Author: Eric Angevine

UGA Day Ringgold

Mark Fox wears body paint to UGA football game (PHOTO)

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Bless you, Mark Fox.

The Georgia basketball head coach gave us something to talk about during football season by turning up at a Georgia game. Not only did he show up, he sat with the superfans known as the Spike Crew. And you don’t just sit with the Spike Crew, you dress up like a refugee from Oakland’s Black Hole if you hang with the Spike Crew.

Mark Schlabach got photographic evidence of Fox dressed up in red and black body paint, wearing spiked shoulder pads. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll shut up now.

(h/t Lost Lettermen)


‘Cuse assistant Hopkins philosophical about missing out on USC job

Syracuse Hopkins
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Syracuse’s top assistant Mike Hopkins has long been a staple of the offseason rumor mill. When openings come up, Jim Boeheim’s right-hand man hears about them. According to a recent article by Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard, Hopkins usually gives them short shrift. He’s been in serious discussions with St. Bonaventure and Charlotte in the past, but ended up staying put.

When USC came calling at the end of last season, however, Hopkins sat up and listened. Hopkins grew up in southern California, and his parents still live there. The idea of coaching in front of the people who brought him into the world really appealed to Hopkins.

Family ties weren’t just pulling him westward, according to the Post-Standard article, however. Hopkins’ eldest son Griff was none too happy about the idea of moving.

Last winter, Griff Hopkins got off the school bus and raced inside his house to see his father.

“Dad,” said the sixth-grader, “the bus driver said that you’re going to take the USC job. That you’re leaving us. Is that true?”

Mike Hopkins, the long-time assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University, had been in discussions with officials at the University of Southern California about the school’s open head coaching position since mid-February.

And now, there was Griff Hopkins, fresh off the bus, asking his dad if he was leaving Syracuse.

“All he knows is Syracuse,” Hopkins said. Griff is the oldest of Mike and Trish Hopkins’ three children. “No question, if I would’ve left, my son might’ve stopped talking to me.”

Moving your kids from the only home they’ve ever known is a big deal, but it’s a decision parents in and out of the coaching profession make every day, with the overall good of the family in mind. Making his kid happy wasn’t the only thing weighing on Hopkins’ mind. He’s also the presumptive heir to Jim Boeheim, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Hopkins says he welcomes the challenge of following his mentor, and sustaining the success Boeheim has made commonplace in Syracuse.

In the end, USC chose Andy Enfield instead of Hopkins. Hopkins was somewhat disappointed, but realizes he’s in a great spot.

Hopkins is, so far the exception. Other top assistants have moved on recently, with Coach K sending Chris Collins off to take the helm at Northwestern, and Bill Self’s top lieutenant Joe Dooley sliding into Enfield’s vacated position at Florida Gulf Coast. Those situations are somewhat different, as Collins was surrounded by contenders for K’s eventual open chair, and Dooley was backing up a relatively young coach who likely isn’t going anywhere for a while yet. Boeheim is 68, and has mused on retirement on occasion recently.

It’s interesting to hear the stories behind the coaching carousel. We might as well get to know something about Mike Hopkins now. With Syracuse in the ACC and Boeheim possibly edging toward retirement away from his beloved friends in the media, Hopkins may just inherit one of the most coveted jobs in college hoops, sooner rather than later.

Proposal for a new NCAA “Division IV” doesn’t mention hoops

Harvard v Arizona
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The notion that big-time football should forge its own path has been in the wind for a while now. It makes us college hoops fans feel pretty squeamish, even if we happen to root for a big-time program, because we like our Big Dance and our Cinderellas, and that would change for good if the FBS schools break away.

I, for one, just stick my fingers in my ears and sing “I can’t heeeeeear youuuuu!” when someone brings it up, even in a theoretical context.

A group known as the Division 1-A Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) has taken the next step, however. The group, as presented in a letter to the NCAA on September 11 of this year, has drafted a proposal for a so-called “Division IV” that would be composed solely of the universities currently playing FBS football.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports gave us the lowdown on the proposal:

The FAR board supports a new division, “more closely aligned in resources dedicated to athletics programs and in types of issues faced,” according to FAR president Brian Shannon, a Texas Tech law professor.

“There is wide consensus that the current Division I governance model is not working,” said Jo Potuto, Nebraska constitutional law professor and past president of the I-A FAR. “A separate FBS division offers more streamlined governance among schools with comparable revenue streams.”

There was no mention at all in the FAR proposal about the effect this new division might have on college basketball, but it doesn’t sound good. The current NCAA tournament model would have to be pretty much scrapped, which shouldn’t sound particularly appealing to the governing body, The NCAA tourney is a huge money-maker, even if basketball’s overall money-making potential pales in comparison to the juggernaut that is big-time college football.

It’s worth noting that FAR has no official power to recommend anything at all to anybody, but they did take the initial step of doing the legwork on a governance model for a separate branch of the NCAA power structure. Chances are, this is just the first shot fired over the bow in this particular battle,