Sports Outside the Beltway

Former NFL head coach Don Corryel dead at 85

The father of the modern NFL passing game, had a lifetime record of 111-83-1 as a head coach. From AP-

Don Coryell, the innovative coach whose Air Coryell offense produced some of the most dynamic passing attacks in NFL history, has died. He was 85.Don Corryel

The San Diego Chargers confirmed Coryell died Thursday at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in suburban La Mesa. The team did not release the cause of death, but Coryell had been in poor health for some time.

“We’ve lost a man who has contributed to the game of pro football in a very lasting way with his innovations and with his style,” Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, the quarterback who made Air Coryell fly, said from Oregon. “They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery — look around, it’s there.”

[+] EnlargeDon Coryell
George Rose/Getty ImagesThe innovations of Don Coryell, left, gave birth to Air Coryell, the inspiration for the modern-day offenses that dominate the NFL.

Coryell was one of the founding fathers of the modern passing game. He coached at San Diego State from 1961-72 and went 104-19-2. He left the Aztecs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. With Jim Hart at quarterback, the Cardinals won division titles in 1974 and ’75 behind Coryell.

Fouts said he became friends with Coryell after the two were finished with football.

“It’s not just me,” Fouts said. “All his players, Aztecs, Cardinals, Chargers, to a man, would tell you that he was their friend.”

Coryell returned to San Diego when he was hired by the Chargers on Sept. 25, 1978, the same day a Pacific Southwest Airlines jet crashed into a North Park neighborhood after colliding with a small plane, killing all 137 people on the two planes and seven people on the ground.

“It’s crazy that when you look back at the history of this city, he got hired on the same day as that PSA crash,” said Hank Bauer, who was a running back and special teams star with the Chargers then. “That really was one of the darkest days in this city’s history and it became one of the brightest days in the history of sports.

“He walked in and met our team for the time and he was just this little bundle of energy, flying around the meeting. He said, ‘You know what? We’re going to have fun, and we’re going to cry and laugh and battle our [behinds] off, but we’re going to have fun.’ We had fun for a lot of years.”

From 1978-86, Air Coryell — led by Fouts — set records and led the NFL in passing almost every season. Coryell guided the Chargers to the AFC championship game after the 1980 and ’81 seasons, but he never reached the Super Bowl.

The lack of a Super Bowl on his resume may have hurt Coryell last winter in voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a finalist for the first time, but was not selected for induction.

Corryel was the first coach to win 100 games at both the pro and NFL level. He deserves to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. RIP Coach.


2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament- March 18th

This post will remain at the top of the blog for the rest of today. To see newer posts, scroll down.

As results come in today, I will update this post. I’ll also include any related tournament news here.

1st result- Old Dominion defeats Notre Dame 51-50
1st overtime game- BYU beats Florida 99-92 in double OT
Close call- #2 seed Villanova beats Robert Morris 73-70 in overtime.
First big upset- #13 Murray State beats Vanderbilt 66-65
Baylor beats Sam Houston St. 68-59
Kansas State beats North Texas State 82-62
St. Mary’s beats Richmond 80-71
Butler beats UTEP 77-59
Kentucky beats East Tennessee St. 100-71
Ohio beats Georgetown 97-83
Washington beats Marquette 80-78
Northern Iowa beats UNLV 69-66
#1 Kansas beats Lehigh 90-74
New Mexico beats Montana 62-57
Wake Forest beats Texas 81-80


2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball predictions

Here are my selections-

2010 predictions1

2010 predictions2

So you heard it here first. Duke and Ohio State in the finals.

Note- Starting tomorrow I will have a sticky post at the top of the blog featuring that day’s results. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comment.


2010 NCAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

Here it is-

2010 Women's bracket

Like with the Men’s tournament, I’ll take a shot at making some guesses predictions in the women’s also.


2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket

Well here it is-

2010 bracket

I don’t have to say. Later in the week, I’ll take a shot at predicting the outcome.


UCLA cleared to play opener at Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl is only 10 miles from the site of wildfires. From AP-

UCLA plans to play its scheduled game Saturday against San Diego State at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena despite the giant wildfire burning to the north in the Angeles National Forest.

Athletics director Dan Guerrero said in a statement Thursday that the decision was made based upon information from local air-quality officials and Pasadena city fire and health authorities.

Guerrero says there were also consultations with the university’s own medical staff.

The Rose Bowl is less than 10 miles south of Angeles National Forest.

A university statement also quotes an air pollution official as saying that weather conditions are expected to improve on Saturday. The forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 90 degrees.

I used to travel to Southern California quite frequently from 1997 to 2001. The air quality isn’t very good when there aren’t any fires in the area.

UCLA also announced that it will offer complimentary tickets to the game for all Southern California firefighters and their immediate families.

That is very thoughtful. It also makes clear that the game isn’t a sellout. If I was a firefighter or a family member, I’d stay home.


Washington Nationals make Stephen Strasburg first pick in Baseball’s amateur draft

The worst team in major league baseball is expected to shell out big bucks to the fireballing righthander out of San Diego State. From AP-

The Washington Nationals selected pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first pick in baseball’s amateur draft Tuesday night.

