Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:23 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Dayne Crist has once again committed to playing quarterback for Charlie Weis.
The former Notre Dame quarterback who was recruited to South Bend by Weis announced after the regular season that he was transferring from Notre Dame after losing his starting job to Tommy Rees in the season opener against USF. He had been considering both Wisconsin and Kansas, but Crist made his announcement official on Thursday morning using Twitter.
This is good new for Weis and Kansas, as it means the Jayhawks will have a quarterback who is already somewhat familiar with Weis' offense, and it will make the transition easier. Also, since Crist will be graduating this spring, he won't have to sit out a season like most transfers, but instead will be eligible to play right away like Russell Wilson did with Wisconsin this season.
Speaking of Wisconsin, you have to wonder if it's a coincidence that Crist's decision came a few hours after it became official that Pitt had hired Wisconsin's offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to become their new head coach. Crist may have already been leaning toward Kansas before the announcement, but it no doubt had an impact on his decision.
Posted on: December 17, 2011 1:47 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It seems that Charlie Weis is looking for his own quarterback as he takes over the Kansas program. He's already had a visit from former Notre Dame quarterback and Weis recruit Dayne Crist, and now according to JayhawkSlant.com (subscription required), former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps will be making a visit to Lawrence as well.
Heaps announced that he was leaving BYU in early December. He came into the 2011 season as the team's starting quarterback but lost the job to Riley Nelson. Heaps threw for 3,768 yards and 24 touchdowns while at BYU, but it was the 17 interceptions he also threw that helped him find his way to the bench.
Now, just because Crist is considering transferring to Kansas next season, that doesn't mean the school can't bring in both Crist and Heaps if both players want to become Jayhawks. Since Crist has already graduated from Notre Dame, much like Russell Wilson did with Wisconsin this season, he could transfer to Kansas and play right away in 2012. Heaps will have to sit out the 2012 season, so it's not as if he'd lose playing time in Lawrence if Crist transferred as well.
Crist is expected to choose between Wisconsin and Kansas in the next week. As for Heaps, there's no timetable on his decision.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 1:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier on Friday the blog's Jerry Hinnen wrote about Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads being the top choice at Pitt to replace Todd Graham. Well, it's time for Pitt to turn to Plan B, because it doesn't look like Rhoads is going to be leaving Ames anytime soon.
The school announced on Friday that Rhoads had agreed to a ten-year contract.
"To say that I'm appreciative and humbled is a huge understatement," Rhoads said in a release. "So many people have contributed to what has been achieved in our program the first three years. I want to thank President Geoffroy and Jamie Pollard, who personally met with me to begin contract talks after the Kansas game in early November. The support of everyone in Cyclone Nation has been fantastic. It's great to be a Cyclone."
Full details of the new contract have not been released, but the school did announce that its total value is $20 million. Whatever the amount, it's pretty obvious at this point that when Rhoads said in the past he was happy at Iowa State and wanted to stay there, he meant it.
Rhoads came to Iowa State in 2009 after spending 8 seasons as defensive coordinator at Pitt and one season in the same position with Auburn. The Cyclones have gone 18-19 under Rhoads in his three seasons, and will be making their second bowl appearance against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:42 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Turner Gill, the Kansas head coach who was ousted in November after two seasons to make way for Charlie Weis, has found a new home as head coach. The FCS-level Liberty Flames announced late Wednesday night that Gill had been hired as the team's eighth head coach in its history. Liberty, which is located in Lynchburg, VA, is known every bit for its religious affiliation as it is for its athletics or other extracurricular activities, and that fact was evidently not lost on Gill or school administrators looking to make this latest hire.
"In our search for a new head football coach, almost every advisor recommended Turner Gill, said school chancellor and president Jerry Falwell Jr. in a statement released by the school. "Every indication is that he is a perfect fit for Liberty University. His experience is at the level where we would like to take our football program. His Christian faith is strong and sincere and what any new recruit would expect to see in a Liberty University head football coach. I think Liberty University and Turner Gill were made for each other."
Liberty athletic director Jeff Barber shared Falwell's view of the school's new head coach.
"Liberty is tremendously blessed to welcome Turner Gill as our new head football coach," Barber said. "As we conducted this search during the past nine days, his name was recommended to us over and over from coaches and athletics directors from around the country as the right man to lead our football program. Turner embraces all that Liberty is and stands for and it will be a privilege to work alongside him as we continue to move our football program forward."
Gill struggled mightily to get the Kansas program on track, losing his last 10 games in Lawrence against what the Sagarin ratings deemed college football's toughest schedule in 2011. The losing streak capped a 5-19 (1-16) record at KU, which was a far cry from the 20-30 (14-18) record he achieved at Buffalo prior to joining Kansas. Gill took Buffalo to its first (and only) bowl game in 2008, losing 38-20 to Connecticut in the International Bowl.
Gill will replace Danny Rocco, who racked up a 47-20 record over six years before taking a job with FCS powerhouse Richmond over this offseason. Rocco led the Flames to four consecutive Big South championships in his time atop the program, and he was named the Big South Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Rocco is second in Liberty history for most wins behind only longtime head coach Sam Rutigliano, who went 67-53 in his 11 seasons with the program.
