Archive for May, 2012
West Virginia Center Joe Madsen has been named to the 2012 Rimington Award watch list. The award is handed out annually to the nation’s top center in NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Chardon, Ohio native, Madsen holds the most career starts on the Mountaineer roster with 38 career starts. Over the last three seasons Madsen has anchored the WVU offensive line. In 2011, Madsen led the Mountaineers with 55 knockdowns.
During Mountaineer spring ball I asked Madsen if winning the award was a dream of his. He said, “Ever since I’ve been moved to center, that’s always been a goal of mine.” (See the entire Spring Feature on Madsen, the Man in the Middle, here .)
Madsen has earned other accolades in his career. In 2009 he was named to the Big East All-Freshman team by ESPN.com and The Sport News. Then in 2010 and 2011 he was named All-Big East First team by Phil Steele and ESPN.com.
Go to 2:40 in the video to hear Madsen talks about the Rimington award.
When Bob Bowlsby takes over full time for Chuck Nienas on June 15th, he has some quick decisions to make. Clearly he has to decide whether or not to expand and if he expands where to. He really has do decipher what is best for the Big 12. Right now, Big 12 schools are set to make about 20 million dollars in television revenue when dividing it ten ways. Adding a couple of more schools will make the television revenue split less than that 20 million dollar per school. Advantages in television revenue include a possible championship game. But the real decision for Bowlsby will come if he decides to expand. Just adding schools to get to a “magic number” of twelve or fourteen isn’t the answer. The schools added to the league have to bring value to the conference.
The Big 12 has to go after quality and not quantity. Right now they have ten quality schools. With playing a full round robin schedule the Big 12 will get quality games week in and week out. Just adding any school to expand in numbers doesn’t make sense because it could take some of that quality out of the league. The Big 12 has to be smart where they expand to. The ten schools the conference has now shows some of the stability the conference needs.
Bowlsby said in his conference introduction, “This is a group of 10 schools that are going to do great things, support one another and move forward together.”
First addressing the obvious, if the Big 12 can get both Florida State and Notre Dame, undoubtedly the league has to do that. With those two schools in the equation, the TV revenue deals would become larger, especially since Notre Dame has their own deal with NBC. Florida State is the most powerful school left out of one of the four major conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12). FSU is looking to jump out and there is some mutual interest from the Big 12. If those two schools want in then the Big 12 has to expand by offering invitations to both the Irish and the Seminoles.
Now say if Notre Dame doesn’t feel the fit in the Big 12 is right, then the Big 12 will carefully select that other member to invite. Just because Clemson is maybe a flashy team to go invite doesn’t mean it’s a good fit or just because Louisville would provide West Virginia with a traveling partner doesn’t mean the Cardinals are a good fit. The Big 12 has to find the best fit for their conference.
Bowlsby, the ten conference schools’ presidents and athletic directors has to make sure the school is going to provide the conference with an economic strength, academic fit and competitive force on the field.
“As you consider expansion, it has to be expansion that has as its roots the enhancement of the league,” Bowlsby said.
The bottom line is that the Big 12 has to really make a smart effort in deciding if and how to expand. Despite losing Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M over the last two seasons, the conference has done a good job getting back on its feet. The conference has done a great job getting West Virginia and TCU in the conference, selecting a respected conference commissioner in Bob Bowlsby to replace interim commissioner Chuck Neinas and then agreeing with the SEC on a post season game. Now the next critical decision of if and how the conference expands could make league even better.
WVU’s Athletic Department released former Head Coach Bill Stewart’s Funeral Arrangements.
On Thursday May 24th a public viewing will be held at the Morgantown Event Center at 2 Waterfront Place in Morgantown between 2 and 9 PM.
On Friday there will be a private funeral for family, close friends, coaches and players at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church at 10 AM.
Coach Stewart will be buried at North View Cemetery in New Martinsville. Coach Stewart’s family requests that instead of flowers, contributions can be made out to the Bill Stewart Memorial Community Fund.
Former West Virginia forward Kevin Jones will be one of 60 player to work out in the NBA draft combine, which will take place in Chicago on June 7-8.
Including Jones, there will be 10 players from Big East Conference schools participating in the combine and nine Big 12 players will be in attendance.
The 6-foot-8 Mount Vernon, N.Y. native was the only player in the nation to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, and has been projected by many to be an early second-round draft pick.
