John L. Smith figures to leave Arkansas riding the same overflowing emotion that carried him back to the state.
The likely farewell tour for the interim coach began in earnest Monday, with Smith fighting back tears while discussing his coaching future, the Razorbacks' season-finale against LSU and the difficult season that has left Arkansas (4-7, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) outside of the bowl picture for the first time since 2008.
The 64-year-old Smith, who was hired in April to replace the fired Bobby Petrino, said he is hopeful to keep coaching after this season — wherever that might me.
The former Michigan State and Louisville coach also acknowledged the possibility that he won't be back with the Razorbacks, a likely scenario as Athletic Director Jeff Long's search for a long-term coach continues.
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"Boy, I'd sure like to go out with a win," Smith said of Friday's game with the No. 8 Tigers (9-2, 5-2).
Vols AD drops hints
Without mentioning any candidates by name, Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart may have dropped some hints Monday about his plans to find a replacement for ousted coach Derek Dooley.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who seemed like a logical match given that he was once named the nation's top assistant and knows Hart from his days at Alabama, appears to be off the AD's list after Hart said he considered previous head coaching experience "critically important." Smart has none.
Hart also mentioned integrity as one of the qualities he was seeking in a coach. That could hurt the chances of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who was fired in April for failing to disclose a relationship with a women he later hired as an assistant.
Klein, Manziel, Te'o named Maxwell Award finalists
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o are the finalists for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the nation's top college football player.
The finalists for the Maxwell and several other awards to be presented Dec. 6 in Orlando on ESPN were announced Tuesday.
Te'o is also a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the country. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones are the other finalists.
Coach with 489 wins retires
John Gagliardi put sleepy little Collegeville, Minn., on the national college football map with a style all his own. After 60 years at Division III St. John's , four national titles and more victories than any coach in NCAA history, Gagliardi is calling it a career at the tender age of 86.
"It's unbelievable that I could make a living with a career in a game that is so popular and is such a huge business," Gagliardi said Monday after announcing his retirement. "To be a small part of that has just been wonderful."
Gagliardi started coaching college players in 1949 and spent the past six decades at the private school in central Minnesota. He retires with a record of 489-138-11 and surpassed Eddie Robinson for the career coaching victories record in 2003.
Around the nation
Miami: Calling the move prudent and unprecedented, Miami is self-imposing a second straight post-season ban on its football program because of an NCAA investigation that is expected to eventually lead to stiff sanctions against the Hurricanes.
Florida State: All-America defensive end Brandon Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in the Seminoles' season opener against Murray State, has decided to enter the NFL Draft and not take a medical hardship.
Florida: Coach Will Muschamp said quarterback Jeff Driskel will return from a sprained right ankle Saturday when the No. 6 Gators play at 10th-ranked Florida State. But Muschamp stopped short of declaring Driskel the starter.
UTEP: Coach Mike Price is retiring after a 31-year career notable for two Rose Bowl bids at Washington State and a drinking binge that cost him the Alabama job before he ever coached a game for the Crimson Tide. The 66-year-old Price has a 177-182 career record entering his final game Saturday at home against Rice. He is sixth among active FBS coaches in wins.