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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things getting hot for the Heels: Statement from AD Dick Baddour

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:35 PM

The Tar Heels take the field in a 2008 game.
  • File photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • The Tar Heels take the field in a 2008 game.
The sky is not Carolina blue today.

Yahoo! reported last night that former associate head coach John Blake had far more extensive and recent contacts with agent Gary Wichard than had been previously disclosed, including a series of financial transactions dating back to 2007.

This afternoon, the News & Observer's Caulton Tudor just published a call for the dismissal of head coach Butch Davis.

And, this just in from UNC's sports information office, a statement from UNC athletic director Dick Baddour in which he responds to the Yahoo! story:

We became aware of some of the information through the NCAA investigation when John Blake was interviewed on Aug. 31. But financial transactions in and of themselves don’t establish a violation, and at that time we did not have enough information to dismiss him with cause.

Nevertheless, we weren’t comfortable with what we learned. That, combined with the distraction that Coach Blake was becoming to the football program, led us to the conclusion that it was not in our best interest for him to continue to be part of our program. He offered to resign, and we agreed to terms on Sept. 5.

In other news, UNC, which won its first game of the season on Saturday, beating Rutgers 17-13, will host the ambitious East Carolina Pirates (2-1) this Saturday. Kick-off will be at 3:30 p.m.

Triangle Offense, for one, will be there.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cutcliffe says he isn't losing hope as Blue Devils prepare to visit Maryland

Posted by on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 7:27 PM

BROOKS FOOTBALL BUILDING/DURHAM David Cutcliffe acknowledges his Duke football program is going through some growing pains right now, but says there’s no way he’s going to lose faith.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe
  • Photo courtesy Duke athletics
  • Duke coach David Cutcliffe
The Blue Devils are coming off a very tough home-field loss to underdog Army three days ago, a week after taking a serious whipping from visiting top-ranked Alabama the week before.

So when Duke (1-3, 0-1 ACC) heads to Maryland (3-1) for the Terps’ conference opener this week, the Blue Devils will be on a three-game losing streak.

The Blue Devils have lost seven straight games to Division I-FBS opposition, and will be going against a Maryland team looking for revenge after Duke won 17-13 last season in Durham.

“My hat’s off to Maryland,” Coach Cutcliffe said at his weekly press luncheon. “They had a tough year a year ago (but) they’ve worked themselves right out of it. They’re a 3-1 football team. They have a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball, and one of the better linebackers (Alex Wujciak) in the country.

“Last week a young quarterback (Danny O’Brien) played extremely well for them and he’s got two great backs behind him and a host of receivers that can make plays and cause damage. We will have to by far and away play our best football this year to be able to be in the game and play well enough to win this football game.”

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Wilson, Irving, Carter among ACC honorees

Posted by on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Three Triangle-area players are among the ACC football players of the week announced today by the conference.

N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson
  • Photo courtesy NCSU athletics
  • N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson
N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson is the offensive back of the week, Wolfpack linebacker Nate Irving the defensive lineman of the week and UNC linebacker Bruce Carter defensive back of the week.

Wilson set records in the now No. 23 Wolfpack’s impressive win at Georgia Tech. The junior completed 28 of 41 passes for a career best 368 yards and three touchdowns, seeing his passes caught by 10 different receivers. The junior did throw one interception in the contest, ending his NCAA record streak of 379 passes without an interception.

Irving, who on Sunday was named national defensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Foundation, had 16 tackles including nine solos, 4 1/2 tackles-for-loss and a pair of sacks.

Carter had seven tackles, returned an interception 55 yards and added his sixth career blocked punt in the Tar Heels’ win at Rutgers.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Conference-leading (for the time being) Carolina RailHawks top Puerto Rico 2-1

Posted by on Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM

RailHawks Tom Heinemann watches his game-winning goal sail past Islanders goalkeeper Bill Gaudette
  • Carolina RailHawks
  • RailHawks' Tom Heinemann watches his game-winning goal sail past Islanders' goalkeeper Bill Gaudette
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY - Since the Carolina RailHawks’ last home league game - a Sept. 11 nil-nil draw with the Portland Timbers - the RailHawks have played two road matches and, in the process, clinched a berth in the upcoming USSF D2 playoffs. Prior to last night, it appeared the RailHawks would likely play out side during their last two regular season home games in advance of the playoffs, perhaps while also hoping to fine-tune a few trouble spots, heal a few nagging injuries and continue integrating a number of recent roster additions.

