Frank Thomas

How Pat Dye helped push Frank Thomas toward a Hall of Fame baseball career

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Long before Frank Thomas hit 521 home runs and was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he was a tight end at Auburn under longtime Tigers coach Pat Dye.

Thomas played one year under Dye, catching three passes for 45 yards in 1986 for the 10-2 Tigers. He signed up to play baseball at Auburn, too, and was a freshman All-American on the diamond the following spring. It was around then Dye came to him with a hard truth.

“When I got to Auburn, I saw how deep the program was,” Thomas told reporters in a press conference in Chicago on Wednesday. “Every position was four deep … Coach Dye told me at the time, you might want to start thinking about baseball. He told me that baseball could be my future. We have three guys right there with you, same talent and same spring. You have a special talent here in baseball and you might want to start thinking about that. He was right.”

Thomas went on to be a first-round pick of the White Sox in 1989 and, according to Baseball-Reference.com, earned over $100 million in his 19-year career. And while he probably would’ve figured it baseball was his sport for himself, Dye at least helped push him in that direction early on.

Safe to say, he made the right choice. Even if baseball wasn’t his preferred sport.

“Football was my game,” Thomas said. “… But I could play baseball and I could play baseball at a high level, but I grew up down south and people didn’t care about baseball. It wasn’t the cool sport back then. But I had an out.”

Ex-LSU, Rutgers QB moves on to FCS school

PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26: Hayden Rettig #11 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on before a game against the Kansas Jayhawks at High Point Solutions Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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Maybe the third time, this time at a lower level, will be the charm?

In early December of last year, Hayden Rettig became one of three quarterbacks who had decided to leave Rutgers.  Nearly three months later, Rettig has found a new home, with the transferring signal-caller confirming to nj.com that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Tennessee Tech.

As he’s both a graduate transfer and a player dropping down a level, Rettig will be available to play immediately in 2017. This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

“It’s a good fit,” Rettig told the website. “I think we can do a lot there. I love the coaches. I just wanted a place where I was needed, and Tennessee Tech was the place.”

Rettig, a four-star 2013 recruit, transferred from LSU to Rutgers in June of 2014.  After sitting out that season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Rettig played in five games (one start) the next two years; none of those appearances came in 2016.

He was named Academic All-Big Ten following the 2015 season.

UNLV goes Ivy in replacing RBs coach poached by North Carolina

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Members of UNLV Rebels marching band perform in the stands during UNLV's game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Raided by the ACC, UNLV has officially turned its eyes to the Ivy League for its coaching replacement.

Travis Burkett, the football program has announced, has been hired the Rebels’ running backs coach.  Burkett will replace DeAndre Smith, who left last week for a job at North Carolina.

Smith had been with Tony Sanchez‘s program for just three months or so, coming to Las Vegas by way of Purdue.

The past 10 seasons, Burkett served as an assistant at Cornell.  Prior to that, he was a graduate assistant at Bucknell.

This will be Burkett’s first job at any capacity at the FBS level.  His new employer added the following in announcing his addition:

At UNLV, Burkett inherits a rushing attack that stood 15th in the nation last fall with 241.5 yards per game, which ranked fourth in program history and was the most since 1979. All three of the team’s top rushers return in 2017.

Vandy turns to familiar face to fill coaching role of assistant fighting cancer

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22:  Josh Crawford #22 of the Vanderbilt Commodores celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee State Tigers scored by teammate Trent Sherfield #10 during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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With an assistant fighting a significant health issue, Derek Mason has turned to someone very familiar with the Vanderbilt football program to fill the coaching void.

Vandy confirmed Monday that Warren Belin has been hired as the Commodores’ outside linebackers coach. Belin will, at least temporarily, replace Osia Lewis, who stepped down from his job as he battles liver cancer. Lewis will transition into an of-field role within the program as he fights the disease.

The announcement came on the same day Vandy kicked off spring practice.

From 2002 through 2009, Belin was Vandy’s linebacker’s coach under Bobby Johnson. He was at Wake Forest in the same role from 2013-15.

Last season, he was with the Demon Deacons in an off-field role as director of high school relations.

Blocked from Pitt and Syracuse, Gus Edwards’ transfer from Miami to Rutgers is official

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Gus Edwards #7 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Sunlife Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In opting to leave Miami in late January, Gus Edwards was restricted by the university from transferring to two of his top choices in Pittsburgh and Syracuse as they were on this coming season’s schedule. A little over a month later, the Staten Island native, who wanted to transfer and move closer to home as he was a new father, has found his new college football home in the same area of the country.

On its official Twitter account earlier Monday, Rutgers announced that Edwards has transferred into the Scarlet Knights football program. As Edwards will be coming in as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

The upcoming season will be the running back’s final year of eligibility.

Edwards was third on the team this past season in rushing with 290 yards. For his Hurricanes career, the 6-1, 230-pound back ran for 977 yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries.

A foot injury suffered in summer camp cost Edwards the entire 2015 season. He received a medical redshirt for that season.