Jones tested the NBA draft waters last season, but didn’t hire an agent and inevitably decided to return for his senior season, in which he earned first team all-Big East honors.
OFFICIAL LIST OF PLAYERS PARTICIPATING IN THE NBA DRAFT COMBINE:
Quincy Acy, Baylor
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Will Barton, Memphis
Bradley Beal, Florida
J’Covan Brown, Texas
William Buford, Ohio State
Jae Crowder, Marquette
Jared Cunningham, Oregon State
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Marcus Denmon, Missouri
Andre Drummond, UConn
Kim English, Missouri
Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
Evan Fournier, France
Drew Gordon, New Mexico
Draymond Green, Michigan State
JaMychal Green, Alabama
Moe Harkless, St. John’s
John Henson, North Carolina
Tu Holloway, Xavier
Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Bernard James, Florida State
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette
Kevin Jones, West Virginia
Perry Jones III, Baylor
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Jeremy Lamb, UConn
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Damian Lillard, Weber State
Scott Machado, Iona
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Khris Middleton, Texas A&M
Darius Miller, Kentucky
Quincy Miller, Baylor
Tony Mitchell, Alabama
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State
Miles Plumlee, Duke
Austin Rivers, Duke
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
Terrence Ross, Washington
Mike Scott, Virginia
Henry Sims, Georgetown
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Hollis Thompson, Georgetown
Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Royce White, Iowa State
Tony Wroten, Washington
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
Former West Virginia Head Football Coach, Bill Stewart passed away today at the age of 59. Stewart died of an apparent heart attack while on the golf course.
Stewart was named Head Coach after Rich Rodriguez departed for Michigan following the 2007 regular season. During his time as Head Coach Stewart went 28-12 including arguably the biggest win in WVU Football History when the Mountaineers upset Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl.
After word about Stewart’s death spread a number of administrators, players and coaches chimed in with their memories of Bill Stewart.
WVU School President Jim Clements said, “Mountaineer nation is truly saddened today to learn of the untimely passing of Coach Bill Stewart. Our hearts go out to the Stewart family and Bill’s many friends. He was a compassionate, energetic, and kind person. He loved his family dearly and was extremely community-oriented and very giving of his time. He will be greatly missed.”
Though Stewart had an ugly exit from WVU prior to the 2011 season, people around him still had good things to say.
West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck said, “Coach Stewart was a rock-solid West Virginian and a true Mountaineer. His enthusiasm and passion for his state’s flagship University was infectious. We join all Mountaineers in mourning his passing.”
And Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen said, “Like all of us in the West Virginia community, I am shocked and saddened by the passing of Coach Stewart. The State of West Virginia, our University and our football program has lost a true Mountaineer who gave his native state university a decade of coaching service and a lifetime of guidance and inspiration to thousands of young men over a 33-year career. Though Coach Stewart achieved many great milestones on the field, we will most remember his kindness and compassion. Our football family expresses our deepest sympathy to Karen, Blaine and the extended Stewart family”
Also the man who hired Stewart at WVU, Don Nehlen weighed in, ““I’m very saddened. I hired Bill in my last year when I was close to retiring. Bill was such a great Mountaineer and a great addition to our staff. It was a terrific hire — he did a great job not only for me, but for Rich and as a head coach. Bill was such a great husband and a great father. Bill Stewart was a great Mountaineer. My heart goes out to Karen and Blaine.”
And throughout the day on Twitter and in statements multiple players talked about their relationships with Coach Stewart and the impact he had on them.
Former WVU star running back and current Miami Dolphins’ running back, Steve Slaton said, “A true Gentleman, friend, man, coach, teacher, husband, is how I view Coach Bill Stewart. I’m at a loss for words to express how much respect i have for this man, every conversation that I have had the chance to be involved with him he made me feel as an equal. I am honored to have had him as a friend and coach. I know every player that has had the opportunity to be around him would say the same. Mountaineer Nation has Lost one of it’s biggest fans My prayers are with The entire Stewart family.”
And former WVU offensive tackle and current Green Bay Packer rookie Don Barclay said, “He was just a great guy all around. I don’t think words can explain what he’s done for the program and what he’s done for his players like my teammates and me. Making us better men both on the field and off the field.”
“It’s crazy to think, he’s such a young guy that something like this would happen and for all the success he’s had, it’s just horrible to see something like this happen,” Barclay added.
