Friday, September 07, 2007

Why not McKissick versus Curtis?

With ESPN and Fox Sports Net showing an increased number of of high school games each year, here's a matchup you'd think they would be interested in:

John Curtis (River Ridge, La.) vs. Summerville (S.C.)

It would pit the nation's all-time winningest coach, Summerville's John McKissick (544 wins in 53 full seasons), against the coach with the second most wins all-time, Curtis' J.T. Curtis (444 wins in 37 full years).

McKissick has led teams to 10 state titles while Curtis' teams have won 21 crowns.

Surely the people who do the legwork to put these games on for ESPN and FSN have tried to make it happen.

Not so, according to John Curtis assistant coach Jeff Curtis, who would very much like to see it.

"Still not sure why someone doesn't approach J.T. about playing Coach McKissick in a game somewhere," Curtis told me in an email this week. "No. 1-ranked coach in wins ever versus No. 2. Seems like a no-brainer to me."

Me too.

Summerville did play its first-ever ESPN game earlier this season against Miami's Booker T. Washington. It was part of a South Carolina vs. Florida doubleheader on August 25.

But Curtis, who is one of two sons of J.T.'s on the coaching staff (there's also three nephews), says ESPN has not contacted the Patriots about a game this year.

Curtis, which is ranked No. 19 in this week's National Prep Poll, will have appearance on FSN on Sept. 22 when the Patriots travel to Longview, Texas.

Curtis on No. 1 St. Xavier

Jeff Curtis says his eyes and ears "perked up" earlier this week when he read my description of why St. X is so tough to beat.

I wrote: The Bombers don't have the most speed of any team in the country -- probably not even in the Top 10 in that category. But there's this thing called "football speed." Few, if any, teams in the country play the game faster as a unit than St. X's defense. Not only do they fly to the football, they play with great confidence and are able to go 100 percent on every play, because they know where they are supposed to be going. They don't overpursue. They don't miss assignments. They don't play out of position.

"The same thing has been said numerous times about us here at Curtis," Jeff said. "That would be an interesting matchup betweed two great coaches."

Sure would. Maybe next year.

Early football recruiting: What's the rush?

I was pleased to be quoted in a piece about the increasing number of early verbal commitments of high school football players written by my old friend Mitch Stephens of

Mitch very accurately detailed the recruiting landscape for a Division I football prospect entering his senior season.

The story revealed that Notre Dame-bound QB Dayne Crist of Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) once received 36 text messages from 21 different colleges in a single day, and CSTV recruiting guru Tom Lemming said some top players might get 30 interview requests a day from recruiting websites.

It's an interesting overview of an environment that has led more than half of this year's consensus Top 100 prospects to make early verbal commitments.

Is that so bad? Well, I think it can be.

College coaches feel pressure to extend scholarship offers to players before the having luxury of evaluating their senior game tape.

Players feel pressure to give their word to attended colleges they may never have even visited yet (official visits cannot take place until the fall).

Fans subscribing to recruiting websites apply pressure of their own by demanding timely updates and quotes from the players who are supposedly on their team's radar screen.

In other words, there's a heck of a lot of pressure to get all the recruiting wrapped up in a tight, neat bow a lot sooner than it really needs to be.

Especially since the bow is so often undone, anyway.

Lemming estimates that half of the early verbal commitments are dust in the wind by the time February's signing day comes around.

The solutions?

Well, for one, the NCAA has banned text messaging of recruits by college coaches. But there's already a lot of momentum to modify that ordinance. There are also restrictions in place related to the timeline when coaches make phone calls to recruits.

A new big idea being proposed is an early signing period for football players in the fall. While this would certainly turn a lot of verbal commitments into binding letters before the players can change their minds, it would do nothing to decrease the pressure of early recruitment.

The upside is, perhaps, it would force the players make sure they know where they want to go before signing a letter of intent.

A little housecleaning
  • Just an alert that I will be away from the office until Sunday afternoon this weekend. Therefore, there won't be any updates here or on the main site until I return.
  • I would also like to thank all the basketball coaches across the nation who went out of their way to get in touch with me as I finished compiling the preseason national Power 50 rankings for RISE Magazine. They already have a lot on their plates with the start of the school year, so making time for my deadline was greatly appreciated. Like I tell any coach who thanks me for what I do: It's a bit of a brain teaser each year doing the rankings, but it's a lot fun. And it's certainly a lot less important than coaching and the games themselves. But I really appreciate the help I get from coaches like yourself.
PHOTOS: John McKissick (left) and J.T. Curtis

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agree that it would be a great idea to honor these outstanding coaches/football programs by scheduling a game between coaches that have presided over 1,000 victories combined.

I'm sure they would draw a big crowd at the Superdome in New Orleans, but that might give an advantage to JC. Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston would provide a more intimate setting.
Atlanta would be attractive as a neutral site.

Given that the game would likely need to be scheduled early in the season, a neutral site that is air conditioned, such as the Georgia Dome would be attractive.