2015   CLINICS

Coach Wyatt's "News You Can Use"

american flagTUESDAY,   MAY 26, 2015


*********** Memorial Day, once known as "Decoration Day," was originally set aside to honor the men who died in the Civil War. (There was a time when certain southern states did not observe it, preferring instead to observe their own Memorial Days to honor Confederate war dead.)

The Civil War soldiers called it "seeing the elephant." It meant experiencing combat. They started out cocky, but soon learned how suddenly horrible - how unforgiving and inescapable - combat could be. By the end of the Civil War 620,000 of them on both sides lay dead. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were left dead or homeless.

"I have never realized the 'pomp and circumstance' of glorious war before this," a Confederate soldier bitterly wrote, "Men...lying in every conceivable position; the dead...with eyes open, the wounded begging piteously for help."

"All around, strange mingled roar - shouts of defiance, rally, and desperation; and underneath, murmured entreaty and stifled moans; gasping prayers, snatches of Sabbath song, whispers of loved names; everywhere men torn and broken, staggering, creeping, quivering on the earth, and dead faces with strangely fixed eyes staring stark into the sky. Things which cannot be told - nor dreamed. How men held on, each one knows, - not I."

Each battle was a story of great courage and audacity, sometimes of miscommunication and foolishness. But it's the casualty numbers that catch our eyes. The numbers roll by and they are hard for us to believe even in these days of modern warfare. Shiloh: 23,741, Seven Days: 36,463, Antietam: 26,134, Fredericksburg: 17,962, Gettysburg: 51,112, and on and on (in most cases, the South named battles after the town that served as their headquarters in that conflict, the North named them after nearby rivers or creeks - so "Manassas" for the South was "Bull Run" for the North; "Antietam" for the Union was "Sharpsburg"  for the Confederacy).

General William T. Sherman looked at the aftermath of Shiloh and wrote, "The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war."

From "Seeing the Elephant" - Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh - Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves - New York: Greenwood Press, 1989


"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.... In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire." Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.

At a time in our history when fewer than five per cent of the people who govern us have served in our Armed Forced, it is useful to go back to another time, to men such as Oliver Wendel Homes, Jr.

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.  was born in Boston in 1841, the son of a famous poet and physician. In his lifetime he would see combat in the Civil War then go on to become a noted lawyer and, finally, for 30 years, a justice of the Supreme Court. So respected was he that he became known as "The Yankee From Olympus."

He graduated from Harvard University in 1861. After graduation, with the Civil War underway, he joined the United States Army and saw combat action in the Peninsula Campaign and the Wilderness, and was injured at the Battles of Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. He was discharged in 1864 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

The story is told of Holmes that in July 1864, as the Confederate general Jubal Early conducted a raid north of Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln came out to watch the battle. As Lincoln watched, an officer right next to him was hit by a sniper's bullet. The young Holmes, not realizing who he was speaking to, shouted to the President, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"

After the war's conclusion, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866, and went into private practice in Boston.

In 1882, he became both a professor at Harvard Law School and a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1899, he was appointed Chief Justice of the court.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt named Holmes to the United States Supreme Court, where he served for more than 30 years, until January 1932.

Over the years, as a distinguished citizen who knew what it meant to fight for his country, he would reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, and of the soldier's contribution to preserving our way of life...

On Memorial Day, 1884, 20 years after the end of the Civil War, Mr. Holmes said,

Accidents may call up the events of the war. You see a battery of guns go by at a trot, and for a moment you are back at White Oak Swamp, or Antietam, or on the Jerusalem Road. You hear a few shots fired in the distance, and for an instant your heart stops as you say to yourself, The skirmishers are at it, and listen for the long roll of fire from the main line.
You meet an old comrade after many years of absence, he recalls the moment that you were nearly surrounded by the enemy, and again there comes up to you that swift and cunning thinking on which once hung life and freedom--Shall I stand the best chance if I try the pistol or the sabre on that man who means to stop me? Will he get his carbine free before I reach him, or can I kill him first? These and the thousand other events we have known are called up, I say, by accident, and, apart from accident, they lie forgotten.
But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.
I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.

From Justice Holmes' address to the graduating class of Harvard University on Memorial Day, 1895

The society for which many philanthropists, labor reformers, and men of fashion unite in longing is one in which they may be comfortable and may shine without much trouble or any danger. The unfortunately growing hatred of the poor for the rich seems to me to rest on the belief that money is the main thing (a belief in which the poor have been encouraged by the rich), more than on any other grievance. Most of my hearers would rather that their daughters or their sisters should marry a son of one of the great rich families than a regular army officer, were he as beautiful, brave, and gifted as Sir William Napier. I have heard the question asked whether our war was worth fighting, after all. There are many, poor and rich, who think that love of country is an old wife's tale, to be replaced by interest in a labor union, or, under the name of cosmopolitanism, by a rootless self-seeking search for a place where the most enjoyment may be had at the least cost.

I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.

Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts under foot. If you wait in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that of Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden at night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spottsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode you heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been in the picket-line at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the splat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man's body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear --if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and triumph in war; you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief.

On the eve of Memorial Day, 1931, at the age of 90, Mr. Justice Holmes wrote to a friend:

"I shall go out to Arlington tomorrow, Memorial Day, and visit the gravestone with my name and my wife's on it, and be stirred by the military music, and, instead of bothering about the Unknown Soldier shall go to another stone that tells beneath it are the bones of, I don't remember the number but two or three thousand and odd, once soldiers gathered from the Virginia fields after the Civil War. I heard a woman say there once, 'They gave their all. They gave their very names.' Later perhaps some people will come in to say goodbye."

Justice Holmes died on March 6, 1935, two days short of his 94th birthday, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. So spry and alert was he, right up to the end, that it's said that one day, when he was in his nineties, he saw an attractive young woman and said, "Oh, to be seventy again!"

A 1951 Hollywood motion picture, The Magnificent Yankee, was based on his life.

*********** Several years ago, I visited the First Division (Big Red One) Museum in Wheaton, Illinois, where I read these lines, and thought of all the Americans who died in service of their country - men who in the memories of those they left behind will be forever young...

If you are able
Save a place for them inside of you,
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving for places
They can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you loved them,
Though you may or may not always have.
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you with their dying,
And keep it with your own.
And in that time when men feel safe
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace these gentle heroes
You left behind.
by Major Michael D. O'Donnell...
shortly before being killed in action in Vietnam, 1970

***********After graduation from Harvard in 1910, Alan Seeger lived the life of a bohemian/beatnik/ hippie poet in New York City's Greenwich Village.  In 1914, he moved to Paris, and when war with Germany broke out, like a number of other young Americans,  he joined the French Foreign Legion to fight with the Allies. On July 4, 1916, nine months  before America joined the war on the side of the Allies, he was killed in the Battle of the Somme. He was 28. A year after his death, his poems were published.  The best known of his poems was "I Have a Rendezvous With Death," which according to the JFK Library, "was one of President Kennedy's favorite poems.
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
By Alan Seeger 
I HAVE a rendezvous with Death     
At some disputed barricade,     
When Spring comes back with rustling shade     
And apple-blossoms fill the air—     
I have a rendezvous with Death          
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.     
It may be he shall take my hand     
And lead me into his dark land     
And close my eyes and quench my breath—     
It may be I shall pass him still. 
I have a rendezvous with Death     
On some scarred slope of battered hill,     
When Spring comes round again this year     
And the first meadow-flowers appear.     
God knows 'twere better to be deep     
Pillowed in silk and scented down,     
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,     
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,     
Where hushed awakenings are dear...  
But I've a rendezvous with Death     
At midnight in some flaming town,     
When Spring trips north again this year,     
And I to my pledged word am true,     
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

*********** Poppies once symbolized the Great War,  or The World War,  or - The War to End All Wars (so-called because, in the conceit that seems to follow every war, people  just knew that after the horror of that conflict, mankind would do anything in its power to avoid ever going to war again.)

Following the World War, Americans began to observe  the week leading up to Memorial Day as Poppy Week, and long after the World War ended, veterans' organizations in America, Australia and other nations which had fought in the war sold imitation poppies every year at this time to raise funds to assist disabled veterans.

It was largely because of a poem by a Canadian surgeon, Major John McCrae, that the poppy, which burst into bloom all over the once-bloody battlefields of northern Europe, came to symbolize the rebirth of life following the tragedy of war.

After having spent seventeen days hearing the screams and dealing with the suffering of men wounded in the bloody battle at Ypres, in Flanders (a part of Belgium) in the spring of 1915, Major McCrae wrote, "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."
Major McCrae was especially affected by the death of a close friend and former student. Following his burial - at which, in the absence of a chaplain, Major McCrae himself had had to preside - the Major sat in the back of an ambulance and, gazing out at the wild poppies growing in a nearby cemetery, composed a poem, scribbling the words in a notebook.

When he was done, though, he discarded it. Only through the efforts of a fellow officer, who rescued it and sent it to newspapers in England, was it ever published.

Now, the poem, "In Flanders Fields", is considered perhaps the greatest of all wartime poems.

The special significance of the poppies is that poppy seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years, only flowering when the soil has been turned over.

The soil of northern Belgium had been so churned up by the violence of war that at the time Major McCrae wrote his poem, the poppies were said to be blossoming in a profusion that no one could  remember ever having seen before.

In Flanders Fields... by John McCrae        

In Flanders fields the poppies blow   
Between the crosses, row on row,   
That mark our place; and in the sky  
The larks, still bravely singing, fly   
Scarce heard amid the guns below.        

We are the Dead. Short days ago   
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,   
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie   
In Flanders fields.        

Take up our quarrel with the foe:   
To you from failing hands we throw   
The torch; be yours to hold it high.   
If ye break faith with us who die   
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow   
In Flanders fields.

*********** Robert W. Service is one of my favorite poets. I especially like his poems about the Alaska Gold Rush - who hasn't ever heard "The Cremation of Sam McGee?" -  but this one, about a young English soldier going off to fight in World War I,  and the grief of his father at learning of his death, is heartbreaking, and especially poignant on a day when we remember our people who gave everything, and the loved ones they left behind..

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad, On this glittering morn of May?"   
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad; They're looking for men, they say."   
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad; You aren't obliged to go."   
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad, And ever so strong, you know."        

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad, And you're looking so fit and bright."   
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad, But I feel that I'm doing right."   
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad, You're all of my life, you know."   
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad, And I'm awfully proud to go."        

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad? I watch for the post each day;   
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad, And it's months since you went away.   
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit, And I'm keeping it burning bright   
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit Into the quiet night."        

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad? No letter again to-day.   
Why did the postman look so sad, And sigh as he turned away?   
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground, But a terrible price we've paid:   
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound; But oh I'm afraid, afraid."        

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad: You'll never come back again:   
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad, And you proved in the cruel test   
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell That my boy was one of the best.        

"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad, In the gleam of the evening star,   
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child, In all sweet things that are.   
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy, While life is noble and true;   
For all our beauty and hope and joy We will owe to our lads like you."

*********** Hugh Brodie, an Australian, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in Melbourne on 15 September 1940. In 1942, Sergeant Brodie was listed Missing in Action. Before he left us, though, he wrote "A Sergeant's Prayer"

Almighty and all present Power,
Short is the prayer I make to Thee,
I do not ask in battle hour
For any shield to cover me.

The vast unalterable way,
From which the stars do not depart
May not be turned aside to stay
The bullet flying to my heart.

I ask no help to strike my foe,
I seek no petty victory here,
The enemy I hate, I know,
To Thee is also dear.

But this I pray, be at my side
When death is drawing through the sky.
Almighty God who also died
Teach me the way that I should die.

*********** Like many other phenomena in life, history has a tendency to be fickle. In 2001, some thirty-four years after the Battle of Ông Thanh, and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973, which was followed by the "honorable peace" that saw the North Vietnamese army conquer South Vietnam in 1975 in violation of the Paris Peace Accords, most historians, as well as a large majority of the American people, may consider the U.S. involvement in Vietnam a disastrous and tragic waste and a time of shame in U.S. history. Consider, however, the fact that since the late 1940s, the Soviet Union was the greatest single threat to U.S. security. Yet for forty years, war between the Soviet Union and the United States was averted. Each time a Soviet threat surfaced during that time (Greece, Turkey, Korea, Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam, and Afghanistan), although it may have been in the form of a "war of national liberation," as the Vietnam war was characterized, the United States gave the Soviet Union the distinct message that each successive threat would not be a Soviet walkover. In fact, the Soviets were stunned by the U.S. reactions in both Korea and Vietnam. They shook their heads, wondering what interest a great power like the United States could have in those two godforsaken countries. They thought: "These Americans are crazy. They have nothing to gain; and yet they fight and lose thousands of men over nothing. They are irrational." Perhaps history in the long-term--two hundred or three hundred years from now--will say that the western democracies, led by the United States, survived in the world, and their philosophy of government of the people, by the people, for the people continues to survive today (in 2301) in some measure due to resolute sacrifices made in the mid-twentieth century by men like those listed in the last chapter of this book. Then the words of Lord Byron, as quoted in this book's preface, will not ring hollow, but instead they will inspire other men and women of honor in the years to come.

From "The Beast was Out There", by Brigadier General James Shelton, USA (Ret.)

Jim Shelton is a former Delaware football player (a wing-T guard) who served in Korea and Vietnam and as a combat infantryman rose to the rank of General. He was in Viet Nam on that fateful day in October, 1967 when Don Holleder was killed. Ironically, he had competed against Don Holleder in college.

Now retired, he has served as Colonel of the Black Lions and was instrumental in the establishment of the Black Lion Award for young American football players. General Shelton personally signs every Black Lions Award certificate.

The title of his book is taken from Captain Jim Kasik's description of the enemy: "the beast was out there, and the beast was hungry."

*********** He's now dead and gone, but  George Jones' music will live on. His "50,000 NAMES" - a tribute to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam - may be THE American Memorial Day song.

(Warning - this could make you cry.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpBiVpSggNs


K I A ... Adkins, Donald W.... Allen, Terry... Anderson, Larry M.... Barker, Gary L.... Blackwell, James L., Jr.... Bolen, Jackie Jr. ... Booker, Joseph O. ... Breeden, Clifford L. Jr ... Camero, Santos... Carrasco, Ralph ... Chaney, Elwood D. Jr... Cook, Melvin B.... Crites, Richard L.... Crutcher, Joe A. ...... Dodson, Wesley E.... Dowling, Francis E.... Durham, Harold B. Jr ... Dye, Edward P. ... East, Leon N.... Ellis, Maurice S.... Familiare, Anthony ... Farrell, Michael J. ...Fuqua, Robert L. Jr. ...Gallagher, Michael J. ...Garcia, Arturo ...Garcia, Melesso ...Gilbert, Stanley D. ...Gilbertson, Verland ...Gribble, Ray N. ...Holleder, Donald W. ...Jagielo, Allen D. ...Johnson, Willie C. Jr ...Jones, Richard W. ...Krischie, John D. ...Lancaster, James E. ...Larson, James E. ...Lincoln, Gary G. ...Lovato, Joe Jr. ...Luberta, Andrew P. ...Megiveron, Emil G. ...Miller, Michael M. ...Moultrie, Joe D. ...Nagy, Robert J. ...Ostroff, Steven L. ...Platosz, Walter ...Plier, Eugene J. ...Porter, Archie ...Randall, Garland J. ...Reece, Ronney D. ...Reilly, Allan V. ...Sarsfield, Harry C. ...Schroder, Jack W. ...Shubert, Jackie E. ...Sikorski, Daniel ...Smith, Luther ...Thomas, Theodore D. Jr. ...Tizzio, Pasquale T. ...Wilson, Kenneth P. .... M I A ... Fitzgerald, Paul ...Hargrove, Olin Jr


By retired Air Force General Perry Smith (Don Holleder's West Point classmate, roommate and best man)

"If you doubt the axiom, 'An aggressive leader is priceless,' ...if you prefer the air arm to the infantry in football, if you are not convinced we recruited cadet-athletes of superior leadership potential, then you must hear the story of Donald Walter Holleder. The saga of Holleder stands unique in Army and, perhaps, all college gridiron lore." Hence begins the chapter, "You are my quarterback", in Coach Red Blaik's 1960 book, You Have to Pay the Price. Every cadet in the classes of 1956, 57, 58 and 59, and everyone who was part of the Army family at West Point and throughout the world will remember, even 50 years after the fact, the "Great Experiment". But there is much more to the Holleder story. .

Holly was born and brought up in a tight knit Catholic family in upstate New York. He was an only child whose father died when Don was quite young. Doc Blanchard recruited high school All American Holleder who entered the Point just a few days after he graduated from Aquinas Institute in Rochester. Twice turned out for academic difficulties, he struggled mightily to stay in the Corps. However as a cadet leader he excelled, serving as a cadet captain and company commander of M-2 his senior year.

Of course, it was in the field of athletics that Don is best known. Never a starter on the basketball team, he nevertheless got playing time as a forward who brought rebounding strength to a team that beat a heavily favored Navy team in the early spring of 1954. That fall, the passing combination of Vann to Holleder quickly caught the attention of the college football world. No one who watched those games will ever forget Holly going deep and leaping into the air to grab a perfectly thrown bomb from Peter Vann. Don was a consensus first team All American that year as a junior.

Three football defeats in 1955 after Holly's conversion to quarterback brought criticism of Coach Blaik and Don from many quarters but the dramatic Army victory over Navy, 14 to 6 brought redemption. Shortly thereafter, Holly received the Swede Nelson award for sportsmanship. The fact that he had given up all chances of becoming a two time all-American and a candidate for the Heisman trophy and he did so without protest or complaint played heavily in the decision by the Nelson committee to select him for this prestigious award.

Holly's eleven year career in the Army included the normal schools at Benning and Leavenworth, company command in Korea, coaching and recruiting at West Point and serving as the commanding general's aide at Fortress Monroe. After graduating from Command and General Staff College, he was off to Vietnam.

Arriving in July, 1967, Holly was assigned to the Big Red One--the First Infantry Division-- and had considerable combat experience before that tragic day in the fall--October 17. Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen's battalion was ambushed and overrun--the troops on the ground were is desperate shape. Holleder was serving as the operations officer of the 28th Brigade--famous Black Lions. Hearing the anguished radio calls for help from the soldiers on the ground, Holly convinced his brigade commander that he had to get on the ground to help. Jumping out of his helicopter, Holly rallied some troops and raced toward the spot where the wounded soldiers were fighting.

The Newsweek article a few days after his death tells what happened next. "With the Viet Cong firing from two sides, the U. S. troops now began retreating pell-mell back to their base camp, carrying as many of their wounded as they could, The medic Tom "Doc" Hinger was among those who staggered out of the bush and headed across an open marshy plain toward the base, 200 meters away. But on the way he ran into big, forceful Major Donald W. Holleder, 33, an All-American football player at West Point..., going the other way--toward the scene of the battle. Holleder, operations officer for the brigade, had not been in the fight until now. ' Come on Doc, he shouted to Hinger, 'There are still wounded in there. I need your help.'

"Hinger said later: 'I was exhausted. But having never seen such a commander, I ran after him. What an officer! He went on ahead of us--literally running to the point position'. Then a burst of fire from the trees caught Holleder. 'He was hit in the shoulder recalled Hinger. 'I started to patch him up, but he died in my arms.' The medic added he had been with Holleder for only three minutes, but would remember the Major's gallantry for the rest of his life." Holly died as he lived: the willingness to make great sacrifices prevailed to the minute of his death.

Caroline was left a young widow. She later married our West Point classmate, Ernie Ruffner, who became a loving husband and father to the four Holleder daughters. All the daughters are happily married and there are eight wonderful and loving grandchildren.

The legacy of Donald Walter Holleder will remain an important part of the West Point story forever. The Holleder Army Reserve Center in Webster, New York, the Holleder Parkway in Rochester and the Holleder Athletic Center at West Point all help further Don's legacy. In 1985, Holly was inducted into College Football Hall of Fame. A 2003 best selling book, They Marched into Sunlight, by David Maraniss tells the story of Holleder and the Black Lions. Tom Hanks has purchased the film rights to the book.

An innovative high school coach, Hugh Wyatt, decide to further memorialize Don's legacy by establishing the Black Lion Award. Each year at hundreds of high schools, middle schools and youth football programs across the country, a single football player on each team is selected "who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and--above all--an unselfish concern for his team ahead of himself." Starting in 2005, this award is presented to a member of the Army football team each year.

Anyone who wishes to extend Holleder's legacy can do so by approaching their local football coaches and encouraging them to make the Black Lion Award a part of their tradition. Coach Hugh Wyatt can be contacted by e mail (coachwyatt@aol.com).

All West Pointers can be proud of Donald Walter Holleder; for him there were no impossible dreams, only challenges to seek out and to conquer. Forty years after his death thousands of friends and millions of fans still remember him and salute him for his character and supreme courage.

By Retired Air Force General Perry Smith, classmate and roommate, with great assistance from Don's family members, Stacey Jones and Ernie Ruffner, classmates, Jerry Amlong, Peter Vann and JJ McGinn, and battlefield medic, Doc Hinger.

*********** "Major Holleder overflew the area (under attack) and saw a whole lot of Viet Cong and many American soldiers, most wounded, trying to make their way our of the ambush area. He landed and headed straight into the jungle, gathering a few soldiers to help him go get the wounded. A sniper's shot killed him before he could get very far. He was a risk-taker who put the common good ahead of himself, whether it was giving up a position in which he had excelled or putting himself in harm's way in an attempt to save the lives of his men. My contact with Major Holleder was very brief and occured just before he was killed, but I have never forgotten him and the sacrifice he made. On a day when acts of heroism were the rule, rather than the exception, his stood out."

    Black Lions medic Dave Berry


In 1954-55 I lived at West Point N.Y. where my father was stationed as a member of the staff at the United States Military Academy.

Don Holleder was an All American end on the Red Blaik coached Army football team which was a perennial eastern gridiron power in 40s and 50s. On Fall days I would run home from the post school, drop off my books, and head directly to the Army varsity practice field which overlooked the Hudson River and was only a short sprint from my house.

Army had a number of outstanding players on the roster back then, but my focus was on Don Holleder, our All-America end turned quarterback in a controversial position change that had sportswriters and Army fans buzzing throughout the college football community that year.

Don looked like a hero, tall, square jawed, almost stately in his appearance. He practiced like he played, full out all the time. He was the obvious leader of the team in addition to being its best athlete and player.

In 1955 it was common for star players to play both sides of the ball and Don was no exception delivering the most punishing tackles in practice as well as game situations. At the end of practice the Army players would walk past the parade ground (The Plain), then past my house and into the Arvin Gymnasium where the team's locker room was located.

Very often I would take that walk stride for stride with Don and the team and best of all, Don would sometimes let me carry his helmet. It was gold with a black stripe down the middle and had the most wonderful smell of sweat and leather. Inside the helmet suspension was taped a sweaty number 16, Don's jersey number.

While Don's teammates would talk and laugh among themselves in typical locker room banter, Don would ask me about school, show me how to grip the ball and occasionally chide his buddies if the joking ever got bawdy in front of "the little guy". On Saturdays I lived and died with Don's exploits on the field in Michie Stadium.

In his senior year Don's picture graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and he led Army to a winning season culminating in a stirring victory over Navy in front of 100,000 fans in Philadelphia. During that incredible year I don't ever remember Don not taking time to talk to me and patiently answer my boyish questions about the South Carolina or Michigan defense ("I'll bet they don't have anybody as fast as you, huh, Don?").

Don graduated with his class in June 1956 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Coincidentally, my Dad was also assigned to the 25th at the same time so I got to watch Don quarterback the 14th Infantry Regiment football team to the Division championship in 1957.

There was one major drawback to all of Don's football-gained notoriety - he wanted no part of it. He wanted to be a soldier and an infantry leader. But division recreational football was a big deal in the Army back then and for someone with Don's college credentials not to play was unheard of.

In the first place players got a lot of perks for representing their Regiment, not to mention hero status with the chain of command. Nevertheless, Don wanted to trade his football helmet for a steel pot and finally, with the help of my Dad, he succeeded in retiring from competitive football and getting on with his military profession.

It came as no surprise to anyone who knew Don that he was a natural leader of men in arms, demanding yet compassionate, dedicated to his men and above all fearless. Sure enough after a couple of TO&E infantry tours his reputation as a soldier matched his former prowess as an athlete.

It was this reputation that won him the favor of the Army brass and he soon found himself as an Aide-de-camp to the four star commander of the Continental Army Command in beautiful Ft Monroe, Virginia.

With the Viet Nam War escalating and American combat casualties increasing every day, Ft Monroe would be a great place to wait out the action and still promote one's Army career - a high-profile job with a four star senior rater, safely distanced from the conflict in southeast Asia.

Once again, Don wanted no part of this safe harbor and respectfully lobbied his boss, General Hugh P. Harris to get him to Troops in Viet Nam. Don got his wish but not very long after arriving at the First Division he was killed attempting to lead a relief column to wounded comrades caught in a Viet Cong ambush.
I remember the day I found out about Don's death. I was in the barber's chair at The Citadel my sophomore year when General Harris (Don's old boss at Ft Monroe, now President of The Citadel) walked over to me and motioned me outside.

He knew Don was a friend of mine and sought me out to tell me that he was KIA. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. As I stood there in front of the General the tears welled up in my eyes and I said "No, please, sir. Don't say that." General Harris showed no emotion and I realized that he had experienced this kind of hurt too many times to let it show. "Biff", he said, "Don died doing his duty and serving his country. He had alternatives but wouldn't have it any other way. We will always be proud of him, Biff."

