@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker
This week ESPN Insider Travis Haney has been ranking all 65 Power 5 coaching jobs. The list wraps up today with the top 24, which includes three ACC jobs. After reading where the coaches stand, here's the ACC blog's take on the matter.
1. Florida State
With its history, national profile and recruiting radius, there isn’t a better job in the conference. However, while Florida State has ranked among college football’s elite programs for much of the last three decades, it’s not always the easiest place to win. It needs a coach who can draw prospects to Tallahassee, and Jimbo Fisher has the program rolling.
Coach Dabo Swinney has turned the Tigers from perennial underachievers into annual ACC title contenders. There is a commitment to excellence at Clemson, and the Tigers have one of the most iconic stadiums in college football. South Carolina is not littered with prospects, but Clemson is close to Charlotte and Atlanta.
While they haven't always been viewed as one of the better jobs, the Cardinals have turned themselves into a quality program. Five different coaches have put together at least one season with just a single loss, and Bobby Petrino and Charlie Strong combined to elevate the program into title contenders. Athletic director Tom Jurich offers the required support for a football program in a basketball state, too.
The Hurricanes have fallen on hard times the last decade, but it is still Miami. There are certain financial hurdles, but the history and fertile recruiting area still make the Canes an attractive job. Miami might not be able to make A-plus hires, but it should be able to attract top up-and-coming coaches.
5. Virginia Tech
The Hokies have been on a linear incline since Frank Beamer took over, although the last few seasons have been disappointing. Whenever Beamer leaves Blacksburg, though, VaTech should be able to make a solid hire. It’s a little tougher to recruit, but there is a ton of support for the program as Lane Stadium provides one of the most intimidating atmospheres.
6. North Carolina
The Tar Heels are the proverbial sleeping giant, yet Carolina has never been able to break through. Maybe it just needs the right coach -- and Larry Fedora could still be that coach -- or maybe it is just too tough to win at a place where football will always be a distant second.
7. Georgia Tech
There is a branch of Yellow Jackets fans who expect Georgia Tech to compete for an ACC title annually, but the reality is it can be a tough place to win and recruit. However, Tech resides in the Coastal Division, which is ripe for the taking for whichever program can separate from the pack.
Like UNC, Virginia is a program that has the resources to be better than it has been historically. The state is not stocked with talent, but the Virginia Beach area has produced some of the country’s greatest talents. The campus is among the nicest, too. There are donors to be tapped into if the program can string together a couple of winning seasons.
9. NC State
The talent is growing in the state, and Charlotte, which has seen drastic population increases recently, has been open for one team to come in and clean up in recruiting for quite some time. A brand new indoor facility is set to open in the spring.
It hurts that the Panthers do not have an on-campus stadium, and the empty, bright yellow seats can be unattractive for prospects. There is significant talent in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, which Pitt can tap into. Pitt does have a rich history, and the right coach should be able to turn the Panthers into an annual ACC contender. It could take some time, though.
David Cutcliffe was the perfect hire at Duke as he was able to create a buzz around the program and finally use the school’s academics to his advantage. Cutcliffe has turned Duke into a winner, but is it sustainable? Will the next coach be able to duplicate or build upon what Cutcliffe started? It didn’t happen when Steve Spurrier left after 1989.
12. Boston College
New England and the Northeast are not football havens, so there are challenges in building a roster. It takes a coach willing to embrace what the university has to offer and use it in his favor. Steve Addazio has done that, but how will future coaches fare?
The weather can be brutal, and there is not much nearby football talent. Sustainability is a huge question mark at Syracuse, and it is hard to imagine a successful coach remaining in central New York for the long haul.
14. Wake Forest
Whoever is coach of the Demon Deacons has his work cut out for him every season. Jim Grobe showed you can surprise people and put together a few winning seasons, but after going 20-7 in 2006 and 2007 combined, he went 31-43 over his final six years. Of the 28 coaches Wake has had since 1908, only three finished with winning records, and none since D.C. “Peahead” Walker left after 1950.
@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker
@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker
@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker
@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky men’s basketball team will recognize a familiar face on the opposing bench when it plays South Florida next season in the inaugural Hoophall Miami Invitational in Miami.
