Harvick wins NASCAR’s return race at Darlington

Kevin Harvick has won NASCAR’s return race, taking the checkered flag at Darlington Raceway 71 days after the series’ last event.

Harvick took the lead from Alex Bowman on a late restart and pulled away over the final 30 laps. Alex Bowman finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin. Harvick is the only drive to finish in the top 10 in each of the Cup Series’ five races this season.

He made it look like a Sunday drive in what surely will go down as one of the strangest races in NASCAR history. Masks, social distancing, remote broadcasting and a fan-free speedway were among the most noticeable differences in NASCAR’s return.

NASCAR chose the oldest speedway on the Cup circuit as the safest place to restart its season after eight events were postponed amid the pandemic. NASCAR had been facing a financial collapse if races didn’t resume on national television.

Ryan Newman finished 15th in his first race since suffering a head injury in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500.

Matt Kenseth, who came out of retirement to replace fired Kyle Larson at Chip Ganassi Racing, was 10th. The 48-year-old Kenseth raced in the Cup Series for the first time since the 2018 season finale. He was the oldest driver in the field.

This was the first of 20 races across seven Southern states between now and June 21. Darlington will host two more NASCAR races over the next three days.

The first race back was deemed The Real Heroes 400 and was dedicated to health care workers.

McIlroy delivers the winner as live golf returns to TV

Rory McIlroy delivered the money shot Sunday as live golf returned to television for a Skins game that revealed plenty of rust and raised more than $5 million for COVID-19 relief funds.

McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, who had not won a skin since the sixth hole, had a chance to win the final six skins worth $1.1 million on the final hole at Seminole in the TaylorMade Driving Relief exhibition. Both missed and they returned to the par-3 17th for a closest-to-the-pin contest.

From a forward tee at 120 yards, Matthew Wolff was 18 feet below the hole. His partner, Rickie Fowler, missed the green. Johnson found a bunker. Down to the last shot, McIlroy barely stayed on the shelf left of the pin, measured at 13 feet.

“Air five,” McIlroy said, alluding to the social distancing in place at Juno Beach, Florida.

The final carryover gave McIlroy and Johnson $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation. Fowler, who made seven birdies, and Wolff made $1.15 million for the CDC Foundation.

“I’m proud to be part of an event to entertain people at home on a Sunday afternoon and to raise money for people who need it,” McIlroy said as he played the 18th hole.

Wolff, the 21-year-old Californian with big game and plenty of swagger, earned $450,000 toward relief funds by having the longest drives on two par 5s – 356 yards on No. 2 and 368 yards on No. 14.

Fowler’s seven birdies were worth $270,000 in a separate fund from Farmers Insurance, while McIlroy made four birdies in regulation worth $175,000 and Wolff had three birdies for $135,000. Johnson, who showed the most rust, had two birdies for $75,000.

PGA Tour Charities allowed for online donations during the telecast, raising more than $1 million. The donations will continue until Tuesday. When the exhibition ended, more than $5.5 million had been pledged, starting with the $3 million guarantee from UnitedHeath Group.

Players carried their own bags.

Television had a skeleton crew on the grounds – the play-by-play and analysts were 200 miles away in St. Augustine, Florida, while host Mike Tirico was at his home office in Michigan. The match went over four hours, primarily because players were at times held in place to give the six TV cameras time to get in position on the next hole.

Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of of rules and competition, was the only one to handle the flagstick. Bunkers didn’t need to be raked because they were the only match on the course, which closed for the summer last week.

“It was an awesome day,” McIlroy said. “It was nice to get back on the golf course and get back to some sort of normalcy.”

The players wore microphones, though the banter was limited and ended early.

Most of it came from McIlroy, who had to make a short par putt on the second hole for a push. He rolled it in and said to Wolff, “I think you forget I’ve won two FedEx Cups that total $25 million. That doesn’t faze me, youngster.”

Fowler played the best golf and staked his side to the lead with four birdies in a six-hole stretch around the turn, including a 20-footer on No. 11 that was worth two skins at $200,000. He raised his finger and McIlroy said, “Did you hear all those cheers?” There were no fans, and fewer than 50 people were at Seminole. All were tested for the new coronavirus.

That was the start of golf’s return.

The last live competition on TV was March 12, the first round of The Players Championship. It was canceled the next day, along with other tournaments that either were scrapped or postponed.

Next up is another exhibition match on May 24 down the road at Medalist, where Tiger Woods plays when home. Woods and Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a match billed as “Champions for Charity” that will raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

The real show is to return on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. The tour has said it will not allow fans for at least a month, and perhaps longer depending on it goes. Players will have access to charter flights and a designated hotel.

Woman, boy, 5, drown in Houston home of ex-Dodger Crawford

A 5-year-old boy and a woman drowned in the backyard pool of former Los Angeles Dodgers player Carl Crawford’s Houston home, according to reports.

Houston police were called about 2:40 p.m. Saturday for a reported drowning at a north Houston home that property and business records list as belonging to Crawford, The Houston Chronicle reports.

Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told the paper that the boy was swimming in the pool when he began to have trouble breathing, and the woman jumped in to save him. Both were unresponsive when police arrived and later declared dead at a hospital, Silva said.

No further details were immediately available.

The police department did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment from the The Associated Press. Contact information for Crawford could not be immediately found.

Crawford, 38, is a Houston native and was a four-time All-Star outfielder who last played in the major leagues in 2016 with the Dodgers.

He was a high school star set to attend Nebraska for football. He instead chose baseball and played for Tampa Bay, Boston and the Dodgers.

Known for his speed, Crawford was a Gold Glove outfielder who led the American League four times in stolen bases and four times in triples.

Former manager and player Art Howe released from hospital

Former major league manager and infielder Art Howe was released from a Houston hospital Sunday after a stay in intensive care because of the coronavirus.

“Relief, back in my own bedroom. It’s just sweet,” the 73-year-old Howe said. “It was a long five days or so. I’m finally feeling a little bit better. Still not able to eat real good, taste buds are giving me a hard time. It’s just nice to be back home and hopefully continue to progress.”

Howe will be isolated at home for another week or two.

Best known as the manager of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics playoff teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Howe confirmed Thursday night he has been dealing with the illness since first feeling symptoms of COVID-19 on May 3. He went to the hospital by ambulance Tuesday.

Howe spent 12 seasons in the majors as a player, primarily at second base and third base. He played for Pittsburgh (1974-75) and Houston (1976-82), but missed the 1983 season with an injury before playing two more years for St. Louis (1984-85). Howe hit .260 with 43 home runs and 293 RBIs. His only postseason homer in three playoff trips came in the 1981 NL Division Series against Los Angeles.

Howe began his big league managerial career with the Astros in 1989 and led them for five seasons.

He took over the A’s in 1996 and managed them for seven years while winning 600 regular-season games and leading Oakland to the playoffs three times. Those teams became known for general manager Billy Beane’s then-unconventional method of using sabermetrics to evaluate players. Author Michael Lewis wrote a bestselling book on the A’s called “Moneyball,” and it was later turned into a film starring Brad Pitt as Beane and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Howe.

Howe was released from his contract with the A’s after the 2002 season and became the manager of the New York Mets for two seasons. He has a 1,129-1,137 record in the majors.

Buffalo Bills’ Oliver charged with drunken driving in Texas

Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested during a traffic stop in the Houston area and charged with drunken driving and illegally carrying a handgun, authorities said.

Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies pulled Oliver over Saturday after receiving reports around 9 p.m. of someone driving recklessly in a construction area north of the city while towing an ATV on a trailer, Lt. Jim Slack of the Montgomery County constables office said in a statement.

Oliver failed a sobriety test and the deputies found a small caliber pistol in his truck, Slack said. Texas law prohibits having a handgun while committing a crime, and Slack said Oliver faces a misdemeanor charge for having the weapon.

Video published by the Montgomery County Police Reporter appears to show officers examining Oliver’s eyes and having him walk in a line on the roadside before putting him in handcuffs.

Oliver is from Houston, where he also played his college career. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2019 draft. Montgomery County records did not list Oliver as being in the jail Sunday morning; the Houston Chronicle reported that he was released after posting bond.

The team said in a statement that “we are aware of the situation and we are gathering more information.”

Oliver’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Quinton Dunbar to be released on $100K bond, cannot leave state of Florida

Quinton Dunbar turned himself in on Saturday after he was charged with multiple counts of armed robbery stemming from an alleged incident at a party Wednesday night, but the Seattle Seahawks cornerback is expected to be released from jail on $100,000 bond.

ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe reported on Sunday that Dunbar’s bond has been set at $100,000, or $25,000 for each count of armed robbery. The 27-year-old is expected to post bond, and he will have to turn in his firearms to authorities and will not be allowed to leave the state of Florida.

Dunbar and New York Giants defensive back DeAndre Baker have been accused of robbing victims at a party in Florida of expensive watches and cash and making a getaway in luxury vehicles that were waiting outside the party. One witness said Dunbar and Baker lost roughly $70,000 gambling a few days earlier. Another witness said Baker and another man flipped over a table and brandished firearms and began to rob those in attendance of cash and watches at the party in Miramar on Wednesday night.

Attorneys for both Dunbar and Baker insist the men are innocent, and they claim to have testimony from multiple witnesses that proves it.

Washington Redskins player arrested in Colorado

A Washington Redskins player is facing five charges, including felony illegal discharge of a firearm, following his arrest in a Denver suburb Saturday morning.

The Douglas County sheriff’s office says deputies arrested 27-year-old Cody Latimer after responding to a report just after midnight of shots fired inside an apartment in Englewood, Colorado.

“We are aware of the situation and have informed the NFL League Office,” a Washington Redskins team spokesman said. “We will continue to gather more information and have no further comment at this time.”

Deputies say they found three individuals in the apartment at the Zenith Meridian Apartments, one with minor injuries unrelated to a gunshot.

Latimer was taken into custody and is also facing charges of second-degree assault, menacing, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Latimer posted a $25,000 bond and was released later Saturday morning.

Latimer, a wide receiver, joined the Redskins in March after two years with the New York Giants and four years before that with the Denver Broncos.

The sheriff’s office says it is continuing to investigate.

Devin McCourty downplays Tom Brady’s exit from Patriots

Few members of the New England Patriots have been as publicly relaxed about Tom Brady’s departure than Devin McCourty.

While everyone who has spoken has downplayed concerns about Brady’s exit, McCourty said he hadn’t even been paying attention to the story of the offseason because he was focused on his own free agency.

“I honestly didn’t think twice about Tom Brady’s free agency, because I was a free agent,” McCourty told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Grant Gordon of NFL.com. “That was my main concern, where my family would end up. Would we be back in New England? Then when I signed my deal and I was back, you kind of think of all the guys. Tom, the Kyle Van Noys, the Jamie Collins’. All of those guys you had relationships with, Matthew Slater. That you kinda know, man, this could be it. That coulda been the last game I played with these guys. When he made a decision, to me it wasn’t like the end of the world.”

McCourty is sticking to the Bill Belichick script here. The Patriots have little choice but to move on. While it’s clear McCourty valued Brady as a teammate, putting him in the same category as other free agent departures like Jamie Collins says all you need to know about New England’s mindset.

Jon Gruden: I ‘hope’ fans can attend Raiders’ first regular-season game in Vegas

The Raiders are set to play in Las Vegas for the first time soon. Head coach Jon Gruden expressed a passionate hope he has for their big reveal on “Monday Night Football” in Week 2.

Speaking with Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News, Gruden was asked about the schedule. Last year, the Raiders’ schedule was absolutely brutal. Gruden expressed frustration about that.

Looking ahead to 2020, Las Vegas has a more favorable schedule. Gruden said he is not looking too much into that and is focused on the first game on the road against Carolina.

However, he did share one passionate hope he has for the team’s first-ever game in Las Vegas.

“I just deep down pray and hope there’s a way we can get the fans in there and celebrate the arrival of the Raiders in Las Vegas,” Gruden said. “It could be really cool.”

The good news is that Nevada is trending the right way. So just maybe, Gruden could get his wish.

Then again, there seems to be a sense around the league that games will be played without fans. At least early on.

Seahawks would have drafted QB Josh Allen if they had traded Russell Wilson?

One of the biggest NFL rumors swirling around these days is that the Seattle Seahawks were shopping Russell Wilson in 2018.

Chris Simms of NBC Sports, speaking with Mike Florio last week, made the initial report. He noted that the Seahawks had floated the idea of trading Wilson to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 1 overall pick.

Obviously, that never happened. The Browns took Baker Mayfield, and Wilson has since inked a record-breaking contract with Seattle.

But, my goodness, this story gets even weirder.

According to Simms, who spoke about this with Dan Patrick, the Seahawks were likely going to replace Wilson with Josh Allen, if they had pulled off the trade.

Here’s video of Simms on the “Dan Patrick Show” discussing what could have been.

For what it’s worth, the quarterback Seattle should have considered at the top of the 2018 draft was probably Lamar Jackson. Not Josh Allen.

But neither of those players can match what Wilson can do and has done throughout his career. He’s one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks. And it’s just stunning that Seattle would have entertained the idea of replacing him.

Sean Payton: Buccaneers intentionally lost in 2014 to land Jameis Winston

It’s safe to say that Sean Payton is excited to have former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

He recently compared Winston to the top quarterbacks of the 2020 draft class. In that discussion, Payton said Winston would fare extremely well compared to the rest of the top rookies this year.

Now comes another nugget from his conversation.

