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News & Notes© More from this issue
Sooners visit the White House
President Bush honored Bob Stoops and his University of Oklahoma national championship football team at the White House March 5, 2001 in a special ceremony held in the Rose garden.
The team was recognized along with the women's softball team, which beat UCLA 3-1 for its first national championship at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City last spring.
The teams also toured the U.S. Capitol and were recognized on the Senate floor. Additionally, Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles and Rep. J.C. Watts hosted a Congressional reception for the teams.
Turner to get raise and more years at Illinois
Although the Illini fininshed last season 5-6, Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther has seen enough and is convinced head coach Ron Turner is doing all of the right things. Guenther is recommending the university's Board of Trustees give Turner a 22 percent pay raise.
Guenther wants to extend Turner's contract by a year, through January 2006, and raise his total pay from $525,000 to $700,000 per year.
"Ron's done a marvelous job of building our program to this point," Guenther said. "We wanted to send him a real strong message of how much we appreciate the work he's done for us."
Guenther said football coaches' salaries across the country are growing substantially and he wants to make sure Illinois keeps up with the current market.
While Illinois did not win enough games to reach a postseason bowl last season, Guenther said the team was competitive.
"I've said all along you can't measure everything by wins and losses," said Guenther, who said he also considers players' academic performance and off-field activities in evaluating the coach.
Texas Tech brings in NFL veteran Dave Brown to coach DBs
Texas Tech defensive coordinator Greg McMackin brought in Dave Brown as the team's new defensive backs coach. The move reunited Brown and McMackin and the schemes and defense they sharpened together with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98.
Brown, a former NFL defensive back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, will serve the same job (defensive backs) and boss (McMackin) he did in Seattle under head coach Dennis Erickson. His hiring at Tech fills the spot vacated by Brian Norwood, who departed Tech last week to take a similar position at Penn State.
Boilermakers name coaches for QBs, receivers
Blaine Bennett, the coach at Division II Western Oregon, was hired by Joe Tiller as quarterbacks coach at Purdue. He succeeds Greg Olson, who left the Boilermakers to become the quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
Bennett, 36, previously was an assistant at Western Oregon, Idaho, Chico State and Washington State, where he was on the same staff with Joe Tiller, now the Purdue head coach.
"He brings tremendous experience with our system to the position," Tiller said. "He is exactly the type of person we were looking for."
Bennett coached at Western Oregon the past six years and compiled a 27-32 record.
Tiller also announced the hiring of Ted Gilmore, 33, as wide receivers coach to succeed Kevin Sumlin, who recently was named assistant coach at Texas A&M.
Gilmore was receivers coach at Houston last season. He previously was an assistant at Wyoming, when Tiller was the head coach, and later at Kansas.
Buffalos and Bulldogs to square off in first Thorpe Classic
Gary Barnett and Colorado will host Fresno State and Pat Hill on Aug. 25 in the inauguaral Jim Thorpe Classic. While all seems ready to go, final plans for the game are contingent upon approval by the NCAA Football Certification Subcommitte during its meetings the last week of April, which is standard procedure for preseason games. Each school would receive a minimum payment of $600,000.
Colorado was an obvious choice, as one of only two schools to have two Jim Thorpe Award winners as the best defensive back in the nation. Cornerback-safety Chris Hudson claimed the honor in 1994 and cornerback Deon Figures won the award in 1992.
"Our past relationship with the school and its athletic department has been great," said Lynn Draper, executive director of the Thorpe Association. "So it's very appropriate that Colorado will be participating in the inaugural game."
Fresno State becomes Colorado's seventh 2001 opponent to have played in a bowl game last season. The Bulldogs dropped a 37-34 shootout to Air Force in the Silicon Valley Classic to fall to 7-5. The Buffaloes, who have won all four meetings with the Bulldogs, finished a 3-8 season with a last-second loss to Nebraska.
"We all have a bad taste in our mouths after last season, especially the way it ended at Nebraska," coach Gary Barnett said. "We just want to get back on that field, and we said all along we'd like to play a preseason game at home against a quality opponent. So we got what we wanted."
