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Middle Tennessee fills linebackers coach hole with Notre Dame analyst

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Middle Tennessee filled a late-in-the-year hole on its staff on Thursday.

The Blue Raiders have announced the hiring of Siriki Diabate as their new linebackers coach, filling a hole created when David Bibee resigned late last month.

“This is a tremendous opportunity with a program that has done a lot of great stuff under Coach (Rick) Stockstill,” Diabate said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get there and join the staff, meet the players and begin preparing for the season.”

Diabate spent the past two seasons coaching safeties at Colgate, and in March joined the Notre Dame staff as a defensive analyst.

“I am excited to have Siriki join our staff,” Stockstill said. “He will be a great example and leader of our linebackers. I love his energy, enthusiasm and passion he possesses for the game of football. He played for Coach (Scott) Shafer, so he comes in with a great understanding of our defense which was critical considering how close we are to our report date.”

Diabate’s hiring was no doubt strongly influenced by new Blue Raiders defensive coordinator Scott Shafer. Diabate played at Syracuse and spent two seasons as a defensive graduate assistant under then-Orange head coach Shafer.

“Coach Shafer is someone who has been very influential in my career, and to have a chance to keep learning under him is like a dream come true,” Diabate said. “I can’t wait to team up with him and work extremely hard to put the best possible product on the field this fall.”

In wake of Bob Stoops’ retirement, thought of not being part of a team scares Nick Saban

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With the reverberations of Bob Stoops‘ shocking retirement announcement Wednesday still being felt, some attention has turned to just which long-tenured head coach could be next to step away from the profession.

At the moment, there are currently head coaches who have been at the same program for at least the last 10 consecutive years — Rice’s David Bailiff (2007), Air Force’s Troy Calhoun (2007), Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio (2007), Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (1999), Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (2006), Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (2005), Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo (2007), TCU’s Gary Patterson (2000), Alabama’s Nick Saban (2007), Ohio’s Frank Solich (2005), Middle Tennessee State’s Rick Stockstill (2006) and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham (2005).  Of the Power Five coaches in that group, the oldest, as well as most successful, is Saban, who’ll turn 66 in late October this year.

Saban is in the midst of what will be a Hall of Fame career that stretches back 45 years, the past 27 as a head coach.  Given his age and the ever-growing demands of the profession, it’s natural to wonder how long until the winner of five national championships hangs up his coaching whistle.

As for that particular subject, the coach himself doesn’t seem to even want to think about a future that doesn’t include him on the sidelines.

In the full article from Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News, Saban expounded on his coaching future and the “r” word.

“I don’t think that anybody can not have those thoughts,” the coach told the News. “But my thought is that I want to do it as long as I feel like I can do it. I really enjoy being around the players. I really enjoy trying to create value for them and their future whether it’s their personal development, seeing them graduate, seeing them develop as football players and have opportunities in life.”

Saban and Stoops and Stoops’ family — there’s a great story HERE about Saban and one of Stoops’ uncles in a Youngstown bar that was robbed — have been friends for more than four decades. Could Stoops’ abrupt decision to step away from the game have an impact on Saban, who earlier this signed off on a contract extension through the 2024 season? That’s unlikely as it seems that Saban has at least a few more good years left in him.

Then again, before Wednesday, most would’ve said the same for the 56-year-old Stoops.

Long-time MTSU assistant David Bibee abruptly resigns

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Just a little over two months before the start of the 2017 season, Rick Stockstill has an unexpected opening on his Middle Tennessee State coaching staff.

In a press release, MTSU announced that assistant coach David Bibee has resigned his post effective immediately.  No reason for the abrupt decision was offered up in the release by the football program.

“I have been with David a long time and he is a great friend,” said Stockstill in a statement. “I am very appreciative of his contribution to our program and have nothing but respect for him and his family. We all wish David the very best.”

Bibee had spent the past nine seasons as the Blue Raiders’ safeties coach.  Earlier in the offseason, Bibee switched positions as Stockstill put him charge of MTSU’s linebacking corps.

According to the school, Stockstill will begin a national search for a new linebackers coach immediately.

MTSU will open the 2017 season with a home game Sept. 2 against Vanderbilt.

Michigan adds future home games vs. Western Michigan, Middle Tennessee, and Army

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Michigan put the finishing touches on the football schedules for 2018 and 2019 with the additions of Western Michigan, Middle Tennessee, and Army. Both Western Michigan and Middle Tennessee will accept a healthy check for their appearances in Ann Arbor as well.

Michigan will host Western Michigan of the MAC on September 8, 2018 and pay the Broncos $1.2 million for the game. A year later, Michigan will start the season with back-to-back home games against Middle Tennessee (August 31, 2019) and Army (September 7, 2019). Michigan will pay Middle Tennessee $1.6 million, according to a press release from Middle Tennessee. It is unknown how much Army will receive for their trip to Michigan.

Michigan owns a 6-0 all-time record against Western Michigan and trails Army 5-4 in their all-time series history, although Michigan owns a four-game winning streak in the series. Michigan and Army last played each other in 1962. Michigan and Middle Tennessee State have never faced each other before.

The Big Ten scheduling requirement of playing a power conference opponent, or the equivalent of one as determined by the Big Ten office, was already satisfied with Michigan’s future scheduling efforts. The Wolverines play at Notre Dame to open the 2018 season and host the Irish in late October in 2019. Michigan will begin the 2017 season in Arlington, Texas against Florida and has future power conference opponents lined up in 2020 (at Washington, Virgina Tech), 2021 (at Virginia Tech, Washington), 2022 (UCLA), 2023 (at UCLA), 2024 (Texas), 2025 (at Oklahoma), 2026 (Oklahoma), and 2027 (at Texas).

Middle Tennessee State’s non-conference schedule in 2019 is jammed with power conference opponents. The Blue Raiders will also play a game at Iowa and will get a home game against Duke in addition to their trip to Michigan. The program also faces three power conference opponents this fall with games against Vanderbilt, Syracuse, and Minnesota. The same is true in 2019 with a SEC East sampler of games against Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Kentucky (all on the road).

MTSU line coach Rick Mallory recovering from heart attack

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A health scare has hit the coaching staff of Rick Stockstill (pictured) at Middle Tennessee State.

On his Facebook page, the wife of MTSU offensive line coach Rick Mallory detailed what appears to be a significant medical event for her husband.  In the posting, Mallory’s wife, Shannon, confirmed that the coach “suffered a heart attack and spiral arterial tear within an artery near his heart while doing a strenuous workout [Monday] afternoon.”

The entire update was posted on Stockstill’s Twitter page.

Just when Mallory will be able to return to the football program is decidedly unclear. The team has yet to comment publicly on Mallory’s status moving forward.

The 57-year-old Mallory, the father of six, has been an assistant at MTSU since 2013. He coached tackles and tight ends the first three seasons before moving into his current role as line coach in 2016.

Prior to that, he was the line coach at Memphis from 2000-09 and an assistant at Washington from 1992-99 before that.