Speaking with 105.7 The Fan (via CBS Sports) recently, Payton said the Buccaneers forced then-head coach Lovie Smith to tank:

“Heck, they lost a game on purpose to us at the end of the season prior with (head coach) Lovie Smith. They forced Lovie to take his starters out of the game so they could get the one spot to draft Jameis.”

It’s not hard to believe Payton here. Looking back at that game (Week 17 of the 2014 season), the Saints were in a 20-7 hole at halftime. The Buccaneers went on to lose, 23-20, giving up 16 fourth-quarter points to New Orleans.

That loss gave the Bucs the No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. They went on to take Winston.

As we know, Winston turned into a pretty big bust for the Buccaneers. He never made it past his rookie contract. A prolific passer, Winston’s turnover problems doomed him.

But if ever there were a perfect landing spot for the former No. 1 overall pick, it’s with Payton and the Saints.

FIVE MOST OVERRATED QBS IN THE NFL HEADING INTO 2020

It seems like we’re in the golden age of quarterback play around the NFL. All-time greats such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees continue to do their thing. Meanwhile, the league’s past two MVP’s, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, are now the faces of the league.

Despite this, there’s still a number of quarterbacks being overrated by both their teams and the broader NFL. Both Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers might already be washed up.

When looking at younger quarterbacks, the top-two picks in the 2016 NFL Draft are playing under contracts that must place them in the overvalued category.

It’s in this that I look at the five-most overrated quarterbacks heading into the 2020 NFL season.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Is Big Ben completely washed? It’s an honest and objective question following a 2019 campaign that saw him miss all but two games with an elbow injury. Now returning from a serious surgery on said elbow and two seasons removed from leading the NFL in interceptions, it seems Pittsburgh is asking too much of Roethlisberger.

The two-time Super Bowl champion is playing under an absurd two-year, $68 million contract. At 38 years and and having averaged nearly 15 interceptions over his past four full seasons, Big Ben is getting overrated big time heading into the 2020 campaign. He’ll likely have once last chance to prove the naysayers wrong.

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers

Even prior to suffering a serious injury during training camp back in 2016, it seems that people were overvaluing what this former late first-round pick brings to the table. Bridgewater might have led his then Minnesota Vikings squad to a playoff appearance as a rookie in 2015, but his numbers were not great. The Louisville product threw 14 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions in 13 games.

Since recovering from that life-threatening injury, Bridgewater has thrown 221 total passes over the past three seasons. This did not deter the Carolina Panthers from signing him to a three-year, $63 million contract back in March. Bridgewater will now replace former MVP Cam Newton under center in 2020. Talk about some pressure under rookie NFL head coach Matt Rhule.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

More than anything, it seems like Rams general manager Les Snead and Co. overrated Goff, both heading into the 2016 NFL Draft and recently signing the Super Bowl quarterback to an extension. Goff, 25, is coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him throw 22 touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions en route to Los Angeles missing the playoffs one season after earning a trip to the Super Bowl.

This came off consecutive seasons under Sean McVay that saw Goff tally 60 touchdowns compared to 19 interceptions. It now seems like the Rams might have buyer’s remorse. Goff is playing under a four-year, $134 million contract. Said deal forced the Rams to make some difficult decisions by releasing Todd Gurley and trading Brandin Cooks. Goff is the literal definition of overrated, and it could ultimately end any potential Rams dynasty in the NFC West before it started.

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts

Outside of Tom Brady, the 38-year-old Rivers was the most highly-coveted free-agent quarterback back in March. Rivers ultimately signed a one-year, $25 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts before even looking anywhere else.

To be clear, Rivers is an upgrade over former starter Jacob Brissett. But in no way is he going to be a godsend for Indy. The potential future Hall of Fame signal caller was a mistake waiting to happen last season, throwing 20 interceptions and putting the ball on the ground another eight times. Much like Big Ben, it might be time to consider the possibility that Mr. Rivers is washed up.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Where to begin? Now four years into his NFL career, Wentz has been unable to finish three of those seasons due to numerous injuries. Sure the concussion he suffered in the playoffs last season was an outlier, but this has to be concerning to the Eagles. How much so? They exhausted a second-round pick on quarterback Jalen Hurts in April’s draft.

To make matters even more interesting in Philadelphia, this former No. 2 overall pick is playing under a four-year, $128 million contract. At least statistically, he’s not even the best quarterback in the NFC East. That honor goes to Dak Prescott with Daniel Jones set to take off as a starter. Could the Eagles already be ruing the decision to extend Wentz despite backing him publicly? It’s more than possible.

College football’s top 25 highest-paid coaches for 2020 season

College football coaches are notoriously private when it comes to their personal lives. This usually leads to stories shared among students, leading to legendary auras from these coaches.

The one good thing about college contracts is they are usually state employees, which leads to open-record laws that force their salary to be released. This allows us to see just how much they top coaches in the country are taking in each year.

There are salaries that will surprise you, and others that will utterly shock you. Everyone on this list is making more than $4 million. That’s the price Rutgers paid to new head coach Greg Schiano, making him the highest-salaried state employee in state history. He didn’t even make this list.

Before getting into the top 25 highest-paid college football coaches for the 2020 season, let’s take a second to talk about Mark Dantonio who will get paid $4.3 million to not coach this year.

Honorable Mention: Mark Dantonio – Michigan State

2020 Salary: $4.3 million

Michigan State had a clause in Mark Dantonio’s contract that paid him $4.3 million if he was still the head coach in January. He was indeed the coach in January and announced that he would be stepping down as the university’s head coach on Feb. 4. Dantonio spent 13 seasons at Michigan State and took the Spartans to their only College Football Playoff appearance.

Dantonio now gets to spend his entire season just hanging out, and maybe doing some things on the side for the university. For that, he will make a similar amount of money as he did all of last year. That feels like highway robbery. Either way, now the Spartans have to pay someone else on top of the monster salary for Dantonio.

  1. Paul Chryst – Wisconsin

2020 Salary: $4.15 million

Our first actual 2020 NCAA head coach on the list is also in the Big Ten. Paul Chryst has been wildly successful at Wisconsin. Since taking over in 2015, the Badgers won four out of five bowl games, only losing the most recent Rose Bowl against the Oregon Ducks. He ended two seasons within the top ten and played in the Big Ten Championship Game three times in five seasons.

Honestly, one could argue Chryst is underpaid when compared to some of the other coaches on this list. He’s constantly in the conversation for the College Football Playoff, even if he never actually made it.

He’s also coached stars throughout his time in Madison. Jonathan Taylor was one of the best running backs to ever wear the red “W” on his helmet, and he was just taken in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. In 2017, he had two first-round draft picks in T.J. Watt and Ryan Ramczyk.

We wish Wisconsin did better in recruiting, as they ranked 27th in the country for the second-straight season according to Rivals. The offensive line is always a priority and it leads to great rushing attacks. This is the type of ground and pound that makes Big Ten football.

Chryst will likely stick around for a while, and he could continue to build a powerhouse in the Big Ten. Maybe they can eventually overcome Ohio State and he could get a raise.

  1. Will Muschamp – South Carolina

2020 Salary: $4.4. million

What a strange journey it’s been for South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp. He started his ascent to relevancy alongside Nick Saban at LSU, where they won the National Championship together. He followed Saban to the NFL, which was an epically failed experiment. He eventually returned to the college game at Auburn, left to be the “head coach in waiting” at Texas, didn’t feel like waiting anymore so he left to be the head coach at Florida, and that’s where things got really weird.

He eventually stepped down in disgrace, and eventually got another head-coaching opportunity with the Gamecocks. Right now, he has a 26-25 record at South Carolina, which somehow makes him worth $4.4 million per season.

The real reason South Carolina is stuck with Muschamp is his buyout is insane. Right now, he’s signed through 2024. If the Gamecocks want to go in a different direction after a 4-8 season, it would cost them more than $18 million. They might as well just pay the man to coach at that point, right? They owe him around $23 million to actually coach, or $18.6 million if he’s at home.

Muschamp is going to be the coach for South Carolina unless something insane happens. We don’t foresee it, but this is college football. Anything can happen.

  1. Mike Norvell – Florida State

2020 Salary: $4.42 million

Willie Taggert brought a sense of desperation to Florida State University. It wasn’t the good kind of desperation that brings out the best in teams. This is where the Seminoles go from a national powerhouse to a laughing stock in a matter of years. Jimbo Fischer left for Texas A&M and you will see why later on the list. Taggert came from the University of South Florida, but it became clear this was the coach that needed to be the big fish in a little pond.

After firing Taggert, the leaders at Florida State honed in on Mike Norvell of Memphis after a myriad of rumors that included former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Norvell is paid an ascending deal that averages out to $4.42 million per season. He has a ton of incentives laid out in the contract. He gets paid for making a bowl game, which jumps way higher if it’s a New Year’s Six Bowl. That goes up even higher for the College Football Playoff and the National Championship Game.

This might seem like a lot, but the Seminoles are just happy they’re saving money off of what they paid Taggert last season. He was making $5 million per season and never really showed even a decent return on investment.

It’s clearly way too early to see how this is going to work out. We have to give it some time, but Florida State is going out on a limb with this Norvell contract.

  1. David Shaw – Stanford

2020 Salary- $4.6 million

This one looks a lot worse this season than it did in seasons past, but David Shaw was one of the better coaches in the country for a while. After taking over for Jim Harbaugh in 2011, Shaw led Stanford to five double-digit win seasons and three Pac 12 Titles. Unfortunately, he hasn’t hit double-digit wins since 2016, and last season the floor fell out with a 4-8 season.

Shaw has the Cardinal staring another rough season unless they can buck expectations. They have the third-worst odds to win the Pac 12, with only Oregon State and Colorado trailing them. That’s not a great situation to be in, especially being one of the highest-paid coaches in the NCAA.

Shaw usually makes even more than this, with incentives adding to his compensation. According to this post from the Stanford Daily back in 2017, he actually made $5.68 million that year. All head coaches have interesting perks added to their contracts. Some have incentives to win certain games or big raises for winning a championship. Others get a company car or other stranger additions. Either way, Shaw is getting paid well to be at Stanford.

How much longer will Stanford, a college that’s more into academics over athletics, be willing to pay big money for a coach if he doesn’t have results on the field? Stanford is a private university, so it doesn’t face the same scrutiny as a public college, but those investors into the college want to be more than a laughing stock in the Pac 12. The school paid for long-term results, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with another rough year if it happens.

  1. Kirk Ferentz – Iowa

2020 Salary: $4.8 million

Kirk Ferentz has been with the University of Iowa since the 90s, one of the longest-tenured in all of college football. Spending more than 20 years at one program, making that program a constant top-20 team year in and year eventually gets enough raises to be one of the highest-paid coaches in the land, even at the University of Iowa.

Ferentz has brought the Hawkeyes to bowl eligibility every single year except for since 2001. This past season, he won 10 games and ended the year ranked No. 15. Ferentz has a really good team in front of him, and they are a hard team to beat for every Big Ten team. Last season, they gave Minnesota their first loss of the season after their insane start.

Every year they seem to have a marquee win that gives Iowa fans bragging rights, and is there anything better for fans than that? Whether it’s putting 55 points on Ohio State in 2017, taking down a third-ranked Michigan team in 2016, or starting the season 12-0 in 2015, the Hawkeyes have had a lot to celebrate as of late.

Ferentz feels like one of those “lifer” coaches that’s going to keep it at Iowa for the foreseeable future. It’s a good thing for the Hawkeyes because so many coaches at these close-to-the-top schools usually try to go for bigger and wealthier opportunities. Ferentz seems happy enough to stay in Kinnick Stadium until he eventually hangs it up.

  1. Gary Patterson – TCU

2020 Salary: $4.9 million

We’ve reached the top-20, and we start with a team that’s had wildly varied results. Gary Patterson’s list of wins since TCU joined the Big 12 goes as followed: 7, 4, 12, 11, 6, 11, 7, 5. Some years, TCU is in Big 12 contention, while others are closer to Kansas in the standings. Patterson is always at the helm, no matter the results.

However, it seems the results aren’t entirely important. He’s been with TCU for three different conference changes. When he took the team over in the 2000 season, it was the last year in the WAC before they joined Conference USA. Then, in 2005 they left to join the Mountain West. Finally, they were a part of the mass change in conferences around 2010, and they joined the Big 12, where they will likely stay for a long time.

Patterson has been talked about as a calming presence, something a team like TCU needs when they continuously switch conferences. It might be especially important at a time like this. The students are going to need someone to help them get through the lockdowns and lack of an offseason.

Heck, even the non-athletes will need their head coach to take on more of a leadership role. That’s how a coach like Patterson makes his money. He’s not only coaching a football team. he’s playing ambassador to the entire university.

  1. Mike Leach – Mississippi State

2020 Salary: $5 million

Full disclosure, Mike Leach is a head coach that was almost left off this list. His salary was weirdly left off traditional lists like this, likely because he was such a late hire. Mike Leach left Washington State to head to the SEC, leading Mississippi State into their next chapter.

Leach just signed an extension with Washington State but felt the jump to Mississippi State was too great to pass up. He also got a $1 million per year raise. Now, that difference has him in the top 20 coaches in terms of salary.

Leach is definitely a big name, and he does have results. The cost of those results is sometimes more than financial, but Mississippi State is eager to get back to their winning ways they had under Dan Mullen. They had a feeling of competitiveness in the most competitive conference in the country. If the Bulldogs want to avoid falling further down a hole, they go with the controversial coach with a great track record.

