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Tag:Larry Coker
Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:31 pm
 

A first look at 2012's returning starters

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never, ever too early to talk about the next college football season once the previous one has passed. But it's a lot less too early once the deadline for NFL Draft declarations has passed and teams can enjoy an accurate -- or at least semi-accurate -- gauge of what their returning talent will look like next season.

Thanks to data-cruncher Phil Steele, we can enjoy that same semi-accurate gauge. As he does every January -- among the teams predicted for big things at this time last year were Michigan, Alabama and Vanderbilt -- Steele has released a comprehensive list of FBS returning starters for 2012, ranking each team 1-123. Yes, 123, thanks to the arrivals of UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass; Larry Coker's UTSA Roadrunners even top the list with 23 total returning starters (11 offensive, 10 defensive, and both specialists) as they ready for their first WAC season.

But of course, UTSA has its work cut out for it to make an impact, no matter how experienced its players might be. Among programs college football fans are more familiar with, here's the numbers and teams from Steele's data that stand out:

  • Sharing the lead amongst all BCS programs are Texas Tech and Tennessee with 20 starters each, including quarterbacks Seth Doege and Tyler Bray, respectively. If Red Raider and Volunteer third-year coaches Tommy Tuberville and Derek Dooley can't turn that kind of experience into a better year 3 than their collective Year 2's, neither one should be surprised if they don't receive a Year 4.
  • Never say never with Chris Petersen still around, but this looks like the season Boise State's incredible run of dominance and top-10 finishes comes to a halt. The Broncos rank dead-last, rock-bottom, with just 6 starters coming back--3 offensive 2 defensive, and (infamous) kicker Dan Goodale. (Then again, in the newly TCU-less Mountain West, will anyone stop them regardless? The league leader in returning starters is Colorado State, with no other MWC program ranked higher than Fresno State at 29th.)
  • It's possible Badger fans will rue their back-to-back failures at the Rose Bowl even more than they do already; with just 10 returning starters, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten and 116th overall. Big Ten fans should instead gear up now for an even-more-critical Ohio State-Michigan game than usual; the Buckeyes are second in the league behind Indiana with 18 starters, and the Wolverines are tied with Nebraska for third with 16.
  • The Vols, Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt top the SEC list -- with 18 starters or more, all rank among the nation's 19 most experienced teams -- which means the league could see a more topsy-turvy season than usual; despite their cavalcade of young talent LSU returns just 5 defensive starters, national champions Alabama just 4. Despite major losses on the offensive line, Georgia looks poised to field the conference's best defense, with nine starters coming back for a unit already ranked fifth in the FBS.
  • Why is USC getting so much early preseason love? Pretty simple: of the 10 teams listed in Bruce Feldman's early-bird top 10, the Trojans are one of just two to have as many as 17 returning starters. The other is Oklahoma, and since the Sooners finished the year getting chewed up and spit out by Oklahoma State while the Trojans were busy upsetting Oregon in Eugene and annihilating UCLA, it's not hard to see why voters might go for the former.
  • Poor Al Golden: not only is his Miami team still laboring under the weight of the Nevin Shapiro allegations, not only do they rank 96th nationally and tie for next-to-last in the ACC with 12 returning starters, but according to Steele's data the Hurricanes are -- amazingly -- the only ACC team to not return its starting quarterback for next season. 
  • Gus Malzahn is going to be one of the FBS's most closely watched mid-major head coaches after his move from Auburn, and with six returning starters including QB Ryan Aplin on offense, the Red Wolves should be fine on that side of the ball. But with just three starters back on defense, ASU ranks 116th overall and last in the Sun Belt in total starters returning. Opposite Malzahn's punishing up-tempo attack, we'd like to place an early wager on the Red Wolves as one the nation's statistically weakest D's in 2012 ... and on Malzahn needing at least two years to return ASU to last year's championship perch.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:52 am
 

Nevin Shapiro tried to land Houston Nutt in 2006

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Former Miami head coach Randy Shannon isn't listed in the exhaustive Yahoo! Sports report* on Nevin Shapiro's extensive expose on impermissble player benefits, unlike the numerous assistants and contemporaries of his. That's not by accident; Shannon is by-the-book to a fault, and it's ironically that disdain for shenanigans that led to the Miami fanbase abandoning the 'Canes by the droves in the weeks preceding Shannon's firing after the 2010 season.

