With the assistant coaching carousel continuing to spin rapidly, one key position has just opened up out west. Stanford announced the retirement of defensive line coach Randy Hart Tuesday morning.
“I am honored and blessed to have been at so many great places with so many fantastic coaches, student-athletes and fans,” Hart said in a released statement. “And for that, I’m one of the luckiest coaches ever. I have loved each one of my players, and have enjoyed working with every staff member throughout the years. Everyone has to make this decision at some point in time, and this was the right time for me and my family.”
Hart spent the final six years of his coaching career with Stanford during a highly successful run for the program. With Hart on the staff, Stanford’s defense was one of the top defensive units on an annual basis. Hart also spent time coaching at Ohio State, Notre Dame, Washington, Purdue, Iowa State, and Tampa. Hart played for Ohio State under the legendary head coach Woody Hayes. It was with Hayes and the Buckeyes that Hart got his coaching career started as a graduate assistant in 1970 and 1971. He later rejoined the Buckeyes staff in 1982 and stayed there until 1987 when he left for Washington and later took on a role as defensive coordinator.
“Randy’s career speaks for itself when you look at a national championship, Rose Bowls and all of the players he helped get to the NFL,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “It has been a privilege for me to watch him push young men to be their best athletically, as well as academically, and prepare them for life.
History was made in the most recent recruiting cycle when Stanford welcomed Austrian-born defensive lineman Thomas Schaffer to the Cardinal family. Schaffer, 19, will be the first football player from Austria to play at the FBS level.
Schaffer was a three-star defensive end recruit, according to Rivals, and he ultimately chose Stanford over offers from Oregon, Michigan State, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and many others. Despite not coming to the United States until 2013, Schaffer did not take long to grab some eyes from big name college programs. At 6′-7″ and 260 pounds, it would have been hard to miss him. Schaffer moved to Illinois in 2013 and started playing football for Lake Forest Academy. Before long, his natural speed and athleticism made him a respected recruit. Those paying close enough attention though may have had an early glimpse at what he could do a year prior to that, as he played for Austria in the U19 World Championships in Houston in 2012. Playing in the United States was a bit of a transition for Schaffer after first playing some in Austria, but he seemed to like that.
“I played for a small club there, so I had to play both ways,” Schaffer said in a profile story by Bleacher Report last May. “It wasn’t really organized. In Austria, it wasn’t a big deal like it is here with high school football. It was enough to help me fall in love with the game and try to pursue it at a higher level.”
American football has been growing in Europe and has become pretty competitive in Germany and Austria. These countries have become two of the better nations in terms of American football talent, so it was only a matter of time before the nation of Austria managed to send one of its best to one of the top programs in the country.
Former Sacramento State (FCS) and Adam State (Division 2) offensive lineman Aleksandar Milanovic was the first Austrian-born player to play NCAA football.
Have you ever seen a piece of legislature being discussed in a local, state or federal government and thought to yourself “Don’t they have more important things to worry about?” In the same week Iowa is celebrated for its political involvement on the presidential campaign trail, we must ask that very question today. That is because a piece of state legislature is now threatening to prohibit Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa from associating in any way with Stanford University unless the Pac-12 school’s marching band issues a formal apology to the state of Iowa.
“I think it’s unfortunate because here in Iowa we try to teach sportsmanship,” Chelgren said, according to Des Moines Register. “We try to teach courtesy, and when someone behaves in a way that is contrary to that, we need to point it out.”
The bill would still allow for sports competitions between Stanford and the three state universities to be held and any contracts between the schools already signed off on will be honored. Basically, this is political grandstanding at the expense of the Stanford marching band, which may just be a waste of time because there is no way the Stanford band is going to apologize for their Rose Bowl performance.
This now being a political issue, one Iowa Democrat says the bill only ends up hurting Iowa universities.
“I think what they did was offensive, but I don’t think you could blame the institution of Stanford University for it,” Sen. Robert Dvorsky (D) said. “I understand that some people were offended. Here is the problem: It is not an official Stanford marching band. They are just a student organization. It is not like the Hawkeye Marching Band and people should be aware of that. It is just some sort of loosely organized student organization.”
The answer to the earlier question is yes, there are more important things to be worried about in the Iowa government than hurt feelings over a halftime show at a bowl game.
The Stanford all-around dynamo was announced as the winner of the Jet Award earlier this week? Never heard of the Jet Award? It’s hard to blame you.
The Johnny Rodgers National College Football Return Specialist Award — also known as the Jet Award — was created in 2011 to honor the Nebraska return man by the same name.
McCaffrey totaled 37 kickoff returns for 1,070 yards and one touchdown — good for a 28.92 average, which ranked eighth nationally. The rising junior also returned 15 punts for 130 yards and a score. Overall, McCaffrey, the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2015, broke Barry Sanders‘ single-season all-purpose yardage record with 3,864 yards.
McCaffrey beat out USC’s Adoree Jackson and Rutgers’s Janorian Grant for the honor. Kansas State’s Tyler Lockettclaimed the award in 2014 and Stanford’s Ty Montgomerygarnered the honor in 2013. He’ll be honored at a banquet in Omaha this April.
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey shares advice for younger generation
Once again proving there really is almost nothing he cannot do, Stanford’s Heisman Trophy finalist Christian McCaffrey took to Twitter late Wednesday night to offer his sage advice for the younger generation out there. To sum it up briefly, McCaffrey wants kids to put their phones down and go out to enjoy all life has to offer.
“Enjoy the authenticity of this world, McCaffrey said on his Twitter account. “Read a book, ride your bike, go to the park, play in the backyard, or build a fort. Do something with your friends that will spur your imagination.”
McCaffrey did not lose sight of the irony in posting a message like this by using his phone, but insisted it was necessary to share his message.
“I know it’s ironic I’m writing this on a phone but I feel like this message needs to be heard,” McCaffrey added. “Enjoy this world and the people in it, especially around your family and friends, because I promise you it’s way better to experience the world face to face.”
Those are some inspiring words from one of college football’s best players, but then again, what would you expect from a Stanford-educated soul?