National sports briefs
The college football notebook …
GREENSBORO ó The Atlantic Coast Conference will move to an 18-game league schedule in both menís and womenís basketball starting next season.
The menís teams have played a 16-game schedule while the womenís teams moved from 14 to 16 league games this season. In a statement, ACC commissioner John Swofford says the increase will happen ěregardless of our membership number.î
The league announced in September that it will add Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East, though the Big Eastís bylaws require a 27-month notice before leaving.
League teams played every other school twice in a season before the ACC expanded to 12 teams in 2004 and 2005. Swofford says ACC schools have discussed playing 18 league games for a while, which would create ěa more equitable scheduleî for all teams.
GILL HIRED AT LIBERTY
LYNCHBURG, Va. ó Liberty has brought in Turner Gill as its new football coach and the school also has hired a firm to help it study the feasibility of moving up to the Bowl Subdivision.
The former Kansas coach was introduced Thursday, when Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr., also said the school founded by his father would look into possibly moving up to the highest level in college football.
Liberty competes in the Big South Conference in the Championship Subdivision.
Gill was fired Nov. 27 at Kansas after just two seasons into a 5-year contract. He takes over a program coming off six consecutive winning seasons under Danny Rocco, who left after the season to take the top job at Richmond in the powerful Colonial Athletic Association.
Gill took the job with the Jayhawks after what was considered remarkable success at Buffalo. He took over a team that had won only 10 of its past 79 games and guided it to a 20-30 record over four seasons, and won the Mid-American Conference title in 2009.
DUKE ADDS LATINA
DURHAM ó Duke has added John Latina to its football staff.
Coach David Cutcliffe said Thursday that Latina would coach the Blue Devilsí offensive linemen and would replace Matt Luke, who left earlier this week to take a job at his alma mater, Mississippi.
Latina was on Cutcliffeís staff at Ole Miss from 1999-2004 and Luke was a graduate assistant under him. Latina says he expects a smooth transition because ěthereís still continuity because weíre so familiar with one another.î
Latina was on Akronís staff the past two seasons and was at Notre Dame from 2005-08.
Walter Payton Award finalists Bo Levi Mitchell of Eastern Washington and Shakir Bell of Indiana State have been selected to The Associated Press FCS All-America team.
Mitchell leads FCS in yards passing per game at 364.5, and his 33 touchdown passes are tops in the nation. Bell is the leading rusher in FCS with 151.8 yards per game, 20 more than the next best average.
The third finalist for the Payton Award as FCS player of the year, Lehigh quarterback Chris Lum, was picked as the second-team quarterback. The award will be presented Jan. 6.
Bellís teammate, defensive end Ben Obaseki, was also selected to the team, making Indiana State one of five schools with two All-Americans.
Montana, which plays at Sam Houston State on Friday night in the FCS semifinals, is represented by linebacker Caleb McSurdy and defensive back Trumaine Johnson. McSurdy was the Big Sky defensive player of the year.
North Dakota State, which hosts Georgia Southern on Saturday in the other semifinal, placed offensive lineman Paul Cornick and defensive back Marcus Williams on the first team.
Furman linebacker Kadarron Anderson and defensive back Ryan Steed also made the first team, and Idaho State was represented by receiver Rodrick Rumble and punter David Harrington, who led the nation with a 48.7-yard average.
Joining Mitchell and Bell in the backfield was Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein, who has 1,474 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.
The other two receivers on the first team were Elonís Aaron Mellette, who led the nation in catches (113) and yards (1,639), and Lehighís Ryan Spadola, who was second in yards (1,614).
The other offensive linemen on the first team were: Weber Stateís J.C. Oram, Stephen F. Austinís George Bias, Georgia Southernís Brett Moore and South Dakotaís Tom Compton.
The all-purpose player was William & Maryís Jonathan Grimes, who led the nation in all-purpose yards with 228 per game.
Portland Stateís Zach Brown was the kicker.
On defense, Prairie View A&Mís Adrian Hamilton made the first team after leading the nation and setting a Southwestern Athletic Conference record with 201/2 sacks.
Northern Iowaís Ben Boothby and Sacramento Stateís Zack Nash were the other linemen.
Joining McSurdy and Anderson at linebacker was Tyler Holmes of Massachusetts.
Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina rounded out the secondary.
GUNDY WINS AWARD
DALLAS ó Oklahoma Stateís Mike Gundy has been honored as the national coach of the year by the Football Writers Association of America.
Gundy was chosen Thursday as the winner of the Eddie Robinson Award. The other finalists were Michiganís Brady Hoke, LSUís Les Miles, Kansas Stateís Bill Snyder and Clemsonís Dabo Swinney. Gundy will be presented with a bust of Eddie Robinson at a Jan. 8 ceremony in New Orleans.
The Associated Press will announce its national coach of the year Tuesday.
Gundy led the third-ranked Cowboys to an 11-1 regular season, their first Big 12 championship and their first BCS bowl berth. They will face No. 4 Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.
The Associated Press