With that, he turned and walked away. As I watched him go I didn't know the truth of his parting words. I shed tears of both pride and sorrow that day in 1967, just as I am doing now, 34 years later, as I write this remembrance. In my mind's eye I see Don walking with his teammates after practice back at West Point, their football cleats making that signature metallic clicking on concrete as they pass my house at the edge of the parade ground; he was a leader among leaders.

As I have been writing this, I periodically looked up at the November 28, 1955 Sports Illustrated cover which hangs on my office wall, to make sure I'm not saying anything Don wouldn't approve of, but he's smiling out from under that beautiful gold helmet and thinking about the Navy game. General Harris was right. We will always be proud of Don Holleder, my boyhood hero...

Biff Messinger, Mountainville, New York, 2001

***********  A retired Navy captain wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the strict criteria for awarding the Medal of Honor (frequently called the Congressional Medal of Honor)...

"Remember the Marine Corps requirement: Fall on a hand grenade to save your fellow Marines and the grenade fails to explode, you get a Navy Cross; if the grenade explodes, you might get the Medal of Honor."

The Medal of Honor was meant to be awarded sparingly,  Of the hundreds of thousands of men who fought in in our Twentieth Century wars, here are the numbers of Medals of Honor Awarded:

WW I  124
WW II  464
Korea 135
Vietnam  246

There were 1522 Medals of Honor awarded as a result of Civil War. Actually, there were more than that,  but  over 900 were later rescinded.

One reason was that in the Civil War, the Medal of Honor was the only medal awarded for valor. Another reason was the enormous number of casualties suffered in that war.


*********** Other nations lost men in the same wars we did, and they, too, honor their men who gave all, in poem and song.

Sad?  Ohmigod.  What can be sadder than the loss of a young man, one of a country's finest,  in a distant war?

One such song is known by some as "No Man's Land" and by others as "The Green Fields of France" - but either way  it's a sad lament about a young soldier named Willie McBride, killed in battle in 1916 while still a teenager.

Trigger warning: This is VERY sad.


Another very sad ballad, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," is the story of a young Australian sent off to fight in World War I.  He was shipped off to Gallipoli where thousands of "Anzacs" (Australians and New Zealanders) were slaughtered by Turkish machine-gun fire. (I highly recommend the movie, "Gallipoli")

Although he escaped death, his legs were blown off, and his story in the song  is told from the perspective of a now-old man.

Trigger warning: So is this..


*********** Trophies for everybody. There was a time when most Americans knew why we put aside one day a year called Memorial Day -  to honor, to memorialize, those who lost their lives in service of their country. 

Not, as the 60 or so people who bought paid ads in our local paper seem to think, to remember some loved one who never died in battle - never even served in the Armed Forces, for that matter - but simply did what we’re all destined to do one day.  Died.  I hate to ruin their holiday by telling them that Memorial Day is not about remembering Aunt Clara, but somebody's got to.

There are other days for that.

And there are also other days for saying “thank you for your service” to veterans or active duty personnel.  364 others, if you’re really sincere.  And there's a special one, called Veterans’ Day, when our nation honors and thanks its veterans.

Oh, well. Come to think of it: is there even one holiday - one single holiday - that hasn’t been given another meaning, one often more significant now than the original one?

New Year’s Day - Bowl Games

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday - It’s still too new a national holiday to tell what the public will do with it

Presidents’ Day - Sale! Sale! Sale! (Used to be two separate holidays. Now, few school kids could tell you which presidents it refers to.)

St. Patrick’s Day - Scarcely observed in Ireland, it’s a massive drunk in much of the US

Easter - Bunnies and Easter eggs.  Spring Break.

Mother’s Day - This is the one that stands out.  If anything, it's grown stronger.  Traditionally, this was the day when the phone company’s circuits failed. Do NOT schedule anything else on this day.   Do NOT get drunk.

Cinco de Mayo - A holiday that means nothing in Mexico has been turned into a Hispanic St. Patrick’s Day

Memorial Day - The start of summer; the Indy 500

July 4 - Fireworks and beer and hot dogs (And baseball double headers, for those old enough to remember.)

Labor Day - The end of summer; the start of college football

Veterans Day - Used to be called Armistice Day, when  we celebrated the end of a horrible world war

Hallowe’en - Used to be for kids to go trick-or-treating. Now, that’s no longer safe,  but no matter, kiddies - adult partiers have made it the second-biggest beer sales day of the year

Thanksgiving - Don’t you mean “Turkey Day?”  The only time the Lions are on  national TV?

Christmas - The “holiday” in “Happy Holidays.”
aka "Winter Holiday."

*********** In this past  weekend’s Wall Street Journal, a writer named Jerry Ciancolo urges  us, the next time we pass a War Memorial with the names of dead Americans on it, to stop - and  “Touch the names of those who never came home.”

He asks that we dispense with referring to “hollow abstractions” such as “ultimate sacrifices,” and to think in everyday terms.

Many of those young guys, he reminds us...

never set foot on campus.  They never straightened a tie and headed to a first real job. They never slipped a ring on a sweetheart’s finger. They never swelled with hope turning the key to a starter home.  They never nestled an infant against a bare chest.  They never roughhoused in the living room with an exasperated wife looking on. They never tiptoed to lay out Santa’s toys.  They never dabbed a tear while walking their princess down the aisle. They never toasted their son’s promotion.  They never rekindled their love as empty nesters.  They never heard a new generation cry out, “I love you, Grandpa!”

A lifetime of big and little moments never happened because of a bullet to the body one day in a far-off land.  For those who crumpled to the ground, the tapestry of life was left unknit.

A moment’s reflection is all it takes to realize that every name on your town’s monument was a real person.  One who bicycled the same streets as you, who sleepily delivered the morning Gazette, who was kept after school for cutting up, who sneaked a smoke out back, who cannon-balled into the local pond in the dog days of summer.

On Memorial Day - with your smartphone turned off - pay a visit to your local monument. Quietly stand before the honor roll of the dead, whisper a word of thanks, and gently run your finger across their names. The touch will be comforting.

*********** For nine years, we lived in Western Maryland, first in Frederick, then in Hagerstown, and one of our favorite things to do with our kids was to pile in our van and drive to Antietam Battlefield, just 20 miles from Hagerstown.

Gettysburg wasn’t that far away, either, and we went there a few times, but Gettysburg was usually crowded and, well, Gettysburg is cluttered. Every unit that ever fought there, every state that ever had units that fought there, seemingly every family that had a soldier who ever fought there, has erected a monument somewhere on the battlefield, to the point where it’s very difficult to picture what things must have looked like in 1863.  Throw in souvenir shops and similar catchpennies that await the throngs of tourists, and…well, let's just say that Gettysburg is being loved to death.

And then there’s Antietam, site of the bloodiest single day of the war, where a Union victory gave Abraham Lincoln the chance he had been looking for to announce the emancipation of slaves - well, in the Confederate States, at least.  A symbolic gesture, true, but an enormous gesture - one that brought to an end the claim that the war was being fought just to “save the union” - from that point it was just as much to end slavery.

My wife and I paid another visit to Antietam last week, but this one seemed especially poignant, coming so close to memorial Day.

The Antietam battlefield is just outside the lovely old town of Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Southerners called it the Battle of Sharpsburg, Northerners “Antietam” because of the creek that flows through the area. (Southerners named battles for nearby towns, northerners for nearby geographic features, e.g., Manassas is better known as Bull Run. Winners, as we know, write the history.)

Sharpsburg looks, with the exception of the paved road running through it, much as it would have in 1862, and although it may have an ice cream parlor or two, it has not succumbed to commercialization. Neither has the nearby, slightly larger town of Boonsboro.

The battlefield itself is beautiful, rolling Maryland farmland, nestled against the western slope of South Mountain.  Although marked with a few columns and statues and informative signs here and there, it has for the most part been spared the pressure to honor everyone who ever fought there, and as a result, it’s possible to tour the area and see it just as it might have looked in 1862 - right before all hell broke loose. 
Bloody Lane thenBloody Lane Now

No place is the contrast between the bucolic peacefulness of the countryside and the butchery that took place there greater  than at the Sunken Road, a wagon lane between two fields worn down by years of use.

With Confederates entrenched in the sunken road, fence posts piled up on both sides to reinforce their position, Union forces attacked, and after three hours of fighting - to no conclusion - more than 5,500 men on both sides were either killed or wounded.

My photo was taken on Monday, May 18.  It was beautiful and peaceful, the way it's been, with one brief interruption, for hundreds of years, and I found it impossible to picture the horror that took place there more than 150 years before, along that quarter-mile stretch of road that has been known ever since as Bloody Lane.


american flagFRIDAY,  MAY 22,  2015-   “It is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive." MItch Daniels, Purdue University President

********** It was inevitable, I suppose, but on YouTube these days, you can find quite a few of the great games as they were broadcast.

Pepper and Homer's last game against USC.  You can open Installing Football's Wishbone T Offense and follow along as the game progresses.  Virtually the entire playbook.

UCLA beats Ohio State.  Remember John Sciarra?

Arkansas demolishes Oklahoma.  Here again, you can open Holtz's The Offensive Side of Lou Holtz and find any play on the TeeVee, chapter and verse.

How much disk space do you have?

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Flor

John Sciarra.  Mark Harmon.  Ron Calcagni.

The list goes on.

The way the cost of storage keeps coming down, I could afford to download that stuff

*********** At just about this time 40 years ago,  I flew west to start work with the Portland Thunder, in my second go-round with the World Football League.  My wife and kids weren’t able to join me until school was out in Maryland, where we were living, and their drive across the country in our VW minibus - my wife, four kids, a dog and a cat - is a story in itself.

I had high hopes that this time the WFL was going to make it, but I didn’t have any illusions: I had already seen the league fold under me once, leaving me and a couple hundred coaches and front-office people and assorted other workers  jobless, and I had my eyes open this time. Sort of. My boss-to-be, Bob Brodhead, had solid NFL experience, and he was in demand by a number of WFL franchises.  He was talking seriously to ownership groups in Jacksonville, San Antonio and Portland.  I’d been to all three cities the year before, and although I liked them all, Portland had blown me away. Of all three places, I told Bob, Portland was the place I wanted to be if the league ran out of gas.  I don’t know if that made any difference with Bob (and I would have gladly gone with him to any one of the three cities), but he wound up choosing Portland, and the decision had a huge impact on my life and that of my wife and kids.

(On my first-ever trip to Portland, in 1974, I was of course impressed by the beauty of the surroundings - the trees, the mountains, the river.  But what really did it for me was the summer weather. Having grown up in hot, muggy Philadelphia, and then having lived in hot, muggy Maryland, the most amazing thing to me was that while the temperature was in the 90s, it just didn’t seem uncomfortable.  It was my first real experience with hot weather without the humidity, and after growing up in the steamy East and never realizing that it wasn’t that way everywhere, it sold me on living there.)

*********** We just returned from a week-long trip back East.

Its purpose was a clinic/camp, one that I decided on rather late, after a winter-spring of assorted events conspired to make me cancel this year’s normal clinic schedule.

A secondary purpose, since my wife and I are originally from the Philadelphia area and we lived for the first 15 years of our married lives in Maryland, was a chance to visit some old friends and some old, familiar places. And eat some old familiar foods.

We flew into Philadelphia, with a change go planes in Chicago.  Note to Nebraska athletic department:  that may have been your track team in Midway Airport last Wednesday.  I’m not sure, because normally, when I see teams on their way to an event, they’re dressed in team attire. My guess is that for Christmas, this group of young, athletic looking people each received a different item of clothing saying “Nebraska Track.”  That had to be the case, because no one was wearing a complete Nebraska sweat suit, and I doubt that any two people were wearing matching outfits. My wife’s comment said it all for me: “What a motley-looking crew.”  I actually tried calling the NU athletic office to report that a large mob was moving through an airport posing as their track team, but I got one of those “your call is important to us” messages, so screw them.  Maybe I should have called the football office to tell them to send the track team even more of their money so they can actually look like they represent a real Big Ten university. 

Our first stop in Philly after picking up our rental car is on York Road in Abington, a northern suburb where my wife grew up. We go back and forth - Lee’s Hoagies? or Steak and Hoagie Factory? They’re both good.

A hoagie, a cheese steak, and a six-pack of Yuengling’s, and we’re set for dinner back in our hotel room.

The next day, I had lunch with three high school classmates, all of them football teammates.  Two of the guys, Hap Gwynn and Mike Carrozza, have taken on the challenge of getting our unbeaten 1955 team inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame. Good luck.  Shortly after we graduated, a generous gift of land from the publisher of one of Philadelphia’s newspapers, enabled the school, Germantown Academy, to move from its location in the congested, declining Germantown section - where it had been since 1760 - to a distant beautiful, leafy location far out of the city, in Fort Washington.  Part of the deal, though, was that in addition to the move, the school would admit girls.

Done. Welcome, ladies.

Bye-bye, Germantown.

We loved our school and we opposed the changes, but in reality, they enabled our school to take giant bounds forward from the middle-class private school we knew to the first-class prep school that exists today.  I’m fairly certain that if Germantown Academy had remained in Germantown itself, the school would have gone bankrupt long ago.

Sports hall of fame?  If it matters to anyone (it doesn’t to me) we’re fighting the battle of the sexes combined with the perception that we weren’t even wearing helmets back then and besides, who cares about something that happened way back in the last century?

I mean, there’s already been a girls’ cross country team inducted.

Then there’s this Germantown vs. Fort Washington thing.

GA-PC 1929Despite a history of sports that dates back to its first football game in 1887, there has only been one team admitted to the school hall of fame from the Germantown, all-male days - the 1952 football team (which may have been the best in the city).

The photo at left is from the 1929 game against archrival Penn Charter, the 33rd consecutive game between them. Begun back in 1887, GA-PC is the oldest uninterrupted high school rivalry in the country.

Meantime a championship girls’ cross country team is in.

Oh, well.

(The best treatment of the impermanence of fame - and one of my all-time favorite books - is Philip Roth’s “The Great American Novel,” a hilarious story of an elderly sports writer, spending his last days in some old folks’ home, whose recollections of an ill-fated Patriot League and a baseball team called the Ruppert Mundys, right down to the smallest quirks of every man on the team, are as real as yesterday too him, but to those around him simply the babblings of an old fart who’s lost his marbles.)

On Friday I stopped off at a Fedex Kinko to get some handouts printed for the clinic, and, this being Philadelphia, it didn’t take long to get a sports conversation going.

I handed my materials to the guy behind the desk, and he took a look and said, “Looks like you got a lot of running plays, Coach.”

Which led to my discovery that he’d played high school football at Roman Catholic High and then played a year or two at Temple before injuring his knee. 

Another guy jumped in and we got going on Blair Thomas, who’d played at his high school (Frankford High) and then Penn State, was the Jets’ first round pick, and played six years in the NFL.

And then we got to Rasheed Wallace, another Philly guy, and they were really excited when I told them I was from Portland, where “Sheed" got his start.

From there my wife and I drove  west, to the town of Wrightsville, where the clinic was to take place at Eastern York High School.

We drove along Route 30, through the so-called “Dutch Country” around Lancaster.  Do NOT say LANN-caster.  There, it is LANG-kister. (“Pennsylvania Dutch,” we Pennsylvanians were always taught, was a corruption of “Pennsylvania Deutsch,” and I can remember not so long ago when many people in the area spoke a German dialect.

It is very cool to drive the back roads and see farming still being done by horses and mules. And - if you’re not in a hurry - to be held up on those same roads by horse-drawn buggies. This is one of the few places in th country where you can still see “road apples” on the roads. The Amish and other Plain People stick to their old ways, but a few of them have figured out that city folks will pay money for rides in real Pennsylvania Dutch buggies.


If you only take one trip to this area in your life, you have to make sure to visit Intercourse. That’s Intercourse, Pennsylvania. It was once called Cross Keys, but I can picture the town council meeting when Mr. Stoltzfuss stood up and said, “No one now even knowest that we are on the map. But lettest thou change the name to Intercourse and we will be known far and wide,  and people will pay us visits ever after to buy tee-shirts and cheap souvenirs and take selfies.” 

Mr. Stoltzfuss (a fictional character with a name very common in the area) could not have foreseen the damage done over the years to the town budget by having to replace all those  “Welcome to Intercourse” signs stolen by teenage boys.  Not to mention the budgets of the nearby towns of Bird-in-hand and Blue Ball.

Friday night before the clinic, my wife and I were treated to some real local color by host coach Dave Kemmick, who took us to dinner at Lancaster Liederkranz.  I’ll let them tell it:

Our Mission

In the year 1880, on the fourth day of July, in the city of Lancaster, a group of men of German origin met and organized a Singing Society to be henceforth known as the LIEDERKRANZ.   The object of this organization was to meet fraternally, sing and preserve native songs and music as well as perpetuate social customs of the Homeland.

In the year 1909, the Lancaster Manerchor and the Arbeiter Manerchor consolidated with the LIEDERKRANZ in order to promote the cultivation and improvement of the German chorus as well as sociability.  These principles remain valid.

We continue today as a dynamic family organization dedicated to perpetuating and amplifying our founders'  original purpose through song, dance, language, art, education and international cultural exchange.

The atmosphere, the food and the beverages are reflective of the Lancaster area’s German heritage, but Liederkranz is not some cutesy-poo German-themed tourist attraction. It is decidedly American.  The food and drink are excellent, and because  the help - cooks, waitresses, bartenders - are all volunteers, the prices are astoundingly reasonable.

I especially liked the sauerkraut and the German potato salad.  And the Spaten - great German lager bier.  Mmmm Mmmmm. 

Clinic Saturday started out as my visits in the Mid-Atlantic area have for the last ten years - breakfast with Coach Jason Clarke, of Baltimore.  It’s been great getting to know him and his family over the years, and watching him develop as a coach.  It’s a sign of his dedication that he’ll get up early enough to drive from Baltimore to meet at 7 AM.

The clinic itself couldn’t have gone better from my perspective.  Eastern York High is located in a beautiful spot on a hill with a great view of the Susquehanna River.  Its facilities are excellent - we met in the morning in a choral music room, and after lunch we went outside and worked with Eastern kids on their artificial turf field.

Eastern York PlayersI did my best in the AM to introduce what we were doing to the coaches in attendance so that when we went outside in the afternoon they could jump in and coach if they wanted or simply observe, if that was their preference.

The kids, after a season under Coach Kemmick and his staff, were quite coachable and hard-working.

Among the coaches who’d come a long distance were Paul Herzog, of St,. Paul, Minnesota, who flew in to Baltimore and drove the rest of the way, Tom Caudill, of McDermott, Ohio, who drove seven hours to get there, and Don Gordon of Greeenfield, Massachusetts, who drove six hours.

Chris Galloway, of Elverson, PA has been a long-time regular, and out of the goodness of his heart, he brought me another Pennsylvania Care Package of scrapple and Lebanon bologna. (Look them up.)

Also on hand to lend their expertise after working with the Open Wing at last year’s Durham clinic were Dwayne Pierce of Washington, DC and Brian Mackell, of Baltimore’s Archbishop Curley HS. Coach Mackell volunteered last year to be a “beta tester” of the Open Wing, and his JV team won the district championship.

In a two-hour span, the Eastern kids were introduced to 20 plays - 10 right and 10 left - and variations of them, and did a respectable job of running them.  To be fair, they were not total novices: many of them had had some exposure to the offense before.

No sooner had we left the field than the humidity that had been building up gave way to a brief but powerful downpour.


A coaches’ debriefing session took place at Wrightsville’s Burning Bridge Tavern, so named because it is at the western end of the bridge that crosses the Susquehanna River to Columbia, PA.  More than 100 years ago, during the Civil War, a wooden covered bridge at the same spot was set afire by retreating Union forces, an act that almost certainly saved the city of Lancaster from being taken by Confederates.


The next day, we spent a little time exploring Lancaster, a very old city that’s home to Franklin and Marshall College, and then, driving  around the city of York, I naturally had to stop outside the Harley-Davidson factory to take a picture.


************ John Harbaugh doesn’t like the idea of going for two from the one-yard line.  Says it’s going to get people hurt.  Says more people will try quarterback sneaks, and with the other backs pushing from behind, it’s not going to look like football - it’s going to look like rugby.

Two questions, Coach H:

1.  “Other backs pushing?”  But Coach Harbaugh - isn’t that illegal? (Wink. wink.)

2. Um - so kicking an extra point from the 15 yard line - where kickers still make more than 95 per cent of their kicks - does look like football?

Speaking of rugby, I’d have proposed that football employ the rugby rule that states that the kick for the extra point must take place from a line drawn straight back from the spot where the ball was touched down - literally touched down -  in the end zone.  That would really screw those guys who fly  across the corner pylon, holding  the ball out so it passes through scoring territory.  But it’s never touched down!  Haw, haw - the PAT try will be from somewhere on the f—king sideline!

*********** Next time you watch an NBA game and see all the fans wearing the a tee-shirt in the home team’s colors… it’s part of “shirting” - a carefully-orchestrated scheme to get fans “involved,” an incentive to attend the game live rather than sit home and watch it on the 60-inch TV.   Fans arrive at the arena to find a tee-short on every seat, and then, just to make sure that they get the idea, those who are slow to put on their tee-shirts are single out on the Big Screen and ordered to “Put your shirt on!”

“I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon,” Peter Sorckoff, chief creative officer and senior vice president for marketing for the Atlanta Hawks, told the New York Times. “The way it looks on television is important to teams and to broadcasters. And I really believe in the sociological and psychological impact it has on people. I think people want that. That’s why they are coming to the game. They want more of that.”

It’s a not-too-subtle nod at the fans’ narcissism - the belief that they can “make a difference” in sports, just as they have been told they can do on the Planet Earth.

Said Scott Sonnenberg, Chicago Bulls’ vice president for corporate sales, to the Times:

“Nowadays, you can watch a ballgame at your house, on a huge flat screen, practically in a movie theater.  But when you come to a game, you want to feel you’re a part of it, that you can impact the game. To have those red T-shirts, they feel like they’re part of it, they are impacting the outcome.”


*********** Let Islamic terrorists commit an atrocity and the cry goes up - when are all the “good” Muslims going to denounce them?

Likewise, when a black gang commits some crime, there’s a similar cry - when are all the “good” black people going to denounce them?

So, after the shootout in Waco, it’s only fair to ask - where are all the “good” white people denouncing motorcycle gangs?  Hmmm?  Hmmm?

*********** Not that I would ever say anything bad about motorcycle gangs.  Oh, no.  Not me.

A few years ago, at the urging of my friend John Torres, I read a very interesting book.  John Torres, a very good youth coach, spent a career in the ATF, the last couple as Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles office, which means he had plenty of first-hand experience with motorcycle gangs and their “business”  activity, which included “marketing” firearms.

The book was “Under and Alone,” by a guy named William Queen, an ATF agent who spent a couple of years undercover with the Mongols, a motorcycle gang  so violent that it’s been said, “They make the Hells Angels look like Cub Scouts on a Vespa.”

Very good read.  Very scary.  I think I'll pass on saying anything bad about the Mongols.

*********** Imagine- Barack Obama and his speech-writing stooges lecturing  Coast Guard Academy  cadets on “dereliction of duty.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE COAST GUARD ACADEMY GRADUATION: Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. So we need to act and we need to act now.

After all, isn't that the true hallmark of leadership? When you're on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant, you plan for every contingency. If you see storm clouds gathering or dangerous shoals ahead you don't just sit back and do nothing. You take action to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. So to with climate change. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.

Uh, are you ordering us all to buy Priuses, Sir?

*********** The number 44 is big in Syracuse, New York. It was worn by all-time great Syracuse University running backs Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, and it’s  so embedded in Syracuse tradition that it’s part of the school’s ZIP code:

Syracuse University
900 South Crouse Ave
Syracuse, NY 13244

In 2005, new AD Daryl Gross made a big deal of retiring the Number 44, and did so with the blessings of Brown and Little (Ernie Davis, of course, being deceased).

Gross, it could be argued plausibly, was the worst thing ever to happen to Syracuse football. One of his first orders of business was to replace Paul Pasqualoni, who in 14 years as the Orange head coach had been 107-59-1.

Since then, under three different coaches, Syracuse has gone 45-77.  (It’s actually worse, since because of NCAA violations five of those wins were vacated, making it 40-77.)

As a sign of how difficult it must be to win at Syracuse, a 25-25 record there was considered good enough to qualify Doug Marrone to become head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

Now, having done all he could to destroy Syracuse football, Gross is gone, kicked upstairs, and the new AD  intends to unretire the number 44, with the idea of awarding it to a player on the current Syracuse football team, as determined by a committee. He says he has the approval of both Brown and Little.

One prominent Syracuse football alum, Donovan McNabb, doesn’t like the idea, tweeting,

It bothers me to see the decision being made by my alma mater to unretire the legendary 44. The great RBs who wore the number put SU on the map. What message are we sending across college football and to the football world that it's ok to un retire such history that was so strong

Wrote Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana, “I agree with McNabb.  The idea is crap.”

I understand McNabb’s point, but consider this - If they’d retired Jim Brown’s 44 at the time - which they would probably do,  nowadays - Ernie Davis might not  have gone to Syracuse.  And if they’d retired it after Ernie Davis, Floyd Little might not have gone there, either.

I don’t have any problem at all with conferring it on a guy who has earned the right, as opposed to using it to recruit a kid.


*********** For Caleb Bridge, North Beach High senior and oldest son of Hyaks’ head coach football coach Todd Bridge, next Saturday is going to be one of the biggest moments of his life.  Up to that point.

Next Saturday, in Spokane, Washington, he’ll attempt to finish first in state Class 2B in both the shot put and discus.  Currently, his best discus throw leads all classes.

