Coach uses his suspension to teach a valuable lesson

We saw an interesting note earlier today from the Norwich Bulletin that the state of Connecticut has a rule that discourages coaches from winning by a 50 point margin.

The rule, which has been in place since 2006 and has evolved over the past few years, states that any victory by 50 or more points is automatically reviewed by a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference panel, and the head coach is subject to a one game suspension if they rule that he acted in an unsportsmanlike manner.

In two recent instances, the CIAC has not even needed to get involved because the head coach, or schools themselves, self imposed a suspension. The most recent of those cases include Norwich Free Academy, whose head coach, Jemal Davis agreed to step down for a game following a 51-0 win.

Immediately following the victory, Davis said that he thought about his next step.

“Directly after the game in terms of the score, I contemplated what would be the next step We felt as a staff, as an athletic department, as a school, that what would be appropriate in this manner is to follow the letter of the law in terms of penalty and move on, and so that’s where we are."

Davis used his suspension as a teaching moment for his team.

“Based on our score, 51-0, we didn’t demonstrate score management, and therefore we are liable for those actions. I explained to the guys that we respect and honor the CIAC and its policies and because of that we felt it was important to self-impose the penalty" Davis said, adding that it wouldn't be appropriate to drag out an appeals process when it was clear to him that they could have done more in dealing with the situation.

"I wanted to ensure the kids that they did everything in their power appropriately, however, because the score became, 51-0, we need to re-evaluate as a coaching staff and me personally, what could I have done differently?

It takes a coach who is pretty comfortable with himself to step back and instead of pointing fingers, to look inward and make that type of evaluation.

Whether you agree with the rule or not, it's hard to argue the with a classy move by coach Davis to first step down for a game on his own, and then reflect on that moment and use it as a life lesson for high school aged kids.



Jerry Kill encouraged by Barry Alvarez following loss

After their 38-13 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, Jerry Kill was frustrated, yet upbeat about his Gophers. Kill was concerned about how public perception would effect the team after their third straight loss.

"There is so much negativity around. When you go into a program that hasn't won for a lot of years, there's instant negativity, and more so now because of all the social media and stuff. That can get to the kids. They don't need to hear it when they come in Sunday with the coaches, because they're so pounded down by then."

"There are some good things going on here. You've just got to really look hard at it right now." Kill said after the game.

One person in particualr took notice.

When Kill got to the bus, former Wisconsin coach, and current athletic director Barry Alvarez met him and offered some words of encouragement. Alvarez had been in a similar situation when he took over Wisconsin, the Star Tribune points out.

In his first three years in Madison, Alvarez's teams failed to produce a winning record (0-8, 2-6, 3-5). But those three seasons helped paved the way for over a decade and a half of success. Alvarez's career at Wisconsin resulted in an impressive overall record of 118-73-4.

"There are people who understand we're going the right way, but it's always reassuring to hear from people who have been there before." Kill noted of the conversation with Alvarez.

The Golden Gophers will look to get back on track against Purdue this weekend and end their three game skid. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm ET on the Big Ten Network.



When interviewing for a job, talk to coaches who have seen success there

When David Cutcliffe left the Duke campus after interviewing for the head coaching job back in 2008, he had a pretty good feeling that he was going to get the job.

He even called his wife to let her know he was going to take the job, and his wife reminded him that they had not even offered him the job yet; but Cut knew an offer was coming.

While he was on campus visiting with administration, and touring the facilities, he strayed a little from the itinerary and requested to meet with Mike Krzyzewski, because as he recalls, “Why am I not going to come here and talk to the most successful coach in the country?”

Good point.

“We talked about Duke and how you win at Duke, how he went about his business when he first came. It was very interesting to me.” Cutcliffe explained in the News Observer.

Now, five years after that initial conversation, Cutcliffe has got Duke bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils are currently sitting at 6-2 (3-1 in conference play), with games against Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami left on their schedule. 

Just a reminder, when you're on campus interviewing for a coaching job, don't be afraid to sit down with someone who has been successful at that place before, or is currently experiencing success. It's a great way to gain some valuable insight.

“We talked about Duke and how you win at Duke, how he went about his business when he first came. It was very interesting to me.”
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/10/22/2429062/with-dukes-win-over-tar-heels.html#storylink=cpy

32 game losing streak snapped

On Saturday, the Wilmington Quakers (D-III - OH) ended a game with a feeling that most had never felt as a college football player.

Wilmington defeated Marietta 13-12 on Saturday on a field goal with 31 seconds. They later picked off a pass in the end zone to seal the win and put an end to the program's 32 game losing streak. To find their last win you'd have to travel back to 2009, where they beat John Carroll 24-16 for their only win of the '09 season.

Back in late September, Ken Minor stepped down as the head coach, and Wilmington alum and offensive coordinator, Jay Niswonger took over as the interim head coach with the team sitting at 0-3.

Wins do not come easy in the Ohio Athletic Conference, especially with teams like Mount Union on your conference schedule, so this was definitely a great win for coach Niswonger and the Quaker program.

We can only imagine the excitement of the staff and players on the sideline after the field goal, and then interception to seal the victory. Good stuff.

D-III program turning things around

What a difference a year can make.

Last season, Whittier College (CA) finished 2-7 and ended the season ranked 102nd nationally in total offense, out of 239 D-III teams (according to the NCAA stats site).

Through their first six games of this season, the Poets have already eclipsed their win total from 2011 and sit at 3-3 with a high powered, and balanced offensive attack that ranks 7th nationally (521 ypg) while also ranking in the top 36 in rushing offense (36th - 217 ypg), passing offense (20th - 304 ypg), and scoring offense (30th - 37 ppg).

Back in February of 2011, Todd Stratton was hired as the assistant head coach / offensive coordinator, and was promoted to the interim head coaching role back in March of this year. Stratton has done an impressive job in that interim role, including a 41-27 win this past weekend over Claremont-McKenna, a program that they hadn't beaten in 8 years.

The signature win marked the first time that Whittier had won back to back games in six years and was the first time that the Poets finished with a .500 record in the month of October over that same time period.

Whittier hopes to continue their success and finish their season on a high note, as they face the last three teams on their schedule, who currently have a combined record of 9-9 (Cal Lutheran, Occidental, Redlands). One more win would give them the same amount of wins that they collected over the previous two seasons. 

In his first season, Coach Stratton has helped bring the program to heights that it hadn't seen in a number of years, and looks to have the Poets turning the corner.


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