal owner Bill Bidwill, who must now reassess his plans and future of the team in the Arizona city.
The Cardinals, who campaigned for a new stadium without a backup plan, will be forced to examine alternatives in the aftermath of voter rejection of their dream arena.
One option that is the subject of speculation is to leave Arizona, the state owner Bill Bidwill adopted in 1988 after giving up on getting a new stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals have emphasized their commitment to staying put, but Houston businessman Bob McNair saw an opportunity in the vote and offered to talk to Bidwill about relocating the Cardinals in Texas.
Other possibilities include another try at getting a stadium with a broader funding base or with NFL seed money, or renovating Sun Devil Stadium, the aging college facility where the Cardinals have played since their arrival in the Phoenix area.
Motor City Bowl is Moving
Motor City Bowl organizers have decided to move game back to Dec. 27, to increase attendance and avoid conflicts with Christmas.
Attendance at last year's game, played Dec. 23, was 32,206 - down 10,000 from the previous year, when the game was played Dec. 27.
The game in Pontiac, Mich., pits the Mid-American Conference champion against an at-large team. Marshall lost in the inaugural Motor City Bowl to Mississippi in 1997 and beat Louisville last year.
This year's game, to be televised by ESPN, will be on in the afternoon on Monday, Dec. 27, avoiding a conflict with ABC's Monday Night Football.
Who is a coordinator?
In the world of politics, they say the vice-president is only a heartbeat away from being the president. In the coaching profession, a coordinator is only a pink-slip from becoming a head coach. The path to the top of the coaching mountain, at every level, has become well-defined: get a job as a coordinator, prove yourself on a playoff or championship team, and chances are you'll be at the top of the list when job openings occur. Serving as a coordinator has become a virtual prerequisite to getting hired to run a program.
For example, look at the college hirings and firings from the 1998 season. Last year Oklahoma hired Bob Stoops (DC at Florida), Ole Miss hired David Cutcliffe (OC at Tennessee), Duke hired Carl Franks(OC at Florida), Connecticut hired Randy Edsall (DC at Georgia Tech), Miami of Ohio hired Terry Hoeppner (DC at Miami, Ohio), etc.
During the off season in the NFL, nine teams hired head coaches, four teams (Cleveland, Chris Palmer, Chicago, Dick Jauron, Baltimore, Brian Billick, and Kansas City, Gunther Cunningham) chose coordinators, the other five were: three former head coaches (Ray Rhodes, George Seifert, and Mike Holmgren), one was a college head coach (Mike Riley, Oregon State), and one was a pro position coach (Andy Reid, qb coach at Green Bay) making the almost unheard of move to head coach without first serving as a coordinator.
Given the status of "heirs apparent" to the thrones, we thought we'd examine just who coordinators are. We decided to take a look at a composite picture of coordinators in the NFL.
*The information listed below was compiled as of the staffs on teams in 1998.
youngest Mike Shula, Tampa Bay, 33
oldest Tom Moore, Indianapolis, 59
Years in the NFL
high 23, Jimmy Raye, Kansas City; Jerry Rhome, St. Louis
low 3, Matt Cavanaugh, Chicago; Marty Morningwig, San Francisco; Bill Callahan, Oakland
Years in coaching
high 35, Ernie Zampese, New England; Tom Moore, Indianapolis
low 5, Matt Cavanaugh, Chicago; Ken Anderson, Cincinnati
youngest Mike Nolan, Washington, 39
oldest George Hill, Miami, 65
Years in the NFL
high 27, Larry Peccatiello, Detroit
low 4, Greg McMackin, Seattle
Years in coaching
high 44, Larry Peccatiello, Detroit; Fritz Shurmur, Green Bay
low 10, Jim Haslett, Pittsburgh
AFM asks . . .
We asked some of the top coaches in the countryto finish this statement. . .
"Every great coach I have ever known has had. . ."
Where the players are...
The Dick Butkus Network (www.dickbutkus.com) did some interesting research concerning where tomorrow's players are coming from. They checked the list of spring scholarship signees and determined which high schools produced the most players. Here's a look at some of the football factories.
* - Non Division I School
Long Beach Poly (Calif.) (16th HS Poll)
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