From the Sometimes People Do Really Stupid Things Department - the word out of Raleigh is that North Carolina State appears to be moving to approve a rollover in football coach Chuck Amato's contract that would extend the school's commitment to Amato to five years.
And this is based on ... what, exactly?
It's certainly not success on the gridiron - Amato's teams have compiled a 53-33 record in his seven seasons as head coach.
What, are we Nebraska all of the sudden?
Unless I accidentally slept through a season, Chuck Amato's teams are 46-28, which, by the way, is a .622 winning percentage. Of the NCSU football coaches who've coached in 35+ games, only three have a better career winning percentage (Green, Holtz, Sheridan).
NCSU All-Time W%: .509 (.501 pre-Amato) Amato Career W%: .622
Amato looks pretty successful by NC State football standards.
The article continues:
That might not sound bad on the surface - but it's basically somewhere between 8-4 and 7-5 on an annual basis.
And given the talent that Amato has had at his disposal - from record-setting quarterback Philip Rivers to the three defensive linemen who went in the first round of this year's NFL draft, including the top pick, Mario Williams - Pack fans should be getting a lot more than 8-4 or 7-5.
Instead, it looks like they'll be getting a lot more of 8-4 and 7-5 - at least for the next five years.
Oh, cruel fates! Spare us this terrible purgatory you call .667 football!
If I could take 8-4 for each of the next five years, I would.
When asked how he felt about his team having to play a 12-game schedule, Spurrier said: "I went and saw our girls' basketball team play four straight nights at the SEC tournament, and they weren't bitching and moaning."
"Hopefully, someday I can come to this meeting and tell you we have got a team that is ready to challenge, which I did at Florida probably all 12 years," he said.
When that day might come, Spurrier can't quite put his finger on. The coach is in the second year of a seven-year, $8.75 million deal. Of course, there are incentives that can be reached and more money that can be made. And more years can be added to that contract.
Three would be enough to take Spurrier to 75 and maybe an age when he's ready to retire. At least that was the age he pinpointed one day last year.
"I guess I felt pretty good that day," Spurrier said Thursday. "That age thing is a funny thing. When I start acting like an old dude and talking like one, then get rid of me."
"For some reason, we haven't done all that much historically," Spurrier said.
Amato is 2-3 against UNC coach John Bunting, another coaching alum who has been recruiting the dickens out of the state while Amato has tried to build his program on Florida products. For that, Amato isn't popular with state high school coaches. For going 12-12 since losing Rivers to the NFL, Amato is losing popularity with Wolfpack fans.
If you made it through that paragraph without rolling your eyes, I applaud you.
In his only season with the New York Jets in 2000, Al Groh famously tossed/broke innocent locker room furniture during the halftime of a Jets’ Monday Night game with Miami.
The Jets’ rallied to win that game 40-37 in overtime after trailing 30-7 in the fourth quarter. Groh’s going to have to Nagano a lot of furniture to finagle a fifth straight bowl out of this inexperienced Virginia bunch.
-- ESPN fired Harold Reynolds today, and Deadspin is all over it. My favorite from the comments:
He wasn't fired. Steve Phillips traded Harold and a key grip to be named later to Fox for McCarver's hairpiece, some whooshing helmet/robot graphics, and Scooter the curveball.
The NCAA has removed Oak Hill Academy and Fork Union Military Academy from a list of schools whose academic standards were being questioned after visiting both schools and reviewing their academic methods and practices.
NCAA officials announced Friday that after visiting the two Virginia campuses, the schools' grades and course work will continue to be used in determining athletic eligibility for students moving on to college.
Wake Forest will unveil new uniforms when the Deacons open their season Sept. 2 at Groves Stadium against Syracuse. The jerseys will have a tighter fit and piping down the side, but nothing too flashy. Not like the alternate-color sleeves sported by teams like Florida and Virginia Tech. "I shot down that idea that day," said Deacons offensive tackle Steve Vallos. Groves' natural turf also was replaced by artificial FieldTurf in the offseason.
"We're ready to make some noise in the conference," Vallos said. "Move up from the doormat level we've been perceived at since I've been at the school. Wake has very little history in football. This is a very important year. Coach [Jim] Grobe's system is finally paying off and we can definitely move up to a different tier in the conference."
