Update: McCarney confirms stroke, leaning on vodka elixer

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UPDATED 2/14/2012 @ 3:27 p.m. ET: North Texas head coach Dan McCarney confirmed to the Des Moines Register that he had indeed suffered a stroke over the weekend.  McCarney told the paper that, after his daily workout Sunday morning, he “was just sitting down to eat a sandwich when my left side went numb.”

He remains hospitalized, but doctors told him he’s fine and that “[t]hey’re expecting a full recovery – no permanent damage.”  The health issue should not prevent McCarney from coaching his team in spring practice.

As for the steps he will take to get beyond the medical setback and ensure his presence at the sessions?

“Nothing wrong with me that a little Grey Goose won’t cure,” the 58-year-old coach said, quickly becoming the leader in the clubhouse for inspirational quote of the year in college football.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, UNT confirmed that McCarney has been moved out of ICU and will continue to undergo medical treatment.  A statement from McCarney was also included in the release:

First, thanks to all the wonderful people who sent well-wishes during my time of illness.  I am reminded of how truly blessed I am by the number of family, friends and colleagues that have reached out to show support to Margy and myself with words of support and encouragement. 

After suffering numbness on the left side of my body Sunday, we called 911 and were subsequently rushed to the hospital.  I have been told by the doctors that the early recognition of the symptoms and the quick response of the paramedics indeed helped minimize the impact of the stroke.  Thanks to the care of the wonderful medical staff that I have been under, I am confident that there will be no long-lasting effects and I will be able to return my normal routine in time.

While I have a great passion for coaching and approach my job with a tireless effort, I’m sure that my doctors will ask that I come back at a slower pace.  I fully intend on leading the North Texas football program through spring drills and can’t wait to be back around my staff and players. 

If there is any lesson to be learned in all of this it is to make yourself aware of the signs of a stroke and act immediately when those signs become present.  I’m not sure if our quick reaction saved my life, but it definitely save the quality of my life. 

Thanks again for all the thoughts, prayers and signs of support.

______________________________

There’s some potentially unfortunate news coming out of Denton, Texas, today involving North Texas head coach Dan McCarney. 

According to the Twitter account of Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly, McCarney suffered a stroke. A spokesperson close to McCarney confirmed to CFT that the coach was admitted to a hospital yesterday and underwent “a battery of tests”, but could not provide any more details.

UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal offered the following statement:

“Yesterday afternoon after returning from Miami I spoke with Margy McCarney who said that her husband, Dan, had experienced some medical difficulties significant enough that he was taken to the hospital.  The details that we know at this time are that he was admitted and is currently undergoing a battery of tests and will continue to be under observation.

“The exact cause and nature of the symptoms of his illness are not immediately known by us at this time.  The family has asked until a complete diagnosis and a course of treatment is established that their privacy be respected.  We can’t comment any further at this time and will release information as it becomes available and approved by the family.”

McCarney led North Texas to a 5-7 season in his first year with the Mean Green after spending three years as the defensive line coach at Florida. McCarney also spent 12 years as the head coach at Iowa State.

Obviously, our thoughts are with McCarney and his family, and hopefully, we’ll be able to update this story with some more positive news soon.

Pair of Alabama defenders undergo surgery after Tide’s spring game

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Alabama’s spring game wrapped up on Saturday and with it, the last of the Crimson Tide’s spring practices. While that means the coaching staff is free to fly across the country to visit recruits during the evaluation period, it also results in several players going under the knife to correct injuries in order to be back by fall camp.

Two of those players are starting cornerback Anthony Averett and (likely starting) linebacker Christian Miller, both of whom underwent sports hernia surgery this week according to AL.com.

The report states that Averett played with the hernia most of last season while the Tide marched their way to the national title game. Miller was one of the stars of the show on Saturday during Alabama’s spring game, recording two sacks while dealing with the injury.

Both are expected to be fully healthy for camp in August as Nick Saban and company vie for yet another conference title and berth in the College Football Playoff.

