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Report: Sun Belt set to name first black FBS conference commish


One Group of Five conference is set to make history later on this week.

According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, and citing two people with knowledge of the situation, the Sun Belt Conference is set to name Keith Gill as the league’s next commissioner.  An official announcement is expected at a press conference Tuesday.

When confirmed, Gill would become the first African-American ever named as the commissioner of a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference.

The past two years, Gill, who played running back for Duke in the early nineties, has served as the executive associate commissioner of the Atlantic 10, with his primary focus being overseeing “Men’s Basketball Championship Community Relations.”  Prior to that, Gill worked as the athletic director for five years each at Richmond and American University.

Gill would replace Karl Benson, who announced in August of last year that he would be stepping down as the SBC’s commissioner after a half-dozen years on the job.

Ex-Texas Longhorns star, Olympic gold medalist Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones loses lengthy battle with cancer

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The extended texas football family is mourning the loss of one of its legendary names.

Late Friday morning, the University of Texas confirmed that Johnny “Lam” Jones passed away earlier in the day after a lengthy battle with cancer.  Jones, who played both running back and wide receiver for the Longhorns in the mid- to late seventies, was 60 years old.

From the university’s release:

A native of Lampasas, Texas, Jones lettered in football from 1976-79 and in track for the Horns in 1977-78. He was the football team’s Most Valuable Player in 1978 and earned All-America honors in both 1978 and 1979. A two-time All-Southwest Conference performer, Jones scored eight touchdowns of 45 yards or more in his career in the burnt orange. On the track, Jones scored 29 points during the 1977 SWC Championships and ran a 9.85 100 meters during the 1977 Texas Relays.

Jones was a member of the U.S. Olympic Track team in the 1976 Montreal Games before his freshman year at Texas. He won a gold medal as the second leg of the 4x100m Relay team and finished sixth in the 100 meters. On the track, he was an All-American as well, finishing second at the 1977 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100m and seventh in the 200m.

Old Dominion replaces assistant lost to North Texas

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Earlier today, we noted that North Texas had officially pilfered an assistant from a fellow Conference USA school. Now, we can note that school has quickly named a replacement.

Thursday, Old Dominion confirmed that Grady Brown has been hired as co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. Brown replaces Galen Scott, who took a job with the Mean Green just two months after joining the Monarchs.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Brown to the Old Dominion football family. He has extensive knowledge of defensive back play. He has also been a defensive coordinator,” a statement from head coach Bobby Wilder read. “I know he will work well with Coach Blackwell and our defensive staff. Our defense will benefit greatly from his football knowledge and experience.”

Brown comes to ODU after spending the 2018 season as the cornerbacks coach at Louisville.

“I’m excited to be here and be a part of this program and have an opportunity to align with the university and with Coach Wilder to develop our young men and put them in a position to succeed in society and help then reach their full potential in football,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to serving the Hampton Roads community and be a part of the rich tradition of this area and put ourselves in the position to where we are developing our players on and off the field.”

The school noted in its release that David Blackwell, who was hired in January as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, will install and call the defense on gameday.

East Carolina still awaiting word on another year of eligibility for reigning AAC Defensive Player of the Year Nate Harvey

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Whether East Carolina will have the services of the most productive player on the defensive side of the ball in their conference remains unclear.

Earlier this offseason, ECU petitioned the NCAA for another season of eligibility for Nate Harvey. In January, it was reported that the university expected a decision within a couple of weeks; two months later, both the player and the football are still awaiting word.

“We don’t have an update from the NCAA,” first-year head coach Mike Houston said in quotes released by the school. “I do expect one virtually any day now, but we don’t have anything yet. …

“Talking to Nate, the things that we’ve discussed is that, either way, he has plans to play football next year. So right now, he’s preparing to play football next year. That’s how he’s approaching everything. No matter what the decision is that comes down, we’re going to support Nate Harvey fully. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that he is on the field playing. So, I hope it’s here with us, I believe it will be. If it’s not, we’re going to help prepare him for what’s next in his life.”

Harvey’s path to another season of eligibility is far from clearcut. From earlier this year:

Harvey’s extra year of eligibility hopes stem from his first year of junior college at Georgia Military in 2015. Harvey declined to talk about specifics of the 2015 season earlier this year, but he said he only played in “like 12 snaps” as a freshman in what was ruled a full season.

If Harvey’s appeal is denied, he will very likely enter his name into the NFL’s supplemental draft.

After finishing the 2018 season with 25.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, Harvey, who spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at a lower level of football, was named as the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Harvey played in a dozen games his first season with the Pirates in 2017, with most of that action coming on special teams.

North Texas confirms hiring of Galen Scott as LBs coach

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It’s now officially official.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Seth Littrell was set to add Galen Scott to his North Texas coaching staff. Thursday, the football program confirmed that Scott has been hired as the Mean Green’s new linebackers coach.

Scott comes to Denton from Old Dominion, where he was hired as defensive backs coach in January of this year.

“Being able to add someone at the caliber of coach Scott at this stage of the offseason is key for us,” the head coach said in a statement. “He has great experience throughout his career and his leadership will be important in the development of a young linebacking corps. We are excited to get him to Denton ahead of spring practice and bring him into our family.”

Prior to the very brief stint at ODU, and before a one-year stop at the high school level, Scott served as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Virginia Tech from 2016-17.