Showing posts with label College Football. Show all posts
Showing posts with label College Football. Show all posts

Monday, October 8, 2018

John Gagliardi 1926-2018

John Gagliardi was more than just a football coach:

Gagliardi is the winningest coach in college football history, accumulating 489 victories in his 64-year career. He ended his tenure with St. John's sporting a 489–138–11 all-time record, winning 77 percent of his games. 

"John Gagliardi was not only an extraordinary coach, he was also an educator of young men and builder of character," St. John's President Michael Hemesath said in a statement. "John inspired deep and enduring loyalty and passion among his players across the decades because he taught them lessons through the medium of football that served them well in their personal and professional lives long after graduating from Saint John's University. His is a legacy any educator would be extremely proud of."

If you count all of his ties, that’s five hundred times the other team on the field couldn’t beat him and his teams. Growing up in Minnesota, there was nothing wrong with wanting to go to St. John’s or Gustavus Adolphus or even one of those two fancy-pants damned colleges in Northfield. If you were okay at football, you could have ended up on Gagliardi’s team. And you would have stayed there, too—his policy was to not cut players who wanted to play and he sometimes had well over 125 players to choose from on game day.

Coach Gagliardi was an American original.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Call This a Scandal?

Is this inappropriate? Sure. You don't use your school-issued cellphone to call an Escort service. That's a given. Is it worth losing your job?

Hugh Freeze resigned from his position as head coach at Ole Miss suddenly on Thursday evening, just a week after SEC Media Days. The resignation is effective immediately, and the school has announced co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Matt Luke will take over the head coaching responsibilities for the upcoming season as the interim head coach. It should be expected Ole Miss will conduct a search for a new full-time head coach as soon as possible, but an official hire being made before the start of the season remains in question.

It would seem that there was a lot of investigating going on over this:

Ole Miss reviewed phone records tied to Freeze as far back as 2012. Earlier in the day, USA Today reporter Dan Wolken reported Freeze had made a phone call to the number associated with a female escort service. The phone call in the report occurred in January of 2016. How many phone calls were discovered by Ole Miss is at this time unknown. Once confronted with the phone numbers by Bjork, Freeze is said to have offered his resignation. Whether he voluntarily offered to resign or if he was pushed to resign by the school may never be known for sure, but given the heat on Freeze already following recent headlines it may be pretty easy to see how this all played out behind closed doors.

It just seems like a minor offense to me. It's a morals thing, I suppose, and if your morals get crossways with a school like Ole Miss, well, you're gone. But tell me there aren't schools in other parts of the country who will ignore this and hire Freeze before the summer is out.

This certainly doesn't help:

She didn’t know how quickly it would come, but she knew it would happen.

Her husband, Hugh Freeze, would reach the upper echelon of his profession.

How did she know? 
It was her faith.

“We just claimed the promise,” says Jill, the wife of newly-hired Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze and the mother of the couple’s three daughters, ages 13, 12 and nine. 

“God says if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. He has blessed us and given us the desires of our heart.”


Jill, now the “First Lady” of the Ole Miss football program, was the wife of a high school football coach just seven years ago. While a fine station in life, the Friday night lights are a far stretch from the thunderous roars and traditions of the Southeastern Conference.

Ah, but God had other plans for Jill, Hugh and girls Ragan, Madison and Jordan.

When Hugh was introduced as the Rebels new coach on a damp Monday in December, those in the audience of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts called the moment as genuine as they come. 

It certainly felt that way. Hugh said all the right things. He hit all the sore spots.

He preached about the future.

He simply preached to a congregation of fans hungry for soothing words.

But to Jill it all seemed surreal, as she and their daughters joined Hugh, chancellor Dan Jones and members of the search committee on stage.

“There is absolutely no way this should have happened the way it happened and as fast as it happened,” she insisted. “It’s just God’s hand.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

No Guns at Arkansas Football Games

Somewhere, someone is sad but I'm now following Wally Hall because, well, why the hell not?

Arkansas fans, leave your guns at home. You're not allowed to take them to football games (seems like someone always forgets, right?)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Do-Rags Inhibit Student Athlete Achievement

I mean, look at what a dismal failure this man was at Maryland:

Maryland's lackluster performance under Edsall created rumblings among many of the alumni and boosters who are being counted on to help fund a new indoor football facility that will cost a projected $155 million to build.

