Sadly, college football has lost one of its best coaches.
According to multiple outlets, longtime Fresno State coach Jim Sweeney passed away Friday night at the age of 83. His health had been failing in recent months.
Sweeney arrived in Fresno in 1976 after stops at Montana State and Washington State. Following the 1977 season, Sweeney departed Fresno State for a two-year run in the NFL before returning to Bulldogs, where he coached a school-record 144 wins from 1980-1996. He finished his career with 200 wins and was succeeded by another Fresno State great, Pat Hill.
“Most of what our football program has accomplished in recent years was clearly made possible by the path that Coach Sweeney blazed for Fresno State Football throughout his two decades of leadership,” Fresno State’s Athletic director Thomas Boeh said in a statement. “He was a man of vision, toughness and character who led the Bulldogs to new heights and went on to become a national icon. Our deepest condolences go out to June as well as Jim’s entire family. It is our hope that all will find comfort in knowing that Coach Sweeney will be missed by thousands and honored always at Fresno State.”
Certainly, our condolences go to Sweeney’s family during this time.
After moving on from Ohio State, Jared Drake has opted to drop a couple of rungs on the college football ladder in continuing his playing career.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday, Drake announced “that the next stop on this long journey will be with the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University!” As Western Illinois plays at the FCS level, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
Drake came to the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2015. he played in nine games the past two seasons, almost exclusively on special teams.
According to his official OSU bio, Drake had “added long snapping to his résumé along with his responsibilities as a linebacker.”
The aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey continue to linger, in this case as it pertains to college football scheduling.
Houston and UT-San Antonio in March of 2016 announced a future four-game series, with two of the games set to be played at the latter’s home (2017, 2023) and two in the former’s (2022, 2024). Because of the once-in-500 years flooding event in the Houston area last August, however, the 2017 game was canceled.
In a press release Thursday, UTSA confirmed that the canceled 2017 game will now be played on Aug. 30, 2025, at TDECU Stadium in Houston. The 2023 game, which had been scheduled to be played in San Antonio, will now be played in Houston.
The 2022 and 2024 games had been scheduled for Houston’s home but will now be played in San Antonio’s Alamodome.
The two football teams have met twice previously, in 2013 and 2014. The road teams won each of those matchups, with the Roadrunners spoiling the opening of UH’s new stadium in the 2014 game.
In April, Fotu Leiato was arrested on a couple of charges related to the illegal removal of a parking boot from his vehicle. A month later, we’ve learned Leiato was given the boot from his current football program for good measure.
247Sports.com was the first to report that Leiato has been dismissed by first-year Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal. Further to the point, the linebacker’s dismissal came a day after his April arrest but the news didn’t surface until Thursday.
In the April incident, Leiato was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and criminal trespassing. That was actually his second arrest this year as he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing in January.
The combination of the two arrests led Cristobal to pull the trigger on a dismissal.
Coming to Eugene as a three-star safety, Leiato played in 37 of 38 games the past three seasons. The Washington native earned the first start of his collegiate playing career during the 2017 season.
The senior had been in line to earn a starting job exiting spring and heading into the summer phase of the offseason.
Darren Kirkland‘s injury-plagued time on Rocky Top has come to an end.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Kirkland announced that he has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee football program. The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to move on from the Volunteers.
“Tennessee will always hold a special place in my heart,” Kirkland wrote. “These moments have been priceless and I’m a better player and man from this experience.”
As a graduate transfer, Kirkland would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2018. Not only that, but he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining counting this year.
A four-star 2015 signee, Kirkland started 10 games as a true freshman and then another six in a sophomore campaign marred by a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games. In summer camp last year, he suffered a knee injury severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 season.
The rehab from that injury kept Kirkland from being a full participant in Pruitt’s first spring practice this year.