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News & NotesPatriots QB coach Rehbein dies
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Veteran NFL assistant coach and New England quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein died during training camp. The 45-year-old Rehbein died of heart failure at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The Patriots said Rehbein, who had heart disease, checked himself into the hospital complaining of discomfort. Rehbein joined the Patriots in February 2000.
Rehbein, who had an internal pacemaker because of cardiomyopathy, suffered an apparent heart attack and extensive resuscitation efforts failed.
Rehbein coached for 23 seasons in the NFL, beginning in 1979 with the Green Bay Packers. He worked eight seasons with the Vikings from 1985 to 1991 and eight seasons with the New York Giants between 1992 and 1999.
"Dick was one of those guys who was just a prince of a person," Falcons coach Dan Reeves said. "You just can't imagine that you lost him."
"He was always smiling, extremely bright, a very good football coach," Reeves said. "There wasn't much he didn't do with his two girls. We've lost a good football coach and a good human being."
Reese and the Titans agree to an extension
Tennessee general manager Floyd Reese agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Tennessee Titans. The extension takes effect next season and will run through the 2006 season.
Reese is in his eighth season as general manager. His 59 victories are the best for any general manager with the franchise, and his name has been mentioned for several jobs in the past year.
He recently had director of football operations added to his title of executive vice president/general manager. He has been with the franchise since 1986, when he started as linebackers coach.
Bama and the Irish call off planned series
Alabama and Notre Dame, two of college football's traditional powers, will not meet in 2006 as initially planned. According to Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, the decision not to play was mutual because the teams were not able to resolve scheduling conflicts in 2006.
"I wanted to play the first game here and Notre Dame couldn't because of a contract with NBC," Moore said. "I tried to make it work and so did Notre Dame. And we're still going to make it work." The two teams have not met since 1987. The Irish lead the series 5-1.
Allen and others added to College Football Hall of Fame
After setting 14 NCAA records and tying two others in a career that included winning the Heisman Trophy at Southern California in 1981, becoming the first college player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, former Trojan great Marcus Allen was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Allen, former Stanford quarterback John Elway and Nebraska running back Johnny Rodgers head a list of 25 players and coaches who entered the hall this summer. Among the coaches are Terry Donahue of UCLA and Forest Evashevski of Hamilton, Washington State and Iowa.
Others who were enshrined were offensive tackle Dan Dierdorf (Michigan, 1968-70); center/linebacker Kurt Burris (Oklahoma, 1951-54); end Bob Dove (Notre Dame, 1940-42); defensive back Michael Haynes (Arizona State, 1972-75); defensive back Terry Hoage (Georgia, 1980-83); tackle Stan Jones (Maryland, 1951-53); halfback Johnny Musso (Alabama, 1969-71); linebacker/fullback Joe Schmidt (Pittsburgh, 1950-52); guard Harley Sewell (Texas, 1950-52); defensive end Billy Ray Smith (Arkansas, 1979-82); and tailback Ernie Talboom (Wyoming, 1948-50).
Among the players from smaller schools enshrined were quarterback Doug Williams (Grambling, 1974-77); defensive end Jim Haslett, who now coaches the New Orleans Saints (Indiana of Pennsylvania, 1975-78); defensive back/halfback Gordie Lockbaum (Holy Cross, 1984-87); quarterback/defensive back Bill Redell (Occidental, 1962-63); wide receiver Freddie Scott (Amherst, 1971-73); and coaches Joseph Fusco of Westminster College and Ace Mumford of Jarvis Christian College, Bishop College, Texas College and Southern University
Bower rewarded for excellence
Only weeks before the start of the 2001 campaign, Southern Mississippi football coach Jeff Bower received a one-year contract extension.
Bower signed a four-year contract in December 1999. That deal now runs through the 2004 season. Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini said all other terms remain the same.
Bower makes an annual base salary of $165,000 plus $100,000 a year from his radio and television package. He also has incentives and a supplement from the Eagle Club/USM Foundation.
The extension is subject to formal approval by the USM Board of Trustees.
"I think it sends a message to a lot of prospects out there," Bower said. "I'm grateful and appreciative. I continue to enjoy my stay here and I look forward to at least another four years."
Bower has been with Southern Miss for 25 years, the last 11 as coach. He has compiled a record of 67-47-1, making him the second-winningest coach in school history behind Thad "Pie" Vann.
"He's one of the great football coaches in the country," Giannini said. "He's recognized not only by his peers but also by many publications as one of the top coaches in the country. We're just pleased that he continues his commitment and loyalty to his alma mater."
Former Eagles cheerleaders sue over peeping players
According to documents filed in a federal lawsuite, two former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders claim visiting teams repeatedly spied on them as they changed clothes.
