Friday, February 8, 2008

John Brady Out as LSU Head Coach

John Brady's tenure as the LSU men's basketball head coach is over, two university board members have confirmed.
With nine games left in the regular season of his 11th at LSU, the 53-year-old Brady was fired Thursday after a meeting with Athletic Director Skip Bertman.
The university has called a press conference for 1 p.m. today to announce the change.
LSU Board of Supervisors Chairman Jerry Shea of New Iberia said he learned of the termination on Thursday and said the change has been a possibility.
"I wish Coach Brady the best in his future endeavors," Shea said. "I con-sider John a good friend. But I think it was time for a change."
Shea said the decision to make a change now rather than at the end of the season was Bertman's call. Shea denied speculation that newly appointed LSU system president Dr. John Lombardi is calling all the shots because Bertman is on his way out as well.
"I think the athletics director is most involved," Shea said. "This has been under consideration before Dr. Lombardi got here (in September), and Skip has been watching the situation."
Shea said he believes Lombardi supports the decision.
Lombardi spokesman Charles Zewe said in an e-mail that Lombardi does not plan to comment on the matter nor take part in today's news conference.
Longtime associate head coach Butch Pierre will lead the Tigers the rest of the season. It's not clear whether Brady will coach LSU against No. 7-ranked Tennessee at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Although the end arrived abruptly, it was not a major surprise considering the current state of a program that 23 months ago stunned the college basketball world on its way to the 2006 Final Four.
The Tigers now languish at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference with an 8-13 record (1-6 in league games) after sputtering to a 17-15 finish last season. LSU has lost 17 of its last 23 SEC games and is 20-25 since beginning the 2006-07 campaign with an 11-3 record that included noteworthy victories against nationally ranked opponents Texas A&M and Connecticut.
Friday's announcement ends a sporadically successful and often controversial era in LSU basketball.
Under Brady's watch, the Tigers won two SEC championships (2000, 2006), advanced to the NCAA tournament four times and had a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000 to bookend the Final Four run.
Intermingled in the successful years were three losing seasons and last year's precipitous fall from grace.
LSU has gone 2-14 in SEC games twice under Brady and 4-12 once, finish-ing last in the SEC West each time. The Tigers were last in the West again last year and are headed down a similar path this season.
The early stages of Brady's LSU career were severely handicapped by NCAA sanctions imposed as a result of actions during the final years of Dale Brown's tenure. But the Tigers persevered by storming to the Sweet 16 in 2000 behind Swift, the No. 2 pick in that year's NBA Draft.
LSU Board of Supervisors member and Brady supporter Charles Weems of Alexandria called Friday a "sad day" for LSU.
"It's always a sad day when something like this happens," said Weems, who said he was not in on the decision. "He's a great guy and a great coach.
"I'm still a strong supporter of his, and I know John has given his best. Eleven years is a long time. I'll never forget that great run in 2006 going to the Final Four. That's the way I'm going to remember him."
Wins and losses may be a big part of Brady's ouster, but impossible-to-ignore intangibles also played a major part.
Player attrition has plagued Brady's tenure the time he arrived in 1997.
Nearly 40 players who either enrolled at LSU or wore a Tigers uniform left before their eligibility was exhausted. A handful of those players left to enter the NBA Draft: Stromile Swift, Brandon Bass, Tyrus Thomas and Glen Davis.
But the bulk of the bleeding was not due to players pursuing an NBA career.
Largely as a result of the attrition, only 13 players have graduated during Brady's tenure, with two more on track to earn a degree over the next few semesters.
Brady's relationship with LSU fans has also been a point of contention. His sometimes bombastic coaching style on the bench has been criticized, as has the Tigers' grind-it-out tendency at times on the court.
He has also taken not-so-veiled shots at LSU fans when game attendance has dwindled, a common occurrence throughout Brady's tenure.
The Tigers' average attendance this season is 8,240 - which ranks ninth in the SEC and is a number based on tickets sold. In reality, the crowds have been in the 4,000 to 5,000 range at the 13,215-seat Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU has sold out only once in the past four years.
Firing Brady will be costly. He has three years remaining on a five-year contract he signed after the Final Four season. LSU will be responsible for paying Brady's base salary for each of the three remaining seasons, a fig-ure that will be in the $900,000 to $1 million range because of escalating salary clauses in the contract.
WBRZ's Michael Cauble contributed to this report.
John Brady's Record at LSU
SEC West


