Originally created 01/01/02

College football notebook

Bobby Lamb was hired as Furman's football coach Monday, getting the job at a school where he has been a longtime assistant and was once quarterback.

He replaces Bobby Johnson, who left the Paladins of Division I-AA to coach Vanderbilt.

Lamb has been Furman's quarterback coach and passing game coordinator the past three years.

"You always dream of coaching at the place you play, and your next dream is to be a (head) coach there," Lamb said. "Now I'm head coach and I couldn't be happier."

The other finalist for the job was offensive coordinator Tim Sorrells. Offensive line coach Clay Hendrix, who also was interviewed for the top job, is returning to the team as well, Lamb said.

As a quarterback from 1982-85, Lamb's teams won three Southern Conference titles and went 39-10-1. After graduation, he joined the coaching staff and was part of five more league titles, a national championship team and a national runner-up.

"He brings to his new role a love for Furman and all it stands for," Furman president David Shi said.

Johnson took the Vanderbilt job Dec. 23 after the Paladins lost the Division I-AA championship game to Montana.

"Bobby's selection is a true reflection of the high regard people hold for him," Johnson said. "He is an extremely bright coach."

Lamb does not expect many changes next season.

"We've gone 9-3, 9-3 and 12-3 in the last three years," he said. "That's pretty good. We don't have to change much. Hopefully, we can get over the hump and finally win the big one."

BOWDEN AND THE BEAR: Bobby Bowden hopes to catch his one-time coaching idol, Paul "Bear" Bryant, with his 323rd career victory in the Gator Bowl today.

"If you coach as long as I have, these things kind of stack up," Bowden said Monday.

A win over Virginia Tech also would leave Bowden four wins shy of all-time leader Joe Paterno of Penn State.

Bowden's resume includes 17 bowl victories - three fewer than Paterno's record 20.

"It's not big with me now," Bowden said about the milestones. "But one of these days, I know it probably will be."

Bowden, 72, said he planned to keep coaching as long as he enjoyed good health and produced championships.

A man who has never smoked, drank or kept late hours, Bowden seems even more vigorous in recent months after taking off 25 pounds to ward off diabetic problems. He's worn a new floppy hat on the sidelines during day games to try to avoid skin cancer and stays with a heavy schedule of public appearances and speaking engagements year-round.

And the win totals haven't diminished after Bowden became eligible for Social Security. He's added 74 coaching wins to his resume since his 65th birthday.

He said he'd miss the contact with young people too much to quit. Florida State's players don't give any thoughts to Bowden's age.

ROSE BOWL: Frank Solich doesn't put himself in the same coaching company as Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. One victory can change that.

Solich has a chance to lead Nebraska to a national title quicker than his Hall of Fame predecessors.

All Solich's Cornhuskers have to do is beat No. 1 Miami in the Rose Bowl on Thursday night to claim at least a share of the national championship.

"I don't see my name being beside Tom's or Bob's name at this point," Solich said. "And I don't foresee it ever happening. What I hope to do is just keep the great tradition alive that they built."

Devaney won two titles, in 1970 and 1971, and Osborne won in 1994 and 1995, with a co-championship in 1997. Michigan was the AP national champion in '97.

Devaney needed nine seasons to win his first title, Osborne waited 22 years. Solich can do it in four.


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