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Toledo loses offensive coordinator to Div. II head job

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(Writer’s note: Grow up already.)

Courtesy of an FBS school, the winningest football program in Div. II history has a new sideline boss.

After a couple of days worth of speculation, Pittsburg State officially announced Saturday that Brian Wright has been hired as the school’s new head football coach.  Wright replaces Tim Beck, who resigned his post in the middle of last month.

“We are excited to embrace the dawn of a new era in the Pitt State football program and welcome in Brian Wright to lead the Gorillas moving forward,” athletic director Jim Johnson said. “Brian’s passion for the game of football and desire to help mold student-athletes into elite winners both on and off the field is contagious. The future is bright for our proud and storied program.”

Wright spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Toledo.  He also served as the Rockets’ quarterbacks coach during that time with the MAC school.

This will mark Wright’s first head-coaching job at any level of football.

“First, I’d like to thank Mr. Johnson and Dr. (Steve) Scott for their trust and belief in me to become the Gorillas next head football coach,” Wright said. “Every great organization has superior people and I’ve been nothing but impressed with the leadership team at Pittsburg State University.

“My family and I are extremely excited to become a part of the Pitt State family. We are thrilled to have the chance to form so many new relationships with our student-athletes, alumni and the entire Pittsburg community. I can’t wait to lead the Pitt State football program into this next chapter of success and carry the torch for this proud program built by so many great coaches and players before.”

Central Michigan claims MAC West, shuts Western Michigan out of conference championship game

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It was all right there in front of Western Michigan — until it wasn’t.

Entering its game Tuesday at 4-7 Northern Illinois, Western Michigan was tied with Central Michigan atop the MAC West at 5-2 in conference play.  By virtue of a win over its directional rival earlier this season, however, all WMU needed was a win over NIU to secure a spot in the league title game; on a rain-swept night at Huskie Stadium, it wasn’t to be as the Broncos fumbled away its chance to clinch in a 17-14 loss, handing control of the division over to the Chippewas.

Unlike its in-state rivals earlier in the week, CMU took full advantage of controlling its own postseason fate by taking Toledo (6-6) to the woodshed with a 49-7 Black Friday romp over the Rockets.  The Chips scored 14 first-quarter points, then tacked on another 21 in the second to take full control and leave little doubt as to the outcome, even with 30 minutes left to play.

The Chips rolled up 336 yards of offense in the first half alone on its way to () for the game.  Five of CMU’s seven touchdowns came on the ground, with two coming from Tommy Lazzaro, while former Tennessee/Houston quarterback Quinten Dormady chipped in with 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air.

With the win, CMU, which won just one game last year before Jim McElwain‘s arrival, will be playing in its first MAC championship game since 2009 and fourth overall.  Their opponent will be Miami (OH), which clinched the East Division last week for the first time in nearly a decade.

The two teams actually played in the 2007 championship game, a 35-10 win for CMU.  The RedHawks have won the last two meetings, with the Chips’ last win coming in 2014.

Toledo suspends DE Terrance Taylor for dirty hit against NIU

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Sometimes a player makes a hit so dirty, a head coach simply won’t waste time waiting to hear from the conference’s office regarding the player’s status moving forward. Such was the case for Toledo head coach Jason Candle when addressing a nasty hit delivered by defensive end Terrance Taylor Wednesday night against NIU. Toledo has suspended Taylor for the next game on the schedule, against Buffalo.

Taylor came in flying from behind NIU quarterback Ross Bowers well after the end of a play that saw Bowers fell to the ground and was getting up. Taylor lined into the back of Bowers with a helmet-to-helmet hit from behind on the unsuspecting quarterback.

Bowers was ejected from the game for targeting. Because the ejection occurred in the second half of Wednesday night’s game, NCAA rules would prohibit Taylor form playing in the first half of Toledo’s next game. But Candle and Toledo are going one extra step and just sidelining him for the entire game.

“We are disappointed that this play occurred,” Candle said in a released statement. “It’s not something we coach. We’ll use it as a teaching tool for our team on the value of discipline in emotional times.”