TCU and Nebraska to play in the Pigskin Classic
Now that Nebraska head coach Frank Solich knows the health status of senior qb Eric Crouch, he is comfortable playing in the season-opening Pigskin Classic versus Texas Christian on Aug. 25 at Memorial Stadium. "We didn't have a major interest in playing in a game until we figured out where Eric Crouch was [with his rehab]," Solich said. "I don't think you want to enter into a preseason game without an experienced quarterback."
Crouch, who had arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder Jan. 4, will not be able to throw a football until May 1, but his rehabilitation is reportedly going well.
The game will be televised by ABC, and Nebraska could gross about $1 million, officials said.
Just three months ago, Nebraska said it would not play in the Kickoff Classic, another preseason game, because Solich was concerned about wear and tear on the team.
TCU finished the 2000 season ranked No. 21 by the Associated Press after a 28-21 bowl loss to Southern Mississippi. The Horned Frogs finished 10-2, but Heisman Trophy candidate LaDainian Tomlinson has departed and coach Dennis Franchione left to become head coach at Alabama.
Ironically, it was Franchione who got TCU out of scheduled games with Nebraska in Lincoln in the 2000 and 2001 seasons. The decision was made in December 1997 when he took over what was then a 1-10 team.
Giants hire von Appen as special teams coach to replace McDuff who returns to the desert
Fred von Appen, dimissed as defensive line coach by the Minnesota Vikings in January, was hired as special teams coach by the New York Giants. Von Appen replaces Larry Mac Duff, who resigned after four seasons to become defensive coordinator at Arizona. Mc Duff was enticed to return to Tempe by big bucks and new head coach John Mackovic after Duane Akina left to coach DB at Texas.
Von Appen, who coached at Hawaii from 1996-98 before joining the Vikings last season, also coached special teams for the San Francisco 49ers when they won five NFC titles and two Super Bowls in the 1980s.
Dunbar leaves Northern Iowa to join Walker at Northwestern and Farley tabbed replacement
Mike Dunbar, whose contract was extended four months ago, resigned as head football coach at Northern Iowa to join the staff of Randy Walker at Northwestern. Dunbar will coach the tight ends and fullbacks and be the Wildcats' special teams coordinator.
Walker also promoted James Patton to offensive line coach and Kevin Wilson to assistant head coach. Patton replaces Aaron Kromer, who was hired by the Oakland Raiders in February. Wilson will continue his duties as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
"I'm very excited to add a proven head coach like Mike Dunbar to our staff," said Walker. "We believe his offensive knowledge and leadership ability will be great additions to our program. I'm also pleased to elevate James and Kevin, and I have the utmost confidence that they will excel in their new positions."
Dunbar, 52, compiled a 29-15 record at UNI from 1997-2000. He owns an 81-24-1 career record as a head coach, including a 54-9-1 mark in six seasons at NAIA Central Washington. While at CWU, his teams earned two No. 1 national rankings, made the playoffs six times and, in 1991, extended a regular-season win streak to 40 games, finishing 9-0.
Northern Iowa named former Panther player and Kansas assistant coach Mark Farley as new head football coach. Farley has been signed to a five-year contract at a base salary of $92,000.
A Panther walk on when he arrived on the UNI campus, Farley became a three-year starter at linebacker and led the team in tackles in 1984 ( 77), '85 (87) and '86 (92). He earned his bachelor's degree in Education in 1986 and his master's in Health Education in 1994 from UNI.
Following his playing career, Farley coached UNI's inside linebackers as a graduate assistant from 1986-88 and became a full-time assistant beginning in 1989, serving as Strength and Speed Coordinator, Punt Return Specialist, and assistant in charge of the inside and outside linebackers. He stayed at UNI until 1997 when he left to join Terry Allen at Kansas.