Imagine then, if you will, an alternate reality where instead of straight-laced Shannon running the Miami program, the head coach is current Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. Heads are now exploding nationwide. And according to the Orlando Sentinel, it came closer to happening than you would expect:

As the Sentinel reported late Sunday, Nevin Shapiro was personally involved in trying to recruit Nutt to coach the Hurricanes -- and his contact with the coach preceded several discussions between Nutt and university brass:

According to Nutt’s cell phone records obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act, Nutt spoke with Shapiro, in addition to UM assistant AD Tony Hernandez.

According to records, Nutt called Shapiro at 10:17 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2006 and the call lasted 30 minutes. Nutt then hung up and called his agent, Jimmy Sexton, before contacting Shapiro again that same day. Nutt also called Hernandez four times in a span of four hours that day.

That alternate reality almost came true! The theoretical NCAA violations are almost certainly even worse, aren't they? That's not an attack specifically on Nutt, who was head coach of Ole Miss at the time of the report, but Shannon brought a deep and abiding respect for the University of Miami and the rules it (ostensibly) operates under, and Insert Any Big-Name Coach With No Miami Ties Here almost certainly wouldn't bring that same approach. Get that same coach from the SEC, and the rules are going to get bent beyond recognition, like so many flat sheets of paper turned into origami swans.

Still, it's worth noting that Shapiro's influence did not get Nutt the Miami job. Not only that, Miami hired the most anti-Shapiro coach fathomable, and Shapiro was so angry at the Hurricanes' new adherence to the rules that he tried to pick a fight with Miami's director of compliance during a bowl game. If anything saves the program during the impending NCAA bloodshed, it's the fact that in the middle of Shapiro's influence on the program, it ignored Shapiro's contact with an in-demand coach that flirted with multiple BCS programs before eventually landing at Arkansas, where Nutt has since led the program to a BCS bowl game.

So imagining Houston Nutt as the Miami coach post-Larry Coker is nothing more than a thought exercise, because absent some evidence that not even Yahoo! could conjure up -- and lord knows they tried -- there's nothing the NCAA can point to that would suggest the Miami administrators valued anything about Shapiro or Nutt over what Shannon and his compliance-centric approach offered the program. That's small comfort for a football program trying to distance itself from the excesses of Shapiro and his well-documented interaction with the team, but it's also a fact that just might save the Hurricanes' program from the death penalty.


*For the record, Shapiro's lawyer, Maria Elena Perez, said in a phone interview that she believed Shannon had direct knowledge of Shapiro's dealings, but even her statement was phrased in a way that it wasn't entirely credible; it seems much more likely that Perez misremembered the facts than that Yahoo!'s 11-month investigation missed or omitted evidence that Shannon was directly involved, doesn't it? 

Posted on: August 20, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Larry Coker not distracted by Miami scandal

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As the University of Texas-San Antonio prepares to play the first football game in school's history, a lot of the attention being paid to the team right now has to do with the school its head coach used to coach at. Larry Coker spent 12 years coaching at Miami, and won a national title with the Hurricanes as head coach in 2001.

The five years Coker spent as head coach at Miami coincided with the time that Nevin Shapiro claims he was lavishing the team with all sorts of gifts and perks, and while Coker feels bad for what's going on at Miami right now, he seems more concerned about life at UTSA.

“I'm almost more distraught, because I was there for 12 years,” Coker told the San Antonio Express-News. “(It's) not a distraction, because I haven't done anything. But the people there, the players ... it's very hurtful, it really is.” 

What Coker didn't do was say whether or not he knew of the things Shapiro was doing at Miami, saying in a report earlier in the week that he knew Shapiro by name only.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 3:39 pm
 

AUDIO: Shapiro attorney says Shannon, Coker knew

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the names most conspicuously absent from the Nevin Shapiro report produced by Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday was that of former Miami head coach Randy Shannon, whose career fell entirely within the timeframe of Shapiro's allegations. It made sense, on some level; Shannon's always been something of a "by the rules, at all costs" type of coach, and his discipline and integrity are generally thought of as above reproach. He's one of the good guys, as the story goes.

Slight problem: Nevin Shapiro's attorney Maria Elena Perez has other ideas about Shannon's role in the scandal. To that end, Perez was on "Armando and the Amigo," a radio program with Armando Salguero (Miami Herald columnist), Chris Perkins (CBSSports.com Dolphins RapidReporter), and Larry Milian (longtime Miami-area radio personality) on 640-AM WMEN in Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

For those unable or unwilling to listen to Ms. Perez's statement, here's what she told Salguero, Perkins, and Milian:

Perez: "Well, I wouldn't say that [Miami president] Donna Shalala knew that there was NCAA violations going on. She obviously knew that Nevin was a benefactor, someone that was giving money to the school, because there's a picture of her receiving a check at an event at Lucky Strike on the beach, it's photographed on the Yahoo! Sports article. So I don't think that she knew that there were NCAA violations, but I know that the coaches knew. And I know that--
Host: "Which coaches?"
Perez: "--the organization knew, and that's why they let him lead them out of the tunnel on a couple of occasions!"
Host: "Randy Shannon knew?" 
Perez: "Excuse me?"
Host: "Randy Shannon knew?"
Perez: "I believe, based on what my client has indicated, that Randy Shannon did know."
Host: "Larry Coker knew?"
Perez: "Um... I believe, based my client's representations, that Larry Coker did know."
Host: "And obviously, in the story, Frank Haith--"
Perez: "That is correct."
Host: "Frank Haith knew."
Perez: "That is correct."

One hopes for Shannon's sake that Perez's recollection of Shapiro's statements is incorrect, and given that we're talking about 100 hours of jailhouse testimony to Yahoo! Sports alone, that's not out of the realm of possibility. If she's right though, and if Shapiro is accurate that Shannon, Coker, and Haith all knew about the illegal activity, then Miami is in a world of NCAA trouble.

Posted on: August 16, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 2:33 am
 

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

Posted by Chip Patterson and Adam Jacobi

Former Miami booster and indicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro provided thousands of dollars in impermissible benefits to "at least 72 student-athletes" between 2002 and 2010, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.

The investigation included over 100 hours of jailhouse interviews with Shapiro, along with financial records and corroboration from several sources - including former Miami players - to support the claims. Among the most alarming details to the program include seven former coaches and three athletic support staff who either witnessed, had knowledge of, or even participated in Shapiro committing all kinds of NCAA violations. The report details the life of a rampant rule-breaker who was never told to stop.

"At a cost that Shapiro estimates in the millions of dollars, he said his benefits to athletes included but were not limited to: cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and on one occasion, an abortion," Robinson writes.

One former Miami player, running back Tyrone Moss, told Yahoo! Sports he accepted $1,000 from Shapiro around the time he was entering college. "Hell yeah, I recruited a lot of kids for Miami," Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports. "With access to the clubs, access to the strip joints. My house. My boat. We're talking about high school football players. Not anybody can just get into the clubs or strip joints. Who is going to pay for it and make it happen? That was me."

The University of Miami has not commented specifically on the allegations made by Shapiro, as is generally the policy of schools under NCAA investigation, except to say that Shapiro was not as forthcoming to the school and to the NCAA as he was to Yahoo! Sports.

“When Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the university,” Miami associate for communications Chris Freet said. “We notified the NCAA enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. We take these matters very seriously.”

