Addazio: Best recruiting class in Temple history


Addazio: Best recruiting class in Temple history

How does Steve Addazio know that Temple is on its way to becoming a big-time football program?

Well, for one, the Temple head coach is now being recognized in the mall, which he says is surprising for a guy whos overweight, bald and not that good-looking.

One more reason was on full display Wednesday when, in front of a room filled with media, fans and boosters, Addazio excitedly revealed a recruiting class he called the best in Temple history.

The 27-member incoming class, headlined by premier prospects Jamie Gilmore, Nate Smith and Bret Niederreither, was ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference by

Thats incredible because its only going to grow from here, Addazio said from the Fox-Gittis Room of the Liacouras Center. When we talk to recruits, its unbelievable. All eyes are focused on Temple right now.

For Addazio, the big haul on National Signing Day was another step in the evolution of the program. In an animated press conference that at times almost felt like a motivational pep talk, the high-energy coach said the teams success last season capped by a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl has made Temple a hot destination for even the most elite high school players.

We got so much national attention from that bowl game, Addazio said. When millions of people watch Temple, how do you put a dollar figure on that? The national buzz about this university is incredible right now.

While Addazio admitted its often hard to predict which players will become the head of the class, he has high hopes for Gilmore, a 5-foot-8 all-purpose running back from Florida who is modeled in the mold of Matt Brown, a rising senior and one of the anchors of the 2012 team.

Gilmore is one of two recruits from Florida, where Addazio previously coached. The rest of the class almost entirely hails from the Northeast, and one the biggest prospects Smith hails from right here in Philadelphia.

A 6-foot-1 defensive back out of Archbishop Wood, Smith is considered a BCS-caliber player and, according to Addazio, is a tremendous deal for us. Both he and Niederreither, a 6-foot-3 defensive lineman out of Red Land High, originally committed to West Virginia before changing their mind and signing with Temple.

We are a big-time Division I football program in the Northeast, so were gonna go compete with the big guys, Addazio said. As we grow, well go toe-to-toe with them more.

One of the most exciting incoming players announced Wednesday wasnt a high school player but a transfer former Penn State QB Kevin Newsome. Addazio called the QB, who will have two remaining years of eligibility, a big, strong, fast guy who has great character and someone that fits well into the Temple offense.

But the Owls coach also noted that Chris Coyer, who led Temples end-of-the-year resurgence last season, is the No. 1 quarterback heading into training camp until proven otherwise.

No one should ever be complacent, Addazio said. You get the opportunity to be a starter, you better fight like crazy to keep that position. The more competition you have, the better football team you have. If someones afraid of competition, move on.

While the recruiting class has some big names on it, Addazio also has a lot of faith in those players who may not be ranked as highly. The head coach noted that when he goes out on the recruiting trail, he looks for integrity, toughness and passion, and sometimes things like that can't be measured by a ranking system.

You cant be seduced by talent alone, Addazio said. Give me that kid whos an overachiever, the captain of the team, the guy when you walk into the high school everyone cant stop talking about what kind of person he is.

Temple, after all, has done well with those kind of players in the past. Addazio said that some of the key members of last years bowl-winning squad Stephen Johnson, Tahir Whitehead and Brown, to name a few werent recruited by anyone. Even TU alumnus Jaiquawn Jarrett, whos now on the Eagles, was hardly looked at coming out of high school.

I dont think Rivals has a heart-meter, Addazio said. For some reason, they didnt think Jaiquawn could make it but now hes a starter for the Eagles. Temple gave him his platform and his chance.

Following the press conference, Addazio brushed off rumors that linked him to the open job at Rutgers, saying how well he fits at Temple Im like a round peg in a round hole, he said and that he has a smile on his face when he drives into campus.

He also said those rumors didnt effect the recruiting process or the strides the Temple program continues to make under his guidance.

Adding BCS-level kids is just another layer, Addazio said. Its just gonna keep building and building.