Is there anyone associated with Wake Forest who doesn't talk about tiers?
Also in the Times-Dispatch article: UVA's Christian Olsen responds to the barbs from one of ESPN's talking chowderheads.
Cowherd dismissed the Cavaliers as "soft" -- Olsen disagreed with that assessment, naturally -- and ripped the atmosphere at Scott Stadium. Cowherd claimed U.Va. fans' drink of choice is Zima.
"I've never seen that," Olsen said. "I would say most of the people drink, I don't know, beer, I guess. I've never been at a tailgate, but I don't think anybody drinks Zima. I didn't even know that was still out."
Okay, so Olsen may not have been the best person to consult on UVA tailgating.
The players - two for each of the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams - were asked to split into two groups. Atlantic Division one way, Coastal Division the other.
"Half of us were just standing there," said North Carolina tailback Ronnie McGill. "We didn't know where to go."
"We're in the Coastal?" Duke cornerback John Talley asked with a dumbfounded expression. "I thought we were in the Atlantic."
This is the problem with having divisions that have been named arbitrarily. While logical designations, like, say, North and South, afford you an easy mental distinction, "Atlantic" and "Coastal" are so similar that they're meaningless.
"Wait, are we in the division that's near the ocean, or are we in the other division that's near the ocean?"
Now, a few days ago, it was “Jimmy V Never Give Up Foundation Day” on this radio network, to which I had just casually tuned in. It was a flashback. The N.C. State basketball coach had flown to New Jersey to receive the Ashe Award, and his acceptance was more than a speech, it was a challenge, more powerful than Valvano could have ever imagined. The voice would have shattered chandeliers, brought tears to your eyes. He told the story of his first coaching job, freshman coach at Rutgers.
“Vince Lombardi was my hero. I was 21 and most of my players were 19, and I was sending them out charged up. I was sending them out to play for Rutgers, our first game, and I was adapting Coach Lombardi’s values to us. ‘When you go out there tonight, you are playing for faith, family and the Green Bay Packers,’ I said.” Oops! He laughed at his gaffe.
On an unrelated note, someone's added highlights from the 1992-93 basketball season to YouTube. See the Pack squeak by Oregon State, UNC-Asheville, and Clemson.
Here's Michael Vick running wild against Boston College. At the :28 second mark is his awesome 82-yard TD run. After he makes escaping the blitz look easy, he hurdles a defender and reaches the corner, then shifts into a gear that only he has...
In a mild upset at today's Triangle Pigskin Preview Luncheon, John Bunting allowed himself enough time away from the food to speak in complete sentences.
John Bunting gets fired up when he flips through the preseason magazines and sees North Carolina's schools -- especially his Tar Heels -- picked to finish near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"That's been going on for a couple of years. It motivated us in '04. It motivated us last year," the North Carolina coach said Thursday at a kickoff luncheon featuring three coaches from the state's four ACC schools.
"We were two or three plays away from (a 7-4 record) last year. We all know this," he said. "We've got to make those plays. That's what motivates us. We want to make those plays to improve our standing in the ACC first. That's my No. 1 goal."
[Fork Union's athletic director] said he thinks the NCAA wants to examine Fork Union's one-subject plan, which the school has used since the 1950s. Ninth-grade through postgraduate students take only one class - say, algebra - for seven weeks, six hours a day. So a student could take three sequential math courses in one year - unheard of at most high schools.
-- Auburn University can relate to the credibility issues that Fork Union and Oak Hill are facing right now. Should Auburn somehow lose it accredation, it could join the North American Association of Unaccredited Colleges and Universities, thereby associating itself with renowned institutions like Alabama Pacific University, the Lower Intra-Continental Institute, and the Sports University of Central Kansas.
2000-2001: the darkest days of the Herb Sendek era. After the Wolfpack came so close to making the NCAAs in 2000, it wasn't possible to see 2001 as anything other than a step in the wrong direction.
I thought it might be interesting to re-examine that team... (Definitions for these statistics are here if you need them. I would also recommend the numerous primers I have linked in the sidebar.)
