UK wants new coach by Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky wants a new football coach in place by Christmas to replace Guy Morriss, who is leaving for Baylor.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart spoke to the school's Athletics Association board of directors Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Morriss returned from Waco, Texas, and resigned.

Barnhart said he has a long list of possible replacements, but would not identify anyone. He said he would prefer someone with head coaching experience.

"The Kentucky job is a great job in a great conference," Barnhart said. "There's a good foundation here. There is interest, there are people calling, so that's encouraging."

The 51-year-old Morriss returned to Lexington on Monday night. He met with the Wildcats on Tuesday but did not speak with reporters.

Morriss was awaiting his introduction as Baylor's coach at a news conference Wednesday in Waco. Kentucky spokesman Tony Neely said Morriss wanted to make his first public comments about the move there.

"The future looked really bright," kick returner Derek Abney said after Tuesday's 45-minute meeting. "I don't want to say we have a dimmer future now, but it's not as solid."

Quarterback Jared Lorenzen said he understood Morriss' decision.

"It hurts us a lot, but we're going to go on," Lorenzen said. "A couple of guys got a little emotional. It was tough, but we're happy for him."

Willingham is magazine's Sportsman of the Year

NEW YORK -- Just about a year ago, Notre Dame football was in turmoil, the program shaken by a 5-6 season and embarrassed by hiring a coach who had embellished his resume.

And then came Tyrone Willingham to smooth the troubled waters.

Willingham took the Irish to eight straight victories in a turnaround 10-2 season, the first year since 1993 that Notre Dame has won that many games. He erased the bad taste created by the hiring of George O'Leary and brought back some of the swagger that had been missing at South Bend.

His accomplishments earned him the Sporting News Sportsman of the Year Award, presented Tuesday.

Franck, Spani members inducted into Hall

NEW YORK -- George "Sonny" Franck never thought he'd live to see this day.

The former All-America tailback at Minnesota from 1938-40 didn't know whether he would ever make the College Football Hall of Fame -- despite his accomplishments with the Golden Gophers.

"I thought maybe I'd die first," Franck said.

He was wrong.

The 84-year-old Franck is one of 15 former greats inducted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The other players are Auburn split end Terry Beasley, Princeton running back Cosmo Iacavazzi, Arizona State receiver John Jefferson, Southern California safety Ronnie Lott, Pittsburgh quarterback Dan Marino, Navy tailback Napoleon McCallum, Michigan offensive guard Reggie McKenzie, Georgia Tech defensive back Randy Rhino, Texas offensive tackle Jerry Sisemore, Kansas State linebacker Gary Spani, Tennessee defensive tackle Reggie White and Missouri tight end Kellen Winslow.

Elsewhere

  • FLORIDA:Quarterback Rex Grossman said Tuesday he remains undecided whether he will skip his senior season and make himself available for theNFLdraft.

  • NEBRASKA:Coach Frank Solich can count on is the support of the team's largest booster club. In a statement released Tuesday by the Touchdown Club of Nebraska's executive committee, the 3,500-member organization pledged "unqualified support" for Solich despite the team's 7-6 season, its worst since 1961.

    -- From wire reports

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