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Hall of Famers Lament Lack of Patience With Coaches

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  • Hall of Famers Lament Lack of Patience With Coaches

    Former Navy and Virginia coach George Welsh says his hall of fame career would be cut short by today's standards.

    Dec. 7, 2004

    By RALPH D. RUSSO
    AP Sports Writer


    NEW YORK (AP) - George Welsh was 23-32 in his first five seasons as coach at Navy, and doubts he would have gotten a sixth if he had similar results these days.

    "I was out of there in this era," he said.

    Navy stuck with Welsh for five more seasons, and he ended his nine-year stay in Annapolis, Md., as the winningest coach in school history with three bowl appearances.

    "I think it helped that I was 4-1 against Army and I was an alumnus," Welsh said. "But I don't think that would help much anymore."

    He went on to 19 seasons at Virginia, where he again won more games than any coach in school history. He finished his 28-year career with 189 victories and was inducted Tuesday night into the College Football Hall of Fame along with former BYU coach LaVell Edwards and 12 players, including former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware from Houston.

    The other players inducted were Army running back Bob Anderson, Oklahoma defensive lineman Tony Casillas, Tennessee linebacker Frank Emanuel, Southern Mississippi punter Ray Guy, Arkansas guard/linebacker Wayne Harris, California quarterback Joe Kapp, Michigan tight end Jim Mandich, Penn State running back Lydell Mitchell, Auburn defensive tackle Tracy Rocker, Ohio State defensive back Jack Tatum and Southern California tight end Charles Young.







    They will be enshrined in South Bend, Ind., in August.

    Ten Division I-A college football coaches have been fired this season and two others resigned under pressure. Among those let go were Ron Zook at Florida, Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame and David Cutcliffe at Mississippi, all of whom had winning records at their schools. Zook and Willingham were fired after just three seasons.

    Welsh and Edwards, who coached at BYU for 29 years, said the current win-now atmosphere has gotten so feverish that it's difficult for coaches to get a fair shot.

    "I think it's the money," Welsh said. "I think there's too much outside influence and too much pressure on the athletic directors and the presidents to change.

    Edwards had just one losing season and won 257 games and a national title in 1984. But his salary never approached the $2 million a year that coaches such as LSU's Nick Saban and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops pull in. Urban Meyer became the latest to enter that income bracket when he was officially introduced Tuesday as Zook's replacement at Florida.

    "You don't pay a million a year and expect to have patience," Edwards said.

    Now, even schools outside the perennial national title contenders pay salaries in the millions and expect to not just win, but to win big fast.

    "I don't think there's any question that it's not a healthy situation," he said.

    Welsh said he was particularly disturbed by the firing of Willingham.

    "When I see Notre Dame and it's the first time they didn't honor a coach's contract, it just makes you wonder," he said.

    Former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, who was being honored by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame for his time as Bulldogs an athletic director, said the dismissal of Cutcliffe at Ole Miss was the coaching move that caught his attention.

    Mississippi had its first losing record under Cutcliffe this season after five years of at least seven wins.

    Dooley agreed with his fellow Hall of Fame coaches about salaries and outside influences, and added another reason for the quick triggers is fewer ADs have been coaches.

    "Maybe they tend to have less patience than a coach who has been there," Dooley said.

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  • DJRamFan
    B. Sanders, Theismann, D. Green among 17 to join Hall
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 15, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Barry Sanders scampered right and threw a 20-yard pass that Joe Theismann stood waiting to intercept. Darrell Green bolted in front of his former teammate to catch the TD pass.

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    The three were out of position, yet all were right where they belonged Saturday, playing in the annual flag football game before being enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame.

    "It's like coming home," said Theismann, who 34 years ago played just five minutes away, at Notre Dame.

    Among the 17 players enshrined Saturday were late USC tailback Ricky Bell, Pittsburgh tackle Jimbo Covert, SMU receiver Jerry LeVias and Georgia quarterback John Rauch. Five coaches were also enshrined, including Doug Dickey, who coached at Tennessee and Florida, and Hayden Fry, who coached at SMU, North Texas State and Iowa.

    Theismann said at the banquet Saturday night that he had been both lucky and blessed.

    "Every one of us seated here is humbled by this experience," he said. "We're honored to grace this stage where so many men have come before us and done so much."

    For Sanders, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma State, it was his second hall of fame ceremony in six days. On Aug. 8, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Sanders said he hasn't had time to think about the significance of the honors.

    "I have to get away for a couple of days and let it all sink in," he said. "To be inducted in both is beyond my wildest dreams."

    Sanders said the college hall is just as special to him as the pro hall. Growing up, his dream was to play college football, not pro football, he said.

    "College to me is unique and special in its own right," he said. "You're not playing the game for a paycheck -- at least not at Oklahoma State."

    At the banquet Saturday night, Sanders also joked about a comment his father, William Sanders, made during his induction into the pro hall that his son was the third best running back ever, behind Jim Brown and himself.

