Archive for the ‘Kennesaw State’ Category

Heat Check: Was cutting Ray Edwards a message sent?

"So, Brian, how's this Auburn gig working out?" (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

"So, former colleague Brian VanGorder, how's this Auburn gig working out?" (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Our weekly Heat Check appears a day late but, one hopes, not quite a dollar short.

FALCONS: Lost for the first time this season against the rival that has become an abject nemesis and, in losing, saw their biggest weaknesses – can’t run the ball, can’t stop the run — exposed. And what were the two things Mike Smith, after taking this job in January 2008, said a good team had to do? Run the ball and stop the run. Barometric reading: Barely 24 hours later, the Falcons cut defensive end Ray Edwards, who had little to do with Sunday’s loss but who did little after signing as a big-ticket free agent. Students of Falcons history will note that, after the first loss of the 1998 season, Dan Reeves cut cornerback Juran Bolden for messing up a coverage in San Francisco. Those Falcons would go 14-2 and make the Super Bowl.

(Please see my video chat with Brian Clark of CineSport, …

Continue reading Heat Check: Was cutting Ray Edwards a message sent? »

Kennesaw State (3-22) is losing, but its coach isn’t conceding

Lewis Preston on the day he was introduced as KSU coach's. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Lewis Preston on the day he was introduced as KSU coach's. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

When Lewis Preston delivered the first halftime speech of his life, his team trailed 41-8. And what, Preston is asked, did he say to the Kennesaw State Owls that November day?

“I said, ‘We’re going to go out here [meaning against Wisconsin in Madison] and continue to play, and we’re going to get better as a group no matter what the score is.’ ”

Three months later, Preston offers that oration, or a variation thereof, on a daily basis. His Owls are 3-22. They last won two days before Christmas. They’re 0-13 in the Atlantic Sun, and they’ve already been eliminated from inclusion in the conference tournament. Adding to the fun and frolic is this: The rookie head coach is working on a one-year contract.

But that last part is about to change, and not in the way you might think. Said Vaughn Williams, KSU’s athletic director: “We’re working on a multi-year contract. In a lot of ways, we’re improving …

Continue reading Kennesaw State (3-22) is losing, but its coach isn’t conceding »

Hoops insider: Does UGA have a shot versus No. 1 Wildcats?

Will it be a stress-free night for Coach Cal at the Stegasaurus? (AP photo)

A stressful night for Coach Cal at the Stegasaurus? (AP photo)

(Yet again, let me note that this feature is part — but only a small part — of our weekly college basketball package, which runs every Tuesday in the print AJC. I offer my contribution for your digital perusal.)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia have a prayer against No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday? Sure. As good as the Wildcats can be, they trailed in the second halves of both SEC road games, and neither of those — at Auburn, at Tennessee — was against top-shelf competition. At 1-4 in league play, the Bulldogs aren’t top-shelf, either. But they’re at home, which means something.

2. If you had to pick one team against the field to win the national championship, would it be Kentucky? North Carolina? Missouri? Syracuse? None of the above. I’d pick the same team I picked — incorrectly — last March. I’d pick Ohio State because I think Jared Sullinger, whose numbers are almost the same as a sophomore as they were as a …

Continue reading Hoops insider: Does UGA have a shot versus No. 1 Wildcats? »

2011 college Heat Check: Georgia got hot; Tech got warm

Tech's Stephen Hill feels the hot breath of the Bulldog D. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Tech's Stephen Hill feels the hot breath of the Bulldog D. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

We’re nearing the end — news flash! — of the calendar year, and our weekly Heat Check takes on broader scope. We review the year just past, and we look toward 2012 and we tick off folks in the process. Got that? Here we go.

Georgia Bulldogs: They rose from 6-7 to the top of the SEC East, winning 10 consecutive games in the process. Then they lost by 32 points to LSU. The debate will rage until next September whether Georgia got really good again or just benefited from a bunny schedule. The view here is that it did both. (The two aren’t mutually exclusive.) But it’s true that the Bulldogs lost to the three best teams they played, and it wouldn’t hurt to beat Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. 2011 Heat Index: A hot season removed Mark Richt from the ol’ hot seat. 2012 Hotness Outlook: Should be a preseason Top 10 pick and the favorite to win the East.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: They …

Continue reading 2011 college Heat Check: Georgia got hot; Tech got warm »

For local college hoops teams, it figures to be a chilly winter

Just about everything has changed for these programs in 12 months. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Much has changed for these programs, and others, in 12 months. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mark Fox took the Georgia job on April 2, 2009, which makes him the dean of local men’s college basketball coaches, which tells us much about the fluid state of local college basketball. “We’re still unpacking boxes,” Fox said Wednesday, bemused by his status, at age 42, of Elder Statesman.

Then he said: “This is a tough business right here.”