The school has announced a press conference for Gill on Thursday afternoon.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 5:18 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Wednesday the college football world was caught off-guard when it was announced that Pitt head coach Todd Graham was leaving the school to take the same position at Arizona State. The news came as a surprise since Graham just took the job at Pitt this season and his name hadn't been mentioned as a candidate.
As you'd expect, Pitt isn't exactly thrilled with the way things went down, and didn't try and hide that in the statement the school released.
“Obviously this is not the way we would have expected Mr. Graham to handle any possible departure,” Pitt executive vice chancellor and general counsel Jerry Cochran said in the statement. “Beyond normal expectations with respect to professional conduct, he has failed to comply with the terms of his contract.”
Yes, the idea of Pitt complaining about Graham not complying with the terms of his contract considering all that's gone on with Pitt and the Big East the last few months is a bit laughable.
The statement also says that Graham asked for permission to speak to another institution on Tuesday night and was denied permission by the school. He then resigned from his position and was named the head coach at Arizona State on Wednesday.
Graham says that it was personal, not professional reasons for the change. He went the Randy Edsall route and called Arizona State his "dream job" and talked about having family in the area on Wednesday.
Though there are also reports that Graham sent "feelers" out to both Kansas and Texas A&M about their job openings recently as well. Whether Graham has many different dreams or just has family all over the country, I don't know. All we really know is that he'll now be starting his fourth head coaching job since 2006 when he took the job at Rice and left for Tulsa after a season.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:28 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In what might be the most surprising hire of the 2011 coaching carousel, Arkansas State has hired away coveted Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn as the Red Wolves' new head football coach.
The news was being reported Tuesday night by multiple outlets including the Birmingham News, AuburnUndercover.com, and others. Malzahn will replace new Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, hired by the Rebels Dec. 4 after one 10-2 season in Jonesboro.
Gene Chizik announced Wednesday that Malzahn would remain on the Auburn staff through the Tigers' Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance against Virginia.
"I'm very happy for Gus and the opportunity that awaits him at Arkansas State," Chizik said. "Gus has always had the strong desire to become a head coach and the chance for him to return to his home state that he is so familiar with, will be very beneficial."
Though contract terms are not yet public, Malzahn is expected to earn somewhere between $650,000 and $850,000 in annual salary to coach ASU. Though that represents approximately three times what the Red Wolves were paying Freeze (who had been promoted from offensive coordinator to replace the dismissed Steve Roberts), those figures would amount to a substantial pay cut for Malzahn, who earned $1.3 million this season as one of the nation's highest-paid assistants.
As recently as last year, Malzahn also reportedly turned down offers from both Vanderbilt and Maryland, the former to have allegedly paid him in the ballpark of $3 million per season. So why bolt for a program that until this year had been to all of one bowl game as a full Division I member?
That Malzahn is a native of Fort Smith, Ark. and remains one of the state's all-time most successful high school coaches certainly doesn't hurt, but CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman also reported that Malzahn "feels like he needs to prove he's a head coach" after being passed over for the recently filled Kansas and North Carolina positions.
Whatever his reasoning, it leaves Auburn in the awkward position of having to replace both coordinators in the space of a single offseason after the recent departure of Ted Roof. Chizik received a substantial bump in salary after his national title-winning season; he's about to have to earn it.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:34 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
We've basically known it was coming since T. Boone Pickens first tweeted that he thought Mike Gundy deserved a raise following Oklahoma State's win over Oklahoma to finish the regular season, but the Tulsa World is reporting that the school has begun talks with Gundy's agent to discuss a new deal for the head coach.
"As we said we would do a few weeks ago, now that the season is over we are reviewing coach Gundy's contract," said Gary Shutt, OSU's director of communications, in the Tulsa World. "We also have begun discussions with his representative.
"A new contract - reflecting the success we have enjoyed the past three years and expect to continue for years to come - is being discussed. We are striving to have a new, long-term contract for coach Gundy in place soon."
Gundy's current deal paid him $2.1 million for 2011, and still has four years remaining on it. Coming into the season Gundy's salary was the fourth-largest in the Big 12 behind Mack Brown, Bob Stoops and Gary Pinkel. Since then Charlie Weis has gotten more money from Kansas, and Art Briles' new extension will likely exceed $2.1 million annually as well.
With Pinkel leaving for the SEC with Missouri, it's safe to say that Gundy's new deal will make him the third-highest paid coach in the Big 12 along with Stoops and Brown. Which is fitting seeing as how they're the only three head coaches who have won the conference over the last decade.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 9:05 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
One name that I haven't heard come up nearly as often in coaching rumors this season is Baylor's Art Briles. Not because I felt he'd be looking to leave Waco, but I figure plenty of schools had surely noticed what he's done with the program and would like to pry him away.
A task that just got a lot harder to do.
On Friday evening it was reported in the Houston Chronicle that Briles had agreed to an extension and raise in salary at Baylor. The details of Briles' new deal aren't known at this point, but it's rumored that he'll be making somewhere in the area of $2.5 million in 2012. Or as much as Charlie Weis just got from Kansas. Either way, compare that salary to the roughly $1.5 million that Briles earned in 2011, and it's a nice raise.
Briles is only 24-25 at Baylor, but is coming off a 9-3 regular season and the team is a bowl victory away from having its first 10-win season since 1980. Considering the state of the Baylor program when Briles first came aboard, it's a pretty remarkable turnaround.