And then, regardless of what happens, it’s on to even bigger things.  In less than a month, he’ll report to the US Air Force Academy to begin life as a cadet.

Great kid.  One of the best I’ve ever been around.


*********** Bob De Carolis, Oregon State athletics director for the past 17 years,  announced last week that he would be stepping down on June 30.

Given that he was not offered an extension to his current contract, it appears that OSU has decided to “go in another direction.”

Sure hope they know what the hell they’re doing. But I doubt it.

Not  many athletic directors have been faced with the challenges he has; fewer still have been so successful in spite of them.

When he took over, Oregon State was working on the longest losing-season streak in college football history: 28 f—king years!

How bad was it?  For 26 of those years, from 1972 through 1997, the Beavers never won more than four games.

They had eight one-win seasons and eight two-win seasons, and in 1980, under the great Joe Avezzano, they went 0-11.

One of Bob DeCarolis’ first acts was to hire Dennis Erickson, who already had a national championship at Miami to his credit.

Ericsson replaced Mike Riley, who’d left to coach the Chargers, and broke the losing string his first year, with a 7-5 record.  When he left four years later to coach the 49ers, Erickson had compiled a record of 31-17.

To follow up on the departure of Erickson, he brought back Mike Riley, who didn’t miss a beat.

Since Erickson’s arrival in 1999, Oregon State’s football record is 116-83. In that span, the Beavers have had only five losing seasons.

DeCarolis leveraged football’s success into a rename of Parker Stadium to Reser Stadium, in return for a nice donation, and into an expansion of Reser from 35,000 to today’s 45,000, with plans to increase to 55,000.

When 60-year-old Mike Riley, who went to school in Corvallis (his dad was a coach at OSU) and seemed to be as intertwined with a school as a coach could be, decided to take a fling at Nebraska, DeCarolis responded with an unbelievably bold move, hiring away Gary Anderson from Wisconsin.  Wisconsin, for Pete’s sake!  How’d he do that?

Baseball? He hired Pat Casey.  How about a College World Series win, the first ever for a team from the Northwest, in 2006?  How about a repeat in 2007?

Basketball?  Not so great.  The program, once a power under the late Ralph Miller, has foundered.  He made an unfortunate hire in Craig Robinson, a Princeton grad who happens to be the brother of Michelle Obama, but his latest hire - Wayne Tinkle, from Montana - looks like a great one.

Taking a team totally devoid of talent, he pushed it to a 17-14 record this past season.

Other sports?  Can’t say.  I’ve only touched on the ones that can bring in any money. When you’re Oregon State, they’re the only ones that really count.

Look - Oregon State is a nice place in Corvallis, a nice town.  Its alumni are unbelievably supportive.  But just a half hour down the road, in Eugene, is Big Brother.  Mighty Oregon.  Nike U.

And keeping up with Oregon, not to mention the other big hitters in the Pac-12 Conference, is tougher than it’s ever been.

They’ve already put together a committee to find DeCarolis’ replacemen. Its makeup is not confidence-inspiring: the faculty athletic representative to the Pac-12; two well-to-do alumni;  the women's basketball coach; a female gymnast Erika Aufiero; an associate professor in OSU's College of Business; the OSU vice president of finance and administration; the senior associate athletic director; the student body president; another (female) associate athletic director.

Whoever they come up with,  they’re not likely to find anyone who’ll do as well as Bob DeCarolis did.

*********** Say a prayer for  the Seahawks' Jesse Williams, first Australian native to win a Super Bowl ring.  The former Alabama defensive lineman was diagnosed recently with a type of  kidney cancer.


*********** Yale running back  Tyler Varga, a Canadian, was selected 19th overall by the Calgary Stampeders in the 2015 Canadian Football League Draft, but has signed instead with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent.

american flagFRIDAY,   MAY 15, 2015-   “There are two things that divide organizations: winning and losing - and credit and blame.”  Jeff Van Gundy, ESPN Analyst and former NBA head coach

*********** Things you’d never find out about if you weren’t in Philly:

When the NFL owners meet next week, they’ll discuss new proposals to rework the extra point rules.

The Eagles are pushing for the 15-yard line to be the line of scrimmage for PAT kicks, and for moving the ball to the one yard line for two-point conversions.

Tom Mahon of the Philadelphia Daily News  says that now he understands why Chip Kelly signed Tim Tebow.  He says that with the 6-3, 240-pound Tebow in the backfield, this ought to be called the "Tebow Rule."

Perhaps throwing a bone to the defense in return for moving the ball to the one, the Eagles also propose that two points be awarded the defense should it return an interception or a fumble recovery on a two-point conversion.

The proposals sure would inject some interest into an otherwise useless play. And also drive gamblers crazy.

*********** Hope to see you Saturday at the clinic in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania - http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics15.html

*********** Randy Foristiere, son of long-time coach and friend Mike Foristiere and his wife, Cielo, was all ready for his senior year at Boise’s Capitol High, when dad Mike got a head coaching job at Wahluke High, in Mattawa, Washington.

Off he went for his senior year at Wahluke.  Just one hangup - he had hopes of attending the US Military Academy (you know - Army West Point) and had a decent shot at an appointment from Idaho.  But he had to graduate from an Idaho high school.

So he played his senior season at Wahluke, and running in his dad’s double wing, gained 1701 yards on 216 carries, and made all-league first team running back.  And then he returned to Boise to graduate from Capitol High.

That’s how bad he wanted West Point.  And now, with an appointment to the US Military Academy, he and proud Mom and Dad will be off to West Point, New York in another six weeks for Reception Day (“R” Day to insiders), where he will officially be sworn in as an Army cadet.


*********** Outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the last two years Tom Walls and his wife, Shandy, have dedicated practically every waking moment to building a youth football league from scratch.

Their efforts have borne fruit, and after a successful first season, the new league is on solid ground,  but as Tom observes, you can’t take anything fro granted:

Interesting second year with our new program. Kids not returning cite the time commitment of football as being the biggest reason for not coming back. One kid, who played for me last year, said, in front of his dad: "Three times a week is just such a time waster."

As he walked away, the dad said to me, "Because he uses that time to play video games."

Those are the kind of moments that try men's souls.
Interesting and at the same time distressing.

Just read an article in the Wall Street Journal by a researcher from Stanford or some such place who theorizes that American (and perhaps Canadian) males are being neutered - turn into antisocial human drones by the double whammy of video games and, as they “progress," online porn, both of which provide immediate gratification and in return demand  no effort, no risk of rejection, no commitment.

Other than time.

Distressing, did I say?  Depressing.

*********** Hi Coach,

Got the practice planner, it's great.  It is obvious to me I have been out of the loop for too long.  Couple questions.  Hockey stick?  Using this terminology for quarterback.  Can you give me a quick update on this?  Also, I see 6-G-O.  I know 6-G, are we pulling our backside guard on 6-G now? 

The passing plays you have on the practice planner, I am coaching middle school and i was going to keep it simple with red, blue, 800 etc.  What would you recommend in the passing game for middle school?

Its good to be back , but I have some work to do.

Hi Coach-

Yeah, there’ve been changes.  In politics, they call it “evolving.”

The Hockey stick is one of the biggest changes.  It’s the QB’s path that we teach on most of our plays.

Once I teach him his steps, it’s then a simple matter of telling him, as, for example, on 47-C, “Hockey stick right, handoff left (left hand)"


Also, I have “evolved” into 6-G-O and 7-G-O because the backside guard wasn’t doing us much good as it was, and this way - we teach him to slide sideways and turn up through the FIRST OPEN DOOR (not necessarily the hole) - he makes a big difference.

I would recommend 88 Brown and 99 Black because they come off the same action as Super Power.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

*********** After he received the Distinguished Service Cross - the Army’s second highest honor - for rescuing two soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq, Army Sergeant Christopher Waiters, of Lacey, Washington was made an honorary captain of the Jets at a 2012 game.  Now, he doesn’t know whether the honor was sincere or part of a deal the Jets made with the Army, and says  it was "pretty shameful" of the Jets to take money from the Army in return for saluting troops at their home games.

Shame on the NFL for taking the Army’s money in return for pretending to be super-patriotic.

And shame on the US Army for facilitating the sham.

As greedy as the NFL and its teams are, it makes you wonder where they’d stop - do you think, if Russia came up with the money, the NFL would take it and help them promote tourism in the Crimea?



*********** Let’s hope that the third time’s the charm for Skyler Morninwheg. 

The son of NFL coach Marty Morninwheg, he was a high school all-star at Philadelphia’s St. Joe’s Prep while his dad served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. who committed to Penn State, then decimated in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky debacle.

He signed with Florida, and after a red-shirt year, started two games in 2013 as a red shirt freshman,  going 44 of 63 for 344 yards and three touchdowns, but didn’t throw a pass in 2014.

Now, with a new regime in Gainesville, and two years of eligibility remaining, he’s decided to transfer to Columbia, where he’ll be eligible to play immediately. (Kid must be smart to be able to get into Columbia. Makes you wonder why he didn’t go to a Duke, a Stanford, a Northwestern, a Vanderbilt in the first place.) 

The Lions and their new coach, Al Bagnoli, can use him.  They’re working on a 21-game losing streak. 

*********** In Australia, a sports-mad country, football is very popular.  Not NFL football, either. College football.

Melbourne StadiumOutside the US and Canada, Australia is one of the few countries in the world that even understands the importance of college football in our overall sports picture, and the reason is undoubtedly timing.

It just so happens that when it’s Saturday afternoon in the US, it’s Sunday morning in Oz, which means that a great many Aussies are able to watch our best college games, which our major networks are happy to send their way.

Too bad, NFL- by the time you come on every Sunday, it’s Monday in Australia, and most Aussies who would otherwise love to watch your games are at work.

Now, to see how real the interest is, there’s an Australian group talking seriously about a post-season bowl game in Melbourne.

With 53,000-seat Etihad Stadium as the site, they have ambitions

They’ve already been to Phoenix to meet with officials of the Pac-12 and Mountain West Conferences, with a game between representatives of each league set for the end of  the 2016 season.

One problem, of course, is that although the old story is that Australians will even watch two flies crawl up a window - and bet on which one gets to the top first - they have seen enough college football by now to know what “good” is, and a game between the Pac-12’s 11th-place team and the Mountain West’s 7th-place team will be a hard sell.

Me, as soon as it’s a go, I’ll be looking at cheap flights*

* Good luck.

*********** Hugh,

The future of our game depends on us.  Unfortunately, I think some are not on board.  "We" are not ogres, but a few are enough to soil the reputation and image of our entire profession and sport.  I don't know all of the particulars, and there are multiple sides to all stories, but if this article is marginally accurate, coaches and administrators failed this young man (and his teammates).  We have to be better than this.


Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


Alleged:  bunch of kids on a football team repeatedly threw footballs at another kid's head, hitting him enough to cause cause a concusssion and possibly worse.

It’s too bad that this had to happen in football, the current Public Enemy Number One of sports.

But in the absence of adult supervision, which seems clearly to be the case here, it could as easily have happened on a basketball or baseball or lacrosse team.  Only the ball would have been different - and perhaps even more dangerous.

There are far too many other factors involved in the case for me to comment intelligently on it, but IF those kids threw at a teammate’s head, and it happened more than once, then I say shame on the coach(es) who should have been in charge.

I can’t say that it couldn’t happen at North Beach, but I can say that we do everything we can to make sure that our kids know that we expect them to respect each other - and even then, even though we  trust our kids, we would not leave them unattended and unsupervised.  That’s how most bullying/hazing incidents occur, and that’s usually the first thing an attorney looks for.  (It’s a major reason why I will never take a team to an overnight camp.)

PS- I don’t give administrators a pass on this, either.  I think that the number one thing they need to impress on coaches is that their kids must be supervised at all times, and I think that this is not often enough emphasized.

*********** I’m getting really tired of this “trigger warning” bullsh** - the notion that professors must give advance warning about the material they will be covering, lest it set off (“trigger”) alarms in the millennials in their classrooms who may or may not have experienced real trauma in their pasts.

Before we bury the last of the “Greatest Generation,” we mustn’t forget that they weren’t perfect: they gave us the Baby Boomers, who gave us the useless pukes we now call the millennials.

Of course, when back those children of the Depression and World War II set out to “make our children’s lives better than ours were,” it was a reasonable aspiration.  But with each succeeding generation it has meant raising the bar, to the point where today’s kids are raised with the expectation that they’ll be given cars when they turn 16, they’ll spend a week in Florida after high school graduation, they’ll go to college and major in something totally useless with a name that ends in "Studies," living a four-year party (from which they feel th need to take a "break” every spring) that’s subsidized either by rich parents or student loans. When they graduate,  if they get a job they’ll expect regular rave reviews from their employers and a corner office within a year. They’ll expect to be able to dress as they wish and work the hours they choose, and play pingpong when they feel stressed.   If they don’t get the corner office soon enough, they’re gone. If they do get one, they’ll stay another six months before moving on.  If they don’t get a job, they’ll move in with Mom and Dad and play video games.

It may be time for universities to post Comprehensive Trigger Warnings in their admissions brochures - and in their letters of acceptance::

Caution: This is an institute of higher learning. Applicants are warned that the educational process  can occasionally  result in exposure to thoughts and ideas that may make one feel “uncomfortable” and may even “trigger” unwanted thoughts and memories of past traumatic experiences.

While they’re at it, they might as well add,

It goes without saying that students holding conservative beliefs should apply elsewhere.


*********** Tommy Brady’s going to appeal.

Gee.  What a surprise.  He’ll probably get off with two games, most.

I’ve always felt that appeals are unfair because the appellant has nothing to lose, even if he’s guilty as sin.

Win? He gets a break.

Lose? Nothing changes.  He's no worse than he was.

Seems to me there ought to be some sort of  “up or down” effect - a lessening of the penalty if he wins, but an increase in the penalty if the appeal turns out to be baseless, a waste of everyone’s time.

Hey Tom - how's this sound? Two games if you win, eight games if you lose.

*********** “We have seen over and over that many professional athletes, no matter how naturally gifted, push the boundaries of the rules. Sometimes they violate them to gain even the slightest advantage.  We call that gamesmanship to make ourselves feel better for excusing cheating.”

John Smallwood, Philadelphia Daily News

*********** There was a book put out a few years ago called, Bowling Alone. It was a study of declining socialization and rising technology amongst Americans. The author proved his thesis through the use of statistical information. He concluded that most Americans would prefer to go bowling alone. I am sure you remember how popular bowling leagues were in the 1950s.

I had a college coach in the 1990's who addressed the falling participation of white kids by shrugging and saying: "White kids don't want to loose to black kids. That's why they won't play football anymore. You don't loose to anyone when you skateboard or inline skate."

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

I  know all about Bowling Alone.  Yes, kids would rather be in control, with a video game, than just be a small part of the picture out on the football field.

I think what's what we got for teaching them how important they are,  how they can “make a difference” and “change the world”: a bunch of self-centered narcissists.

I don’t think that it’s so much that white kids don’t want to lose to black kids. Black or white, it doesn't matter. The losing is beside the point.  So many middle-class white kids have been so protected and pampered that they don’t ever have to make an effort to compete in anything. That’s a major difference between the middle-class white culture and the inner-city and rural black culture, in which competition in one form or another is a part of every nearly every aspect of those kids’ lives.

The one culture produces skateboarders and video gamers, and the other produces football players.

God help us when the Chinese invade.  Or the Russians.  Or the Iranians.

***********  Do you have a Playbook specifically for the offense you ran the last two seasons?  Wow. I watched the DVD.
Ocie Johnson
St. Louis, Missouri

Coach Johnson,

I’m working on it.  Hope to have it ready by midsummer.

Stay in touch or keep checking my NEWS page!

Nice to hear from you.

*********** The University of North Dakota is still without a nickname.  Barred from falling themselves the Fighting Sioux, they finally resorted to holding a contest to come up with a new nickname.

So far, they’ve received hundreds of entries.

Half of them say, “Fighting Sioux.”

american flagTUESDAY,  MAY 12,  2015-   “A pluralistic and diverse society like ours can exist only if we all tolerate people who disagree with us.”  Governor Bobby Jindal

*********** This incredible example of using one’s talents in serving others was sent to me by my friend Mike Lude, a World War II Marine veteran.


*********** Hope to see you Saturday at the clinic in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania - http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics15.html

*********** So Brady got four games.  Sure hope they can make it stick.

Anyone else out there remember when the NFL had a real commissioner, and he gave Paul Hornung and Alex Karras - both very big stars at the time - one-year suspensions for betting on games?

I hear a lot of people saying that what  Brady did wasn’t that big a deal. (To be fair, most of those people do seem to be Patriots’ fans.) They like to point out that his stats against the Colts were even better after he was required to play with balls that complied with the NFL rules.

Only one problem here: it’s not whether the illegal actions taken on his behalf (with or without his knowledge or direction) had the intended effect; it’s whether the intention of the actions was to give him an edge.  An unfair edge.

It’s a given that as tough as the competition is in the NFL, sometimes the slightest little thing can provide a winning edge. And as much as there is at stake for them, NFL coaches and players are constantly on the lookout for anything that will provide that edge.

It may be performance-enhancing drugs; it might be stickum applied on fingers or PAM sprayed on a jersey. It might be stolen sideline signals or artificially piped-in crowd noise.

Who can say whether any of those things ever were the difference?  But taken all together, it’s hard to argue with the philosophy of the old Jewish mothers who would say about feeding someone chicken soup to cure a cold - “it can’t hurt.”

Whether or not Brady (or the Patriots) benefitted is not the issue.  It was that the attempt was made to gain the unfair advantage. 

And that Brady was in on it.  (Are you telling me one of the best quarterbacks in the game can’t tell whether a ball is over- or under inflated?)

And that Brady refused to cooperate with the investigation.

And that, thoughout, Brady has acted like a jerk.

Come on - all he had to do was fess up, and say something lame, like “Jeez. If I thought it would be this big of a deal I never would have asked those guys to let a little air out.  I didn’t think it was any different from rubbing the new footballs to get the slick sheen off them. I take full responsibility. If anybody was offended, I apologize.”

And then?  A small fine ($100,000 to him is a small fine) and off you go, Tom.  Try not to do that kind of stuff any more.

Damn sight easier than four games without pay.

*********** I think of the Patriots’ equipment guys and I’m reluctant to criticize them. Knowing how little they make in relation to the people whose every wish they cater to, I think a lot of people agree with me.  And people like us are probably the reason why Brady and the Pats (sound like a 70s rock band?)  have thrown those guys under the bus. Why, those were just a coupla guys who loved their Patriots, and wanted to do what little they could to help their guys win!

But you know what?  Even if they were put up to deflating the balls, and even if they were “tipped” heavily for doing it, I still have problems condemning them.  I was there once. Almost.

With the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League, I worked for one of the most unscrupulous persons who ever coached a game of football, and considering some of the people who’ve coached our game, that’s saying a lot.

My title was Director of Player Personnel, but since my boss was both head coach and general manager, and he didn’t have much interest in the administrative side of the job - contracts, travel arrangements, etc. - I wound up handling a lot of that.

He drank heavily.  On the job. Dawn to dusk (and later).  At least a fifth a day. He drank vodka - vodka and Fresca - apparently thinking that no one would notice the alcohol on his breath.  But come on - people didn’t have to smell his breath to know something was amiss.  Did I say he was a nasty drunk? All you had to do was see the darkening of his personality and the sharpness of his tongue as the day went on.  I learned very quickly that if I was going to get anything done, I had to get to him before the booze did, which meant that I had to get up plenty early to go over details with him.

Like so many powerful people of low morals, he was surrounded by lackeys and flunkies and lickspittles of the same level of character.

Prior to our opening game in 1974, a home game against the Portland Storm, one of those hangers-on was dispatched to the West Coast to “skunk” our opponents - to spy on their practices.  This, if you didn’t know, has always been taboo in football.

But neither our coach nor his entourage seeemd to think anyting of it.  This was a guy who once helped the Pottstown Firebirds win the Atlantic Coast Football League championship over the Hartford Knights on a frozen field, instructing his receivers and running backs to remove the front three cleats from their shoes.  Unlike today, when the post is a part of the cleat, and the whole deal screws into a recess in the sole, in those days the post stuck out of the shoe, and removing the three front cleats exposed three thin metal spikes, ideal for digging into frozen turf.  And opponents’ legs.

For what it's worth, we beat Portnad. We were the btter team. We'd have won without the spy work.

Now here’s where I come in, with the retrospect of 40 years.  What would I have done if may boss had asked me to do it?  I had a wife who was finishing college and four kids living at home, and after several years of living hand-to-mouth while I tried to work my way into a job in college or pro football, I finally had a good-paying job in pro football.  After all that struggle to get to where I was, would I have had the strength to throw it all away by saying,  “No?”

For sure, if I were tempted, I would have been hesitant to consult my wife, because she would surely have said, “Don’t even think about doing that.”

Fortunately, I never had to make that decision, and fortunately, I’ve grown wiser and stronger with the years.

Interestingly, the “scout” who was selected to fly to Portland and check out our opponent was a guy named Joe Gavel.

He claimed to have played baseball at Michigan State, but he had a near man-crush on the head coach, and quickly insinuated his way into the inner circle by demonstrating a willingness to do just about anything the coach wanted done.

After the WFL folded and we all went our separate ways, I often wondered what happened to Joe Gavel.

Somewhere after that, he served seven years in prison for selling stolen luxury automobiles.

From there, he must have figured that his chances of playing in the big time - in Philly, at least -  were limited by his last name.

No problem.  He changed his name to “Joseph Rico.”

In 1983, he and a guy named Ronald "Cuddles" DiCaprio killed a drug dealer whom they had stiffed after he’d given them $14.000 to obtain some drugs for him.

DeCapro’s  former wife, who became the prosecution’s key  witness, said that shortly after the killing, they came to her house and bragged about it.

She said that “Rico” was very excited at the thought that the murder might make him a “made member” of Philadelphia’s notorious Scarfo crime family, headed by Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo.

The former wife wound up in the federal witness-protection program.

Joseph Rico wound up behind bars. 

In 1992, the aspiring  mobster formerly known as Joe Gavel was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

He didn’t go down without a fight, though. In 1994, he appealed his conviction on the grounds that in selecting the jury, the prosecutor had used seven of his 20 peremptory challenges against Italian-American jurors. Only one problem - Joseph Rico  was not by any stretch an Italian-American, a fact well known to the prosecutor and surely brought out in the trial.



*********** Hugh,

Wasn't sure if you heard the latest from the NFL.  Did you know the NFL asks the military to pay for those huge shows of "patriotism" to salute our armed forces and veterans on NFL Sundays?  I guess they blow their wad on the Super Bowl, NFL Combine, and Draft Day extravaganzas so they figure the best way to show their "patriotism" is to have the military pony up.  Kinda like that USA Football thing.

You may be wrong.  I think the NFL will blow itself up a lot earlier than you think.

Joe Gutilla
Assistant Principal - Head Football Coach
St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School
Austin, Texas


Just read about it.  Thanks for the tip.

That’s about as bad as it gets.  Here I thought that the NFL was doing it on their own, buying a little Patriotic Kevlar.  Phony patriotism fits their modus operandi.

There was no NFL in 1776, but Samuel Johnson could have been thinking about The League when he said, “Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel.”

It bothers me to think that they conned the Defense Department into paying for these faux tributes!

And to think that the military didn’t even have to be conned - that they willingly paid to take part in the charade, making it look as if the NFL or its teams were doing it as a matter of goodwill.  Evidently there’s  jock sniffing at the highest levels.

You had to mention the USA Football scam:  the NFL running those TV commercials telling moms that if their kid’s coach isn’t “Heads Up certified,” he ain’t sh—, and then USA Football charging the coaches to get ”Heads Up Certified."

You’re right - the NFL bubble may burst sooner than even I thought.

Other than a lot of good guys - assistant coaches, manager, trainers, scouts, stadium vendors - losing their jobs, it can’t come soon enough for me.



*********** Volkswagen, what are you thinking?

It’s a VW commercial, and as “Mommas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” plays in the background, a momma is outside the convenience store, filling up the Passat.

Inside, three little bastards (hers) vandalize the place - one empties the slurpee machine into his mouth; a second shakes up a giant two-liter bottle of soda pop, preparatory to letting it squirt; a third dispenses what appears to be enough mustard to cover Nathan’s July 4 hot dog eating contest.

The poor attendant stands by, helpless.

And then we cut back to Momma, who calls, “Boys” in her sweetest voice, and the next thing we see is her driving off as the little darlings sit quietly in the back of that damn evil Volkswagen Passat.  The one that delivers destruction wherever it goes.

Some day, some poor devil is going to have to coach those little pr—ks, and I can assure you that the first time the coach has to discipline one of them, Momma is going to be in the principal’s office saying that she knows her sons, and none of her sons would do what the coach is accusing him of doing, and she won’t leave until the coach is fired.

Thanks a lot, Volkswagen.

*********** Coach Wyatt,

I don't run a traditional wing-t. We run foot to foot or pretty close. We also use a lot of formations and rocket sweep. A lot of what we do is based on the Double Wing. I guess in some ways we run a Double Wing style offense dressed up as a Wing-t. I'm sure neither group would claim us though.

Thank you again

Jacob Morris


It’s not important that you belong to any group.  The important thing is finding and making use of things that can help your kids be successful.

And no matter where it all came from, it’s YOUR system.

*********** Isn’t it strange how we debate whether or not defending our first amendment rights is worth angering radical Islamists, but we have no qualms whatsoever about glorifying sexuality ithat's abhorrent to them?

There we are, watching two relatively attractive, relatively young women, cutting from one to th other as they separately practice hand gestures.  It soon becomes clear that they are learning sign language.

And then, and then… the two of them approach a young girl, and one of them gestures to her:

The translation: “Hi, beautiful.” (She's apparently deaf.)

Then another gesture.

Then another translation: “”We’re going to be your new mommies.”

It’s a Wells Fargo commercial.  For what, I have no idea.


american flagFRIDAY,  MAY 8,  2015-   If you are a Patriots fan, this report is the equivalent of walking downstairs to find Santa passed out on the couch while your parents assemble your Christmas bike.”  Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal

*********** There is rich, and there is very rich.  And then there is Larry Ellison.  Mr.  Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corporation, has spent millions on an Americas Cup sailboat and crew whose only purpose is to win a race every couple of years.

Mr. Ellison also has a 288-foot yacht - don’t even ask what it cost - that features, among other things, a basketball court, and “a crane to launch racing boats.”  Part of the reason for that “crane to launch racing boats” is for those days when Mr. Ellison and the boyz are shooting’ hoops and a ball goes overboard. He actually pays a guy to zip around in a speedboat retrieving the balls.  No lie.  Now, that’s rich.

*********** It’s “more probable than not” the Patriots broke NFL rules by  removing air from their footballs, and Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of what was going on.

Weasel words, at first glance. But in the absence of video evidence or a signed confession by Brady,  they are damning. 

The Big Guy had everything - and he still had to f—king cheat.

From the standpoint of anyone who raises or coaches boys, the Patriots-Brady episode contradicts everything we try to instill in our kids: play the game fair and square. Give it your best shot, and live with the consequences. But above all, respect the game.  It was here before you.  Leave it better than you found it.

But not the Patriots.  Not the NFL.  Not today’s American society.  Just win, baby.

And that’s why we’ve become such a cynical society.  That’s why the president can say, “You didn’t build that,” and plenty of people will believe him.

Why should they think that the guy who owns the factory that employs them got there through hard work, when they know full well how so many prominent people play the game? When the Patriots can cheat to get to the Super Bowl, when  a candidate for president - and her husband - can give “speeches” for hundreds of thousands of dollars to people trying to buy their influence, when no congressman has ever left office with less money in his bank account than when he entered?

That’s why I’ve always had it in for the guys who consider themselves coaches but tell their kids that “it isn’t holding if you don’t get caught.”

If Roger Goodell doesn’t come down hard on Brady-Belichick-Kraft, he risks losing what he likes to refer to as the “integrity” of the game to the cynicism that infects every other aspect of our lives.

This is much bigger than Ray Rice et. al., because the actions of the many miscreants who infest the League have zippo to do with the integrity of the game itself .  Criminals may  demean the league's image, but they don't lead anyone to question whether the game is on the up-and-up.   The day that happens, The League is done.

If Mr. Goodell is worried about what the owners might think if he suspends Brady-Belichick-Kraft, he needs to consider a couple of things:

(1) There are 31 other owners that can’t be appreciating  Robert Kraft’s showboating actions and comments, including his demanding an apology, and I suspect they wouldn’t mind seeing him brought down a peg or two.

(2) Goodell’s got to have enough money socked away by now that he can tell those rich f—kers where to put it if they don’t like it.

*********** If it were up to me, I’d give Brady a choice:  a season-long suspension, or one game playing running back.

*********** Watch live as Auburn builds the largest video board in college athletics at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The new board will be ready in time for the 2015 football season.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3UUe_Fqhiw

*********** Answer: Bowden Wyatt, Bob" Devaney, Fred Akers, Pat Dye, Dennis Erickson, and  Joe Tiller - all coached at Wyoming - and all were successful enough at Laramie to move on to even more success at bigger jobs.

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Dennis Metzger
Richmond, Indiana

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

(Speaking of Wyoming, I love the Walt Longmire series of mysteries by Craig Johnson)

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

*********** Vern Gagne died Monday. He was 89. He played football at the University of Minnesota, but he gained far greater fame in pro wrestling, where as a straight guy who refused to resort to tricks or gimmicks, many consider him to be the greatest ever.


*********** Such is the influence of  TV  that most of us think that a criminal trial is a mano a mano contest between the prosecutor and the defense attorney, a no-holds-barred fight to the finish. The prize: conviction or acquittal.

But that’s not actually the case.

I am not attempting to say whether or not the Baltimore police were responsible for Freddie Gray’s death.  No, it doesn’t look good for the police, especially in view of the prosecutor’s near-promise to provide “justice” for the angry masses, but I certainly don’t know what the truth is.

Neither, though, does the prosecutor, whose official title is  Baltimore City (Baltimore is not part of any county) State’s Attorney (that’s what the district attorney is called in Maryland).

But that’s her job - finding out the truth.  Seeing that justice is done. Not for Fredie Gray, not for you, not for me. For the state.

And not, despite what many people believe - and what all those people who cheered her fightin’ words seem to think - to do whatever it takes to get the conviction that her public demands.

In a famous case, Berger v. United States, in 1935, the Supreme Court wrote, “It is as much (a prosecutor’s) duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.”

More often than not, this principle protects the man arrested on the street, but it’s no less important that it apply in this case to the police.

From the Legal Dictionary:

In theory, a prosecutor's job is not to convict and send to prison as many persons as possible. The basic function of a prosecutor is to seek the truth about criminal actions. Thus, if a prosecutor discovers evidence that puts the defendant's  guilt in doubt or relieves the defendant of criminal liability, the prosecutor must turn that evidence over to the defendant. If a prosecutor lacks evidence of a defendant's guilt, he or she must drop the charges or decline to press charges. In practice, prosecutors find that they are judged in the court of public opinion on the number of convictions that they obtain.


Sadly, because the district attorney/state’s attorney/prosecutor is often an elected official, that last sentence explains why there are such people as unscrupulous prosecutors, who do not necessarily view protection of the innocent as part of their job.

*********** There were plenty of people - I was one of them - who predicted that a college football playoff system would eventually kill off lesser bowls.

Declining attendance at those bowls would seem to confirm our judgment.

That saddened me because I had argued for the idea of a post-season trip to play a bowl game as a reward for players for a good season.

But now, to kill that argument, along comes… Bowlflation.

How about three more lesser bowl games?

Not counting the final playoff game, whose teams have already played in other bowl games, there will now be 41 bowl games this year. 82 bowl teams.  Do the math - since there are 128 FBS teams, this means there are going to be a lot of bowl-bound teams with losing records.

Three new bowl games?  Whoopee.  Six more losing teams get post-season bowl invites.

Trophies for everybody.
Used to be that a sub-.500 season was cause for a coach’s firing; now, it’s a reward for, well, almost breaking even.  Or, to put it another way, for not being one of the 46 underachievers who couldn’t even qualify for a bowl game.

So the fools of college football  have to  do their best to imitate the early days of the NBA, when with only six teams,  they’d play an entire season just to eliminate two teams from the playoffs.

*********** Our little backwater out here on the far edge of the map is being blessed with a visit by Our President, with all the inconvenience it entails.  Yes, Mr. Barack Obama is visiting Portland, Oregon.

There’s no important reason for the visit.  It’s just for a fundraiser.  But in order to justify use of Air Force One and all the secret service accompaniment, there will be a visit of some sort in connection in some way with some sort of government business.

But meanwhile, clear the way, please, for His Majesty.

Interstates 205 and 84 will be closed for most of the afternoon.

So will much of downtown, until 8 PM Thursday.  Even to pedestrians and - no one is spared - bicycles.  (You piss off the bicyclists, Barack, you could lose the Portland vote.)

I-84 will be closed in BOTH directions, so that His Royal Highness’s 20-car motorcade (say that slowly) can move unimpeded in the opposite lanes.  Or maybe both lanes.

Don’t know why this is, but there will be no light rail service while the “Commander in Chief” (that’s how the official release described him) is moving around.

Friday morning (during drive time, of course) he and his entourage will motor out - past gridlocked commuters - to Nike’s headquarters in suburban Beaverton.

Maybe they’ll name a shoe for him.

From there the plan, right now, is to have him jet out of town before the evening commute, but you never know.  Maybe he’ll see a bunch of kids playing hoops at a playground and stop by for a photo op.  The peasants caught in traffic will understand.  

But I ask you, those of you who would tell me that Dr. Ben Carson’s lack of political experience will handicap him: with the current occupant of the White House spending as much time as he does  flying around raising funds, playing golf, or vacationing, who’s really running things back in Washington as it is? 

*********** Marv Hubbard died…

Man, what a stud.  The lack of fullbacks like him in today's pro offenses represents one giant step
toward flag football.


*********** Danielle Pudddefoot was “driving the struggle bus,” as she put it.

It almost certainly meant she was hungover.

But if her head was hurting, that wasn’t not the only reason.

Back on April 30, she and her teammates on the Bridgeport University women’s soccer team had a few drinks prior to their team banquet, and at an afterparty in a dorm, she went off on some (former) teammates, head-butting one and throwing another into a wall, before repeatedly banging her own head against a wall until she passed out.

See, she had led the team with 25 points, and as a senior, she expected to win the “players award,” and when she had to sit there at the banquet and watch someone else get it, well - wouldn’t you have done the same thing?


***********  In England, authors of schoolbooks  have been instructed  not to write about sausages or pigs or anything that could be perceived as pork-related” for fear of causing “offence” (it’s England, remember)..


*********** Glad to see that UConn has taken that stupid dog face off the front of its helmets.


*********** In response to my noting that there often seems to be a football coach on the scene when he's needed, Coach Todd Hillis of Elmwood, Illinois, wrote,

Coach, Here's another:


Thanks for reminding me.  The guy says he’s not a hero, but he is.

America needs people like him - and his wife.  

american flagTUESDAY,  MAY 5,  2015-   "A man who has no consideration for the needs of his men ought never to be given command.”    Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Republican.  I’m sick of sleaze and sick of lies and sick of people who know what’s best for us, and people who are intent on radically changing the country that I love.

I like the people in the running for the Republican nomination.  But  if I had to bet my life on any one of them, based solely on what I perceive about his character, I would side with Dr. Benjamin Carson.  I have great admiration for the man.

Yes, I know - he has no political experience.  To me, though, that’s an argument in his favor. As Charles Krauthammer points out,  our last President who wasn’t a professional  politician was Dwight D. Eisenhower.

*********** There are plenty of us who think that Tom Bradley should have been Penn State’s head coach.

A Penn Stater, he was one of three brothers who came out of Bishop McCort High in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to play for Joe Paterno.

Older brother Jim became an orthopedic surgeon and has been the Pittsburgh Steelers’ team surgeon for more than 20 years.

Younger brother Matt died in 2002.

Tom was hired as an assistant by Paterno in 1980, and for the last five years of the Paterno era, he was the Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator, succeeding the highly successful and highly-respected Jerry Sandusky, who retired to devote full-time attention to his program to help boys in need.  Right.

And when Coach Paterno was unceremoniously let go as the Lions’ head coach, it fell to Tom Bradley to head the team the rest of the season.  (Win a bet: collect the money from the guy who bets you that Bill O’Brien succeeded Joe Paterno.)

Probably wanting to cut any ties with the Paterno regime, Penn State chose not to retain Tom Bradley,  and he got out of coaching temporarily. 

Last year, after spending a couple of years as a TV analyst, he caught on at West Virginia, and now Tom Bradley, a guy who spent his entire coaching career within a driving distance of Johnstown,  Pennsylvania, is starting all over again - at UCLA.


(Brother Jim Bradley, Steelers’ team surgeon, is not one to go to if you’re looking for dirt on the late Coach Paterno. In an interview with statecollege.com, he told how the coach really did put academics first.)

“I needed an organic chemistry course my senior year to graduate and do what I wanted to do,” Bradley  recalled. “I went to Joe and he said it wasn’t a problem, take the course, just come to the rest of practice. He was so into education. It was a special place, it really was.”

Later, when Bradley applied to medical school, Paterno wrote a letter of recommendation. Five pages. Hand-written. When the future doctor went to say thank you to his past coach for what was a magnificent reference, Paterno waved it off.

“Ahh,” Bradley said, doing a bit of a Paterno imitation, “I had to think of something to say.”


*********** The clipping has been on my billboard for years.  I treasure it.  It’s why everybody should read his local newspaper.  Thoroughly.

“A burglar who pried a door panel off broke into Big Jim’s Cafe, 10915 N.E. Fourth Plain Road Sunday, but took only a framed $1 bill. A deputy said there was too much grease to take fingerprints.”

*********** You may not know this, but…

Because all Cadets/Midshipmen at our service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force) are considered to be on academic scholarships, the academies not required to abide by the NCAA’s limits of 85 scholarship players total or 25 players per season.

For that same reason, the service academies do not recognize the National Letter of Intent, and technically, right up until “R” Day, in June, when new cadets are sworn in, they are free to sign players who have signed Letters of Intent with other colleges. 

*********** Boy, is my wife pissed...

Although she's a graduate of Hood College, in Maryland, Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, which she attended for two years before we got married, has always had a special place in her heart.

Not any longer.  Not with Saturday's announcement  that Smith,  long a prestigious  women's college, is going to begin admitting "transgender women,"  meaning people born as men who now "identify" as female.   Hmm.    Say hello to your new roommate, girls.

Smith will not, however, 
admit those trannies who were born female but "identify" as male. 

In announcing the policy change, Smith administration noted that  "concepts of female identity have evolved."

Yeah, evolved.   Despite the way mankind (sorry, personkind) has lived  for thousands of years, we're now so advanced, so enlightened  that in the space of maybe ten years we've seen a whole new species  "evolve."


*********** Hugh,

So often I hear things like "kids today don't..." or "young people today lack..."  

This weekend my daughters participated in Special Olympics for the first time.  Talk about an experience in which effort is celebrated to the nth degree over ability level.  What a joy it was to see competitors high five and hug each other, win or lose.  To see real joy in the faces of kids and adults alike brought about simply by competing and increased by people cheering and clapping for them.  To see that these individuals get a chance to shine on the same track that the best athletes in their school and communities compete on.  

Dozens of Illinois State University football players were volunteering to help.  The fastest, strongest, biggest athletes in the state were there helping children in wheel chairs during their softball/shot put competition, holding a rope the length of a straightaway so a blind competitor could hold on to it to run the 100m (she won, by the way), measuring for the standing and running long jump.  When I asked a group of these players if they were from ISU football the answer was a quick "yes sir."  They all looked me in the eye.  When I congratulated them on a great season (0:38 from winning the I-AA national championship) the response was "Thank you.  Thank you very much."  And when I thanked them for helping it was "You are welcome.  It's our pleasure."  

So, I walked away confident that "kids today DO..." and "young people today HAVE..." and our game has a lot to do with that.

By the way, the Hollis girls both won gold!  Meg Hollis won the 200m and Alina Hollis won the tennis ball throw.   It was a pretty special day.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Those ISU players showed that when coached right, football is a wonderful vehicle for guys to learn the importance of unselfishness and looking out for others.

Congratulations to Meg and Alina - and kudos to those guys from ISU for helping to make it much a great day for all those kids.

*********** Other than the fact that Bowden Wyatt, Bob Devaney, Pat Dye, Fred Akers, Dennis Erickson and Joe Tiller all had successful careers as college coaches, what other very significant thing did they all have in common?

Michelle Cupcakes************ Not bragging about  my daughter-in-law, MIchelle, you understand,  but in addition to being an extremely talented  TV producer,  she dabbles in cupcakes as a sideline.

*********** My wife was reading me an article about the humor that’s sometimes found in obituaries when she came to this one: “He left behind a hell of a lot of stuff his wife and daughter have no idea what to do with.”

I think she was trying to tell me something…

*********** "in the not-too-distant future, there's going to be as many elite basketball players on other continents as there are in the US.  Once, that was unthinkable.  If I'd suggested to you that there'd be 75 international players (in the NBA) a decade ago, you'd have laughed at me.  I'm telling you, does anyone think that Yao Ming is the last great player to come out of China?”  David Stern, 2004

*********** Hello Coach,
Today's "News" brought this to mind.
Rockville - Cold Spring - Richmond is near St. Cloud, MN. The shooter was confronted by football coach/PE teacher Mark Johnson, a heck of a guy, with a commanding presence.
Mick Yanke
Cokato, Minnesota

Hi Coach-

Wow.  I had almost forgotten that one.

I see that the Wikipedia account does not identify the hero as a football coach.  Figures.

*********** “There has never been a president who knows what it’s like to menstruate, be pregnant, or give birth,” writes Kate Harding,  which is why she says she's voting for Hillary.

“I intend to vote with my vagina,” she proclaimed

Now that, I’d like to see.  On second thought...


*********** “Every hero becomes a bore at last.” 

So said Ralph Waldo Emerson, who lived in the 19th century and never even met Joe Namath.

You know, that Joe Namath.  Alabama. New York Jets. Flashy playboy in the mink coat.

Every wonder how Namath, a high school star from Western Pennsylvania, wound up at Alabama, anyhow?  He was all set to go to Maryland, but his College Board scores were too low, so - please don’t take this the wrong way, Bama grads - the Maryland coach at the time, Tom Nugent, recommended him to Alabama’s Bear Bryant, and the rest is history.

On to the heights of Broadway fame, and all that that entailed.

But now here’s Namath, who’s proven time and again over the years that those College Board people knew what they were doing,  saying that if he had it to do all over again, he wouldn’t have played football.

Yeah, sure.   Finally,  he realizes that all that fame, all that glory, all that money, all those beautiful women throwing themselves at him couldn’t compare to a career working in a steel mill. 

If he were lucky, he’d have made it to retirement before the mill shut down, and now he’d be sitting on a stool in a dingy bar  in some near-deserted one-time mill town, regaling anybody who wanders in with the same, tired tale about how he took the high school team to the conference championship back in ’61.  And making drunken passes at the barmaid.


*********** Hi Coach Wyatt,

As the proud owner of both "A Fine Line" and " "Blocking The Old School Way" I was wondering if you could pass on some advice. What do you think about the "Trap Chute"?? In neither DVD you use a chute for teaching. Do you feel it is not worth it as a teaching aid?


John Carbon


Trap chutes are rather expensive but if you have the budget for one, I’d say they’re worth good.  But they’re not indispensable.

In my videos, and in my teaching, I’ve tried to stress making do without expensive toys.   Most of my experience over the last several years, including overseas, has been in low-budget places where we’ve had to get by with what we had, such as hand shields, and since that’s the situation most coaches find themselves in, I’ve taken the minimalist approach in my videos.  

There’s no question that our linemen could play lower.  Everyone’s could.  And a trap chute can you help teach that.

*********** After reading my article about the Finns and their dedication to their defense, Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington found this great piece about a Finnish sniper’s exploits in the Finns’ Winter War against the Russians…


american flagFRIDAY,  MAY 1,  2015-   If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”  Red Adair, famed oil well fire fighter

*********** If you know me, you know that I'm not the cynical type, given to wondering what’s really going on.  Oh, no.  Not me.

So I don’t think for a minute that anything other than anger, frustration, poverty, feeling disrespected, wanting to be heard, wanting answers, wanting justice, etc. might be behind the Baltimore rioting,

But still.  Perhaps you’ve noticed, as I have, that it sure has pushed Mrs. Clinton’s lies about where her money’s been coming from and Mr. Obama’s capitulation to Iran off the front pages.

*********** I hope that Tennessee will be a place worthy of  Marcus Mariota, a place where he'll be appreciated.  And well coached.

Actually, a part of me wishes that he wouldn't even go to the NFL.  Ever. Not unlike Tim Tebow, he’s almost too good a person to have to make his living with that mess of hoodlums and lowlifes, but other good guys seem to manage.

Anyhow, I can't match the NFL's dollars.

Fortunately, I don't think there's anything that even the slimeballs that infest the NFL can do to change the kind of man Marcus Mariota is.

In an article in Wednesday’s Portland Oregonian, Andrew Greif went to Saint Louis School, Mariota’s high school, in Honolulu, to talk to the people who knew him when.

There was his football coach, Vinny Passas: “He’s able to make the next guy feel important and welcome and show his true genuine side of being a brother and the brotherhood we have here. It really shows.  It’s contagious because when you are around guys like him, guys tend to act like him.”

There was science teacher, Lulu Lulu, who’s taught at St. Louis for 23 years, and who’s known Mariota since middle school. “You know how people always want to find a negative?” he asked. “Yeah, good luck.”

On the wall of his room is a poster the describes what it means to be a “Saint Louis Man” (it’s an all-male school):
The Saint Louis Man…

* Believes in God
* Prays
* Accepts Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as his Mother
* Makes Moral Choices
* Respects All People, Especially Women
* Values Friends
* Nurtures Friendships
* Communicates Honestly and Effectively
* Disciplines Himself to Meet His Obligations
* Matures into an Exemplary Person
* Makes a Difference in the World
* Promotes Peace and Nonviolence
* Thinks Critically and Creatively
* Accepts Differences
* Lives the Golden Rule: Treat Others as You Want to be Treated

A photo on the poster shows a tall teenager helping a younger boy tie his necktie.  The tall teenager is Marcus Mariota, and the photo was not posed.  It was taken when Mariota stopped in the middle of a photo shoot to help the little guy.

The poster is signed, “Mr. Lulu, Thank you for everything.  Marcus Mariota.”

Four years ago, Marcus Mariota won the “Saint Louis Man Award,” given to the senior who best embodies those qualities.

Assistant head of school Sione Thompson, himself a St. Louis graduate and a former Arizona football player, will become principal in July.  Greig noted that President Obama is a graduate of rival Punahou School, but when Thompson was asked who he’d want to be the face of his school, he said, “I’m a Marcus fan. I love him to death. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.”

*********** Ryszard Szaro died not long ago in Warsaw, Poland.  He was 67.

He was the first native-born Pole to play in the NFL, and in recent years he devoted much of his time to the development of American football in his native Poland.

I - we, the guys on the Philadelphia Bell - knew him as Richie Szaro, the kicker from Harvard.

We didn’t know that he was one of the greatest football players to come out of New York City; that he’d only arrived in America in 1962, and that just a few years later,  in 1966,  at St. Francis Prep,  he’d been a Parade All American as a running back.  And as a kicker. (He was good with either foot.)

We didn’t know that his senior year  he had set a New York High School single season scoring record with 164 points.

We didn’t know that going into the final game of the season -  the city championship game - he needed 11 points to break the old record of 144, and he wound up scoring 30.  He ran back the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, scored three more touchdowns, and kicked six PATs in the St. Francis win.

We knew he went to Harvard, but we didn’t know that it was an extra point that he missed against Yale - kicking left-footed because he’d injured his right foot - that required Harvard to go for two (and make it) in the historic 29-29 “Harvard win.”

What we did know was that he was a kicker.  He was bit eccentric. He was quite intelligent. He was aloof. He was very proud, which unfortunately came across as effecting an air of superiority.   And he had a strong leg.

A very strong leg.  Our special teams coach, Joe Gardi, didn’t particularly care for him, nor did our head coach, Ron Waller. I was director of player personnel then, and, under orders to find a new kicker to replace Szaro, there was a stretch of a couple of weeks where I was bringing in a new kicker candidate every day.

Didn’t matter.  None of them could beat out Richie Szaro.  None of them had his leg strength.

It took us a while to figure out what was going on.  Upon their arrival, Szaro would befriend the new kickers,  then take them out on the field and engage them in some friendly competition, just between fellow kickers.  All members of the same fraternity and all that. Mainly, the question was  who had the stronger leg.  No question there. He’d wear them all out. 

And then Joe Gardi would come out and look at them wonder why they didn’t have any "pop" in their kids.

That was Richie Szaro.

I clearly remember one exchange between him and our equipment manager, Bob Colonna, a small, rotund character (one player, Bob Miranda, called him the Human Beach Ball), a very domineering type who, like most equipment managers, protected “his” equipment as if he’d paid for it himself.

On this particular day, Szaro said, “Hey, Collona.  How about a tee-shirt?”

Replied Colonna, in his Brooklyn accent, “I ain’t got no tee-shoits.”

“Aha, Colonna.  Double negative.  That means you do have some.”

“Aaah, f—k you, Sizzarro.”



*********** Marcel Pronovost died at 84.

He played 20 season in the NHL, from 1950-1969, 15 of them with the Detroit Red Wings.

Brought up at age 19 to join the Red Wings for the playoffs, he won a Stanley Cup before he’d even played a regular season game.

Think hockey is tough now? (I do.)  It was brutal then. No helmets, no face masks, no mouth guards.

There were only six teams in the league - Rangers, Red Wings, Black Hawks, Bruins, Maple Leaf and Canadiens - and players fought hard to hang onto scarce jobs.

He was known as a “take one for the team” guy, and his face showed it.

“He was often bloodied, and his nose was broken at least a dozen times; the hockey writer and historian Stan Fischler, noting that Pronovost’s “stitch count eventually reached into the hundreds,” called him “the most embroidered man in hockey.”

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.”

*********** Before the Orioles played the White Sox on Wednesday in an empty stadium, Orioles’ management contacted several WNBA coaches to try to find out what it’s like playing without a crowd on hand.

*********** Hugh, I'm sure you already made the connection, but the news of the school shooting at North Thurston validates everything that Jim and John Harbaugh said, as quoted in your recent postings.  In this beautiful Age of Enlightenment, when manhood has been rendered obsolete, who intervenes to defend others and puts his own life at risk in unarmed combat with a crazed gunman?  Not the obese feminist with purple hair and a nose ring.  Not the skinny-legged hipster with an "ironic" beard and Buddy Holly glasses.  No, the guy who saved lives was a 6-foot-5 football coach.  In a Flight, Freeze, or Fight situation, he instinctively chose the correct course of action and neutralized the threat.  I am 100% certain that his football background contributed hugely to the successful resolution of the event.