Shapiro was once one of Miami's most prominent boosters, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars (and committing $250,000 more) to the football program, and presenting head basketball coach Frank Haith (now of Missouri) and current Miami president Donna Shalala with a check for $50,000 -- earmarked for the basketball program -- at one fundraiser. Shapiro alleges that his donations were was enough for Miami's brass to look the other way on the litany of violations he was perpetrating because they were so desperate for donations.

In fact, not only did Miami officials cast a blind eye to Shapiro, they embraced him as a booster, naming a student lounge after him and letting him lead the team onto its home field before games -- twice. In fact, former Miami athletic director Paul Dee maintained as of Tuesday that Miami "didn't have any suspicion that he was doing anything like this. He didn't do anything to cause concern." Dee is the former chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, having served the maximum allowable nine-year term as chair. 

Miami report fallout

Shapiro said he gave money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts to a long list of notable former Hurricanes including Vince Wilfork, Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and the late Sean Taylor.

The potential fall-out from this report could be devastating to the Miami athletic department. Miami's football program was hit with serious sanctions in 1995. Many thought that the program would be protected by any allegations because of the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations. However, under NCAA bylaw 36.2.3 an investigation can expand beyond the statute if information reveals that in individual tied to a university has engaged in "a pattern of willful violations" over a sustained period beyond the previous four years.

One of the most damning aspects of the report was that while Shapiro was a booster for the Hurricanes, he was also acting as a runner for a sports agency -- Axcess Sports & Entertainment -- that he also owned a minority share of. Shapiro's partner in that agency, former NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue, vehemently denied Shapiro's charges to the Associated Press.

"It's just fantasy," Huyghue said. "He never had any role in my company. He didn't have the acumen to represent players."

Yahoo! Sports reported that Axcess signee Vince Wilfork received $50,000 and a pair of Cadillac Escalades from Shapiro on behalf of the agency, however, and that Hester recognized Shapiro as a runner (though Hester did not name which agent).

Among the litany of gifts and incentives that Shapiro lavished on the Hurricanes included a $5,000 bounty on rival quarterbacks Chris Rix of Florida State and Tim Tebow of Florida. Neither quarterback was knocked out of a game against Miami, but Shapiro said Rix was targeted several time by Miami defenders.

“We pounded the (expletive) out of [Rix],” Shapiro said. “Watch the tape of those games. You’ll see so many big hits on him. Guys were all going after that $5,000 in cash. [Jon Vilma] tried to kill him – just crushed him – a couple of times trying to get that $5,000. And he almost got it, too.” 

Vilma, a current member of the New Orleans Saints, did not comment to Yahoo! Sports.

Now, Shapiro's prediction of the "death penalty" for Miami -- an entire season's cancellation, which is punishment only meted out by the NCAA once, to flagrant and repeat offenders Southern Methodist, in 1987 -- will probably not come true. Robinson even said as much in an interview on ESPN on Tuesday night, saying the idea isn't "reasonable or possible with any program anymore."

And yet it might be. For perhaps the first time since that fateful day in February 1987, the notion of a "death penalty" is now at least a remote possibility. For Miami, that means some of the NCAA's strongest sanctions are likely in store, so even if the worst-case scenario doesn't come true, the once-storied program will probably be damaged for years and years to come.  

AP Sports Writers Steven Wine, Eric Olson, Cliff Brunt and RB Fallstrom contributed to this story.

Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Miami responds to NCAA investigation

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami has stayed mum on the subject of the NCAA's investigation into claims of impermissible benefits until Tuesday. No players will be available to the media, but head coach Al Golden spoke to reporters before Tuesday's morning practice and the school offered this official statement.

When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously.

Golden informed reporters that he is learning about the investigation as the public/reporters are, because the NCAA has not identified him as someone of interest in this investigation. There are current players on the roster who have and/or will be interviewed, but they will not be contacting the coach and Golden will not be a part of the process.

CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported today that the investigation could uncover serious NCAA violations, citing a source that believes that "between a 1 and 10," the scandal-in-waiting is "a 10."

