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College football briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000


West Virginia's Nehlen retires

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Don Nehlen, who has spent 21 seasons as West Virginia's football coach, retired Saturday after a 31-27 loss to Syracuse.

His retirement takes effect at the end of the season. Nehlen is one win shy of becoming the fifth active coach with 200.

"I just thought it was time for me to get on down the pike," the 64-year-old coach said. "I want to check around to see if there's still something else to do. I don't even know how to keep score in a bowling game."

Nehlen had not hinted he would be moving on. The dean of Big East coaches has a 199-127-4 record at WVU.

"I've said when I retire that you'd be the first to know. Well, you're the first to know," Nehlen said. "I told my staff yesterday. I told my team about 10 minutes ago."

Nehlen's voice quivered but never broke during his 10-minute talk. He was flanked by wife Merry Ann, his two children, their spouses and his grandchildren. Nehlen's daughter, Vicky, is married to former NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler, a WVU alumnus.

West Virginia's players were stunned after the double whammy of Nehlen's announcement and the loss to Syracuse.

"I thought I had heard him wrong at first in the locker room, but it was true," offensive lineman Rick Gilliam said. "It's just too much."

News spread quickly to the Syracuse locker room. Coach Paul Pasqualoni called Nehlen "a great coach and man."

"They're going to miss him. I don't know what it's like in West Virginia, but everywhere else, Don Nehlen is known in the same category as coach (Bobby) Bowden and coach (Joe) Paterno," Pasqualoni said.

BOWERS OVER 7,000: Grove City running back R.J. Bowers ran for 128 yards to become the first player to rush for 7,000 in his career as the Division III Wolverines beat visiting Carnegie Mellon 14-10. Bowers also set an all-division record for career points with 550, passing the 544 of Emporia State's Brian Shay.

MARINO, PANTHERS HONORED: Dan Marino threw a perfect spiral to John Brown as the former Pitt stars recreated one of the best-known plays in school history during a halftime ceremony. With Emil Boures snapping, Marino and Brown re-enacted the 33-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left that beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1982. Marino attended a reunion of the 1980 Panthers, who sent 12 seniors to the NFL.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Running back William Green passed 1,000 yards, giving the school a 1,000-yard rusher in three straight seasons for the first time.

BROWN: Running back Mike Malan rushed for 103 yards to set a school record with 1,033 for the season.

COLORADO: Quarterback Craig Ochs left at halftime against Missouri with a sprained right foot.

FAU: The offense beat the defense 37-29 in an intrasquad scrimmage, giving the offense a 4-3 lead with two scrimmages remaining. The Division I-AA school plays its first game in 2001.

MINNESOTA: Kicker Dan Nystrom, a sophomore, set a school record with his 19th career field goal.

PENN STATE: Students enthusiastically booed Iowa before the school's first game since the University Faculty Senate passed a resolution discouraging "negative cheering." ... The school is assured of missing a bowl game for the first time since going 5-6 in 1988.

TEXAS: Quarterback Major Applewhite left against Texas Tech with an injured right knee. The cause and severity were not known.

TEXAS A&M: Wide receiver Robert Ferguson sprained his left knee and didn't play in the fourth quarter.

WASHINGTON ST.: Quarterback Jason Gesser broke his left tibia when he was sacked early in the second against Oregon.

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