The Philadelphia Eagles have unexpectedly hired Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly as its new head coach, the team announced Wednesday afternoon. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen first reported this surprising hire.
In addition to being the head coach, Kelly will have a large deal of input on personnel decisions, according to CBS’ Mike Freeman.
Kelly had a public flirtation with both the Eagles and Cleveland Browns last week, and the Buccaneers last season, but ultimately decided to stay with Oregon, likely with money fron major booster and Nike CEO Phil Knight. More on this story as it develops.
Kelly spent four years as Oregon’s head coach, going 46-7 and reaching BCS games in all four years including the BCS title game in 2010. He also coached against Nick Foles when Foles was with the University of Arizona; now Foles is Kelly’s quarterback. Another interesting note pointed out by ESPN’s Dan Graziano is that Kelly will coach against new Dallas DC Monte Kiffin, whom Kelly torched during the last four seasons when Kiffin coached his son’s defense at USC.
Can anyone really top the calendar year LeBron James just had? Miguel Cabrera may have won baseball’s triple crown (we’ll get to him later) but James won sport’s true trifecta: a trophy for personal achievement, a championship for his professional team and a gold medal for his country.
When 2012 hit, LeBron James’ public perception could not be more different than it is now. Everyone knew he was the NBA’s best player, but he never won a title in his previous eight seasons. Loser, choker and underachiever were three adjectives associated with James when the crystal ball dropped on 12th year of the 21st century (13th if you’re being technical about it). Then James took matters into his own hands and history was made in so many ways.
The first season of the James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh triumvirate was a turbulent one filled with adjustments and role changes. James finally took command of the situation in his second season and embraced his active role as South Beach’s alpha player. James honed his post game and became more of a complete player, one who could shoot, post up on a smaller man, knife into the lane with both strength and grace and defend practically four different positions.
Miami reaped the benefits of James’ personal and professional transformation. He averaged 27.1 points per game on a career high 53.3 percent shooting to go with 6.2 assists, 7.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. His rebound and steal totals were also career highs and James deservedly captured the regular season MVP award.
During the playoffs, James was at his best when the Heat desperately needed a transcendent performance from a superhuman player. During the Eastern Conference semifinals against Indiana and the Heat down two games to one, James scored 40 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out nine assists. Miami didn’t lose another game the rest of the series. During the Eastern Conference finals against Boston with Miami down three games to two, James scored 45 points to go with 15 rebounds and five assists. Miami won that series and James took home his first NBA title with a five-game series win over Oklahoma City.
James was instantly hailed an all-time great, a consummate pro and an all-around great guy. It’s really amazing how winning can instantly change someone’s perception.
James took home the Finals MVP trophy and the championship on June 21 and training for the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team began on July 6. James was exhausted after the most physically and emotionally draining season of his life, but he truly had the Midas touch in 2012: everything he touched turned to gold. That certainly proved true during the London Olympics, when James led the team in assists and was third on the star-studded stars and stripes squad in points and rebounds as Team USA took home the gold medal.
For the highest achievement in the personal, professional and patriotic spheres, LeBron James is most certainly deserving of the 2012 SprungOnSports Man Of The Year award.
The Deserving Dozen
Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter- Two more individual gold medals and a new world record at the London Olympics and has cemented his status as the greatest track and field athlete of all time.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit- Cabrera became the first player since 1967 to win a triple crown, leading the AL in home runs, RBI’s and batting average.
Gabby Douglas, Olympic gymnast- Douglas became the first African-American to win the gymnastics individual gold medal at the London Olympics, inspiring a nation.
Robert Griffin III/ Andrew Luck, QBs, Washington & Indianapolis- The top two picks and rookie QB’s both led their team to the playoffs and ignited a nation-wide debate on which signal caller would end up the better player.
Eli Manning, QB, NY Giants- Manning was named Super Bowl 46 MVP as he led the Giants to its second Super Bowl win over the Patriots in February.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver/Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota- Both dynamic players led their respective teams to the playoffs after serious surgeries. Both players are top candidates for this year’s NFL MVP award.
Lionel Messi, Striker, Barcelona/Argentina- Messi led Barca to the Spanish league championship and scored 91 goals in the calendar year, a world record that perhaps only the great Messi himself could break.
Andy Murray, Tennis- Murray overcame his Grand Slam demons by winning the US Open, becoming the first Brit to win a singles title since 1936, and won Olympic gold in singles at home in London.
Mike Trout, OF, LA Angels- Trout, 21, had one of the finest season any player has seen in quite some time and was the unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Ever wonder how much it would cost to have Adam Schefter at your fantasy draft? Or have Keith Hernandez watch a baseball game with you, maybe even recite a few classic Seinfeld lines together? Thanks to the company Thuzio, you can see how much athletes and celebrities charge for public appearances. Let’s check out the highlights.
Tiki Barber- Have lunch with Tiki for only $500! Or $1,000 for a round of golf. How about $2,000 for a celebration like a Bar Mitzvah?
Ronde Barber- His brother is a bit more valuable, at $2,500 for a round of golf.
Eric Berry- The hard-hitting Chiefs safety charges $5,000 for an appearance or speaking engagement, but you could get him to play a pickup game for $2,000.
Carl Banks- Attend a game with the Hall Of Famer for $4,000, have a meal with him for $1,500 or have him as a guest coach for the same price.
Ricky Watters- The former All-Pro running back only charges $1,250 for a lunch or dinner or $2,000 for a celebration.
Daunte Culpepper- The former Vikings star will attend your fantasy draft for $1,000, as long as you don’t bring up the Falcons game.
Ernie Acorsi- The former Giants GM will golf with you for $3,000, be at your fantasy draft for $1,500 and charges $2,500 for an hour-long appearance.
Greg Buttle- The former Jets defensive star and current SNY TV personality will be your celebrity auctioneer for $2,500 or play a round of golf with you for $3,000.
Kevin Gilbride- Want to talk shop with the Giants’ offensive coordinator? He charges $2,000 per hour at a pickup game or $1,500 for a fantasy draft.
Dwayne Harris- Get this Dallas Cowboys wide receiver before he becomes even hotter. He charges $600 for a fantasy draft and only $1,250 for an appearance.
Adam Schefter- The ESPN insider extraordinaire will attend your fantasy draft for $1,250, go to your Bar Mitzvah for $2,500 or speak in public for $4,000.
Bob Wischusen- The ESPN announcer and Jets play-by-play voice will attend your fantasy draft for $1,000 or give you a private broadcasting lesson for the same price.
R.A. Dickey- One of the hottest names out there, the NL Cy Young award winner and newest Blue Jay charges a whopping $20,000 for an appearance.
Keith Hernandez- The great player, broadcaster and Seinfeld legend will make a public appearance for only $6,250!
Fred McGriff- This five-time All Star and Crime Dog will have lunch with you for $1,000 or speak in public for $5,000.
Bucky Dent- Love him or hate him, the playoffs hero charges $2,000 for a fantasy draft but an appearance will set you back $4,000 an hour.
Doug Drabek- The former Cy Young Award winner, and Kyle’s dad, charges $2,000 for an appearance but only $200 for a coaching session.
Ivan Nova- The Yankees starter will attend your Bar Mitzvah or celebration for $4,000 or set up a private coaching session for $2,500.
Steve Sax- The five-time All Star and new Arizona 1B coach charges $5,000 for a speaking engagement.
Dick Stockton- This broadcasting legend goes from $1,000 for lunch or dinner to $4,000 for a speech.
Isiah Thomas- The player, coach, broadcaster and polarizing figure charges $7,500 for an appearance.
Rick Barry- The Hall Of Fame legend and NBA dad will give you a private lesson for $750, a guest coach for $2,000 an hour or you can go fly fishing with him for a negotiated deal!
