Archives for category: Where Are They Now?

Jack Crowe and John L. Smith meet before this year’s Jacksonville State/Arkansas game (Credit: Mark Wagner)

Jack Crowe has been the head coach at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., since 2000, compiling a record of 81-52 with three Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) championships and three trips to the NCAA Football Championship Series (FCS) playoffs. The 65-year-old Crowe was born in Birmingham, Ala., and has deep roots in the SEC. He was the head coach at Arkansas (1990-1992) when the Razorbacks entered the conference with South Carolina in 1992.

Crowe at Arkansas’ first SEC Media Days in 1992

However, Crowe coached only one game for Arkansas as an SEC member, resigning after the Razorbacks dropped their 1992 opener to The Citadel, a I-AA football program. He recorded an overall mark of 9-15 at Arkansas, finishing 8th in the old Southwest Conference (SWC) in 1990 and T-2nd in 1991, losing to Georgia in the Independence Bowl. Arkansas athletic director and former head football coach Frank Broyles was known for feuding with his coaches, and a Crowe and Broyles feud led to Crowe’s resignation.

Joe Kines, Arkansas’ defensive coordinator and another coach with deep ties to the SEC (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia), served out 1992 as Arkansas’ interim head coach, finishing the season at 3-7-1 and 3-4-1 in conference. Kines’ Razorbacks defeated fellow newcomer South Carolina 45-7 in his first game as interim head coach and finished the season by defeating LSU 30-6 in their first meeting since the 1966 Cotton Bowl. Kines stayed on as new head coach Danny Ford’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator in 1993 and 1994.

Crowe had SEC ties long before Arkansas’ entrance in 1992, serving as Auburn’s offensive coordinator from 1982-1985 under head coach Pat Dye. He then, ironically, served under Danny Ford as Clemson’s offensive coordinator from 1986-1988 before leaving for Arkansas in 1989 to serve as offensive coordinator under Arkansas head coach Ken Hatfield.

And in “As the Coaching World Turns,” Hatfield, who won SWC championships in 1988 and 1989, left his alma mater Arkansas also after alleged feuds with Broyles. Hatfield accepted the head coaching position at Clemson without visiting Clemson’s campus, replacing Ford in 1990.

Got all of that? Hatfield replaced Ford, who eventually took over Hatfield’s former position.

Meanwhile, Crowe took the Jacksonville State head coaching job, an FCS (I-AA) position, in 2000 after a stint as Baylor’s offensive coordinator and that’s where he remains today. Two years ago, Crowe experienced the other side of his 1992 defeat to The Citadel as Jacksonville State opened the 2010 season with a 49-48 overtime victory over Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. The coaching world truly comes full circle.

Arkansas, with another interim head coach in John L. Smith, defeated Crowe’s Jacksonville State 49-24 to open the 2012 season before losing to Louisiana-Monroe last week.

James won 22 consecutive games at Washington from 1990-1992.

Don James, known as the Dawgfather of Washington football, turns 80 in December. He led the Huskies for 18 seasons from 1975-1992, compiling a 153-57-2 record. The Huskies won six Pac-8 and Pac-10 conference championships under James and shared the 1991 national championship with Miami (Fla.), James’ alma mater. He won national coach of the year awards in 1977, 1984 and 1991.

James retired under protest of NCAA sanctions against Washington in August 1993. It had been revealed that multiple players had received improper benefits during the 1992 season. The Seattle Times and Los Angeles Times investigation eventually led to charges from the NCAA of lack of institutional control over Washington’s handling of recruiting funds for on-campus visits.

It should be noted that James and his coaching staff weren’t specifically cited as having broken any rules, but the sanctions leveled against the program were significant. In the end, Washington received a 2-year bowl ban and 1-year television ban.

James and Pinkel gather for the 40th anniversary of Kent State’s 1972 MAC Championship team last week. Pinkel, Nick Saban and NFL Hall of Famer Jack Lambert played on the team.

Before James landed in Seattle, he led Kent State from 1971-1974. There, he guided his football program to the 1972 Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship and coached Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Jack Lambert as well as two future SEC head coaches in Alabama’s Nick Saban (defensive back) and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel (tight end). Kent State recently honored that 1972 team with a 40th anniversary celebration of its MAC championship.

Pinkel, who served as James’ offensive coordinator at Washington from 1984-1990, has come up multiple times during Washington’s most recent head coaching vacancies. Washington was interested in the then-Toledo head coach after the 1998 season, but hired then-Colorado head coach Rick Neuheisel instead. Washington fired Neuheisel in 2002, but Pinkel had just accepted the Missouri job in 2001. Interest peaked again for Pinkel and Washington in 2008 before the Huskies hired USC assistant and current head coach Steve Sarkisian.

Mike Archer answers reporters’ questions as N.C. State’s defensive coordinator

Former LSU Head Coach Mike Archer has been Tom O’Brien’s defensive coordinator at N.C. State since O’Brien arrived in Raleigh, N.C., in 2007. The 59-year-old Archer has worked for an impressive list of head coaches including Howard Schnellenberger, Bill Arnsparger, George Welsh, Bill Curry, Bill Cowher, Rich Brooks and O’Brien.

But at 34 years old, Archer was the youngest head football coach in the nation when he took the LSU reigns in 1987 after Arnsparger left to become Florida’s athletic director. Archer was LSU’s defensive coordinator from 1985-1986 and was Arnsparger’s hand-picked successor after the players lobbied for him, getting the job over the likes of Steve Spurrier, whom Arnsparger would later hire at Florida.

The Bayou Bengals played in two Sugar Bowls in Arnsparger’s three years as head coach from 1984-1986, the first Sugar Bowl appearances for LSU since 1968. The pressure was on the new young head coach to continue LSU’s success.

After his playing days at Miami (Fla.), Archer stayed at his alma mater and coached under Howard Schnellenberger, winning the National Championship in 1983. He left for LSU the following year with the 58-year-old Arnsparger, who served as defensive coordinator for Don Shula’s Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins teams for the better part of 20 years.

Archer before the Gator Bowl against 9th-ranked South Carolina

Archer quickly continued LSU’s mid-’80s success with a 10-1-1 season in 1987, losing only to Alabama and tying Ohio State. The 7th-ranked Tigers defeated 9th-ranked South Carolina, which wouldn’t become an SEC member for another five years, in the Gator Bowl 30-13. LSU followed up with an SEC Championship in 1988, a title it shared with Auburn at 6-1 in conference. The Bayou Bengals defeated Auburn 7-6 in the famous “Earthquake Game,” in which the roar of the Baton Rouge crowd registered on a campus seismograph as LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown, but Sugar Bowl representatives chose Auburn as the higher ranked team. LSU finished 8-4 overall, losing to Syracuse 23-10 in the Hall of Fame Bowl (now the Outback Bowl).

Archer was forced out after two losing seasons in 1989-1990, finishing 27-18-1 overall. He hasn’t been a head coach since.

Prior to N.C. State, Archer served his second stint at Kentucky from 2003-2006 as Rich Brooks’ defensive coordinator after his first under Bill Curry from 1993-1995 as assistant head coach. Friday, he’s tasked with tackling Kentucky’s old nemesis Tennessee.