I guess I would expand the Harbaugh Doctrine to include other contact sports, since I recall that the charge of the passengers on Flight 93 was led by a judoka and a rugby player, but the principle remains the same.

Of course, there was no such thing as a "school shooting"  in sleepy Spokane in the 60's and 70's, but if there had been, I have no doubt that hard-nosed coaches like Steve Shea or "Ultra-violent Ray" Peterson would have done exactly the same thing. 

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

Not that it matters that the guy was a former football coach - but there was no mention in any of the major media stories about the guys’ even being a former coach.  Just “a teacher.”

Wouldn’t want to glorify those neanderthals we call football coaches.

But in my days as a teacher - back in the days before they had “resource officers” walking the halls - whenever trouble broke out they always called for the football coach.  Hmmm.  Why me?  Why not the art teacher?  Or the home ec teacher? (I date myself by even mentioning “home ec.”)

*********** In 2004, according to a Birmingham News survey, Daphne, Alabama High School's Glenn Vickery was the highest-paid high school football coach in the state, at $86,180.

Recently, Hoover HIgh School football coach Josh Niblett became the state's highest paid high scool coach, at $125,000 a year.

Justin King, in al.com, reportes that there are now nine Alabama high school football coaches imaking at least $100,000 per year. On the other hand, there is a reall have/have not situation going on:  more than 110 public high schools pay their head football coach less than $60,000 per year.

Said  Hoover's Niblett, "It started off with the money college coaches were making, but I think if you go to other states like Texas or Georgia you will find guys making a lot more than $125,000. The numbers those guys are making -- and not teaching -- are unbelievable.”


*********** My son, Ed, lives in Melbourne, Australia - a sports-crazed city in a sports-crazed country.  Melbourne’s biggest sport by far is “Footy” - Australian Rules Football - the iconic Australian game featuring fist-passing, tackling, long punts and officials who signal goals with what looks like a “guns drawn” gesture.

Footy is wildly popular in Melbourne, a large city with a metro population of 4.5 million.  Crowds of 100,000 at Australian Football League games are not unusual.   And it’s hard to find a Melbournian of any age or sex who doesn’t “barrack for” (don’t say “root for” - “root” can mean something, uh, vulgar in Aussie talk) one of the Melbourne area’s ten teams.

That’s right - ten of the Australian Football League’s 16 teams are located the Melbourne area.  (Think of an NFL with 18 of its 32 teams located in New York.)

And that’s a problem for the Footy people, because despite outsiders’ perceptions, “Footy” is not exactly the National Game.  Elsewhere in Australia, where the big sport is more likely to be Rugby Union or Rugby League, “Footy” is seen as Melbourne’s game.

Wrote Ed, recently, “Footy's in a strange place - it's an obscure sport that grew up and tried to spread its wings, but now realizing it's not so easy to tackle the other sports in places like Sydney and Brisbane.”

Put another way, Footy is in the position that we at National Beer once found ourselves in.

We had more than 50 per cent of the Baltimore market. Astounding for any consumer good.  But elsewhere, we were nothing.  Elsewhere, Schmidt was big in Philly and Schaefer was big in New York. Iron City in Pittsburgh, Stroh’s in Detroit.

But peoples’ horizons were expanding beyond the limits of their hometowns.

And outside their home markets, those leading local brands weren’t very strong.  But everywhere you went, there were Bud-Schlitz-Miller,  not first in any of those markets, but a strong second or third in every market.  And their strength was that they were truly national.  You could go anywhere and get Bud-Schlitz-Miller.  And if you lived in Detroit and travelled (or moved) to Philadelphia, you were more likely to order Bud-Schlitz-Miller than to try Schmidt’s.

And a whole generation of kids grew up and went away to college, or into the service, and discovered that they couldn’t get their local favorite anyplace else in the country. Yes, Bud-Schlitz-Miller were a little more expensive, but to a nation of kids who didn’t have any understanding of the Depression, as their fathers did, what the hell was a nickel a bottle?

Then, the killer - along came network TV sports, and Bud-Schlitz-Miller, with their nationwide distribution, could justify advertising on it.  National couldn’t afford to pay millions to reach beer drinkers in faraway markets where we didn’t sell beer.

And so forth.

My fear is that left to its own devices, without a major effort to become more than just the Melbourne Football League, Footy could become a bit of esoterica, like Finnish baseball (pesapallo). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFJMZnEmxrk

*********** I’m sure you’ve received this (and many more like it)  from someone you know whose email has been hijacked…

Have you or anyone you know clicked on the link?

Hi! How are you?

Have you seen this http://forgedwithlove.com/born.php before? Oprah had been using it for over a year!

Ryan Brown

*********** News from the UK: Finland has fired warning shots at a suspected foreign submarine off the coast of Helsinki in the early hours of Tuesday morning, amid growing military tensions with neighbouring Russia.

Carl Haglund, Finland's defence minister, did not say whether Russia was involved, but the incident was reminiscent of a Swedish hunt for a foreign submarine in its waters last October that many thought to be Russian.


My advice to the Russians if they push Finland too far: pack a big lunch.

Finns are a different breed altogether. They are not, technically, Scandinavians.  They live in a northern land, they border on Sweden and Norway, and their flag uses the same pattern as those of the other Scandinavian nations. But the Finnish forbears were not Vikings, like the others.  They originated somewhere in Central Asia, and they speak a language totally unlike those of the Swedes, Danes and Norwegians.  Totally unlike any other in the world, for that matter, except Estonian.

And - unlike their obstinately neutral neighbors -  the Finns know what it means to fight.

Caught, geographically, between the larger kingdoms of Sweden and Russia, they spent time under the dominance of both, and they didn't begin to experience true  independence until 1917, following the Russian Revolution.  Even  then, they had to endure a civil war of their own,  between Reds (Communists) and Whites.

They share a long border with Russia, and they do a lot of business with Russia, but it’s hard to find a Finn with much good to say about Russians.

In 1991, I was in Finland coaching football.  We had a few days off, so my wife and I were doing a little traveling, and we found ourselves sitting in a pub near the railroad station in the town of Kouvola, waiting for our train.  As we sat and drank our beer and talked, an older gentleman sat quietly at the same table.  Nothing unusual there.  Finns are not talkative people.  They listen a lot and say a little.  It was hard to tell whether this man was eavesdropping on our conversation, because many older people speak only Finnish, but suddenly he nudged me and said, in halting and  heavily accented English, "May I say something?"

"Well, of course," I said. He'd obviously been working up the courage to speak to us. "Ole hyvää. (Be my guest.)"

Said the gentleman, "I… hate… f--king… Russians."

I laughed. But I understood. A few years earlier I had attended the high school graduation of one of the younger guys on my team.  I didn't understand a word, but it was a nice ceremony, not unlike an American graduation.  But then, when it was over, the graduates marched to the town church (the state church is Lutheran, and Finns, although not particularly religious, are virtually all nominal Lutherans).  And there, in the churchyard, they laid flowers on the graves of soldiers, young men from their town who'd died fighting in what they call The Winter War and the Continuation War, both against the f--king Russians.

Finns speak with great pride of the fierce resistance their forefathers put up at the outbreak of World War II, when the Russkies invaded eastern Finland.

Put simply, for months the Finns, although vastly outnumbered and outgunned - and unassisted by any of their fellow Scandinavians - stood up to the Russians in the Winter War,  finally having to concede land in what is known as Karelia (in Finnish, Karjala).

But for the Russians the price of victory was enormous. One result was that it emboldened Hitler to invade Russia.

Karjala Label(Side joke:  "Karjala" - pronounced "CARR-ya-lah" - is also a popular brand of Finnish beer.  Finns, especially after they've had a few, like to joke, "We are taking back Karjala - glass by glass.")

The lessons of their wars with Russia were not lost on the Finnish people.  The first lesson was not to provoke the Big Bear, with which it shares a border of some 1,000 miles.  During the Cold War, when Finland was the only free Western nation bordering on the Soviet Union, its leaders successfully struck a delicate balance between dealing with the East and belonging to the West.

The second lesson was to be able to defend itself - to make sure that Russia understood that while it certainly had the power to defeat little Finland, the price of doing so would be too great to make it worth the effort.

Finland has a small but strong army, part of what  it diplomatically calls its "Puolustusvoimat” - a compound word meaning “defense forces.”  The emphasis is on the words “defense.” (“Nothing to fear from us, Ivan. It's not for aggressive purposes.  It's simply for our protection. Protection from what? you say.   Uh...")

To this day, every Finnish male is required to serve a year of "national service" -  either in the military or in "alternative service," such as in a hospital somewhere. I’ve read someplace that more than 80 per cent of men choose the military service. In reality, though, I’ve never met  a Finnish guy who hasn't been in the military, and whenever I would ask whether anybody, anywhere, ever chose alternative service,  the standing joke would be, "I think I heard of  some guy up in Kuopio who worked in a hospital there…”

After their year of service, Finnish men become part of the reserve, and can be called up on short notice.

(There is no comparable  draft of women.  In fact, there is no hue and cry about a “war on women”  in Finland, perhaps because in my observation Finnish women enjoy an independence and  equality unlike many places in the world and they seem refreshingly free of the feminist preoccupations  of so many American women.)

As a result of their military service,  a large percentage of  Finnish men know how to use a gun.  And  many of them, unlike most other Europeans, own guns themselves, and love to hunt. Finnish-made Sako rifles are among the best in the world.  (A Finnish breed of dog, the Karelian bear dog, fearlessly hunts bear and wild boars.)  http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/dogs-101/videos/rare-dog-breeds/

Finns are well aware of the need to be ready to defend their beloved Suomi (the Finnish word for Finland).  The Finnish education system is second to none anywhere,  and school children are taught their country's history as an essential matter of their nation’s survival. 

tuntematon sotilasThe heroism of the men who fought to defend their country and its hard-won independence is legendary among today's Finns.  A story of their travails - Tuntematon Sotilas ("The Unknown Soldier") - could be called the national story.  Many Finns have told me that anyone who wants to know the Finnish character needs to read it. (And watch the movie.) The book, by the way, is available in English.

My last coaching job in Finland was in the small city of Hamina, less than an hour's drive from the Russian border, and I recall one time sitting with several of my players - all of them army veterans, of course - and asking what would happen if the Russians were to invade.

They seemed surprised by the question. I’m sure they’d never been asked it before.  One of them, Juha Skinnari, a warrant officer in the Army, answered, very matter-of-factly, "We will fight." The others nodded somberly in agreement, as if he had just said, "The sun will rise in the east tomorrow.”

There's one more thing about Finns that you'd have to live among them to fully understand. It's a national characteristic encapsulated in one Finnish word that defies translation: Sisu. It can mean guts. Grit. Hard-headedness. Toughness. Resilience. Endurance. Doggedness. Willingness to fight on in the face of hopeless odds. (They make pretty good football players.)

So lately  the Russians have taken to antagonizing the Finns, coming way too close to Finnish territory with planes and ships, including submarines. 

Perhaps it's just to remind their little neighbor that Ivan is always there, and he has the upper hand. Perhaps it's to warn Finland, although a part of the European Union,  not to even consider joining NATO.

Whatever the reason,  though, I would suggest to the Russians that they open their history books (if Putin hasn’t burned them all)  and read about the Winter War.

I can save them the trouble by telling them this: you can eventually take the Finns down - there's a lot more of you, and you have them outgunned -  but they’re never going to quit.  It's going to be hard, nasty work, and you’re going to pay a terrible price.

Think of them as highly civilized Afghans. 

american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL  28,  2015-   "Four brave men who do not know each other will not dare to attack a  lion.  Four less brave, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and  consequentially of mutual aid, will attack resolutely."   Ardent du Picq, French Military Officer

*********** In our win-at-all-costs society, few kids are ever given a chance to learn about sportsmanship.  In professional sports especially, there’s little left  that has anything to do with sportsmanship, with respect for the game and one’s opponents.  But there stands hockey, a sport that in my estimation few athletes from other sports would have the toughness to play, as  an example to the others.

Easily the noblest tradition in all of sports is hockey’s handshake line, which takes place after the final game of a series.  None of the “good job…good job…good job” or “nice game… nice game…nice game” insincerity of the high school football walk-through. Those guys, who only minutes before were committing mayhem in a manner unseen in any of the other team sports - and on skates, yet - actually take the time to talk to each other.

It’s one of my favorite moments in sports. It’s everything that sports ought to be about.

********** There’s a special place in my heart for Baltimore. Although we lived in East Haven, Connecticut my senior year in college, we moved not long after to Baltimore, when I took a job with Container Corporation of America, and we lived there for five years. Our three youngest kids were born there.

And even though we moved from there to Frederick, Maryland, I still worked in Baltimore for two more years. 

What surprised me, having grown up no more than 100 miles to the north, in Philadelphia, was how southern Baltimore was.   To my wife and me, Baltimore was a very, very exotic place, with a deep pride in its rich history, and an accent all its own.  We would laugh at pronunciations like POH-lice, FAR Department, zinc (as in kitchen sink) and paramour (power mower).  A person who had trouble telling the truth was a LAHR. Only natives knew how to pronounce Baltimore correctly: “BAWL-mer.”

And what a great sports town! We had the Orioles - what fun it was to walk down to Memorial Stadium, plunk down $1.25 and spend a hot summer night sitting in the upper deck talking baseball with black guys.  Talk about knowledgeable fans.  Basketball?  Before they moved to DC and changed their name, we had the Bullets, with Earl the Pearl Monroe, and Wesley Unseld. We had a great American Hockey League team in the Clippers.  That was really good hockey then, because the NHL at that point had only SIX teams. Football? I’ll go to my death bed maintaining that no city ever loved its football team - no, not even Green Bay - the way Baltimore loved its Colts.

Baltimore had East Baltimore Street, aka “The Block,” where all-the-way strip clubs catered to the basest of male appetites. Needless to say, tourists (male) came from miles around to have those appetites sated. 

When I lived there, Baltimore was a segregated city. Its ghettoes were bad then, and they're no better today.  But there was a large and growing black middle class.  And, in truth, a lot of Baltimore's  white neighborhoods weren’t all that great, either.  And then there was O’Donnell Heights, derisively called “Hillbilly Heaven,” where whites from West Virginia and southwest Virginia, who’d come to work in the factories, lived.

There was industry galore. At the time, Bethlehem Steels’ Sparrows Point mill employed 30,000 people. Armco Steel had a mill there, and so did Eastern Stainless Steel. There were glass factories and automobile factories and chemical plants.  There were the railroads - the B & O, the Western Maryland and the Pennsylvania.  And there was the port. Anyone who was willing to work could find a job.

There was plenty of racism - I said it was a southern town. Maryland was a southern state.  Maryland, never forget, was a “border state” during the Civil War - it did not secede, but the main reason it remained in the Union was that it was allowed to remain a slave state. The alternative was to force Maryland to secede, in which case the nation’s capital would have been surrounded by Confederate states.  (That’s a major reason why the Emancipation Proclamation, if you didn’t know, did not apply to border states.)

One of the worst riots in American history took place during the Civil War on the streets of Baltimore when a mob of southern sympathizers attacked Union troops marching through town between two railroad stations.

Other than working together, when I lived in Baltimore (mid-60s) whites and blacks pretty much lived in separate worlds. Separate neighborhoods, certainly.  There simply weren’t any bars or restaurants then  that served both whites and blacks.   The brewery I worked for was a real pioneer in its hiring of black sales people, but come on - was it enlightenment or was it just plain good business to hire black salesmen to sell beer to black taverns and liquor stores? And before that, when I was selling packaging and I wanted to go to lunch with a black customer (yes, I had one, and a very good one - the Parks Sausage Company) I had to call around to make sure that my customer would be spared the embarrassment of being denied service.

I was living and working in Baltimore during the riots of April 1968, following the assassination of Dr. King, and things were bad, but not as bad as they were in DC  (I happened to be working there on the day Dr. King was killed, and it was scary), and  nothing at all like the way they were in Detroit.  We also had a brewery there, and during the riots there were National Guardsmen with machine guns up on the roof.  I saw Detroit not long after the riots, and it was devastating. Rioters had put the torch to many of the city’s businesses and big old houses.

From that point, interestingly, Baltimore and Detroit seemed to go in different directions.

Baltimore, at least its central core, experienced quite a renaissance, with the cleanup and revitalization of the Inner Harbor and the gentrification of Fells Point and Canton, two once rundown harborside neighborhoods that I have to admit I once saw no hope for. Oriole Park at Camden Yards really helped.  So, too, did the fact that Washington at the time had no baseball, so the Orioles drew not just from Baltimore but from the DC area, some 40 miles away. Lots of those Washington people saw  Baltimore, and liked what they saw - especially the prices of its real estate.  And then - sorry, Cleveland - in came the Browns/Ravens, to replace the hole left in Baltimoreans’ hearts by the kidnapping of their Colts.

Detroit went the other way. Once vibrant, it’s  become a synonym for a city in an advanced state of decay.

Most historians will trace the decline of Detroit to the riots of ’68. Whites and blacks who could afford to get out moved to the suburbs, leaving behind poor people with increasing demands for city services and decreasing ability to pay for them.

My fear is that this could be the tipping point for Baltimore. I pray that it’s not.

There is no economic solution to Baltimore’s problems. Bethlehem Steel is gone. So are Armco and Eastern Stainless, along with the glass factories, the chemical factories, the automobile plants. 

And what are the chances, with everyone in the world able to see in real time what Baltimore’s mobs are capable of, of ever bringing in any company that would provide gainful employment?

And where is the company that would take its chances in a city whose mayor’s idea of leadership during Monday's rioting was to order the police to remain passive and then go into hiding herself?

What chance is there of controlling violence when the police are not under orders to protect property and lives, but to protect “the right to protest?”

What a terrible thing that a relatively small group of young mobsters was allowed to defile that city.

Who can blame anyone - white or black - for wanting to get out of a city populated by mobs that its leadership seems unwilling or unable to control?

What we saw was no protest. As one commenter on TV observed, the rioters had zero connection with Freddie Gray, the young man whose death the protests are supposedly all about, adding, “They probably would have killed him if he’d bumped into them on the dance floor.”

*********** Hayden Fry probably did as much as anyone in Iowa football’s long history to put the Hawkeyes on the national map. In his 20 years there, Iowa was 143-89-6, went to 14 bowl games, won three Big Ten titles, and went to three Rose Bowls.

His coaching tree is legendary.

In 1983, while at Iowa, he had no fewer than five future FBS head coaches on his staff: Barry Alvarez, Kirk Ferentz, Dan McCarney, Bill Snyder and Bob Stoops.

Before Iowa, he coached at SMU, taking the Mustangs to three bowl games.    And on May 1, at the SMU Hall of Fame Banquet, he’ll become the first ever recipient of SMU’s Legends Award, given by the SMU Lettermen’s Board.

Perhaps most noteworthy of Coach Fry’s accomplishments at SMU was the recruitment of one athlete: this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the enrollment at SMU of the great Jerry LeVias, the first black scholarship athlete in Southwest Conference history.


*********** A fourth-grade teacher in Olathe, Kansas gave her class an assignment: to ask someone about their favorite poem and what it has meant to them.

One of her students, Claire Gottschalk, wrote to Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, asking him those questions, and - a sure sign of the man’s character - she received, in return, a note from Coach Snyder.

I think so highly of the man that I wouldn’t have expected anything else.

It was hand-written, in K-State purple ink:

“Yes I do have a favorite poem called Grandpa.  When you read it, you may understand why it has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  My ‘Grandpa’ was a guiding light in my life.”


The old man sat with eyes closed, dozing in his chair
Until a little voice he heard say “Grandpa, are you there”.

He gazed upon a little boy while waking from his nap
Then reached down with a sweeping move and placed him in his lap
The child was carrying a book that he wanted him to see
He held it up and asked him “Grandpa, will you read to me”?

The old man cleaned his glasses then opened up the book
And suddenly the two of them a wondrous journey took
They ventured lands so far away, sailed seas not sailed before
Met knights and kings and wizards on every distant shore.

Together they fought dragons, saved damsels in distress
Freeing lands of monsters and the treasures they possess
When the old man closed the cover to end their magic ride
He told the boy “We’re much like books, what’s important is inside”.

But one day when the boy arrived and rushed to Grandpa’s chair
Much to his disappointment, his Grandpa was not there
He ran to find his mother for surely she would know
Why the chair was empty, where did his Grandpa go

She sat him down and asked him if he remembered in each book
The adventures and the journeys that he and Grandpa took
He took you there to show you the things that you can find
The wonders that are yours to see if you open up your mind

But he still walks beside you in the stories you have read
You’re not left to go alone, he’s just gone ahead
The child then went and chose a book and climbed up in the chair
And opening up the cover whispered “Grandpa, are you there”?


Soccer Uniforms*********** USA Women’s World Cup uniforms, from those folks at Nike who gave us Army West Point…

Three cheers for the black white and… chartreuse?

***********  “Why Football Matters” - by John Harbaugh

The game of football is under attack.

We see it every day in the headlines and on the news. The medical concerns are pressing. The game has taken its share of criticism. President Barack Obama said that if he had boys he wouldn’t let them play football. Even LeBron James has publicly said no football in his house.

The question is asked over and over:  Why would anyone want to play football? And why would anyone let their kids play?

Here’s my answer: I believe there’s practically no other place where a young man is held to a higher standard.

Football is hard. It’s tough. It demands discipline. It teaches obedience. It builds character.

Football is a metaphor for life.

This game asks a young man to push himself further than he ever thought he could go. It literally challenges his physical courage. It shows him what it means to sacrifice. It teaches him the importance of doing his job well. We learn to put others first, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And we learn to lift our teammates – and ourselves – up together.

These are rare lessons nowadays.

Football has faced challenges like this before.

In 1905, there were 19 player deaths and at least 137 serious injuries. Many of these occurred at the high school and college levels. Major colleges said they were going to drop football because the game had become too violent.

That’s when President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in to call a meeting with coaches and athletic advisers from Harvard, Princeton and Yale. He wanted to find a way to make the game safer. They made significant changes, introducing new rules like the forward pass and the wide receiver position. Those changes turned football more into the game we know it as today.

We made progress. Rules changed. Society evolved. The game advanced.

We’re at another turning point in our sport. The concussion issue is real and we have to face it.

We have to continue to get players in better helmets. We have to teach tackling the right way, and that starts at the NFL level. Change the rules.
Take certain things out of the game. It’s all the right thing to do.

But even with all of that, the importance of football hasn’t changed. In some ways, it’s more important than ever.

And I believe the most critical place for football is at the youth and high school levels. For 97 percent of football players, the pinnacle of their careers is the high school game. Few players ever go on to the college level. Even less make it to the pros.

For a lot of these kids, it’s not until it’s all said and done, and they look back on it several years later, that they realize the difference the sport made in their lives. They are proud of playing the game. Have you ever met anybody who accomplished playing four years of high school football, and at the end of that run said, ‘Man, I wish I wouldn’t have played’? It doesn’t get said.

We know that football players aren’t perfect. Nobody is. But millions of former players, one by one, can recount the life-altering principles they learned from football.

They know the value of football is the values in football.

That’s why high school football – and particularly high school coaches – play such a vital role in our society. Our football coaches are on the front lines of the battle for the hearts and minds of the young men in our society. The culture war is on and we see it every day. These young men are more vulnerable than ever.

How many youth and high school coaches serve as a father figure to their players? How many mothers look to the coaches of their son’s football team as the last best hope to show their son what it means to become a man – a real man? More than we’ll ever know.

Coaches teach our young people the lessons of life that very often they learn from no one else. Coaches have the kind of influence in our schools, and with our young people, that is difficult to come by.

Billy Graham once said, “One coach will influence more people in one year than the average person will do in a lifetime.” My dad also says all the time that it just takes one person to believe in a young man or young woman to change their lives. I couldn’t agree more.

Our culture teaches us to judge an activity by how it’s going to make us feel right now. But football doesn’t work that way. The game challenges and pushes us. It’s often uncomfortable. It requires us to be at our best.

Isn’t that what we want in our society?

Football is a great sport. Football teams can be, and very often are, the catalyst for good in our schools and our communities. Millions of young men have learned lessons in football that they could only learn through playing this game. Football has saved lives.

That is why football matters.


*********** In Ottawa, the singer started in on a rousing rendition of O Canada, then, nearly through,  paused  and thrust the mic in the direction of the crowd.  The audience, no doubt having been through the drill before, took over, and sang a couple of lines, at which the singer took over and finished up.

I’d like to see an American turn these lines over to the crowd-

And the rockets’ red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there.

Then come back and finish.

I’ve seen a couple of hockey games where it could be done.

*********** There once was a time when, right after baseball, two of our most popular sports were horse racing and boxing.  Remember this, when the lefties finally relegate football to the status now enjoyed by dog fighting. 

Today, horse racing and boxing are no longer everyday sports, whose heroes are known to all sports fans. Now, they remain in the background until those rare occasions when they push back onto the front pages.

It just so happens that two of those rare occasions will coincide on Saturday.

In the afternoon, the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby will take place. For about two minutes, it will be the biggest thing in sports - millions of Americans who otherwise wouldn’t walk across the street to watch a horse race will stop  to watch the Derby.   And then, as quickly as they came, they’ll go back to whatever they were doing before.

And in the evening, the long-awaited Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will take place in Las Vegas.  Finally.  Probably.  And if it really does take place, it will mean a payoff to the fighters of more than $100 million each.  If you happen to buy the fight on pay-per-view, take a look at all those people sitting at ringside.  They’ll be IRS agents.

