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SEC Headlines 6/3/2013

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1. The SEC’s sports information directors predict a rematch in the conference championship game.

2. SEC coaches are being careful with what they say in this 24/7 media environment.

3. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson discussed what went wrong during his lone season at Southern Miss.

4. Quarterback guru George Whitfield discussed what Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel needs to improve on before the season.

5. Kicker Andrew Gantz, who previously committes to walk on at Tennessee, has decided to attend Cincinnati.

6. Tennessee’s men’s athletics have reason to be optimistic next year, writes John Adams.

7. Kentucky is ranked No. 101 by USA Today for the upcoming season.

8. Alabama AD Bill Battle discussed his new role with the Crimson Tide after replacing the late Mal Moore.

9. Despite comments made by Ohio State president Gordon Gee, Bret Bielema isn’t a thug after all.

SEC Basketball

10. Report: Jonas Hayes will become a full-time assistant coach on Mark Fox’s staff at Georgia.

Extra

11. Rick Pitino on Gordon Gee: “I have a major problem with him.” It gets better during this radio interview.

12. Rutgers’ handling of the Julie Hermann hire continues to receive criticism.

13. Athlon Sports predicts Clemson will win the ACC championship behind senior quarterback Tajh Boyd.

14. There will be no further action in the Pac-12 officiating dispute with Arizona’s basketball team.

15. Very early preview: The Big Ten has released its 2015 football schedule.

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Wow Headlines 3/31/2013

Michigan defeats Florida 79 to 59 Sunday afternoon in Elite Eight NCAA Tournament action…
Third straight year Florida has lost in  Elite Eight round
Just days after stepping away from his role as Alabama AD, Mal Moore has died at age 73…
Moore had been battling serious heart problems for the past month
Shoulder surgery Friday for Kentucky defensive tackle Donte Rumph…
Expected to make a full recovery and be back in the fall
Stay up to date with SEC news year-round at MrSEC.com and on Twitter at Twitter.com/mrsec

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SEC Headlines 3/31/2013

headlines-sun3-150x1501. Kevin Scarbinsky on former Alabama A.D. Mal Moore, who died Saturday. “Moore will be linked forever with Paul Bryant in death as they were in life.”

2. Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings knew Moore for 55 years.  ”I was extremely surprised when I found out that he passed away.”

3. Vanderbilt’s latest scrimmage shows the Commodores are committed to the Wildcat formation.

4. LSU defensive end Jordan Allen is back on the practice field after a knee injury against Washington cost him his sophomore season.

5. Injuries at Georgia – offensive lineman Austin Long out for the rest of the spring.  Cornerback Sheldon Dawson likely out as well.

6. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on the Bulldogs Saturday scrimmage: “I thought we dominated the day.”

7. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on the Razorbacks Saturday scrimmage: “I was happy with the way they were hitting.”

8. Looks like sophomore Brandon Allen has a slight edge on senior Brandon Mitchell for the Arkansas quarterback job.

9. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier bulked up to 245 pounds last year.  With the running game back in play, he’s shed 10 pounds already on the way back down to his freshman weight of 220 pounds.

10. Likely top target this fall for Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell?  Junior receiver Robert Johnson.  ”We actually played against each other in high school.”

11. It’s the one wide-open competition at Ole Miss this spring – tight end.  Co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner: “We’re just playing about eight of them right now, letting them battle it out to see who’ll be the guy and right now nobody is separating themselves.”

SEC/NCAA Tournament Basketball

12. Trey Burke’s performance for Michigan Friday night was the first time a player had scored at least 20 points and 10 assists since Billy Donovan did it for Providence back in 1987.

13. Roster juggling at Tennessee or early NBA departures? Vols have ten returning scholarship players and four commitments.  That’s 14 with a 13-scholarship limit.

14.  Rick Pitino and Mike Krzyzewski will face each other for the first time today since the immortal Christian Laettner shot.

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Former Bama A.D. Moore Dies At 73

mal-mooreJust days after stepping away from his role as Alabama athletic director, Mal Moore has died.  The 73-year-old who’d been connected with Crimson Tide athletics for six decades died today at Duke University Medical Center.

