Cutcliffe announces Duke staff changes

From Duke News ReleaseJuly 2, 2011 

Duke football coach David Cutcliffe announced a reorganization of his coaching staff Friday.

Ben Loebner, a 2009 Duke graduate and former recruiting assistant, and John Russell, a defensive lineman on Wake Forest's 2006 ACC title team, were named graduate assistant coaches on offense and defense, respectively.

Kerry Johnson, a former Mississippi defensive back and wide receiver under Cutcliffe, has been switched from his assistant role on the strength and conditioning staff to operations assistant with the Duke offensive coaches. Leon Wright, a former All-ACC cornerback at Duke, was named the defensive operations assistant.

Marcus Johnson, a former All-SEC offensive lineman at Ole Miss who spent five seasons in the NFL, replaces Johnson in the strength and conditioning department. Ethan Johnson, a staff member since 2006, was named assistant director of football relations. Jomar Wright, who spent last year as a graduate assistant coach, moves into the role of recruiting assistant, and former Blue Devils All-America defensive lineman Vince Oghobaase has been added as a staff assistant.

Miami center has surgery

University of Miami center Reggie Johnson is expected to miss the start of the basketball season after undergoing surgery Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Johnson is expected to be out five to six months. He was hurt during a pickup game with teammates Monday. As a sophomore last season, Johnson averaged 11.9 points and a team-high 9.6 rebounds.

FSU receiver to play baseball: Florida State's most reliable receiver is leaving school to pursue a professional baseball career.

Taiwan Easterling, a three-year starter as an outfielder for the Seminoles, signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs.

Easterling caught 43 passes for 551 yards and five touchdowns last season at Florida State. He hit .296 for the Seminoles this spring.

Notre Dame settles: Notre Dame has agreed to pay a $42,000 fine and make a substantial contribution to a memorial to settle a complaint that it committed six safety violations when a student videographer died after a hydraulic lift he was atop blew over in a 53 mph wind gust during a football practice.

Notre Dame also is required to launch a nationwide education program directed at other schools about the hazards of the outdoor use of scissor lifts. Twenty-year-old Declan Sullivan from Long Grove, Ill., died in the accident on Oct. 27.

UCF found negligent: A jury has found that the University of Central Florida's Athletic Association was negligent in a football player's 2008 death and awarded his parents $10 million.

The decision came after about five hours of deliberation Thursday night in the wrongful death trial of Ereck Plancher, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Plancher collapsed and died following conditioning drills at the school's football complex in March 2008. Orange County medical examiner Joshua Stephany and three experts hired by Plancher family attorneys testified he died from complications of sickle cell trait.

Vick re-signs with Nike

Nike signed Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to an endorsement deal Friday, four years after dropping him amid his legal troubles.

Nike, which signed Vick as a rookie in 2001, terminated his contract in August 2007 after he filed a plea agreement admitting his involvement in a dogfighting ring. Vick spent 21 months in prison.

Vick was voted The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year after missing two seasons and playing sparingly in 2009.

Associated Press

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