Surprise! Hoops trumps football in state of Indiana coach salaries

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When it comes to the state of Indiana and sports, the first thing that comes to mind is basketball in general and the movie “Hoosiers” specifically.  Not so unexpectedly, the state’s universities have put their hoops money where their mouths are.

The Indianapolis Star compiled a list of the 20 highest-paid public university coaches in the state of Indiana in 2013 and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, a pair of hoops coaches head that compilation.

According to the Star, Indiana men’s basketball coach Tom Crean is the highest-paid in the state at $2.943 million last year.  Next up?  Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter at $2.079 million.

In fairness, the state’s two public, Power Five FBS coaches are at Nos. 3 and 4:  Purdue’s Darrell Hazell ($1.886 million) (pictured) and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson ($1.276 million).  Also in fairness, Wilson’s salary — along with that of his assistant coaches pool — is double that of his predecessor, Bill Lynch.

Conference-wise, Purdue and Indiana were Nos. 11 and 13, respectively, in football coaching pay in the Big Ten.

Of course, on the football side, there’s been little on-the-field justification for exorbitant salaries.

The Hoosiers have played in just one bowl game (2007 Insight Bowl) the past two decades; haven’t won more than eight games in a season since 1967; and have been above .500 just twice since going 8-4 in 1993.  Unbelievably, IU has never won 10 or more games in a season in the program’s 115-year history.

While not nearly as bad as their in-state brethren, the Boilermakers have seen their share of fair-to-middling finishes and, as last season attests, rock-bottom plummets.

Since playing in just its second-ever Rose Bowl following the 2000 season, Purdue has finished above .500 six times, at or below that mark seven times.  The 1-11 record last season in Hazell’s first season in West Lafayette was the worst ever in the 122 years the Boilermakers have competed in college football.

Are the stumbling and bumbling football efforts of the state’s two flagship public universities the result of its refusal to pay top-dollar for football coaches, or are the on-field results a justification for the reticence to pay top-dollar?  It’s a chicken-and-egg thing for two football programs that have laid more than its fair share of late.

One more little note.  Hazell and Wilson are quality football coaches, coaches who are capable of raising their respective programs above the pabulum of some of their predecessors as long as the financial resources are devoted to the effort.  The Big Ten Network money alone says you can, PU and IU.  Put the money back into winning, because you have quality, albeit underpaid, coaches currently leading your teams.

Pitt announces hiring of ex-Maryland WRs coach Chris Beatty

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Nearly three weeks after clearing out a pair of spots on his offensive coaching staff, Pat Narduzzi has filled in those self-created holes.

Jan. 4, Shawn Watson was fired as Pitt’s offensive coordinator, replaced a little over a week later by former UMass head coach Mark Whipple.  The same day Watson was fired, Kevin Sherman was dismissed as wide receivers coach; Wednesday, Pitt confirmed that Chris Beatty has been hired as Sherman’s replacement.

Sherman spent the past three seasons at Maryland as receivers coach.  He also served as co-offensive coordinator and held the title of associate head coach while with the Terrapins.

“Chris is an absolutely outstanding addition to our staff,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “His expertise goes well beyond one position on the offensive side of the ball. That diverse experience is going to be an incredible asset for our players and entire coaching staff. He is also a highly driven recruiter with valuable contacts in so many key areas. We are looking forward to welcoming Chris, his wife Kris and his son Aaron to both Pitt and Pittsburgh.”

Prior to Maryland, Beatty spent time on Power Five coaching staffs at Virginia (2015), Wisconsin (2013-14), Illinois (2012), Vanderbilt (2011) and West Virginia (2008-10).  In addition to receivers, he’s also coaching quarterbacks and running backs.

Cadillac Williams returning to Auburn as RBs coach

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A legend is coming home to The Plains.  Reportedly.

According to  Scout.com and FootballScoop.com among others, Cadillac Williams is set to be named as the next running backs coach at Auburn.  Williams would replace Tim Horton, who moved into an off-field role earlier this month.

An official announcement on Williams’ hiring could come as early as today.

Williams played running back for the Tigers from 2001-04, finishing with 3,831 yards and 45 touchdowns on 741 attempts.  The carries were the most in AU history at the time of his departure, while the yards and touchdowns were second to Bo Jackson.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Williams the fifth pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, and he went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.  H ended up playing seven years in the NFL before retiring following the end of the 2011 season.

The 36-year-old Williams’ coaching career began in 2016 as an offensive graduate assistant at Div. II West Georgia.  He went to IMG Academy in Florida as running backs coach before moving on to the same position the Birmingham franchise in the newly-created Alliance of American Football.

UPDATED 2:36 p.m. ET: Based on a tweet from Auburn football’s official Twitter account, Williams’ return to the Tigers is official.

Police investigating death of FCS player as a suicide

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Sadly, there’s more tragic news involving a college football player on which to report.

According to multiple media outlets, University of Montana Grizzly football player Andrew Harris was found dead at his residence in Missoula Tuesday.  The Missoulian writes that “police are investigating the scene as a suicide.”

Harris was just 22 years old.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Andrew’s family and friends at this difficult time,” university president Seth Bodnar said in a statement sent out to the Missoulian. “The entire UM family mourns his loss and our hearts go out to all who knew him.”

A redshirt junior, Harris was a defensive lineman who played in 11 games during his time with the Griz.  Our thoughts, prayers and condolences going out to all of those impacted by Harris’ passing.

And for those in the reading audience: The phone number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.  Please, pick up the phone and call that number if you ever get to the point where you feel like you just can’t go on.  Or call somebody, anybody.

South Carolina’s third-leading rusher enters NCAA transfer database

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Another day, another trip into the infamous portal.

The latest to put his name onto the free-agent market is Ty’Son Williams, who a South Carolina official has confirmed is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  If Williams follows through with the move — he can always remove his name from the database and return — it would be the running back’s second transfer as he came to USC in August of 2016 after beginning his collegiate playing career at North Carolina.

As Williams would be leaving as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school if he ultimately decides to leave.

Williams was third on the Gamecocks with 328 yards rushing in 2018, while his four rushing touchdowns tied for the team lead.  The year before, his first on the field at USC after sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, he was second on the team in yards (471) and yards per carry (5.0).

A four-star member of UNC’s 2016 recruiting class, Williams was rated as the No. 21 running back in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of South Carolina.