WAC set to add two new football schools

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We will now take a break from our regularly scheduled Cam Newton/Colorado coaching search watch to bring you some non-Big East expansion news.

Hip hip hooray?!?

After months of speculation brought about by Nevada’s and Fresno State’s (eventual) move to the Mountain West Conference, it appears the WAC is set to add two football schools to replace the departing members.  According to multiple reports, the WAC Will Likely announce Thursday they are adding the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas State to push the number of football-only schools to eight.  Both institutions would begin conference play in the fall of 2012; Nevada and Fresno State will officially leave for the MWC June 30, 2012.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that an on-campus function has been tentatively scheduled for late Thursday afternoon, shortly after UTSA’s president makes a presentation to the University of Texas System Board of Regents.  The regents would have to approve UTSA’s move from the Southland Conference to the WAC, although that approval seems to be nothing more than a mere formality.

Southland Conference commissioner Thomas Burnett told the Honolulu Advertiser via email that he has spoken to his WAC counterpart Karl Benson and expects “an announcement soon.”

Both schools are currently Div. 1-AA members.  Texas State announced plans in 2008 to make a move to the Div. 1-A level by 2012.  UTSA, on the other hand, has yet to play a game at any level; the Roadrunners are slated to launch their on-field football program in 2011 and will play their home games at the Alamodome.

In addition to the two Texas schools, there’s also a chance that a Div. 1-AA power could be joining the WAC as well, although perhaps a bit further down the road.  Montana has been conducting a feasibility study over the past couple of months, and a schools spokesman told the Advertiser that they “think a decision will be made in the next few weeks” as far as moving up a level in football.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.