For fourth straight year, Vanderbilt's Stallings loses a staff member

David Cason, an assistant coach on Kevin Stallings’ staff at Vanderbilt for the past three seasons, is now an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth University.

That makes this the fourth straight year a member of the Vanderbilt men’s basketball staff left, and the second year in a row an assistant left to work under someone else elsewhere.

Last year, Brad Frederick bolted to become an assistant with North Carolina, where he played from 1996-99. Before that, Dan Muller left two years ago to become head coach at Illinois State. King Rice was named head coach at Monmouth in 2011.

Cason does have ties to his new position. Before he came to Vanderbilt he spent six seasons at Tulsa on a staff that included VCU assistant Jeremy Ballard.

VCU announced the move Wednesday.

“We're extremely excited about the addition of David and his family to our program. He possesses a terrific basketball background, both as a player and as a coach,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “David will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and student-athletes.”

Said Cason in the statement: “I'm really excited the opportunity to join the VCU basketball program. What Coach Smart, his staff and the players have done over the past five years is nothing short of remarkable. I'm looking forward to rejoining a longtime friend in Jeremy Ballard and continuing to build my relationships with the rest of the coaching staff and the players. My family and I can't wait to be a part of the VCU and Richmond communities.”

Apr 23, 2014 3:17 PM

Titans outperform AFC South rivals in terms of internet interest

The Tennessee Titans are the AFC South’s most popular team.

That is based on the number of times each NFL team was the subject of Google searches over the past 12 months. BestTickets.com reported the information earlier this week as part of a broad look at Google search trends connected to the sports world.

According to Google search data, the Titans averaged 463,260 per month since last April. That was more than Houston Texans (388,020), Indianapolis Colts (341,840) and Jacksonville Jaguars (181,080). Jacksonville was last.

Those numbers were not quite enough to get Tennessee into the top half of the league. It came in 17th, just behind Pittsburgh (473,180) but ahead of such notable franchises as New Orleans and Washington.

It is likely interest in the Titans was higher than usual in recent months based on the fact that Mike Munchak was fired and Ken Whisenhunt was hired as his replacement. There also was a great deal of attention paid to running back Chris Johnson, who finally was released earlier this month.

Apr 23, 2014 2:58 PM

Vanderbilt's Matthews will be in New York for NFL draft

Jordan Matthews is one of 30 prospects who will be in New York for the NFL Draft, the league announced Tuesday.

The record-setting Vanderbilt wide receiver will be on hand with the top players available this year, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel and other wide receivers such as Brandin Crooks, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr.

It is the largest group of prospects ever to attend the festivities at Radio City Music Hall. Eleven of the 30 are from the SEC.

Matthews is projected as a second or third-round pick. Part of one of the deepest groups of wide receivers ever, the primary knock against him is his straight-line speed.

The 2014 NFL draft will take place May 8-10. The first round will be May 8 (7 p.m.), the second and third rounds will be May 9 (6 p.m.) and the final four rounds will be May 10 (11 a.m.).

The complete list of players who will be in New York:

Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville


Pre-draft events:
» Senior Bowl | NFL Scouting Combine | Pro days

Mock drafts:
» Davis: Carr is first QB selected; Manziel to Rams
» Brooks: Projecting first two rounds
» Huguenin: Texans would regret not taking QB
» Jeremiah: Surprise team takes a QB
» Goodbread: Diabolical duo for Detroit
» Smith: One of 'Big 3' QBs is going to slip
» Fischer: Bridgewater falls out of first round

Draft coverage:
» Tracking teams' interest in prospects | Draft rumors
» Record 30 prospects to attend 2014 draft
» Nolan Nawrocki's big board | Complete rankings
» Mayock's position-by-position prospect rankings
» Brooks' Big Board | Position rankings | Blog
» Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 draft prospects
» Gil Brandt's top 50 draft prospects
» College Football 24/7 Podcast: Latest draft buzz

Draft's top five at each position:
» QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S

Draft Tracker:
» Rounds | Teams | Players | Positions | History

Interact:
» Fan War Rooms | Predict the Pick | Twitter

Video:
» NFL comparisons for top draft prospects
» Combine workouts: Top prospects go through drills

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana

Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Apr 23, 2014 2:00 PM

Dollar General backing former champ at Indy 500

Dollar General on Wednesday said it will sponsor the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry for this year's Indianapolis 500 that will be driven by 1995 winner Jacques Villeneuve. Goodlettsville-based Dollar General has in recent years also backed the NASCAR efforts of Villeneuve, who also won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1997.

