Rivals.com College Football Senior Writer
Texas A&M assistant head coach Van Malone wants to take the "assistant" out of his title one day. That's why he recently attended an NCAA Football Coaches Academy in Indianapolis.
"It was a great event," says Malone, 38, the Aggies' secondary coach and only holdover from the Dennis Franchione regime. "It helped me learned more skills I need to develop to hopefully one day be a head coach."
The event in Indianapolis was designed to help augment the skills of minorities as they climb the coaching ladder. This summer, the NCAA invited 26 coaches to attend the event, held June 29-July 1. The coaches had to have at least eight years of experience to participate.
X's and O's weren't a big part of the program. Instead, attendees were instructed on a variety of topics that are in the job description of being a head coach. And no detail was too small.
"We even got pointers on how to play golf since that's where many business deals take place," Malone says. "But we spent most of our time dealing with and talking about things like handling budgets, working with athletic directors, things like that."
Interview tips also were discussed. Administrators used the presentation Ron Prince utilized when he went on his interview for the Kansas State job a few years ago. Prince seemingly came out of nowhere to get the K-State post, and his impressive interview presentation was given part of the credit.
There also were athletic directors in attendance, as well as speakers such as Louisville defensive coordinator Ron English, who is an alumni of the program and considered a top head-coaching prospect.
"He was very impressive," Malone says. "You can see how he can get the attention of his players with his commanding presence."
More than anything, the coaches in attendance learned the value of networking. It's all about making contacts, meeting people and staying in touch because so much of being a head coach goes beyond knowing how to diagram an off-tackle play or a 3-3 stack defense.
"When you are an assistant, you don't get a chance to learn many of these things or especially the chance to meet and deal with influential people," Malone says. "This event taught us many of those things and gave us a good understanding of the head-coaching process."
Participants in the 2008 NCAA Football Coaches Academy:
• Theron Aych, assistant coach, Central Missouri
• Chris Beatty, running back and slot receivers coach, West Virginia
• Cheston Blackshear, offensive line coach, Columbia
• Keith Braxton, assistant coach, Edinboro
• Cornelius Corprew, wide receiver coach/track coach, Livingstone College
• Ulrick Edmonds, recruiting coordinator/running back coach, James Madison
• Steve Ellis, defensive coordinator/secondary coach, Nicholls State
• Joseph Gaither, recruiting coordinator, Winston-Salem State
• Ernest Henderson, assistant coach, Princeton
• William Jackson, offensive coordinator, Frostburg State
• Bruce Johnson, special-teams coordinator/offensive line coach, Jackson State
• Omar King, assistant coach, Long Island-CW Post
• Jimmy Lindsey, defensive ends/co-special teams coordinator, Miami (Ohio)
• Van Malone, assistant coach, Texas A&M
• Kevin Moore, assistant coach, Catholic
• Michael Morand, offensive coordinator, Virginia State
• Jeffrey Parker, pass game coordinator, Norfolk State
• Jeffrey Phelps, assistant coach, Northern Illinois
• Jason Phillips, assistant coach, Houston
• Sidney Powell, assistant coach, Ball State
• Marshall Roberts, secondary coach, Liberty
• John Scott, defensive line coach, Western Carolina
• Junior Smith, assistant coach, East Carolina
• Willie Taggart, assistant coach, Stanford
• Floyd Webb, assistant coach, Grinnell
• Terrell Williams, defensive line coach, Purdue
Schools that have built their own on-campus stadiums since 1998:
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Bright House Networks Stadium
Note: Akron's InfoCision Stadium also will open in 2009.
I recently was in the Twin Cities and got a chance to drive by the new stadium on the northeast side of Minnesota's campus. In a word: marvelous.
Hats off to Gophers A.D. Joel Maturi for helping lead this construction project, which not long ago passed the one-year mark. And kudos to Minnesota coach Tim Brewster, who has done yeoman work assisting in fund-raising for the nearly $300-million project.
TCF Bank Stadium, shaped like a horseshoe with seating for 50,000 and the ability to expand to 80,000, will feature what's being billed as the "second-largest scoreboard in college sports."
The stadium is scheduled to open Sept. 12, 2009, with a game against Air Force.
SEC athletic directors will meet in August to discuss many topics. Among them: an SEC TV network.
An SEC athletic director says the issue remains a priority for the conference, which has had more than a year to monitor the growing pains of the Big Ten Network. Among other things, the SEC would want to avoid the distribution problems that have plagued the BTN.
The SEC's TV deals with CBS, ESPN and Raycom expire next spring, and new contracts could be announced as soon as next month. Still, the time may be right for the SEC to intensify talks of forming a TV network. Even if one is launched, CBS and ESPN would have first dibs on the best games, much like the Big Ten Network's agreement with ABC and ESPN.
The odd man out in any SEC TV deal probably would be Raycom.
Expect the topic to get a lot of discussion at the meetings. Why? Money. Big Ten schools reportedly are guaranteed $7 million each every year from the BTN. Could an SEC network bring more cash to its league schools? Probably.
Still, at the end of the day, would SEC TV be worth it? The league already has sweet deals that only will get better from various networks. Football is king, but there are a lot of programming hours to fill. Is there really an appetite for, say, Ole Miss women's volleyball? Programming of non-revenue sports probably would dominate an SEC TV network. Just look at the BTN.
And Florida's recent deal with Sun Sports – reportedly valued at close to $100 million over 10 years – might mean that while an SEC network will be discussed, some schools can do better negotiating their own deals.