    "I'm thinking his stats have incredibly improved over the years," Sanders said.

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    Green, who retired two years ago after playing 20 seasons with the Washington Redskins, showed his speed and athleticism in the flag football game, throwing three touchdown passes, catching another, intercepting a pass and breaking up another.

    Green, who played only two years of football in high school and almost quit Texas A&I (now known as Texas A&M-Kingsville), said he still has a hard time believing how far the sport has taken him.

    "This is all a surprise,"...
    -08-17-2004, 09:57 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Gundy, Stillwater run deep with optimism for OSU football
    by DJRamFan
    Feb. 14, 2005
    By Dennis Dodd
    SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!


    STILLWATER, Okla. -- This is what a couple of victories over Oklahoma will get you ...


    Interest from a millionaire donor.
    Interest in your coach.
    Interest in getting better?
    Oklahoma State is in the business of answering that question -- again. It's a common one in Stillwater, where rookie Mike Gundy is the fourth coach since crippling NCAA sanctions tore OSU football apart in 1988.


    QB Donovan Woods will have the spotlight next year. (Getty Images)
    Its perpetual starting point is being the other program in the state, seldom dealing from a position of strength. On its own campus, Eddie Sutton consistently fields a top 10 basketball program. OSU football constantly fights for recruits, attention and victories against that national power 90 minutes down the road.

    Ah, that's where the Cowboys can claim some progress. Quick, name the only school to beat Oklahoma more than once since the beginning of the 2000 season.

    Yep, Oklahoma State, which has won two of the past four meetings and five of the past 10.

    "Our staff, in my honest opinion, does a great job of game-planning them," said Gundy, who ascended from offensive coordinator to replace Les Miles on Jan. 3. "We challenge them. We go after them. Some teams go out there and say, 'Let's get this over with.' Our players go right after them."

    Sooners everywhere have about eight months to let those words soak in. Until then, I-A's youngest coach (Gundy is 37) is brash enough to keep crowing. Miles wasn't shy about the subject while leading the program out of a decade-long malaise before departing for LSU. While his record wasn't spectacular (28-21), his organizational skills and game-planning were outstanding.

    Ask Oklahoma. A going-nowhere Cowboys team beat the No. 4 Sooners in Norman 16-13 in 2001, Miles' first season. They did it again the next year, winning 38-28 against a team ranked No. 3.

    Based largely on those two results, LSU swept in and hired Miles, the only coach to guide Oklahoma State to three consecutive bowls. Also based on those victories, Oklahoma State quickly replaced him with Gundy. Millionaire T. Boone Pickens was already on board, having given a combined $200 million to the school and athletic department.

    Mike Gundy file
    A brief history of Oklahoma State's new coach:
    Birthdate: Aug. 12, 1967 (youngest I-A coach)
    Wife: Kristen
    Children: Gavin, Gunnar, Gage
    School: Oklahoma State
    Playing experience: Four-year starter at quarterback, 1986-89; still holds school career passing record (7,997 yards)
    Coaching experience: assistant Oklahoma State, 1990-1995; Baylor, 1996; Maryland,...
    -02-18-2005, 07:48 AM
  • RamWraith
    McCutcheon Inducted into Texas Panhandle Hall of Fame
    by RamWraith
    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    ST. LOUIS – One of the most prolific runners in Rams history, Lawrence McCutcheon recently was inducted into the Texas Panhandle Hall of Fame. In a ceremony held in Amarillo, Tex., about 60 miles from his hometown of Plainview, McCutcheon was one of three individuals that received the honor.

    “It’s a nice honor,” said McCutcheon, who now serves as director of player personnel for the Rams. “I got a chance to see a lot of guys that I played with and against in high school and got a chance to see my family. It was a really nice.”

    McCutcheon attended an all-Black Booker T. Washington High School for his first three years, but after Washington closed, he transferred to Plainview High School after full integration in 1967. On Plainview’s first integrated football team, he rushed for 589 yards as well as starring at linebacker as the team posted a 7-3 record, the school’s first winning record in 10 years.

    “As far as racial situations, I never had any issues or problems with that,” said McCutcheon. “I stayed at Booker T. Washington because I was comfortable with all of my friends and that is where I had gone all of my life. The racial part of it, I had no problem with it. I played Little League baseball and pickup basketball with those guys at the high school and we always had no problem with that issue.”

    McCutcheon went on to play college football at Colorado State, where he set more than 20 school and Western Athletic Conference records in his three years at the school, later becoming a member of Colorado State’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

    He became a third-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1972, and when he left the team after the 1979 season, the four-time Pro Bowler finished as the organization’s all-time leading rusher with 6,186 yards and continues to hold the record for most playoff rushing yards (687).

    “It’s a great honor for everybody in this organization to witness Clutch receive this award,” said Rams General Manager Charley Armey. “He has not only been a great running back in this team’s history, but he has been a great employee for the St. Louis Rams. We are very proud of him and very proud of his achievements.”