NCAA Sweet16
6th West

4th West
NIT 2nd round
2nd West
NCAA first round
2nd West
NIT first round
tie-1st West
NCAA first round
1st SEC
NCAA Final Four
6th West

6th West

Records: 192-139 (69-93 SEC) at LSU; 281-211 career

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shilling Sidelined with More Shoulder Issues

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is not expected to be ready for the start of spring training because of shoulder issues, much like the ones that caused the club to shut him down for seven weeks last season, according to sources. His availability for Opening Day could also be in question, though one source familiar with Schilling's condition said it was premature to speculate.
Details remain sketchy, but Schilling recently went to see Dr. Craig Morgan, the doctor who performed his shoulder surgery in 1995. Morgan, citing HIPPA regulations, referred all questions to Schilling, who has not yet responded to e-mails sent to him and his publicist seeking confirmation. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein e-mailed a "no comment" when asked about Schilling's condition.
Schilling, who turned 41 last Nov. 14, went on the disabled list with what the team called shoulder tendinitis last June 22 (retroactive to June 19) after a disastrous outing in Atlanta in which his velocity registered in the low 80s and he allowed 6 runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings against the Braves. He was on the DL until Aug. 6, and upon his return acknowledged that he'd altered his approach, becoming more of a finesse pitcher than the power pitcher he'd been for most of his career.
While noting that the transition was a work in progress, Schilling had some success in his return, posting a 3-4 record and a 3.34 ERA upon returning on Aug. 6. He also was 3-0 in the postseason, winning the clinching game of the ALDS against the Angels and rebounding from a Game 2 shellacking by the Indians to win Game 6 of the ALCS.
Schilling enters this season ranked eighth in wins among active pitchers with 216, fourth in strikeouts with 3,116, and ninth in innings with 3,261.
After signaling that he might not be coming back to the Sox after the season, sending letters of farewell to some teammates, Schilling elected to take less money to return, signing a one-year deal for $8 million, with an additional $3 million in weight-clause incentives. He has said this definitely will be his last season.
If he is not ready to take his spot in the rotation at the start of the season, rookie Clay Buchholz is the logical candidate to replace him. Pitchers and catchers are due to report to Fort Myers for spring training on Feb. 14.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Huston Nutt Announces Frst Singning Class at Ole MIss

“I appreciate everyone being here today. We are excited today. This is our first class here. We were in a whirlwind, trying to move all these coaches and families with some of them practicing in the Cotton Bowl. I really want to thank the ladies for a great job. We really wore David Wells, our compliance officer, out. He did a super job of handling all the paperwork. It was a total team effort. The one thing that we were able to do is really get to know some people, even though we were late getting started. We were able to meet a lot of good parents and a lot of good people. We have got some very, very good student-athletes that are coming in here. They are going to be ready to go by August 1. I really want to commend our players that are on campus, too. Our players did a great job of being ambassadors for Ole Miss. We were learning on the run, trying to figure everything out. They did a great job and I appreciate that. Everyone from our chancellor to Dr. Mullins, there were so many people that were involved.

Recruiting is not easy. It’s hard work. The thing that we really wanted to address first was we really wanted to get some tight ends in our system. I really felt that a young man by the name of Gerald Harris will help us. We got him in early. He is in the program right now, going to school. If you see him walking, you say that is what an SEC tight end looks like. He is 6-7, probably a little shy of 250 pounds. And coach (Don) Decker has already got him going. He has already gained about eight pounds since he’s been here. Things like that excite you. Ferbia Allen is another guy that is 6-5, 225 pounds. He is from Pine Bluff, Ark. He is very athletic, and could play either defensive end or tight end. I’m excited about him. E.J. Epperson is from right up the road in Tennessee. He is very athletic. Every time I think of E.J., I think of going through storms on a plane and Chyna was scared to death because the wind was making the plane go everywhere. He is like that. When you watch him play basketball, he is everywhere, looking inside the rim. He is just so athletic and I‘m glad he is on our football team.

