College Football

John Gagliardi 1926-2018

John Gagliardi.jpg

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.

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.”

Indeed.

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.

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.

The NCAA Quietly Forgets What Happened At Penn State


There is absolutely no reason to "restore" 112 wins for the Penn State Football Program, other than to prove that all that matters is winning in college sports and not, ahem, all of the sexual abuse carried out against children.

Someone somewhere must really hate Bobby Bowden. They took away twelve of his games because an academically ineligible player played in those games. They took away 112 of Joe Pa's wins because he tolerated the sexual abuse of children in his facilities by not wanting to know about that sex stuff or whatever.

The NCAA knows what's worse, and shut up, that's why.

Penn State's football program is synonymous with blind allegiance, willful disregard of the law, and Jerry Sandusky having his way with young boys in the shower. Why would the NCAA make a move like this? Oh, money, you say?

Well, that's exactly it. Penn State is betting that, with the restored wins and the scholarships it can now offer prospective players a chance to play for a school that allowed the old ball coach to dictate to everyone how things were going to be and who was going to get away with sexually abusing minors. Joe Pa has that much power, even after his death? Really?

I would think that we would have waited at least a generation before trying to cover up what happened and forget all of that child sexual abuse carried out on Penn State property by a Penn State employee. I guess not.

What's Lane Kiffin Really Worth?

The Kiffins and their nutty detour through Tennessee


This is probably not news, and it's probably not a surprise, but, wow:

Quick exits from the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers and just 12 wins over two years did little to deter USC from making Lane Kiffin one of the highest-paid college coaches.
The private school, which doesn't make coaching contracts public, is paying Kiffin $4 million a year -- nearly as much as it paid Pete Carroll -- according to a report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," which will air on Tuesday night.
Carroll was paid $4.4 million, and he won two national championships and seven Pac-10 titles.
Kiffin, who made $2 million last season in Tennessee, is on par with veteran coachesMack Brown of Texas, Alabama's Nick Saban, Florida's Urban Meyer, LSU's Les Milesand Oklahoma's Bob Stoops in terms of salary. He ranks ahead of Ohio State's Jim Tressel. Every one of those coaches has won at least 12 games in a season en route to national championships.
Is he worth it?
No.
He's never won anything and he's never done anything to deserve the coveted spot that he occupies. There is no "Coach Lane Kiffin." There's Lane Kiffin, and then the people he brings with him, including his father. Now, is Lane Kiffin plus daddy worth that kind of money?
I have no idea. I suspect Kiffin will bail on USC after three games, possibly four, to go coach the Washington Redskins, who will fire Mike Shanahan if he goes 0-3. If ever there was an impulsive team that was perfect for the most impulsive of coaches, it's Washington.

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