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  • The 26 strangest mascots in small college football (and one outside of CFB too strange to ignore)


    After sorting through high school mascots across the country a few weeks ago, I took on the monumental task of the taking a look at the mascots at small colleges that play football around the country and picking out the strangest. Luckily I had some help from a handful of viewers who kindly gave some guidance.

    This piece will feature the strangest mascots in Division III, Junior College, and NAIA football (plus a few exceptional ones from D-II), and I’ve snuck one mascot into the list without a football team that is just too strange to ignore.

    Just as I laid out in the high school version of this article, to receiver full consideration among the strangest mascots in small college football, the program must have a depiction of some kind of their mascot to go along with the name, and it should also be very unique. For example, Arkansas Tech are the Wonder Boys, Rockford University are the Regents, and Illinois College are the Blueboys, and while all of them are unique, none of them have an actual tangible mascot, or an illustrated version.

    Did a worthy small college mascot miss the cut? Let me know via Twitter @CoachSamz or at

    *Some mascots appear at more than one program.


    Arizona Christian Firestorm (NAIA)

    Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes (JC)


    Southern Arkansas Muleriders (D-II): The mule looks a lot more like a bucking bronco than an actual mule.

    Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils (D-II): If you don’t know what a Boll Weevil is, this image isn’t going to clear anything up.


    Menlo College (D-III) Oaks: I’ll admit, I have never understood why trees are such popular mascot choices

    Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (D-III)
    - Whittier Poets (D-III)


    Colorado State-Pueblo ThunderWolves: Mascot name is pretty awesome right? So you expect an equally amazing mascot…but it’s incredibly ordinary, and therefore somewhat disappointing.


    Trinity College Bantams (D-III)


    Trine Thunder* (D-III): I’m not sure how you can have a mascot for a sound (which obviously cannot be seen), but Trine manages to use both a lightning bolt and a white cat named “Storm”. Confusing on both fronts.
    – Wabash Little Giants (D-III)


    - Coe College Kohawks (D-III)
    - Loras College Duhawks (D-III)

    Upper Iowa Peacocks (D-II): How intimidating, right?


    Bethany College Swedes (NAIA): If you like this mascot, you’re going to love their unique helmet.

    Southwestern College Moundbuilders (NAIA): This one is on here solely because it’s confusing. Name of the mascot is “Moundbuilders” but the mascot they chose is a Panther / black cat???


    Hope College Flying Dutchmen (D-III)


    McDaniel College Green Terror (D-III): Looks like an overgrown Gremlin to me.


    Guilford College Quakers** (D-III)



    Heidelberg Student Princes (D-III): Even the women’s programs are the student princes.



    Carnegie Mellon Tartans (D-III): Don’t have a clue what a Tartan is? Yeah, neither did I.

    Franklin and Marshall Diplomats (D-III): Ben (Franklin) and John (Marshall) are the official diplomatic mascots at F&M. How creative, right?


    Rhode Island School of Design Nads: This is the only non-football playing school on the list, but with a nickname like The Nads how can it not be included on a strange mascot list? Notice the strategic puck placement on the logo. I understand that the most popular cheer at games is simply “GO NADS!” 


    South Dakota School of Mines Hardrockers (D-II): If this one isn’t strange enough for you, the football team was originally called the “Longhairs”.


    Austin College Kangaroos (D-III)

    Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas (D-II): Javelinas are apparently also known as skunk pigs, which would also make for one hell of a fun mascot.



    Newport News Apprentice Ship Builders (D-III): As a school that trains its students for careers in shipbuilding, the mascot choice couldn’t possibly be any more appropriate.



    *ThunderWheaton College (D-III – IL)
    **QuakersEarlham College (D-III – IN), Wilmington Quakers (D-III – OH) 

  • Let’s talk about GA pay

    A friend reached out last week to ask if I had heard any chatter about grad assistants receiving a bump in their scholarships to cover “cost of attendance.”

    As many are aware, beginning in August, schools will now be allowed to provide additional funds to athletes to cover the school stipulated “cost of attendance” (meant to address things such transportation to and from, computers, calculators and other miscellaneous expenses not addressed by traditional “room and board”). While many universities are still finalizing exactly how much that will be, most estimates peg that figure in the ballpark of an additional $4,000 per year per student.


    Sam Williams – OnwardState


    Back to my story: I had not heard any chatter along the lines of grad assistants also receiving “cost of attendance” in their scholarships; but the concept makes a lot of sense to me, so I asked a few questions. For those not familiar, when referring to grad assistants, I’m referring to young coaches, typically in the very early part of their careers (often right out of college), who work very long hours while receiving very little compensation. Grad assistants are required to be accepted into school, and must attend graduate level classes, working towards an advanced degree, all while working 60-plus hours per week for the football team. While their scholarships do cover the tuition costs associated with their pursuit of an advanced degree, the “stipend” portion of their scholarship amounts to very, very little per month.

    I reached out to several programs to ask how much the grad assistants received per month. Most of the coaches and administrators I asked seemed reluctant to answer, but upon pressing they answered the question. One AD responded that his grad assistants receive “just under $1,000 per month and nothing in the summer”. A few associate ADs responded with “about $1,100 here, depending on what program they are in,” and “I’m ashamed to say it, but our guys get $800 before taxes.” The most I heard from any program was from one who said their guys got $1,500 per month.

    Ryan Turnley - Pitt Football - Post - Gazette

    Ryan Turnley – Pitt Football – Post – Gazette

    When I asked these coaches and administrators if they had discussed the possibility of their grad assistants receiving the cost of attendance bump they responded nearly in unison that while they had not thought of that, they liked the idea, but felt that it could be a tough sell to their universities.

    Let’s step back and think about this for a minute.

    Allow me to set the stage. First, graduate assistant positions at the Division I level are extremely sought after; possibly more sought after than the athletic scholarships many of these same guys got when choosing where they would pursue their undergraduate degree. For example (and purely hypothetically speaking), an offensive lineman from the state of Oklahoma might have worked and dreamed all of his 17 years of life to strap up at OU. Luckily for him, he was blessed with great genes, an incredibly strong work ethic, successful and supportive parents and excellent high school coaches. Yes, he was lucky enough to have been one of four offensive linemen the Sooners offered a scholarship to that year. He was fortunate enough to have also received offers from other programs such as Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri and other regional programs, but for family reasons he wanted to stay close to home and chose to play at Oklahoma. Now, let’s jump forward in this hypothetical example: four years later he is finishing out both his degree and his playing time and is set to marry the young lady of his dreams. He was a leader on the team, a 4.0 student and contributed to OU’s success on the field, but just didn’t have the size and athleticism necessary to take his game to the next level. That was okay with this young man, he was very happy with his college education, and playing experience at OU and he was one of the lucky few who felt strongly at his young age that he had found his calling, he wanted to coach college football and be a positive influence on the lives of young men in the same way his coaches were for him…and he wanted to do it at OU, near his parents home, the only place he or his fiancee ever has or ever will consider home.

    Wait, what’s that? A problem? First, Oklahoma only has one grad assistant position that works with the offensive line and that position is already filled. Oh, and the “pay” associated with that role? Imagine telling your new wife that “take home pay is just about $1,000 per month.” That’s a hard thing to do. What’s the response when she rightfully points out that that amount is less than you were receiving during your senior year when you were on athletic scholarship? Oh, and the hours? “Well, during the season we’re in the office at six, game planning until nine when I have to hustle across campus to the graduate school of business. Classes until noon then back to football. We meet from one to 2:40 and then practice from three to six, quick bite to eat and then we watch film from seven to nine. The coaches leave about then which allows me some quiet time…to do all of the things they need done by six a.m. the next day when we all get back in. Then I try to find some time to do the grad school assignments for the day, and the next thing I know it’s midnight. Guess I’ll blow up the airbed again and rack out here on the floor. G’night.”

    Back to actually being “lucky” enough to get one of these coveted positions, as the owner of FootballScoop I can attest that when one of these positions opens, and is publicized, the program can easily receive hundreds of applications in one hour. I recall last year, Ohio State asked us to put word out that they had an opening for a defensive grad assistant position…and they called back about two hours later begging that we shut it down…their email, phones and fax machines (yeah) had blown up. “Hundreds of resumes already.” Yeah, these aren’t easy positions to get.

    The truth about grad assistant positions is that they typically go to the “best and brightest,” the future of the profession, the guys who want to coach for all of the right reasons. If 1,000 qualified guys want a job, your college coach isn’t going to hire you unless you have “it.” “It” in this case is the deep desire to help young men improve their lives, to devote your life to helping others. These are the young men who one day will be as revered as Saban, Snyder, Stoops, and Beamer (all of whom were grad assistants). Or, the next Urban Meyer could make an entirely sane and sensible decision to enter another profession, one that doesn’t require fealty in the form of cranking out 60-hour weeks for three bucks an hour.

    It’s time to change this, and adding the cost of attendance bump into their scholarships would be a good first step.

  • Which active coaches are climbing up their school’s all-time wins list?

    Bob Stoops Bill Snyder

    Two years ago we embarked on a daring, ground-breaking, never-before-seen project to catalogue a list of FBS coaches at (or near) their respective schools’ all-time wins list. Despite countless warnings and doubts, we accomplished our goal.

    And with all the moving and shaking within college football over the past two years, now feels like the right time to update the list. Whereas in 2013 seven coaches held their school’s all-time wins record, one (Larry Blakeney) has retired, another (Mike Riley) has taken another job, and four more have won their way on to the list.

    A total of 36 coaches* made the list, and by the end of the 2015 season nearly one in five coaches could hold the gold or silver medal for all-time victories. In a time where there’s never been more pressure and volatility, that’s a testament to the talents of these coaches and their staffs – and to 12-game regular seasons with an ever-expanding bowl schedule.

    (*We decided to include all of FBS this year, leading to admittedly wonky results like Larry Coker beating a council of ghosts to hold the UTSA wins mark and Charlie Partridge making the list with all of three career victories.)


    1. Bill Snyder – 187 wins
    2. Mike Ahearn – 39 wins

    Want to see Snyder’s impact on Kansas State’s football history? There you have it. An eight-win season in 2015 will allow Snyder to quintuple the second-winningest coach in K-State history.

    1. Gary Pinkel – 113 wins
    2. Don Faurot – 101 wins

    1. Ken Niumatalolo – 57 wins
    2. George Welsh – 55 wins

    1. Pat Fitzgerald – 60 wins
    2. Lynn Waldorf – 49 wins

    1. Bob Stoops – 168 wins
    2. Barry Switzer – 157 wins

    1. Mike Gundy – 84 wins
    2. Pat Jones – 62 wins

    1. Steve Spurrier – 84 wins
    2. Rex Enright – 64 wins

    1. Gary Patterson – 132 wins
    2. Dutch Meyer – 109 wins

    1. Larry Coker – 23 wins

    1. Frank Beamer – 231 wins
    2. Bill Dooley – 64 wins


    1. Fisher DeBerry – 169 wins
    2. Ben Martin – 96 wins
    3. Troy Calhoun – 59 wins

    1. Paul “Bear” Bryant – 232 wins
    2. Frank Thomas – 115 wins
    3. Nick Saban – 86 wins

    Saban will never pass the Bear, but he’s only three seasons away from surpassing Frank “Not The Big Hurt” Thomas for No. 2 at one of college football’s most storied programs… and that’s after going 9-2 in one season at Toledo, posting a top-10 season at Michigan State, winning a national title and LSU and depositing two seasons leading the Miami Dolphins.

    1. Grant Teaff – 128 wins
    2. Morley Jennings – 83 wins
    3. John D. Bridgers – 49 wins
    4. Art Briles – 44 wins

    1. LaVell Edwards – 257 wins
    2. Bronco Mendenhall – 90 wins

    Like Saban, Mendenhall will never own his school’s all-time record, but he is putting some distance between himself and No. 3 G. Ott Romney, who happens to be a distant relative of one-time presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

    1. Gene McDowell – 86 wins
    2. George O’Leary – 81 wins

    1. Frank Howard – 165 wins
    2. Danny Ford – 96 wins
    3. Dabo Swinney – 61 wins

    1. Howard Schnellenberger – 58 wins
    2. Carl Pelini – 5 wins
    3. Brian Wright – 4 wins
    4. Charlie Partridge – 3 wins

    1. Mario Cristobal – 27 wins
    2. Don Strock – 15 wins
    3. Ron Turner – 5 wins

    1. Bobby Bowden – 315 wins
    2. Bill Peterson – 62 wins
    3. Jimbo Fisher – 58 wins

    Even keeping up his insane 11.6-win average for the next two decades, Fisher would still be 25 wins behind Bowden at age 69.

    1. Vince Dooley – 201 wins
    2. Wallace Butts – 140 wins
    3. Mark Richt – 136 wins

    At his current 9.71 win pace, Richt will pass Dooley sometime in 2021.

    1. Hayden Fry* – 143 wins
    2. Kirk Ferentz – 115 wins

    1. Charlie Weatherbie – 31 wins
    2. Todd Berry – 27 wins

    1. Nelson Stokey – 143 wins
    2. Rickey Bustle – 106 wins
    3. Mark Hudspeth – 52 wins

    1. Frank Camp – 118 wins
    2. Howard Schnellenberger – 54 wins
    3. Bobby Petrino – 50 wins

    1. Charles McClendon – 137 wins
    2. Les Miles – 103 wins

    Perhaps a national title, two SEC titles and the school’s all-time wins record would get LSU fans off The Hat’s back. Eh, probably not.

    1. Bob Pruett – 79 wins
    2. Doc Holliday – 40 wins

    1. Duffy Daugherty – 109 wins
    2. Mark Dantonio – 75 wins

    1. Charles Murphy – 155 wins
    2. Boots Donnelly – 140 wins
    3. Rick Stockstill – 57 wins

    1. Jackie Sherrill – 75 wins
    2. Allyn McKeen – 65 wins
    3. Dan Mullen – 46 wins

    1. Joe Novak – 63 wins
    2. Jerry Pettibone – 33 wins
    3. Bill Mallory – 25 wins
    Jerry Ippoliti – 25 wins
    5. Dave Doeren – 23 wins
    Rod Carey – 23 wins

    Tied for fifth right now, another MAC title could have Carey in second place by turn of the year. A few more years like that would hand him the record by the next Women’s World Cup.

    1. Don Peden – 129 wins
    2. Bill Hess – 108 wins
    3. Frank Solich – 72 wins

    1. Jess Neely – 144 wins
    2. Ken Hatfield – 55 wins
    3. David Bailiff – 48 wins

    1. Claude Gilbert – 61 wins
    2. Ted Tollner – 43 wins
    3. Don Coryell – 36 wins
    4. Rocky Long – 32 wins

    1. Jim Leavitt – 75 wins
    2. Skip Holtz – 16 wins
    3. Willie Taggart – 6 wins

    1. Pop Warner – 71 wins
    2. John Ralston – 55 wins
    3. Tyrone Willingham – 44 wins
    4. David Shaw – 42 wins

    1. Ike Armstrong – 141 wins
    2. Ron McBride – 88 wins
    3. Kyle Whittingham – 85 wins

  • Video: Inside the philosophy of Chad Morris’ strength staff at SMU

    Chad Morris has a clear vision as he leads his first ever major college football program, and so too does his director of strength and conditioning Trumain Carroll.

    The major difference between the two is that Carroll’s has absolutely nothing to do with what ends up in the win-loss column.

    “Our goal for the SMU strength and conditioning department, and our football team, is to change the mentality.”

    “I can’t sit up here and demand wins and losses because I’m not a ball coach – but I am a strength and conditioning coach – and I can guarantee that when we prepare these guys to play football in the fall, they’re going to take the field with a new mentality, a new passion, a new energy, a new belief that they can do anything that they put their minds to.”

    Carroll compares his staff’s important work with the team with the foundation of a house to start the clip.

    “The first thing that is laid on a building is the foundation. If that foundation isn’t sound or sturdy, than anything that you build on top of that foundation will not sustain, therefore the foundation is the most crucial part of the building,” Carroll explains.

    Hear more on the SMU weight room philosophy being instilled by Carroll and his strength staff in the clip below.

  • Video of the Day – Everyone Wants to Be a Lion

    Video of the Day

    Tuesday July 7, 2015

    Everyone Wants to Be a Lion