A&M officially adds two to coaching staff

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With three spots open on his Texas A&M coaching staff, Kevin Sumlin has officially filled two of those — with a third on its way to becoming official as well.

The two confirmed additions are Jake Spavital and Jeff Banks, the school announced Thursday.  The former will serve as co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach as previously reported, the latter as special teams coordinator/tight ends coach.

Spavital comes to the Aggies after spending the past two seasons as Dana Holgorsen‘s quarterbacks coach at West Virginia.  Holgorsen was Sumlin’s offensive coordinator at Houston in 2008-09, with Spavital serving on the same staff.

Kliff Kingsbury, who left his College Station post for the head coaching job at Texas Tech, had previously held the coordinator title as well as the quarterback duties.

“I know I have some big shoes to fill,” Spavital said. “I’m excited to be here, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of keeping this offense moving in the right direction. It’s been a smooth transition for me so far. I was with Clarence (McKinney) and B.J. (Anderson) when they were putting in the offense (at Houston) and I know Coach (David) Beatty from when he was at Rice, so I’m familiar with the staff.”

Banks will also be replacing a Sumlin assistant who was hired as a head coach this offseason; earlier this month, Brian Polian was tabbed as the successor to the legendary Chris Ault at Nevada.

Banks comes to the Aggies by way of UTEP and a (very) brief pit stop in Charlottesville.  Jan. 3, Virginia announced that Banks had been hired as Mike London‘s running backs coach/special teams coordinator.  Exactly a week later, UVa. announced that Banks had left to “to pursue another coaching position.”

Obviously, “another” involved a move from the ACC to the SEC for Banks.

“Texas A&M is one of the premier coaching stops in college football with Coach Sumlin and the SEC, which is the nation’s best conference,” Banks said. “Coach Polian did a great job with the special teams last year, and my goal will be to try to be even better.”

With that, the lone hole in Sumlin’s 2013 staff is at linebackers as Matt Wallerstedt followed Kingsbury to the Red Raiders as defensive coordinator.

While the school has yet to announce a hiring for that vacancy, Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson confirmed Thursday that Hoosiers defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen has accepted a job at A&M.

(Photo credit: West Virginia athletics)

Longtime UCLA staffer Angus McClure’s hire one of two announced by Nevada

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The departure of a longtime UCLA staffer has officially been confirmed.

Late last week, reports surfaced that Angus McClure was leaving UCLA for a position at Nevada.  Tuesday, the Mountain West Conference football program confirmed that McClure has been hired as Jay Norvell‘s new offensive line coach.

McClure had been with the Bruins since 2007, serving at various times as position coach for both sides of UCLA’s lines as well as special teams.  Most recently, McClure had served as recruiting coordinator for the Pac-12 school.

McClure and Norvell have a prior working relationship as they were both on the same staffs at Nebraska and UCLA.

In addition to McClure, David Lockwood was announced as Nevada’s new safeties coach.  Lockwood was on the UNLV staff last season after spending the previous three years as the cornerbacks coach at Arizona.

“I think we made our staff stronger with these two veteran hires,” Norvell said in a statement. “I’m excited about the experience and expertise that we have added to the Wolf Pack coaching staff.”

Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey dies at 84

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Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey died on Saturday night at the age of 84.

A Texas native, Dickey played quarterback at Houston in the 1950’s and started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater. From there he took assistant jobs at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas and North Carolina before landing the K-State job ahead of the 1978 season. He went 25-53-2 in seven-plus seasons on the job, which doesn’t look like much at first blush until one takes stock of where the Wildcat football program was at the time.

Dickey took Kansas State to the Independence Bowl in 1982, a 14-3 loss to Wisconsin, which was the first bowl appearance in program history. He was named the Big 8’s Coach of the Year for that season.

After back-to-back 3-win seasons in 1983 and ’84, he was let go after an 0-2 start to the 1985 campaign. The program would remain historically down until future College Football Hall of Famer Bill Snyder built the program up in the 1990’s.

Dickey finished out his career as an assistant on the pre-Steve Spurrier Florida teams before retiring in 1989. He lived at a rest home in Houston at the time of his passing, according to the Manhattan Mercury. Dickey’s son, Darrell Dickey, is the former head coach at North Texas and currently the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Trio of players transferring from Missouri

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As we trudge deeper into the college football offseason, roster attrition across the sport has shown no signs of slowing down.

It was confirmed Tuesday that three players have decided to take their leave of the Missouri football program.  Two of the departees are defensive backs (redshirt freshman Jerod Alton, redshirt sophomore TJ Warren) while the other is a wide receiver (redshirt junior Ray Wingo).

All three of the transferring players were three-star recruits coming out of high school.  Wingo, who moved to receiver after his redshirt season in 2014, was the highest-rated of the group, with 247Sports.com pegging him as the No. 24 cornerback in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Missouri.

After catching five passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016, Wingo didn’t record a reception at all in 2017.  He’ll finish the Mizzou portion of his playing career with 167 yards and those two touchdowns on his nine receptions.

Warren played in 18 games the past two seasons, including six last year.  He started one of those games, with that coming during the 2016 season.

Alton took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.