That was before the Vancouver Whitecaps, leaders of the USSF D2’S NASL Conference, lost to the Montreal Impact Friday night. In concert with Carolina’s fine late-season run, Vancouver’s once formidable conference lead stood at a mere three points entering the RailHawks’ fourth match this season against the Puerto Rico Islanders. After defeating the Islanders twice in Puerto Rico earlier this year, the RailHawks dropped a heartbreaker to them in Cary on Aug. 28, a game that saw Carolina allow three goals for the second time in three matches.

What a difference a month makes. By the time a lively crowd of 2,879—the largest attendance for a league game at WakeMed Park this season—had filed out and the haze left by detonated smoke bombs had floated up and away from the stadium surface, the Carolina RailHawks (12-9-8, 44 pts.) had registered a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders (9-11-9, 36 pts.). The win puts Carolina into a first-place tie in the NASL Conference. Actually, for at least the next week, Carolina will hold the conference lead based on a second level tiebreaker—Carolina and Vancouver are also tied in goal differential (+10), but Carolina currently holds a 41—30 advantage in total goals scored.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

NCCU triumphs against rival N.C. A&T in jam-packed “Classic”

Posted by on Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 10:43 PM

O'KELLY-RIDDICK STADIUM/DURHAM The field rages with excitement as the fierce Aggie-Eagle rivalry meets for the 82nd time in gridiron history. N.C. Central longs for revenge after the teams' last meeting in October of last year where North Carolina A&T took the game 23-17. An overfilled and record-breaking stadium of over 15,173 fans creates an exciting stage for the two teams this thick and humid September night.

NCCU quarterback Michael Johnson
  • courtesy NCCU Athletics
  • NCCU quarterback Michael Johnson
The Eagles get revenge, improving to 2-2 with a 27-16 win.

The Aggies kick off the game and Central trudges along down the field only to pick up 20 yards of penalties. At fourth down, NCCU's Frankie Cardelle goes for the 45-yard field goal only to have it blocked. Central realizes now that there is some serious competition tonight. A&T moves down the field with enthusiasm and energy as the Eagles struggle to slow them. As the ball moves towards Central's end zone, the Aggies' drive loses steam and Sullivan Shidler misses a 33-yard field goal. With 10:17 still left in the first quarter, the game is scoreless.

The Eagles make less progress this time as they start at their own 21 yard line. Getting nowhere, Cardelle punts it down to the Aggies' 40 yard line. The Aggies fumble and Central recovers. With a cheering crowd of Eagle fans delighted at A&T's mistake, the NCCU offense starts at its own 34 yard line. With a myriad of 1st downs, running back Tim Shankle drives through multiple Aggie players for a touchdown. The score turns 7-0 Central with a kick from Cardelle at 4:08 left in the 1st quarter.

The fierce rivalry is easily seen on the field this humid fall night. Every action and every tackle seems to hit a little harder with nervous tension. Both teams truly want this win tonight and are going to do whatever they can to achieve it.

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Five turnovers turn out to be fatal for Duke in home loss to Army

Posted by on Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Armys Brian Cobbs (32), shown here in the arms of Duke linebacker Abraham Kromah, scored two touchdowns in the first half.
  • Photo by Al Drago
  • Army's Brian Cobbs (32), shown here in the arms of Duke linebacker Abraham Kromah, scored two touchdowns in the first half.

WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke will try to bounce back from its big loss to No. 1 Alabama a week ago, and the opposition today gives David Cutcliffe’s club a good chance to win.

In town on a very hot day are the Black Knights of Army, who come in with a 2-1 mark but will probably be playing their best opponent so far this season today.

Game-time temperature is 93 with plenty of sunshine, and game operations is already ready with free ice water and Gatorade and even air conditioning stations to keep fans from having serious heat problems.

Players on both sides will just have to deal with it between the lines, so figuring out which team is physically tougher will probably go a long way toward determining the winner.

It’s Military Appreciation Day with helicopters and flyovers, and unlike the Crimson Tide last week the West Pointers have brought a small marching band along with about 100 other cadets as spectators. The Cadets always wear uniform patches, and for today’s game they salute the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg.

Duke sophomore quarterback Sean Renfree had his first big success as a collegian at West Point last season, coming off the bench for a banged-up Thaddeus Lewis to complete a 35-19 victory that included some very big plays from the Blue Devils’ defense.

