Harbaugh and Michigan staff are using NCAA loophole to work camps in AL and TX
Remember last May when James Franklin took his staff down to Florida and Georgia to work high school football camps, exposing an NCAA loophole in an effort to expand their recruiting footprint to the fertile southern states known for churning out top notch college football players?
Well Jim Harbaugh is following suit, taking his Michigan staff down to Alabama for a day camp at Prattville HS, followed five days later with a camp just outside of Dallas at Grand Prairie HS.
— DallasShowTyme (@DallasShowTyme1) March 25, 2015
— Coach Jackson (@CoachJack10) March 25, 2015
As you can see, Prattville HS has already tabbed the event as the biggest event in the school’s history, so that should give you an idea of the turnout of talent that’s expected.
In case you’ve forgotten, NCAA rules restrict schools from hosting football camps more than 50 miles outside of their campus. Franklin and his staff were the first (at least that I’m aware of) to take advantage of the loophole, and Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame staff followed shortly after, choosing to expand their footprint out in Los Angeles.
This move is bound to rub a handful of coaches the wrong way (namely those in SEC and Big 12 country), but the numbers show the top players in college football come from the South, so it’s only logical that coaches like Harbaugh and Franklin use every available opportunity to raid the talent-rich southern states in any way possible.
The reward of expanding your program’s brand and recruiting footprint far outweigh the negatives of ruffling a few feathers here and there, so expect to see this trend continue as long as the loophole remains open.
Dean Smith left something special in his will for all his former players
Sport aside, former North Carolina legendary basketball coach Dean Smith is an icon that transcends the coaching profession. The man won 879 games, served as a head coach at one institution for over 35 years, and mentored the lives of countless young men, along with a lengthy list of various other accomplishments.
The impact he had on players, coaches, and complete strangers before his passing simply cannot be measured.
Earlier today, the following picture started to make its rounds on Twitter, illustrating that Smith is making an impact, even after his physical presence has left this earth.
— Doug Samuels (@CoachSamz) March 26, 2015
It’s not often that you see a head coach with a resume like Smith’s reach out to every single one of his former players like this.
Just when you thought the legend of Dean Smith couldn’t get any bigger, or more unbelievable. What a great gesture from a legend who already had a firm place in the history of great coaches, and people.
What football coaches can learn from Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall
Gregg Marshall is not a football coach, but he’s in the same position a number of coaches find themselves every year. He’s a wanted man. According to CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish, Alabama is prepared to offer Marshall in excess of $3 million a year as soon as Wichita State’s NCAA Tournament run comes to an end. (Marshall made $1.7 million in 2014 according to USA Today.)
Marshall is not a football coach and responded to Alabama’s reported offer very much unlike a football coach. For one, he acknowledged it exists.
“Right now it’s just rumor and conjecture. I haven’t spoken with Alabama. I’m coaching my team, and that’s what I’m going to do, hopefully, for another couple of weeks,” Marshall told the Jim Rome show earlier this week. “And if Alabama is still interested in talking to us with some type of crazy offer at that time, then we will certainly entertain that. But it’s going to take some type of crazy offer to get us to leave Wichita State.”
If a football coach was asked the same question, he’d respond one of three ways:
1) “I haven’t heard anything about that.”
2) “I’m just focused on coaching my team.”
3) “We’re very happy where we are and not looking to leave.”
All three are disingenuous at best, and outright lies at worst. Does that mean every football coach should respond as honestly as Marshall? No, not necessarily. His answer works for his situation. When you reach the Final Four, then produce an undefeated regular season, and then knock off Kansas to reach the Sweet 16 in successive seasons at Wichita State, other schools are going to be interested and thinking otherwise is a head-in-sand level of obliviousness.
“If you don’t have an athletic department and a program and a coach like Coach Marshall people are looking at, you probably have the wrong program or you have the wrong guy,” Wichita State athletics director Eric Sexton told USA Today.
But rather than supply some lighter fluid to the rumors by dancing around them, Marshall took them on straightforward and (temporarily) stopped the news cycle. He’ll either take the Alabama job or he won’t, simple as that. But he’s not going to pretend it isn’t there.
“I just tell people the truth,” Marshall said. “I don’t try to sugarcoat things if they don’t need to be sugarcoated. That’s not something I’m worried about. I’m coaching my team. None of my players are worried about it, none of my staff’s worried about it, and I’ve said how content and happy I am at Wichita State over and over and over, and we are. It could be the last job I ever have, I could retire from there. But at the same time I don’t bury my head in the sand if a tremendous offer comes along, we look at it as a family and that’s been something we’ve dealt with for 17 years.”
Video: Pitt mic’d up Pat Narduzzi at Spring practice
For Pitt players, Pat Narduzzi is their fifth head coach in five seasons, but for Narduzzi, Pitt is his first chance to put his own stamp on a program.
Narduzzi has officially been on the job for just over four months, so when it came time for him to hit the field with his new squad, it was only logical to throw a microphone on him as the Panthers opened up Spring practices.
“Things happen for a reason. How are we going to deal with it? The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but it is where he stands in times of challenges and controversy.”
“That’s what we do with football. There are going to be times when things aren’t right, and we’ve got to fix them. That’s our job. Adversity is the name of the game.” Narduzzi explains to his guys to open the clip.
Some first time head coaches may wander around, not exactly sure of what to do as a first time head coach, but you can see that’s certainly not Narduzzi. He flys around coaching everyone up enthusiastically, holding guys accountable.
Jay Harbaugh wrote a hand written letter to a five-star recruit’s girlfriend
You hear it all the time, “recruiting is about relationships,” well I’ll take that a step further and add that it’s also about influencing the decision makers, meaning mom, dad, head coach, grandma or grandpa, and sometimes the girlfriend. From the looks of things, the Harbaugh’s seem to have a firm grasp on that concept.
Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh has his sights set on Naseir Upshur, an All American tight end out of Philadelphia, and for good reason – the tight end is ranked as the fifth best player at his position. Well what better way to grab the attention of a top recruit than through his girlfriend?
Check out what Jay came up with to do just that.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 26, 2015
Earlier this month, Jim Harbaugh went a similar route by recreating a prom invite that a five-star defensive tackle had used on his girlfriend, and made into a recruiting pitch.
Think back to your days as a 16, 17, or 18 year in a relationship and you can see how in touch Michigan, and the Harbaugh’s in particular, are with their target audience.