In Veteran's Stadium, the cheerleaders' dressing room adjoins the visiting team's locker room, and a door connects the two. At various times, the suit alleged, the players drilled holes through the door or scratched the paint off a small glass window to see through to the other side.
According to the allegations contained in the lawsuit, the women learned of the action in January, when The New York Times, citing sources, reported the alleged peeping.
"It was common knowledge among virtually the entire National Football League - while at the same time a carefully guarded secret to be known only to the players and other team employees of the (visiting) teams - that these conditions existed," the suit stated. The former cheerleaders - identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 - are seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from each of 23 visiting teams and their players and other employees. Between the two of them, the women were Eagles cheerleaders from 1986 to this year.
The New York Times story quoted Marylou Tammaro, director of the cheerleading team, as saying visiting players have tried such actions as drilling holes to see in the women's dressing room. But she maintained they haven't been successful because the cheerleaders take precautions, such as taping over the holes, before every home game. Tammaro told the paper she had repeatedly spoken to city officials about creating a more secure environment for the cheerleaders, but her pleas had been ignored.
Morriss receives extra time added to initial pact
University of Kentucky athletics director Larry Ivy announced that football coach Guy Morriss' initial one-year, $400,000 deal has been extended four years to run through the 2005 season. The official announcement of the extension, which had been rumored for weeks, came during a meeting of the UK Athletics Association's board of directors in August.
Morriss took over the team on Feb. 6 following the resignation of coach Hal Mumme in the wake of a school investigation into NCAA violations in the football program. Morriss, in his first year as a head coach at any level, played 15 years in the NFL and was the offensive line coach for the Wildcats under Mumme.
The only addition to the new contract is a performance clause that gives Ivy and University of Kentucky President Lee Todd the right to remove Morriss if they feel he is not living up to their expectations. "Coach Morriss told me that if we felt he wasn't getting the job done, he'd step down himself and we wouldn't owe him anything," Todd said following the meeting. "I have a lot of respect for him for that."
In 2002 with 32 teams, the NFL will hold onto rivalries
The NFL's first schedule under the eight-division alignment designed for the arrival of the expansion Houston franchise, will take advantage of as many displaced rivalries as possible.
The alignment has the NFC West's four teams meeting the AFC West so that Seattle will meet its old AFC rivals - Denver, Kansas City, San Diego and Oakland. The Seahawks, who will be in the new NFC West, were the only team to be moved from one conference to the other in the realignment approved by the league owners in May. The NFC West also will play the NFC East so that Arizona, moved from the East, can play Dallas, the New York Giants, Philadelphia and Washington, its old-time division rivals.
Other matchups pit the AFC North and South so Tennessee and Jacksonville, in the south, will face their old AFC Central rivals, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, now in the new North division.
Under the new plan, no team will go more than four years without playing any other NFL team. Each team will play the other three teams in its division twice, with eight games against two other divisions - one from each conference. The other two will match teams against conference teams with the same finish - first-place teams will play first-place teams, second-place teams will face second-place teams and so on.
Grand Rapids wins ArenaBowl
The Grand Rapids Rampage led by offensive specialist Terrill Shaw, who caught 12 passes, but more importantly a game-record five for touchdowns, defeated the Nashville Kats, 64-42, in the championship game of the Arena Football League, ArenaBowl XV.
Shaw, named the game's most valuable player, collected 172 receiving yards as Rampage (11-3, 3-0), in only its third season in the AFL won the championship before a record sell-out crowd of 11,217 at Van Andel Arena, in Grand Rapids.
For Nashville (10-5), it was the second consecutive year they have fallen short in the championship. The Kats lost at the Orlando Predators, 41-38, on a game-ending field goal.
Grand Rapids was so efficient on offense, it score on every possession except the last when kicker Brian Gowins had to attempt a 60-yard field goal that fell short of the net with 23 seconds left in the game.
NCAA looks at letting underclassmen return to school if NFL Draft does not work out
The NCAA will weigh whether to grant football underclassmen the same lenience to enter a professional draft as their basketball counterparts have. Urged by the league's coaches, Atlantic Coast Conference officials are drawing up a proposal to preserve college eligibility for juniors who enter the NFL draft and then withdraw their names or go undrafted - provided they don't sign with an agent or otherwise compromise their amateur standing.
The NCAA's policy-making Management Council couldn't take up the measure until spring. A final vote wouldn't come before the following October.
Since 1994, NCAA rules have given only basketball underclassmen the option of returning to college competition after entering their names in a pro draft. Football players who declare are immediately, and irrevocably, ineligible.