Cardinals to play host to the Aggies in first-ever Thompson Classic
Louisville has added an Aug. 23 home game with New Mexico State to its 2001 football schedule. The Cardinals will play the Aggies in the inaugural John Thompson Foundation Challenge Football Classic at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
The matchup will help fund the John Thompson Foundation, which helps inner-city youth get college scholarships.
"We're honored to participate in this event, particularly since it will benefit young people," said Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich.
Louisville plays at Kentucky the following weekend. Before the New Mexico State game was scheduled, Uof L had just five home games slated for next season.
MAC looking for football championship home
Mid-American Conference officials are searching for a permanent home for the league's football title game. MAC commissioner Rick Chryst is expected to meet with the league's presidents in the next month, and either tell them he has found a home for the championship game, or most likely that he recommends it be awarded to the league's divisional winners on an alternating basis, starting with the West winner this year.
The first four MAC championship games were played in Huntington, W.Va., and each game was won by the host school, East Division champion Marshall University.
"It is our general intention to move the MAC championship game to a good, neutral site at the earliest opportunity," Chryst said. "We are a 54-year-old conference, but we are just four years young in terms of our expansion and the addition of a football championship game. When we took this on, we were basically starting with a blank piece of paper."
The top candidate to land the MAC championship game on a permanent basis is Canton's Fawcett Stadium. The stadium seats 22,301 with standing room for another 1,250. But its state-of-the-art locker rooms, press box and television compatibility, along with the fact Canton is close enough to the geographic center of the sprawling five-state conference, make it the favorite.
Christoff new DC at Cincinnati, plus other additions for the Bearcats
A.J. Christoff, most recently the linebackers coach at Southern California, is the new defensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati. Christoff, 53, has also served as defensive coordinator at Idaho, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame and Colorado.
Also joining the Cincinnati coaching staff are linebackers coach Andy Hendel, defensive line coach O'Neill Gilbert and secondary coach Charles McMillian,
Gilbert, 36, spent three years as linebackers coach for the NFL's Tennessee Titans from 1997 to 1999 and has been a college assistant coach at Navarro State, Nevada-Las Vegas and Illinois.
Hendel, 40, spent the past five years as defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky. Hendel was a North Carolina State linebacker from 1980 to 1982 while Minter was the Wolfpack's coach of defensive ends.
McMillian, 29, has been a secondary coach at Navy and Boise State.
Houston's Dimel makes additions and promotions
University of Houston head coach Dana Dimel made several changes and additions to his 2001 coaching staff.
Bradley Dale Peveto, who was the Assistant Head Coach as well as Cornerbacks Coach last season, has been elevated to Co-Defensive Coordinator and will now take over coaching the safeties. He will relinquish both his former roles, one of which, the Assistant Head Coach, will be handled by Dick Bumpas. Bumpas, who coaches the Cougar defensive linemen, will continue to share the defensive coordinator duties.
Dimel also promoted Eric Wolford to a new position. After one year serving as Tackles/Tight Ends Coach, Wolford becomes the Cougars' new Special Teams Coordinator, hoping to shore up an area of concern for Dimel. Wolford also will coach the running backs, as Travis Pride shifts from running backs to wide receivers, where he takes over for Ted Gilmore, who departed the staff for Purdue.
Offensive line coach Clancy Barone was elevated to Co-Offensive Coordinator with the departure of former coach Phil Davis, who left for Arkansas State this month. Barone will continue to mentor the UH offensive line in this new dual role.
Finally, former graduate assistant Theron Aych received the final promotion from Dimel. After a year of coaching the kickers and punters and assisting with the offense, Aych will now coach the Cougar tight ends in a full-time position.
Dimel also announced the addition of three new members to the UH coaching staff. Dave Warner, formerly of the University of Connecticut, becomes the Cougars new Quarterbacks Coach and will share the offensive coordinator title with Barone, while Frank Hernandez assumes the Cornerbacks Coach title and Greg Centilli becomes the new offensive graduate assistant.
Phillips says "no way" to Bills' refusal to pay the last year of his pact
Fired coach Wade Phillips is having his lawyers prepare an appeal to the NFL after the Buffalo Bills have refused to pay what's left on the final year of his contract.