Fox spoke before the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s annual luncheon at the Marriott Marquis. Around the room, three other coaches, none of whom has yet coached an actual game at their particular school, were doing interviews. All were trying to be optimistic, but occasionally a note of reality intruded.

Said Ron Hunter of Georgia State: “We’re going to be better than expected — I’ll say that.”

And beating expectations, to be frank, wouldn’t take much. The four schools represented at the luncheon were a combined 53-72 last season, and that was with …

Continue reading For local college hoops teams, it figures to be a chilly winter »

Kennesaw, Tech and Georgia State: Assessing hoops hires

At Kennesaw, Lewis Preston walks into a difficult job. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

At Kennesaw State, Lewis Preston walks into a difficult job. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Here I sit, smack in the midst of what was, at least for six weeks, the Coaching Vacancy Capital of the Basketball World, and now the positions have been filled and darned if I can find cause to criticize any of the three. Have I lost it or what? (Don’t answer all at once.)

Georgia State hired Ron Hunter. Georgia Tech hired Brian Gregory. Last but not in any way least, Kennesaw State hired Lewis Preston, who was introduced at the school Tuesday. I’d give solid B’s to Tech’s and KSU’s new men, and I’d give something better to Georgia State’s. Here’s a look at each case.

Kennesaw State: This was the trickiest of the three hires. The Owls had to first find an athletic director, and they landed an impressive one in Vaughn Williams, who apprenticed at Boston College and UConn. Then Williams, whose official start date isn’t until May, had to identify someone willing to take a job that pays less — …

Continue reading Kennesaw, Tech and Georgia State: Assessing hoops hires »

Hoop scoop: Gregory, Shumpert, Royal, Neal and Kennesaw

Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich with his real new coach. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich with his real new coach. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Basketball-tinged items of interest to me, and I hope to you:

• Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich, speaking of Brian Gregory: “He’s real. We’ve got a football coach [Paul Johnson] who’s real, and we’ve got a basketball coach who’s real.”

• As regards the Hotness Factor: Had Gregory’s Dayton team beaten Richmond in the Atlantic 10 final, Gregory would have made the NCAA tournament for the third time. Had his team won a game in the Big Dance — A-10 teams were 3-3 in NCAA play this March — he’d have been seen by more folks as a rising star for the simple reason he’d have been seen by more folks. And maybe his hiring would have been met with more enthusiasm in the Tech ranks. Or maybe he’d have been so hot Tech could no longer have afforded him.

• Speaking of Richmond: Chris Mooney’s interview with Tech was conducted via telephone Sunday. And Tech wasn’t at all surprised when …

Continue reading Hoop scoop: Gregory, Shumpert, Royal, Neal and Kennesaw »

Georgia State should take Dip; KSU needs (the other) Matta

Dip Metress: He's a basketball master who works in Augusta. (AP photo)

Dip Metress: He's a basketball master who has done great work in Augusta. (AP photo)

It must be noted that Georgia Tech isn’t the only school in the metro area in need of a basketball coach. It’s only one of three. Georgia State fired Rod Barnes. Kennesaw State fired Tony Ingle. Which makes Atlanta the hoops vacancy capital of the world.

Toward that end, I offer two more bits of advice. (I’ve already done my bit to help Dan Radakovich at Tech.) Here’s who GSU and KSU should target:

Georgia State shouldn’t look beyond the state border. Dip Metress — his given name is Darren, and his last name is pronounced “ME-tress” — is 170-51 over seven seasons at Augusta State and has taken the Jaguars to the NCAA Division II tournament five seasons running. Three of those seasons yielded a run to the Elite Eight, and last night Augusta State fell just short, losing to Anderson 75-73 in overtime in the Southeast Regional final.

We know Metress can coach because he developed the big man …

Continue reading Georgia State should take Dip; KSU needs (the other) Matta »

Kennesaw’s Tony Ingle: An overnight sensation after 36 years

Tony Ingle on the night KSU made nationwide noise. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Tony Ingle on KSU's night of nights. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Tony Ingle began coaching in 1974. (Or, as he says, “when Moby Dick was a minnow.”) He’s 58 and has five grandchildren. He awoke Tuesday to find himself an overnight sensation.

Kennesaw State beat Georgia Tech of the snooty ACC by 17 points Monday night, and on Tuesday ESPN’s “SportsCenter” kept asking/answering the question, “Who is Kennesaw State?” And KSU’s coach, the aforementioned Tony Ingle, heard from everyone he’d ever known via every means of modern communication — e-mail, text message and calls on his home, office and cell phones.

Not that sudden fame is always a blessing. Said Ingle: “I even heard from a bill collector. He thought I’d died.”

So now we’re asking: Who is Tony Ingle? And we start by saying, “Pull up a chair.”

He was born in Dalton with a facial deformity that has required five surgeries. His dad worked in a saw mill and a cotton mill. Ingle played guard at North Whitfield High and then …

Continue reading Kennesaw’s Tony Ingle: An overnight sensation after 36 years »