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Arkansas State hires former Texas OC Bryan Harsin

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Arkansas State hires former Texas OC Bryan Harsin

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) Former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin hopes to bring some stability to Arkansas State as its new coach.

Harsin was introduced as the new coach of the Red Wolves on Wednesday - one day after he agreed to leave the Longhorns and replace former Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn.

The former Boise State assistant coach becomes the third head coach in as many years for the two-time Sun Belt Conference champion Red Wolves. Malzahn left after one season to take over Auburn last week, while current Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze did the same two years ago.

``It was the right time,'' Harsin said at a news conference in Jonesboro. ``I had a purpose, and this was the opportunity and the chance that I've been looking for and wanting to be a part of and to be a part of this family and this team and this community. I'm excited to be here.''

The 35-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Longhorns, but he'll begin work immediately with the Red Wolves and won't coach Texas during the Alamo Bowl against Oregon State.

The Longhorns, who were 16-9 the last two seasons, will turn over play-calling duties to co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.

``Brian has done a tremendous job for us, and we appreciate all the energy he's poured into our program the past two seasons,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``He's a bright young coach with great enthusiasm and passion for the kids and the game. He'll do a tremendous job at Arkansas State.''

Arkansas State will continue preparations for the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 against Kent State. The Red Wolves, who are 19-6 the last two seasons, will also begin to prepare for life under another new coach.

Since Malzahn left for Auburn last week, Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir said he conducted a nationwide search for a replacement. He said the search included former NFL and BCS championship head coaches, but it was Harsin's sincere interest in the job - and his family - that ``made it very easy when we started zeroing in.''

``When we find who we want, we go get them,'' Arkansas State president Chuck Welch said. ``We've identified the best and brightest around the country, and we've made it happen.''

Mohajir flew to Austin on Tuesday to meet with Harsin, who spent the bulk of his coaching career at Boise State before being hired by Texas two years ago. The athletic director said it was important to hire someone who would remain with the program for more than one season, a thought that's reflected in Harsin's contract.

Harsin signed a five-year contract for $700,000 annually, including a $1.75-million buyout if he leaves during the first year. That buyout lowers to $1 million in the second year, $500,000 in the third, $300,000 in the fourth and $100,000 in the fifth.

``His reps tried to beat me up a little bit, but it was just like `non-negotiable,''' Mohajir joked about the buyout.

Harsin will also receive a $50,000 bonus for winning a conference championship and $25,000 for reaching a bowl game without winning a conference title.

Harsin replaces Gus Malzahn, who left after one season to become the coach at Auburn. Malzahn was 9-3 this season with the Red Wolves, his first as a college head coach, and he guided the team to its second straight Sun Belt championship.

The Red Wolves went 7-1 in conference play, with their only loss coming to Western Kentucky on Sept. 29. Arkansas State has won seven straight games since that loss, including a season-ending 45-0 win over Middle Tennessee, behind the play of quarterback Ryan Aplin - the two-time Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year.

Malzahn was the second straight Arkansas State coach to leave for a job in the Southeastern Conference. He followed Freeze, who also left the school after one season as head coach when he became coach at Mississippi last year.

Before putting together its stellar two-season run, Arkansas State was a school that had enjoyed little success since becoming an FBS school in 1992. The Red Wolves had finished above .500 only once during that span before last season, when they won in double digits for the first time since they were a member of the I-AA Southland Conference in 1986.

Malzahn said during his brief time in Jonesboro that he wanted to turn Arkansas State into the ``Boise State of the south.'' Harsin, who played for the Broncos, hopes to continue with that

``This is an opportunity that I've felt I've prepared myself for for a long time,'' Harsin said. ``I didn't know it was going to feel this good.''

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NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

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USA TODAY Sports

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Atlantic Division...

Toronto Raptors, B+

2017-18 finish: 59-23, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, C Greg Monroe
Out: G DeMar DeRozan, C Jakub Poeltl, C Lucas Nogueira

The Raptors had one of the more consequential offseasons of any NBA team this year. First, they fired Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, following a season in which they won 59 games. Then, they pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a deal that featured two perennial All-NBA players. They let go of DeRozan and brought in Leonard in return. If they hadn't parted with DeRozan and Casey, they may have gotten an A. But it's hard to tell how much better they will be following the deal and Leonard does bring with him some concerns based on his quadriceps injury and the fact he has only one year left on his contract. The Raptors do, however, also get points for re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet.

Boston Celtics, C

2017-18 finish: 55-27, conference finals
In: C Robert Williams, G Brad Wanamaker
Out: C Greg Monroe

One year ago, the Celtics flipped nearly their entire roster and brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, they mostly stood pat and didn't add much of anything in free agency or trades. Their biggest acquisition was Williams, who they took 27th overall in the first round of the draft. The Celtics will hope they improve from within. They re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, and should get Irving and Hayward back from injuries. They should have plenty of talent to compete for an NBA Finals berth, but as far as this offseason goes, they didn't do much.

Philadelphia 76ers, D+

2017-18 finish: 52-30, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Wilson Chandler, C Mike Muscala, G Zhaire Smith, G Landry Shamet
Out: G Marco Belinelli, F Ersan Ilyasova

Where do we begin? This summer was about as dramatic and bad as it could get for the Sixers. First, they had to fire their general manager because of a burner Twitter account scandal. Then, they struck out miserably in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, and in trade talks for Leonard. After that, Smith - their first round pick - hurt his foot. And along the way, Ben Simmons has been dating a Kardashian, flirting with the curse that has claimed many pro athletes before him. Philly did re-sign J.J. Redick and Johnson, and the Chandler trade was nice, but all in all it was an offseason that fell way short of the Sixers' expectations. That said, they can still get way better next season based solely on their young players taking another step.

New York Knicks, B

2017-18 finish: 29-53, missed playoffs
In: F Mario Hezonja, F Kevin Knox, F Noah Vonleh, C Mitchell Robinson
Out: F Michael Beasley, G Jarrett Jack, F Kyle O'Quinn

It's been a while since the Knicks had an offseason to write home about and this one is no exception. There was nothing they did that would flirt with an A-grade. However, the early returns on their draft are excellent. Knox and Robinson were both standouts in the Summer League and offer fans a little bit more hope about the team's future. As long as Kristaps Porzingis can return this season safe and sound from his ACL tear, the Knicks could take a step forward in 2018-19.

Brooklyn Nets, C+

2017-18 finish: 28-54, missed playoffs
In: F Ed Davis, F Kenneth Faried, F Jared Dudley
Out: F Dante Cunningham, G Nik Stauskas, C Jahlil Okafor

The best news about the Nets' offseason is that their trade with the Celtics, the one that stripped them of years of first round picks, is finally over. Next year, the Nets will have a first round pick. This summer, they once again didn't add any major pieces in the draft, but seemed to make some smart moves in free agency. The Davis deal is solid and Faried may benefit from a change of scenery. More baby steps for Brooklyn.

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Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

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USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.

 

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