After becoming the 34th coach in Maryland football history, Edsall immediately instituted a strict regimen of rules at the school -- including the banning of ball caps, do-rags and earrings in the football house. He also ordered that names be removed from the back of game-day jerseys.

He backed off after a difficult first season in which Maryland lost its final eight games and went 1-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Although the Terrapins have struggled on the field under Edsall, their performance in the classroom improved dramatically. The football program's Athletic Progress Rate reached an all-time high in 2013-14, and 21 players earned a place on the All-Big Ten Academic Team last year.

He got rid of do-rags! But wait--not everyone who ever wore a do-rag was a thug or a poor academic achiever. That's why I have a photo of David Foster Wallace ready at all times.

Edsall was not a failure if you consider that Maryland's move to the Big Ten was ridiculous and ill-considered. That wasn't his fault--he was crushed by changes that had nothing to do with football per se and everything to do with unrealistic expectations for a school that has no business playing regular season games against Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa or Illinois.

Yes, you can make a joke about the do-rags. But he also improved the overall academic achievement in his program as well as had 21 guys end up on the All-Big Ten Academic Team. Of course you have to fire a guy like that.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Notre Dame is Back in a Big Way

Who saw this coming? Except for the fans of Notre Dame and the people who thought they had a shot this year?

The comeback of the Notre Dame football program is something special. Now, if they can win it all--wow.

That would be the story of the year to bury that whole Penn State nightmare.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Matter of Decorum

Apparently, there are rules about press boxes. I wish I could think of another example of something like this, but it sounds like an isolated incident.

Then again, if Bobby Hebert knew the rules, and then broke the rules, doesn't it make throwing him out of the press box just another ridiculous exercise in self-importance?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harvey Updyke Needs to Go Away

One of the first shots from the Toomer's Corner Webcam...

I have to say, I really don't care what happens to this sick old bastard:

His "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect" is ridiculous, and it speaks volumes to the man's inability to admit what he did was wrong. You have a 64 year-old man who made a childish, twisted mistake and instead of being adult enough to own up to it, he's flailing through life, terrorizing people.

What a disgrace.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

USC Can't Beat Stanford

This was one of those games that you watch with a great deal of trepidation. I really thought that USC was going to be able to win at Stanford and continue holding on to their Number Two rating. As of tonight, are they even a top ten team? Really?

It just did not look good. USC could not get anything going up and down the field. The passing game was awful. They lost two running backs. This is the game where there were three interceptions thrown in a role--something I don't remember ever seeing, although I'm sure that it has happened.

At any rate, USC is going to tumble in the rankings, and so you have to ask--is Stanford that good? Probably not. But, against USC, Stanford has been really, really good. Tonight, it wasn't even close. Stanford should have won by twelve or more, and if they had had a kicking game, they would have.

Stanford's David Shaw outcoached Lane Kiffin, and that's the real story here. You have to give Shaw credit because nobody else will.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rick Reilly Goes With Phony Outrage Again

How does Rick Reilly manage to manufacture such a lopsided pile of phony outrage?

That's all he trades in with this column--phony outrage masked behind decade-old Internet snark. What a waste of space.

Nick Saban made a very significant point that should be acknowledged with something other than Reilly's immature belief in the ownership to his own peculiar brand of smarty-pantsedness--no team should ever go into a college football game believing it won't be tested.

If Saban wants to rant at the media for making his game against another team into a joke, he should be free to do so. His players need to be prepared to meet any challenge that comes their way on the football field. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Saban was merely trying to ensure that the appropriate level of urgency would be present when his team went out to play.

That does not mean that Rick Reilly gets to phone in another column full of nothing.

Anybody can beat anybody--and if that's not part of who you are as a coach, you're not going to get anywhere nearly as far in coaching as Saban.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Big Ten Rallies Behind Penn State (Sort Of)

You can't read this without knowing what the chart posted above really means:

CBSSports‘ Bruce Feldman was first to report the free agent frenzy, and as of Wednesday, members of Illinois’ coaching staff were apparently hanging out in State College trying to grab a player or two*. 
(*Illinois coach Tim Beckman denied coaches being present at PSU, however) 
“We have chosen to stay at Penn State and opposing coaches are outside our apartment, was that the intention of the NCAA?” tweeted Penn State defensive back Adrian Amos 
Embellished or not, there was a chaotic vibe coming out of Happy Valley.
Day 1 of Big Ten media days was more subdued. Partially because Nittany Lions running back Silas Redd wasn’t in attendance — he’s reportedly very close to signing with USC — and partially due to other Big Ten, coaches taking a by and large less-controversial approach when it comes to poaching from their fellow Big Ten member.
Bret Bielema (Wisconsin), Brady Hoke (Michigan), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Bo Pelini (Nebraska) and Kevin Wilson (Indiana) are among the coaches who said in one form or another that they would not actively pursue Penn State players.
It is wonderful to see these coaches develop some semblance of ethics during this particularly troubling time, but there's no denying the fact that Indiana and Illinois are desperate to get someone--anyone--in there who can play football.