The recruiting timetable poses a complication in football. Coaches who sign a full allotment of new players in February could struggle in April or May to find scholarships for stars they thought had left for the draft but had second thoughts and wish to return. AFCA Head Grant Teaff has said he will oppose any new rules regarding the return of underclass athletes.
Robinson tabbed to become AD at Vegas
Apparently winning gets noticed, as UNLV football coach John Robinson was appointed the school's athletic director in late August. The school's Board of Regents, meeting in Reno, unanimously approved Robinson's new dual role, effective Jan. 1. The regents waived a rule prohibiting the joint appointment of a coach and an athletic administrator.
"My goal is to fulfill my commitment to the football program while also moving the athletic department forward as one unit - all sports working together," Robinson said in a statement.
Robinson, who coached the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and at the University of Southern California, has turned the UNLV football program around since arriving in 1999.
The 66-year-old Robinson took over a team that went 0-11 in 1998 and has posted a two-year record of 11-13. The Rebels finished 8-5 last season and won the Las Vegas Bowl over Arkansas.
Joe Hollis of Arkansas State is the only other Division I-A football coach and athletic director.
Family of Northwestern player sues the school
In a surprise to no one, the family of Northwestern defensive back Rashidi Wheeler has filed a lawsuit against the university and football coach Randy Walker.
Also named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Linda A. Will were Northwestern athletic director Rick Taylor, head football athletic trainer Terrence "Tory" Aggeler, and four other members of the school's football staff: Larry Lilja, Thomas Christian, Justin Chabot and Michael Rose.
According to the complaint, once Wheeler collapsed during a preseason conditioning drill, it took as long as 40 minutes for paramedics to be called, and there was no doctor present, no oxygen on the field, no ambulance standing by for any emergency situation.
Wheeler, a chronic asthmatic, collapsed during an Aug. 3 preseason conditioning drill involving a series of wind sprints. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Evanston Hospital.
"We think that is indicative of a lack of care and negligence that absolutely contributed to and caused this young man's death," said James Montgomery, attorney for the family.
Wheeler's mother, Linda Will, has publicly questioned whether the workout was truly "voluntary," but the alleged lack of medical attention that's expected to be the central issue of her lawsuit against the university. Montgomery said the lawsuit is seeking "substantial" damages from the university, trainers and staff who were at the drill.
Paramedics arrived within three to four minutes after they'd been called, Montgomery said. But he said Wheeler had been down at least 27 minutes and possibly as long as 40 minutes before the call went through.
"That three to four minutes, if it had come at the very beginning of his collapse, in our judgment he would be alive today," Montgomery said.
USC gets two years from NCAA
The NCAA placed the University of Southern California athletic program on probation for two years and cut scholarships because tutors wrote papers for three athletes three times in the late 1990s. The NCAA and the university refused to identify the athletes - two football players and a woman diver. The diver was expelled in 1997, right after the academic fraud was discovered. Two tutors were fired while the third quit.
The probation covers the entire athletic department. Two football scholarships for the 2002-03 academic year were cut and half a scholarship for the women's swimming and diving team was canceled.
The probation will have no ramifications on postseason football bowl games.
Marshall is going to study the MAC alliance longer
The Marshall's football program has been given additional time to consider its commitment to the Mid-American Conference in the wake of the league's invitation to Central Florida. The MAC's offer to Central Florida came on the condition that Marshall stays as a member. Apotential move to Conference USA is the cause of this issue.
During Conference USA's annual spring meetings, Marshall, Southern Methodist, Central Florida and Tulsa were mentioned as possible candidates for expansion. Marshall was the most popular candidate, according to the conference's coaches and athletic directors.
League presidents had asked Marshall to commit to staying in the MAC by late August. MAC presidents have since granted Marshall's request for more time. There is no new deadline.
"It's just far too early to comment on any specifics," said MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst
By keeping Marshall and adding now-independent Central Florida, the MAC would have 14 members and be able to balance its two divisions.
BCS modifies its formula to include pre-season classics
The Bowl Championship Series changed this year's formula less than six hours before the first game of the 2001 season. In defining a clarification of the rules, the BCS announced that teams playing in preseason exempt games will be eligible to get credit for the new BCS "quality win" component.
It was announced in mid-July that teams would get numerical credit on a sliding scale for beating a team in the top 15 of the final BCS poll on Dec. 2. But it was stated at that time that teams playing in exempt 12th games were not eligible for quality wins. 14 teams played in the exempt games.
"In an effort to be fair, we have affirmed that exempt games will continue to be used in the calculation of the formula," said BCS chairman John Swofford. "Teams who choose to participate in the preseason exempt games risk the negative impact of a loss in the formula, so they should be able to see the value of a victory."