UK will play former assistant coach Orlando Antigua’s South Florida Bulls on Nov. 27 in a doubleheader in American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat. South Florida will return the trip and play the Wildcats in Rupp Arena during the 2016-17 season.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the one-day doubleheader, which also features an Ohio State-Memphis matchup, on Thursday in Miami.
“The Hoophall Miami Invitational is yet another opportunity for us to reach the Big Blue Nation in another part of the country,” head coach John Calipari said. “We have the greatest fans in the college basketball, so to give our fans in Miami an opportunity to see us seemed like an easy decision for us. Not only is it a Hall of Fame event, we also get to play against Orlando, who played such an instrumental part in what we have tried to build here. We are looking forward to the trip to Miami and South Florida’s return visit in 2016.”
Next season’s UK-South Florida matchup will mark the inaugural meeting between the two schools.
Antigua, the Bulls’ head coach, served as an assistant at Kentucky under Calipari for five seasons before leaving to take the head-coaching position at South Florida. In Antigua’s five seasons at UK, the Wildcats won a national championship, went to three Final Fours and guided 19 players to the NBA Draft.
“We look forward to the challenge of playing one of the greatest programs in the history of college basketball,” Antigua said. “I was fortunate enough to spend five great seasons at Kentucky, so obviously have great respect for that program and coach John Calipari.”
The Hoophall Miami Invitational is the culmination of two separate multi-team events. Campus-round games will take place for UK, South Florida, Ohio State and Memphis in two brackets. A full schedule of those games and opponents will be released at a later date.
Tickets for the 2015 Hoophall Miami Invitational will go on sale to the general public on Jan. 31 at 10 a.m., viaTicketmaster.com.
The addition of South Florida adds to a strong nonconference slate for the Wildcats in the 2015-16 season, which already features Duke in Chicago in the Champions Classic, UCLA in Los Angeles in the first game of a home-and-home series, Louisville in Rupp Arena, and Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
In 2016-17, South Florida will join a nonconference schedule for Kentucky that includes Michigan State in New York in the Champions Classic, UCLA in the second year of the home-and-home series, at Louisville, and North Carolina in Las Vegas in the CBS Sports Classic.
Top-ranked and undefeated UK will return to action on Saturday when the Cats travel to Columbia, S.C., for the first of two games vs. South Carolina this season. That game is scheduled for a noon tip on ESPN.
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter and on the web atUKathletics.com.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Mass., the birthplace of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate, men and women. For more information on these and other upcoming events, please visit the Hall of Fame website at hoophall.com or call 1-877-4-HOOPLA.
@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Art Still, whose dominance at defensive end helped lead Kentucky to some of its greatest moments in school history, has been named to the College Football Hall of Fame as announced Friday by the National Football Foundation.
The announcement was held in Dallas, Texas, at the Renaissance Hotel, in conjunction with events surrounding the upcoming national championship game. The ceremony was hosted by NFF Chairman Archie Manning and Rece Davis of ESPN.
"It's humbling to be selected because I didn't do it alone," Still said. "It's a compliment to all the guys I played with and the coaches."
Originally from Camden, N.J., Still played at Kentucky from 1974-77 under Coach Fran Curci. Still helped the Wildcats to a 19-4 record in his final two seasons. UK went 9-3 in his junior year, winning a share of the Southeastern Conference championship, and capped the season with a 21-0 blanking of North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. The Cats were ranked 18th in the final Associated Press poll.
UK posted a 10-1 mark in his senior season, finishing the campaign No. 6 in the final AP ranking. The Wildcats went 7-3 against Top-20 ranked teams his last two seasons, winning the last five in a row vs. ranked foes Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia, at Penn State and at LSU. Paced by Still's dominating performances, Kentucky led the SEC in total defense and rushing defense.
Still was a four-year starter who totaled 327 tackles during his career, an amazing figure for a defensive end. Quarterback sacks were not kept during his career and tackles for loss are available only for his senior year, when he compiled 22 TFL - a school record that "Still" stands.
