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Utah rewards McBride with an extension

60-year old Ron McBride has agreed to a contract that will keep at the the University of Utah team for four years and presumably allow him to finish his career with the Utes.

Under the terms of the deal, McBride will earn a total of $310,000 a year, including incentives based on the team's performance in the classroom and on the field.

Offering a bit of levity to the announcing of the extension, McBride said, "Little does the university know, but I'd work here for free.

"It gives me some security and also provides me some additional incentives," McBride said. "I told my lawyer to have this thing settled before the season got under way. I haven't liked having this thing hanging over my head."

McBride, who had two years left on his existing contract, is in his 11th season coaching the team, and is 71-46 at Utah. He has won a share of two conference titles and coached the Utes in five bowl games. Last year, the team went 9-3, was co-champion of the Mountain West Conference, and won the Las Vegas Bowl.

BYU legend to step down after the season

In late August, BYU legend LaVell Edwards announced that this season, his 29th as BYU's coach, would be his last in Provo. The Bill Walsh of college football, whose innovative and wide-open offense was the precursor to the spread the field philosophy so prevalent today said, "You reach a point where it's time to move on and let someone else take a run at it. It's turned out a whole lot better than I ever, ever, ever dreamed." Edwards raised BYU from a little-known Mormon Church school to a national champion and built one of the most prolific passing offenses in college football history.

BYU President, Merrill J. Bateman, said the reason for the pre-seqason announcment was to allow the nation time to honor Edwards. "We wanted to give people a chance to honor LaVell and not just let him fade into the sunset."

Under the direction of Edwards, who will be 70 in October, the Cougars won the 1984 national title with a 13-0 record. He was named national coach of the year that season.

Edwards' teams won 20 conference titles and played in 22 bowl games. BYU also claimed a Heisman Trophy winner, Ty Detmer in 1990, and produced a string of other star quarterbacks including Robbie Bosco, Steve Walsh, Steve Young and Jim McMahon.

AD Val Hale said the search for Edwards successor would begin immediately and continue throughout the 2000 season. Since BYU's football team is a high-profile arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is an absolute certainty the next coach will be a Mormon. The candidates include current Chicago Bear OC and former Louisiana Tech coach Gary Crowton, California coach Tom Holmoe, Alabama QB coach Charlie Stubbs, current BYU staffers Lance Reyolds and Bosco, and Texas Tech's Mike Leach.

Ole Miss can prevent the use of the Confederate flag in stadium

Ending a three-year legal battle, the University of Mississippi won a court battle stating that the school can ban spectators from waving Confederate flags at campus athletic events. The 5th U.S. Court of Appeals, in New Orleans, issued the ruling after Richard Barrett, a lawyer for the white supremacist Nationalist Movement, sued over the issue. Barrett said in the lawsuit that he and two friends were attempting to display a 3-inch by 5-inch Confederate battle flag when they were ordered to stop.

In 1999, a judge ruled that the ban, which limits Confederate flags in Vaught Hemingway Stadium, is a reasonable limitation. Barrett claimed the ban violated his First Amendment Rights. University officials cited safety concerns for the ban, saying the stick on the end of the flag could be considered dangerous.

The 5th Circuit said it found nothing wrong with "the university defendants' game management policies, which prohibited spectators from carrying sticks and large flags or banners into the university's football stadium during athletic contests."

Ole Miss officials adopted the stick flag policy in fall 1997, weeks after former football coach Tommy Tuberville asked fans not to wave Confederate flags at games. Tuberville said he didn't want the flag associated with Ole Miss because of mixed perceptions of its meaning.

Its finally over between Bowden and Auburn

Deciding that enough was enough, Terry Bowden and his former employer have called an end to their feud. For nearly two years, Terry Bowden resided in a home less than 10 minutes from his old office in the Auburn football complex, and he was driving cars paid for by the University, all as a result of a settlement agreement following his resignation. The 1998 settlement gave Bowden $620,000, the use of the home for five years, and the use of two cars.

A well-documented controversy erupted earlier this year regarding his job with ABC Sports as to whether it was impermissible "full-time" work as was prohibited by the settlement. Bowden maintained it didn't violate the provision and the school disagreed. Most insiders felt like Bowden was going to prevail in the arbitration, but this ends an ugly chapter for both Bowden and the school without the necessity of dragging out the fight any longer.

The matter is officially over now that the two sides have reached a settlement of the dispute that was headed to arbitration.

The amended agreement called for the university to sell the house, with Bowden getting back $250,000 of the money he put into it. He and the university will evenly split any profit from the sale of the house, valued at about $1,075,000.

Mississippi Firedogs win 2000 IPFL Championship over the Prowlers

In the highest scoring championship game in league history, quarterback John Fourcade's record-setting performance helped Mississippi (11-7) capture the Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL) 2000 Championship with a 53-48 win over regular season champion Portland (11-6).

The marquee battle between the IPFL's two most prolific passers, Fourcade and Portland's Erik Wilhelm, was all that it was billed to be. Both former NFL signal callers had their offenses in gear early, as both teams combined for 70 first half points.

Although they came up short on the scoreboard, the Prowlers won the statistical battle by outpacing Mississippi in first downs (20-17), total offensive yards (282-268) and time of possession (31:19-28:41). Leading the way was league MVP Wilhelm, who rushed for a score and was 26-42-1 passing for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

The Orlando Predators win their second Arena Football League title in three years

David Cool's 19-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Orlando Predators to a 41-38 victory over the Nashville Kats in Arena Bowl XIV.

Nashville (12-6) had tied the game at 38-38 on a 45-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback James Brown to Darryl Hammond and a two-point conversion catch by Cory Fleming with 5:37 remaining in the fourth quarter. But the Kats never saw the ball again.

After the ensuing kickoff, the Predators (14-3) drove 35 yards in 11 plays with Rick Hamilton's run to the 3 setting up a fourth-down situation as time was winding down. The Predators called timeout with 1.7 seconds left to set up Cool, who earlier missed a 22-yard attempt with seven minutes left.

Orlando made its sixth appearance in the ArenaBowl. The Predators won the championship in 1998 with a 62-31 rout of Tampa Bay and were runner-ups in 1992, 1994, 1995 and last season.

Stoops receives an extension

Having seen enough to let them know they have the right man, University of Oklahoma officials now want to keep head football coach Bob Stoops around through the 2005 season with a contract extension and other compensation and incentives. OU President David Boren submitted the recommendations to the OU Board of Regents at the group's September meeting.

The school said details of the contract will not be made public until after the meeting of the Board of Regents, which must approve any contract changes.

Boren said the contract extension is intended as a show of support for the job the coach is doing at OU. "There's no one better suited to be head coach at the University of Oklahoma than Bob Stoops," Boren said in a news release. "He has excelled both as a coach and as a role model for out student-athletes."

Stoops came to OU in December 1998 from a job as Florida's defensive coordinator. He inherited a program that had not had a winning season since 1993 and had gone 12-22 in the previous three seasons.

The Sooners were ranked No. 19 in The Associated Press preseason poll after a 7-5 season in 1999 that saw them go to the Independence Bowl.

Luginbill hired by XFL

Al Luginbill, who has spent the last five years with NFL Europe as the head coach of the Amsterdam Admirals, was named the head coach of the LA Extreme of the new XFL. He led the Admirals to a 30-20 record over that time, ranking him third on the NFL Europe list of all time winningest coaches. "I have been following the formation of the XFL closely," Luginbill said. "I believe the football on the field is going to be first class, and I am happy to get in on the ground floor of this league."

Former Gopher head coach passes away

Former University of Minnesota football coach Cal Stoll, who coached the Golden Gophers from 1972-1978, died. Stoll, who was 76, received a heart transplant 13 years ago, and had been ill for more than a month as heart trouble caused damage to other vital organs. Stoll had a 39-39 record at Minnesota, where he coached quarterback Tony Dungy, now the head coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Stoll's biggest win came in 1977, when the Gophers defeated Michigan, the top ranked team in the nation, 16-0. Minnesota also beat UCLA and Washington that season to finish 7-5 before losing to Maryland in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Stoll is the last Gophers coach to leave the university with at least a .500 record.

Houstons new NFL team to be the TEXANS

On September 6, the new Houston franchise finally received a name when team owner Bob McNair announced the nickname of the NFL's 32nd franchise will be the Texans. The name won out over the Stallions and Apollos.

"Are you ready for some football?" McNair shouted to a downtown crowd estimated at 16,000 which turned out to learn the team's name, logo and colors.

The colors for the team that will begin play in 2002 will be battle red, steel blue and liberty white with a bull's head logo that includes a Texas Lone Star on one side.

"We're so excited about the return of the NFL to Houston," McNair said. "We don't want to be stereotyped as cowboys. We are proud of our past but we don't want to be bound by it."

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was on hand as were several Houston football legends including Earl Campbell and Bum Phillips. Tagliabue revealed the team name and logo on a large screen.

"With teamwork you can achieve the impossible," Tagliabue said. "Not many years ago, you thought, 'it's not going to happen,' but it did happen and you can be proud of yourselves. You made it happen."

McNair paid $700 million for the franchise in a lengthy battle with Los Angeles, a favored place for the NFL because of the size of its media market. But Los Angeles never presented a unified plan and McNair won the team.

The XFL makes strange bedfellows as DiNardo hires Hallman for coaching staff

Gerry DiNardo's first hire as coach of the XFL Birmingham Thunderbolts is certain to create a stir in Louisiana.

The Birmingham News first reported that DiNardo has landed the same man he replaced as head coach at LSU five years ago - Curley Hallman.

Hallman, who has been out of coaching and living in Northport, Ala. since being dismissed as a University of Alabama assistant during the Thanksgiving staff shakeup of 1997, which followed a last-second loss to Auburn that sealed a 4-7 season for the Crimson Tide, was a highly respected coach in and round the southeast prior to his termination. He served two years as secondary coach for the Tide, under Gene Stallings and Mike DuBose. Before that, he was head coach at LSU and Southern Mississippi.

Apparently, despite the circumstances of Hallman's departure from LSU, he and DiNardo forged a friendship that remains intact today. Before DiNardo's arrival in Baton Rouge, while LSU was searching for a replacement, the ousted Hallman was credited with talking blue-chip running back prospect Kevin Faulk into sticking to his verbal commitment to play for the Tigers - and, as it turned out, DiNardo.

DiNardo has also hired Chad Fuller, an LSU graduate assistant and his administrative assistant there, as the Bolts' director of football operations.

Chargers assistant leaves to join Robinson at UNLV

San Diego Chargers offensive assistant DelVaughn Alexander left the team during training camp to become the offensive coordinator for legendary John Robinson at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Alexander was to begin his second season with the Chargers.

The team replaced him with Craig Dickenson, who spent training camp with the Chargers as a coaching intern.

Dickenson previously coached running backs and special teams at Montana and Utah State.

BCA Classic game cancelled due to lightning

The Black Coaches Association Classic was postponed August 27 immedaitely before the kickoff due to heavy rains and severe lightning. Both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, the games opponents, have declared that they will not play a make-up game at the conclusion of the 2000 season.

Georgia Tech athletic director Dave Braine said the Yellow Jackets only wanted to play a 12th game if it came at the beginning of the season. They had no desire to play Virginia Tech at the end of the regular season, a week after meeting in-state arch-rival Georgia.

"We did not play the game for money," Braine said. "We end up losing money, but we're doing what we think is best for our kids. To bring them in a week early to prepare for this game, then ask them to practice an additional week after the Georgia game, is not fair."

Georgia Tech's decision sparked an angry reaction from the BCA.

"The Black Coaches Association is very disappointed and frustrated by Georgia Tech's decision," said Bob Minnix, incoming president of the BCA. "We expected to raise approximately $300,000 from the BCA bowl to help promote our mission of assisting minority coaches and athletic administrators. We expected all parties to act in good faith to reschedule this game for Dec. 1."

Virginia Tech also backed out of a future 2000 tilt with the Yellow Jackets or any other school citing schedule conflicts, bowl preapartion and many other concerns. Athletic director Jim Weaver said, "Our interest has been in playing Georgia Tech."

Georgia Tech had no contractual obligation to reschedule the game but did offer to return to Blacksburg, Va., at the beginning of the 2001 season for a replay, according to Braine

"We tried to make a good-faith effort to fulfill our commitment of playing the game," Braine said. "The ACC offered to help get an exemption so the BCA could have two games next year. Virginia Tech was in favor of doing that also."

Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said he agreed with the administration's decision not to replay the game at the end of the season. "There were three reasons why I wanted to play the game to start with," he said. "One was to set the barometer for our team over the offseason and the summer. Two, we have an inexperienced quarterback (George Godsey), and I wanted to get him in an early game. Three, I just like early season games. Now, all three of those reasons are no longer valid."

"We fulfilled our obligation. We lined up to kick the game off. Then a higher power told us not to play the game," said Braine, a former athletic director at Virginia Tech.

"I'm going to lose friends on this deal, no question. But you've got to separate all the other things. There are a lot of folks who probably believe this is not the right thing to do, but I do believe it is the right thing to do."

Arkansas self-imposes sanctions over booster activities

Arkansas will eliminate some football scholarships because players received benefits from a booster in violation of NCAA rules. The university will cut the scholarships starting with the 2001 season.

The university declared defensive end Randy Garner ineligible for the opener against Southwest Missouri, and asked the NCAA to rule on his eligibility for the rest of the season.

The Razorbacks will forfeit two scholarships in 2001, and one the next year.

Arkansas officials are waiting to see whether the NCAA will accept the self-imposed penalties without adding to them and whether the NCAA will open its own investigation.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the school suspended Garner because he accepted $100 from booster Ted Harrod's J&H Trucking for a few hours work last December during the players' free time the week before the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl. Coach Houston Nutt said Garner repaid the money to Harrod.

The university also banned Harrod, a Dallas-area businessman, and his son, T.J., from associating with the school's athletic programs for five years because of allegations they paid athletes for work they didn't do.


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