It takes a lot to shock me, especially in the sports world, but this one did the trick big time. Jim Tressel resigned today as football coach at Ohio State. Here is Tressel's statement released by the school
"After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach. The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."
Southington football coach Mike Drury had his introductory press conference this afternoon and here are some of the highlights from the event, which we will have full coverage of in Friday's New Britain Herald and Bristol Press. Also, Drury has a special message for those football fans in central Connecticut in the latest episode of Sports Page Online, at the top of the website.
After interviewing numerous candidates, including one big-name coach we heard about through the grapevine, Southington High School has decided to stay in-house in filling its head football coach position. Mike Drury, the defensive coordinator for the Blue Knights last season, was hired as the school's new coach Wednesday.
"I'm totally excited to begin my tenure here," Drury told us today. "It's a great town, a great school and a great program. So I'm exciting to get working with them and get the ball rolling."
Here's UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun's statement on his team coming well below the passing mark in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rates report. The team will already lose two scholarships for its poor score next season and could face more lost scholarships, practice time and possibly a postseason ban in the future if the score does not improve.
"We are all disappointed in our academic performance and going forward we are going to attack this in the only way I know how and that is to work as hard as possible to get better every day. I do know that over the past year we have made improvements and are moving in the right direction. I believe that we have good, hard-working people in a position to make a positive difference."
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for the UConn men's basketball program ... UConn has been stripped of two scholarships because of a low Academic Performance Rating from the NCAA, something that will officially be released Tuesday. The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I student-athlete and then coming up with a score for each team. Obviously, UConn men's basketball didn't make the grade.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage died in a car accident Friday morning in Florida. Police said he crashed after suffering a possible "medical event" before the accident. The Jeep Wrangler he was driving veered off the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes and collided head-on with a tree. Savage (Randy Poffo) was driving with his wife, Lynn, who was not killed in the crash.
Former UConn basketball player Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who left the basketball team a short while ago, is considering transferring to Hofstra next year. Hofstra is one of four schools Coombs-McDaniel has set his sights on. He is also considering Miami, Missouri and UC Irvine.
He will transfer to one of those after finishing summer classes at UConn.
Self-promotion time. The latest episode of Sports Page Online ends with an ultimate cliffhanger that could set up an epic series of openings for the show. So, do me a favor, and hopefully yourself as well, and watch Sports Page Online, especially the Final Rant, above this post.
Then, see where the epic-ness takes off from there, starting Monday night. Self-promotion over.
Flipping through the channels on Saturday afternoon I came across an NCAA lacrosse tournament game featuring Johns Hopkins and Hofstra, which of course grabbed my immediate attention. For those that don't know, I attended Hofstra and spent more time at the athletic facility than in the classroom, following mainly the football and lacrosse teams during my time there.
It was covering and following those teams that had me traveling across the East coast and seeing a wide-range of college campuses. I've been to Youngstown State, James Madison, Rhode Island, UConn, Boston University, Rutgers, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Delaware, and a host of others that I can't remember off the top of my head. Covering the lacrosse team even led me to writing for Inside Lacrosse magazine, including the national semifinals and national championship games way back when.
UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun announced today that sophomore Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, he of the recent arrest on marijuana possession charges, has been granted permission to transfer to another school.
“Jamal and I met recently and, although he loves the program, he would like more playing time,” Calhoun said in a statement. “He and I both agree that he may have more opportunity for that playing time in another program. He was a very important part of our national championship this season and I know is capable of great success in the future. We wish Jamal the best of luck athletically and academically where ever he decides to continue his college career.”
The American Basketball Association announced today that it has added a Hartford-based team to its professional league. The team will be called the CT Topballerz.
“The return to New England is long overdue,” ABA CEO Joe Newman said in a release. “We are very excited about having the Connecticut Topballerz as part of the ABA. This is an origanization with a wonderful background in sports, business and community involvement. I cannot see how it can be anything but hugely successful. Our Northeast Division teams are thrilled also.”
Former New Britain football star Darius Smith will play for the University of Miami next season, his father told the New Britain Herald Tuesday afternoon. Smith played his first two years of college ball at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa. He will graduate on May 14.
Smith, a former all-state defensive tackle with the Golden Hurricanes, will join coach Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes football team. Smith was originally recruited by Golden when he was head coach at Temple. Smith, however, didn't have the grades to get into school and instead went to Lackawanna College.
In yet another example of why athletes need to keep their mouths, or tweets, shut when it comes to world events, there is Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall. The Pittsburgh back had this to "say" on the death of Osama bin Laden on Twitter Monday.
"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."
And on the September 11 attacks: "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."
Chicago Bulls head coach and New Britain native Tom Thibodeau should win the NBA Coach of the Year award Sunday afternoon. The Bulls have scheduled a 4:30 p.m. news conference to make a major announcement. The Bulls had an NBA-best record of 62-20. Thibodeau tied former Phoenix coach Paul Westphal for most victories in a season by a rookie head coach. Thibodeau was a former assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. He grew up in New Britain.
UPDATE: Thibodeau did in fact win the NBA's coach of the year award.