Moore had been battling serious heart problems for the past month.  Alabama’s new AD, Bill Battle, said in a UA press release:

 

“The University of Alabama and the world of intercollegiate athletics have lost a legend, and I have lost a dear friend.  My heart goes out to his family and close friends in this time of sadness. After a time of grieving, we can begin to celebrate Mal’s life, as his legacy will last for generations.”

 

Nick Saban was also quoted in a press release:

 

“Mal was truly a special person in every sense of the word.  We can talk about all the championships Mal has been involved with, but I think what will be remembered most was the man he was.  He always put the best interests of others ahead of his own, he carried himself as a first-class gentleman, and he helped bring out the best in those around him.

Mal was an outstanding leader in terms of all he did for Alabama athletics.  Most importantly, he was a great friend to me and my family.  Mal was the No. 1 reason we decided to make the move to Tuscaloosa.”

 

Our sympathies go out to Moore’s family, as well as the University of Alabama family.

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SEC Headlines 3/21/2013

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1. Ole Miss wide receiver Philander Moore dismissed from team following domestic assault arrest.

2. The lasting legacy of Alabama A.D. Mal Moore, who announced yesterday he’s stepping down.  While at Miami, Nick Saban called his wife Terry and told her he wouldn’t be leaving for Alabama: “She said, ‘Oh, Mal’s already here. We’ve been talking for an hour.’  That was his first step in the right direction.”

3. An outpouring of tributes and support for Moore from A.D.s and coaches around the country.

4. Crimson Tide may have found their replacement for Barrett Jones in Ryan Kelly. Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio: “I trust him as much as trusted Barrett Jones last year.”

5. Alabama will open its 2015 season against Wisconsin at Cowboys Stadium.

6. The big attraction at Kentucky’s spring practice will be the three-way quarterback competition – Maxwell Smith, Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow all vying for the job. Fifteen players participating in pro day at Kentucky.

7. Big challenge at Missouri – gaping holes in the defense.  In SEC play, only Tennessee and Arkansas gave up more plays of 10 yards or more than Missouri (180) and more pass plays of 20 yards or more than Missouri (44).

8. Spring practice underway at Mississippi State.  Two JUCO transfers could start right away.

9. Tennessee coach Butch Jones at the last practice before spring break:  ”The soft guys will get exposed!”

10. With Jacoby Brissett no longer looking over his shoulder, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is more comfortable this spring. “This year, I’m the guy, and that does take a little bit off my shoulders.”

11. Most experienced tight end at LSU this fall will be Travis Dickson – he’s started on game in his career.

12. Auburn’s returning senior class wants to set a new tone. Defensive end Dee Ford: ”We’re taking more of a player approach to leadership, taking ownership.”

13. Ole Miss starting defensive end C.J. Johnson is having surgery today on his broken fibula – will miss the rest of spring practice.

14. JUCO transfer Jonathon Rumph is hoping to make an impact at wide receiver for Georgia this fall:  “Nothing’s going to be given to me. I just came in to work hard and try to earn my spot just like everybody else.”

15. Fans can watch Vanderbilt scrimmage the next two Saturday mornings – spring game set for April 13.

16. Georgia pro day today - 18 players will work out for NFL scouts. Bulldogs have as many as nine guys projected to go in the first three rounds of the draft.

17. At Tennessee’s pro day Wednesday, quarterback Tyler Bray was asked about his draft stock.  ”It’s whatever (NFL Network Analyst) Mr. (Mike) Mayock says it is.”

SEC Basketball

18. Missouri plays Colorado State tonight in Lexington.  Frank Haith wants the Tigers to attack: “When the game’s on the line, the aggressive team wins.” Matchup ranked as one of the best in the first round.

19. Guard Phil Pressey hears what people are saying about Missouri. “You mean that we have enough talent to be in the Final Four, but we can just as easily shoot ourselves in the foot and lose in the first round?”

20. Ole Miss guard Nick Williams started his college career at Indiana, so he knows Wisconsin and the Big Ten style of basketball. ”It’s a fight to score points in that style.”

21. Can you guess which Ole Miss guard gets mentioned as one of the ten names to know in the NCAA Tournament?

22. This will be Florida’s 17th NCAA Tournament – a compilation of the best and worst of the openers.

23. Losing four players to season-ending injuries this past year, coach Rick Ray sees a brighter future for Mississippi State basketball.

24. Even with a huge freshmen class coming in, Kentucky coach John Calipari will have scholarship flexibility next season.

