News, Notes & Quotes - March 20

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday March 20, 2017

- 7 schools open spring practice today: Akron, East Carolina, Georgia State, UMass, Navy, Temple and UCF.

Temple opens the Geoff Collins era, while Georgia State begins its first spring under Shawn Elliott. Navy is coming off a division title, and UCF is coming off a bowl season in Scott Frost’s first year.

April 14 will be the spring game date for Navy, April 15 for Georgia State, April 20 for UMass, and April 22 for Akron, ECU, Temple and UCF.

Keep track of all spring dates here.

- The Harbaugh brothers were not happy with brother-in-law Tom Crean’s dismissal as Indiana basketball coach, and they pointed at administration.

Both spoke with Sports Illustrated and said Crean didn’t get enough support, especially winning two of the last four Big Ten titles, though missing the NCAA Tournament this year. John Harbaugh said the dismissal will be the best day of Crean’s career, and Jim Harbaugh compared it to his departure from the 49ers.

“Much like my situation in San Francisco, the people that are doing the micromanaging … when it comes to building a ball team, what they know could not blow up a small balloon,” Jim said. “In my case, an owner and a general manager. In his case, an administration. They are so similar in that way. And he still wins two Big Ten championships outright.”

Many Indiana fans called for change, and AD Fred Glass made clear he knows their expectations. John Harbaugh said the school needed to support Crean more.

“You don’t blame the fan base. It’s the leadership,” John said. “Do they come out, united? It’s too hard. You’ve gotta have everybody pulling the oars together. I know these are clichés, but that’s the way it works. Indiana has never figured it out. Tom is strong. He wasn’t beat down or anything. But after a while, when it’s just you and your coaches every day at a university like that, you just … what can you do? Where can you turn?”

- Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has invited out-of-work head coaches to consult on his staff for the last few years.

Not quite the same as Nick Saban hiring head coaches as analysts, but offering a hand.

“I just have a soft spot for coaches that lose their jobs or whatever might have happened,” Few told USA Today. “By and large, 90 percent of these guys, 95 percent of them are great guys, great people, and there’s a void that they have when coaching is taken away. And if they don’t find anything, if we can fill it in some way, get them feeling good and prop them back up on their feet, get some confidence from just being associated with Gonzaga, I think it’s great. And selfishly, I want to pick their brain. I know in all three instances they’ve helped our program immensely.”

Few added, “I don’t go looking for (guys to bring in). I just tell them, 'if you cant get anything, if you don’t have anything, there’s a safety net here. Just park it here for awhile on the road of life and hang out. I can’t guarantee you anything and guys I have are going to do their roles, but you’re welcome to do that and we’ll treat you fairly, and with respect.'”

- Inspired by Jim Harbaugh, Rocky Long is taking his team to Italy… Little Italy, actually. For real.

On Tuesday, the Aztecs will visit the Little Italy neighborhood in San Diego, which is more than 100 years old. They will attend an event at a church, visit an elementary school, going on a walking tour and more. Long said he hopes they learn about the history of the area and local immigrants. 

"I looked for the next best thing that I might be able to do that would coincide with their idea," he said. "We’re lucky enough in San Diego that we’re a multi-cultural community that has specific things unique to us that are really cool. And one of them is Little Italy.”

It’s an opportunity to understand more about the local community. What about future trips? Long said that since Michigan is looking at South Africa in the future, he’ll take the team to a safari park next year.

- Check out North Carolina’s locker room celebration after beating Arkansas to get to the Sweet 16.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to