  1. Mark Stoops – Kentucky

2020 Salary: $5 million

Mark Stoops is the epitome of taking advantage while the iron is hot. He signed a new contract with the University of Kentucky coming off their first 10-win season since 1977. The Kentucky Wildcats are obviously a basketball school. That’s why John Calipari is making $9.2 million per season. The basketball team has 38 NBA Draft picks in the 10 years Calipari has been there. It’s right on the team’s front page.

Stoops was able to fall under the radar while he broke the Wildcats football program down and build it back up in the shadows. Then, out of nowhere, they beat Florida. In 1986, Kentucky beat the Gators 10-3 in the regular season. Then, they lost 31 games in a row against the University of Florida. That is until Stoops got his Kentucky team to play some ridiculous defense, and future NFL prospect Josh Allen (the defender not the quarterback) stripped Feleipe Franks to basically end the game.

Obviously, Stoops got his current salary, a salary to goes up exponentially every season until he’s a $6 million in 2024, for more than just one game. However, the Wildcats winning that game makes their season.

Last season, Kentucky took a step back and only won eight games. He has the famous last name, and that obviously helps with his recognition, but Kentucky was the right opportunity for Mark Stoops, and he eventually proved them right. Now, they are paying for a top-tier coach, and he needs to prove he can do that year in and year out.

  1. Scott Frost – Nebraska

2020 Salary: $5 million

This one has been buyer’s remorse to start, but Scott Frost needs some time to deliver at Nebraska. He’s failed to be bowl eligible in his first two seasons as the Cornhuskers head coach. Frost left the University of Central Florida to go make this team relevant again, and the university paid a premium for that. So far, it’s been a major disappointment.

Frost was one of the most coveted coaches in the country when he left UCF, so Nebraska had to pay to get him. They were considered on the cusp of bowl eligibility but ended up winning four games in that first season. That includes losing the first six games of Frost’s career in Lincoln.

We saw a slight improvement last season, when they face the biggest opponents something just doesn’t click. They step up when the opponent is great, but end up falling apart when it counts. Last season when they faced No. 17 Iowa with bowl eligibility on the line, they couldn’t score one point in the fourth quarter. They instead allowed the Hawkeyes to run up the field in the last 30 seconds of the game and kick the winning field goal.

Nebraska needs a major jump from Frost’s team this year. He has to fix the quarterback position, whether that’s actually getting something out of the talent of Adrian Martinez or finally pulling off the bandaid and give Luke McCaffrey the starting job. Frost’s season will depend on making the right decision under center, and that’s why he’s making $5 million a season.

  1. Pat Fitzgerald – Northwestern

2020 Salary: $5.17 million

This one is another lucky one, as Pat Fitzgerald coaches for Northwestern University, a private school that is not required to release the salary figures of its employees. However, because Fitzgerald made so much money, it has to be itemized on the university’s tax returns. So, the school paid a ton of money to their long-time coach.

Fitzgerald has been with the Wildcats since the 2006 season. He took over for Randy Walker after a loss in the Sun Bowl. It’s not like he was taking over for a team with lofty expectations. If Northwestern makes a bowl game and beats a rival, things are just fine. Honestly, they mostly just want to talk about all the famous alumni they have in the media world.

Fitzgerald has been a highly-desirable coach in the past. There were reports just one year ago that NFL teams came calling to see if he was available, but he ended up turning them down. He obviously thought last year would turn out better than it did after Northwestern put up a four-win season and ended up last in the Big Ten West.

This is a very tough conference to be in, but they’ve been competitive before. Just two seasons ago, they beat a ranked Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa team. Then, they beat a good Utah team in the Holiday Bowl. Fitzgerald is a good coach despite coming off a bad season. They didn’t get a high volume of recruits, but with three four-star recruits coming in 2020 he’s getting the best bang for his buck, and snuck into the top 40 in terms of recruitment this season. Fitzgerald is sneaky good, but when his check clears it becomes a lot less sneaky.

  1. Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State

2020 Salary: $5.25 million

Mike Gundy got a raise from Oklahoma State at the end of the 2017 season when there were rumors that Tennessee was interested in the Cowboys head coach. Gundy missed out on a bowl game in his first season in Stillwater, but in the 14 seasons since, he’s made this a playoff team every single year.

There’s something about the Big 12 Conference that brings something special out of a fanbase, so they are more than willing to pay big for a head coach that wins. OSU fans hope they could take the next step one day, but going 7-2 in the conference constantly and making a bowl every season is well enough to get you more than $5 million per season in a contract.

Do they wish they did a little better than Oklahoma? Sure, but the university is 18-89-7 against the Sooners all time. So, Gundy getting two wins against their in-state rival in the past decade is good enough for now.

There’s something about Gundy that his players seem to want to run through a wall for him. Chuba Hubbard returned for his senior year despite leading the country in rushing with 2,094 yards. There’s no national championship to win, but just finishing off his career in orange is enough to come back. That’s happened multiple times for Oklahoma State, where NFL-ready players return to school for one more go around.

If anything, OSU might be hurt overall by how much Gundy gets out of his players because they don’t seem to perform as well on the next level. Since 2009, the Cowboys have had 20 players drafted. Dez Bryant and Russell Okung are the only stars, but there are a ton more busts. Justin Blackmon, Justin Gilbert, Brandon Pettigrew, and Mason Rudolph. There are some decent players (Emmanuel Ogbah and Chris Carson), but when you look at the star versus bust factor, it’s leaning well towards one side.

Either way, we know Mike Gundy is a really good head coach that is getting the most out of his talent. Losing Gundy would make OSU a much worse team, and that in of itself gives Gundy negotiating power to make him a top-15 head coach in the country. That’s why he’s getting paid like one.

  1. James Franklin – Penn State

2020 Salary: $5.4 million

James Franklin has Penn State in the top five at some point seemingly every season. He’s picked up where Bill O’Brien left off after his short stint in Happy Valley after the transition from Joe Paterno and taken the program to the cusp of the College Football Playoff.

In six seasons as the leader of the Nittany Lions, he has three seasons with 11 wins and three top-10 finishes. Franklin is the most underpaid of coaches with his background and track record of success. He’s one of the best coaches in the league, and annually has his name mentioned at the biggest openings and potential openings in the country. It’s almost an annual tradition of “James Franklin to USC” rumors picking up.

Plus, he just signed this contract in February. The Nittany Lions have to pay him a $300,000 retention bonus at the end of the season. He gets a raise every season for the remainder of his six-year deal. Honestly, he deserves it.

  1. Mel Tucker – Michigan State

2020 Salary: $5.5 million

There was a chance that the Spartans were looking at a dark time because their top candidates kept rejecting them. Then, Mel Tucker came over from the University of Colorado and got a salary that was double what he was making in the Rockies.

Tucker also has a litany of performance bonuses depending on certain awards he could win and his status in the conference and the country. So, beyond his guaranteed $5.5 million, Tucker could end up getting a whole lot more if he ends up living to the expectations Spartan fans have for him.

Based on how everything went down, it sounds like Michigan State sent a grandfather offer to Tucker, giving him no choice but to leave Colorado. Tucker went on Twitter days before signing his new contract and thanked Michigan State for their interest but decided to stay where he was. Then, a few days later he went on the radio the same day he signed with the Spartans and said he wasn’t leaving. MSU must have come with this major money offer for a coach that hasn’t proven a lot.

Tucker was a head coach for one year, won five games with a middling Pac-12 team, had no time to actually allow his recruits to show any growth, and he became one of the highest-paid coaches in the country. It just shows that timing is literally everything here. Well, we shall see if it works.

  1. Ryan Day – Ohio State

2020 Salary: $6 million

Ryan Day is moving up on this list over the next couple of years. He just signed a new contract extension that will pay him $6.5 million next season and then $7.6 million in 2022. That would probably not so ironically put him barely ahead of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for one of the highest-paid coaches in college football.

Day became head coach when Urban Meyer retired after the 2018 season. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins also left, going in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Buckeyes lost a ton of talent and one of the best head coaches in college football. They did not miss a beat.

For most of last season, the Buckeyes were one of the best teams in college football behind quarterback Justin Fields. It was them and LSU dominating teams from the jump. When they gave up 21 to Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic Owls, some might have wondered if Ohio State would be their normal, dominant selves. The next week, they destroyed a Cincinnati team that ended up being ranked for most of the season. Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State and most importantly Michigan couldn’t come close to beating Ohio State.

Day has experience in the NFL, so teams will be calling when they get an opening, so the Buckeyes have to pay to keep the pros at bay. He was a quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s rare to jump from one great coach to the next, and it’s going to cost a lot to make it happen. We’ll see Day much higher on this list next year and continued growth throughout his tenure.

  1. Dan Mullen – Florida

2020 Salary: $6.1 million

Florida went through a tumultuous tenure from Jim McElwain’s time in Gainesville. The Gators went 22-12 with him as head coach, but the record wasn’t even as bad as what was happening off the field. Eventually, UF attempted to fire him with cause before they mutually agreed to end the relationship.

After going through a messy divorce, the school obviously wanted something more permanent. This is the same school that went 80-plus years without a National Championship, only to win with some of the best coaches in recent memory (Meyer and Steve Spurrier). There were the violations of 1984 that erased their best season up until that point and took out postseason berths when the team actually had a shot to compete for a title.

These feelings push a team like Florida to pay well when a good coach comes through the doors. When you really look at this contract, it really is in Mullen’s favor. Not only does he get one of the top salaries in the country, but he also has a $12 million buyout from the university, while only having a $2 million buyout to go somewhere else.

It’s worked out swimmingly for the Gators. He’s had double-digit wins in each of the last two seasons, taking over a team that went 4-7 the previous year. He’s beaten a top-ten team in each season and won a bowl game in his first two seasons as head coach. He’s done everything he’s been asked to do short of beat the Georgia Bulldogs. We’ll see what happens this season when the Bulldogs have to replace a lot of players.

Just look at this past season. Their quarterback Feleipe Franks took one of the worst hits you’ll see on a college football field. The season could have ended on his shattered ankle. Instead, he put his confidence in Kyle Trask and the team didn’t miss a beat. That comes from the coach to have his team rally, and Florida is lucky to be able to pay this man more than $6 million.

  1. Lincoln Riley – Oklahoma

2020 Salary: $6.4 million

We finally reached the top 10, and it makes sense we start with Lincoln Riley. The head coach of Oklahoma is already one of the best coaches in the country, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Sooners are regularly in the top five, and this past season was no different. The team ranked 3rd in total offense, 6th in scoring offense, 13th in red zone offense, and fourth in total pass efficiency.

Say what you want about the Big 12, but there are a lot of really talented teams in the conference. Riley has won the Big 12 going away each and every season. Last season, their biggest threat was Matt Rhule and Baylor. They beat them twice including once when they came back from a 31-10 point deficit.

Sure, the Sooners got destroyed at the hands of LSU, but that team was still one of the best in the country when it was all said and done. That’s three years in a row that the Sooners made the College Football Playoff and ended up one and done. It’s unfortunate but if any other coach was in the same situation we don’t see them making it out of this.

Riley has coached the Heisman Trophy winner two seasons in a row and lost him twice. Baker Mayfield was the number-one overall pick for the Cleveland Browns and Kyler Murray immediately stepped in and dominated. Then, he was the number-one overall pick for the Arizona Cardinals, and Riley replaced him with a transferring Jalen Hurts.

Riley is still early in his career, and he can one day see salary numbers in the Nick Saban range if he stays at Oklahoma. The Big 12 is in trouble if he doesn’t make a jump to the NFL or something else.

  1. Jeff Brohm – Purdue

2020 Salary: $6.6. million

Jeff Brohm is another coach that made the most of his opportunity with a school that doesn’t have a ton of success in football. Purdue paid a massive price to keep Brohn from leaving the Boilermakers to coach for the Louisville Cardinals. Now, he’s a coach that in his third year at the university, the year when his recruits start taking over, his team went 4-8. It’s a rough situation to be in.

Brohm did secure a top 25 recruiting class, but it won’t mean much if he can’t get results on the field. Those really good recruits will transfer to other programs where they aren’t always losing or that would raise their profile.

The Boilermakers aren’t the type of team to usually pay big for athletics. They don’t have the history of championships or the top NFL players to build a legacy. Drew Brees is obviously the biggest name, but since then they’ve only had six first and second-round picks in 19 years. They haven’t’ had anyone taken in day one or day two of the NFL Draft since Kawann Short in 2013. That includes Brohm’s entire tenure.

This one’s a head-scratcher, and it’s not going to make sense any time soon. Until Brohm can make the Boilermakers at least a competitive team in the Big Ten, the price won’t be worth the reward.

  1. Tom Herman – Texas

2020 Salary: $6.8 million

Tom Herman might be the man with the hottest seat on this list. Honestly, Herman might have the hottest seat of any coach in college football. The Longhorns brass is paying him one of the highest salaries in the country to win, and despite having a team that came into last season as the 9th-ranked team, they ended up 25th, and just barely in the final season poll.

It was a year they were supposed to compete for the Big 12 Championship. Instead, they had to settle for upsetting Utah in the Alamo Bowl. They ended up losing to not only Oklahoma and Baylor, the two top teams in the conference, but they also lost to Iowa State and TCU, who were not so great. Heck, they needed a field goal as time expired to beat Kansas.

This is the year Herman has to prove his worth. Just look at their schedule. They have to play LSU early on the road, and that’s going to be a tough one, but that has nothing to do with the Big 12 championship. In conference play, their road games are Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas and Texas Tech. Not only do they get to play Baylor and Oklahoma at home, the two best teams in the conference, but they get to skip two extremely hard places to play on the road in Morgantown (WVU) and Ames (Iowa State).

With everything falling in Texas’ favor, and with Lincoln Riley once again trying to replace a quarterback for the third season in a row, it could be time for Texas. Herman at least has to show major improvement and Sam Ehlingher has to become one of the country’s best quarterbacks for Herman to return unscathed.

  1. Kirby Smart – Georgia

2020 Salary: $6.8 million

Georgia is the team we like to call the “best of the rest”. Nobody really picks the Bulldogs to win it all, but they are literally the next team in the rankings. Their best shot was three years ago, just Kirby Smart’s second at UGA. They went all the way to the National Championship Game but ended up losing to Alabama by three. In the last two seasons, they fell just outside the College Football Playoff and played in the Sugar Bowl.

Smart has worked out really well for Georgia, even if he hasn’t delivered the ultimate goal. It definitely helps that Mark Richt, who Smart replaced, had a brief tenure at the University of Miami before retiring.

Smart’s first contract with the Bulldogs was $3.75 million per season. Now, Greg Schiano makes more than that to coach Rutgers. Unsurprisingly, Smart was given a substantial raise, almost 100 percent, just two years later. Now, he’s on a seven-year pact paying him just under $50 million.

The Bulldogs have a really good coach signed on for a long time. He played for the school, which usually ties coaches there over leaving for a little more money or a slightly better program. There aren’t many jobs better than Georgia, so they just needed to up the ante in terms of salary to keep him there for a long time. Smart was once a defensive coordinator at Alabama, but even when Nick Saban eventually retires, it would still be hard to say goodbye to his university.

  1. Gus Malzahn – Auburn

2020 Salary: $6.9 million

The SEC is going to be well represented in the top 10 as the best conference in college football. Auburn is a team that’s always competitive but hasn’t been a national powerhouse in a couple of years. They are still ranked in the top 20 for most of his time at Auburn.

Gus Malzahn was at Auburn as the team’s defensive coordinator before leaving the become the head coach at Arkansas State. The Tigers immediately fell apart as Gene Chizik couldn’t do it by himself. The Tigers learned of their error, let go of Chizik and brought Malzahn back.

That kind of desperation is what cost schools money. Then, he took the school to a 10-win season in 2017 and used that momentum to sign an even bigger contract. In 2020, his salary sits at $6.9 million. It will continue to go up from there until he makes a total of $49 million.

Malzahn has been a very good coach for Auburn, so their desperation paid off. It has to because Malzahn’s buyout is insane. If they wanted to get rid of him after the past season, which there was no indication of the sort, it would have cost them $27 million.

That kind of stability will keep even the worst coaches in their job. Maybe Malzahn hasn’t been the perfect coach to Auburn’s liking, but with Bo Nix coming off his freshman year and looking like one of the best quarterback talents in the country, maybe Malzahn can bring back those championship aspirations one day.

  1. Jimbo Fisher – Texas A&M

2020 Salary: $7.5 million

Now that we’ve made it to the top five, salaries start to take a turn towards the ridiculous. Two of these coaches are making their money based on past performance, and we can bet you know the other one but we’ll start with Jimbo Fisher. He was one of the best coaches in the country when he was with Florida State. Then, he was given a $2 million raise to head to the Texas SEC school.

The Texas A&M Aggies haven’t been very relevant for a long time. They dominated the Southwest Conference in the 80s and 90s and had a good season or two at the beginning of their SEC tenure, but things fell off with once Johnny Manziel was gone. Then, during the era of conference craziness where everyone changed, the Aggies made the bold move to go to the hardest conference in the country.

They went 11-2 in their first year in the SEC in 2012 and even ended the season ranked 5th in the country. They’ve only ended the season ranked in the top 25 twice since then. That’s why they felt they needed to go get Jimbo Fisher. To deal with this ridiculous schedule, they needed one of the best coaches in the country.

Just look at last year’s schedule. The Aggies lost to (ranking at the time of matchup) No. 1 Clemson, No. 8 Auburn, No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia and No. 2 LSU. They won every other game and sometimes won them handily. Fisher has a much easier schedule, even if they have to go back to back with Alabama and LSU in the final two weeks of the season.

It’s too early to judge Fisher’s contract, even if it’s entirely a risk for Texas A&M. There is no buyout if Fisher ends up leaving for any other team in the country, yet his contract is fully guaranteed. It’s insane, but it’s what it took to get Fisher to sign on the dotted line.

  1. Jim Harbaugh – Michigan

2020 Salary: $8 million

This one is always going to get people talking. Jim Harbaugh is the highest-paid coach to have never won a National Championship. He left the NFL after things went sour with the San Francisco 49ers, and he immediately went to his alma matter when they had an opening. Maybe he didn’t want to go to college, but who in the NFL was going to give him $8 million at the time?

The Wolverines came with a Godfather offer and he couldn’t refuse it. For his massive salary, Harbaugh has given Michigan, one tie for first place in the Big Ten East, one top-10 finish (10th in 2016), averaging more than two losses a year in the Big Ten play, and most importantly, an 0-5 record against Ohio State. Harbaugh gets amazing talent to come to Michigan, but they just can’t push it over the top.

Michigan’s recruiting ranks as follows (according to 247Sports) 2016-8th, 2017-5th, 2018-22nd, 2019-8th, 2020-14th. That is some really good consistency from a team that hasn’t ever made the College Football Playoff. The expectations are through the roof in Ann Arbor, but it’s time for them to live up to those expectations. Maybe the maize and blue expect a little too much, but when the team has that kind of talent, it’s time to make the most of it.

Michigan can get out of this contract for nothing if they are willing to wait two more seasons. In December 2021, the two parties can either decide to negotiate an extension or terminate the contract. We’ll see if Harbaugh’s seat continues to stay hot. It likely all depends if he can get by another loaded Buckeyes team.

  1. Ed Orgeron – LSU

2020 Salary: $8.7 million

This shows how important a National Championship is. LSU went 15-0 last season, dominating everyone along the way, and they ended the season as the best team in college football. Ed Orgeron got a slight raise before last season to make his salary $4 million. This year, his compensation more than doubles.

He signed a seven-year, $49 million contract, but with the certain incentives he gets, it’s worth $8.7 million in the first year. It’s hard to say Orgeron isn’t worth it. He took down Alabama as the leader in the SEC, rolled through Oklahoma on its way to a big win against Trevor Lawrence and Clemson. He turned Joe Burrow from a middling prospect to a Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick. He tied an NFL record by having 14 players drafted in the most recent NFL Draft. Orgeron put together an amazing team, and LSU is paying for that.

Can he repeat it? It’s certainly a fair question. His LSU teams have gotten better every year he’s been there, and now it looks like he plans to be there for a long time. The Tigers need to replace those 14 great players, which includes the starting quarterback. They still come in with lofty expectations.

Orgeron needs to show that his impeccable season was more than a one-hit-wonder. He’s paid a ton of money now, and his name is next to the two best coaches the game has seen a long time. If he wants to stay there, then he needs to keep winning.

  1. Nick Saban – Alabama

2020 Salary: $9.1 million

What do we need to say about Saban that you don’t already know? He’s been with Alabama since 2007 and won five National Championships as the Crimson Tide head coach. They are perennial favorites with Saban at the helm. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is (would you like Greg McElroy, Jake Coker or Tua Tagovailoa, all of which who won National Championships).

Saban might be the best recruiter in college football history. In the past 10 years, he’s had the number one or number two recruiting class nine times. That’s insane. His worst year is 2018, where he was ranked fifth according to 247Sports. Overall, that year was a dud with his best recruit Eyabi Anoma now in the NCAA transfer portal for the second time in a year (he was dismissed by Houston).

Either way, the point is Saban finds a way for elite talent and players who can pick from any college in the country to go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a city of 90,000 people. Only 36 percent of that population has a Bachelor’s Degree many in the town are hoping to get. Yet, Saban gets players downright excited to come there.

Winning costs money, and the Crimson Tide win more than anyone else. They are constantly in the title picture, and that’s why Saban is making more than $9 million per season. He’s 68 years old and is signed through 2025. Will he coach beyond that?

  1. Dabo Swinney – Clemson

2020 Salary: $9.3 million

Clemson was always a pretty good football program, but the university is now synonymous with greatness, and it’s largely because of the coach who made the most of his opportunity as an interim coach. Dabo Swinney brought Clemson’s second National Championship in 2016 and only took two more seasons to bring them their third. Now, he’s going into next season as the favorite as Trevor Lawrence looks to win one more before leaving school for the NFL.

About one year ago, Swinney signed his current contract, which lasts 10 years and pays him a total of $93 million. It’s by far the biggest contract in college football history. Nobody is arguing Swinney is overpaid, unless it becomes an argument of a coach making this much money in a sport where the players get an education in return.

Swinney has done so much more for Clemson than winning them football games. Clemson’s student body looked like it could be plateauing in 2010 when it only went up by a little over a thousand compared to the year 2000. now, there are close to 25,000 people in the Tiger’s student body. That’s a 5,000 person increase. Say what you want, but at least a good portion of that is due to the publicity that comes with football success.

Clemson is in the national lexicon each and every year. The top recruits are picking Clemson unlike ever before and Swinney has them as the prominent program in college football. He deserves the title of college football’s highest-paid coach.

NBA exploring playing games at 15 to 20 percent arena capacity next season

There is a real possibility that next season could start in the NBA and it still won’t be feasible to play in front of an arena full of fans. As a result, they’re looking into alternatives.

Commissioner Adam Silver prepared players for games without fans into the 2020-21 season on last week’s conference call, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He did, however, float the possibility that games could be played in front of limited crowds.

“It sucks, but it just may be our reality for a while,” Silver told the players. “It may be that … there’ll be a point we can bring a portion of our fans back where they sit every other seat or every third seat.

“…Assuming a vaccine isn’t coming any time soon, are there things we can do in our arenas where maybe we can’t have 19,000 people, but maybe we can have 5,000 people? Maybe we can have 8,000 people? Maybe there are protocols allowing for it?”

It’s clear that the NBA would like to play in front of fans as soon as possible, even if it’s only a handful. Some of those reasons are definitely financial, but having fans in the building improves the atmosphere for everyone involved. Expect other leagues to try to explore similar ways to get even a few fans in buildings as soon as possible, though it’s still not clear if it will even be feasible.

Udonis Haslem warns of ‘bad basketball’ in potential ‘bubble’ city

Heat forward Udonis Haslem doesn’t believe that forcing players to live under quarantine conditions in a “bubble” city will result in a good product, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

Creating an isolated environment, likely in Las Vegas or Orlando, has been a prominent plan as the NBA searches for ways to safely resume its season. However, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts recently questioned what it would take to enforce those conditions, saying it sounds like “incarceration.” Haslem echoes those comments, stating that players need “outlets” beyond just the game or it will result in “bad basketball”:

“There’s a lot that goes on to prepare for a season mentally. There’s a lot that goes into going out there and performing at a high level every night, and especially when you put yourself in a playoff atmosphere. I was one of those guys who’s always needed different outlets, for my mental health. So just moving forward, if that is something that we’re going to do, you just hope that both the league and the players’ association are smart about making sure we have different outlets, as far not just letting us out to play games and then locking us back up in the hotel, in quarantine.”

Commissioner Adam Silver has responded to those concerned about a bubble, suggesting players could be placed in more of a “campus” setting. Teams would stay at a central location where games would take place, but the players would be able to leave the site and would get a COVID-19 test when they return.

Even under those conditions, players face the possibility of being isolated from their families for two months or more, depending on how much of the regular season gets played before the playoffs begin. That would be unprecedented even for a veteran like Haslem, who is in his 17th NBA season and 18th in professional basketball. Haslem continued:

“I’ve never been away from my family for that long. Obviously, back in the day, when we would take the West Coast trips with the Big Three, when LeBron (James) first got here, it felt like a month. But, no, never, not even with my travels to Europe, away from the family, have I been away that long. So it will be tough. It will be definitely tough for a lot of us.”

MLB PROPOSAL FOR SEASON INCLUDES HARSH PENALTIES FOR FIGHTING

The Major League Baseball proposal to players for the start of the 2020 season includes severe measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic break it down in a tremendous article published Saturday morning.

It includes players wearing masks while in the dugout and six feet of social distancing during the National Anthem.

The proposal, yet to be agreed to by the players, also includes harsh punishment for on-field fights, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post.

It’s not yet known how severe the discipline will be, but we’re likely talking multi-game suspensions. At the very least, more severe than what we’ve see in the past.

In reality, this makes perfect sense. There’s absolutely no reason for players to risk spreading the virus simply because they are upset over a hit by pitch and such.

Bryce Harper offers his own proposal for MLB season

MLB’s proposal to play the 2020 season has proved to be unpopular with players. That’s mostly because of finances, but one star has his own ideas for how the campaign should play out.

Bryce Harper suggested his own set of guidelines for the 2020 season, including a 135-game schedule and a round-robin playoff system.

Playing 135 games at this stage is probably unrealistic, but it’s fun to see Harper thinking outside the box. Other than the larger schedule, there are parts of the Harper plan that bear some similarities to what MLB is actually proposing.

None of this solves the real big issue right now in negotiations between the league and the MLBPA. It’s a sign that players do want to play, though.

NHL, NHLPA reportedly making progress on 24-team playoff format

With plenty of options available to the NHL when it comes to resuming play, progress is being made toward a possible playoff format. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Return to Play Committee is leaning toward a 24-team playoff format to wrap up the 2019-20 season.

LeBrun reports, however, that there is quite a bit of work still to be done if a 24-team playoff is to become a reality, but there has been significant progress made this weekend. Talks are expected to continue over the next couple of days with the potential that a plan will officially be outlined next week, as both sides are much closer on what a return to action might look like. Of course, once the Return to Play Committee does come to an agreement, it must pass through the NHL Executive Board and be approved.