Extras

25. Five things to watch for today in the NCAA Tournament.

26. What’s a victory in the NCAA Tournament worth?  $1.5 million.

27. Report: “College football and men’s basketball players at the NCAA FBS level have an average annual fair market value of $137,000 and $289,000.”

28. Want to change college athletics?  Hit coaches where it hurts – their wallets.

29. Proposed changes to loosen rules on recruiting are headed back to the drawing board.

30. What was Tim Tebow doing at SMU Wednesday?

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Alabama A.D. Moore To Step Down

mrsec-breaking-newsJust a week after being hospitalized with heart issues, Alabama athletic director Mal Moore has decided to leave his current post immediately.  The 73-year-old Moore has been the head of the Crimson Tide athletic department since 1999.

In a statement released this afternoon Moore said: “Due to factors related to my health, I am at a point I can no longer fulfill my duties as athletics director.”

Moore will take on the role of “special assistant” to UA president Judy Bonner.  Speculation over who will replace Moore in the athletic director’s chair will now commence.

From 2008 through September of 2011, Alabama grad Dave Hart served as the “executive director of athletics” alongside Moore.  From 2009 through his departure he was actually in charge of day-to-day operations of the UA athletic department while Moore turned his attention to fundraising.  Hart left Alabama to become the AD at Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee in 2011.

 

UPDATE — We have been contacted by the University of Alabama and asked to change the initial wording of our story.  We wrote that “Mal Moore has decided to resign from his current post immediately.”  Then we wrote that will he take on a new role of “special assistant” to UA’s president (which is unchanged).  Apparently saying he resigned one spot to take another was too much for Bama officials to bear — hey, a pun — so we’ve changed it.  Now we say he’s decided to “leave” his current post immediately.  Either way, health issues have forced Moore to step down from the top of the Alabama athletic department and take on a new advisory role with the school.

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SEC Headlines 3/10/2013

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Football

1. Message to Tennessee football players from Butch Jones on first day of spring practice: “Every single rep counts; every single practice counts.”

2. Spring practice starts today at Arkansas.  Coach Bret Bielema on his players: “They’re just very, very hungry to have success.”

3. In the wake of Gene Chizik’s final season at Auburn, Gus Malzahn and staff are putting a big emphasis on discipline.

4. Hamstring tightness is reportedly the reason whyrunning back Eddie Lacy will miss Alabama’s pro day.

SEC/College Athletics

5. Brought over from Alabama to boost recruiting, here’s what new Texas hire Patrick Suddes had to say about the Longhorns: “They were the best, and they didn’t feel like they needed to change. But recruiting changed. … You have to keep up with the Joneses.”

6. Kevin Scarbinsky on the Alabama A.D. “The fact that (Mal) Moore ranks 11th among SEC athletics directors in annual compensation suggests he’s due the biggest raise of his career.”

7. Florida state senator on the NCAA - ”the whole system needs to be revamped.”

SEC Basketball

8. Trevor Releford’s buzzer beater Saturday “will go down as one of the most memorable moments in the history of 44-year-old Coleman Coliseum.”

9. “Julius Mays is neither the star of Kentucky’s team nor its best supporting actor,” but he’s an important part of the team.

10. Pat Forde: “Calipari’s Kentucky team is experiencing the dark side of one-and-done…”

11. Some good news for Florida in yesterday’s loss as Will Yeguete continues to make progress returning after a knee injury. Coach Billy Donovan: “This is the first time I’ve seen Yeguete back to close to where he was at.”

12. What was on the line Saturday for Tennessee? “Only everything, if you believe the NCAA tournament bracketologists.”

13. Arkansas is the seven seed in the SEC Tournament – play 10-seed Vanderbilt Thursday. Ten conference wins for Razorbacks most since the 2005-2006 season.

14. There’s a chance the state of Texas may not be represented in this year’s NCAA Tournament.  Hasn’t happened since 1977.

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USA Today Reveals Salaries For The Nation’s Athletic Directors (And SEC Schools Are Paying Well)

FAKES ILLUS.jpgUSA Today has become the home of the salary database.  A few years ago the website published the salary data for all the college football head coaches on the FBS level.  Then they took a look at what assistant college football coaches made.  Last evening they posted a list of salaries for the men and women who employ those football coaches — the FBS athletic directors.