Given the severity of the hit, some form of reprimand could also be in the works from the MAC, although it would seem Candle and Toledo are handling this appropriately with a full game suspension. College football simply doesn’t need those kinds of plays in the game.

Updated coaches salaries database released, with Dabo Swinney leading the way

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You might want to sit down for this: college football head coaches continue to make a spitload of money.

As it does around this time every year, USA Today Tuesday released an updated version of its FBS coaches salaries database.  The highest-paid?  Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and his $9.32 million in total pay, overtaking Alabama’s Nick Saban, who was tops at $8.3 million in 2018 and now sits at No. 2 at $8.86 million.

At the opposite end of the financial spectrum is Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell, whose $360,000 in total compensation is the lowest salary of those obtained by USA Today.  Compensation for coaches at eight universities — Air Force, Army, BYU, Liberty, Miami, Rice, SMU, Temple — wasn’t available.

Arguably the most improbable name in the Top 10 in compensation?  Jeff Brohm at $6.6 million, ahead of the likes of Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma ($6.4 million), James Franklin of Penn State ($5.6 million) and David Shaw of Stanford ($4.6 million).  Brohm, whose wooing by Louisville led to a hefty new contract, is 2-5 this season after going 13-13 his first two seasons with the Boilermakers.

Below are the highest-paid Power Five coaches, per conference:

  • ACC — Swinney, $9.32 million
  • Big 12 — Texas’ Tom Herman, $6.75 million
  • Big Ten — Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, $7.5 million
  • Pac-12 — Washington’s Chris Petersen, $4.63 million
  • SEC — Saban, $8.86 million

Conversely, these are the lowest-paid Power Five coaches for each league:

  • ACC — Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson, $2.19 million
  • Big 12 — Kansas State’s Chris Klieman, $2.3 million
  • Big Ten — Indiana’s Tom Allen, $1.8 million
  • Pac-12 — Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin, $2 million
  • SEC — Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead, $3 million

At $5 million, USF’s Charlie Strong‘s total compensation is far and away the highest for a Group of Five coaches, with Houston’s Dana Holgorsen‘s $3.7 million the next closest.

Of the other four G5 leagues, North Texas’ Seth Littrell of Conference USA ($1.9 million), Toledo’s Jason Candle of the MAC ($1.2 million), Wyoming’s Craig Bohl of the Mountain West ($2.1 million) and Louisiana’s Billy Napier of the Sun Belt ($875,000) are the highest-paid for their respective conferences.

One final tidbit: The combined salaries of the coaches in the Sun Belt Conference ($6.5 million) is less than the compensation of eight individual head coaches — Swinney, Saban, Harbaugh, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million), Georgia’s Kirby Smart ($6.9 million), Auburn’s Gus Malzahn ($6.8 million), Herman and Brohm.  Swinney and Saban also make more individually than the MAC does combined ($7.8 million).

Toledo honoring undefeated 1969 squad by wearing throwback uniforms against WMU

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#MACtion is going retro this weekend.

As part of the celebrations on campus to honor the undefeated 1969 football team, Toledo is breaking out their throwback uniforms from the era on Saturday as they host Western Michigan in a pivotal conference clash.

While the look isn’t too far off from what you might find the current team wearing, there are a number of little touches like the ‘Glass City’ labels on the helmet and the older interlocking ‘UT’ logos that make for a pretty smooth look. The school is honoring the 1969 version of the Rockets, who went 11-0 back in the day on their way to a MAC title and rare top 20 ranking in the final AP Poll.

The modern day version of Toledo’s football team is certainly hoping some of that luck and good play from yesteryear rubs off on them as they host the Broncos in one of the MAC’s biggest games of the season so far. The Rockets are of course coming off a home win against BYU while WMU is 2-2 after competitive losses to Syracuse and Michigan State in non-conference play. The winner on Saturday likely has a leg up in the race for the West division title in the league and a solid claim on being the league’s best team entering October.