On top of that, there is a Board of Governors meeting on Monday. Whether NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will have a deal ready to pass on by then is unknown unless the Return to Play Committee can come to an agreement in the next 24 hours.

The still-developing plan would not be a straight-to-the-playoffs format, however. According to LeBrun, the league will likely have some games before the playoffs would begin, probably to ease teams into playing shape after the significant break due to COVID-19. There is also the issue on whether all players will be on board to returning to action later this year, as it is believed some are seriously concerned about the health and safety issues that surround a return to play.

While there are a number of 24-team format options, LeBrun writes in a separate story that there has been some opposition to a 24-team tournament, especially with teams like Chicago (32-30-8 for 72 points) and Montreal (31-31-9 for 71 points) being the last two teams to enter into the playoffs when they don’t deserve it and the concerns that a hot start after a long break could create some significant upsets in this format.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1912

PHILADELPHIA-Nineteen baseball players, comprising the regular team of the Detroit Tigers, three-time champions of the American League, made baseball history at Shibe Park this afternoon by going on strike and refusing to play the Athletics, following the refusal of B.B. Johnson, president of the league, to lift the suspension against Tyrus Raymond Cobb, the Detroit’s star outfielder, who, last Wednesday, climbed into the grand stand during the game with the New York Highlanders and mauled a spectator who had said things reflecting upon the player.

Just as if they were freight handlers, New England millworkers, striking longshoremen, or belonging to any of the disaffected class of craftsmen who have wage troubles, the athletes paraded off the field just before the hour for calling play-literally a walk-out. “Hughey” Jennings, manager of the Tigers, recruited a team on the field, played the Athletics with these “mis- fits” and thus avoided the imposition of a $1,000 fine, as prescribed by the rules of the league. The score was: Athletics, 24; Detroit, 2.

As the regular Detroit players left the field, the Saturday half-holiday crowd of more than 15,000 spectators arose and cheered. A few hissed, but their hisses were drowned in the roar of cheers and handclapping. The spectators had an inkling of conditions, and when the players started from the field, the occupants of the stands knew what had taken place. Jennings had said that his sympathies were with his players, but he had promised President Navin of the Detroit Club that he would have nine men on the field to meet the Athletics, and he made good this promise.

Through the stands was carried the rumor that Jennings wanted volunteers. By the dozens, amateurs, semi-professionals, and college athletes left their seats and swarmed around the Detroit bench trying to look like real ball players. Jennings sorted over the bunch and picked out six likely- looking young men. They were hustled into the dressing rooms under the grandstand and told to jump into the Detroit traveling uniforms. They put on a broad grin with their suits, for Jennings announced that each would receive $50 for his services for the afternoon. Then out on the field trotted the “misfits.”

What the final outcome of the controversy will be no person seems willing tonight to predict. The players are forecasting that it means an upheaval in organized baseball, and the final triumph of the players over the officers of the League.

When American League president Ban Johnson threatened the real Tigers with lifetime bans from baseball, they played, with Ty Cobb’s approval and thanks, in Detroit’s next game. Cobb received a 10- day suspension and a $50 fine.

 

ALSO:

1971: Rookie goaltender Ken Dryden, the most valuable player of the N.H.L. playoffs, made 31 saves as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 3‚2, at Chicago Stadium in Game 7 of the finals. It was the Canadiens’ 11th Stanley Cup in 19 years and 16th overall. Henri (Pocket Rocket) Richard, playing on his 10th Cup winner, scored the tying and winning goals.

1962: Al Oerter of Queens, N.Y., became the first athlete in history to throw the discus 200 feet, with a heave of 200 feet 5 inches, at a meet in Los Angeles. Oerter would go on to win discus gold medals at four straight Olympics: 1964 (Tokyo), ’68 (Mexico City), ’72 (Munich) and ’76 (Montreal).

1963: Ernie Davis, the star running back at the University of Syracuse and the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner, died at age 23 after a 10-month battle with leukemia. He led the Orangemen to the 1959 national title as a sophomore, breaking many of Jim Brown’s school records.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1875       In a match-up of undefeated teams, the visiting Boston Red Stockings (16-0) beat the Dark Blues (12-0) at the Hartford Ball Club Grounds, 10-5. The record crowd of 10,000 fans attends the National Association contest, including Mark Twain, who will later offer a five dollar reward for the return of his English-made brown silk umbrella pilfered at the game by a small boy when the famous writer stood up to cheer for the hometown team.

1912       As a replacement player, Allan Travers, a St. Joseph’s College pitcher, takes the mound for the Tigers, who are fielding an amateur team to avoid a $5,000 fine due to the team’s refusal to play the A’s in support of suspended teammate Ty Cobb. In what will be his only major league appearance, the collegiate hurler goes the distance, giving up 24 runs, 14 earned runs, 26 hits, and seven walks, but does strike out one as Philadelphia routs Detroit at Shibe Park, 24-2.

1929       In a doubleheader played at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, the Dodgers and Phillies teams combine to score a record fifty runs when the visitors outlast the home team, 20-16, before dropping an 8-6 decision in the nightcap. In the opener, Brooklyn’s Johnny Frederick crosses the plate five times, giving him the major league mark of scoring eight runs in two consecutive games.

1931       Dodgers’ outfielder Babe Herman hits for the cycle for the first of two times this season. In 1933, as a member of the Cubs, he will again hit for the cycle, making him and Bob Meusel the only major leaguers to have accomplished the feat three times since 1900.

1942       Night games in New York are banned for the duration of WW II, leaving fans in the dark about the status of the All-Star Game scheduled for the Polo Grounds on the evening of Monday, July 6. The prohibition of nighttime tilts, announced by NYC Police Commissioner Lewis J. Valentine, will change the starting times for 28 contests involving the Dodgers and Giants. (The first night game takes place at Yankee Stadium in 1946.)

1956       Mickey Mantle becomes the all-time home run leader for switch hitters when he belts his 136th career round-tripper, a two-out homer in the top of the ninth that ties the score in the Yankees’ eventual extra-inning 8-7 victory over Chicago at Comiskey Park. ‘The Mick’ will nearly quadruple the mark, extending the record to 536 before he retires before the 1969 season.

1958       On his 25th birthday, Carroll Hardy, pinch-hitting for Roger Maris, blasts a three-run home run, giving the Indians a 7-4 walk-off victory. The 11th inning round-tripper off Chicago’s Billy Pierce is the Cleveland rookie’s first major league homer.

1960       The Indians trade southpaw Herb Score to the White Sox for Barry Latman, a right-hander who will post a 35-37 record during his four seasons with Cleveland. The Tribe’s former left-hander, who was struck by Gil McDougald’s line drive that broke his facial bones and injured his eye, shattering a promising career three seasons ago, will return to Cleveland in 1964 to begin a 34-year stint as the team’s beloved television and radio play-by-play announcer.

1969       Cesar Tovar and Rod Carew combine to set a major league record for most steals by teammates in one inning, swiping five bases against the Tigers’ battery of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan. During the third inning, Tovar, the Twins’ leadoff hitter, steals third base and home, followed by Carew, who pilfers second and third base and home plate in the 8-2 loss at Metropolitan Stadium.

1973       Bill North’s bat sails onto the infield when he swings and misses the first pitch thrown by Royals rookie reliever Doug Bird, who will be shocked when the A’s center fielder, retrieving his bat, unexpectedly goes to the mound and begins to pummel him. The Oakland outfielder, who will be ejected, suspended for three days, and receive a $100 fine for initiating the brawl, was retaliating against the 23 year-old KC right-hander for an incident that occurred in a Class A game played in Waterloo (IA) three seasons earlier.

1976       In a 5-3 victory at Tiger Stadium, Carl Yastrzemski plays in his 2,293rd game wearing a Red Sox uniform, surpassing Ted Williams’ team record. The Boston legend will extend the franchise mark to 3,308 contests before he retires in 1983.

1986       In the bottom of the tenth inning at Fenway Park, the Red Sox score two runs on an unusual play to beat the Rangers, 6-5, thanks to George Wright’s errant throw. The right fielder throws the ball away fielding Marty Barrett’s double, after becoming confused when two Boston baserunners, both who will score on the error, slide into second at the same time, the batter and Steve Lyons from third base.

1988       In the ‘Year of the Balk,’ Dave Stewart breaks a major league record, committing his twelfth balk of the season. The A’s right-hander will extend the single-season mark to 16 thanks to the strict interpretation of umpires on a minor rule change.

1990       En route to a 13-1 victory over the Rangers, the Orioles tie an American League record when the team collects eight consecutive singles in the seven-run first inning at Memorial Stadium. Baltimore consecutive one-baggers off right-hander Bobby Witt equals the mark shared by the 1951 Senators and 1981 A’s.

1990       At the Astrodome, Cubs’ second baseman Ryan Sandberg’s errorless game streak comes to an end after 123 games and 582 chances when his errant throw to first base trying to rob Eric Anthony of an infield single allows Ken Caminiti to advance to third. The seven-time Gold Glove second baseman surpasses the marks for the position previously established Joe Morgan (91 games) and Manny Trillo (479 errorless plays).

1992       WQAM becomes the voice of the Marlins, signing a four-year deal as the flagship radio station of the team. Listeners in Miami and southern Florida will be able to pick up the play-by-play action of the new National League expansion team at 560 am on their radio dial.

1998       Due to drastic payroll cuts reducing the World Champions’ effectiveness, two class-action lawsuits are filed against the Marlins – one for breach of contract and the other accusing the team of false advertising.

1998       With a 6-3 victory over the Orioles, the Devil Rays become only the second expansion team in major league history to sweep an away four-game series. The 1993 Colorado Rockies, who did it against the Dodgers, is the other team to accomplish this feat.

1999       After missing the team’s first 36 games, Joe Torre returns to the Yankee dugout, two months after undergoing successful surgery for prostate cancer. Before the 6-3 loss to the Red Sox, the 58 year-old skipper receives a two-minute standing ovation from the Fenway Park crowd when the scoreboard welcomes him back.

1999       Diamondbacks’ outfielder Luis Gonzalez homers in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to 30 games, tying three other players for the longest streak in the decade. Diamondbacks’ outfielder Luis Gonzalez homers in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to 30 games, tying three other players for the longest streak in the decade.

2000       In a 6-2 loss to the Padres, the Marlins steal ten bases, which is one shy of the National League record. Luis Castillo (3), Cliff Floyd (3), Preston Wilson (2), and Mark Kotsay (2), the top four batters in the Fish lineup, are responsible for the grand theft.

2000       Mark McGwire passes Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run when he goes deep in the first inning when he hits a three-run drive off Curt Schilling for No.537, placing him in front of the Yankee legendary slugger in eighth place. ‘Big Mac’ adds to his total with two more round-trippers Cardinals’ 7-2 victory over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium.

2002       At Fenway Park, Pedro Martinez becomes the 11th pitcher in American League history to record an immaculate inning when he strikes out the side on nine pitches in the first frame. The Red Sox right-hander fans Ichiro Suzuki, Mark McLemore, and Ruben Sierra to begin Boston’s eventual 4-1 victory over Seattle.

2004       At the age of 40, southpaw Randy Johnson becomes the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game when the Diamondbacks beat the Braves, 2-0. The ‘Big Unit’ joins Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Hideo Nomo, and Nolan Ryan as the only hurlers to throw no-hitters in both leagues and creates the most extended span between no-no’s, having first accomplished the feat against the Tigers in June of 1990.

2008       Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo, who has stolen seven bases in his last two games, is one theft shy of tying a National League mark. Walt Wilmont set the record of eight pilfered bags in consecutive contests playing for the Chicago Colts (Cubs) in 1894.

2008       It takes a pitchout and a perfect throw by Brewers catcher Jason Kendall, but Jacoby Ellsbury is finally caught stealing after swiping 25 consecutive stolen bases to start his big league career. The Red Sox outfielder is second all-time to Tim Raines, who recorded 27 straight thefts with the Expos before being caught in 1981.

2009       Jason Kendall collects his 2000th career hit when he singles in the Brewers’ 8-4 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The 34 year-old backstop becomes the 254th player, but only the eighth to be primarily a catcher to reach that milestone.

2012       Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander misses pitching his third career no-hitter when he allows a single to Josh Harrison with one out in the top of the ninth inning. The reigning MVP and Cy Young winner completes the one-hitter, beating Pittsburgh, 6-0, in front of a very enthusiastic Friday night crowd at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

2012       Kerry Wood ends his major league career on his terms when he strikes out the one batter he faces before walking off the mound into an embrace from his six year-old son in front of the Wrigley Field dugout. The 35 year-old much-injured Cubs’ right-hander, an All-Star as both a starter and closer, believes today’s final strikeout to be the most significant and the most memorable moment of his 14-year career.

WORLD SERIES HISTORY-1959

Los Angeles Dodgers (4) vs Chicago White Sox (2)

The 1950’s had witnessed many changes throughout Major League baseball and as the game prepared to move into the ’60’s many had hoped that they would even the chances for parity across both leagues. The New York Yankees had dominated the entire decade, appearing in eight out of the last ten World Series. As a result, the Office of the Commissioner had unsuccessfully attempted to limit the “dynasty syndrome” and tired predictability of the postseason. First the league underwent its first alignment switch in fifty years in ’53 with the transfer of the Boston Braves to Milwaukee. Then the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in ’54 followed by the shifting of the Philadelphia Athletics to Kansas City in ’55. The biggest move however took place in ’58, when the Brooklyn Dodger’s moved to Los Angeles and their cross-town rival Giants left for San Francisco leaving the Yankees as the only remaining ball club in America’s biggest city.

