Brown must replace three top assistants

Updated: January 11, 2005, 9:58 PM ET
Associated Press

Texas: Coach Mack Brown has had little time to enjoy the Longhorns' Rose Bowl win over Michigan.

Within two weeks of arguably the biggest win of his career, Brown has to rebuild his staff after three key assistants left for other jobs.

On Tuesday, it was co-defensive coordinator Greg Robinson taking the head coaching job at Syracuse. Assistant head coach and defensive ends coach Dick Tomey had already left to take over the program at San Jose State. Running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Haywood is off to Notre Dame to become offensive coordinator.

That leaves Brown juggling a coaching search and recruiting before the Feb. 2 national signing day. He's already replaced Haywood with Georgia assistant Ken Rucker.

With the start of spring practice in late February, Brown said he's in no hurry to complete his defensive staff.

"That gives us some time to evaluate and make as good of a decision in hiring new coaches this year as we did last year," Brown said. "We will take our time and be sure we make the right choices again."

Last year, Brown hired Robinson and Tomey a week before signing day and both were credited with bringing a new attitude of mental and physical toughness to the defense. The Longhorns didn't give up a third-quarter touchdown through the first 11 games.

Losing three key assistants in the same season tells Brown one thing.

"We're obviously hiring the right guys," he said.

Tennessee State: The Tigers are hoping James Webster's 30 years of experience will help revive a struggling program.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at a university that has a great winning tradition," the former assistant head coach at North Carolina said at his introduction.

The Tigers won consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships in 1998 and 1999 and were ranked first in Division I-AA at the end of the 1999 regular season. But the Tigers went 24-33 the past five years under James Reese, including 4-7 in 2004. Reese was fired Nov. 20.

Webster was a three-year starter at linebacker at North Carolina from 1968-72, and was the defensive MVP of the 1971 Gator Bowl. He began his coaching career at Florida in 1974 and also worked at Kansas, Colorado, Dartmouth, Wake Forest, Northwestern and East Carolina.

Webster spent the past four seasons at North Carolina, where he first coached defensive ends, including Julius Peppers, who became the second overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft. He had been assistant head coach the past three seasons and special teams coordinator in 2004.

UCLA: Linebacker Spencer Havner and tight end Marcedes Lewis will stay for their senior seasons at UCLA rather than declaring for the NFL draft.

Both said earlier that they intended to return.

Havner, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection, led the conference this season with an average of 11.36 a game. He ranked second nationally in solo tackles with 7.64 a game, and was seventh with 125 total tackles.

Lewis was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award presented annually to the nation's top tight end. He set a Bruins record for the position with seven touchdown catches in 2004, tied for second on the team with 32 receptions, and was tops with 25 catches for first downs.

Illinois: Offensive lineman Tony Sparkman has enrolled at North Dakota State, completing his transfer from the Illini program.

Sparkman, 6 feet 4 and 290 pounds, said the offseason hiring of Ron Zook at Illinois was a factor in his decision.

The lineman will participate in winter workouts and spring practice and will be eligible next fall.

Georgia: A group of Georgia lawmakers suggested that the football stadium at the University of Georgia be renamed to honor recently retired athletic director Vince Dooley.

A resolution introduced in the state House would rename Sanford Stadium to Dooley-Sanford Stadium, an honor for the former football coach who engineered Georgia's 1980 championship.

The resolution's author, Republican Representative Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, graduated from UGA that year and attended the Sugar Bowl game that cemented Georgia's title.

He said the stadium renaming is "long awaited by many Georgia fans and an overdue honor."

The Board of Regents has the final say in renaming university buildings and other facilities. According to the board's policy manual, renaming requests must be submitted to the system's chancellor, who would then submit them to the Regents.

Four named to coaches association board: Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, Wyoming's Joe Glenn, Harvard's Tim Murphy and Northern Illinois' Joe Novak were elected to the board of trustees of the American Football Coaches Association.

The four were elected by members attending the 2005 AFCA Convention in Louisville, Ky. The board formulates policy and provides direction for the AFCA, which was founded in 1922 by Amos Alonzo Stagg, John Heisman and others.

The AFCA has more than 10,000 members from all levels of the profession.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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