Ron Kelley wasn't healthy--he had knee surgery during the season--and it shows. When I first saw his offensive rating, I went into my spreadsheet and double-checked all the formulas to make sure everything was being calculated properly. Kelley was the basketball equivalent of an out machine. Not only did he shoot poorly in 2001, he also turned the ball over like crazy. Ron Kelley, Possession Killer.
The last time he managed a full season (1999), he was a valuable part of the offense. Injuries completely derailed his last two years in Raleigh:
His FT% and turnover rate also worsened each subsequent year. The unfortunate thing from the team's perspective was that his usage stayed above 20% despite his decline. He played fewer and fewer minutes as his production dipped, but when he was on the court, he got the ball as much as anyone else. As you can see from the table, he led the 2001 team in usage (%Poss). More of his touches should have gone to Inge and Grundy. It wouldn't have hurt him to kick the ball out a little more; he had seven assists all season. Cedric Simmons averaged four times as many assists per 40 minutes.
Grundy was serviceable as the team's primary option, and he became exceptional in 2002, upping his usage and his efficiency.
This was a good offensive rebounding team, and it's easy to see why: the forwards all had offensive rebounding percentages near or above 10%. Thornton was the only guy who was also a really good defensive rebounder, though.
A significant part of Kenny Inge's value was his ability to get to the free throw line. His free throw rate would have led the nation in 2006. That, plus a decent FT%, made him efficient despite the sub-50% field goal shooting.
Cliff Crawford had more assists than turnovers, but that just obscures how turnover-prone he was. Since he wasn't a scoring option, setting up others was his main task--he didn't do it very well. Of course, judging by the turnover rates, if he didn't dribble the ball off his foot and out of bounds, the guy he passed it to would have. He did have an impressive free throw rate.
Archie Miller had an amazing year shooting the ball but turned it over far too much for a two-guard. My memory's fuzzy; if he played the point some, that would partially explain the high TO%.
Scooter's numbers suggest that he wasn't ready for more minutes at this point in his career (he averaged 13.5 MPG).
Super-scrub Brian Keeter's O Rtg was 149. No wonder everyone wanted to see him come off the bench!
Six guys on the roster committed more than three turnovers per 40 minutes. Only a single player on the 2006 roster (and he may be deported...) averaged more than 3 per 40. The 2001 team's eFG%--although I hesitate to call it "effective"--was 49%. In the years since, NC State has never shot below 52.5%.
You know how the SEC is "notorious" for getting bowl teams by padding their non-conference slate with cupcakes? Well, NC State deserves honorable mention for their SEC scheduling practices this year. Their ACC slate is as easy as they come, and their non-conference slate is laughable. They'll be bowl-eligible, probably win 8 or 9 games in the regular season, but finish only fourth in the division. They have an outside shot at sneaking their way into the conference title game, but a lot of things would have to fall their way for that to happen.
I'd be more than happy with 8-9 wins...I just don't know if Marcus Stone will get us there, even with the weak schedule.
-- If you're an ESPN Insider, you can read Blue Ribbon Yearbook's NC State preview.
Just 6-10 in ACC play since quarterback Philip Rivers left and 23-25 in six seasons in a league that's getting tougher by the minute. Amato has everything he needs in terms of facilities and budgets. It's time to produce a contender.
Would you look at that? Nary a mention of draft picks.
Arizona State fans have already told me they have noticed the striking resemblance between Clint Howard (Ron’s brother, who gets a role in every one of his movies) and new basketball coach Herb Sendek.
I don’t care if he looks like Moe Howard — as long has the guy wins 20 games a year.
-- Philly Lutheran, Christopher Robin Academy, ... Auburn?
"It was at that point that I figured the corruption runs the full gantlet of the administration," Professor Gundlach said. "We were getting sociology majors graduating without taking sociology classes. I’m a director of a program putting out people who I know more than likely don’t deserve a degree."
According to the reporting, the professor* dropped the number of directed readings down to 24, and one semester taught as many as 152 -- in addition to teaching his normal courseload (probably a 2-2 courseload, which means about six hours per week in the classroom, and at least six hours per week of prep. Let's call it 12 hours of regular coursework per week). When I teach a directed study, I usually spend an hour per week with the student (not counting prep). Let's assume, generously, that the professor only spent an average of 30 minutes per week on each student, with absolutely no prep. That would mean that with his reduced workload of only 24 directed readings, he would spend an extra twelve hours per week, or 24 hours total, without including any research or service. So assuming the professor taught a 2-2 load, did absolutely no prep, research, or service, it might be possible (though implausible) that he could have taught such a load.
