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Fiesta Bowl changing to an afternoon game and will host 2003 title game

The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is switching to an afternoon kickoff on New Year's Day 2002 rather than the night schedule of recent years. Officials announced that the game will match the Pac-10 and Big 12 champions if those teams aren't playing in the Rose Bowl. If those teams aren't available for the Fiesta Bowl, its officials will turn to a pool of at-large teams that includes the champions of the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, Big East and Southeastern conferences.

The Jan. 1 afternoon slot has been filled in years past, by the Rose Bowl, but that game is moving to Jan. 3 because it will match the two top-ranked teams in the final of the Bowl Championship Series.

It was also announced that the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will host the national collegiate football championship game in 2003 in the Arizona State stadium. "It's been more than a year in the making and we felt good about our chances, but it's still exciting and is a relief," said John Junker, Fiesta Bowl executive director.

The Nokia Sugar Bowl, held in New Orleans, will be the title game host in 2004, and the FedEx Orange Bowl gets the game in 2005. The Rose Bowl hosts title games in 2002 and 2006.

Nevada coach Tormey cleared of any wrongdoing

After looking into the matter, the Nevada State Attorney's office said Nevada coach Chris Tormey did not hinder a police probe into a fight that included two UNR football players.

University of Nevada-Reno officials asked the state to look into the matter after Tormey allegedly gave inconsistent statements concerning what he knew about the January incident. Initially, prosecutors also criticized the coach for consulting with a lawyer after learning about the fight, rather than taking the information directly to police.

A 19 year-old youth told police he was at an off-campus party and was attacked by five men, including two Nevada football players. The boy suffered a broken nose and head injuries.

"The coach only had hearsay knowledge," said Robert Pike, chief of investigations for the attorney general's office. "If someone is inconsistent with hearsay knowledge, I don't know of any laws he would be breaking.

"And if someone tells someone to get legal advice, not only does it not break any legal rules, I'd say it is pretty good advice," Pike told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Cooper and Buckeyes clear up oversight

Former Ohio State coach John Cooper paid back the university for $2,000 he claimed in expenses and apologized for his "record-keeping errors."

"As far as we are concerned this very much brings this matter to a conclusion and we are pleased that we were able to work out with coach Cooper and his attorney a satisfactory outcome," said Lee Tashjian, vice president of university relations. "The most important thing is that the coach acknowledged there were book keeping errors and he has offered his apologies," Tashjian said

"We regret it became a public matter in the media," he said. "Any kind of personal issue is best left between an employer and an employee."

Cooper sent a letter to Ohio State President William E. Kirwan along with a check for $2,000.

"I accept complete responsibility for these mistakes, which were the result of neglectful record-keeping on my part," Cooper wrote.

"I apologize to the university for my record-keeping errors. As you know, I faithfully served the best interests of the Ohio State University for 13 years and remain a loyal supporter of this institution."

The university said it discovered the discrepancies in Cooper's December expense reports a day or two after he was fired on Jan. 2. University officials had said there was no correlation between the firing and the investigation and that there was no attempt to discredit Cooper. Officials had said state law required them to notify the state prosecutor any time financial discrepancies exceed $500.

Terps and Irish agree to open 2002 season in last Kickoff Classic

Notre Dame and Maryland have agreed to meet, at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, to begin the 2002 season in the 20th and final Kickoff Classic. A season-opening tradition since 1983, the 2002 Kickoff Classic will be the last because of NCAA legislation that eliminates annual preseason exempted contests after the 2002 campaign.

"To face Notre Dame for the first time in our university's history only adds to what should be a landmark event for our program," said Maryland athletic director Deborah A. Yow. "And, the national television exposure will be a plus to our recruiting efforts."

Georgia Tech will meet Syracuse in this season's Kickoff Classic on August 26.

Call it the Kansas State rule, latest tweak to BCS rules makes sense

The Bowl Championship Series commissioners announced that they have made a minor adjustment in how BCS bowls are awarded.