You could easily make the case that throwing Penn State and Indiana out of the Big Ten wouldn't hurt the conference one bit, and I would buy that argument wholeheartedly.

Bill O'Brien Made the Worst Decision in Sports History

You could make the case that there have been people who have made worse career decisions; I am not buying any of those.

Bill O'Brien made a decision to coach at Penn State that was based on honoring the tradition; he is not a bad man for having done so. But, what we now know is that there is virtually no conceivable way in which Penn State can compete in the Big Ten for the next decade, if not more. The loss of all of those scholarships, and the guarantee made by the NCAA to allow players to transfer without having to sit out for a year, means that the floodgates are going to open and the competitive players are going to start leaving, and soon.

They should have taken the 4-year ban. It would have made a clean break from the past and it would have allowed O'Brien to walk with his dignity intact. Instead, Penn State made a decidedly selfish decision. When the stadium is empty, and when the alumni are staying away in droves, this will be more apparent than ever.

How many can he keep? And how long before O'Brien decides that he does not want to go down as a 4-54 coach at Penn State?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

No Death Penalty for Penn State

Take the statue down, but keep playing football:
NCAA president Mark Emmert has decided to punish Penn State with severe penalties likely to include a significant loss of scholarships and loss of multiple bowls, a source close to the decision told ESPN's Joe Schad on Sunday morning. 
But Penn State will not receive the so-called "death penalty" that would have suspended the program for at least one year, the source said. 
The penalties, however, are considered to be so harsh that the death penalty may have been preferable, the source said. 
The NCAA will announce "corrective and punitive measures" for Penn State on Monday morning, it said in a statement Sunday. Emmert will reveal the sanctions at 9 a.m. ET in Indianapolis at the organization's headquarters along with Ed Ray, the chairman of the NCAA's executive committee, and Oregon State's president, the news release said.
All of that is well and good, but removing symbols while allowing the Penn State Football program to continue is yet one more example of how money runs college sports. We can thus be spared any nonsense about ethics, values, and doing the right thing. It's all about the power of the Penn State alumni. They scare the hell out of the NCAA and taking away their football would drive everyone around the bend.

But, go ahead. Take down the statue of Joe Paterno and pretend that's all that needs to be done. In a few years, no one will care about those boys anyway.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dave Zirin Simply Doesn't Get It

Dave Zirin, who is the sports editor for The Nation, loses his mud here.

It's not like there's anything to gain from defending Penn State at this point. It's not like anyone is going to look to Rick Reilly with anything other than pity and disdain.

The problem here is this: Joe Paterno didn't give a damn about the children that Jerry Sandusky molested. That's now a proven fact. And what makes that the crux of everything that is going on here is that, were it not for Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky would have been caught, tried, and convicted of child molestation a decade or more ago--thus saving several young boys from being molested.

What was it that gave Joe Paterno the power to do such a thing?

Penn State Football.

Who enabled him?

Penn State Football.

What was the source of his ability to intimidate officials into doing nothing?

Penn State Football.

What is the sole reason anyone in America even knows who Joe Paterno is?

Penn State Football.

And we're talking about defending the very institution that spun out of control and allowed this thing to happen? There is no defense. The part of Penn State University that was under the control of Joe Paterno has not been under the control of the university for decades. Decades.

The reason why children were raped is because Penn State University did not have effective operational control over the men's football team because Joe Paterno had too much power and was too influential to allow anyone to control his team. His coaches, trainers, players and whoever else were all, effectively, completely in his hands and no one could touch him.

The very fact that the man was untouchable should tell you that there was and is a structural problem at Penn State that cannot be fixed unless and until the football program is, effectively, ended and then rebuilt under a new system of rules and in a way that will place it under institutional control.

Dave Zirin can't admit it--Penn State Football became the most insidious kind of criminal organization--one outside of the control of the people who were corrupt enough themselves to revel in the fact that they were winning football games while children were being raped in the showers. It was something utterly hellish and vile, and we're talking about how "spare me" is an effective rhetorical defense of what, exactly?

Spare me the details--football means what now?


So, you tell me. A man with tremendous power and influence is faced with a choice. He can do the right thing or he can turn a blind eye to what's happening in his own football program in order to continue his march to glory and the record books. And so, he chooses Penn State Football over children who are being molested.

What needs to happen here is this--Penn State Football needs to go away for a while, possibly for good, to set an example as to what can happen when an institution loses functional control of a major asset like the Men's Division I college football team. It needs to go away because the very foundation of Penn State Football is now so encrusted with filth and slime they're actually remodeling the showers where Jerry Sandusky raped children.

And you want to defend these people?

The Nation needs a new sports editor.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who Really Speaks For the Paterno Family?

The legacy of Joe Paterno is, effectively, destroyed. Whatever the report says, the man demonstrated that he valued his football program over all else, especially the rape of children.

It's interesting that Sports Illustrated allows itself to be used in this manner. Every quote referenced to "the family" refers back to the "Paterno" family, and to some mythical idea that the name Paterno still has credibility. The mouthpiece of the Paterno family has traditionally been Scott Paterno, and we know he has an agenda and no credibility.

I don't want to hear any of this nonsense about "forgive and forget" and "let bygones be bygones." I don't have much faith in Louis Freeh, either. But I do believe that anyone who thinks that Paterno was a good guy who was wronged by others hasn't been paying attention.

Where the hell is the NCAA in all of this? Why are they not at the forefront of determining what should be done about all of the victories won by Paterno since he decided to cover up the fact that his top assistant coach was raping children on Penn State property?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What's in the Water in Arkansas?

As bad as this looks for Arkansas, at least they're not Penn State, right? No team in college football has had as bad of a year as Penn State, by a long shot.


Football programs go through good times and bad times; lean times and times of lawlessness and debauchery. It all comes down to whether or not they can get control of this team and convince the players that if they want a shot at an NFL payday to calm it down and keep the criminal activity at a minimum.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Remember the Phrase Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Andy Staples has hit on a very important aspect here--what is the sport of football doing to the athletes who play the game at a very high level for an extended period of time?

You can count me as a supporter of the idea of banning college football. The link between college football and mental illness, especially the kind that develops late in life, is shocking, absolutely shocking.

The time is now to do something, and do something immediately. Don't convene a study, don't put together a commission. Let's figure out how to make the game safe or change it or ban it altogether.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Paterno 1926-2012

Are you ready to spent the next forty years hearing about how great a coach he was from Scott Paterno? I hope you are.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Did It Occur to Anyone to Give the Money Back?

Of course, Penn State took that money and shoved it in its pants and ran out the back door with its hands over its ears, screaming "la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you."

If there's one thing our institutions of higher learning can do, it is this. They can ignore wrongdoing, celebrate mediocrity, embrace fools, and take money.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Penn State Unravels Some More

This article is, ostensibly, about LaVar Arrington's ego and little else. Penn State University has gone out and found a football coach that does not bring baggage with him to the job; they have decided not to retain a "Penn State guy" by getting rid of interim head coach Tom Bradley.

Penn State has to flush the system and they have to get rid of the entire coaching staff. They have to tear up the athletic department and start over. They have to contend with a decade or more of lawsuits, legal bills, and the NCAA's sanctions if those are forthcoming. They have to deal with the future and try to forget the past in any way possible. The past is irretrievably tainted by the specter of a coach raping children in the locker room.

But that doesn't mean anything to men like Arrington, who are hell-bent on making sure that what they want for their old school matters. Arrington, who is out of the spotlight and has nothing--nothing--but his tenure at Penn State to hold on to, is flinging that in the air in order to get people to pay attention to him again. And that's sad.

Penn State's problems run deeper than offending LaVar Arrington. Perhaps someone should tell him the truth--the future lies along a path that leaves the past behind. There is no future for Penn State football with a guy who carries any of that baggage.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Funny How No One Cares

Perhaps it's just me. When I think of all the TicketCity Bowls I've seen over the last thirty years, I just can't quite shake the belief that the indifference shown to Penn State will be a lasting thing.

Could it really be that a Penn State bowl game is the subject of derision and indifference, often at the same time? I guess so.

Penn State, I think you're looking at hard times ahead.