Today the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference announced a five-year deal for their respective conference champions to meet in a post season bowl game starting after the 2014 regular season. The champs from each conference will meet unless either or both take part in the new four-team playoff to determine a national champion. If that were to happen, another school from the Big 12 or SEC would be selected to play in the game.
New Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said via release, “I am very excited by the prospects for a game between our champion and the champion of the Southeastern Conference.”
The Big 12 and SEC have met twice in the BCS before. Alabama defeated Texas in the 2010 National Championship Game and Florida beat Oklahoma in the 2009 National Championship game.
“A new January bowl tradition is born. This new game will provide a great matchup between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era,” added SEC Commissioner Mike Slive in the release.
A host site and location will be announced at a later date with more details.
Both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele released their preseason All-American Teams and All-Big 12 Teams. Athlon Sports has West Virginia as their 12th rated team entering the season. After WVU’s record setting Orange Bowl victory, it is clear that win made a huge impact. An offense that returns nine starters herald some of what both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele feel are the best players in the country.
Last season quarterback Geno Smith thrived with Head Coach Dana Holgorsen running the offense. Smith threw for 4385 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2011, but most feel he can outdo himself in 2012. Smith is Athlon’s 2nd Team All-American Quarterback as well as Athlon’s 1st Team All-Big 12 Quarterback. In Phil Steele’s Magazine Smith was named a 4th Team All-American and 2nd Team All-Big 12.
At the wide receiver position, both Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey were praised by both publications. Austin was named a 2nd team All-American at the all-purpose position by Athlon and a 2nd team All-American Wide Receiver by Phil Steele. Bailey was named a 3rd team All-American by Phil Steele. Both were selected as 1st Team All-Big 12 wide outs by Athlon and Steele.
“Heisman candidate Geno Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey will lead a prolific passing attack once again,” says Athlon Sports Managing Editor Mitch Light via press release. “Dana Holgorsen’s familiarity with the Big 12 will be beneficial in adjusting to a new league, and the Mountaineers should be in the hunt for the Big 12 title.”
Other players receiving honors, center Joe Madsen (Athlon & Steele’s 2nd Team All-Big 12), safety Terrence Garvin (Athlon 2nd Team All-Big 12 & Steele’s 3rd Team All-Big 12), guard Jeff Braun (Athlon & Steele’s 3rd Team All-Big 12), defensive end Will Clarke (Athlon 3rd Team All-Big 12 & Steele’s 4th Team All-Big 12), defensive tackle Jorge Wright (Steele’s 3rd Team All-Big 12), Jewone Snow (Steele’s 4th Team All-Big 12) and Darwin Cook (Steele’s 4th Team All-Big 12).
Earlier today the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game announced West Virginia will take on Alabama on Saturday August 30, 2014 in Atlanta at the annual event. WVU and Alabama have never met on the gridiron.
Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl President and CEO said via press release, “Alabama and West Virginia are consistently among the premier teams in the country and we’re thrilled to be able to host such a high profile game with representatives from the SEC and the Big 12. This will be an epic blockbuster-type game the nation will anticipate for a long, long time and will continue our tradition of showcasing two top-ranked teams to open the season on Saturday night.”
Though two seasons down the road, the game makes for an interesting matchup with contrasting styles of play. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide plays typical SEC defensive, smash mouth football while Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers play the ultimate Big 12 air raid game.
When the 2014 season rolls around for the Tide, it will be their fourth go around in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. In 2008, No. 24 Alabama stomped on No. 9 Clemson, 34-10 and the first win on their way to a National Title in 2009 No. 5 Alabama handled No. 7 Virginia Tech, 34-24. Nick Saban’s squad will play Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome to open the 2013 season.
About taking on WVU, Saban said, “I believe that playing an opponent that has the national reputation that West Virginia does, one of the top programs in the country, provides a great challenge for our players and gives us something to look forward to in the offseason.”
For West Virginia this is a huge chance to showcase the football program on a national stage. Right now the school is four months away from their first ever Big 12 game and already something is stealing the football headlines in Morgantown.
“Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is yet another great way to showcase our football program on a national stage. Playing Alabama will match-up two programs with great college football traditions. I have known Nick Saban since my playing days at West Virginia, and I have the utmost respect for him and his program,” said WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck.