For college football fans that support so called "mid-major" schools, its a familiar scene. Coaches like Urban Meyer, Dennis Erickson and Mack Brown all got their starts as head coaches for lesser D-1 schools. Anytime a MAC, Sun Belt or C-USA team has a great season, the athletic directors from larger schools. It may not be new to everyone, but it's very new to Cincinnati folks. I remember when the Bearcats were in C-USA and drew flies to Nippert Stadium. It really impresses to see fans in Cincinnati actually care enough about football to react to Brian Kelly's departure to Notre Dame, much less egg his house.
In the middle of that firestorm was Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati's All-American wide receiver. In an era when much of the attention on football players surrounds their shortcomings and transgressions, Gilyard is a true success story, after screwing up in his first couple of years at Cincinnati and living in a car for a while, he turned his life around to become a hugely successful player and a very classy human being. I have seen video on Youtube of Gilyard where he runs over a kid in the stands at the end of a play, then checks on the kid to make sure he is ok and gives him a hug. So when I heard that he blasted Coach Kelly after his ND announcement, I wasn't sure if it was the same guy. Well, after a couple of weeks to think about it, he regrets his impulsive reaction. I read this story and it reminded me that he is still a young man that will make youthful mistakes. He is also a true gentleman that knows when he is wrong and is willing to admit it and set the record straight.
Gilyard will be a great player in the NFL. I hope he ends up on a team I pull for. Guys like Gilyard are a reminder that non-BCS schools may be a proving ground for coaches, but the reason those guys get hired elsewhere is because there are athletes that are stepping up as well. Good luck Mardy! Thanks for a colorful college career.