    The Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame was started in 1958 from an idea suggested by Putt Powell, longtime Amarillo Globe News sportswriter.
    -02-18-2005, 05:47 AM
  • DJRamFan
    ronzookclassypickupforillinois.com
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 1, 2005
    By Dennis Dodd
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!





    CHICAGO -- Ron Zook knows his place in college football history. One of the most famous URLs in college football history is still only a couple of keystrokes away.


    Ron Zook brings a .621 winning percentage to Illinois after guiding the Gators to 7-4 in his final season. (Getty Images)
    fireronzook.com

    "I took off from New Orleans, and before I landed in Gainesville, they had that," Zook said reminiscing (sort of) Monday at the Big Ten preseason media days. "(Pittsburgh Steelers coach) Bill Cowher told me, 'Man, you screwed this game up. Now everybody has 'Fire Bill Cowher.'

    "I said that's my legacy to coaching."

    Pretty much. For now. The infamous website now exists only to proclaim "VICTORY" in huge headline type through a doctored front page. Dwight Eisenhower is smiling out from a picture on A1, as if to suggest a battle of World War II proportions had been won.

    The going-out-of business-sale for fireronzook.com gear ($9.99 for the thong panties, who knew?) is supposedly concluded. The site, in case you're wondering, supports the hiring of Urban Meyer and proclaims Saturdays are worth waking up for again, "with a Bloody Mary, of course."

    Coaches have been fired, run out of town and disgraced, but seldom all three, and practically never with a .621 winning percentage.

    Just so you know where this column is heading.

    What could have been called ronzookfiresback.com debuted Monday -- Zook, the new Illinois coach, taking some not-so-veiled shots at his old employers. Which was great. It's about time. The guy who delivered more filibusters than big victories at Florida isn't a boob or a fool. He's merely the latest guy-to-follow-the-guy, that unfortunate cradle of coaches that counts Bill Guthridge, Gary Gibbs and Gene Bartow among its exclusive group.

    In order, those three followed legends Dean Smith, Barry Switzer and John Wooden. Zook followed The OBC (Ol' Ball Coach), the Florida icon who won six SEC titles and a national championship. No, he wasn't athletic director Jeremy Foley's first choice. No, he had no head coaching experience. And yes, frz.com was literally fired up and running before he left the New Orleans Saints to touch down in Gainesville.

    But ...

    "What did you want me to do, tell them no?" Zook said.

    Exactly. What would you do if a super-rich major-college power dumped its football program in your lap? Delivered you from life of assistant coach servitude? Gave you that one chance that 99 percent of coaches never get?

    "People say, 'Why would you follow Steve Spurrier?'" Zook said....
    -08-02-2005, 01:31 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Illinois excited about possibilities under Zook
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 6, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Former Florida coach Ron Zook took over Illinois' struggling football program Tuesday, returning to his roots and promising to turn around a team that has sunk to the bottom of the Big Ten since winning a league title in 2001.

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    Zook, a native of Ohio and a former assistant coach at Ohio State, said taking the job was an easy decision.

    "I was raised in the Midwest. I coached in the Big Ten," he said. "It's one of the finest athletic conferences in the land."

    Athletic director Ron Guenther said he wanted to find a coach with integrity, who was committed to academics and with a strong ability to recruit. He called Zook "a perfect fit."

    "He's a players' coach," Guenther said. "His players picked up on the passion and played extremely well for him."

    Zook received a five-year deal, worth about $1 million a year, according to university spokeswoman Robin Kaler.


    Ron Zook doesn't get any down time as he steps right into the Illinois gig.(AP)
    Zook and Guenther talked last Tuesday, but Illinois could not name a new coach until a two-week waiting period to comply with state guidelines passed. The deadline was Monday.

    Florida fired Zook on Oct. 25, two days after the Gators lost at Mississippi State, satisfying a growing groundswell for his ouster that began two years earlier -- after he replaced Steve Spurrier.

    But Zook coached the Gators for the rest of the season and led them to a 3-1 record in their final four games and an invitation to the Peach Bowl. In his three seasons at Florida, he went 23-14 with impressive victories over eventual national champion LSU last season and an upset of Florida State on Nov. 20, the Gators' first win in Tallahassee since 1986.

    Zook has 27 years of coaching experience, including six years in the NFL as an assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints, where he was defensive coordinator for two seasons.

    At Illinois, Zook will replace Ron Turner, who was fired Nov. 22 -- two days after finishing his third straight losing season. Turner's teams won only five Big Ten games after winning the conference championship in 2001 and going to the Sugar Bowl.

    Illinois won only once in 2003 and lost 14 consecutive Big Ten games between Nov. 23, 2003, and a 26-22 win over Indiana on Nov. 6. Two of the Illini's four wins in the past two seasons have been against Division I-AA opponents, Illinois State and Florida A&M.

    Guenther replaced Turner after determining that recruiting problems had "reached a point of no return," he said.

    Zook has a reputation for being a tireless and effective...
    -12-08-2004, 05:36 PM
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