Two players from Idaho have been named to the All-Western Athletic Conference first team in football.
Senior cornerback Gary Walker and senior kicker Trey Farquhar won spots, the WAC announced Monday.
Walker led the Vandals in tackles with 99. He also had one interception, recovered a fumble and forced another.
Farquhar made 19 of 25 field goal attempts, including a season-long from 55 yards against New Mexico State. He was also a perfect 19-of-19 on extra points and led the Vandals in scoring with 76 points.
The Vandals are coming off a disappointing season, finishing 1-11 and in last place in the final season of football in the conference. Idaho will play as an FBS independent in football next season.
On the other end of the conference, Utah State’s Gary Andersen earned his first Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award in his fourth season as head coach after leading the Aggies to a 10-2 record and the WAC title.
Louisiana Tech and San Jose State each had nine players selected and Utah State had eight receive first-team honors.
Louisiana Tech senior quarterback Colby Cameron was named the Offensive Player of the Year, San Jose State senior end Travis Johnson earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon was named the Freshman of the Year.
Utah State’s selections included the potent offensive duo of Chuckie Keeton and Kerwynn Williams.
Spurrier gets 2-year extension
Steve Spurrier has received a two-year contract extension that will keep him at South Carolina through 2017.
The university’s board of trustees approved the extension. There was no salary increase in the deal. Spurrier is scheduled to again earn $3.3 million in 2013.
A year ago, trustees gave Spurrier two additional years on the contract after the football season, then voted him a raise of $475,000 this past February to his current salary.
Spurrier has led the Gamecocks to consecutive seasons with double-digit victories, a first in program history. No. 11 South Carolina finished 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference for a second straight year. Spurrier became the school’s all-time victories leader with his 65th win when the Gamecocks defeated Clemson on Nov. 24.
Phillips headed to Florida
It didn’t take Joker Phillips long to find another job.
The former Kentucky head coach landed at No. 4 Florida as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Florida coach Will Muschamp said Phillips will begin work Friday.
Kentucky fired Phillips on Nov. 4. He went 13-24 in three seasons at Kentucky, including 0-8 in SEC play this year.
Phillips played at Kentucky (1981-84) and was on the football staff from 1988 to 1996. He returned to his alma mater as offensive coordinator in 2003, and then became the second black coach in SEC history in 2010.
His resume also includes stops at South Carolina (2002), Notre Dame (2001), Minnesota (1999-2000) and Cincinnati (1997-98). He coached receivers at each of those schools, working with Ron Johnson, Javin Hunter, David Givens, Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson, Dicky Lyons Jr. and Derek Abney.
Penn studies graduation rates
A report by the Penn Graduate School of Education Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education says that most of the schools in the NCAA’s six major sports conferences have weak graduation rates for their African-American male student-athletes by almost any measure.
Data from the four-year study of athletes from the schools that comprise the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC show that on average, 50.2 percent of African-American male student-athletes graduated within six years and that 96.1 percent of the schools graduated African-American male student-athletes at rates lower than student-athletes overall.