The California fans were eager for the arrival of their new franchises, especially Los Angeles, where the Dodgers were riding high after winning four National League pennants in six years. However, the newly penned “west coast rookies” crashed and burned their debut season, finishing two games out of last place. After some adjustment and changes in the clubhouse, the former “Bums from Brooklyn” rebounded for their seventh flag in thirteen years rising to the top of the National League in ’59. In doing so they had also dethroned the two-time defending National League champs by beating the Milwaukee Braves in two consecutive games in a best-of-three playoff after the clubs finished in a first-place tie with 86-68 records. 1959 also saw the long-time return of the Chicago White Sox to the Fall Classic. The American League champs had not made a post-season appearance in four decades after the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal. Regardless, this year’s effort was forty years coming and promised to be a legit outing.

Game 1 featured a standout effort from Chicago’s Luis Aparicio who contributed at the plate (and around the bases) while pitchers Early Wynn (seven-plus innings) and Gerry Staley who took care of business the mound. Ted Kluszewski, (a late-August acquisition who hit forty or more home runs in a National League season three times) drove in five runs with a pair of two-run homers and a run-scoring single as Chicago embarrassed Los Angeles, 11-0.

In Game 2, Chicago right-hander Bob Shaw was guarding a 2-1 lead with two out in the seventh when Dodgers Manager Walter Alston sent up Chuck Essegian to bat for Johnny Podres (who had clinched Brooklyn’s previous title in ’55, but missed the entire ’56 season due to military service.) Essegian came up clutch and launched a game-tying blast to left field. Jim Gilliam followed with a walk and Charlie Neal kept pace with a two-run homer to center. Larry Sherry (a twenty-four year old right-hander) was then called in to finish the final three innings and responded by holding the Sox to one run and three hits. The victory had sparked the National League champs as they eagerly returned to their new home for Game 3.

When the Dodgers last played at home in a World Series game it was in the cramped settings of Ebbets Field in front of 33,782 fans. This year they were sprawled out in the spacious Memorial Coliseum with an attendance of 92,394. In the “decade of change” it was no surprise that the line-up had also been modified significantly over the four year span. Roy Campanella, a ’56 Series standout was now in a wheelchair after a 1958 automobile accident. In addition, Pee Wee Reese was now the team’s coach and Don Newcombe, who had led the Dodger’s rotation, was now in Cincinnati pitching for the Reds. Both teams remained in a deadlock for seven innings until Carl Furillo broke through with a two run single for a 3-1 win that also debuted the postseason pitching of a young Don Drysdale. Things remained quite the same for Game 4 as Los Angeles managed once again to break another tie late in the eighth for a 5-4 victory.

Anticipating ending the Series at home, the Dodgers introduced another up-and-coming talent from their young rotation, a twenty-three year old named Sandy Koufax. He was chosen to face Bob Shaw who had an 18-6 record during the regular season. The young lefty had not yet matured into the hall of famer that we know today and had compiled an unspectacular 28-27 record. Shaw, getting 1 2/3 innings of crucial help from reliever Dick Donovan, managed a 1-0 win in a game where the only run was scored on a double-play grounder (Lollar, in the fourth). The score would have been higher if not for a great defensive play from the Sox’s Jim Rivera in the seventh. Inserted into the game just minutes earlier, the reserve right fielder made an outstanding running catch of Charlie Neal’s two out blast that carried near the fence in center, with runners at both second and third.

Still alive (and at Comisky Park) for Game 6, Chicago planned to force a Game 7, but unfortunately, the Dodger’s had other plans for the home team. Duke Snider led the charge with a two run homer off of Early Wynn in the third and Wally Moon added a two run shot off of Donovan in the fourth. While starter Podres failed to be the pitcher of record this time around in the Dodgers’ Series-clinching victory (lasting only 3 1/3 innings and surrendering a three run homer), Larry Sherry came through once more in relief. Pitching 5 2/3 innings of four hit baseball, he tallied his second victory of the contest. The Dodgers won the game (and the Series) 9-3, with Essegian “icing the cake” in the ninth with an unprecedented second pinch-hit homerun.

In the end, Chicago may have finished with Ted Kluszewski putting up record setting numbers (10 RBIs and a Series high .375 average), but the Dodgers went home with something a little more important than big numbers.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S BEST: EARL CAMPBELL

Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)
Rushing yards: 4,443 | Yards per rush: 5.8 | Rushing TDs: 40
Darrell Royal won a fierce recruiting battle for the Tyler (Texas) Rose, as Campbell would become known. Campbell rushed for 2,046 yards in his first two seasons in Austin. Bedeviled by hamstring problems and 20 pounds of extra weight, Campbell struggled as a junior. He missed three games and never showed that downhill beer-truck style that made him so dangerous. Campbell got healthy, lost the 20 pounds, and — under new head coach Fred Akers — rushed for 1,744 yards, 6.5 yards at a time. He won the 1977 Heisman Trophy vote in a runaway, like a beer truck going downhill.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: WALTER ECKERSALL

“The first time I learned a football was not only something to kick, but something to think with, was when I saw a great football player in action for the first time.” Those were the words of Knute Rockne, and he spoke of Walter Eckersall. Rockne had seen the great Chicago quarterback playing in a high school all-star game in 1900. Rockne was just a youngster and Eckersall became his hero. Eckersall was the leader on coach Amos Alonzo Stagg’s great Chicago teams at the turn of the 20th century. A three-time consensus All-America in a time when few players beyond the east gained recognition, Eckersall was a fast, slippery runner and an exceptional kicker. It was his coffin-corner punts which were credited as the death-blows to Michigan’s 56-game winning streak when the Maroons downed the Wolverines, 2-0, in 1905. Several seasons later, after Rockne became the head coach at Notre Dame, Knute discovered Eckersall was slated to referee an Irish game in Chicago. “I’ve been waiting years for this,” Rockne said to Eckersall. “For what?” Eckersall wanted to know. “To shake your hand.”, Rockne blurted, quick to relay his memories of that high school all-star game so many years before. “Stop! Stop!”, Eckersall interrupted, “Or Notre Dame will be penalized five yards for speech making.”

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: 1941-42

At a Glance
NCAA Champion–Stanford (28-4; coached by Everett Dean/fourth of 11 seasons with school; won PCC South Division by four games with an 11-1 record).
NIT Champion–West Virginia (19-4; coached by Dyke Raese/fourth of four seasons with Mountaineers).
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans–Emery “Price” Brookfield, F-C, Sr., West Texas State (16.8 ppg); Bob Davies, G, Sr., Seton Hall (11.8 ppg); Bob Kinney, C, Sr., Rice (13.7 ppg); John Kotz, F, Jr., Wisconsin (15.5 ppg); Andy Phillip, F, Soph., Illinois (10.1 ppg).

Long Island’s Clair Bee was the cream of the crop in the coaching profession, improving his career winning percentage to an astonishing 87.7 (291-41 record) when the Blackbirds compiled a 25-3 mark. It was the seventh time in nine years for them to lose fewer than four games. LIU went an eye-popping 218-20 (.916) during that nine-year stretch. From 1934-35 until 1957-58, the Blackbirds had a homecourt winning streak of 139 games at the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy gymnasium. “Play as a team and eliminate all thoughts of personal glory,” Bee said.

Moreover, Bee’s stories about Chip Hilton, an All-American boy and athlete, were among the most beloved books of a certain generation of school children.

Tennessee held LIU to nine points in the second half in a 36-33 victory in the Sugar Bowl Tournament, snapping LIU’s 23-game winning streak. LIU was seeded No. 1 in the NIT, but the Blackbirds bowed in the opening round to eventual champion West Virginia, 58-49.

UCLA continued to struggle, compiling a losing league record for the 15th time in as many seasons as a member of the Pacific Coast Conference. Southern California defeated UCLA four times, extending the Trojans’ winning streak against the Bruins to 40 in a row. . . . Arizona’s 9-13 record marked the Wildcats’ first losing season in the last 16 years under coach Fred Enke. . . . Brigham Young, coached by Floyd Millet, compiled its best winning percentage in school history (17-3, .850). Two of the Cougars’ defeats were to Colorado and the other setback was at Wyoming. . . . Oregon State letterman Paul Valenti eventually coached his alma mater in the 1966 NCAA playoffs. . . . California (11-19), coached by Nibs Price, had 1/2 of its games decided by fewer than six points (3-12 in those close contests).

Bob Faught, a 6-5 sophomore center, joined Notre Dame’s basketball team in an effort to keep in shape for tennis. He proceeded to lead the Irish in scoring with 9.5 points per game, including 26 in a 55-43 victory over NYU at Madison Square Garden. . . . Notre Dame defeated Kentucky for the seventh consecutive time, including the last four years by an average of three points. . . . Rhode Island defeated New Hampshire, 127-50, in a game where the URI regulars played only the first 16 minutes. . . . Dartmouth (22-4/coached by Ozzie Cowles) had its winningest season in school history. . . . Penn’s Lou Jourdet coached the son (Larry Davis) of a player (Lardie Davis) he had on his Penn roster in 1918 and 1919. . . . Penn State captain Elmer Gross, who shared the team’s scoring lead, eventually coached his alma mater in the NCAA playoffs. A World War II Purple Heart veteran, Gross was wounded in 1944 following one of the early amphibious landings on the coast of France. . . . St. Joseph’s Jack Kraft, averaging more than five points per game for the third straight year, went on to coach intra-city rival Villanova to a runner-up finish to UCLA in the 1971 NCAA Tournament. . . . Matt Zunic, George Washington’s leading scorer for the second straight season and a second-team All-Southern Conference selection, later coached Boston University and Massachusetts in the NCAA playoffs. . . . Don Martin, who averaged 6.6 points per game for Georgetown, went on to become the first player to score 40 points in an NBA game (for the Providence Steamrollers on January 9, 1947). He eventually coached Boston College for nine seasons, including the Eagles’ first trip to the NCAA playoffs in 1958. Teammate Frank “Buddy” O’Grady, who averaged 8.8 points per game for the Hoyas, coached his alma mater for three seasons from 1949-50 through 1951-52. . . . Canisius’ Joe Niland, who played in the World Basketball Tournament, went on to coach his alma mater for five seasons from 1948-49 through 1952-53 after serving a couple of years with U.S. General George Patton’s armored division in Germany. . . . Colgate hoopster Ebba St. Claire became a switch-hitting catcher with the Boston/Milwaukee Braves and New York Giants in the early 1950s. . . . Stanley Ward, a three-year letterman for Canisius, eventually became Brown’s all-time winningest coach.

Duke (22-2), regular season and postseason tournament champion in the Southern Conference in Eddie Cameron’s final campaign as coach, didn’t participate in the NCAA playoffs despite incurring only one defeat in the Blue Devils’ last 21 games (55-53 at George Washington). . . . Georgia Tech letterman Jim Hearn eventually pitched 13 seasons in the National League. He led the N.L. in shutouts in 1950 with five, won Game 3 in the 1951 World Series for the New York Giants against the New York Yankees and earned All-Star status in 1952. . . . Vanderbilt hoop letterman Jack Jenkins became an All-SEC first-team football selection before being chosen by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1943 NFL draft (10th pick overall). . . . Western Kentucky finished going full circle in national postseason competition. WKU was NIT runner-up after participating in the NAIA Tournament in 1938 and NCAA Tournament in 1940.

Iowa, coached by Rollie Williams, won six consecutive conference games late in the season to end a streak of eight straight non-winning Big Ten records. The Hawkeyes tied for second place in the Big Ten for their highest finish in 16 years. . . . Wittenberg (Ohio) defeated Bowling Green for the seventh straight season.

Texas got a lot of mileage out of Malcolm Kutner late in the campaign when he scored 14 points in a victory against SMU before leading the Longhorns in scoring in back-to-back games at Arkansas. Kutner went on to become a two-time All-Pro halfback/defensive back with the Chicago Cardinals later in the decade, pacing NFL receivers in total yardage and average per reception in 1947 and 1948 (leading league in touchdowns in 1948 with 15). . . . Texas Christian notched its first winning record in eight years (13-10). . . . Kansas’ Ralph Miller, who would later be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after winning 657 games in 38 seasons for three major universities, led the Big Six Conference in scoring after missing the previous season following knee surgery. Miller, a quarterback on the Jayhawks’ football squad, served three years in the U.S. Air Force during World War II after graduation and was discharged at the rank of first lieutenant. . . . Kansas was eliminated in the NCAA Tournament by Colorado, a school that had four starters who grew up in Kansas. Colorado won its first 14 games (existing school record) before bowing at Wyoming, 40-39. . . . West Texas State senior forward Price Brookfield set the Border Conference single-game scoring standard with a school-record 44 points at Texas Mines in the league playoffs. Brookfield had been restricted to five points the previous night. . . . Guard Bud Millikan, a key member of Oklahoma A&M’s team for the third consecutive year, went on to coach Maryland for 17 seasons from 1950-51 through 1966-67.

1942 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Stanford overcame the title game absence of sophomore standout Jim Pollard (sinus infection), who scored 43.4 percent of his team’s points in its first two tourney contests. Was it worth it? Stanford, coached by Everett Dean, took home a meager check for $93.75 to cover its stay in Kansas City. Pollard popped in a tourney-high 26 points in a 53-47 opening-game victory over Rice. Dartmouth’s coach in the championship game against Stanford was Ozzie Cowles, who had captained Dean’s first college team at Carleton (Minn.) in 1921-22. Dartmouth led by six points in the first half of the final and was ahead five minutes into the second half before folding and eventually losing, 53-38.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Wisconsin (14-7) finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten despite losing its first three conference contests.
Star Gazing: Three Stanford starters–co-captains Don Burness and Bill Cowden and sophomore Howie Dallmar–attended the same high school in San Francisco. . . . Kentucky’s first game in an NCAA Tournament resulted in a 46-44 verdict over Big Ten titlist Illinois. . . . Penn State teammates Elmer Gross (1952 and 1954) and John Egli (1955 and 1965) combined for 19 points in a 44-39 opening-round loss to Dartmouth before they each twice coached their alma mater in the NCAA playoffs.
One and Only: Dallmar, a 6-5 guard, became the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to complete his collegiate playing career attending another university (NCAA consensus first-team All-American with Penn in 1945). Sent to Philadelphia by the Navy toward the end of World War II to attend pre-flight training school, Dallmar enrolled at Penn to complete his undergraduate work and to use his final season of sports eligibility (NCAA consensus first-team All-American in 1945). He is also the only Most Outstanding Player to guide a school other than his alma mater to the playoffs. Dallmar posted a 1-1 tourney record with Penn in 1953 before coaching Stanford for 21 years without directing his alma mater to the NCAA playoffs. The principal culprit in denying Dallmar an NCAA appearance with the Cardinal was UCLA’s dynasty under John Wooden. Both coaches retired at the end of the 1974-75 season. One of the three defeats for the NCAA champion Bruins that year was at Stanford. Dallmar, an All-NBA first-team selection in 1947-48 when he led the league in assists with the defending champion Philadelphia Warriors, moonlighted in sports the next season in a way practically never done. He played professionally for the Warriors while compiling a 15-8 record in his rookie campaign as coach of Penn.
Celebrity Status: Longtime prominent Kansas City bank official Ray Evans was the second-leading scorer for Kansas in two tournament games. Evans, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, earned All-American honors in football the same calendar year he led the nation’s major-college players in passes attempted (200) and completed (101). . . . George Munroe, the leading scorer for runner-up Dartmouth, had a 29-year career as an executive with Phelps Dodge Corp., including vice president in 1962, president/director in 1966, CEO in 1969 and chair/CEO from 1975-87. Phelps Dodge is a Fortune 500 company and the nation’s leading copper producer. . . . Kentucky forward Ermal Allen, who scored 10 points in two playoff games, went on to intercept four passes as a defensive back for Cleveland (AAFC) in 1947 before becoming a longtime assistant coach and front office staff member of the Dallas Cowboys. Allen competed in the pros under coach Paul Brown after playing football in college under Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Numbers Game: Stanford’s Dean, compiling a 3-0 tournament record, is the only unbeaten coach in NCAA playoff history. He is also the only NCAA basketball championship coach to win a College World Series baseball game for the same school (1953). . . . Kentucky’s output in a 47-28 loss to Dartmouth in the national semifinals is an all-time Final Four-low. . . . The Southern Conference (regular-season champion Duke) did not have a representative in the tourney. Oklahoma A&M from the Missouri Valley lost a district play-in game against Kansas.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Neutral court vs. Santa Clara at San Francisco (10-point margin), Southern California (4), Athens Club (4), and Oregon State in PCC Playoff (9). Santa Clara had to win its last four games to finish with a winning record (10-9).
Scoring Leaders: Stanford’s Jim Pollard and Rice’s Chet Palmer (43 points, 21.5 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Howie Dallmar, G, Soph., Stanford (20 points in final two games).

Championship Team Results
First Round: Stanford 53 (Pollard team-high 26 points), Rice 47 (Palmer 18)
Regional Final: Stanford 46 (Pollard 17), Colorado 35 (Doll 11)
Championship Game: Stanford 53 (Dallmar 15), Dartmouth 38 (Munroe 12)

TODAY IN NBA HISTORY

May 18, 1975
Rick Barry hit a jumper with 38 seconds remaining to put Game 1 of the NBA Finals out of reach as Golden State defeated Washington 101-95. Barry, the series MVP, continued with dominating performances as the Warriors swept the Bullets 4-0 to take the title.

May 18, 1998
Michael Jordan is named the 1998 NBA Most Valuable Player, earning his fifth MVP honor, tied for the second-most league MVP awards with the legendary Bill Russell. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named NBA MVP a record six times.

BASKETBALL’S BEST: CONNIE HAWKINS

Connie Hawkins’ career holds as much mystique as that of any other NBA Hall of Famer. A man of remarkable talent who played much of his career in the shadows, he didn’t put up legendary numbers during his seven years in the NBA: only 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Nevertheless, Hawkins was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1992, an acknowledgment that he had been unjustly denied the opportunity to show his talent in his most productive years, and that most basketball fans had likewise been denied the opportunity to see the best that this innovative player had to offer.

Most of what Connie Hawkins did was never caught on film. He was a New York playground legend who was exiled for years to exhibitions with obscure teams in half-filled arenas. Accounts of his finest moments circulated by word of mouth, and he never lost his hold on the imaginations of those fans who did catch him in his prime.

Praised by his contemporaries as perhaps the most talented forward ever to play the game (this was before Julius Erving and Larry Bird), the 6-8 Hawkins was known as one of the first players capable of swooping, soaring flights to the hoop, followed by acrobatic, throw-down dunks.

Cornelius Hawkins was born on July 17, 1942, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. By the age of 11 he was dunking. Word flew through the neighborhood. Pretty soon there were stories that had him jumping off the planet. They claimed he broke the laws of gravity. “Someone said if I didn’t break them, I was slow to obey them,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 1960 he was a Parade magazine High School All-American. But in 1961, when he was a freshman at Iowa, a gambling and point-shaving scandal broke out in New York. Hawkins was not arrested, indicted or even directly implicated. But it was suggested that he had introduced other players to a man convicted of fixing games. The principals in the scandal claimed that Hawkins had no knowledge of any fixed games. Nevertheless, he was linked to the scandal and therefore tainted. Before he even suited up for one game, Iowa said, “So long.” The NBA, a young league struggling for growth and mindful of its image, said, “No, never.”

So Hawkins became a nomad. He toured the world with the Harlem Globetrotters and played with fledgling leagues while hoping that he would eventually be allowed to fly with the big birds.

At age 19 he played a season for the Pittsburgh Rens of the American Basketball League and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. The best thing about the ABL, Hawkins said, was that it had a team in Hawaii. The ABL folded during its second season, and Hawkins circled the world with the Globetrotters for two years. It wasn’t competition, but Hawkins needed the paycheck. “There was a chance that I couldn’t have gotten a job at all,” he recalled in 1992.

Hawkins played 70 games for the Pittsburgh Pipers in the inaugural 1967-68 season of the American Basketball Association. The ABA was a little flaky, but its teams did have a lot of great talent on their rosters. And unlike the Globetrotters, and to a large extent, the ABL, it was a bona fide professional league.

The ABA had expected its star attraction to be Rick Barry, who had been lured over from the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors, but Barry was forced to sit out the season as the result of a legal ruling. So Hawkins became the foremost star in the new league. Roger Brown and Doug Moe, two other players who had been tainted by the college betting scandals but, like Hawkins, were never convicted of any wrongdoing, also hooked up with the new league and were among its best performers.

Hawkins led Pittsburgh to a 54-24 regular-season record and into the playoffs. The Pipers waxed the Indiana Pacers in three straight games in the opening round, then trounced the Minnesota Muskies four games to one to enter the first ABA Finals. Their opponent was the New Orleans Buccaneers. The New Orleans squad took a 3-2 series lead, but the Pipers regrouped to take the final two contests and claim the ABA championship.

Hawkins led the league in scoring with 26.8 points per game and pulled down 13.5 rebounds per contest, second in the circuit to Mel Daniels of Minnesota. He shot .519 from the field, second in the ABA to teammate Tom “Trooper” Washington. Hawkins’ numbers earned him the ABA Most Valuable Player Award for 1967-68. He was joined on the All-ABA Team by Doug Moe, Mel Daniels, Larry Jones, and Charlie Williams.

The next year the team moved to Minnesota, and Hawkins played about half of the season. In 47 games he averaged 30.2 points (second in the ABA to the Oakland Oaks’ Barry) and 11.4 rebounds (fifth in the league), while shooting .503 from the field. He repeated as an All-ABA selection, joining Barry, Daniels, James Jones and Larry Jones.

The Pipers moved back to Pittsburgh for the 1969-70 season (and changed their name to the Condors the season after that), but the Hawk was about to fly to greener pastures. In two ABA seasons Hawkins had averaged 28.2 ppg and 12.6 rpg. His playoff scoring average was also 28.2 points per game.

Hawkins was an awesome offensive force in one-on-one situations — a shot creator who was quick, agile and a great leaper. A decent outside shooter, he was most in his element when exploding past defenders, wheeling toward the basket with giant strides, and packing the ball through the hoop. “He was the first guy on that Dr. J, Michael Jordan level,” said Doug Moe in Sports Illustrated. “Long strides. Hold it in one hand. Wheel it around. Nobody could match him for that.”

Hawkins was generous in his feelings toward the league. “I was so happy to play, I didn’t have any problems with animosity or bitterness at all,” he told reporter Ron Rapoport. “As soon as I got that Phoenix Suns uniform, I just wanted to play.”

Having found redemption, Hawkins now set out to prove that he was as good as his legend. In 1969-70 Hawkins played 81 games with Phoenix and poured in 24.6 ppg, sixth in the NBA. His scoring average was tops on the Suns, who had two other 20-point scorers in Dick Van Arsdale and Gail Goodrich. Hawkins also hauled in 10.4 rebounds per contest and doled out 391 assists, nearly five per game. He was named to the All-NBA First Team along with Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Jerry West and Billy Cunningham.

Although Hawkins’ numbers slipped slightly over the next two seasons, he was still a star. He averaged 20.9 and 21.0 ppg in 1970-71 and 1971-72, respectively, but his rebounds per game fell to single digits.

Those would be considered fantastic seasons for most players, but Hawkins came into the league with a reputation. Some writers and fans began to make critical comments. There were questions about his desire to win. The athleticism was there, but the passion seemed to be lacking. Maybe, it was said, the intensity had been left on the playground, on the ABL and ABA courts or in clowning with the Globetrotters.

Opponents would have none of it. “If Connie Hawkins has slowed down,” Detroit Pistons coach Ray Scott was quoted as saying in the Seattle Times, “I wish he’d show it against us.”

By 1972-73 Charlie Scott was the scoring workhorse for Phoenix, averaging 25.3 ppg. Hawkins’ skills were beginning to fade a bit, but he was still able to score 16.1 ppg on guile and savvy. After eight games in 1973-74 he was traded to Los Angeles. The Lakers were aging; Wilt Chamberlain had retired, and injuries limited Jerry West to just 31 games. Hawkins, too, had entered the stage of his career where, although he was still playing solid minutes, his numbers were declining — for example, his scoring dropped to 12.6 ppg.

In 1974-75, appearing in 43 games with the Lakers, Hawkins was a spot player, averaging 8.0 ppg. In 1975-76 he moved on to Atlanta and contributed 8.2 ppg. Hawkins retired after that season at age 33. In his seven NBA seasons Hawkins averaged 16.5 ppg, bumping that up to 19.3 per outing in playoff games.

His election to the Hall of Fame was due in large part to his showmanship. Hawkins was the first player to demonstrate the style, flash and cool that were trademarks of later players such as Erving and Jordan. His enshrinement also acknowledged that not all of the greatest basketball was played on the NBA courts. Some of the most poetic ball was played in dimly lit recreation center gyms and on blacktop courts with chain nets. That’s where Connie Hawkins really built his reputation. By the time he finally made it to the NBA, he had just enough juice left to prove that, yes, the things they said about him were true.

For Hawkins, the honor was a dramatic vindication. He had always maintained his innocence in the betting scandal and had conducted himself without rancor once he was allowed into the NBA. The phone call in 1991 that brought the news that he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame came at 8:30 one morning. “After I realized what the call was about, I cried,” he told writer Don Williams at his induction. “I think maybe I’ve grown an inch or two this past week.”

HOCKEY’S BEST: KING CLANCY

Many of the colorful yarns involving Francis Michael “King” Clancy, whose Hall of Fame career extended to refereeing, coaching and serving as an assistant general manager, ambassador and raconteur, come in different versions, perhaps seasoned with a touch of blarney, including those stories he told himself.

Some things, however, are indisputable: The King, a defenseman for the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, was one of hockey’s most beloved figures, spry with a high-pitched voice and a face that looked, as Toronto journalist Trent Frayne once wrote, “like a Dublin back alley.”

Clancy believed that “hockey was a joyous kind of game.” And that’s how he played it — for fun. His professional playing career lasted 15 full seasons during some of the game’s wildest years and began when half the League still played on natural ice. He was part of the NHL’s first dynasty — the Senators of Eddie Gerard, Frank Nighbor, Cy Denneny, Punch Broadbent, Clint Benedict and Georges “Buck” Boucher, all Hall of Famers – and played with Toronto in the early years of the hockey palace on Carlton Street, Maple Leaf Gardens.

Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe credited Clancy’s box office appeal with making the Gardens possible. In an era that included huge gate attractions Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz, the effervescent Clancy was probably their equal, or at least close to it, in selling tickets.

These facts are also indisputable: Clancy was a three-time Stanley Cup champion who played in the Cup Final six times. After the NHL began selecting First and Second All-Star teams in 1930-31, he made one each of the first four seasons. He also might have been the NHL’s Rookie of the Year had that award existed in 1922.

