The Florida State University football team has had a difficult start to Mike Norvell’s tenure. Now, the first-year head coach will miss Saturday’s game at Miami (Fla.) after testing positive for COVID-19.
According to The Washington Post, Norvell tested positive on Friday. Fortunately, the Seminoles (0-1) were off last week, as Samford had decided in August to cancel their game. However, the ACC requires any member of a football team to isolate for 10 days after testing positive, which means Norvell won’t be in person for Saturday’s game at 12th-ranked Miami (2-0). Deputy head coach Chris Thomsen will serve as the in-person coach.
“My result was surprising to me, but we have prepared for a potential positive result among anyone in our program, and we will put that plan in place while I am away,” Norvell said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. “I will remain involved remotely as much as possible to help our team continue to prepare.”
He’ll be the first head coach of a major program to miss a game due to COVID-19. USA Today reported that two high-level coaches tested positive in the offseason, with Toledo’s Jason Candle testing positive in July and UCLA’s Chip Kelly testing positive in March.
Norvell said his wife and daughter tested negative, but they are still quarantining. Florida State athletic director David Coburn said that, despite the positive test, the game against Miami is moving forward as planned.
“This is unfortunate, but luckily Coach is feeling fine. We are proceeding with our COVID protocols as we would with any other case," Coburn said, according to USA Today. "Coach is isolated and university tracing staff is handling the contact tracing as they normally do. We will continue to test staff and student-athletes as we have been.
"We have communicated with Commissioner John Swofford and Miami Athletics Director Blake James. At this point, based on our testing this week, we have no reason to believe that the Miami game is in jeopardy."
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It’s been an interesting year in Tallahassee, Fla. Since Norvell was hired last December, FSU players have boycotted workouts and said he lied about the program’s response to the death of George Floyd, players have sat out practice due to a lack of transparency in COVID-19 testing, and Norvell took a 25 percent pay cut due to COVID-19’s financial toll.
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At the prep level, a coach testing positive has caused games to be postponed. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported Monday that Genesee High School in Idaho had to postpone last Saturday’s game against Clearwater Valley after a Genesee coach tested positive. More games are in jeopardy, as the Genesee players have to self-isolate for almost two weeks, according to athletic director Kelly Caldwell.