We have got four or five offensive linemen that we needed. One guy from Alabama, Joshua Tatum, his grandmother, grandfather and mother all came to campus and said this was the most beautiful campus they have ever seen. That is what makes your heart smile. We knew we had him sold. When you have mama and grandmamma sold, you got them. So, we were really glad to get Joshua from over in Alabama. Brandon Green is another young man that is already in the program. We got him from junior college and is already in the system. I’m glad he is a center. I’m really glad we have him. Another guy is Kermit Tyler. He is a big guy from Louisiana. I’m really glad we have him with his size. A.J. Hawkins is a good guard type big man. He has very good size, very good feet, is strong and all of them come from really good, quality families.

Wide receiver, we have got three or four very good receivers. They are fast. I will start near here with Horatio Williams from Oxford High School. He is a 10.5 100-meter runner. He is very quick and I’m glad he is on our football team. These guys are tall. Andrew Harris is 6-2 1/2, and is from military prep Hargrave. Melvin Harris is another guy. When you get a guy from Atlanta, Ga., that is about 6-7, is very smooth, fast and very sure-footed, he reminds me a lot of Marcus Monk.

We have two quarterbacks this year, Chris Wilkes and Nathan Stanley. Chris is from Orlando, Fla. He was offered early. He is very accurate and has a strong arm. We hung on to him. He had a lot of people coming after him. Nathan Stanley is a young man from Oklahoma. I was very aware of him from summer camps over the past two years. He is 6-5, very athletic with a lot of upside and lot of leadership qualities that you are going to love.

Today, we are happy to have some tailbacks, and I mean they can play. I’m excited about that. I’m not worried about “stars”. I like qualifiers that are going to be eligible. I like guys that are going to be here and play with character and speed. These guys can tote the mail. They run downhill and will hit you in the mouth and will outrun you. We will start with Enrique Davis. He is a solid 212 pounds and runs a 4.4. There is a reason why everybody wants him. That’s because he is a difference maker. He can make the first guy miss, has tremendous speed and comes downhill with power. Brandon Bolden is another guy that is a 10.6 100-meter runner. I can’t wait for coach Decker to get a hold of him. He reminds me a lot of Felix Jones. He is very explosive and has a great mother and father. The upbringing of these guys is just awesome. And then there is Devin Thomas. He played 5A football in Texas. Anytime someone can go 487 yards in one game and then go 327 and then do 290, you are doing something. That is not against 2A or 3A, that is against 5A football in Texas. So I’m excited about these backs. I’m hoping about one more that we can find out about here this afternoon.

All Ole Miss Signees

Ferbia Allen, DE/TE, 6-5, 225, Pine Bluff, Ark.-DollarwayBrandon Bolden, RB, 5-11, 215, Baton Rouge-ScotlandvilleEnrique Davis, RB, 6-1, 215, Lynn Haven, Fla.-A Crawfod-Mosley; HargraveE.J. Epperson, TE, 6-3, 230, Humboldt, Tenn.-HumboldtBrandon Green, C, 6-2, 315, Southaven, Miss., Southaven-Northwest Mississippi C.C.H.R. Greer, FB, 6-0, 225, Olive Branch, Miss.-Southern Baptist Education Center*Gerald Harris, TE, 6-5, 245, Terrell, Texas-Terrell, Navarro CollegeMelvin Harris, WR, 6-6, 185, Buford, Ga.-BufordAaron Hawkins, OL, 6-3, 315, Lithonia, Ga.-Martin Luther KingLekenwic Haynes, DB, 6-3, 200, Rosenberg, Texas-B.F. TerryJason Jones, LB, 6-2, 220, Albany, Ga.-WestoverRandall Mackey, ATH, 6-1, 180, Bastrop-BastropDemareo Marr, DB, 6-2, 180, Southaven, Miss-Desoto Central, NW Miss. CCHunter Miller, DB, 6-1, 185, Sherwood, Ark.-Sylvan HillsGerald Rivers, DE, 6-5, 240, Ellenwood, Ga.-Cedar GroveBrandon Sanders, DB, 6-0, 190, Suwanee, Ga.-Peachthree RidgeJustin Smith, DL, 6-4, 280, Alpharetta, Ga.-ChattahoocheeNathan Stanley, QB, 6-5, 195, Tahlequah, Okla.-Sequoyah*Emmanuel Stephens, DE, 6-2, 220, Houston-Waltrip; Blinn C.C.Joshua Tatum, OL, 6-5, 315, Marbury, Ala.-MarburyDevin Thomas, RB, 5-11, 195, San Antonio-MadisonPatrick Trahan, LB, 6-3, 225, New Orleans-St. Augustine; Auburn; Northwest Mississippi C.C.Kermit Tyler, OL, 6-4, 335, Marrero-L.W. Higgins*Julian Whitehead, DB, 5-10, 180, Lilburn, Ga.-Parkview; HargraveChris Wilkes, QB, 6-4, 220, Orlando, Fla.-Dr. PhillipsHoratio Williams, WR, 6-2, 175, Oxford, Miss.-Oxford