A team which fails to win its conference title but finishes No. 3 or No. 4 in the final BCS ratings will be guaranteed an at-large BCS bowl. That move addresses the 1998 situation when Kansas State, ranked No. 2, lost the Big 12 Championship Game and then was passed over for a BCS bowl after a final No. 4 ranking.

Six of the eight BCS bowl spots are guaranteed to the champions of the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-10, Big East and SEC. Notre Dame can qualify for one of the two remaining at-large spots by meeting certain criteria.

In a related announcement, the BCS said that the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls would remain with the BCS through the 2005 season. The cycle runs through the January 2006 national title game at the Rose Bowl.

NCAA announces changes designed to help student-athletes

The NCAA management council voted to allow student-athletes to receive money for private lessons and to obtain a one-time $20,000 bank loan based on future earnings. The changes would allow college athletes to accept pay for giving private lessons in sports such as golf and tennis. They also would allow the NCAA to pay disability insurance premiums.

To qualify for the bank loan, an athlete would have to be considered a likely first-round choice in men's basketball, women's basketball or baseball and at least a third-round choice in football or hockey.

"One of the things of great concern is providing some greater sensitivity to student-athletes' time and their future, and some of the professional demands they may face," council chairman Charles Harris said.

"We believe these are steps in the right direction to changing the environment in regard to student-athletes," added Harris, commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Those items all passed with at least 311/2 of the 51 votes.

The council approved by voice vote an amateurism deregulation plan that would allow high school athletes to accept prize money, sign contracts, compete with professionals and earn money and enter the draft while retaining their eligibility. That proposal was sent, without recommendation, back to NCAA members for a 90-day comment period. Dempsey said he expected the Board of Directors to address the issues at its August meeting.

"Some people have referred to this as a setback and I disagree with that," Dempsey said. "Had the council taken no action or rejected moving it forward, that would have been a defeat. But this is the normal process we go through."

Switzer among those to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

Legendary Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer finally received the call that was long overdue from the College Football Hall of Fame. Joining Switzer in this year's group of inductees from the coaching side of the game are Grant Teaff, current head of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and coach at McMurry, Angelo State and Baylor; Houston Cougar great Bill Yeoman; Joe Fusco, who built Westminster into a small-college power; and Ace Mumford, who compiled a 233-85-23 record coaching Jarvis Christian, Bishop, Texas College and Southern (1924-61).

Also, current coaches Doug Williams of Grambling, and Jim Haslett of the New Orleans Saints were inducted for their playing careers at Grambling and Indiana University of Pennsylvania respectively.

Other players included in the 2001 class are: defensive back Terry Kinard, Clemson, tight end Keith Jackson, Oklahoma, halfback Jon Arnett of Southern California, placekicker Kevin Butler of Georgia, wide receiver Anthony Carter of Michigan, end Dick Duden of Navy, defensive tackle Tim Green of Syracuse, quarterback Ralph Guglielmi of Notre Dame, tackle John Hicks of Ohio State and linebacker D.D. Lewis of Mississippi State, running back Don McCauley of North Carolina, tackle John Outland of Kansas and Penn, lineman Glenn Ressler of Penn State, defensive back Brad Van Pelt of Michigan State, quarterback Steve Young of Brigham Young, , Gordie Lockbaum of Holy Cross, Bill Redell of Occidental, and Freddie Scott, Amherst.

Wanna' know a secret... Donnan to get extra $255,250 in severance pay

Former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan will receive an additional $255,250 in severance pay following the approval of a secret agreement between the coach and university president Michael Adams made three years ago. Adams agreed to the extra severance pay for Donnan without informing athletic director Vince Dooley or the athletic association, which governs the program. Adams secretly promised the additional severance pay to Donnan in July 1998 when contract discussions were at a stalemate.

"There is no question that I have the authority to exercise judgment in personnel matters," Adams said in statement. "I don't have the authority to spend $255,000 of the athletic association's money without their approval. With 20-20 hindsight, I would do it differently. If he had not been dismissed, this never would have been an issue."

Richard Howell, Donnan's attorney, wrote a letter to Adams dated Jan. 16 reminding him of the secret agreement, which was known only to the four people: Adams, Howell, Donnan and Jim Nalley, chairman of the trustees of the university's foundation.

Howell said Nalley "asked that the agreement be confidential in nature. Based on that direction, neither coach Donnan nor Richard Howell made mention of this crucial agreement to the athletic association's attorneys, King & Spalding, nor to Vince Dooley, the athletic director."

MAC connects with GMAC Mobile Bowl

The Mid-American Conference will send a team to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The former Mobile Alabama Bowl, which will pit teams from the MAC and Conference USA on Dec. 19, gives two bowl tie-ins to a league that for years has sought to reward its top programs that didn't win the conference championship.

"I think this speaks of the overall quality in the MAC and recognizes what the coaches are doing," MAC spokesman Gary Richter said Thursday. "It ensures your division champions a bowl game, basically."

In previous years, the winner of the MAC championship game went to the Motor City Bowl. Now, the league will choose which teams it sends to either bow.

Marshall has won the league title every year since joining the MAC in 1997 and has gone to four straight Motor City Bowls.

Miami (Ohio) went 10-1 in 1998 but didn't receive a bowl bid. Last year, Western Michigan and Toledo finished with better records than Marshall.

The league will decide which team will be a better draw for Motor City fans.

The GMAC Bowl has a $750,000 payout, the same as the Motor City Bowl. Both bowls will be affiliated with the MAC and Conference USA. Their sponsors are General Motors Corp. and its finance arm, GMAC, Ford Motor Co., and Daimler Chrysler AG.

The GMAC Bowl will be played at the 40,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Conference USA will be the host team in the GMAC Bowl, while the MAC will continue to be the host for the Motor City Bowl.

Northern Arizona gets three years probation

The NCAA placed Northern Arizona's football program on probation for three years for using an ineligible player and censured the university for a lack of institutional control because professors changed the player's grades.

The association's Division I Infractions Committee took away five football equivalencies for the 2002-03 academic year, leaving the team with 58. An equivalency is a scholarship that can be divided up among several players.

The committee vacated the results of six 1999 games in which wide receiver Francis St. Paul participated while ineligible. It also required the school to correct its media guides, publications and banners to reflect the changes.

The Lumberjacks won four of the six games, so their 1999 record dropped from 8-4 to 4-8 with the ruling.

The Arena Football League enters its 15th season

In February of 1981, a young NFL executive by the name of Jim Foster was watching the Major Indoor Soccer League's All-Star game when he had an inspiration: what about football on a smaller field with rules enhanced to create non-stop action? Foster then reached into a briefcase, took out a manila envelope and the basic premise that is now the Arena Football League was born.

The league was originally scheduled to begin play in 1983, but the start of the USFL delayed the opening until 1987. Now, 15 years later the AFL is firmly entrenched as a part of the American sports community. With stars like Kurt Warner leaving the AFL for NFL stardom and a strong alliance with the NFL, Arena football is here to stay. Here is a look at the 19 teams in the league and their coaching staffs.

Arizona Rattlers
Head coach: Danny White
Assistant coach-line: Chris Conlin
Assistant coach-db: Scott Maynard

Buffalo Destroyers
Head coach: Ray Bentley
Offensive coordinator: Tony Kimbrough
Assistant head coach-special teams: Mo Morris
Assistant coach-db: Vinnie Clark
Assistant coach-wr: Daryl Henry
Assistant coach-line: Gene Zinni
Assistant coach-line: Rudy Klawiter
Assistant coach-quality control: Ryan Gallo

Carolina Cobras
Head coach: Doug Kay
Offensive coordinator: Mike Neu
Assistant coach-line: Emerson Martin

Chicago Rush
Head coach: Mike Hohensee
Assistant coach-special teams: Brent Winter
Assistant coach-db: Stan Davis
Assistant coach-wr: Luther Dobbins
Assistant head coach-line: Walt Housman