A number of private institutions would not share their salary information with USA Today.  In those instances, the website turned to the schools’ tax returns.  In addition, the salaries revealed include lump sum payments, built-in bonuses, and other extras that might not be part of an AD’s year-in, year-out take-home pay.  Add it up, however, and you still have the closest thing to a true list of athletic directors’ salaries that’s ever been published.

In all, there are nine schools that pay their athletic directors more than one million dollars.  They are:  Florida, Louisville, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin.  Vanderbilt’s David Williams, in fact, has the top salary number in the entire country.  But — and this is a pretty big but — USA Today had to use federal tax returns to find out what the Commodores’ AD makes.  The return they saw had Williams being compensated as “vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics; general counsel and university secretary for Vanderbilt and its medical center; tenured law professor.”  Williams is no longer the general counsel and university secretary.  His whopping $3,000,000+ salary also included a “$2,009,952 distribution during the 2010 calendar year of money accrued in a supplemental executive retirement plan that was part of Williams’ initial offer to join the university in 2000.”

Below is as list of salaries for the SEC’s athletic directors.  While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, USA Today’s post is about as close as anyone will ever come to compiling such a list:

 

  Athletic Director
  School   Salary
  David Williams   Vanderbilt   $3,239,678
  Jeremy Foley   Floirda   $1,233,250
  Jeff Long   Arkansas   $903,900
  Dave Hart   Tennessee   $817,250
  Eric Hyman   Texas A&M   $800,000
  Joe Alleva   LSU   $725,000
  Ray Tanner   S. Carolina   $675,000
  Mike Alden   Missouri   $674,317
  Mitch Barnhart   Kentucky   $654,000
  Jay Jacobs   Auburn   $615,000
  Mal Moore   Alabama   $600,500
  Greg McGarity   Georgia   $525,000
  Scott Stricklin   Miss. State   $450,000
  Ross Bjork   Ole Miss   $400,000

 

Observations

* Taking away Williams’ retirement bonus, Vandy’s AD would still rank towards the top of the Southeastern Conference in salary.  He has given up the roles of general counsel and university secretary and taken on the title of athletic director, but it’s doubtful Williams would have OK’d that switch had his pay not stayed in the same relative ballpark.

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UT A.D. Hart: “There Are More Challenges Than Met The Eye”

One year after leaving his job as Mal Moore’s #2 at Alabama, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart is looking back on the decision he made to move from one SEC rival to another.  Hart inherited a budget shortfall, a football coach who’s growing more unpopular with each loss, and the huge task of overseeing the combination of UT’s men’s and women’s athletic departments into one entity.  That process has spawned a number of discrimination-based lawsuits already.

Speaking with Al.com in a short, two-part interview (Part One here, Part Two here), Hart admitted that the job in Knoxville might have been a bit tougher than he suspected when he accepted it:

 

“I think I would not hesitate to say there are more challenges than met the eye. I say that, but nobody misled me for a second. There are many things that even people here did not realize. Certainly didn’t realize the extent of some of those challenges. Now everybody does realize it and everybody is working together to overcome those challenges and we will.”

 

Hart also said the job of trying to keep UT up with the Joneses on the recruiting front is made more challenging by the Tennessee’s cash issues.

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UT’s Athletic Department Lost Almost $4 Million Last Fiscal Year

Welcome to Knoxville, Dave Hart.

Tennessee’s athletic director knew when he left Alabama that he would be going from a top football program to a struggling one.  He might not have known, however, that he was also leaving the penthouse for the poorhouse.

Literally.

WNML-AM/FM in Knoxville reports today that UT lost nearly $4 million on athletics in the last fiscal year.  Using documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the station found that Tennessee’s reserve fund had dropped “to just under $2 million.”  The reserve fund at Alabama, where Hart served as assistant AD to Mal Moore?  More than $80 million.

Ouch.

“It is critical that our athletics program be financially healthy and that its budget is sustainable,” chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a press release.  “We are committed to having premier athletics programs at the University of Tennessee, and to do that, we must develop a financial model that pays for these programs while also building up the necessary reserve funds.”

One effort Tennessee is making on this front is the consolidation of its men’s and women’s programs.  UT was one of the last schools in the country to have separate departments and a number of positions — and salaries — have already been dumped as the departments have been combined.

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