Things don’t go well for the Blue Devils from the outset as Army forces five turnovers to none of its own in a 35-21 win.

West Point cadets celebrate a touchdown during the first half.
  • Photo by Al Drago
  • West Point cadets celebrate a touchdown during the first half.

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Wilson puts on another show for Wolfpack while Tar Heels get their "must" win

Posted by on Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM

This Wolfpack football team just may be for real.

N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson
  • Photo courtesy NCSU athletics
  • N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson had a career day, passing for three touchdowns and running for another as N.C. State improved to 4-0 by winning 45-28 at Georgia Tech in the Wolfpack’s ACC opener.

At 4-0, State is off to its best start since going 9-0 to begin the 2002 season.

Meanwhile UNC (1-2) got a non-conference road win it absolutely had to have, beating Rutgers 17-13.

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McCallie inks Duke women's basketball contract into 2017

Posted by on Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 1:12 AM

Joanne P. McCallie has definitely decided to stick around a while as Duke women’s basketball coach.

Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie
  • Photo courtesy Duke athletics
  • Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie
Duke athletic director Kevin White announced on Friday that McCallie’s contract has been extended for three years, through the 2016-17 season.

“Joanne has won an ACC Championship and her teams have performed at a consistently high level,” White said in a statement issued by the school. “Given the tremendous recruiting success Joanne and her staff have enjoyed, the excitement for Duke women’s basketball is at an all-time high. Joanne is one of the bright stars at the university, and under her outstanding leadership, Duke is positioned to be one of the elite programs in the country.”

In three seasons at Duke, McCallie has guided the Blue Devils to an 82-22 overall record and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight finish in 2009-10. Including her previous stints at Michigan State and Maine, McCallie has directed teams to championships in four conferences and been named coach of the year in all four.

“Duke is an incredible place and this is an amazing time to be in Durham,” said McCallie (398-170 in her career.) “To receive that extension, to give us the opportunity to continue to pursue championships here at the highest level and to coach an amazing group of women means so much to all of us. We are excited to move forward and do a whole lot more.”

Duke, which went 30-6 last season, will have its first public appearance this season in the Blue-White game on Oct. 24 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Wolfpack looks to go to 4-0 on Saturday while Blue Devils, Tar Heels face must-win games

Posted by on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 2:34 AM

Duke will have to give better protection to quarterback Sean Renfree (19) than he got against Alabama when Army comes to Durham.
  • File photo by Al Drago
  • Duke will have to give better protection to quarterback Sean Renfree (19) than he got against Alabama when Army comes to Durham.
It’s Week 4 of the college football season, and already two of the three local ACC teams are facing must-win situations.

Duke (1-2) is coming off one of its most lopsided losses in school history in Saturday’s 49-point loss to No. 1 Alabama, and needs to rebound when Army (2-1) visits Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday to avoid getting off the track for a winning season.

Ditto for UNC (0-2), which has played well against two outstanding early-season opponents and needs a road victory over Rutgers (2-0) to avoid starting the campaign in a deep, deep hole.

N.C. State (3-0) doesn’t have to win at Georgia Tech (2-1) to have a shot at a winning season and a bowl bid, but a victory in Atlanta on Saturday would almost certainly get the Wolfpack into the Top 25 and allow the fans in red and white to start dreaming pretty big.

State will play first on Saturday, followed by Duke’s home game and then the Tar Heels’ road challenge.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Suspension lengths set for UNC's Burney, Williams

Posted by on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 11:54 PM

The NCAA has passed down its judgment on UNC defensive backs Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams, who will face multi-game suspensions and make restitution to charity before being able to play again.

UNC athletic director Dick Baddour
  • Photo courtesy UNC athletics
  • UNC athletic director Dick Baddour
The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff said Burney must make a payment of $575.19 to a charity of his choice and miss four more games in addition to the two he has already sat out. Williams must donate $450.67 and sit out two more games.

The monetary sums are calculated as partial repayments for in-kind benefits the players had received, in Burney’s case an agent and in Williams’ a former Tar Heel player.

UNC athletic director Dick Baddour said the university will appeal the length of the suspensions.

“We plan to appeal the length of the suspensions,” Baddour said in a statement released by the school. “While I respect the NCAA process, I believe the penalties to be unduly harsh given the individual circumstances in these cases.”

Ten other UNC football players are currently sitting out, still under investigation either for possibly receiving benefits from agents or because of academic irregularities.

The Tar Heels (0-2) will visit Rutgers on Saturday.

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