Let's now apply the same formula to the semester he taught 152 directed readings. That would mean 76 extra hours per week, not including his normal, full-time workload. Assuming his department is closed on weekends, he would have to spend more than 15 hours per day meeting with students -- again, ignoring his normal teaching, research, and workload schedule. I can't think of any way this would be possible.
-- Aaron Bates is off to a hot start in single-A with the Lowell Spinners. Bates is hitting .359/.416/.551 in 21 games.
It goes without saying, but Thurl Bailey is truly larger than life: 6'11", NCAA National Championship with North Carolina State University (if you could see the ring!), 7th overall pick of the N.B.A. Draft by the Utah Jazz (1983), awarded the NBA's prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Community Service Award, received the Italian League's 1998 All Star Games' Most Valuable Player, singer, songwriter, Winner of the Pearl Awards of Best Contemporary Recording and Best New Artist of the Year (2000), awarded the Utah Association for Gifted Children Community Service Award, received the Sigma Gamma Chi Fraternity's Exemplary Manhood Award, received the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America's American Champion Award, last 17 years has conducted a Non-Profit Youth Basketball Camp, finally, a devoted family man, married to his sweetheart Sindi and a father of five children ( www.thurlbailey.com ).
"Big T", without question is an incredible and talented individual, and our lives were significantly enriched by just spending one day with him and his rapidly growing team yesterday! He’s an invaluable asset to his Team and the rest of the Network, and his commitment in sharing in the education process of the power of “the Healthy Chocolate, Xoçai™” is undeniable!
The first year of the post-Phillip Rivers era resulted in Chuck Amato’s first losing season as a head coach. The Pack went from scoring over 37 points per game to a mere 24 per game. Aside from the narrow victory over Virginia Tech, the Pack could not break through against good teams either, posting a 1-5 record against winning teams. Despite an even poorer performance from the offense in 2005, the pack improved to 7-5.
As much as it hurts to recall the 2004 season, that year remains intriguing from a statistical standpoint. Often when a team overperforms or underperforms its pythagorean record, the difference is attributed to luck. Based on the Pack's point differential in 2004 (+46), which suggests State should have gone 7-4, it certainly looks like the team was unlucky. But I think those of us who watched all of the games that season (bless our hearts) would agree that something else was mainly responsible for the losing record.
NC State's recipe for underachievement: 2.9 turnovers per game. Thirty-two in 11 games. TA McLendon and Jay Davis were a couple of mistake-prone peas in a pod. Only four teams turned the ball over more often: Nebraska, UNLV, Rutgers, and Washington.
Making matters worse--and this is where some bad luck factored in--was the defense's inability to force turnovers. NC State had just 15 takeaways, good enough for 105th in the nation. It's the only season under Amato that NC State has had fewer than 20 takeaways. If we instead go by takeaways per game, 2004 remains the worst of the Amato era.
Knowing all that, it's not hard to see how NC State had a losing record despite a +46 point differential. By the way: UNC, which went bowling and ended up 6-6, had a -63 point differential. Like the Pack, Carolina only forced 15 turnovers; the difference was that the Heels only gave the ball away 19 times.
NC State improved in both turnover categories last year, not surprisingly. The Pack forced 24 turnovers and also committed 24. Aided by a more friendly turnover margin, NC State's scoring defense improved despite the fact that its total defense regressed. With turnovers less of a factor in deciding games, NC State actually had the winning record that its positive point differential suggested it should have had.
"It's a bit like that feeling you get standing in your stocking feet at the airport security line with your shoes in your hand," says Lt. General John E. Jackson, Jr., President of Fork Union Military Academy. "You're pleased that the appropriate authorities are taking their jobs so seriously, but you're frustrated that they are taking their time scrutinizing you instead of out catching the real culprits. This is outrageous behavior which affects lots of young men who are considering coming to our school next month. It is an unconscionable act to paint the Academy with the same brush as those who are mocking the system. This situation needs to be rectified by the NCAA at the speed of light or irreparable damage will be the result."