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Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

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Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

WACO, Texas -- Baylor University's board of regents said Thursday that it will fire football coach Art Briles and re-assign university President Kenneth Starr amid questions over the school's handling of sexual assault complaints against players.

The nation's largest Baptist university said in a statement Thursday that it had suspended Briles "with intent to terminate." Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor.

The university also placed athletic director Ian McCaw on probation.

Baylor asked a law firm last year to conduct a review of its handling of sexual assault cases following allegations that the football program mishandled several cases of players attacking women.

The university's statement said the review revealed "a fundamental failure."

Baylor has faced increasing criticism in recent months for its handling of reports of rape and other violent incidents involving football players and students. One victim has sued the university, saying it was deliberately indifferent to her allegations against a former player who was eventually convicted of sexually assaulting her.

Starr ordered an investigation last year but has been mostly silent amid mounting criticism over the school's handling of the complaints, which erupted under his leadership. He took over as the university's president in 2010, about a decade after the former prosecutor investigated former President Clinton's sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewisnky.

The football team, whose players were at the center of the upheaval, enjoyed unprecedented success under Briles' tenure, including two Big 12 championships in the last three years. That success brought a financial windfall, and in 2014, Baylor opened a new, $250-million on-campus football stadium. But Briles' program has also been criticized for recruiting or accepting transfer players without regard to the harm they might cause fellow students.

Starr rode the waves of the program's success, and often ran on the football field with Baylor students in pregame ceremonies. But as investigations began into the school's handling of sexual assault allegations against players, Starr provided only brief comments, even as criticism of the school mounted.

In a February statement issued by university, Starr said "our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence." And at a prayer breakfast last month, Starr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I am in favor of transparency. Stand up, take your medicine if you made a mistake."

Baylor's Board of Regents was recently briefed by a law firm hired to investigate how the school responded to assault incidents, and the school on Thursday released a summary of its findings. Starr initiated the review in 2015, after former football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a female soccer player.

Ukwuachu, who was convicted in 2015, transferred to Baylor after he was dismissed from Boise State. Ukwuachu's former girlfriend testified during his rape trial in Texas that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State.

Ukwuachu's former coach, Chris Peterson, now the coach at Washington, said he "thoroughly apprised" Briles about the circumstances of Ukuwachu's dismissal. Briles disputed that account, saying he talked with Peterson and there was no mention of the incident.

The school is also facing a federal lawsuit from a former student claiming the school was "deliberately indifferent" to rape allegations levied at a former football player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of sexually assaulting the woman.

The uproar following Ukwuachu's conviction caused Baylor to initiate the review by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, and to announce a $5 million effort to improve efforts on how it responds to sexual assault, including adding another investigator and more staff.

But the Ukwuachu case was just the start of months of revelations of football players being involved in violent incidents with little or no repercussions. At least seven other woman have publicly come forward to say the school ignored their sexual assault allegations.

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova


Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

Josh Hart said the decision wasn’t easy.

But he’s happy with it.

After withdrawing his name from the NBA draft to return to school (see story), Hart is excited to focus on Villanova, graduation and then the NBA dream.

“I love the school, I love the teachers, the student body, the support, my teammates that we have coming back,” the 6-foot-5 guard said Wednesday on Comcast SportsNet’s Philly Sports Talk. “So it was a tough one and I just thought at the end of the day, I think going back for my senior year would be in the best interest of my parents and myself.”

As a junior, Hart helped Villanova win its second national championship in program history by leading the Wildcats in scoring with 15.5 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Hart received plenty of feedback from NBA teams. He said shooting and ball handling are what he hopes to improve.

As far as his draft stock …

“There were teams interested maybe in the first [round], and then there were teams that said they would take me in the second,” Hart said. “But there’s a whole month before the draft, a lot of teams didn’t know exactly what they were doing with their picks — whether they were trying to trade up for a pick, trying to trade down, trying to trade a pick for a player. Several teams said that they would take me.”

For more from Hart on the draft and Villanova, watch the video above.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.