The first of what should be a handful of these types of awards for Mark Richt is a rather significant one.
The Walter Camp Foundation announced Tuesday afternoon that Richt has been named as its 2017 Coach of the Year. This award has been handed out annually since 1967 and is voted on by the 130 FBS head coaches and sports information departments.
In his second season at his alma mater, Richt has led Miami to a 10-2 record and the football program’s first-ever appearance in the ACC championship game. The 10 wins are the most for the Hurricanes since the 2003 season, with that performance netting The U a spot in this year’s Orange Bowl opposite Wisconsin Dec. 30.
Richt is the second Hurricanes head coach to claim Camp honors, joining Jimmy Johnson in 1986. He’s also the third coach from the ACC to win the award in the past five seasons — Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (2015) and Duke’s David Cutcliffe (2013).
Last year’s winner was Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre. The first honoree? Indiana’s John Pont.
When the Miami Hurricanes host Georgia Tech for a critical ACC Coastal Division showdown in October, the program will pay tribute to a handful of great players from the program’s history. Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp, and the late Sean Taylor will all be added to the school’s Ring of Honor in Hard Rock Stadium.
That is quite a collection of program legends to honor on the same night, but it is also a group very much deserving of the honor from the program. With Miami hosting the Yellow Jackets for a primetime Thursday night game, expect Miami to be able to showcase the history of the program on as grand a stage as possible. The game is scheduled for an 8 pm kickoff on ESPN.
Irvin holds the Miami record for most career touchdown receptions (26) and he was a part of Miami’s national championship team in 1988. The brash wide receiver went on to have a Pro Football Hall of fame career with the Dallas Cowboys, where he was coached for a time by former Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson and won three Super Bowls.
Lewis was an all-Big East player for the Hurricanes in 1994 and 1995 and went on to have a Pro Football Hall of Fame-worthy career as the cornerstone of the Baltimore Ravens from 1996 through 2012 with a pair of Super Bowl victories and one Super Bowl MVP award. Reed was a teammate of Lewis from 2002 through 2012 with the Ravens, where he also put together a hall of fame-caliber career. Reed was a two-time consensus All-American in 2000 and 2001 and a BCS national champion with the Hurricanes in 2001. Like Lewis, it will just be a matter of time before heading to Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sapp is already in Canton, and he had quite the career at Miami before heading to the NFL. Sapp became the first Miami player to win the Lombardi Trophy and was the unanimous Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 1994, when Miami played Nebraska in the Orange Bowl with an outside shot at claiming a national championship (Nebraska and Penn State each went undefeated and finished 1-2 that season; Miami was No. 3 going into the Orange Bowl against the Huskers).
Taylor looked like he would be another hall of fame player before his untimely death in 2007. At Miami, Taylor led the nation in interceptions in 2003 and set the Miami record for pick-sixes with three in the 2003 season. He was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a result and remains the program’s fifth-all-time interceptions leader. He was a part of Miami’s 2001 national championship team.
Miami will also be wearing their brand new alternate black uniform for the game.
One of the most physically-gifted and talented players in the history of Miami Hurricanes football is gone way, way too soon.
The Orlando Police Department confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Cortez Kennedy passed away earlier today. He was just 48 years old.
No cause of death has been determined, with the OPD stating that “at this time there is nothing suspicious to report but we are conducting an investigation regarding his unattended passing.”
After starting his collegiate playing career at the junior college level, Kennedy moved on to the University of Miami, earning All-American honors in 1989. In 2004, he was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame.
The third overall pick of the 1990 NFL draft, Kennedy spent his entire 11-year pro career with the Seattle Seahawks. In 2012, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Not surprisingly, Kennedy’s sudden passing has brought an outpouring of emotion from those connected to the football program.
Tom Herman, the new head coach of the Texas Longhorns, has come a long way in his career. It was just a few years ago Herman was the hot assistant coach on the rise who would soon lead the Houston program to a New Years Six bowl game and a 22-4 record to make him a leading candidate for the Longhorns job. As he prepares for the biggest job of his career, Herman reflected on one of his previous jobs from his high schools days and explained how he got fired from the job.
Herman was employed by a Subway sandwich stop, and he apparently had a thing for pastrami. Having had the pastrami at Subway before, I can understand his craving. Unfortunately for Herman, his love for pastrami would be his undoing as he got caught eating as much as he could in secret. He explained the ordeal to The Dallas Morning News;
“I used to love the pastrami,” he says. “They had those big walk-in refrigerators. I was standing in there one day, with the door shut, just throwing pastrami in my mouth.
“It was like something out of a movie. I’ve got this bin of meat, throwing meat in my mouth, the door swings open and it’s the owner.
“He goes, ‘Get out. Don’t come back.’ “
Herman held many jobs before getting into the coaching business including at a tuxedo shop, a batting cage, multiple radio positions (he remains no stranger to making headlines on radio airwaves to this day) and even as a highlight coordinator for NFL on FOX.
“This was back when they recorded games on those big laser discs. I was a highlight coordinator. My job was to go in and watch games, watch and type. Basically every time the camera frame changed, I had to log it as something: ‘Emmitt Smith rushed for 4 yards. . . . Close-up of Jimmy Johnson on the sidelines . . . 37-yard field goal.’
“That way, when you’re watching Packers vs. Vikings, young Tom Herman has his eyeballs on the Cowboys vs. Redskins game. When J.B. (James Brown) and Howie (Long) cut into your game and say, ‘Let’s give you a quick update,’ you’d see highlights and they would read information I typed.”
That time spent breaking down highlights may have come in handy.
Oklahoma State has felt more than its share of tragedy over the years, and the football team is doing its part to honor those they have lost.
For their homecoming game against West Virginia Saturday, OSU is wearing special “throwback” helmets in recognition of Jimmy Johnson‘s 1983 Cowboys football team that went 8-4 and won the program’s first bowl game in nearly a decade. More importantly, there are 18 helmet stickers and a kneeling Cowboy on the back, with the former honoring the 14 lives lost in plane crashes — 10 in the 2001 incident involving the men’s basketball team, four from the women’s basketball program in 2011 — and the four who died in the homecoming parade crash last year.
The kneeling Cowboy sticker will be worn for every homecoming game moving forward.
The university is also honoring its 1945 “national championship” team, but that’s as far as we’ll go as it pertains to that particular situation.