Gary Payton- The future Hall Of Fame Sonic will coach you or play a pickup game for $2,500 an hour or charge $3,500 an hour for an appearance.
Gail Goodrich- This Hall Of Fame former Laker will attend your fantasy draft for $1,500 or speak at your next function for $5,000.
Danny Green- This Spurs starter will make an appearance for $3,125 an hour.
Gene Keady- The legendary Purdue coach will have lunch or dinner with you for $1,500, charge $6,000 for an appearance or $3,000 for personal coaching.
Darryl Dawkins- Chocolate Thunder will attend your Bar Mitzvah or celebration for $1,000 or make an appearance for $2,000 an hour.
Steve Lavin- For $7,000, the St. John’s coach will make a public speech, or you could have a meal with him for $2,500.
World B. Free- This streetball legend will go to your camp for $500 a day, attend lunch or dinner for $800 or play a round of golf for $1,200. A bargain!
Tim Legler- The former player and current ESPN analyst will speak at small groups for $2,500 an hour or attend a golf outing for $3,000.
Mike Bossy- The Hall Of Famer and Islander legend will make an appearance for $5,000, go to lunch or dinner for $1,500 or speak at your event for $7,500.
Glenn Anderson- The Hall Of Famer and five-time Cup champion will play a pickup game for $1,500 or attend a corporate outing for $4,000.
Clark Gillies- The Islanders Hall Of Famer will coach your team or attend your fantasy draft for just $1,000.
Billy Jaffe- The NHL Network analyst will attend a fantasy draft for $500 or join in your celebration for $1,000
As someone who grew up loving, respecting, honoring and defending the Big East conference, it pains me to say that the once-respected league is on its deathbed and on the way out.
Gone are the foundational Big East multi-sport schools of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia, along with Louisville and Notre Dame, and it now seems inevitable that the rest of the league will go down like a house of cards. The real death knell came on Wednesday when the conference’s seven Catholic basketball-only schools (key to the league’s television revenue); St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova and DePaul, are reportedly deciding to leave the league, according to ESPN and confirmed by Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger.
It would be bad enough if those seven schools elected to bolt the Big East for a more stable (never thought I’d say this) Atlantic 10 conference, the once little regional brother, but the seven schools technically have the two-thirds voting power to dissolve the league altogether. But even if the Catholic schools have some sort of mercy on the Big East and don’t dissolve the league, the conference would be a sham. Former Conference USA and Mountain West schools would be cobbled together to form a scrap-heap replacement conference that would inevitably sully the once proud Big East name.
After all the unforgettable moments, the glorious championships and the memorable players, coaches and rivalries that made the Big East the best basketball conference in the country, it seems like the league’s time has expired. The jig is up. The sand has ultimately reached the bottom of the hourglass for the Big East. It is, indeed, a sad day for sports.
NEW YORK– By Jason Greenfield
With today’s news that Rutgers is going to the Big 10, the Big East suffered another huge blow in its hopes for a relevant football conference.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen major conference realignments all over college athletics due to the tremendous popularity and money of college football. College football is where the big money comes in and major colleges realize this, so we are seeing major teams switching conferences and a few power conferences forming.
The Big East lost their best football team last year in West Virginia, who moved to the Big 12. Pittsburgh, a successful football team past couple of years that has produced great NFL talent over the past several years (Larry Fitzgerald, LaSean McCoy and Darrellle Revis) as well as Syracuse and Notre Dame will be moving to the ACC next year.
A once powerful and feared basketball conference is losing all its members, and is trying to rebuild without adding major teams. The Big East plans to add Boise State, Memphis, UCF, SMU and San Diego State and many of these teams who manly don’t even play on the eastern part of the country.
It just doesn’t look like the Big East is going to be able to stay together. UConn or Louisville will probably be leaving to replace Maryland in the ACC and Boise State and San Diego State may return to the Mountain West. The end could be near for the Big East.