Neuheisel gets a raise
Athletic director Barbara Hedges announced that Huskie football coach Rick Neuheisel has been given a 35 percent pay raise, bringing his annual salary and other compensation to $1.2 million.
The 40-year-old Neuheisel could make up to $1.4 million with incentives for bowl appearances and a high graduation rate of players. He made $997,000 last season, meeting every incentive, Hedges said.
The new package includes an increased housing allowance and a base salary that grew from $225,000 to $425,000. A travel allowance for his family, country club membership and a car allowance remain the same, Hedges said. The incentives for Neuheisel are: he would earn $60,000 if 75 percent of his players exhaust their eligibility and graduate from the university, if that rate is 90 percent or more, he would receive an additional $40,000; he would get $100,000 if Washington plays in a Bowl Championship Series game; for a national title appearance he would receive $150,000; and if the Huskies were to play in a minor bowl game, he would make $40,000.
The third-year coach has an 18-6 record at Washington with two bowl appearances. Neuheisel is in the third year of a five-year contract, which can be extended two years by mutual agreement. He was hired Jan. 9, 1999, from Colorado, where he coached four seasons and had a 33-14 record.
Western Kentucky coach Jack Harbaugh gets an extension
Western Kentucky reached an agreement with head football coach Jack Harbaugh on a four-year contract extension. Harbaugh's current deal was set to expire Jan.31, 2002.
The new deal is to run through December 31, 2005. Harbaugh's 2002 salary will be $96,188, a ten-percent increase over 2001, with a performance raise in each of the remaining years. In each year a one-month bonus will be paid for making the I-AA playoffs, a two-month bonus for making the semifinals and a three-month bonus for winning the I-AA National Championship. An additional $5,000 will be paid if Harbaugh is named National Coach of the Year.
Harbaugh ranks second all-time in wins WKU compiling a 71-61 mark in his 12 years on the job, while the Hilltoppers have won 41 of their last 58 (70.7%) the last five seasons with two berths in the NCAA I-AA playoffs.
Colgate "Red" Raiders no more
The school announced that Colgate's nickname will be simply the Raiders, effective immediately. The dropping of "Red" is being made to move away from the racial stereotype, which is not the true origin of the nickname but "may be offensive to the general public in ways that undermine the institution's value and commitments."
Family of FSU player who died notifies school of intent to file suit
The family of Florida State linebacker Devaughn Darling, who died after an off-season workout, has notified the university it will sue the school, alleging negligence contributed to death. Darling, who was 18 and from Houston, Texas, collapsed Feb. 26 at an athletic building on campus after a 90-minute workout with teammates.
The law firm representing Darling's parents, Dennis Darling Sr. and Wendy Smith, notified university officials of the pending suit in a letter on Aug. 8. Under Florida state law, plaintiffs have to inform state agencies, including universities, if they intend to sue.
The letter, by lawyer Michael A. Lewis, alleged that Florida State trainers ignored Darling's signs of extreme fatigue and that he was deprived of fluids during the off-season conditioning drills, according to reports from the Orlando Sentinel.
The medical examiner found no conclusive cause for Darling's death, but did find a sickle-cell trait which has been linked to lower resistance to a possible irregular heartbeat during intense exercise. A team doctor pointed out shortly after Darling's death, however, that sickle-cell trait, which is not the same as sickle cell anemia, is carried by thousands of athletes at top competitive levels. An investigative report released in April by the university police cleared coaches and trainers of blame in Darling's death.
Temple gets a reprieve
Temple kicked out as a football-playing member of the Big East Conference, was given the ability to continue fielding a team through the 2004 season.The decision probably means the school will drop any plans it might have had to challenge the conference in court after the league's seven other football schools voted last March to drop the Owls.
"We are pleased to reach an agreement," Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said in a statement. "This pact now allows both parties to prepare for their futures beyond the 2004 season."
The Big East presidents and chancellors voted to discontinue Temple's football membership effective March 2, 2002, because, they said, the Owls consistently failed to meet league criteria such as attendance, stadium availability and non-conference scheduling.
Temple had been trying to convince the league to reconsider, saying it would work to improve its attendance at games. Temple was also said to be considering a lawsuit claiming the school was not given "proper and timely notice."
Disgruntled former UK coordinator sues school and Mumme
Former Kentucky offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has filed a lawsuit against the school and former head coach Hal Mumme. The suit alleges Mumme of engaging in a "smear campaign" against him and the school and its athletics association of wrongfully firing him. The lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount of money but does seek compensatory and punitive damages.
The lawsuit also claims that Guy Morriss, who replaced Mumme, offered to keep Franklin on as assistant coach, and Ivy gave his approval. But Charles Wethington, who was the school's president until June 30, vetoed keeping Franklin because he had been involved in the controversy over the NCAA violations.
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