Phillips, who went 29-19 in his three years at Buffalo, was under contract through the 2001 season when he was fired by the Bills in January.
After receiving a regular paycheck during the past two months, Phillips said he received a letter dated March 15 informing him that the team was not willing to pay him any further and had also canceled his insurance benefits.
Coaching contracts are guaranteed in the NFL.
Set to make a reported $750,000 next season, Phillips said the Bills accused him of failing to perform his duties as the reason behind the move.
After an 8-8 season, Phillips was dismissed in part because of his refusal to fire assistant Ronnie Jones, whose special teams ranked last in the league in four categories. Phillips, instead, offered to reassign Jones and bring in a new special teams coach.
"I'm sure I didn't do anything legally or morally wrong," Phillips said.
Phillips said he didn't receive the letter until March 19, and his family went four days without insurance coverage.
"It would set a bad precedent if a coach didn't run the right play or didn't agree with an owner - sure, they fire you, but to take your salary away?" he said.
Former Tide assistant Donahue dies
One of Bear Braynt's guys, legenday Ken Donahue, the former Alabama defensive coordinator who helped put together teams that won four national championships and 12 SEC titles, died at age 76. Donahue passed away during a workout at a fitness club in Corryton, Tenn.
Donahue joined the Alabama football staff in 1964 after a three-year stint at Mississippi State and spent 21 seasons with the Tide, most under coach Bear Bryant. The team won titles in 1964, '65, '78 and '79 while Donahue was a coach at the school.
He returned to alma mater Tennessee for three years before retiring in 1988.
"He was probably the most dedicated coach in our profession," said former Tide assistant coach Clem Gryska. "He didn't take anything for granted.
"If we won a big game at Knoxville, Penn State or Baton Rouge, Donahue would sit at the back of the plane on the way home and work on the next week's defense. He was always ahead of the game," Gryska said.
The Football News honored Donahue in 1985 as the nation's best assistant coach.
Donahue is survived by his wife, Jeannine Bolton Donahue, three sons and seven grandchildren, as well as a brother and sister.
Family of FSU LB wants to know more about why he died
The family of Florida State linebacker Devaughn Darling will continue to look for answers for his untimely death. Darling inexplicably died after conditioning practice in Tallahassee in February.
The Sugar Land, Texas family told Houston television station KRIV that they are planning an independent investigation of his death.
Darling, 18, collapsed and died on Feb. 26 after participating in a preseason conditioning drill. Darling's twin brother, Devard, is a freshman wide receiver for the Seminoles.
"Still today my aunt and the rest of the family haven't found out exactly and specifically what happened on that day," cousin Frank Rutherford said.
"We need to have some answers now," Rutherford said. "And the only way we are going to get those answers, we have to go and get an independent investigation."
Devaughn and his brother are former high school stars at Fort Bend high school in Austin.
An autopsy did not reveal a cause of death and it may be at least another month before lab tests are back that could help the medical examiner determine why Darling died.
Buccaneers hire William & Mary coach to fill last staff spot
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers filled the final vacancy on their staff by hiring former William & Mary aide Alan Williams as a defensive assistant.
Williams will function as a quality control assistant. He replaces Kevin O'Dea, who is moving to the offensive side of the ball.
Williams began his collegiate coaching career by tutoring the Tribes' running backs in 1996. He served in that capacity for three seasons before taking over the secondary in 1999. At the end of last season, Williams determined that he wanted to move on to the NFL and he explored the league's minority fellowship program.
Longtime friend Mike Tomlin, who was hired in February as the Bucs' secondary coach, then recommended Williams to Dungy.
Tampa Bay now has four new coaches on its staff and six assistants who will be in new positions for the 2001 campaign.
The votes are counted: replay back and bandanas out.
A success since it was brought back in 1999, instant replay is here for at least three more years.
NFL owners voted in favor of keeping replay's challenge system through the 2003 season.
Instant replay, in either its first life from 1986-91 or its second in 1999 with the challenge system, had never been voted in for more than one year at a time until now.
