SEC to review ways to address fans storming fields

Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala.– The Southeastern Conference announced it will review policies on postgame field and court storming by fans and explore ways schools can make the raucous celebrations safer.

The move comes after Tennessee and LSU were fined last month by the SEC for fans rushing the field after football games.

“When people want to go, they want to go,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told the SEC Network last month. “But we have to re-train people to stay in the stands.”

The conference said it will form a working group of athletic directors, event management directors and campus security personnel from member schools to study the issue and provide recommendations to be presented at SEC meetings next spring.

“Providing consistent and appropriate levels of safety and security remains the common goal of SEC member institutions,” Sankey said Friday. “Our institutions remain current and vigilant in crowd control best practices and continue to work with local law enforcement to develop effective security protocols at SEC venues and we need to continue the adaptation of conference policies to address emerging realities.”

The SEC’s long-standing policy fines schools for fans rushing the playing field or court. Tennessee was fined $100,000 after fans flooded the field at Neyland Stadium and tore down one of the goal posts after the Volunteers beat Alabama.

The fines escalate with each violation. LSU was fined $250,000 for a third offense after its fans rushed the field after the Tigers beat Mississippi last month at Tiger Stadium.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”