One interesting fact about Still is that he also saw significant action on offense as a tight end in short-yardage or goalline situations, averaging approximately 15 plays per game and frequently helping pave the way for touchdowns or first downs. Kentucky rushed for 269.1 yards per game in 1976, the second-highest mark in school history, and rushed for 228.7 yards per game in 1977.
Still was a unanimous first-team All-America selection in 1977 as chosen by AP, United Press International, Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, The Sporting News and Football News.
Still was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and the UPI National Lineman of the Year. He was the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club of South Jersey College Player of the Year.
Still's incredible performances inspired numerous memorable quotes during his collegiate days:
"He's just a great player. He divides the field in half, and I tell my boys to run at the other half!"
-- Hall of Fame Coach Charlie McClendon of LSU; Still earned Southeast Defensive Player of the Week honors twice vs. LSU
"The person who said Art Still covered one whole side of the field was right! He looked like a mountain out there! He might be as fine a defensive end as there is in the country ... or a defensive player."
-- North Carolina Coach Bill Dooley after UK shut out the No. 19-ranked Tar Heels in the Peach Bowl
"He's a very dominant player."
-- West Virginia Coach Frank Cignetti after UK defeated the No. 17-ranked Mountaineers
"I just feel Art is probably the best defensive end in the country, better than (eventual Hall of Famer) Ross Browner of Notre Dame. Anyway, I haven't seen any end I'd take over him."
-- New York Jets assistant coach Carroll Huntress, whose thoughts were proved correct when Still was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft
"My word, you're a big one, aren't you?"
-- Prince Charles of England, when the heir to the English throne met Art at a Kentucky game
On the conference level, Still was the SEC Senior Player of the Year by the Birmingham Touchdown Club and the UPI SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He was first-team All-SEC as a junior and senior.
Even with all the team success and the individual accolades, Still's most cherished memories come from the friendships forged during his time at the University.
When asked his biggest thrill at Kentucky, Still said, "The sports side was nice but what I remember most are the relationships with my teammates and classmates. Where I came from in Camden, it was predominantly African-Americans and Puerto Ricans. (At UK) I learned how to deal with people from different environments, how to relate to people and treat people. We had players from all parts of the country and we learned to treat people the way we wanted to be treated.
"Teammates like Derrick Ramsey, Billy Williams, Mike Martin, Jerry Blanton, Dallas Owens. Coach Curci. (Strength coach) Pat Etcheberry, who set the foundation for discipline, weight training and speed. You take all those things - family, friends, teammates, coaches - and they made you a better person," said Still, who cherishes his visits to Lexington when he and his teammates have their "Curci's Cats" reunions.
Following his senior season, Still played in three national all-star games, including the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl and the Japan Bowl, where he was named the game's Outstanding Defensive Player.
After being tabbed as the second pick of the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft (only behind Earl Campbell), Still went on to a record-setting 12-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, set Kansas City records for most sacks in a career (73) and season (14.5, twice), and was second in team history in total tackles (992).
In addition to his latest honor, Still also has been chosen for the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and Peach Bowl Hall of Fame. He was named to the UK All-Time Teams for the 100th Year of Kentucky Football as selected by the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier-Journal. He was also picked to the Quarter-Century All-SEC Team (1961-85) by the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger. In 2002, he was named one of the Living Legends of the SEC.
Over the years, he has participated in numerous community service activities, such as Special Olympics, being a mentor in a Big Brothers program, Sickle Cell Foundation, Dare Program, etc. He is a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Ambassadors, an association of former Chiefs players who participate in service activities.
Still and his wife, Liz, live in Liberty, Mo. They have 11 children - four of whom are adopted - and 16 grandchildren.
Additional Wildcats in the College Football Hall of Fame include tackle Bob Gain (1947-50), quarterback Vito "Babe" Parilli (1949-51), end Steve Meilinger (1951-53), Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (1946-53), tackle Lou Michaels (1955-57) and Jerry Claiborne, who played at UK in 1946, '48-49 and was head coach of the Cats from 1982-89. Bernie Shively, who was athletic director at UK from 1938-67 and was head coach of the Cats in 1945, was inducted to the Hall of Fame in recognition of his playing days at Illinois.
Still will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Dec. 8 in New York City during the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner.