Tennessee State University plays Division 1-AA college football in the Ohio Valley Conference. Normally, a coaching hire at a school like Tennessee State involves an announcement and a press conference that draws virtually no attention outside the campus area. Not so with the most recent one.
Tennessee State hired former Ohio State star and Tennessee Titans’ star running back, Eddie George, to be their next head football coach. This is newsworthy for two reasons:
- Eddie George brings a ton of star-power to an otherwise ordinary football program.
- Eddie George has never held a coaching position – – let alone a head coaching position – – at any level of football.
George played in the NFL for 9 seasons; his first year was with the Houston Oilers in that team’s final season in that city; then he spent 7 years with the Titans in Nashville before finishing his career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004. During his time with the Titans, he made the Pro Bowl four times and was named first team All Pro once. He has some “football gravitas” in Nashville – – which may serve him well because Tennessee State University is also in Nashville. It would certainly appear as if he should be able to get some recruiting business done in the immediate environs of Nashville.
It would appear that George quickly recognized that he could use some coaching of his own as he took this position because he made two rapid hires:
- He hired his former Titans’ head coach, Jeff Fisher, to be a “Special Advisor” to him and to the program. Fisher was an NFL head coach for all or part of 22 seasons; he took the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance following the 1999 season.
- He hired former Cleveland Browns’ head coach and Cincy Bengals’ Offensive Coordinator, Hue Jackson, as the Offensive Coordinator for the Tennessee State team.
Eddie George may never have structured a program and coordinated sets of practices in the past, but he can get advice and counsel on such matters at the ready. I mentioned above that Eddie George’s name and reputation should give him recruiting entrée in the area. Add to that situation the presence of two former NFL head coaches on the staff and Tennessee State could become a football destination for players in that part of the country.
Tennessee State does not have the reputation as a “football factory” but it has produced 5 NFL players of some note:
- Richard Dent
- Joe Gilliam
- Claude Humphrey
- Ed “Too Tall” Jones
- Dominick Rodgers-Cromartie.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to begin in about 100 days – – July 23, 2021 to be exact. Nevertheless, it is still not certain that the game will take place at all. Japan’s Secretary General, Toshihiro Nikai said earlier this week:
“If it seems impossible to go on with the games, they must be definitely canceled. If there is a surge in infections because of the Olympics, there will be no meaning to having the Olympics.”
He made it clear that he was not looking forward to any sort of “cancellation” and that it would be important for Japan to host the games as had been the plan for the last 10 years or so, but the pragmatic considerations of “pandemic factors” made it prudent to consider canceling the Games.
The Games might be held without fans in attendance; the position of the Japanese government is to put on “safe and secure” Olympic Games and in 2021, that could well mean limiting the number of foreigners coming to Japan to see the Games and/or limiting the number of fans who do come to be allowed in the various venues. Just last week, the Japanese Economy Minister announced business restrictions in Okinawa and Kyoto due to coronavirus case rises in those areas. In addition, the areas of Miyagi, Hyogo and Osaka were just put under “targeted lockdown”. Osaka has seen a sharp rise in infections recently hitting new highs.
Japan’s case numbers and death totals are far lower than those here in the States, but in recent weeks the numbers have been trending in the wrong direction in many parts of Japan and Tokyo is another area that is on the rise. The situation in Tokyo is sufficiently problematic that the Tokyo Governor has asked non-residents of Tokyo not to come and visit.
This decision will go down to the wire. I feel sorry for the athletes who have been training for years to get to this point in their careers and who now must continue their training in anticipation of a set of Games that may be canceled at the 11th hour and 59th minute.
Finally, let me close today with an entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm
“Hard Copy: A printout for your records of a document created on a computer, which pretty much nails the coffin shut on how those freaking things were supposed to cut down on using paper.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..