June 14, 2006

Prince looking to create leaders at K-State

Forty-yard dashes are timed. Bench presses, squats and vertical jumps are recorded. Heights and weights are measured.

Yet, football coaches from Amato to Zook always have – and presumably always will – stress that success is largely dependent on an abstract quality that really can't be measured but is easily recognized.

Leadership seems like a coaching cliché, but coaches value it like a receiver who can run a 4.3 40, a cornerback with great coverage skills or a sure-tackling linebacker.

Attaining leadership, however, is a problem. Some feel it's an innate quality that cannot be developed.

But new Kansas State coach Ron Prince feels it can be taught. In fact, he's teaching leadership, and not just to his football team.

Professor Prince, who aims to lead the Wildcats out of the doldrums of consecutive losing seasons, embraced the opportunity to teach "Current Topics in Leadership," a class which is offered on campus and online.

"It's for real," said Prince, whose voice exudes the confidence and authority of someone in a position of leadership. "It's almost like a seminar. I want to get out with the students. Being the head coach at Kansas State means more in our state than just football. It's an honored, valued position. It's a small thing to do to reach out to our student body."

Prince took steps to reach one member of the student body on Monday when he suspended running back Thomas Clayton, last season's leading rusher, for the Wildcats' season-opener against Illinois State on Sept. 2.

Clayton was convicted of misdemeanor battery.

Maybe Clayton will be sentenced to take Prince's class.

Prince will co-teach the class with Susan Scott, director of leadership studies at Kansas State. On Fridays before home games he'll teach a 45-minute class with her. She'll handle those duties solo when the Wildcats are on the road, but Kansas State has only four games away from Manhattan this season and none until Sept. 30, so Prince will be a classroom fixture.

Olin's Quick Hits
Former Baltimore Ravens defensive assistant coach Phil Zacharias has joined the Maryland staff as running backs coach. …

UCLA football players Jess Ward and John Hale, who were charged with felony assault from a fight at a party last February, have had their court hearing delayed until late July. Both players have pled not guilty, maintaining they were trying to move a fight out of the house where the party took place. …

The University of Minnesota has hired the architectural firm that designed home stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles to design a new on-campus football stadium.
Prince said part of the curriculum of the class is establishing a difference between being in charge and being a leader.

"People who can raise the games of other people around them and perform well themselves are usually the best leaders," Prince said. "You have to identify that quality in people and see if people can find that will inside themselves to help others raise their games."

It sounds interesting. It also sounds like a class that might attract Kansas State football players.

However, there would be some drawbacks.

There's like a weekly test on the subject – every Saturday. And the entire nation will know if you aced it or flunked.

Oregon recruit pleads guilty
A University of Oregon football recruit pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing and harassment stemming from an incident that occurred on a recruiting visit.

Marvin Johnson, a defensive back from Compton, Calif., originally faced more serious charges, but reached a plea deal on lesser charges. The victims, who were not identified, said the lesser charges were more appropriate.

The Oregonian reported that the incident which involved Johnson and Nebraska signee Major Culbert occurred on Jan. 14 when they refused to leave a dorm room of two women and made sexual advances toward the women.

Johnson was sentenced to five years probation and 30 days in jail, road crew service, forest work camp duty or be held under electronic surveillance.

There is no word on whether Culbert will accept a similar plea deal. A deadline for a plea bargain is June 28.

Easy night for Zbikowski
Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski scored a knockout to win his first professional boxing match Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Zbikowski landed several left uppercuts to send opponent Robert Bell to the canvas and post the victory in 49 seconds.

Notre Dame teammates Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija attended the fight.

Bell and his cornermen wore Ohio State jerseys.

Olin Buchanan is the senior national college football writer for Rivals.com, and he files his national notebook every Wednesday. To send him a question or comment for his Friday Mailbag, email him at olin@rivals.com.



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