By Marcus Fitzsimmons, The Daily Times
The football coaches are coming back to the Clayton Center.
The USA South Football Media Day will be hosted by Maryville College on Monday. This will be the second time the event has been held in Maryville. The Scots first hosted the event in 2010, six years after joining the league.
With back-to-back co-championships and coming off their first trip to the NCAA D3 football playoffs in November, Maryville coach Mike Rader may be one of the last to take a turn at the microphone. The conference generally reveals its preseason poll with the order the nine coaches are brought to the podium to present their preseason prospectus to the media and Internet audience. The coach of the team with the lowest point total speaks first and the preseason favorite helps close the event.
Among the topics likely to emerge are the conference's return to a full schedule after a transition year following league expansion. Last season eight of the conference teams played a seven-game USAC schedule with three nonconference games, while LaGrange played an eight-game league schedule. This season the one-out game is gone as nonconference contracts were given a year to adjust so all members will play every other member and have two nonconference games.
The press conference will be video streamed live thanks to sports information staff at Maryville. USA South football fans will be able to view the event at no charge. The event will be archived at the same location once the broadcast has concluded.
The USA South football schedule kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 6 as all nine Conference teams will begin their seasons with non-conference action.
STILL THE LEGEND: Former Methodist University coach Jim Sypult missed that media day in 2010 at Maryville. Though Sypult was scheduled to make the first stop of his retirement tour at MC after 19 seasons on the Monarch sidelines, a rusty nail and an emergency toe amputation sidelined him for the first time. The institution within the institution of higher learning was one of the original supporters of Maryville's addition as a football member to the conference and how his assistant coaches got the rocking chair MC gifted to him that day back to Fayetteville remains a mystery.
CHANGE: Of the eight league coaches who spoke at media day in 2010, only one will be back at the Clayton Center just four seasons later. Christopher Newport University coach Matt Kelchner, the dean of USAC coaches with 14 seasons, is the only head coach still in the league. Huntingdon coach Mike Turk has been with the Hawks 11 seasons, technically the second longest tenure in the conference, but the Hawks are starting just their second season in conference play. The only other coach with more than four seasons at the school was Averett's Mike Dunlevy, who resigned after 13 seasons in November with his last official duty being to serve as the NCAA representative at Maryville's play-off game at Hampden-Sydney.