LSU Signs Big Recruiting Class

LSU head coach Les Miles said he's proud of the Tigers' recruiting class in his opening remarks to the media during a late afternoon news conference.
“It’s always fun to envision a new class, and look at the young men you had a chance to meet, recruit and invite to this campus. I can tell you we’re really proud of this class. Our coaching staff did a great job working to secure these commitments.”
Miles commented on the recruits in the order of what he considered were LSU's top needs. Chief among that list were cornerbacks, and LSU landed Patrick Johnson.
“The loss of Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon at corner would be the most acute issue,” Miles said. “We set out to get a great corner class. Patrick Johnson is the No. 1 rated corner in the country. He’s a big, physical, athletic corner. And frankly, we think, he certainly fits that bill.”
LSU signed 15 players from Louisiana, and Miles said in-state players always will have an integral place in the program.
“In this state, it’s important that we take the guys and recruit those men we feel like give us the opportunity to win a championship. And really we will always look to the in-state players first."
Miles said he thinks this class can help LSU win a championship down the road. He added that he wasn't too concerned about how the Tigers sized up in the national recruiting race, though he mentioned that LSU's recruiting class was ranked No. 5 by and No. 11 by Rivals and ESPN.

"I really could not give a hoot," Miles said.
Posted at 12:45 p.m., Feb. 6, 2007
In case you're wondering, Rivals has rated LSU's recruiting class at No. 10, as of mid-day. Notre Dame is No. 1, followed by Alabama and Florida (which is ESPN's No. 1). Oklahoma is fourth in the Rivals rankings, with Georgia rounding out the top 5. Miami is No. 6, followed by Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan.
Other SEC schools in the Rivals Top 25 are Auburn (No. 18) and South Carolina (No. 19), giving the league six teams among the top Rivals schools.
Kellen Theriot, a 6-1, 225-pound linebacker from Episcopal High in Houston, has been added to LSU's list. Theriot enrolled in January.
Defensive end Chase Clement (6-6, 245, E.D. White of Thibodaux) is the 25th member of the Tigers signing class. Meanwhile, defensive back Brandon Harris of Miami will stay home to attend the University of Miami. And Hialeah (Fla.) High defensive lineman Corey Liuget stuck with his commitment and signed with Illinois.
LSU has added Rayville High wide receiver Chris Tolliver (6-1, 189) as its 24th signee.
Deangelo Peterson, a 6-3, 190-pound receiver from New Orleans who played at Desire Street Academy, gives LSU its 23rd signee, one minute before noon. I missed that one after leaving The Advocate building for a false fire alarm around 11:45 a.m.
Meanwhile, Alabama signed highly touted wide receiver Julio Jones, a 6-4, 215-pound receiver from Foley, Ala. Jones was rated as the No. 1 wide receiver by ESPN.
LSU landed its fourth signee from the state of Florida and 22nd overall with the addition of defensive back Karnell Hatcher (6-2, 190) of Atlantic Community High in Delray Beach, Fla.
Lavar Edwards, a 6-4, 280-pound defensive end from Gretna who played at Desire Street Academy, is LSU's 21st signee.
Well, scratch the earlier report on cornerback Patrick Johnson, who has officially signed with LSU. The Miami Herald reported today that Johnson delayed a morning news conference, leading to speculation he may change his mind about signing with the Tigers.
Johnson (6-1, 175, Ely High, Pompano Beach, Fla.) is LSU's 20th signee and a nationally lauded player. Johnson's bio on lists his many honors, including a selection of USA Today's Defensive Player of the Year. Johnson is rated No. 5 nationally by Rivals and No. 8 by ESPN. Johnson committed to LSU in January.