Me?  I’ll be watching the Oregon spring game.

*********** Few things anger me more than the Ditkas, the Favres and the Aikmans, all of whom owe everything they have to their ability to play a game, cashing in on their football fame on network TV while out of their other sides of their mouths telling young parents that if they had it to do over again, they wouldn’t let their kids play football.

(Right. Peewee football was what caused the CTE found in former pro football players.)

Yes, those guys are entitled to their opinions.  But they’re not entitled  to their platforms.  I do question how the NFL, with youth football under attack as it is, can allow those guys near a mic, but despite the way it pats itself on the back for programs such as Heads Up, the League really has never cared one way or the other about youth - or high school - football.

And since that’s the way Ditka, Favre and Aikman feel, it’s damned hypocritical of them to continue to appear on TV shows that, essentially, glorify the game.  I mean, shouldn’t they be over on one of the health networks, telling those audiences how dangerous the game is for little kids?

Granted, those little-known networks with their puny ratings won’t be able to pay them what they’re making right now, but at least they’ll have their integrity.  And that’s a whole lot better than selling out your beliefs for  the big money, isn’t it, guys?  Guys?

*********** Ken Hitchcock, coach of the St. Louis Blues, was asked between periods Sunday whether he was going to stick with his goalie.

Absolutely, he answered. “He’s a young guy - gotta stick with him.”

Funny how quckly things can happen to cause us to change our minds.

Twenty-eight seconds into the period, the guy gave up a goal. 

And out he came.

*********** In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Brian Casey, president of DePauw University, was asked, “If you could wave a magic wand and make one problem at your school disappear, what would that be?”

He replied:

“I would like to wave a wand and for just some portion of every week have some students removed from the Internet and from telephones, smart phones and social media, and buy themselves time to read. Students these days aren’t readers of longer books, and I can recall from my own college days those moments when you fell in love with book and sat for a sustained period with an important work and lived with that author for a period. They are bombarded with short bits of information constantly, and I would love to free them from that for just a short period of every week. I think they would discover more about themselves, they would learn how to engage with complexity in ways they avoid in certain ways now.  They would experience the act of being quiet and alone with their thoughts.”

***********  Hugh, hope all is going well, enjoyed the news this week, blown away by the coach being beat up by a student, very unreal, but considering the lack of honor and discipline in our society today it is not surprising. Anyway to the question at hand, I got a call from a coach at a larger school wondering if we would like to come over June 13th for a scrimmage with three other teams out of 7 others that will be there. The smallest classification is a class larger than us, , all the rest are two classes larger. My concern is maybe safety not knowing the size or ability of their athletes. I want to go because this would be a huge boost if we can compete at the scrimmage when it comes to playing the better teams in our league. Our kids are just more intimidated by these schools and I feel this could get us over the hump. What do you think?

You have to weigh the benefits of your kids finding out that they can compete with the potential disaster of their getting blown out.

In our case, last year we went into the Woodland spring jamboree against bigger schools but we felt we were going to be pretty good and we didn’t think there was any chance we’d get drilled.  Not with our line.

In our case, it was a great experience and it helped our kids’ confidence a lot.

But two years earlier, it would have really damaged our season.

You will have to decide if your kids are ready yet.  I suspect that your kids may still be fragile to the point where it could really damage their confidence.

It’s your call, but I would say that if all the schools are bigger than you, you could be taking on a lot unless you’re really loaded.

*********** How most stupid ideas become reality:

BOSS: “What do you think about this new idea we came up with?”

OFFICE TOADIES: “Great idea, sir.”

But then, to their astonishment, it turns out that the public doesn’t really give a sh— about what the boss thinks.  It knows a bad idea when it sees one, and it doesn’t have any interest whatsoever in pleasing him.

Army Point AcademyThat’s what happened to New Coke.

And, based on the reception it’s been getting from the public, I'm predicting that that’s what’s going to happen, eventually, to Army West Point.

The ridicule has already started. Take a look at this HILARIOUS spoof of Army’s recent “rebranding.”


*********** When Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco issued a new  faculty guide for the archdiocese schools requiring staff members to “affirm and believe” issues that are consistent with the Church’s beliefs, he was challenged by lawmakers, who called the guide “divisive.”

In response, he asked them, “Would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect for you and the Democratic Party in general?”

He went on, “I respect your right to employ whomever you wish to advance your mission.  I simply ask the same respect from you.”

american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  24,  2015-   "No matter how cynical you get, it's hard to keep up."  Lily Tomlin

*********** Hi Coach,

Got a charge out the blog today and the message to young coaches about the importance of being on time. Although The 2008 football season has now passed into history one of the things I will always remember is the lesson you taught those kids at the first afternoon meeting when our all conference A Back came in five minutes late to the meeting. You told him to leave and not come back unless he could be on time, remember? He nor anyone else was ever late again and in fact during that entire season only one other player missed unexcused from a practice. A fine lesson for those twenty two kids to learn. I think they realised if it could happen to him it could happen to any of them. It sure made an impression on those kids at the time.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangeley, Maine

True story.  HW

***********  Pierre Ingram, Cal football's recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest in Oakland last week as part of a prostitution sting.

Ingram, 30, has been on coach Sonny Dykes’ staff for six years, and was recently named Cal’s passing game coordinator.

He was arrested after he “allegedly” solicited an undercover officer online, then showed up at an Oakland Motel 6.

Apart from the fact that in a city with Oakland’s serious violent crime problem I question whether posing as a whore is an appropriate use of police resources,  I’d have to say that as a coach you’re in a world of hurt  when your assistants are as big a problem as your players.


*********** This hurts, but it's still good satire...

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and sentenced to serve a minimum of four years hard time on the West Point football team.

The sentence, carried out by Judge Susan Garsh (USMA ’74), would force the former NFL tight end to play for the U.S. Military Academy’s “Black Knights,” a move many academy grads hope would finally allow the team to defeat Navy after a crushing 117-year losing streak.

“Your honor, my client would rather just be put to death,” said Hernandez’ attorney, shortly after the sentence was read in court. He went on to say that such a sentence would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.

Hernandez, 25, was found guilty of killing Odin Lloyd, 27, on June 17, 2013. Lloyd’s body was found in an abandoned industrial yard a short distance away from Hernandez’ home.

Standing and offering little emotion as the sentence was read, Hernandez dropped his head into his hands and burst into tears when he heard “West Point.” Sources nearby heard Hernandez tell his attorney that’s even worse than sending him to the Minnesota Vikings.

Hernandez told reporters he already planned to appeal and ask for lethal injection. Meanwhile, a source at the prison where he is being held said he would be placed on suicide watch immediately.


*********** Heisman question:

Larry Kelley was the first player to win the award after it was changed to the "Heisman Trophy".

I hate that you are not going to have a clinic in the Raleigh/Durham area this year from what I gathered in your Newsletter.  There sure are a ton of coaches that could use your material and expertise, but then lots of these coaches are the same ones that wouldn't listen anyway.

Best regards,

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

***********  Headline: Football coach seriously injured after being beaten in his office by student, 17, who felt disrespected after asking about trying out for the team
The  coach, at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has been hospitalized with  facial injuries so severe that they’ll likely require surgery

Disrespected, eh?  My guess:  The kid was a  senior who’d never played before, and   insisted on being given the number “1”, being installed as the starting quarterback, being permitted to call his own plays, and being allowed to miss the first two weeks of practice - and then went off when the coach didn’t seem enthusiastic enough.


*********** From October, 2003…The passing of former Oregon State coach Dee Andros last week resurrected a lot of great stories about the guy they called  Great Pumpkin (he was rather “stocky,” and he often wore an Oregon State orange jacket).

John Blanchette of the Spokane Spokesman-Review recalled this one, told to him by one-time Washington State (and Fresno State) head coach Jim Sweeney. (No doubt Sweeney swore it was true.)

Supposedly, Sweeney went up to Andros and said, "Dee, those Oregon State people love you so much, they say the gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and Dee."

Andros, according to Sweeney, got a good laugh out of the line. "That's a good one, Jimbo," he roared.

A few minutes later, Andros was with another group of friends, and wanted to tell them the story, but first he needed to make sure he could tell it right.

"Hey, Jimbo," he called to Sweeney. "What were those other three guys' names?"

*********** I’m often asked the difference between our double wing and the Delaware Wing-T.There is very little difference between our system and the original Delaware Wing-T, which is as pure as it gets. Our base formation - double-tight, double-wing - is known as the "500" formation in Delaware's terminology, although most Wing-T offenses now split an end. We differ from the Delaware Wing-T mainly in the tightness of our line splits, and the depth of our fullback.  I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I am running an offshoot of the Delaware Wing-T.  It’s a great offense. I ran it for eight years before I tightened things up,  and in my play calling my thinking hasn't changed a whole lot from those days, other than  that I believe we have a better off-tackle power play than the Wing-T provides, and that we don't have to make a big issue of tightening down our splits whenever we want to run a wedge, because we're always in position to do so.

*********** Bob St. Clair died last week.  I wrote this about him back in 2003.

A LOOK AT OUR LEGACY- Meet Bob St. Clair

He was nicknamed "The Geek." By his teammates, that is. Don't you try calling him that - not even now, more than 40 years after he played his last game. He's 6-9 and in his prime he weighed 265 or so, and he was mean and tough. He was a boxer and never took any crap off anybody, on or off the field. He's in his 70's now, but I'll bet he'd still knock you on your ass if you called him "Geek."

How about this one? Q. Why was he called "The Geek?" A. Because of his preference for eating his meat raw. (a 49ers' teammate, Bruno Banducci, hung the name on him after a character of the same name in a Tyrone Power movie, a carnival performer who bit the heads off chickens.) He said it all started when he was little. "I had a Yaqui Indian grandmother from Mexico," he said, "and when I was little she fed me blood gravy and bits of raw beef." It didn't seem to stunt his growth. From a 5-9 high school sophomore, he grew to be 6-4, 210 when he turned out for football the next year.

With the exception of one season at the University of Tulsa, he played every single home game of his football career - high school, college, pro - not only in the same city, but on the some field on the same field. Kezar Stadium.

He went to high school in San Francisco, and played college football for the University of San Francisco, and played his entire professional career for the San Francisco 49ers.

(He transferred to Tulsa after USF dropped football.)

Want more? He once served as the Mayor of Daly City, a San Francisco suburb.

For three years, Bob St. Clair was captain of the 49ers. An offensive tackle, he was named to the Pro Bowl five times in his 11-year NFL career. In 1990, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

(That USF team had future NFL stars such as Ollie Mattson, Gino Marchetti, Ed Brown and Bob St. Clair.  One of its stars was Burl Toler, who would become the first black man to officiate in the NFL, and the USF ublicist was a guy named Pete Rozelle, later to become NFL commissioner. The team was the subject of a very interesting book, “Undefeated, Untied and Uninvited.”)

Excerpts from a documentary…


*********** “I love football. Love it, love it. I think it’s the last bastion of hope for toughness in America in men, in males.”

So said Jim Harbaugh.

Uh-oh.  We’re dead, fellas.   We always did have the feminists against us,  but now he’s gone and angered the Nancy-boys, too.

Listen to Bryant Gumbel’s stunned reaction: “Not exactly a quote for the Age of Enlightenment.”

Yeah, some enlightenment.  Colleges that exclude anyone bordering on the conservative from giving speeches on campus... A lesbo heading up the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy... trannies in the armed forces... states tripping over each other in a race to legalize marijuana... a former president giving "speeches" to Russians for $500,000 a pop in return for permisson to buy American uranium mines, while his wife,
a presidential candidate, destroys evidence of any connection ... people who argue with a straight face that having to show indentification in order to vote is "voter suppression"...  a bogus "civil rights leader" who owes more than $4 million in taxes but continues to be a frequent guest at the White House... a President who makes his own laws, and kisses the a** of one terrorist nation just to the south of Key West, and another  whose slogan seems to be “Death to America.”

I'm not even close to being finished, but if this is the Age of Enlightenment, I'll take darkness.

*********** Wednesday night, as one of several hockey games got underway and the young women stood there at center ice with a microphone in her hand, I quickly switched to the sound on that set and braced for the worst.

But to my delight, she sang our national anthem beautifully and she sang it straight.  She wasn’t auditioning for a recording contract.  She wasn’t trying to impress us with the number of notes she could hit, or how long she could drag it out. She treated our national anthem with the respect it deserved.   (So, too - are you listening, Blackhawks' fans? - did the crowd.)

And when she was finished, she went right into her own national anthem: “O Canada.”

And then the game - in Winnipeg - got under way.

Pretty bad when a Canadian shows our national anthem more respect than Americans do.

************ Guys wearing high heels?

Say hello to the latest scheme to turn men into weenies.

It’s called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” and the idea is to have men wear high heels (red) and walk a mile to “raise awareness” of rape.

Like we don’t know it exists and we don’t oppose it.

Did I say they’ll sell you the high heels and the tee shirts?  You’re free to provide your own high heels, of course, but what are the odds that unless you’re a cross-dresser, you’ve got a pair that big, so they’ll be happy to sell you a pair.

What a clever way to unload all those oversize women’s red high heels.


*********** Let’s let Bryan Price, Reds’ Manager, tell it:

So, I'm f******, to be honest with you, I'm f****** sick of this s***. I'm sick of listening to this f****** s***, I'm sick of f****** the f****** second-guessing b*******, you guys can do whatever the f*** you want, but I'll tell you this — I'm not going to f****** tell you everything about this f****** club, because you f****** guys are going to out there and sniff it out anyway. I don't f****** like it one f****** bit. I bend over backwards to be honest and direct with you f****** guys and you stick it right up my f****** a** — and the f****** team's a**. I'm sick of it.

Price’s tirade, in which he showed the versatility of the “F” word by using it as several different parts of speech,   brought to mind Lee Elia’s rant as manager of the Cubs, back in 1983.

It’s hard to believe it was more than 30 years ago - I’ve kept the audio tape that long - that Lee absolutely unloaded on Cubs’ fans, who booed his team after a tough 4-3 loss to the Dodgers.

I knew Lee because he was the best friend of Jack Turner, my backfield mate at Germantown Academy.  Lee went to nearby Olney High, where he was a spectacular athlete, all-city in all three major sports.

He was recruited to Delaware (by a guy named Mike Lude) as a quarterback, but in the spring of his freshman year he dislocated his hip in a freak accident (jumping across a stream) and his football days were over.

Then as now, the Carpenter family supported Delaware athletics, and at that time, Bob Carpenter owned the Phillies. Whatever the arrangement, Lee wound up playing baseball in the Phillies organization, and after a so-so career as an infielder, he got into coaching.

The “performance” I referred to was recorded surreptitiously by a reporter, and beforetoday’s social media and Youtube, mostly made the rounds inside sports media, a profane tour de force  that was always sure to elicit laughs.


************* Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal, on the Browns’ new uniforms, which say CLEVELAND in the front of the jerseys, and BROWNS down the sides of the pants:

Question: Are the Browns worried about losing their players at the mall?  Writing your name on your pants is OK if you’re 11 and on your way to trampoline camp for the summer.

The shame of it was that the Browns already had a great uniform. Cleveland hasn’t had much go right in its last 50 years of football history, but its uniform was an exception: clean, rugged, dignified attire for watching the Baltimore Ravens beat you by two touchdowns.

Proposal:  The Cleveland Browns should be forced to return to their old uniforms.  Then, the people in charge of the Browns should not be allowed to make football-related decisions for a few years.  They should simply sit on a park bench and do nothing. This alone should win the Browns three extra games in the AFC per season.

***********  How disgustingly ironic that as we just finished observing the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, the makers of Captain Morgan Rum  are using Walt Whitman's mournful poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” to push booze. Not that anyone in their target market knows who Abraham Lincoln was anyhow.


(Just on the chance that you may know more about Captain Morgan than O Captain! My Captain! - here it is.  Shock the hell out of the geeks in the faculty room who think you're a Neanderthal, and recite a few lines!)

By Walt Whitman

(My English lesson: It's a metaphor, see. Lincoln, the captain, has brought the ship - the nation - safely home; he’s steered it through the Civil War. But while everybody's celebrating,  the captain - assassinated - lies "cold and dead" on the deck.)

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

*********** I meant to ask you this a year ago but it is better now that you have had one more year with the open wing style.
If you were taking over a rebuilding situation or in a situation where you were playing larger schools all the time, where would you start on offense?

Tough question.

If the program was really down, I think I would start with a double wing, just to try to stay in most games, controlling the ball, playing sound defense, not giving it away in the kicking game, and trying to keep it close.

If I began to see that we had a little talent in the "skill” area, I might branch out into just a two- or three-play series of open wing. There’s time enough once you get into the season to do that.

But in taking over a poor program, my approach has always been triage.  I have always approached with the belief that when a team has been sucking, Job One - before trying to do anything spectacular - is to stop the sucking.

I think too many guys make the mistake of coming into a situation where kids don’t even know how to block and tackle and trying to do the stuff they saw the state championship coach talk about in a February clinic.

On the other hand, if I were inheriting a program that’s been pretty well coached, I would lean toward the open wing approach because it would be a lot easier to sell to a bunch of kids - and their parents - who were likely used to having a split end or two and might rebel at the double wing approach.

*********** Mark Beech, a staff writer for Sports Illustrated, is the son of a West Point graduate, and the author of “When Saturdays Mattered Most,” the story of the undefeated 1958 Army team. (The title refers to his contention that from that point on, the tide of football fan interest began changing from college games on Saturdays to pro games on Sundays.)

At the suggestion of Jack Morrison, a member of the 1958 Army team who publishes an Army football newsletter, Mark did some research into the origin of “Army” as the name given to West Point’s teams.

Not sure I'll be able to find the origins of the Army name—with the Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing and the Triple Crown races coming up, I'm a little swamped. Here's what I was able to do quickly this morning.

Calling the football team Army goes back almost to the beginning. In Grantland Rice's famous 1924 column on the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, he notes that Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden "formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army football team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds yesterday afternoon." The man could write.

Going back even further, the Fighting Irish made their bones as a national power by beating Army 35-13 at West Point in 1913. This was the game that introduced football (big-time football, anyway) to the forward pass. The New York Times called us Army then, too.

Before that, check out this scorecard from the 1902 Army-Navy baseball game:


The teams listed there are Army and Navy. The Army rightfielder was a young man by the name of Douglas MacArthur.

I haven't been able to find any contemporaneous news accounts of Army-Navy football games from the last decade of the 19th century (1890 to '99). But I did find some other primary resources that shed some, but not enough, light on the origins of the Army name.

An 1897 letter from the assistant secretary of the Navy refers to the football games between West Point and Annapolis.


A ticket to the 1892 Army-Navy football game touted it as being between Annapolis and West Point:


The wording on the ticket isn't conclusive proof of anything. West Point and Annapolis were on all the tickets up until about 1915 or '16, well after we know that the names Army and Navy were being widely used. We'd need to see the news stories about those early Army-Navy games to know the truth, I think.

I can also tell you that until 1999, only the football team was ever usually referred to as the Black Knights of the Hudson, or just the Black Knights. The nickname was created by New York sportswriters in the early 20th century when Army was a national power, and it was endorsed whole heartedly  (as far as I can tell) by Red Blaik. When I wrote my book on the 1958 team, I alternated between Army, Cadets and Black Knights.

*********** That does it.  No more WNBA games for me.   I’m not going to pay my good money to watch a bunch of wife-beaters.


* *********** Jeez, I’m getting old.  I can remember when $150 got your kid four days at camp, three nights in a dorm room, and three meals a day. And a tee-shirt.

But now, USA Football (The self-styled “national governing body for amateur American football in the United States.”) intends to shake down the gullible for $150 for a two-day day camp.  And get this - lunch is on you.

Of course, there’s a huge benefit: “Opportunity to try-out for the U.S. National Football Team and represent the United States against Canada in the International Bowl at Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.”

Imagine.  A chance to represent your country! And all it costs is $150. Remember, kids: If you don’t enter, you can’t win.

Here’s the dope:

USA Football is hosting our Seattle Regional Development Camp in Everett, Washington on May 23 & 24, 2015 at Archbishop Murphy High School.

Regional Development Camps are two day, non-contact camps where the primary focus is to develop athletes' positional skills, while competing for a spot on the U.S. National Football Team.

USA Football's Regional Development Camp program offers athletes the following:

    •    Train and work with current NCAA college football coaches (see list below)
    •    Gain recruiting exposure from NCAA coaches across all divisions
    •    Two-days of football development and competition
    •    Opportunity to try-out for the U.S. National Football Team and represent the United States against Canada in the International Bowl at Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium
    •    Learn Heads Up Football tackling technique from USA Football Master Trainers

Camp Location: Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett, Washington

Dates: Saturday and Sunday May 23 & 24, 2015

Age Levels:
    •    High School Division: 9th - 11th grades
    •    Middle School Division: 6th - 8th grades

Coaching staff includes coaches and staff members from the following schools:
    •    Washington State
    •    Eastern Washington
    •    Cal Poly - SLO
    •    San Diego
    •    Central Washington
    •    Pacific Lutheran University
    •    Reedley College
    •    Whitworth
    •    Puget Sound
    •    Claremont - Mudd - Scripps College

Cost: $150

Registration: Sign Up Today at www.usafootball.com/regionals

Camp Schedule:
10:00am-12:00pm:   Check-in
12:00pm-12:45pm:   Orientation
1:00pm-3:30pm:       Practice #1
3:30pm-5:00pm:       Lunch (athletes on their own)
5:00pm-7:15pm:       Practice #2

10:00am-12:00pm:    Practice #3
12:00-1:30pm:           Lunch (athletes on their own)
1:30pm-4:15pm:        Practice #4
4:15pm-4:30pm:        Closing remarks

All athletes must register online by 8:00 pm on Friday, May 22. At that time, you will no longer be able to sign up for this camp. We are not accepting any walk-up registrations this year.
If you have any questions about this camp, please reply back to this email.
Thanks for your interest in USA Football and we hope your athletes can join USA Football.
Brendan Mankarious
USA Football

american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL  21,  2015-   "War is for participants a test of character: it makes bad men worse and good men better."  Civil War General  Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

*********** “What a waste. What a ridiculous and senseless waste,” the reporter wrote.

“His future was one of endless possibilities, its only limits his own drive and imagination,” she went on to say.

Say, “waste?” “Endless possibilities?” “Drive and imagination?”

She wasn’t talking about the death of young cancer researcher in a lab accident.

That's a waste.

She wasn’t talking about a doctor dying in a plane crash on the way to treat Ebola victims.

That's a waste.

She was talking about AARON F—KING HERNANDEZ, for God’s sake.

*********** I was talking to Wing-T Godfather Mike Lude on Sunday.  If you run the Delaware Wing-T, thank Mike, because he was there at the birth of the offense.   He was the first Delaware Wing-T line coach, and he’s the guy  responsible for the blocking rules you use today.

One example: the use/nonuse of the word “Gap,” in two different publications by Dave Nelson and Forrest Evashevski.

When their “Scoring Power With the Winged T” first made its appearance in 1957, “Gap” was scarcely to be found in the rules.

But when their “The Modern Winged T Playbook” came out four years later, “Gap” had become the first instruction in many of the rules.

The difference?  Defensive people are not stupid, and after the Wing-T’s first stunning appearance on national TV, they went to work. Many defenses had begun lining up in the gaps and causing problems for Wing-T coaches whose original rules hadn’t made allowances for that possibility.

No doubt because of his wing-T orientation, Mike remains a great believer in common-sense play-calling.  He told me about the time when he was head coach at Colorado State and in one particular game they were having success with a particular play. So he stuck with that play. (Any double wing coach will understand.)

An assistant in the press box suggested that maybe they ought to run something different.

“Can you see how well this is working?” Mike asked.

“Yeah, but we’re liable to wear it out,” was the reply.

Said Mike, “Wear the damn thing out!”

*********** Shh.  Don't say anything about a certain devout Christian quarterback signing with the Eagles.  Let's all keep a low profile. We don't want to ruin his chances. Maybe if he was transsexual it would be different.  Shh.  Pass it on.

*********** No doubt you’ve heard about Britt McHenry,  ESPN bimbo, who acted the spoiled diva in insulting an employee of a car-towing company.

She forced me to go get the B-word and the C-word out of the closet.



*********** I'm sitting at Tommy's basketball practice. Nine eleven-year-olds who have never played before. All of them asking questions about possible loop holes in the rules: "what if I do this?" How about this? "Can I do this?" All crazy attempts to do something never seen before.

Reminded me of young coaches trying to reinvent offences.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** Grrrrr.

(1) This year’s incoming plebe class at the US Military Academy will be 23 per cent female, an all-time high. And the leadership at West Point is jumping up and down with excitement.  Meantime,  how many future Grants, Pershings, Eisenhowers, Bradleys, Van Fleets, MacArthurs, Pattons and Schwartzkopfs (all male, if you hadn’t noticed) may have been denied admission as a result?

With the high attrition rates they already experience due to the discipline of cadet life  and the high academic and physical demands of the academy, how long will it be before some female Congressperson (or the President himself) “suggests” cutting back on the physical requirements?

The West Point Board of Visitors is its "Board of Trustees." According to its site: "The board... shall inquire into the morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods, and other matters relating to the academy that the board decides to consider."

The new “chairperson" of the Board of Visitors, an Obama appointee of course, is a West Point graduate, who “co-founded Knights Out, a group of openly gay USMA graduates, and now heads up SPARTA, an advocacy group supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and veterans.”

Are you f—king kidding me?