Officials at Raleigh's Word of God Christian Academy were stunned Thursday that they were on the list of schools from which transcripts would not be accepted for NCAA play. A Word of God student could be admitted to college but would not be eligible for NCAA competition.
"This is truly a miscommunication," Word of God principal Anesha Pittman said in a statement issued by the school. "We clearly have and will always do what's needed to make sure that we abide by NCAA Clearinghouse standards.
"We expect to be cleared by the NCAA in the near future. It's truly just a matter of submitting paperwork to the NCAA on a national level."
The NCAA did strip 16 institutions of Clearinghouse approval yesterday. But only three -- North Atlanta Prep in Covington, Ga.; Christopher Robin Academy in Springfield Gardens, N.Y.; and Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C. -- appear to have top-level athletes. Some of the schools on the list no longer exist, don't have athletic teams or are part of juvenile detention programs.
Yesterday's announcement was a major victory for Lutheran Christian Academy in Philadelphia. The Post reported in February that Lutheran Christian, which sent players to Georgetown and George Washington, was operated out of a community center, has no textbooks and has only one full-time employee, basketball coach Darryl Schofield, a former sanitation worker with no college degree.
Five schools from the original list of 15 have since been approved by the NCAA, meaning there are now 26 schools that have not been cleared. But like Philadelphia Christian and Celestial Prep - neither of which has a high school basketball program any longer - this most recent list of 16 schools seems to be mostly made up of those that didn't bother to file the paperwork necessary to meet the NCAA requirements.
Seven of the schools on the new list of 16 are listed as being in Santa Ana, Calif.
See the Inquirer link for extensive comments from Darryl Schofield (Lutheran's founder/coach/everyman). He is not too keen on the media right now.
This latest list of banned schools (BugMeNot) is the result of the NCAA's second round of evaluations. The NCAA missed the mark with its initial list of banned institutions, and it seems they've made a few of the same mistakes again. As noted by the Washington Post in the above excerpt, several of the schools which compose the list do not field basketball teams. Some schools no longer exist. And Philadelphia Lutheran is safe for the time being.
The NCAA also released a list of 22 schools that are still subject for review, and it's the conspicuous names on this particular list--Philly Lutheran, the Laurinburg Institute, the Patterson School--which suggest the NCAA is moving in the right direction. Oak Hill Academy is also on this "subject for review" list; its officials are not pleased.
"I'm absolutely stunned on a couple of levels," Michael Groves, the president of Oak Hill, said last night in a telephone interview. "I've never spoken with anyone from the N.C.A.A. I'm a bit outraged that I'm learning about a list from reporters that's damaging Oak Hill's reputation."
Oak Hill is guilty of having a good hoops program, but not much else. At least the NCAA found a school that actually has a basketball team.
Two of the other well-known institutions on the "subject for review" list are located in North Carolina: Patterson and Laurinburg. John Calipari has practically made his Memphis career by picking up players from Laurinburg; just take a look at his 2005 class.
As I was searching for information on some of the schools that were banned by the NCAA, I found an investigation of Christopher Robin Academy done by ESPN.com's Tom Farrey in May of 2002. That story includes this fun little tidbit:
[F]ormer Tar Heel guard Ed Cota attended Christopher Robin for at least one summer during high school in a desperate attempt to raise his grades. Eric "Rock" Eisenberg, Cota's former coach at Brooklyn's Tilden High School, said he enrolled the then-highly regarded prospect in two courses, paying the $500 tuition, because Cota was in deep academic trouble.
"I wouldn't have enrolled him if I knew there was no accreditation and no learning," Eisenberg said. "I didn't think he was going to get taught by Harvard professors, but I was hoping he would learn something."
Steven Katz, Cota's teacher that summer, said Cota showed up for class only twice, on the first and last days of the session. "He just came on the last day of class and turned in all his assignments," said Katz, a Christopher Robin teacher from 1990 to '94.
As a matter of policy, the NCAA chooses not to pass judgment on the quality or credentials of any school. The association has never ordered the removal of any of the 22,000 high schools in its database, and it isn't going to start with Christopher Robin, said Diane Dickman, NCAA director of membership services. Her division handles academic matters.
