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News Nuggets, 12.10.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Grimes departs ECU for Mississippi State


12.09.03: UCF resurrects O'Leary to lift beleaguered program... .. Bowls leave 10-2 Huskies out in cold... .. Associated Press basketball poll... .. More...
12.08.03: Football weekend: The good, the bad, the ugly... .. 'Good Samaritan' nails SEC title game loot... .. AP and Coaches polls... .. Final BCS standings... .. More...
12.07.03: Remodeling job at Duke starts with Roof... .. Army, Navy marching in different directions ... .. Schnellenberger creeps up on Tressel... .. More...
12.06.03: Wintry weather grounds Pirates vs. Pirates... .. Saturday TV capsule: Army vs. Navy ... .. Schnellenberger still on quest for titles... .. More...
12.05.03: USM's Bower, Davis headline league's individual honors... .. Eli beats out Losman, Rivers for QB award ... .. Sun Belt football expands into Sunshine State... .. More...
12.04.03: Meager season doesn't hamper Pirates' all-league haul... .. Rouse pays price for breaking Herrion law... .. ECU reels in seven baseball recruits... .. More...
12.03.03: Martin follows Dosh out of Gators program... .. Bowden locks in for long haul at Clemson... .. Four members of Gamecocks staff canned by Holtz... .. Tulsa likely bowl foe for Yellow Jackets... .. More...
12.02.03: Contentious bowl picture settled for C-USA... .. Weak fan support spells end for Cincy coach... .. Blue Devils big man to transfer... .. Bowl Championship Series standings... .. Associated Press basketball poll... .. More...
12.01.03: The good, the bad, the ugly... .. TCU gets unwanted GMAC invitation... .. UCF player bouncing back from spinal cord injury... .. C- USA standings, scores, schedule... .. AP & Coaches polls... .. More...
11.30.03: Football game briefs from around C-USA... .. Marshall names stadium after woman benefactor... .. Pitino's recruiting haul among nation's best... .. Tulane baseball inks elite class of recruits... .. More...

New Mississippi State football coach Sylvester Croom announced Tuesday the hiring of J.B. Grimes to his coaching staff. Grimes, 48, comes to the Bulldogs from East Carolina, where he served one season as Pirate coach John Thompson's assistant head coach and offensive line coach.

A veteran of 27 years in the coaching profession, the last 25 of which have come at the collegiate level, Grimes has been associated with teams that have won five conference championships and gone to 14 post-season bowl games.

Prior to making the move to East Carolina, Grimes served as the offensive line coach under R.C. Slocum at Texas A&M for five seasons, 1998-2002. During his time in College Station, A&M posted a 40-22 overall record.

Immediately prior to joining the A&M staff, Grimes coached five seasons at Virginia Tech, 1993-97. As the offensive line coach for head coach Frank Beamer at Tech, he helped the Hokies to a composite 44-16 overall record.

Grimes served as offensive line coach at his home-state institution, Arkansas, on two different occasions. He was with Razorbacks from 1989-92, working under three different head coaches.

He served two terms as the offensive line coach at Northeast Louisiana, from 1979-80 and again from 1985-88. With Grimes as the offensive line coach, NLU won the 1987 Division I-AA national championship.

Grimes worked one-year stints at Delta (Miss.) State and Missouri in 1983 and '84, respectively, after beginning his coaching career with two seasons at the Arkansas high school level.

A four-year letterman as an offensive guard at Henderson (Ark.) State, the Memphis, Tenn., native earned his bachelor's degree in education from that school in 1977 and received his master's in education from Northeast Louisiana.

Grimes is married to the former Jennifer Graves, and the couple has four children.

Title-winning Wolfpack coach passes

Norm Sloan, who coached North Carolina State to the 1974 NCAA basketball title and led Florida to some of its best and worst times, died Tuesday at 77. Sloan, whose 627 victories rank him 26th on the all-time list of Division I coaches, died of pulmonary fibrosis at Duke Hospital, daughter Leslie Nicholls said. Sloan was living in Raleigh.

"There is not a day that goes by that I don't apply something that I learned from coach Sloan in a positive way to my personal life and my teaching of basketball," said New Orleans coach Monte Towe, who played for Sloan's championship team.

Sloan went 266-127 at N.C. State over 14 seasons. He led the Wolfpack to the NCAA championship in 1974, and many of the N.C. State faithful wonder if there could have been another title. In 1973, David Thompson helped the Wolfpack to a 27-0 record, but they weren't able to play in the NCAA Tournament because of a probation related to his recruitment.

Sloan left the Wolfpack in 1980 for a second stint at Florida, where he led the Gators on their first true basketball renaissance. He went 150-131 over nine seasons and took Florida to the NCAA Tournament three times, after the program had gone more than 70 years without ever making it.

But the era was marked by scandal. The team's star, Vernon Maxwell, later admitted to using cocaine before one tournament game and taking cash payments from coaches. That, plus other problems, landed Florida on probation and signaled the end for Sloan, who was fired after the 1988-89 season. His replacement, Don DeVoe, famously labeled himself "a no-nonsense guy in a nonsense program." DeVoe lasted nine months at Florida.

Sloan's first run with the Gators went from 1960-66. He was the first full-time basketball coach at Florida, a school that, until then, looked for its basketball coaches from its roster of assistants from the football staff, or by picking a volunteer from the physical education faculty.

Sloan went 85-63 in his first run at Florida, then left for North Carolina State. Including stints at Presbyterian and Citadel, Sloan had a career record of 627-395 over 37 seasons.

Ross accepts West Point marching orders

WEST POINT — Army is counting on Bobby Ross and his record of success to turn around college football's worst team. The NFL and college coaching veteran was hired to lead Army on Tuesday, returning to football after resigning as the Detroit Lions' coach three years ago.

Ross's football experience is vast and his credentials are impressive. He coached the San Diego Chargers to the Super Bowl in 1995 and won a national title at Georgia Tech in 1990.

Army, meanwhile, is in disarray. It became the first team in NCAA history to finish 0-13 after losing to Navy 34-6 on Saturday. The academy fired coach Todd Berry in October with the team 5-35 in his four seasons. John Mumford acted as interim coach, going 0-7 after replacing Berry.

Ross said his past service in the Army and his sons' military background — one graduated from the Naval Academy, another from the Air Force Academy — made him a good fit for the job. "I believe I understand the mission of West Point. I do. I believe in it strongly," Ross said at a news conference.

Ross noted that his father had an appointment to West Point during the Depression but had to pass it up to work.  "I believe I'm going to have the opportunity to fulfill my father's dream," he said.

Army would not disclose terms of the contract.

Ross said he met with players Tuesday, and is looking forward to seeing what they can do on the field. He also hopes to finalize a staff by January. "Our commitment begins now. Right now," Ross said.

Ross, who turns 67 this month, hasn't coached since 2000, when he quit the Lions after nine games. His Chargers lost their only Super Bowl appearance, 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers. His NFL record was 77-68.

A Virginia Military Institute graduate, Ross spent 15 years as a college coach, including stints with The Citadel (1973-77), Maryland (1982-86) and Georgia Tech (1987-91). His national champion Georgia Tech team went 11-0-1, sharing the title with Colorado. His college record was 94-76-2.

Ross was hired after former Nebraska coach Frank Solich turned down the job. The announcement came days after Ted Roof was hired over Ross for the top job at Duke. Ross said he made the decision to come out of retirement before Army called because coaching was still in his blood.

"You get tired of walking the dog and things of that nature," he said. "... I've got a lot of energy."

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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