*********** Hello there Coach Wyatt,

First off let me thank you again for the Double Wing offense you designed. It was a very successfull season for my youth team. We finished the season at 5-1 (last game of season was cancelled because of politics) and out scored our oppenents by a score of 29 - 11. Once the kids got rolling sfter the 2nd game(lots of false start and turnovers) they really hit their stride in the last 4 games of the season averaging 36.5 points a game. After every game the same comment kept coming  "Wow! What an offense. You guys are really physical. Where did you learn to tackle like that?" My answers were always humble and I would sing the praises of your Double Wing as well as your Safer and Surer tackling videos. I amy be in some trouble with that as we are a Heads Up league, but I don't really care. They can try and attack me with that stuff, but Safer and Surer tackling is the only way for my program.

I am so inspired by the level of success with my first year that I have recently bought the Trouble Shooting DVD as well as the Practice without Pads DVD, and the Demo Deck. Looking forward to getting those materials real soon.

I am also wondering if the May 16th clinic is the only clinic you will have this off season? I noticed in the past you had given one in Providence Rhode Island, and am hoping you will have one there as well. I am really interested in learning the Open Wing, but am finding the distance to the May 16th Pennsylvania clinc to be to much of a distance. If you are not holding any other clinics this year I would like to find a way of accessing the Open Wing playbook if possible?

Hopefully this email finds you well and thank you for your time and commitment.
John Guebara

Head Football Coach
North Country Jr. Falcons
Newport Vermont

Coach Guebara,

I appreciate the note.

I really don’t know much about Heads Up, because in all fairness I have to admit to a distaste for USA Football, for the way they claim to be the “governing body” of football (like who died and made them king?) and because they really are a front for the NFL (that’s where their support comes from) and because they’re selling a double wing playbook which is a poor ripoff of my work.

But otherwise…

I’m only going to be doing one clinic, the one in PA on May 16.  For various reasons, I couldn’t bring off the Providence clinic this year.  That’s always been one of my favorites.

I think of you as I plod along trying to produce some Open Wing materials worth selling.  I won’t sell anything unless I’d use it myself.

Stay in touch and I’ll give you updates!

*********** Who was the first winner of the Heisman Trophy?  (And why wasn't it Jay Berwanger?)

*********** In the best "peaceful protest" tradition, an animal-rights bunch tried to force their way inside a circus in San Bernardino.

But in the best “show-must-go-on” tradition, circus workers, including clowns,  fought them off.

Wrote one commenter, “The protesters thought they had the numbers until a compact car pulled up and 72 clowns piled out. game on!”


*********** One of the quirky pleasures of living at Ocean Shores is being able to drive on the beach.  Especially at low tide, it is wide, and flat, and hard. We like to drive down and let our dogs run.

Even so,  towing newbies out of the sand - or water - is a thriving business at “The Beach.”

There are those spots, both close to the water’s edge where it’s soft and wet, and way back where the high tide seldom gets,  where you really don’t want to go without 4-wheel drive (which I have).  And, the ocean being the ocean, you never want to park too close to the water, because at any time a larger-than-usual wave can come out of nowhere.

Stupidity never helps.


*********** I don’t mention this often, but I’m a huge fan of college fight songs.  They have a special place in our sports culture, and they’re one of the things that draw the line between college and pro football. 

“Fly, Eagles, Fly?” “Bear Down, Chicago Bears?” Give me a break.  Buncha drunks that don’t even know the words when they’re spotted them on the JumboTron.

Watching the Illinois spring game, I heard the band play Oskee-Wow-Wow, the Illini fight song, and that got me thinking about Chief Illiniwek.   The late Chief Illiniwek, once the living symbol of the Fighting Illini.

From 1926 until 2007, win or lose, a high point of Illinois football games and, later, basketball games, was what the people at Illinois proudly called “The most exciting four minutes in all of college athletics” - starting with the playing of Oskee Wow Wow,  the entrance and dance of Chief Iliniwek, in native buckskin attire and wearing a beautiful orange-and-blue war bonnet (a gift of a Sioux chief). At the end of the dance, Chief Illiniwek would stand at midfield, arms folded, as the band played, and the crowd sang the alma mater, “Hail to the Orange.” 

And then - I know you can see this coming - somewhere back in the ‘80s, the complaints began.

The Chief and his “dance,” it was claimed, disparaged Native Americans. Mocked them.

Those opposed were not necessarily a majority of Native Americans, you understand, but take a tip from me:  if you ever want to get around the old “majority rules” nonsense that a democracy is supposed to be based on, the best way to do it is to claim you’re offended by something.

And then, although it’s nowhere to be found in the Constitution, the Right Not to be Offended kicks in, and one makes a majority.

It starts with one person, then two or three pick up the cry, until eventually they get in the ears of someone in power - power is the key motivator here, I suspect - and slowly the wheels of Political Correctness start to grind.

So it was with colleges. If their nickname, or mascot, or  symbol was related to Native Americans, however noble its intent, they were ipso facto insensitive.  Racist.

Maybe they didn’t want to change - years of tradition and all that - but their traditions meant nothing to their opponents, who came under pressure from the PC juggernaut not to play them.  And the NCAA, always sensitive to PC pressure, informed those colleges that until they divested themselves of their Indian names and symbols, they were in danger of becoming athletic pariahs.

Illinois put up a fight,  but eventually the pressure became too great, and Chief Illiniwek, a symbol to tens of thousands of Illinois faithful since the days of Red Grange, was gone.

With him, in my opinion, went a proud symbol of the people who once populated Illinois, people removed by government order to Indian Territory.
Look, we’re not talking “Redskins” here.  (I know Native Americans who aren’t offended in the slightest by that, but I can understand how offensive it might be to others.)

And we’re not talking about the Cleveland Indians and Chief Nok-a-Homa (Knock a Homer - get it?)

We’re talking here about celebrations of nobility and courage, of symbols that glorify a people and a way of life, one that unfortunately we can never bring back any other way.

Granted, I’m a white guy who doesn’t pretend to understand.  But I have a hell of a time seeing how Native American symbols, depicting men as brave, as hunters or warriors, in any way disparages native people.

Bring back Chief Illiniwek.  And provide a scholarship for a Native American resident of Illinois to be (not “play”) the Chief.

Chief Illiniwek’s last football game… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSoR8PLorTw

And Chief Illinwek’s final appearance, at a basketball game… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7tyfQu4QJo

*********** One of the candidates for the QB job at Illinois is  Jeff George, Junior.

*********** Penn State had a very good crowd of 50,000 or so.  Pretty good, considering how remote State College is. But Ohio State had ONE BIGASS CROWD - maybe 90,000 or so.  The Horsehoe looked pretty full to me.

*********** Notre Dame, whose stadium is undergoing another renovation, held its spring game on a practice field, whose bleachers held maybe a couple of thousand people.

*********** I’m guessing the Alabama spring-game crowd was 55,000 tops. Very, very good, but not by Bama’s standards. I heard something about threatening weather.  Or is this what happens when you’re Alabama and you don’t win the national title?

*********** On Saturday, just two days after throwing the discus a state-leading 177 feet, North Beach’s Caleb Bridge threw the disc 181-3.  That’s the top throw in the state in all classes,  more than 8 feet in front of the guy in second, with 172-11.

Caleb, a 6-5, 260-pound offensive and defensive lineman who’s headed for the Air Force Academy, is also 8th in the state in the shot put at 54-4.  Right behind him in 9th place is North Beach junior Jonny Law, at 53-8.

*********** John Amirante has spent  35 years singing the National Anthem at New York Rangers games. I heard him for the first time last weekend.  Sure hope he’s good for another 35.

No precious little  8 year old.
No high school sophomore who nobody has the guts to say she’s not really that good.
No multiple grammy award winner.
No refugee from “American Idol.”
No 5-minute display of questionable creativity offensive to the ears of anyone who loves our nation’s song.

Nope. Just the straight, meat and potatoes, stirring version of the Star Spangled Banner we old-timers grew up loving.


Right up there with John Amirante is Jim Cornelison, who sings the anthem before Chicago Blackhawks’ games. But I sure wish the Chicago fans would act more respectful of our country and STFU for the minute or two that  he’s singing, instead of shouting so loudly he can barely be heard.  That may be their team about to play, but it’s OUR national anthem, too.  Ironically,  they'd probably call for an invasion of Canada if they heard a Montreal crowd doing the same thing during our national anthem. (Funny - I think the Canadians are more respectful than that.)

And then there’s the woman who sang before the Islanders’ game.  Sheesh. I knew we were in trouble when the PA announcer said she was going to “perform” the national anthem.  Perform, she did.  National anthem, it wasn’t.  At least nothing I recognized.

*********** If you’re looking for a girl to share your interest in college football, I can help a little.  But you’re going to have to help yourself, to some degree.  You’re going to have to start pulling for Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma or Tennessee.

That’s because (here’s where I try to help)  according to a Scarborough Research poll based on women who said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested college football, the top five markets are Birmingham, Columbus. Oklahoma City, Knoxville, and Mobile. (I can’t believe Lincoln didn’t make it.)

If it’s pro football you’re more interested in, you’ll want to head for Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New Orleans or Milwaukee.  In that order.  (It doesn’t take a genius to see that your chances are pretty good if you like the Pack and you don’t mind cold weather.)

*********** This time last spring, Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown was looking forward to another season of college ball before entering the NFL draft.

As he told the Portland Oregonian’s Andrew Greif, “I was like, man, I’m trying to leave and trying to get to the NFL; I’m out of there after this season.”

And he went out and started having a good season - caught 24 passes good for six touchdowns - right up until the Utah game, when he injured his knee. He injured it so severely, in fact, that he narrowly escaped amputation of his leg, and since then he’s had to have three operations.

“His injury is something that a lot of people wouldn’t try to come back from,” said Oregon’s associate director of athletic medicine, who added that she’d only seen one other athlete suffer a comparable injury.

He didn’t even begin walking again until February, and he still hasn’t been cleared to start running, but Pharaoh Brown is determined to play again.

He’s determined, yes, but - a lesson to all young athletes - he’s had to face the reality that his football career could be over at any time, and as a result  he’s immersed himself in his studies, taking a full load of classes in his major, advertising.

“I know I’m not going to play football for the rest of my life,” he told Greif. “I know I’m going to play again, but I like the fact that I was able to figure that out.”

*********** Yale’s John Spagnola spent 11 seasons as an NFL tight end, but he’s in the college record books as a passer. Believe it or not, his  77-yard touchdown pass to Bob Krystyniak on a trick play against Harvard is still the longest scoring play in the history of “The Game,” a rivalry that dates to 1875.  

He told Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register that he and Krystyniak sit together every year at the Yale-Harvard game, and every time Yale moves the ball out past its own 23-yard line, they celebrate with a drink.

“Because we know they can’t break it in that series,” Spagnola said. “By the end of the game, we’re usually feeling pretty good.”  

*********** In reading an article about the Oregon Ducks’ annual sale of surplus athletic equipment (forget about flying out to Eugene - demand is so great that season ticket holders get first dibs), I came across an interesting item about a guy named Ed Garland, a former Ducks’ assistant equipment manager  who in 2005 went on to become Cal’s equipment manager.

Inspired by his experience of colleges’ need to dispose of overstocked equipment, in 2011 he founded a company called ShoeU, which buys surplus athletic shoes from colleges and sells them online at discount prices.

Check it out… http://www.shoeu.net/about_shoe_u/index.htm

*********** Widmer Brothers, founded in 1984, was one of the first of the many brewers that have made Portland the center of the craft brewing movement. (For the record, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world.)

Its Hefeweizen, a wheat beer, is extremely popular, especially with women and others who like a slice of fruit stuck on the rim of their glass, and thanks to a tie-in with a larger brewer, it’s distributed nationwide.

It’s hard to believe that Widmer has grown so much that with the expansion it just announced,  its capacity will increase to 750,000 barrels.  That, folks, is not a craft brewery.  That is big.  Not Budweiser big, but not a microbrewery by any stretch.

(A “barrel” is 31 gallons, and it’s the standard way of measuring brewery capacity and sales.  But in reality, what you call a “keg” is actually a half-barrel, or 15.5 gallons.  In the trade, kegs are known as “half-kegs,” or, if you want to sound like a real insider, “halves.”)

american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  17,  2015-   "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."  Mark Twain

*********** My brother-in-law, Wayne Cunningham, is on the far side of 80, but he has yet to slow down.  He wrestled and played baseball and  soccer in high school and played soccer at Duke,  and well into his 40s he was still playing on a traveling fast pitch softball team.  Over the years, he’s coached high school softball and refereed soccer and wrestling, and even now, he’s assisting with a  girls’ softball team. 

And once a week he plays softball (slow pitch by now) in an organized league.

Since the object of the league is to have fun, the rules specify that everyone on the team - not just the starting nine - must bat in turn. In other words, if 15 guys show up for that evening’s game, everyone gets to bat every 15th time.

Did I say the object of the league was to have fun?  Wayne says that for big games, the better teams in the league very cleverly arrange for their “out men” not to show up.

********** The powers that be at the United States Military Academy, also known, because it is located at West Point, New York, as  “West Point,” and whose athletic teams have been known ever since they started competing in sports, back in the 1800s, as “Army,” have announced the results of an 18-month -ong process of “rebranding.” Nike, I should add, was involved.

The supposed need was a supposed confusion in the mind of the American Public over “West Point” and “Army.”  See, there are many people out there who think “Army” represents the US Army.  (I believe this, because I watch Jesse Waters’ interviews, and he has no trouble at all finding people who think that we fought the British in the Civil War.)

I personally don’t worry that much about those numbskulls, because from having spent a little time helping with admissions out here in Washington, I can attest to the fact that there is no difficulty at all finding high-quality applicants every year who understand the difference.  When they apply to Wst Point, they know they are not enlisting in the Army.  For the roughly 1,000 admissions spots in every class, there are more than 10,000 candidates - and you can be sure that most of those 10,000 are standouts in their high schools.

I suspect that it has something to do with feedback from sports recruiters who report that they’re having problems getting top-quality talent because those kids are confused. How good is the recruiter, anyhow, if he can't clear that up in the first minute or two of talking to a kid?

Regardless of the reasoning, henceforth the “brand name” will be “Army West Point.”

There are those cynics who say that 13 straight losses to Navy - er, “Navy Annapolis” - promoted the rethinking. 

Brilliant.  So henceforth it will be the Army West Point-Navy game?  The Corps of Cadets will sing “On Brave Old Army West Point Team?”

Oh- and rather than ditch the “Black Knights” nickname and return to the age-old “Cadets,” they’ll be both Black Knights and Cadets.  Take your pick.  A mascot for everyone.  (And don’t forget the mules.)

I’m reminded of the two high schools in Oregon that merged several years ago, The Dalles Indians and the Wahtonka Eagles.  In a strike of brilliance, they became The Dalles-Wahtonka Eagle-Indians.  It's true.  I coached against them.  Twice.

No doubt everyone in the Army West Point athletic department has their orders - no more just “Army.” But I have news for them.  I’ve worked for  newspapers, and newspaper guys don’t take orders from athletic departments. If  Army insists on being Army West Point, they’d better prepare to see themselves in headlines as “AWP,” right along with UTEP, UNLV and IUPUI.

To be fair, there’s a uniform redesign that looks okay.  I stress the word “uniform.”  No more sending a blind equipment manager into a dark equipment room to randomly select this week’s jersey, pants and helmet combination.  That’s for Oregon and guys with four-star players.   Let’s be real - Oregon wouldn’t look very cool if they lost more than they won.  And no more of that camo uniform sh—, either, although I’m told that was less a style issue and more a matter of who owns the rights to the camo design.

The Army Athletic Association ("Army West Point Athletic Assocation?") rep happened to call  me on Wednesday.  I unloaded on him - told him exactly what I said above.  And then made my annual donation.


As for the “Army West Point” nonsense, I thought it might be fun to reprint a few of the comments from the Army Football Board, whose posters are mostly West Point graduates: (the "Boo" referred to a couple of times is Army West Point AD Boo Corrigan.  I have no idea how he got that name.)

Sadly I feel that all of this "rebranding" is done in an effort to simply make Army or West Point (they will remain independent of each other in my mind for all of eternity) relevant again in the landscape of NCAA athletics.  Well I've got news for the big brass at school...you know what makes programs relevant in the NCAA??  Wins!  Period!!!  Who had ever heard of Gonzaga before they started winning in the NCAA tournament a decade ago?  Who had ever heard of the university of Miami until they hired Howard Schnellenburger and starting winning in the late 70's?!  That's right simply start winning and we can do away with the Micky mouse camouflage costumes on Saturdays and the ridiculous names given to us by the frickin history department at school!  When did this identity issue become a problem?  I'm pretty sure that when someone asks me where I played ball at in college, I have yet to receive a single question about my response of either West Point or Army.  Newsflash you only have an identity issue when you create one by calling yourself 8 different things!
That brings me to my next point...after an 18 month research and development program the best we could do to present our new look was to parade out a couple of middle aged men who peaked out in their lives at about 21 years old when they themselves were firsties hanging out at the firstie club sipping warm beer and hitting on trou back in 1986.  Anyone with half a brain can agree that last nights presentation was an absolute abortion.  After only 4 years of wasting my time in briefings as a cadet, West Point found yet another way to waste a good hour of my life.
Kudos to Coach Monkens opinion that the Army team will wear gold helmets and gold pants at home...as it should have and should forever be.  Let's quit pretending that we're Oregon...because we ain't!  We are Army...not Army West Point (which almost sounds like some directional regional college...think Eastern Michigan State A&M or some other ridiculousness)...we wear gold helmets and you had better bring a lunch pail when you come to play against us!  Rant over!

So.......one of if not THE greatest college FB fight songs......."On brave old Army West Point team, on to the fray. Fight on to Victory, for that's the fearless Army West Point way. " I'm a third gen USNA guy. Grew up and still say "Beat Army" after grace. Went to my first A-N game in 1952. You don't need to 'rebrand"......you're  all that's good and right about America. The Long Gray Line. The speech that MacArhtur gave at WP...."when I die my last thought.....the Corps, the Corps and the Corps." Davis and Blanchard.

The best way to fix this branding issue is to win.  I wasn't around in the 1940's but I'm willing to bet most people knew who and where the Army Team was from.  I will continue to say Army or West Point but not both.  That's silly.  No other school does this you don't hear people say "I went to Stanford California, or Vanderbilt Tennessee, or Northwestern Illinois, or Florida State Tallahassee, or Georgia Athens,  or Notre Dame Indiana.  It's just silly.  

I think that the name Army West Point is to make stupid Americans aware that the Army team is composed of cadets that attend West Point rather than a group assembled from the enlisted Army.
Whenever we attempt to dumb down things to the lowest common denominator, we generally lose.

When my son first went to USNA many didn't understand the concept.  I would follow up with the Navy's Academy in Annapolis.  They would respond--Oh he goes to school in Indiana (see recent commercial with Charles Barkley and Samuel Jackson for the Final Four).

Then I realized it was best to drop it if they didn't understand Naval Academy from the get go.

I completely agree.  No need to cater to the lowest common denominator.  If Army West Point starts winning again, then the uneducated GAP might figure out who Army West Point is.

Until then, does anyone really think that those people care who Army West Point is?  They're not watching football anyway -- they're too busy figuring out what they should be protesting.

Listening to my network of friends, classmates, teammates, and other alums, I have yet to find anyone (not a single person) that thinks "Army West Point" is a good idea...in fact, the vast majority absolutely despise it to the point that they appear physically upset about it.  What population of alums and former athletes did they use to vet this garbage?  Or is that a complete lie?  Could it be that they tossed "Black Knights" back into the mix at the last minute to spite the media leaks and speculators?  It would have been easy, since it's just the stencil font.

We are getting hammered on social media for the "Army West Point" crap and the 15 nicknames and mascots. 

I'm just curious...how much money was spent figuring out that ARMY needs black/grey/gold unis and a block-A logo? There are about 500 old grads on this forum alone that have been telling Boo, et al. exactly that since he's been there, and it didn't cost anyone a dime. Sheesh, I'm in the wrong business.

Why the identity crisis anyway? We don't see our colleagues at USNA or USAFA getting their panties in a bunch trying to figure out if they should call themselves "Navy Annapolis" or "Air Force Colorado Springs". They have the advantage, I suppose, of having won a lot of games recently; whenever that happens, people tend to try to find out more information on their own.

I am a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, whose sports teams have always been referred to, colloquially, as "Army". So far as this disgruntled old grad is concerned, they will remain "Army" and West Point will remain the physiographic feature associated with the location of our alma mater. I frankly don't give a damn whether those distinctions are lost on the Great American Public. "Army West Point"...spare us, Boo. Seriously.

Therein lies a branding problem...our nickname and our mascot were completely unrelated...
Less related than...
"Hoyas" and bulldogs?
"Crimson Tide" and elephants?
"Aggies" and Shetland sheepdogs?
"Tar Heels" and rams?
"Bonnies" and Bona wolves?
"Midshipmen" and goats?

The Supe and all of the other high-minded leadership at the Academy insisted in the rebranding hoopla that this really has "meaning" and links the future with the past. Then they tried to explain why the name is meaningful and what the connection is, for all of the unsophisticated head-scratching people across America. If you have to explain a joke, it isn't a joke. In this bizarro world, the fact that you have to explain it, means it IS a joke. Congrats to all who feel proud to have fathered this effort: you have indeed linked the future to the past. You now own the 21st Century patent on "New Coke"

Navy '68 Grad here...  FWIW, you have always been Army, and you will always be Army.  Don't let some Manhattan consultant with a gold earring and a Gucci purse tell you who you are. WTF is rebranding?  You are one of the the greatest institutions this country will ever see.  Let the screwed up outfits rebrand.  This entire thing makes me sick, and I'm Navy. 

Whenever I tell people who don't follow football that I'm going to the Army game, I usually get questions like "The Army has a football team?" They're usually vaguely aware of what West Point and the academy are when I tell them that the team plays for the school, but they usually have to ask what state West Point is in and are surprised to find out that it's so close to NYC. Really no need to try to appeal to those sorts of people. They aren't coming to any of our sporting events or buying any of our merchandise.

"Army West Point" is a terribly inelegant way of going about it. There are far more subtle ways to make a connection between Army and West Point in the public imagination. Now we're pretty much the college version of "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim".

My guess is they'll try to push this "Army West Point" crap on us for a season or two, the fanbase and the rest of college football fandom will ignore it and keep calling us just "Army", and after a few seasons the athletics department will quietly scrap the "West Point" addendum.

No media independent of the academy is going to actually call us that (unless maybe when they want to poke fun at us). I have yet to run across any college sports-related site that has us officially listed as "Army West Point" besides gawps.com. Forget all the other implications of the name change; plain and simple, "Army West Point" is a mouthful. It's just too long for the national media to adopt for a team it hardly pays any mind to in the first place. It's going to crash and burn spectacularly, but after the name melts away we'll still have all the positive aspects of the re-branding - good logo, good uniforms, etc. So I'll gladly put up with this silliness and just ignore it until the Athletic Department removes their hands from over their ears and listens to the cacophony of jeers.

Why the identity crisis anyway? We don't see our colleagues at USNA or USAFA getting their panties in a bunch trying to figure out if they should call themselves "Navy Annapolis" or "Air Force Colorado Springs". They have the advantage, I suppose, of having won a lot of games recently; whenever that happens, people tend to try to find out more information on their own.

I'm afraid a Navy buddy of mine hit the nail on the head.  He said, "With all the names and logos you guys have floating around out there, why didn't you just settle on calling yourselves "F Troop?".  I wanted to shoot back at him with something clever, but sadly, I couldn't.

I am a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, whose sports teams have always been referred to, colloquially, as "Army". So far as this disgruntled old grad is concerned, they will remain "Army" and West Point will remain the physiographic feature associated with the location of our alma mater. I frankly don't give a damn whether those distinctions are lost on the Great American Public. "Army West Point"...spare us, Boo. Seriously.

Just got off the phone with a sportswriter who covers college football and basketball at a major newspaper. He could not stop laughing about our new name and was trying to figure out what is behind it all. Said his newspaper will continue to refer to the team as Army. Of course, i had no answer. Boo and the WP brass blew it again. Army West Point makes no sense and I am again embarrassed about something else associated with West Point football. Yes, this is the New Coke of the 21st Century. I wonder how many years we are going to have to put up with this before they go back to the old name.

Wrote Mark Beech, author of “When Saturday Mattered Most,” a 2012 book on Army’s 1958 undefeated football team:

“They wanted to make it clear they were West Point and not Ft. Drum.  I’m not sure how people were mistaking it but that was their feeling. It seems like this is a response to that but there’s still something in the back of my mind that tells me if they don’t lose to Navy 13 times in a row I’m not sure they think that they need a rebrand.

“If you are just looking at the football team, the big problem for them is a talent thing and everything else is secondary to that.”

(Army has experienced one winning year (2010) since its 1996 Independence Bowl season, when it won 10 games.)

“It’s not like Army has been on the lips of everyone at the top ranks of college football for years,” Beech said. “The profile of the program has been declining. I venture this is the way to do it (improve the profile). The better way to deal with the problem is to put a winning program on the field and for whatever reason they haven’t been able to get the talent to do that.”

“I just can’t imagine anyone calling them Army West Point,” Beech said. “I have yet to get my brain around that. I can’t imagine the Army West Point-Navy football game. -


*********** Coach Wyatt
Was reading your “News” and saw the mention of only having known one woman high school Football Coach.  Well, there was one when I was coaching in Nebraska.  I think you remember Scott Frost when he was a QB at Nebraska, and I think is currently on the Oregon Staff, well his Father was the head coach of his high school team and his mother was the defensive backfield/receivers coach.  She had been a very good college Track star at Nebraska I believe.  They won the state championship in their Class his senior year.  Just some trevia I remember from coaching up there.
Ron Timson
Leesburg, Florida



Yes, I do remember that.

