Depressing News Of The Day For Canes Fans: Larry Coker Is A 'Rock Star' In San Antonio

Sorry Hurricanes fans. We're really not trying to kidney-punch you this afternoon. (Virginia Tech already took care of that this weekend.)

It's just that we can't resist feeding you Larry Coker updates.

No 1., it gives us all the license we need to link to the greatest college football brawl of the last decade. (Boom, consider it done.)

And secondly, Coker has executed one of the greatest falls from grace in NCAA football history. How many other coaches have gone in just seven years from playing in two national title games in two years (and winning one), to accepting the head coaching job at a commuter school without a football program?

That's just what Coker did when he took over at the University of Texas-San Antonio last year (Go Roadrunners!). UTSA won't even take the field for its first season until 2011, but the school wanted to give Coker a chance to recruit and fund raise for the new program.

Today, the New York Times kindly indulges our Coker cravings with a full feature story on the coach's work in Ol' San Antone.

Among the best revelations: So far the school only owns one football helmet and a single football, and Coker's tiny office features a picture-window view of two Dumpsters.


But more distressing to Canes fans, who were cruelly tricked into thinking they were at last back on the national title track before their team pulled a Kimbo Slice on Saturday, is the revelation that their old coach is somehow living like a "rock star" in Texas.

Check this out:

In the meantime, Coker's name recognition has fueled unprecedented buzz

about the university. His high school summer camp in July attracted 600

juniors and seniors. He has been invited to sign autographs at grocery

stores, and he has spoken to state legislators, Rotary clubs and

college classes.

Say wha'? Coker's making $200,000 a year in his new job, and says he fully expects to play in some bowl games in his program's first few years playing as an independent. He's even got current Miami players sticking up for him.

"I thought he caught a lot of unfair criticism," (current Hurricane left tackle Jason) Fox said in a

telephone interview. "I think there were problems going on with our

team and around our program that got blamed on him. A lot of that

wasn't his fault."

That may be so. Riptide wishes Coker the best of luck with the Roadrunners. But UTSA should probably be warned -- this was likely a once-in-a-coaching-lifetime kind of brawl. (Look at that, two FIU brawl links! Coker blog success.)

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink