A source close to KSU Athletic Director Vaughn Williams told Around Town on Monday that the coach has been chosen and will be unveiled at a splashy press conference.
There are two hold-ups at the moment, both comparatively minor. The first is that KSU is about to go on break, which would make for an empty backdrop for any press conference.
“We need to have lots of students there,” the source said.
The other is that the coach “has to travel” some distance to get here, the source said.
The Georgia Board of Regents gave the final OK last month for KSU to field a football team, a longheld dream of President Dr. Dan Papp. Play is expected to begin in fall 2015. Adding to the momentum was the announcement that Fifth Third Bank has signed a 10-year, $5 million agreement with KSU for stadium naming rights and sponsorship of the athletic department.
FORMER University of Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley had been the subject of much speculation as the possible inaugural KSU coach thanks to the fact that his father, retired legendary University of Georgia Coach Vince Dooley, is chairman of the KSU football exploratory committee.
But the younger Dooley last month was hired as receivers coach by The Dallas Cowboys, which should probably serve to take his name out of the KSU mix.
It’s believed that Papp and Williams are hoping to hire a “name” coach, just as Georgia State University did when it hired former Georgia Tech/Alabama head Coach Bill Curry to create its program.
SO WHO is the new coach? AT’s source wouldn’t say. But a recent column by MDJ Sports Editor John Bednarowski listed some likely possibilities.
n San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach Jim Leavitt, who twice turned down the Alabma job, was the first-ever coach of the South Florida program but was fired in 2009 for allegedly grabbing a player by the throat and striking him twice. He afterward settled a wrongful termination suit for $2 million.
n Former UGA and Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. But his sole year as head coach at Georgia Southern turned out to be the worst year in the school’s history (3-8). He spent 2012 as an assistant at Auburn and was fired with the rest of the coaching staff. He last month was hired on as linebackers coach with the NFL’s New York Jets.
n Another possibility — though highly remote — was former Ohio State Coach Jim Tressell, who supposedly grew up in the same neighborhood as Papp and is now VP of strategic engagement at the University of Akron. Unfortunately, he’s also serving a five-year “show-cause” penalty from the NCAA, according to Bednarowski, in connection with lying to try to keep ineligible players on the field during Ohio State’s cover-up of players trading autographs and memorabilia for tattoos.
n According to Bednarowski, one of the strongest candidates is actually a dark horse, Georgia Tech defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum.
Wrote Bednarowski, “McCollum knows every back road in Georgia from recruiting for the Yellow Jackets, and he knows the ones in Cobb County even better after playing his high school football at Marietta, where he is part of the school’s athletic hall of fame. His son, Drew, will graduate this spring from Marietta and will likely become the fourth-generation McCollum to compete in college. What better place could he do that than for his father at KSU?”
n And here’s an even darker horse to throw in the mix: Giff Smith.
Smith, a Mableton native and Pebblebrook grad, played defensive end for Georgia Southern’s three national championship teams, spent three years as associate head coach at Tulane, was defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for Georgia Tech from 2004-09 under Chan Gailey and then defensive line coach from 2010-12 for the Buffalo Bills of the NFL, also under Gailey.
FALLOUT CONTINUES from last Tuesday’s Cobb Commission vote against the proposed IMAGE ordinance, which would have ensured that those doing business with the county government were not using the labor of illegal aliens.
Phil Kent, a panelist on “The Georgia Gang” — the state’s longest-running public affairs TV show, which airs Sunday mornings on WAGA — zeroed in on Sunday on the three anti-IMAGE commissioners in the show’s roundup of “Winners & Losers” that concludes each week’s show.
“My losers this week are Cobb County Commissioners Helen Goreham, Tim Lee and Lisa Cupid,” Kent said. “They voted against adopting the IMAGE measure that would have assisted verification of legal workers with contractors doing business with the county. … So that’s why I make those three commissioners the losers.”
Meanwhile, someone has targeted Goreham, who was perceived as the swing vote on the measure, for special attention by creating Facebook page titled “Exposing Helen Goreham.” Created on Friday, it already had 50 “Likes” as of 5 p.m. Monday.
Its most unusual feature thus far? Its “cover photo” — a close-up of a rhinoceros, horn at the ready. “Gore-’em, anyone?”
COBB STATE COURT CLERK-in-waiting Angie Davis has selected Robin Bishop to be her chief deputy. Current Chief Deputy Davis will succeed longtime Clerk Diane Webb upon Webb’s retirement in late June. At that time Bishop will become chief deputy and, by law, will run as a team with Davis in the 2014 elections.
Davis has been chief deputy since 1999 and was previously administrator of Cobb Magistrate Court. She has a Master of Public Administration degree from KSU and is a founding member of 10 Women of Hope, a local nonprofit that assists single mothers experiencing a financial emergency. She and her husband, Shawn, live in west Cobb with their two daughters.
Bishop worked for six years in Cobb Superior Court, where she helped move the court to full electronic automation as judicial program coordinator, according to Davis. The former Cobb Law Library director and director of Keep Cobb Beautiful, Bishop holds a Master of Public Administration degree from KSU and currently runs her own small grant-writing business, endgame consulting. She also is a past recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Women of Achievement Award.
She lives in Acworth with her husband, Allan, and two daughters.
GEORGIA Attorney General Sam Olens is strongly backing the Alabama case that would get that state and eight others out from under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the section that requires all political jurisdictions in those states to get preclearance from the U.S. Justice Department for all elections.
“Section 5 relates to nine states in full –— and we’re guilty before proven innocent. And that’s totally inappropriate,” Olens said.
Oral arguments in the case in question were heard last week by the U.S. Supreme Court.
PEOPLE: Gov. Nathan Deal is slated to speak at the April 25 meeting of the Marietta Kiwanis Club. … Lawyer Justin O’Dell of Marietta has been named to Super Lawyers magazine’s Georgia Rising Stars list as one of the top up-and-coming attorneys in Georgia. ...
A TIP OF THE MOUNTAINEER’S HAT to Cobb attorney Lance Cooper of Marietta, who recently scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa with his 17-year-old son, Asa, to raise money for Orphan Aid Liberia. Their goal was to raise $100,000. Lance is the son of retired Cobb Chamber of Commerce President Bill Cooper. … Coincidentally, some other Cobb residents were part of another group that was scaling Kilimanjaro at the same time, although by a different route. That group included attorney Bert Reeves, and friends Jeff Darnell and Mark Whitesides.
AROUND TOWN will soon have a new look. Stay tuned! ... Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley was all smiles Monday morning as she presided over Drug Court. Not only was it her 60th birthday, she also was the recipient of a chorus of “Happy Birthday!” from those on hand.
“And they did a pretty good job, pretty much on key,” the judge told Around Town.