Apr 23, 2014 12:12 PM

NFL schedule to be released Wednesday

The NFL will announce its 2014 schedule Wednesday.

Dates and times for each team’s 16 games will be revealed at 7 p.m. (CDT) on NFL.com and as part of a three-hour special on the NFL Network.

Teams already know their opponents because the scheduling format predetermines 14 of the 16 games. Six are the result of a home-and-home with the other three division opponents. Teams also play all four teams from another division within the conference (two home, two away) and all four from another division in the opposite conference (two home, two away).

The other two are based on how teams finished the previous season.

A look at how who the Titans will play in 2014:

DIVISION GAMES
Home

Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville

Away
Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville

INTRA-CONFERENCE GAMES
Home

Cleveland, Pittsburgh, N.Y. Jets

Away
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kansas City

INTER-CONFERENCE GAMES
Home

Dallas, N.Y. Giants

Away
Philadelphia, Washington

Apr 23, 2014 5:00 AM

Tyndall not worried about what any former UT men's basketball coaches did

Donnie Tyndall doesn’t care what Bruce Pearl did or what Cuonzo Martin accomplished this past season.

The new University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach has set his goals much higher when it comes to measuring himself against others.

“I grew up admiring and still do, Coach Pat Summitt,” Tyndall said Tuesday when he was officially introduced in his new position. “I can't wait to beat her. You talk about eight national championships, over 1,000 wins. It's absolutely amazing.”

Up to this point, Tyndall won 200 games as head coach at St. Catherine College (Springfield, Ky.), Morehead State and Southern Miss. He also has been an assistant at LSU, Idaho and Middle Tennessee State.

Now 43 years old, he would have to average 20 wins a year until he’s 83 to get to 1,000.

Of course, the idea that anyone could match Summitt’s achievements are unrealistic and, therefore, were not taken into consideration in the search for Martin’s replacement.

“We needed to hire somebody that was a winner, somebody that had a track record of success,” athletics director Dave Hart said. “Coach Tyndall has won everywhere he has been, at every level he has coached, from junior college to his first Division I job, to Southern Mississippi. If you look at the leagues he coached in, and look where his teams finished that season, you'll see a lot of [firsts] and [seconds].”

Martin’s tenure ended abruptly last week after three seasons when he accepted the job at Cal. His run to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 a couple weeks earlier quieted calls for his ouster from a fan base that still widely adored his predecessor, Bruce Pearl. That dissatisfaction among UT supporters, according to athletics director Dave Hart, contributed heavily to Martin’s decision to leave.

Tyndall addressed the subject head on and asked those on all sides of the Pearl-Martin issue to unite behind him and his staff.

“It has to start today,” Tyndall said. “Look, I am a big fan of Coach Pearl, I think he is fantastic, he is obviously a great coach and had great success. He is a dynamic personality. With all that being said, Coach Martin did an outstanding job and he had his niche.

“But we have to put that behind us and it has to start today and we all have to rally and get on the same bus if you will. We are all Tennessee Vols fans. We all bleed orange. We all want our team, our young guys, to do well. So let's start today, let's pull this thing together, put all that stuff behind us and go to work.”

Other highlights from Tyndall’s introductory press conference:

• On the style of play he will employ: “It is an aggressive, attacking type of basketball. We full court press on every made basket and dead ball. We get after people form end line to end line. We fall back to an aggressive matchup zone. If you have seen Louisville play, our defensive philosophy is much like Louisville.”

• On recruiting: “When we walk in with that T on our chest, people are going to say, `Oh boy, here comes Donnie and his crew, we better lace them up,' because we are going to compete everyday relentlessly on the recruiting trail. We have to start that right here in our home state. We have to get into Memphis, we have to control out state because we are the best program in our state.”

• On the tradition of Tennessee basketball: “I'm humbled to be your coach. I think Tennessee is a special place. Many people would ask 'why do you think that coach?' I say this, the tradition starting with Coach Ray Mears and all the great coaches that have coached at this university. The success that has been passed on from year to year, so many great coaches and I'm proud to be one of them, or at least be a head coach grouped in with those guys at this point.”

• On his take on the current roster: “When you look at the roster we lost 72 percent of our scoring and 69 percent of our rebounding, so when I meet with these guys individually I'll tell them that somebody needs to step up. I could see it in their eyes in my meeting with them that we have a young, eager group. Its guys that are ready to work, we will start individual workouts tomorrow. My message was very short and simple, I'm a very short, no nonsense guy, my MO everywhere has been that we are going to out work and out tough people I think if they're committed to doing that regardless of what people think we've lost on paper next year we'll surprise some folks, but everybody's got to buy in and I anticipate all these guys and the four signees to do just that.”

Apr 22, 2014 3:57 PM

Two more Predators will play for their countries at 2014 World Championships

Goalie Pekka Rinne will play for Finland and defenseman Mattias Ekholm will play for Sweden at next month’s IIHF World Championships, the Nashville Predators announced Tuesday.

That makes six Predators who will participate at the tournament, May 9 through May 25 at Minsk, Belarus.

Forward Craig Smith and defenseman Seth Jones (United States), defenseman Ryan Ellis (Canada) and defenseman Roman Josi (Switzerland) were named to their teams last week.

It will be the third World Championships appearance for Rinne, who went a combined 6-4 in 2009 and 2010. Ekholm has no national team experience.

Rinne said last week he was unsure whether he wanted to participate in the tournament or spent the offseason training in order to strengthen his hip following a bacterial infection that caused him to miss 51 games this season.

Based on Nashville’s experience in 2013, his participation offers the opportunity to build momentum for 2014-15.

Smith followed a frustrating NHL season with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 10 games at the 2013 World Championships. Josi was named the tournament’s most valuable player and best defenseman as he led Switzerland to a silver medal with nine points (four goals, five assists) in 10 games.

Smith finished this NHL season with a team-leading 24 goals and career-high 52 points. Josi had a career-high 40 points.

Apr 22, 2014 3:17 PM

Stallings started fast against what has become a handful of UT coaches

Donnie Tyndall was formally introduced as the new University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach Tuesday.

That made him the fifth different person to have that position in the time that Kevin Stallings has been Vanderbilt’s coach.

Jerry Green was on the job when Stallings arrived in Nashville prior to the 1999-00 season. Then came Buzz Peterson, Bruce Pearl and – most recently – Cuonzo Martin, each of whom had winning records against the Commodores.

Stallings went 2-0 against Green and the Volunteers in his first season on the job. The only UT coach who returned the favor was Pearl, who won both meetings in 2005-06. Peterson (2001-02) and Martin (2011-12) each split with Vanderbilt in their first seasons.

FRESH FACES
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings’ head-to-head record against the quartet of Tennessee coaches he has faced:

Jerry Green (1999-2001) – 2-2
Buzz Peterson (2001-05) – 4-4
Bruce Pearl (2005-11) – 4-8
Cuonzo Martin (2011-14) – 2-4
Total: 12-18

Tyndall and Stallings have faced each other as head coaches only once. That was in 2008-09 when Tyndall was at Morehead State. Vanderbilt won that one handily, 74-48.

Apr 22, 2014 2:55 PM

Sounds stadium gets First Tennessee name

Bank's deal could reach 20 years
Apr 22, 2014 11:36 AM

Tennessee makes its choice for next men's basketball coach

Donnie Tyndall is the University of Tennessee’s new men’s basketball coach, according to multiple reports late Monday.

He will be formally introduced at a 1 p.m. (CDT) press conference at the university.

Tyndall, 43, has been head coach at Southern Miss for the past two seasons. Before that he coached Morehead State, his alma mater, for six seasons. He took Morehead to the NCAA tournament twice. He narrowly missed NCAA tournament berths with Southern Miss in each of his two seasons there but led the Golden Eagles to the NIT quarterfinals both times.

His record as a Division I head coach is 170-101.

He also was a coach at St. Catherine College (Springfield, Ky.), which he led to its first appearance in the junior college national championship tournament.

He replaces Cuonzo Martin, who left last week to become coach at Cal.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported that Tyndall would earn $1.6 million per year for five or six years. The length was one of the final details that had yet to be finalized as of late Monday. The money is more than Martin made this season but less than he was offered in an extension.

Multiple outlets reported Monday that UT officials turned their attention to Tyndall after talks with Louisiana Tech coach Kevin White failed to produce an agreement.

Apr 22, 2014 8:14 AM