SEC commissioner hints at review of rules regarding alcohol sales in football stadiums

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The prohibition of alcohol at football stadiums has undergone one interesting about-face in college athletics the past 15 years or so. While various suite levels at stadiums across the country have generally had access to a few adult beverages, there’s been some very large programs that have opened up the taps in the general seating areas the last few years.

From West Virginia to Texas to Ohio State, more and more programs are selling beer and/or liquor across the board and raking in hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in added revenue while doing so. One conference that isn’t jumping in on that trend however has been the SEC, which has numerous restrictions on where those types of beverages can be sold. That may be about to change in the near future however according to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.

“At some point, I’m relatively certain, there will be further review of the prohibition,” said Sankey on Monday, per The Tuscaloosa News. “That doesn’t predict any outcome.”

While you may think that the league is close to opening the floodgates on alcohol being served at stadiums across the conference, you probably shouldn’t jump to any conclusions on the matter as Sankey seemed to hold his ground and stand firm on keeping things as is right now.

“The conference has a policy that says that we’re not selling alcohol in the general seating area,” he added. “Now, you can agree or disagree with that policy, but that’s the policy. The basis for changing that or maintaining it is one that’s developed in the conversation.

“I think we were at like 98 percent ticket sales in football… So is that one-percent margin a trade that we’re going to make?”

It’s no secret that of-age fans can easily find a few beverages at SEC tailgates prior to games nowadays but it seems momentum is slowing building in the conference to allow fans to buy some during a game. It might not happen anytime in the very near future but the conversation is certainly going to keep popping up each year with many more schools across the country jumping in on this trend.

QB Malik Zaire reportedly sets timetable for transfer decision while adding Harvard to the mix

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While we don’t yet know where former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is transferring to, we might have an idea of when he plans on making a move this offseason.

Per Orangebloods.com’s Anwar Richardson, the signal-caller has zeroed in on the end of May for an announcement on his new school in a timetable that coincides with the Irish’s graduation ceremonies. Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that there may also be a new school in the mix and it’s known for being a powerhouse of a different kind away from the gridiron.

“In addition, I was told a new school is in the mix. Zaire is still considering Texas, Wisconsin and Florida, and the grad transfer quarterback has added Harvard to his short list. It remains unclear how serious Zaire is about playing Ivy League football. If he does go that route, Harvard would be his landing spot.”

The Ivy League power is an interesting new destination for Zaire and could be a pretty good backup option given what’s going on at his other finalists.

While Texas and Wisconsin are both on his shortlist, both the Longhorns and Badgers return their starting quarterbacks from last season in Shane Buechele and Alex Hornibrook. Richardson reports that Zaire wants to start in 2017 and not hold a clipboard but he is still keeping his options opens when it comes to the thin depth charts at the position in both Austin and Madison.

Complicating things is Florida, which should be a prime landing spot for Zaire were it not for an SEC rule passed last year that is preventing him from transferring him there this offseason. The league is set to talk about changes to that rule at their spring meetings in Destin, Fla. but it remains unclear if the QB will wait and see before making a decision (and it’s entirely possible the SEC keeps things as they are).

Either way, the former Irish starter does not appear to be lacking options when it comes to the graduate transfer market.

Tennessee hires College Football Playoff CFO for administrative role

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Tennessee might not be a favorite to make the College Football Playoff in 2017 but the school is doing their best to bring a little bit of the sport’s postseason to Knoxville.

Athletic director John Currie announced on Tuesday that the Vols would be hiring the College Football Playoff’s Chief Financial Officer Reid Sigmon as Tennessee’s new Executive Associate Athletics Director and Chief Operating Officer. The hire isn’t too surprising considering the two worked together for several years at Kansas State in very similar roles.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Reid Sigmon to the Tennessee Athletics family,” Currie said in a statement. “He has earned national credibility as part of a visionary leadership group creating the College Football Playoff organization for the last four years, and his tremendous integrity and understanding of college athletics make him a perfect addition to our Tennessee leadership team.”

Sigmon served in a variety of roles in college athletics as well as the NFL before eventually landing with the College Football Playoff. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that he starts at Tennessee on May 15 with a salary of $285,000 per year.