In the below video you will also hear Golden claim that when he was hired, then-athletic director Kirby Hocutt did not inform of possible NCAA violations.  CBSSports.com's Daniel Walker reports that Texas Tech's athletic department (where Hocutt is currently AD) offered an official "no comment" in response to Golden's claim.  Hocutt was the Hurricanes AD when Golden was hired in December, then left for Lubbock, TX in Febrauary.  Golden did say that he would still have taken the job, even if he did have knowledge of a potential investigation.  

Full interview of Golden with the media on Tuesday morning below, courtesy of Canes All-Access


Posted on: August 15, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Lawyer: Miami booster has been talking with NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA spent Monday morning on Miami's campus investigating claims that Miami football players received impermissible benefits from former UM booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro.

CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer reported the investigation, and the Associated Press confirmed the NCAA's presence on campus after speaking to Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez.
His attorney, Maria Elena Perez, says Shapiro has told the NCAA he provided players with the use of a yacht and other favors. Shapiro and Perez have been talking with the NCAA about the matter for a couple of months, and she says investigators were on campus Monday.
Shapiro claims he is working on a tell-all book about Miami football that is expected to name nearly 100 Hurricanes who broke NCAA rules since 2001. He was a big-time booster who, unfortunately, became very close with the team and was often seen on the Miami sideline. One CBSSports.com source told Fischer Miami was in "big trouble" and "Shapiro would be able to back up his allegations."

Shapiro, 42, was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme. While one argument in Miami's favor would try to paint this as a desperate man looking for publicity, Shapiro's legal troubles could actually end up hurting Miami. In other situations money trails disappear and make it difficult for allegations to stick, I bet it is impossible for someone already convicted of investment fraud to hide any transactions.

University officials have not offered an official comment on the issue. Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for more as it develops.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Cal coach: recruiting begins with Internet sites

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Few elements in the world of modern-day college football are as controversial as the Internet's now-ubiquitous recruiting services and recruiting rankings. Some fans consider them an excellent gauge of a team's future talent; some consider their evaluations worthless. Some consider them a distracting blight that feeds the egos of young athletes and builds (or lowers) expectations for a program based on nothing more than wild guesses; some see them as a fun, engaging, necessary diversion that helps pass the offseason grind and makes fans more informed to boot.

But one of the biggest questions surrounding recruiting rankings (like those by our Maxpreps colleagues and Tom Lemming ) has been: do they matter to the people in college football who, you know, matter? Though it's only one very small response as part of a much larger Q&A, an answer given by Cal linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Kenwick Thompson at a recruiting-centric Bear fan gathering (as recorded by California Golden Blogs ) suggests that, yes, on some level they do.

According to Thompson , the recruiting process at Cal begins with the Bear coaches examining "data" from Rivals and Scout as well as a third (unnamed) recruiting service. It's that data which helps Thompson and the rest of the staff create a "dossier" of potential recruits which the Bears may or not pursue according to the team's needs.

Thompson's not the first coach to admit that he's aware of (or even using) the recruiting services. Larry Coker's Miami staff reportedly bypassed much of their own evaluative process in favor of simply using Rivals rankings. Auburn recruting coordinator Curtis Luper once said of the rankings that "if they're keeping the score, you want to win, right?" Penn State assistant Jay Paterno wrote himself only last week that some coaches have been so fixated on recruiting rankings that they've become willing to oversign to make sure they stay near the top of them.

This is not to say that Thompson's Bears or any staff are letting the recruiting services do their work for them. From the rest of Thompson's Q&A, it seems clear he and Jeff Tedford's staff are using the "data" collected there only as a starting point, with plenty of evaluative legwork still to do afterwards. But it also seems clear that the recruiting sites are very much on the minds of FBS coaches, and that yes, the information they provide --unless the Bears are the only ones, which seems highly unlikely -- is being put to some kind of use by programs at or near even the top of the college food chain.

Love them or hate them, what you can't say about the recruiting services is that they aren't having an impact on the landscape of college football.

HT: EDSBS .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com