Needing 24 votes to pass, owners voted 25-5 in favor of the three-year replay proposal with one abstention.
In 248 regular season games last season, there was a total of 247 stoppages with 83 reversals.
The instant replay system allows each coach two challenges of an official's ruling anytime during a game except for the final two minutes of a half and in overtime. Referees make the final decision from monitors on the sideline. If the coach's challenge is not upheld, his team is assessed a timeout. If his team is out of timeouts, he cannot issue a challenge.
A replay assistant in the press box has the discretion to review a controversial play in the final two minutes of a half and throughout an overtime period.
Without the option of challenges, instant replay was used as an aid to officials from 1986 to 1991. It was voted out in 1992, but was re-instituted due to numerous officiating blunders in the second half of the 1998 season.
The owners also voted for the competition committee's recommendation to ban bandanas and stocking caps.
No new stadium for the Bears, but Solider Field will get a facelift
A $587 million plan to renovate Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, was approved by the Chicago city council.
The plan, approved by a 35-7 vote, called for the rebuilding of the stadium within Soldier Field's historic colonnades, leveling the headquarters of the Chicago Park District and creating 17 acres of new park land by replacing parking lots with underground parking.
Construction is expected to begin after the 2001 season and should be completed in time for the 2003 season. State lawmakers approved the renovation plan in November.
The plan gives naming rights to the Bears for 30 years, allowing the team to enlist a corporate sponsor to add its name to Soldier Field. That proposal has outraged some veterans groups who say the stadium was named to honor members of the military and shouldn't be altered.
The NFL is loaning the Bears $100 million. The team will put up an additional $100 million, funded largely by personal seat licenses sold to fans to guarantee the right to purchase season tickets.
Receipts from Chicago's 2 percent hotel-motel tax, the same funding source used to pay the bonds that financed Comiskey Park, will back $387 million in construction bonds.
The Bears have been playing at Soldier Field since 1971, but the stadium opened in 1924.
Eagles add long-time Mizzou assistant Toub
In one fell swoop, the Philadelphia Eagles added depth and versatility to their coaching staff by hiring Dave Toub as a quality control assistant for special teams.
Toub is scheduled to work directly with special teams coach John Harbaugh, but will also assist defensive line coach Tommy Brasher with his unit.
A former ninth-round draft choice of the Eagles (1985), Toub has spent the past 12 years at the University of Missouri, most recently as defensive line coach. In that capacity, he tutored three All-Big 12 performers.
Before joining the football staff, Toub served nine years as Missouri's head strength coach and oversaw the conditioning of athletes in 18 varsity sports. Before that he had been head strength coach at Columbia and Texas-El Paso.
During his long tenure as a college coach and trainer, Toub spent time on staffs that included Reid and also current Eagles secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo. posed of underclassmen. Then, in 1995, Kiesel had a "breakthrough" 8-3 season in which Albright finished second in the Middle Atlantic Conference and captured the ECAC Division III Southwest title - the first post-season championship in school history.
Schudel named new coach at Central Conecticutt
Central Connecticut State University hired Paul Schudel as the new head football coach. Schudel is the tenth head coach in the 61 years of football at CCSU.
Schudel replaces Sal Cintorino, who resigned his coaching position in February after nine years to take a position in athletic administration as senior associate athletic director at CCSU.
Schudel said he was "honored" to be chosen to lead the football program at CCSU. "It looks like a solid program with terrific potential," Schudel said. "I am also pleased to be coming to a university that expects its student-athletes to excel in the classroom."
Schudel was named the head coach at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana in 1985. He compiled a 60-48-4 record over ten seasons, and guided his team to two Mid-American Conference Championships. He was named conference Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1993.
He left Ball State to become offensive coordinator at the University of Illinois for two seasons. While there, his offense set a school record for rushing yards in a single game.
For the past four seasons, Schudel has been the offensive line coach at the University of Virginia. He has had six linemen over that time named All-ACC, and twice the Cavaliers have qualified for post-season Bowl games.
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