Virginia cancels football game; shooting suspect due in court

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The University of Virginia canceled its final home football game of the season, the same day a student accused of killing three members of the team and wounding two other students in an on-campus shooting was due in court for his first hearing.

University officials and police have said Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, joined a group of about two dozen others on a field trip from the Charlottesville campus to see a play in the nation’s capital, about 120 miles (195 kilometers) away. When their bus arrived back on campus, authorities have said Jones opened fire, killing Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler, and wounding two others, one of them also a football player.

Jones – who police have said was able to flee the shooting scene, setting off a manhunt and 12-hour campus lockdown – faces three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding and additional gun-related charges.

The violence at the state’s flagship public university has set off days of mourning among students and faculty, the broader Charlottesville community and other supporters. Classes resumed, though the school announced it was canceling the home game against Coastal Carolina.

No decision has been made yet about whether UVA will participate in its final game of the season on Nov. 26 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the university said in a news release.

Jones was expected to appear by video link from a local jail, according to the prosecutor handling the case, Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley.

Online records do not list an attorney for Jones. If he is financially eligible for court-appointed counsel, an attorney will be appointed, Hingeley wrote in an email, adding there also could be a preliminary bail review at the hearing.

Jones has been in custody since he was arrested in suburban Richmond.

University President Jim Ryan said that authorities did not have a “full understanding” of the motive behind the shooting. Court documents filed so far in the matter have offered no additional insight.

Jones was a member of the football team during the 2018 season, a one-semester walk-on, according to athletics director Carla Williams.

In interviews, his father has expressed confusion and astonishment and apologized to the victims’ families.

Of the two students who were hospitalized, one was discharged from the medical center, according to Eric Swensen, a health system spokesperson.

Family members of Mike Hollins, a running back on the team, have said he underwent a second surgery.

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.”