Bob Hunter commentary | Rumblings: Ohio State assistants could be on FAU’s radar
Many college athletic directors are like football coaches when it comes to filling a vacancy: They often prefer to hire someone they know.
So it will be interesting to see how Florida Atlantic athletic director Pat Chun, a longtime assistant to Gene Smith at Ohio State, goes about filling his suddenly vacant football coaching job.
Chun forced the resignation of coach Carl Pelini and an assistant on Wednesday after he confronted them with allegations of illegal drug use.
Chun’s first major hire as an AD — he inherited Pelini — could bring a couple of current Ohio State assistant coaches into the picture. Chun left OSU for FAU in the summer of 2012.
Chun long has had ties with OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, and was said to be impressed with the credentials of OSU co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers, a candidate for the Southern Mississippi job earlier this year, as well as running backs coach Stan Drayton, a candidate for the recent Temple opening.
Even with Rick Nash out because of a concussion, four former Blue Jackets — Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and Anton Stralman — are expected in town on Thursday with the New York Rangers.
There might be another one.
With the Rangers struggling to score, the New York Post reported that general manager Glen Sather has had conversations with Vinny Prospal, 38, who is in training in the Czech Republic.
Prospal led the Blue Jackets in the shortened 2013 season with 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) after totaling 55 (16-39) the previous season. With a glut of young forwards, Columbus decided not to re-sign Prospal, even though he was open to returning. Prospal played in 104 games for the Rangers from 2009 to 2011, producing 29 goals and 52 assists.
The Rangers have been shut out three times in eight games since Nash was injured at San Jose on Oct. 8, the latest a 2-0 loss to Montreal on Monday in the long-awaited home opener at remodeled Madison Square Garden.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has coached Minnesota to two upset victories — 20-17 over Northwestern and 34-23 over Nebraska — while coach Jerry Kill continues treatment for epilepsy.
Claeys, 44, has assisted Kill for 19 years, but he admitted last week that he would be willing to listen if another school called him about being a head coach.
“I think I’m more than capable of doing it,” Claeys told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “But it would have to be the right situation at the right place.
“It would be awfully hard to go into coach Kill’s office and tell him I’m leaving after everything the guy’s done for me and how good he’s been for me for 19 years. But if someone came along and was interested, then obviously I’d listen.”
Former Browns favorite Josh Cribbs raised the ire of Cleveland fans last week with a comment to Newsday after his New York Jets were humbled by the Cincinnati Bengals 49-9.
“We’re not the Browns. We’re not the team that gives up. We have fight in this team,” Cribbs said. “I’m just happy to be here and be able to contribute.”
Cribbs was ripped by Browns fans on Twitter, and countered with some tweets of his own. “Wow Browns fans why all the hate? Years of loyalty & one miss quote...” Cribbs tweeted.
In a text message to Cleveland.com, Cribbs wrote: “I show love to Cleveland everywhere I go. ... After all my years of service and loyalty, something like this stirs everyone up. I would never intentionally disrespect the city that I love and that I still call home."
Neither of Ohio’s Major League Baseball teams fared particularly well in the farm-system rankings that Baseball America published this week.
In what the magazine described as “a rough guide to the most bountiful farm systems — or at least those most likely to pay dividends in the near future — using the 2013 league prospect rankings as a guide,” the Cleveland Indians ranked 23rd and the Cincinnati Reds 25th out of 30 teams.
In contrast to the rumors that LeBron James will spurn the Miami Heat to return to Cleveland when he has a chance to opt out of his contract and become a free agent in 2014, Yahoo Sports reported that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra might end up being the reason James stays in Miami.
Spoelstra signed a four-year contract with the Heat on the eve of training camp, and Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski quoted a league source closely connected to James and Spoelstra as saying “they’r e more intertwined than they’ve ever been. LeBron knows he plays for one of the elite coaches in the game, and that maybe wasn’t the case when he got there.”
Ohio State’s 63-14 victory over Penn State drew a storm of protest on the Penn State message boards and social media against first-year defensive coordinator John Butler. That, in turn, drew the ire of Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien during his weekly news conference.
“John Butler is our defensive coordinator, works his tail off,” O’Brien said. “The kids respect him. I don’t care what the scoreboard says or what the yardage says. ... If anybody should take heat, it’s Bill O’Brien, not John Butler. That’s a bunch of crap that he’s taking heat.”
Penn State has surrendered 40 or more points in three straight games.
Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.