College notebook: Northeast Missouri native Kirby Cannon joins QU football coaching staff

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Alexandria, Mo., native and former Austin Peay State University coach Kirby Cannon will be joining the Quincy University football coaching staff as the defensive backs coach. | Photo courtesy APSU Athletics

QUINCY — Imagine Quincy University football coach Gary Bass’ surprise when a former FCS head coach expressed interest in joining the Hawks’ staff.

Suddenly, one of the youngest groups of coaches in the Great Lakes Valley Conference had the opportunity for an injection of experience. Kirby Cannon will certainly provide that.

A native of Alexandria, Mo., and a Missouri State University Hall of Fame baseball player, Cannon will join the QU staff as the defensive backs coach, the school announced recently. The 64-year-old Cannon has been coaching college football since he began his career as a graduate assistant at Iowa State in 1983.

“I could not be more excited to join the football coaching staff at Quincy University. Coach Bass has the Hawk program moving in a very positive direction and I hope to contribute to the next step in becoming a championship program,” Cannon said in a press release. “As an added benefit, I get to return to the Tri-State area where I grew up and have many friends and family.”

Among Cannon’s coaching stops have been a three-year stint (2013-15) as the head coach at Austin Peay State University and a 11-season stint (1999-2009) as the head coach at Missouri S&T. Most recently, he spent five seasons on the defensive staff at Northern Michigan University.

“Coach Cannon is a great coach and very well respected in the profession,” Bass said. “We are very excited to have him join our staff. His knowledge and experience that he brings to the table is something you don’t get every day. He is a familiar face to the Tri-State area and we can’t wait to get him on campus.”

Rupcich signs futures contract with Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Culver-Stockton College All-American offensive lineman Andrew Rupcich has made an impression on the Tennessee Titans front office.

Rupcich spent his first professional season on the Titans’ practice squad, and the team announced Tuesday the 6-foot-7, 320-pound Rupcich is one of 11 players signed to a futures contract.

According to NFL rules, teams can sign players to futures contracts as soon as the previous regular season is over, but the contract won’t count against the salary cap or 53-man roster. Instead, it’ll count against the salary cap and 90-man camp limit of the following season.

In the meantime, the player goes on the reserve/futures list and can’t be signed by any other team. It guarantees a spot at the start of the next training camp.

Rupcich signed with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent following last April’s NFL Draft and spent the entire preseason in Tennessee’s camp. He made it to the final cut and was signed to the practice squad, where he spent all season.

An offensive tackle from Wonder Lake, Ill., Rupcich was a three-time AFCA/NAIA All-America first team selection. He was a four-time All-Heart of America Athletic Conference first-team choice and a two-time Associated Press NAIA All-American.

Kirkham receives conference honor

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Illini West graduate Caydee Kirkham picked up a pair of conference honors last week after leading the Coe College women’s basketball team to a pair of victories. By beating Dubuque 77-64 and Buena Vista 61-55, the Kohawks ran their winning streak to eight consecutive games.

Kirkham, a freshman point guard, was named the American Rivers Conference Female Athlete of the Week and the women’s basketball Player of the Week. Against Dubuque, Kirkham scored a team-high 20 points with a career-high nine assists, while adding three rebounds and a steal. She finished 8 of 11 from the field and 2 of 3 from 3-point range.

Despite foul trouble limiting her to 25 minutes against Buena Vista, Kirkham finished with 16 points, six assists and four rebounds, shooting 4 of 6 from the floor and 8 of 10 from the line. She had a dominant fourth quarter, closing the game with 12 points in the final 10 minutes.

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