Defensive back Ryan St. Julien (6-1, 170) is now a Tiger, as of 11:05 a.m. St. Julien hails from Catholic-New Iberia High School and St. Martinville.
Linebacker Kyle Prater (6-1, 210, Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas) bumps LSU's signee total to 18 at 10:55 a.m. Prater's signing ends a streak of seven consecutive signings from Louisiana.
Two Destrehan High players bring the Tigers' numbers to 17. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson (6-4, 210, St. Rose) and wide receiver Tim Molton (6-3, 190, Montz) have signed with LSU.
LSU has a Baton Rouge signee. Parkview Baptist offensive lineman Clay Spencer (6-6, 285) brings the Tigers' count to 15 at 10:34 a.m.
Tight end Tyler Edwards is in the LSU fold. Edwards is a 6-3, 240-pounder from Ouachita Parish High School. The Tigers have 14 signees, seven of those coming from Louisiana, including the last four.
LSU's has landed the two Taylors from Franklinton. Wide receiver Jhyryn Taylor, a 6-1, 180-pounder, was posted at 10:19, four minutes after defensive back Brandon Taylor (6-0, 178). The Taylor duo gives the Tigers 13 signees.
Belle Chasse defensive back Rockey Duplessis (6-1, 185) is LSU's 11th signee.
The Tigers are in double digits as of 9:50 a.m. Garland (Texas) High defensive lineman Chancey Aghayere (6-4, 243) gives LSU 10 signees.
LSU has its first signee from Texas, offensive lineman Thomas Parsons (6-5, 272, Smithson Valley High in Canyon Lake, Texas).
Tight end Matt Branch (6-5, 240, Sterlington of Monroe) gives the Tigers eight signees at 9:30 a.m.
DeAngelo Benton, a 6-5, 200-pound wide receiver from Bastrop via Hargrave Military Academy, is in the LSU fold, as of 9:23 a.m. Hargrave is the Chatham, Va., prep school that current LSU running back Keiland Williams attended his senior season.
Linebacker Ryan Baker is LSU's sixth signee. Baker (Bountstown High, Grand Rigde, Fla.) is the Tigers' second player from Florida and fifth from out of state.
The Tigers now have three offensive linemen in the fold with the addition of Greg Shaw (6-5, 285, Edward Pace, Hialeah, Fla.) at 9:12 a.m. Shaw is the No. 16 offensive tackle in the country by and is a four-star member of the Rivals 250, according to his bio.
LSU landed its first in-state signee just a couple of minutes after 9 a.m. Rummel offensive lineman P.J. Lonergan (6-4, 290) is on board.
Offensive lineman Alex Hurst (6-5, 290) of Arlington High School in Bartlett, Tenn., is LSU's third signee. Hurst was a Class 5A first-teamer in Tennessee, according to his bio.
LSU's first two signees are from Georgia. Defensive lineman Cordian Hagans of Northview High School in Snellville, Ga., is aboard. Hagans is 6-5, 290 pounds.
Derrick Bryant, a 6-0, 185-pound defensive back, from Peachtree High School in Lawrencville, Ga., is the first official LSU signee, as of 8:23 a.m. According to his bio on, Bryant has the following ratings by No. 25 cornerback in nation and No. 28 among all Georgia prospects.

2008 Football Signees

Chancey Agyahere
Garland, Texas
Ryan Baker
Blountstown, Fla.
DeAngelo Benton
Hargrave Military Academy
Matt Branch
Derrick Bryant
Peachtree Ridge
Lawrenceville, Ga.
Chase Clement
E.D. White
Rockey Duplessis
Belle Chasse
Belle Chasse
Lavar Edwards
Desire Street
Tyler Edwards
Ouachita High
Coridan Hagans
Snellville, Ga.
Karnall Hatcher
Atlantic Community
Delray Beach, Fla.
Alex Hurst
Bartlett, Tenn.
Jordan Jefferson
St. Rose
Patrick Johnson
Blanche Ely
Pompano Beach, Fla.
P.J. Lonergan
Archbishop Rummel
Tim Molton
Thomas Parsons
Smithson Valley
Canyon Lake, Texas
DeAngelo Peterson
Desire Street Academy
New Orleans
Kyle Prater
Kerrville, Texas
Greg Shaw
Edward Pace
Ryan St. Julien
Catholic-New Iberia
St. Martinville
Clay Spencer
Parkview Baptist
Baton Rouge
Brandon Taylor
Jhyryn Taylor
* Kellen Theriot
Chris Tolliver