Considered one of the most talented prospects in the event’s 45-year history, Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA this season for San Diego State, leading the Aztecs to their first postseason berth since 1991.

Featuring a fastball that has been clocked at 102 mph, Strasburg leads Division I pitchers with 195 strikeouts in 109 innings. He was the only amateur on the U.S. Olympic baseball team that won a bronze medal in Beijing last summer.

“We are thrilled to select someone with the special talents that Stephen possesses,” Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “Those talents have long been on our radar, and Stephen’s domination at San Diego State and vast experiences gained with Team USA last summer have done nothing to change our thoughts about his abilities.”

Signing the right-hander could be a challenge for the Nationals, however, because agent Scott Boras is sure to seek a record contract.

With the second pick, the Seattle Mariners chose North Carolina slugger Dustin Ackley, who has batted at least .400 for three consecutive seasons.

So what can we expect from Strasburg. Based on history, number #1 picks

Have about a 40% chance of being a All-Star during their major league careers
None have ever made it to the baseball Hall of Fame. Though two still active number one picks, Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez have the credentials to make it.
Only two were ever named rookie of the year.(Darryl Strawberry and Bob Horner)

There have been good to very good players picked first overall, Strawberry and Horner(when he was healthy), BJ Surhoff, Shawn Dunston, Rick Monday, Jeff Burroughs, Andy Benes, and Floyd Bannister to name a few. There have been marginal major leaguers(Mike Ivie, Danny Goodwin, Paul Wilsonetc.) and others who didn’t pan out at all.(Steve Chilcott, Al Chambers, Brien Taylor etc) How will Strasberg fit in? I think he could be another David Clyde. Rushed to the major leagues by a bad team seeking to keep fans coming to the ballpark. The pitcher does all right to good for a short time, then his arm falls off. It will be at least a few years before we know if I’m right or not.


Former NFL Defensive lineman Pio Sagapolutele dead at age 39

He was a starter for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. RIP.

Pio Sagapolutele, a defensive lineman who played five years for Cleveland and started in the 1997 Super Bowl for New England, has died. He was 39.

His death was confirmed by the Patriots on Tuesday. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland said he died Saturday of an aneurysm in Chandler, Ariz., where he lived.

Sagapolutele also played for New Orleans during a seven-year NFL career. The Patriots lost to Green Bay 35-21 in his Super Bowl start. He played 97 games in the NFL, starting 34.

Sagapolutele was drafted by the Browns in the fourth round in 1991 from San Diego State. He played defensive end and tackle for a team coached by current Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He signed with the Patriots in 1996, where Belichick went as an assistant. His final season was 1997 with the Saints.

Sagapolutele was selected as part of Cleveland’s first draft class.

“We saw a tough, hardworking, dependable player and that is exactly what Pio brought to his teams on a daily and yearly basis,” Belichick said in a statement released by the Patriots. “He was a quiet leader and a significant contributor.”

Sagapolutele, who was born in American Samoa, is survived by his wife and four children.


John Madden retires after 30 years in booth

He was a Hall of Fame coach with the Oakland Raiders before that. From ESPN-

John Madden, a fixture in NFL broadcast booths for 30 years, has decided to retire, he announced Thursday in a statement released by NBC Sports.

Madden, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and former Super bowl-winning coach of the Oakland Raiders, has been a game analyst and TV personality since walking away from coaching in 1979.

“It’s time. I’m 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall,” Madden said. “I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I’m home and, more importantly, when I’m not.”

“It’s been such a great ride,” he added. The NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion – it still is. … it’s still fun and that’s what it makes it hard and that’s why it took me a few months to make a decision.

Madden played college ball at Cal Poly and had a brief career as a player with the Philadelphia Eagles. Before being hired by the Raiders as a defensive assistant, Madden was a assistant coach on the college level with Buffalo State and San Diego State(Under Dan Coryel). Sadly Al Davis the owner of the Oakland Raiders hasn’t been able to make a similarly brilliant head coaching choice of late as to when he promoted Madden to the job in 1969.

Enjoy your retirement coach.


San Diego State fires football Coach Chuck Long

The former NFL QB didn’t make it through four season in his Aztecs job. From ESPN-

The Aztecs athletic department has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. ET Sunday, regarding an announcement about its football program, according to the school’s Web site.

Long had been assured of his position in public statements by athletic director Jeff Schemmel. But San Diego State is 2-10 and 1-7 in the Mountain West after snapping a seven-game losing streak with a 42-21 defeat of UNLV on Saturday.

Long, a former Iowa quarterback, was hired by the Aztecs in 2005 after spending four seasons as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. San Diego State was Long’s first head coaching job.

While at Iowa, Long was runner-up to Bo Jackson for the 1985 Heisman Trophy in the closest vote in history. He guided the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl that season.

He was Oklahoma’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Sooners won the national championship in 2000 and was offensive coordinator when Jason White won the 2003 Heisman and when Adrian Peterson and White finished 2-3 in 2004.

Long got his coaching start at Iowa in 1995 after playing eight seasons in the NFL, with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

I remember Long’s NFL playing days. He had the time at SDSU to put together his own team through recruiting and apparently he failed. Some excellent assistant coaches aren’t meant for the head man’s job. Ask Miami Dolphin fans if they believe in that statement after Cam Cameron coached the team


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