When he retired in November 1936, Clancy was the highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history with 283 points in 592 games. He was also first among defensemen in goals with 136. He hit double digits in goals, uncommon for a defenseman, in six seasons, and in three seasons he finished among the League’s top 20 scorers, also rare at his position.

“There were few defensemen in NHL history as small as he,” wrote Frayne, “or with a heart as big. His play was inspirational.”

Clancy was also incredibly tough and resilient, particularly for a player who only grew to maybe 5-foot-7 and who, at his heaviest, was generously listed as 155 pounds. He’d lead rushes up the ice – which few defensemen did then – often crashing into opponents who outweighed him by 50 pounds or more.

Despite all that, he’d maintain he was never injured. “I guess I had a hundred stitches in my face, but I was never what you’d call good lookin’,” he told Frayne in the book “The Mad Men of Hockey.” “I always said you never get hurt as long as you play with a reckless abandon.” And that he did.

He also kept up something of a running dialogue with teammates, officials and opponents during games. “He was a damned nuisance,” said former Canadiens forward Aurel Joliat. “He could really get people worked up with that mouth of his.”

One of King’s favorite verbal targets was the Boston Bruins’ Shore, his biggest rival among the game’s top defensemen, aside from Toronto’s Hap Day, who would become his teammate on the Maple Leafs. During one Boston-Toronto game, Clancy belted the larger Shore into the boards. “In a flash, he turned on me,” Clancy said in his biography, “Clancy: The King’s Story,” “with one big mitt raised ready to let me have it. ‘Hello, Eddie,’ I countered, quickly grabbing his extended fist and pumping his arm up and down, ‘And how are you tonight?’ Before he realized what was happening to him, Shore had mumbled, ‘I’m pretty good, Clancy. And how are you?'”

In Game 2 of their 1936 playoff encounter, Shore got upset at a key moment when Maple Leafs forward Charlie Conacher first clocked Red Beattie and then Shore but escaped being penalized by referee Odie Cleghorn. Before the next faceoff, Clancy sidled up to Shore and whispered, “Cleghorn is blind, Eddie. He’s robbing you sure as hell. Look how he blew that call on Beattie.” That sent Shore into a rage, and he attacked Cleghorn, drawing a minor penalty. Then Shore fired a puck at the ref, earning a 10-minute misconduct. The Maple Leafs scored four goals with Shore in the box to win the game and the total-goals, quarterfinal series.

It was said that Clancy was in hundreds of fights and never won one, mainly because bigger teammates like Conacher defended him. The King often said that his only win came in Boston against Shore, whom one of Clancy’s teammates had flattened. As Shore rose to his knees, Clancy socked him. Clancy recounted, “Getting to his feet, he snarled, ‘Do that again, Clancy.’ ‘Okay, Eddie,’ I remember saying. ‘Get back down on your knees.'”

The tradition of fighting in the NHL was never more apparent than during Clancy’s era, and despite his size he was a very willing pugilist. Tales of his involvement fill hockey history books like “The Montreal Maroons.” In it, author William Brown describes one especially wild end-of-game brawl in February 1932 between the Maroons and Maple Leafs in which numerous combatants squared off, including Montreal’s Nels Stewart and Toronto’s Alex Levinsky, although some accounts say it involved Clancy alone. In Brown’s telling, the King tried to aid Levinsky but was intercepted by a flying tackle from Harold Starr.

“The brawl took an odd turn when Stewart suddenly came bounding over to the Montreal bench, clutching his left hand,” Brown wrote. “One of the punches intended for Levinsky had missed and found the goalpost instead. Clancy, who had been waiting in line for a shot at Stewart, grabbed him by the arm and popped the dislocated thumb back into place. But as soon as the pain left Stewart’s face, Clancy took a swing at him and the brawl was on again.”

This sort of action wasn’t confined to the players. On the road, “I’d get pushed in along the fence by a rival player and a fan would lean over and give me a good punch in the mouth,” Clancy said in his biography. “There were fights every night. Sometimes when a fan would give you a belt on your ear, you’d lose your temper and wade into the stands after him. You’d get belted in there again, too!”

One night in Boston, he was razzed by a fan so unmercifully that Clancy challenged the guy to meet him outside after the game to “show how tough you really are.” Conacher skated over to Clancy and said, “If you beat that guy, you’ll be the new heavyweight champion of the world. That’s Jack Sharkey,” who at the time held the heavyweight crown.

These anecdotes were as much a part of Clancy’s essence as a hockey star as his goals and assists and illustrate his indomitable, blithe spirit and unsurpassed will to win.

That spirit was evident from the start with Clancy. Called Frankie as a youth, he was the son of Ottawa football star Thomas Clancy, who was nicknamed “King.” If there was a game anywhere near his Ottawa home, Frankie would join in no matter how big or small the skaters. He’d often come home in the evening battered and bloodied, saying, “Well, I guess I showed ’em today, Pop.”

As a teenager he played with the amateur St. Brigid’s Athletic Club of the Ottawa City Senior League. In the league final, after a teammate was injured, Clancy took his spot and, in the two-game series in front of 5,000 fans, “Clancy took every eye,” legendary Toronto sportswriter Baz O’Meara wrote. Two of those eyes belonged to Ottawa Senators coach Pete Green, who called Clancy “Man o’ War on skates,” comparing him to the great thoroughbred racehorse of the day.

At his training camp tryout, Boucher, Denneny, Broadbent and the rest bounced the little guy around rather hard, but he kept coming back for more and the Senators signed him to be a reserve player. Clancy debuted in the NHL on Dec. 17, 1921. At 18, he was the first teenager to play in the League. He allegedly weighed 150 pounds.

In his biography, Clancy claimed he scored the overtime winner against Hamilton in his first game on his first shift with his first shot, a backhander he flung at the net from a very sharp angle. But his first goal came on in his third game, on Dec. 24. Whichever goal was his first, Clancy would never forget the goal judge waving his handkerchief to signal a score. To Clancy, that handkerchief “looked as big as a bed sheet.”

When he wasn’t conspicuously yelling encouragement from the bench, he was subbed in with increasing frequency on Ottawa’s defense. Green even used him as a forward.

The next season, with the Senators dealing with injuries, Clancy began getting more ice time. During the 1923 Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Eskimos, each of the five regulars – Gerard, Boucher, Nighbor, Denneny and Broadbent – had to go off for repairs or because of fatigue. Clancy filled in for each. And then goalie Benedict had to serve a penalty. On his way off, he threw his stick to Clancy, saying, “Here kid, take care of this place until I get back.” Clancy said he looked at Benedict incredulously and replied, “Are you crazy?”

Some have claimed Clancy volunteered to replace Benedict; others have described the incident as coming in an earlier round against Vancouver. In any case, he stood in there, not allowing a goal. Most accounts say he didn’t face a shot and some say he actually brought the puck down the ice at one point with Benedict’s big chunk of lumber. What is known is that this meant Clancy played every position during a Stanley Cup Playoff game, the only time it has ever been done.

In Game 2, with Ottawa leading 1-0, Clancy was sent out to use his speed and stickhandling to control the puck as much as possible in the third period. He estimated he had possession for 15 of the 20 minutes, and Edmonton could not tie the game. He called it “the greatest performance of my life” and the Senators clinched the best-of-three series and won the Cup.

Gerard retired that offseason and Clancy became a starter, getting a hat trick late in the 1923-24 season, almost unheard of for a defenseman. His offensive style did not go over well with many observers at first, but “by the time he led Ottawa to another Stanley Cup in 1927 his admirers were legion,” wrote Montreal journalist Andy O’Brien.

Clancy rose to superstardom and was named Senators captain, but he would not remain in Ottawa. The Senators’ fiscal picture grew dim, and in Toronto, Smythe, who bought the Maple Leafs in ’27, was patiently building Toronto into a young, exciting team that filled the 6,000-seat Mutual Street Arena beyond capacity. He wanted a new, larger building and determined that an established star would help lure the necessary funding. Clancy became a prime target, especially after scoring 17 goals and 40 points in 44 games with the Senators in 1929-30, his most productive season.

On Oct. 11, 1930, Clancy was traded to Toronto for $35,000 and two players. For the next six seasons, Clancy helped lead a raucous Maple Leafs team that won the Cup in 1932, their first season in the new arena. Clancy was named to either the First or Second All-Star Team in each of his first four seasons with the Maple Leafs.

But his hell-bent style had begun to take a greater toll. The King, who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1958, retired in November 1936, but his legacy was secure.

As CBC Radio sports commentator Ron McAllister wrote, Clancy was “a driving, fighting, talking, pushing, 60-minute player – one of the truly greats of the game.”

TODAY IN NHL HISTORY

1986: Brian Skrudland scores the fastest overtime goal in Stanley Cup Playoff history when he beats goalie Mike Vernon nine seconds into OT to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory against the Calgary Flames in Game 2 of the Final at the Saddledome.

Calgary leads 2-0 early in the second period before goals by Gaston Gingras and David Maley tie the game 2-2. On a hunch, Montreal coach Jean Perron sends out his checking line of Skrudland, Mike McPhee and Claude Lemieux to start overtime. The Canadiens win the opening faceoff and Skrudland finishes a 2-on-1 break by directing a pass from McPhee past Vernon.

“Mike couldn’t have made a nicer play than that, but leave it to me to almost [mess] it up,” Skrudland tells the Canadiens website years later. “I had a wide-open net, the full 4-by-6 to shoot at, but I still managed to bank it in off the post and in. The important thing was that it got past Vernon and we headed home with the series tied 1-1.”

Skrudland becomes the first player since Cy Wentworth of the Chicago Black Hawks (then two words) in 1931 to score his first NHL playoff goal in overtime of the Final.

MORE MOMENTS

1971: Jean Beliveau goes into retirement as a 10-time Stanley Cup winner when the Canadiens rally from two goals down to defeat the Chicago 3-2 in Game 7 of the Final. The packed house at Chicago Stadium roars its approval when Dennis Hull gives the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead late in the first period and again when Danny O’Shea makes it 2-0 at 7:33 of the second. But the game turns late in the second when Jacques Lemaire takes a slap shot from near the red line that sails past goalie Tony Esposito, cutting Chicago’s lead to 2-1. Henri Richard scores before intermission to make it 2-2, then puts Montreal ahead 3-2 at 2:34 of the third. Rookie goalie Ken Dryden makes 31 saves, 12 in the third period, to help the Canadiens win the Cup for the 17th time. Though Beliveau is scoreless in Game 7, he finishes the playoffs with 22 points in 20 games, tied for third in the League.

1973: Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins wins the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman for the sixth straight season. It’s the first time in League history that any player wins an individual award six times in a row. Orr ends 1972-73 with 29 goals and 101 points; Guy Lapointe of the Canadiens is second among defensemen in each category with 19 goals and 54 points.

1978: The Canadiens’ streak of 11 straight wins in the Final (Game 6 in 1973, sweeps in 1976 and 1977, and the first two games in 1978) ends when they lose 4-0 to the Bruins at Boston Garden in Game 3. Gerry Cheevers makes 16 saves for the eighth and final playoff shutout of his NHL career. Jean Ratelle sets up first-period goals by Gary Doak and Rick Middleton, and Peter McNab scores a goal and has an assist in the third. It’s the first loss in the Final by the Canadiens since Game 5 in 1973.

1990: Jari Kurri of the Edmonton Oilers turns 30 and celebrates by scoring three goals and assisting on two others in a 7-2 victory against the Bruins at Boston Garden in Game 2 of the Final. Kurri (briefly) becomes the NHL’s all-time leading playoff goal scorer, passing longtime linemate Wayne Gretzky. He also becomes the second player in NHL history (after Gretzky) to have 200 playoff points.

1993: The Canadiens win their sixth straight overtime game by defeating the New York Islanders 4-3 at the Forum on Game 2 of the Wales Conference Final. Stephan Lebeau scores the game-winner at 6:21 of the second overtime. Patrick Roy makes 39 saves for Montreal.

1997: Gretzky gets his 10th and final playoff hat trick by scoring three times in the New York Rangers’ 5-4 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Spectrum in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. Gretzky scores twice in less than two minutes in the first period and completes his hat trick midway through the second. His former Edmonton teammate, Paul Coffey, beats New York goaltender Mike Richter early in the second period to join Larry Murphy as the only defensemen in NHL history to score playoff goals for five different teams.

2008: The Pittsburgh Penguins advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 16 years by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-0 at Mellon Arena in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, winning the best-of-7 series 4-2. Pittsburgh native Ryan Malone scores twice and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury makes 21 saves. It’s the 16th straight win for the Penguins at home since a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 24.

2015: Tyler Johnson scores three goals for the first playoff hat trick in Tampa Bay Lightning history. Johnson’s fourth multigoal game of the 2015 playoffs sparks the Lightning to a series-tying 6-2 victory against the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden. Johnson scores shorthanded, on a power play and at even strength.

2017: Corey Perry scores at 10:25 of overtime to give the Anaheim Ducks a series-tying 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. The Ducks are cruising along with a 2-0 lead before P.K. Subban sparks the sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena when he scores with 6:27 left in the third period. Filip Forsberg forces overtime when he ties the game with 35 seconds remaining, but Perry wins it when his shot from along the right boards glances off Subban and goes past goalie Pekka Rinne.

2018: The first-year Vegas Golden Knights move within one victory of the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at T-Mobile Arena in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Reilly Smith scores an unassisted goal with 6:58 remaining in the third period to break a 2-2 tie; he beats Connor Hellebuyck on a breakaway after Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien flubs a slap shot. Fleury makes 35 saves for Vegas.