Detroit Fury
Head coach: Mouse Davis
Assistant coach-lb/fb: Tom Menas
Defensive coordinator: Rich Stubler
Assistant coach-line: Rod Humenuik

Florida Bobcats
Head coach: Dave Ewart
Offensive coordinator: Ben Bennett
Assistant head coach-special teams: Doug Blevins
Assistant coach-db: Kevin Guy

Grand Rapids Rampage
Head coach: Michael Trigg
Offensive coordinator: Sparky McEwen
Assistant head coach: Robert Smith

Houston Thunderbears
Head coach: Steve Thonn
Assistant head coach-special teams: Gary Gussman
Assistant coach-line: Ron James

Indiana Firebirds
Head coach: Mike Dailey
Offensive coordinator: Ed Hodgkiss
Defensive coordinator: Mike Wilpolt
Assistant coach-defense: Ernesto Punsley
Assistant coach: Brian Partlow

Los Angeles Avengers
Head coach: Stan Brock
Defensive coordinator: Robert Lyles
Assistant coach-qb: Terry Karg

Milwaukee Mustangs Head coach: Rick Frazier
Offensive coordinator: Tom Porras
Assistant head coach: William Reed
Assistant coach-line: Bob Landsee

Nashville Kats
Head coach: Pat Sperduto
Offensive coordinator/assistant head coach: Marty Lowe
Assistant coach-secondary: Brenard Wilson
Assistant coach: Bob Kronenberg

New Jersey Gladiators
Head coach: Larry Kuharich
Defensive coordinator: Rich Ingold
Assistant coach-line: John Zinser
Assistant coach: Ned James

New York Dragons
Head coach: John Gregory
Defensive coordinator: Ardell Wiegandt
Assistant coach-db/st: Rory Vacco
Assistant coach-ol: Ted Heath

Oklahoma Wranglers
Head coach: Bob Corteses
Defensive coordinator/associate head coach: James Fuller
Assistant head coach-line: Jon Norris

Orlando Predators
Head coach: Jay Gruden
Assistant head coach: Fran Papasedero

San Jose Sabercats Head coach: Darren Arbet
Offensive coordinator/qb: Terry Malley
Assistant coach-line: Bill Tripp
Assistant coach: Fred Stephens

Tampa Bay Storm Head coach: Tim Marcum
Assistant head coach: David Knaus

Toronto Phantoms
Head coach: Mark Stoute
Defensive coordinator/db: Edmund Jones
Assistant coach-line: Joe Moss

No keeping up with this Jones... Hawaii coach June Jones back at work

Hawaii coach June Jones returned to work in March for the first time since he was critically injured in a car crash in February.

Jones first stopped by his office during spring break and, thereafter, increased his workload to part-time status, according to Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa.

"It's amazing how well he's doing," Lempa said. "He's back. He's not in our meetings yet or watching a lot of film, but I'm sure before long he'll be his old self."

Jones, 48, suffered injuries to his head, abdomen and chest when he drove his car into a concrete pillar while driving alone on the H-1 Freeway near Honolulu International Airport on Feb. 22.

He was released from The Queen's Medical Center on March 13 after two major surgeries.

Jones has reportedly told police he doesn't remember the crash. Police said speed and alcohol weren't factors. Jones' seat belt was not fastened at the time, but his air bag deployed.

The former NFL quarterback and head coach directed the biggest one-year turnaround in NCAA history, guiding the Warriors to a 9-3 record and Oahu Bowl victory in his first season in 1999 after they had gone 0-12 the previous season. Last year, he remained an island favorite even as Hawaii slipped to 3-9 last year.

Northwestern State forced to forfeit two games

Northwestern State will forfeit conference victories over Troy State and Nicholls State because an ineligible player made a noticeable contribution in those games, in a move announced by university and Southland Football League officials.

Northwestern realized the violation, suspended the player and reported on itself in midseason, but the league Compliance Committee did not rule until after the season.

The name of the player and the reasons he was ineligible were confidential, Northwestern spokesman Doug Ireland said.

"It's important to note there was no intent by the NSU coaching staff to use an ineligible player," said Northwestern athletic director Greg Burke. "This should not reflect in any way on our football coaches and student-athletes."

The forfeits wipe out Northwestern's 24-21 win over Troy State on Oct. 7, and a 27-21 victory at Nicholls State on Oct. 14.

Viva Las Vegas.... Robinson gets a well-deserved extension at UNLV

John Robinson, who turns 66 on July 25, signed a contract extension to remain the football coach at UNLV through the 2005 season. The new deal was approved by Nevada's State Board of Regents, includes an annual base salary of $150,000 and is worth a total of $500,000 per year.

"My goal is to keep John Robinson for life," UNLV president Dr. Carol C. Harter said. "If at the end of five years he wants to continue coaching, he can have a new contract."

Robinson, who is entering his third season, has sparked a revival of football at UNLV. The school was 0-11 the year before he arrived, and improved to 3-8 in 1999 and an 8-5 mark in 2000. Last season included a 31-14 win over Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Robinson won a national championship at Southern California in 1978 and led the Los Angeles Rams to two NFC Championship games.

He has had two other stints as a college coach - both at USC. His first tenure with the Trojans was from 1976-82, when he went 67-14-2 and won three Rose Bowls, the last in 1979 when he was named National Coach of the Year. The Trojans shared the national championship with Alabama in 1978 and also had a 28-game unbeaten streak from 1978-80.

Nix leaves Henderson State and heads to Samford

One of the youngest head coaches in the nation, Patrick Nix, who went 3-19 in his two seasons as head coach at Henderson State, resigned to become receivers and quarterbacks coach at Samford. Nix also took offensive coordinator Doug Meacham with him as Samford's offensive line coach. Nix, a 1995 graduate of Auburn, became head coach at Henderson State before the 1999 season after three years an assistant at Jacksonville State. The Reddies went 2-9 in Nix's first season and 1-10 in 2000.

"It was a tough decision to leave Henderson State because my goal when I came here was to turn the program around, and unfortunately that goal was not accomplished," Nix said.

"I appreciate the support I received from everyone at HSU, but this was an unexpected opportunity that came up that I could not turn down. Obviously, I feel bad for the kids who have stayed here through tough times."

Walsh hands the reins to Doanhue

Bill Walsh, the architect of three San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl victories during the 1980s, stepped down as the team's general manager. The move had been anticipated for months, as the media watched closely over what was known to the last draft for one of the all-time greats in war room strategy. The 49ers announced Walsh's top assistant Terry Donahue, the former UCLA head coach, as the team's new GM. This was hardly a surprise as Donahue had been preparing for this transition for the last few years, while working and mentoring under Walsh. Coach Walsh will assume a position as a vice president and consultant in the organization.

"I'm just glad the organization is pointed in the right direction again," Walsh said recently. "We've accomplished what I wanted to do when I came back for my second turn here."

Walsh returned to the 49ers in 1999 as general manager, replacing Carmen Policy, who left to lead the Cleveland Browns. Walsh conducted San Francisco's last three drafts, including the 2000 draft that yielded 11 players who made the roster.

AFCA's Teaff opposes Friday games for colleges

Immediately after the NCAA lifted the restriction against Friday night college football games, the American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff said the rule change is a mistake.

"Our support of that restriction has not changed even though the NCAA enacted a rule that will allow schools to play Friday night games," Teaff said.

"The action by the NCAA, in my personal opinion, is a mistake. It is compounded by certain conferences and institutions seeking the national spotlight and additional revenue that a televised game brings. This action by the NCAA was never discussed with the AFCA. ... High school football in America needs support from the NCAA and other entities, not the distraction Friday night college football will bring."

"The AFCA is in the process of contacting college conference commissioners and athletic directors asking that, as they make scheduling decisions, they give full consideration to the adverse effect that Friday night college games will have on high school football," Teaff said.

Clemson won't move South Carolina game for TV

Clemson has rebuffed efforts to move its annual game with South Carolina to Thanksgiving weekend just for the sake of TV. CBS had suggested holding the game on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Clemson athletic director Bobby Robinson said "we have no interest in moving the game.Everybody's got a different view of that, but we've got plenty of games on television. Both schools do," Robinson said.

South Carolina had agreed to move the game, scheduled for Nov. 17 at Williams-Brice Stadium, so it could be nationally broadcast on the long holiday weekend, but the game's date cannot be changed without approval from both schools.

Robinson said he had resisted all calls to move the annual game during the past and does not want it played Thanksgiving weekend this year either.

"It's the first time football players really have a break. They can go visit their families and we think it's an infringement on the fans," Robinson said. "We think Thanksgiving is a family time."

Aloha means Goodbye to the islands for two bowl games

Two Christmastime college bowl games are leaving Hawaii. The Aloha and Oahu bowls will get new names, new dates, new towns. Fritz Rohlfing, executive director of Aloha Sports Inc., said he is transferring the Aloha Bowl to San Francisco and the Oahu Bowl to Seattle.

Rohlfing blamed empty seats, the distance mainland fans have to travel, difficulties meeting NCAA requirements, and the state government's refusal to provide a $150,000 subsidy.

"As a lifetime resident of Hawaii, I'm saddened to see the bowl games move, but the NCAA simply would not have allowed the games to continue under the present circumstances," said Rohlfing. "For us, the economics of the games meant it was either a case of move them or lose them."

The former Oahu Bowl, renamed the Seattle Bowl, will be played Jan. 2 at Safeco Field, home of the American League Seattle Mariners. The bowl will move the following year to the Seattle Seahawks' new football stadium, which is to open for the 2002 NFL season.

The former Aloha Bowl, now the San Francisco Bowl, will be played on Dec. 30 at Pacific Bell Park, home of the National League San Francisco Giants.

State ruling prohibits Neuheisel from accepting deal with Nike

A ruling by the Executive Ethics Board of the state of Washington has prevented Washington Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel from accepting a deal with Nike Inc. for as much as $150,000 a year. The proposed contract between Nike and the coach is defined under state law as "outside compensation" that is prohibited by the state's ethics law, the board ruled.

The April 20 decision extinguishes direct access to a source of extra compensation, but the university could make up the difference with money from the school's new contract with Nike, which is expected to bring in $1 million.

Under his proposed side deal with Nike, Neuheisel was to have received $125,000 a year, plus $25,000 if the Huskies played in a bowl game.

Under a five-year contract Neuheisel signed in August 1999, he is guaranteed $897,000 a year and can earn more with incentives.

Neuheisel has accepted no money from Nike while at the university, so the board found no violation of the ethics law. Through 2000, Neuheisel had accepted $46,750 for speaking and consulting work that the ethics board ruled was acceptable.

The state panel ruled that the deal would violate a six-year-old law that prohibits state employees from accepting compensation from outside sources for work related to their official duties.

In an advisory opinion in 1999, the ethics board wrote that coaches could receive payment for consulting with or making appearances for sporting goods companies as long as they're not identified as coaches.

Long time NFL assistant Dick Jamieson passes away

The former offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, Dick Jamieson, who helped develop quarterback Jake Plummer and other standouts, died of cancer in St. Louis. He was 63.

Jamieson was head coach at Indiana State in 1978 and 1979. He served as running backs coach for two years with the Philadelphia Eagles, mentoring the likes of Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner.

He was an assistant and then offensive coordinator with the Cardinals from 1980-1985 under Jim Hanifan, working with such Cardinal greats as Ottis Anderson, Roy Green and Neil Lomax.

Eagles dismiss Modrak and hand all of the power to Reid

In a move that surprised many, the Philadelphia Eagles took advantage of a contractual clause and dismissed highly respected and effective director of football operations Tom Modrak. Apparently, the Eagles just got tired of hearing rumors about Modrak leaving.

Modrak, who helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs last season, was fired due to persistent speculation that he was looking for another job.

After hearing his name linked to several job openings during the 2000 offseason, Modrak asked the Eagles for an escape clause in his contract.

Philadelphia agreed to allow Modrak the right to terminate the deal for 30 days immediately following the 2001 and 2002 drafts. In exchange, the Eagles insisted on the right to terminate the contract during those same periods.

Mike McCartney, director of pro personnel, also lost his job in the front-office shakeup.

Modrak, hired in May 1998 from the Pittsburgh Steelers, was instrumental in turning around a franchise that lost 13 games in 1998 and 11 in 1999. He guided the Eagles through three drafts that yielded the likes of quarterback Donovan McNabb and defensive tackle Corey Simon.

One day after dismissing Modrak, the Eagles gave more control of personnel decisions to coach Andy Reid. The team promoted Reid to executive vice president of football operations. Reid received a six-year extension that will raise his annual salary from $1 million to $2.5 million.

Reid needed just two seasons to turn the Eagles into a playoff team. After going 5-11 in his first year, Reid led the Eagles to an 11-5 record and a wild card berth. Philadelphia beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild card round before falling to the New York Giants.

NFL launches coaching academies

The NFL, the National Football Foundation and the NFL Players Association kick off the NFL/NFF Coaching Academy in 24 cities this spring. The two-day program is designed to elevate the quality of coaching at the youth and high school levels across America and further grow the number one participatory high school sport.

Coaches are critical in providing a positive impact and football experience for young people. The two-year-old NFL/NFF Coaching Academy program runs from mid-April through July and is expected to draw more than two thousand coaches in 24 cities - including non-NFL markets. The program was established last season in five pilot locations.

The NFL/NFF Coaching Academy objective is to ensure that youth and high school football programs have trained adults prepared to focus not only on football skills, but on the game's social benefits and character-building attributes. The program's motto is "Developing Winners in Football and Life."

Working with a nationally recognized team of coaches, sports psychologists, medical experts and sporting goods manufacturers, the NFL and NFF created a dynamic curriculum covering:

Coaching Philosophy: Developing Winners in Football and Life

Football Skills and Strategy (offensive, defense, and special teams)

Coach-Player Communication and Feedback

Program and Team Management: Organizing to Win

Life Skills Development: Teaching players how to succeed in football and life

Player Health and Safety: Playing it Safe

Attendees receive:

Clinic Time: 15 hours of classroom and on-field instruction in two days

Coaching Playbook: Filled with program notes for post-clinic, self-study reference

Coaching CD: Contains illustrations of football skills with key teaching points

Coaching Disk: Holds documents and checklists to improve team management

NFL High School Football Web Site: Coaching section offers tips and news

Interested coaches should contact the National Football Foundation chapter in their area or contact NFF headquarters at 1-800-486-1865. Cost is $30 for members of the NFF or American Football Coaches Association and $40 for non-members.

Packers make several moves...

Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman completed his coaching staff by hiring Pat Ruel and Stan Drayton.

Ruel will be an assistant to offensive line coach Larry Beightol, and Drayton will be the quality control assistant for special teams and offense. Ruel, 50, was Detroit's offensive line coach last season after a 25-year stint as a college offensive line coach at Miami, his alma mater, Arkansas, Washington State, Texas A&M, Northern Illinois, Kansas and Michigan State. Drayton, 30, spent the last five years coaching running backs and special teams at Villanova.

Also, in the wake of Ron Wolf's retirement, the Packers made several front office moves by extending the contract of director of college scouting John Dorsey and that of director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie. Both are considered rising stars in NFL circles and the Pack made the necessary preemptive moves to keep the front office intact.

Sherman also added longtime NFL personnel man Mark Hatley to the position of vice-president of football operations. Hatley, who brings 14 seasons of scouting acumen to his Packers assignment, will oversee all of Green Bay's scouting efforts, including the evaluation of both professional and college players. Hatley was earlier dismissed as the Chicago Bears vice president of player personnel in what was termed a "mutual termination."

These moves were considered crucial since Sherman has assumed the mantle of general manager in the wake of Wolf's retirement.


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