"There are almost no scenarios under which the NCAA would begin to police this secondary school or any secondary school in terms of whether we would accept core courses or not," Dickman said. "It's an inappropriate role for us to play. The state of New York and state department of education have clear jurisdiction over the school."
Some strong language from Dickman...and look where everything stands today. The NCAA's gone from well-there's-nothing-we-can-do to let's-have-a-huge-inquiry-and-start-banning-schools-haphazardly.
As a member of four consecutive Southern Conference-champion teams and a three-time All-America, Dickey had one of the most decorated careers in NC State basketball history, thanks in part to his famous one-handed jumpshot.
He was part of the 1947 team that introduced cutting down the nets - an Indiana high school tradition - to college basketball, following its Southern Conference Tournament Championship. He was also a member of the 1950 team that was the first to play in Reynolds Coliseum and became the first NC State team to advance to the Final Four, losing to Baylor in the semifinals in New York City.
Dickey, with his flashy style, won All-Southern Conference honors in each of his four years in Raleigh, becoming the only player in NC State history to earn all-conference honors in four consecutive seasons. He was also the Most Valuable Player in the 1949 Dixie Classic and the winner of the Alumni Athletic Trophy.
In the spring of 1950, Dickey became the first NC State player ever drafted into the National Basketball Association, going to the Baltimore Bullets in the third round.
-- Todd Fuller is on his way to Australia to play for the South Dragons of the National Basketball League. Poor Todd can't even get a basketball gig in the northern hemisphere. I'm a little disappointed, because I was hoping he'd end up with the Wollongong Hawks. If you google "NBL," "National Basketball League" shows up in the results between the "National Bicycling League" and the "National Blackbelt League."
Get you a Todd Fuller jersey and be the proud recipient of confused stares at NCSU sporting events for years to come.
The Hornets hope Simmons will emerge as a defensive stopper, capable of making players think twice about going in the lane to score.
"He's energetic and passionate about the way he plays," Scott said. "He's defensive-minded and very athletic."
Scott said last week he thought Armstrong was more ready to play at this point than Simmons. Simmons took the message as a challenge that he has more work ahead -- hoping the added motivation will yield the same results as it did between his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Wolfpack.
9. How noticeable will Bobby Cremins (College of Charleston), Bob Huggins (Kansas State) and Sidney Lowe (N.C. State) be on the road?
Cremins hasn't done recruiting since 2000, but this should still feel familiar to him. Still, the grind could wear on him as he must make his presence felt on the road. Huggins is iconic and likely will choose his spots wisely. Lowe must get out to familiarize himself with the system, since the current setup wasn't around in the early '80s.
"Now I know how Lee Fowler felt," [NBHS Principal] Fuhrman quipped, referring to the North Carolina State Athletic Director and his long search for a men’s basketball coach after Herb Sendak resigned to take the Arizona State job. Eventually, Fowler hired Sidney Lowe, a member of the 1983 NCAA champion Wolfpack squad.
-- In case you've been experiencing withdrawal from coachspeak, here's an interview with Herb Sendek done by the East Valley Tribune.
"It’s maybe a misrepresentation. I think people make a quantum leap from, ‘They run the Princeton offense,’ to ‘They play slow.’ The facts don’t support that. "Last year, if you take our per game scoring (74.5) and put it in the Pac-10, only Washington would have scored more points in conference play and they’re considered up-tempo."
Actually, the facts do support the assertion that "they play slow." NC State ranked in the bottom-third of the country in adjusted possessions per game, which would certainly put the team in the "slow" category. The Wolfpack played at even slower paces in 2004 and 2005 (not that I have a problem with that).
-- Football and basketball, not so much. But this--this we got down:
A North Carolina State University computer design team won the IEEE Computer Society International Design Competition with its project "SunRay." The Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications team took second place with its project "Coal Mine Enhancing System," and "Synairgy," the project of the Politehnica University of Bucharest team, placed third. N.C. State also won the Microsoft Award for Software Engineering. The Microsoft Multimedia Award went to Nanjing University for creative use of multimedia in the presentation and demonstration of their project, "AntiHunter."