Scott Frost has done a great job at Oregon and he’s very well thought of here.  Many Oregonians were afraid they’d lose him to Nebraska when that job came open.

To my knowledge, he is one of the few real studs from Nebraska ever to leave the state (he originally went to Stanford).  As I recall, his return to Nebraska had something to do with genius Bill Walsh’s moving him to DB.  Didn’t do too bad at QB for the Huskers, did he?

Thanks for writing!

******************** Jeez.  Look what they’ve done to Paul Brown’s Browns.  (Did you know that’s where the name came from?) There was a time when the Browns wore all-white, at home and on the road.  Talk about recognizable!  Even in black-and-white photos, even on black-and-white TV, you knew you were watching the Cleveland Browns.  They really stood out.  And those were the days before modern washday miracles and artificial turf, when games were often played on muddy fields.

But now, the Browns are joining the 21st century, Nike-style. In other words, uniforms in lotsa combinations.

Just in case you might not be able to keep track of all the combos, they”ll have “CLEVELAND” across the front of their jerseys and down the sides of their pants legs.

Said Browns’ president Alec Scheiner,  “We could be like Oregon of the NFL.” I think he meant uniform-wise, because Oregon has so far managed to escape ridicule in most places by winning a lot.

And to think that Browns fans are still pissed at Art Modell.  In fact, there has been more than one instance of Browns’ fans pissing ON Modell. On his grave, that is.

Yes, he took his NFL franchise to Baltimore, which would never win him Citizen of the Year in Cleveland, but in the grand scheme of things, all he did was take a bunch of players.   He didn’t do what the Irsays did when they slipped out of Baltimore - taking players, plus team name, uniforms, colors, horseshoes on helmets and team records to Indianapolis.

Modell at least left the team name and colors and all the team records where they belonged - in Cleveland, so when a team returned, it would resume play as the Browns.

And when it did, damned if it wasn’t the old Browns - at least in appearance.

Until now.


*********** With Aaron Hernandez on his way to the slammer, Roger Goodell can breathe a sigh of relief.

At the moment, there aren’t any murderers left in the NFL.  That we know of.

And to think how close he came with Lawrence Phillips.  Lawrence Phillips made Aaron Hernandez look like Tim Tebow.  He made Ray Rice look like a feminist.

Phillips, charged in California with murder in the killing of his cellmate, a gangster who was in for killing another gangster named “Trouble,” was once a very promising running back who came with a load of baggage.

Sign after sign, incident after incident, indicated that the guy was trouble, big trouble, yet one coach after another, in their insatiable quest of talent, covered for him and made excuses for him.

In that regard, Tom Osborne was the worst.  I hesitate to use the word “worst” with Dr. Tom, because he was a great coach, beloved in Nebraska, and from everything I’ve read about him, a very good man. 

But his handling of Phillips was disgraceful. 

After Phillips was charged with dragging a Nebraska basketball player named Kate McEwen, his girlfriend (or, you might argue, “ex-girlfriend,” since he found her in another player’s room, in the wee hours), by the hair, “caveman style,” down three flights of stairs, Osborne announced that he was “dismissed” from the team.  Then, Osborne announced that he was “indefinitely suspended.”  Then, not long after, he was reinstated.

You know how it goes.  Guy has serious anger issues. He needs help.  We can keep a better eye on him if he stays on the team.  Blah, blah, blah.  And maybe Dr. Tom really did believe that he could rehabilitate a person whose upbringing was so shaky that he may not actually have ever been habilitated. 

Never mentioned, though, was the fact that the guy was a horse of a runner who ran a 4.3 40, and without him, the Huskers weren’t half the team they were with him.  With him, they were national title contenders.

In light of the Ray Rice incident,  if that had been Lawrence Phillips, and he’d dragged his wife-to-be down three flights of stairs, and Goodell had suspended him, we might be talking right now about the late Roger Goodell.

The story of Kate McEwen’s settlement.


The late Jim Murray’s column on the Phillips incident back at the time it happened…


Phillips wasn’t the only bad actor the Huskers had back then.


*********** ESPN has released Lou Holtz. No more Doctor Lou.

*********** Easy come, easy go.  A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research of some 2,000 players drafted by NFL teams between 1996 and 2003 found that within 12 years of retiring from the NFL, 15.7 of them filed for bankruptcy.   My guess is that there’s a very strong positive correlation between bankruptcy and frequenting “gentleman’s clubs.”

Bridge Guys*********** My wife and I took Thursday afternoon off and drove north to catch the North Beach kids at a track meet. It was an especially big day for North Beach senior Caleb Bridge, who not only broke the school record in the discus but broke his dad’s personal high school record at the same time.

Oh - and he also got word that he had received an appointment to the Air Force Academy, where he plans to play football and throw the discus. 

In the photo, that’s Caleb,
younger brother Seth, dad Todd (their high school football coach and their throwing coach), and granddad Steve Bridge, a former high school coach and AD who now works for Canfield Insurance.  One of Steve’s claims to fame as a coach is having coached ESPN's Colin Cowherd in high school.  

*********** To young coaches out there…

I think it’s essential that your kids learn that a healthy respect for others  will help them in every aspect of their lives.
And being on time is one sure way of demonstrating it.

If there's one thing you can teach your kids, it's to show respect for you by being  on time.

And if they can't be on time, to show you the respect of giving you advance notice - of letting  you know the instant they suspect they may be late.  If you can teach them that, it will serve them well the rest of their lives.

My first real appreciation of the seriousness of punctuality dates back to  August, 1957, and the first meeting of the varsity squad at college.

We sat there,  sophomores, juniors and seniors,  maybe 70 or so of us, and as the head coach, Jordan Olivar, began to speak,  a couple of guys came walking in.  Coach Olivar paused, and addressing no one in particular, said, "those who can't make it to meetings or practices on time will become known as 'the late members of the team.'"

Oooh, I thought.  Great line. I've never been able to use it since, because I figured it would go over the heads of most of the high school  kids I was aiming at, but it sure registered with me.

Five or six years later, when I was working in sales with a big packaging company, I was in a sales training session where a veteran salesman said that the most important thing for a salesman was to show respect to a customer by being on time for an appointment.  And the second most important thing, he said, was that as soon as you suspected you might be late, was to show him respect by calling him and letting him know.

That wasn't easy, back in the 60s.  There were no cell phones then, only pay phones, and in my travels in the  Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia countryside, they weren't easy to find.

But I unfailingly followed the veteran's advice, and you know what?  It worked.  I earned my customers' respect by showing them respect.

*********** Maybe they listened…

From: Hugh Wyatt <coachwyatt@aol.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 2:22 PM
Subject: Out-of-season practices
To: mywiaafeedback@wiaa.com

A recent article in the Vancouver Columbian noted that football (as well as other sports) is more and more becoming a sport of haves and have nots.

One of the reasons cited was that affluent parents can afford to pay private coaches to work with their children out-of-season.

I can definitely see a lawsuit coming, as current WIAA regulations seem to disadvantage poor and rural children.


Hugh Wyatt
Camas, WA.

Check the rationale. Sounds as if I could have written it.

Basically, for a football coach, they’re saying that beginning approximately halfway into the winter and spring sport seasons, you’ll have 20 days until the end of each season to work with your football players.  (Making sure, I should add, not to interfere in any way with kids involved in another sport.  What do they think we are - basketball coaches?)

Each sport will be limited to twenty (20) contact days of coaching during designated open coaching periods during the out-of-season.

Rationale for ML/HS Amendment #4: 1. This proposal is intended to level the playing field, particularly for students living in geographically isolated areas or for students without the financial means to participate in non-school programs.

17.5.0 OUT-OF-SEASON - DEFINITION – Out-of-season is that time during which paid or volunteer coaches cannot coach present or future squad members except during designated coaching periods. 17.5.5 A coach of a school team (paid or volunteer) may coach only during the WIAA sport season and up to twenty (20) days during the designated open coaching periods. Each sport will be limited to twenty (20) contact days of coaching, regardless of the number of coaches for that sport. Although these rules apply equally to middle level and high school level coaches, the time periods are determined according to the high school seasons. August 1 through the first day of the fall sports season - no coaching allowed First day of the fall sports season until Monday of the first full week in October - no coaching allowed except for the fall sports in season Monday of the first full week in October through the first day of the winter sports season - open coaching for coaches of all sports First day of the winter sports season until Monday of the first full week in January - no coaching allowed except for the winter sports in season Monday of the first full week in January through the first day of the spring sports season - open coaching for coaches of all sports First day of the spring sports season until Monday of the first full week in April - no coaching allowed except for the spring sports in season Monday of the first full week in April through the final day of the spring sports tournaments - open coaching for coaches of all sports First day following the spring sports tournaments until August 1 - no coaching restrictions except for football.

american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL  14,  2015-   “Progress, the religion of those who have none.” Lord Acton

********** Not too long ago, I watched the “Long Gray Line” again. It’s  a 1950s movie about  Marty Maher, who arrived at West Point around 1900, a young Irish immigrant looking for work, and retired 50 years later  a revered member of the US Military Academy staff.

It’s a great movie, one that an entire family can enjoy. It is a trifle dated,  mainly in its lack of vulgarity, violence and sex.

Except.   Except -


If you have any Irish in you, I do hope you’re strong enough to be able to deal with the fact that early in the movie, when young Martin Maher, fresh off the boat from Ireland, introduces himself to the sentries outside the post,  he is referred to as “Mick,” and   “Paddy.”

Oh, the pain. Please don’t blame me.  I’m merely the messenger.

I do hope that your life has been happy and successful up to this point,  and that hearing these terrible slurs won’t so traumatize you that the rest of life is all downhill.

*********** Stan Freberg, a multi-talented man, died last week at 88.  He was a tremendous talent.

And he had a tremendous influence on American humor.

He had an impact on me at several  different stages in my intellectual development (if that’s what you want to call it).

In high school, we went nuts over his “St. George and the Dragonet.”

Back then, there was no bigger TV show than Dragnet, starring Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday, of the LAPD (“My name’s Friday.  I’m a cop.”)

Joe Friday never got excited, never raised his voice.  He spoke in a monotone and never wasted words. ("Just the facts, Ma'am," he'd say to a witness who insisted  on telling him her life story.)

Stan Freberg, with his fertile imagination, cast Joe Friday as St. George, going out to kill the dragon. The result was a smash-hit record, “St. George and the Dragonet.”  (Dragnet, Dragonet.  Get it?)

We high school kids could recite all the lines by heart.  I still remember some of them:

DRAGON (In a roaring voice): Hi! I’m the Fire-Breathin’ dragon.  You must be Saint George, right?

ST. GEORGE (In a perfect Joe Friday impersonation):Yessir.

DRAGON: I see you got one a them 45 calibre swords.

ST. GEORGE: That’s about the size of it.

DRAGON: Haw, haw.  You slay me.

ST. GEORGE: That’s what I want to talk to you about.

In college, we laughed at his sendup of the rock and roll classic  “The Great Pretender,” with the piano player who balks at having to play the same chord, over and over.  It's an insult to his professionalism. Reminded that if he doesn't, and instead  insists on playing the jazz  he prefers, he won’t get paid, he gets back to work with a vengeance, banging away at the same chord.


And there was his Banana Boat Song:  the bongo drummer, a beatnik who somehow winds up in a calypso band, objects to the loud singing (“DAY-O!”) and when they get to the line about the beautiful bunch of ripe bananas hiding “The deadly black tarantula,” he stops the song right there and says,  “Man, don’t sing about spiders. I mean, like, I just don’t dig spiders…”)


He was quite a satirist, poking fun at the commercialization of Christmas with his best-selling “Green Christmas.” (The irony was that he himself was making money by satirizing those who were making money by commercializing Christmas.)

And then, he reinvented himself as an Ad man.

After college, as a young salesman, I spent a lot of time on the road, which meant a lot of time listening to the car radio.  And when the other salesman and I would come in off the road, we’d immediately start in retelling the latest Stan Freberg commercial.

Maybe it was his singing group, “The New Prince Spaghetti Minstrels.” In song, they pledge their loyalty to one another

The big time or small time,
United for all time!

And then a record company comes along and offers a big  contract - just to the lead singer - and he bolts.

There was the Contadina guy, who put “eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can.”

And the guy singing about Mars Junior Bars

Made with pure chocolate and all that good stuff -
Hide ‘em in your pocket, conceal ‘em in your cuff
If you’d rather not lug around big, bulky bars,
Mars Junior Bars are for you!

There was  the poor schlub of a salesman for Krindleman Coffee (an imaginary brand) who kept getting outsold by the Salada Tea guy

And this great one: a  guy in an  elevator giving a sales pitch for Chun King chow mein to his fellow passengers (you younger guys: the guy who keeps trying to shush him is called an elevator operator - just one of countless  jobs lost to automation)


In Baltimore, where EssKay was the leading maker of lunch meats and hot dogs, we loved this one…

GUY: Trying to cut down on smoking?
Switch to Ess-Kay K-wality Franks.
(Guy puts hot dog in his mouth, like a cigar, and lights it)
I’m down to a pack a day


One of his last ad efforts was on behalf of the United Presbyterian Church.


Where’d you get the idea you can make it all by yourself?

Doesn’t it get a little lonesome sometimes…

Out on that limb… Without Him?


A guy’s asked to come to church.

He answers that he’s too busy this weekend - and next.

“How about two weeks from now?” he's asked.

“Two weeks?" he says. "I never plan that far ahead. The whole world could blow up by then.”

(After a short pause) “That’s right.”


A real classic was his  Accent commercial, sung to the tune of "Stars and Stripes Forever"

Pour on the Accent

And bring the flavor out!

A leg of lamb a roast, a wienie

Chicken a la king or scallopini

You can make a meatball taste the way it never did before...

And oh, what dash it brings to hash, or even a halibut,

Even a halibut...

Who'd believe the flavor it brings out in a brisket of beef?

Once you sprinkle it on filet mignon,

ever after you'll be grateful you used


You think you are seasoning the food,

When you pour on the salt and the pepper,

But talk to the chefs of the world,

And they will tell you which end is up!

Believe me they don’t fool around,

When they buy it, they have themselves a sack sent,

Your cooking will all be a smash,

When all your vegetables and meats

Are cooked with AC-CENT!

How far ahead of the pack was he?  How about this?  He anticipated today’s plague of Political Correctness by at least 30 years.

Once, as if to appease an imaginary group complaining about the lack of sensitivity in the title of “Old Man River,” he changed it to “Elderly Man River.”

And on another occasion, he attributed an illness to a case of the “Swiss Flu” (so as not to offend anyone).


*********** Coach,

Not sure if you have come across the Eagle cam yet, but if not you should check it out.  A live feed was placed in an Eagles nest in York PA.  My wife started checking it out after the eggs were laid I started checking it more recently since they have hatched.  It’s pretty awesome to see this majestic bird in its nest taking care of the Eaglets.  It’s a pretty big deal here, i have even caught kids in class trying to watch it on their phone, not that I condone that but its better than playing a game constantly. ( I made them turn it off though)


Dave Kemmick
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania

Connie and I have seen it and it is very cool.  I heard it was someplace near Hanover.

One of the delights of coaching where I do is that there's scarcely a day that we go to the beach with our dogs that we don't see at least one bald eagle, often a pair. (Check the photo)

Several times a season, practice will come to a halt whenever an eagle flies over us and lands in one of the big fir trees that surround the field.  Even teenage boys are impressed by a bald eagle.

It's wonderful to see the way those great birds have come back from near-extinction.

*********** Jordan Spieth sure did a heck of a job in winning the Master from start to finish.  What was most impressive to me was how he handled himself throughout.  At a time when basketball players thump their chests after  baskets and football players jump up and celebrate routine tackles, this 21-year-old guy who’d just accomplished one of the world’s great athletic feats displayed grace and dignity and humility. No fist pumps. No dances.  And in contrast to the scowls of basketball and football players, he actually looked at people and smiled. I’m sure his uncommon maturity has something to do with the fact that his sister suffers from some sort of neurological order that’s akin to autism.  It’s been noted that brothers and sisters of special needs kids tend to be pretty good kids themselves, and Jordan Spieth certainly didn’t do anything to disprove that.  We need more examples of Jordan Spieth.  Lots more.  In all our sports.

*********** Dennis Prager, in National Review, wrote a thoughtful but scary essay entitled “America's Accelerating Decay”

The Family: Nearly half (48 percent) of American children are born to a mother who is not married. Forty-three percent of American children live without a father in the home.

Education: Most universities have become secular seminaries for the dissemination of leftism. Moreover, aside from indoctrination, students usually learn little. One can earn a B.A. in English at UCLA, for example, without having read a single Shakespeare play.

The End of Male and Female: When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.

The End of Right and Wrong: At least two generations of American young people have been taught that moral categories are nothing more than personal (or societal) preferences. This extends to assessing the most glaring of evils. Since the Nazis thought killing Jews was right, there is no way to know for sure whether it was wrong; it’s the Nazis’ opinion against that of the Jews and anyone else who objects. I have heard this sentiment from American high-school students — including many Jewish ones — for 30 years.

The End of Religion: Instead of being guided by a code higher than themselves, Americans are taught to rely on their feelings to determine how to behave. Instead of being given moral guidance, children are asked, “How do you feel about it?”

The End of Beauty: Just as morality is subjective, so are beauty and excellence. There is no good or bad art or literature. You like Beethoven; I like rap. You like Shakespeare; I like Batman. “Street art” (a.k.a graffiti) is worthy of museum exhibition; paint thrown by an “artist” from atop a ladder onto a canvas is considered high art and fetches over $100 million.


*********** Hank Soar scored the winning touchdown for the New York Giants in the  1938 NFL title game;  for part of a season he coached the Providence Steamrollers in the BAA, the predecessor to the NBA; and he was an American League umpire for more than 20 years.

Identified by-
Ken Hampton, Raleigh, North Carolina
Bill Nelson, Thornton, Colorado
Kevin McCullough, Lakeville, Indiana

*********** Brian Grazer, movie producer, talked about the importance of failure, in the  April 2015 WSJ Magazine

Failure has played the most meaningful role in my life. With my movie about a mermaid, "Splash," I must have had a thousand people say no to me on that. And they always said no in a way that was kind of degrading, like - what, a mermaid? And so when it worked, I thought, Wow! Nobody knows.  Nobody really does know. Because all those people - many of them experts in their own right, running studios or directing movies - said no to me. So I thought, you just need to follow your own truth. I remember seeing Steven Spielberg, after doing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Jaws," being turned down on "E.T."  And I thought, Wow, this isn't personal.  Even Spielberg, this prodigy who has empirical evidence of being a genius, is being turned down on a movie he loves.  That was a signature moment for me. I thought, I just have to keep going.

*********** Lou Orlando, a fellow Yalie who lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts wrote...

Hi Hugh,

Found this online the other day, thought you’d enjoy it!  Great “Wedge” at the 2:25 mark


*********** "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding."  Thus spake Our President. 

Hmmm. Now, I really want to see those college transcripts, because I'd like to see if he took history.  And passed.

But anyhow, a high school lacrosse coach was fired after sharing an Internet letter about  the relative importance of Islam in American culture, and putting it in the form of an open letter of rebuttal to the President.


*********** I like Bo Ryan.  He’s a hell of a coach.  He’s paid his dues.  HIs fellow coaches seem to like and respect him.  And, of course, he’s a Philly guy.  Okay, Chester.  But that’s Philly.

So I’m going to cut him slack.  A lot of slack.

But I was disappointed - shocked, actually - to hear him, right after the NCAA title game loss to Duke, blame the officials for the physical play they allegedly allowed Duke to get away with.  (This, after Duke’s two biggest stars spent the better part of the first half on the bench with foul trouble, while the Badgers were called for only two personals the entire first half.)

I didn’t hear a word out of his mouth in praise of the opponents. Very bad form.

And I was really disappointed when he later used the term “rent-a-players,” clearly in reference to Duke’s three outstanding and (likely) one-and-done freshmen.

So I take my hat off to Mike Krzyzewski for the gracious way he dealt with it all. Without even mentioning the complaints about the officiating, he said, “I like Bo,” and then  went on to say that he felt that Bo's wording was unfortunate, and that he  should have used the phrase “one and done,” because “rent-a-player” connotes doing something illegal.

And then, on the subject of one-and-done, he mentioned how it originally ran counter to his philosophy of insisting that his players all graduate.  But then, as Duke began facing more and more schools that had such kids, he began to ask his assistants, “Aren’t there some of these guys that fit our profile?”

Indeed there were.

The big difference now, he said, was in the team building required to get those young guys on board once they commit:  it starts well before they even enroll at Duke, so that by the time they’ arrive on campus, they’re familiar with the coaches and their teammates and what’s expected of them.



*********** “Jameis has great character,” (Jimbo) Fisher said. “Did he make mistakes? Yes. Did he make silly mistakes? Yes. I mean, he’s still a 20-year-old kid. He and Johnny Manziel are the only two who have ever gone through that pressure of winning a Heisman (as an underclassman).

Coach Fisher, that is sheer crap.

Underclassmen who won the Heisman Trophy (Juniors unless otherwise noted):

Doc Blanchard

Doak Walker
Vic Janowicz
Roger Staubach
Archie Griffin
BIlly Sims
Herschel Walker
Barry Sanders
Andre Ware
Ty Detmer
Rashaan Salaam
Charles Woodson
Desmond Howard
Jason White
Matt Leinart
Tim Tebow*
Sam Bradford*
Mark Ingram*
Cam Newton
Robert Griffin
Johnny Manziel **
Jameis Winston **
Marcus Mariota

* Sophomores
** Freshmen

Presure? Not a knucklehead  in the bunch until you get to the last five years or so.


*********** FROM THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL FOUNDATION: Coach Ray Graves, a 1990 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from the University of Florida, passed away April 10. He was 96 years old.

Born on Dec. 31, 1918, Graves played at the University of Tennessee where he was team captain in 1941. After a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, Graves embarked on a coaching career in 1944 at his alma mater. Graves joined Georgia Tech’s coaching staff in 1947, where he spent 13 seasons under legendary Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Dodd.

The University of Florida hired the 41-year-old Graves as the 14th head football coach in school history in January 1960. In 10 seasons as the Gators’ head coach from 1960-69, Graves won nearly 70 percent of his games, and he led Florida to five bowl games, including its first appearances in the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Graves finished his career at Florida with a 70-31-4 record, including a 9-1-1 season in 1969 and a memorable 14-13 victory over Tennessee in his final game as head coach. He coached seven All-America players and three College Football Hall of Famers, including wide receiver Carlos Alvarez, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier and defensive end Jack Youngblood.

********** Carelessness and inaccuracy is everywhere, and few people seem bothered by it.

A story in Rolling Stone told of a Universitty of Virginia coed who was gang-raped as some sort of fraternity initiation. But nobody at the magazine had bothered to check on whether it actually happened. (It didn’t.)

People are still saying “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” as if it’s based on an event in which that scenario actually happened.

There was the Maya Angelou stamp.  Mrs. Obama and Oprah Winfrey, among others, were pictured standing in front of a giant replica.  The design of the stamp is a photo of the late Ms. Angelou next to a "Maya Angelou" quote.  Except those aren’t her words.   

And then there’s the missing word in the official Hillary announcement (see if you can find it):

From her mother’s own childhood – in which she was abandoned by her parents – to her work going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund to her battling to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she’s fought children and families all her career.

(HINT: doesn’t “fought FOR children and families” sound much better?)



***********  Talk about turnarounds:  in Ed Fisher's fourth season at South Kitsap High School, outside Bremerton, Washington, he was 1-7, bringing his overall record to a disappointing 15-20.

But in his fifth year, 1978, his Wolves went 7-2, and only once again over the next 18 years did they ever win as few as 7.

When  he retired after the 1996 season at “South K,” Ed Fisher had won 14 league championships,  In 22 years, his  overall record was  184-47.

That included won state championship, and three other appearances in the state final game.

In addition to his undefeated 13-0 1994 state championship team, he had eight one-loss seasons, (which means that the losses came in post-seaosn play, which means that those teams were unbeaten in regular-season play).

Coach Fisher had a lot of experience with post-season play: at a time when only the top 16 (of 90) teams in the state’s highest classification made it to the state playoffs, his teams qualified for the playoffs  16 straight times. His record in post-season play was 26-16. So  when I came across this article about getting ready for the post-season - as he prepared for his final year - I thought it you’d find it useful.  It's from the Fall, 1996 issue of Washington Coach.

Post-season preparation can be broken down into mental and physical. The physical portion of practice is cut back slightly. Almost all players are suffering from some minor aches and pains at this point in the season.  The excitement and competitive drive of the athlete will take care of any minor edge that your opponent may have in conditioning.  We have never lost a game because we were too tired to compete at the end of the game.  We have lost games  because the other team was better than we were or that I did not do a good job of preparing our team.

We feel that mental preparation is where the edge is to be gained. In the state of Washington, 16 teams out of 90 make the state playoffs and there will be only one team to win the state championship. We prepare our athletes for the goal of winning the state championship but the probability is that they may be beaten. Being able to participate in the playoffs is an honor, win or lose. This is like having extra frosting on the cake. We will spend time talking about what have accomplished and where we are going in post-season play.  We want to make it very clear that we want to be state champions and practicing harder and longer is not the answer to achieve that goal. Mental preparation is where you can get an edge.

We will sit down in the film room in a ver relaxed atmosphere and discuss what the playoffs mean to us.  Each player and coach will have an opportunity to express his feelings, thoughts and emotions.  We all listen to one another.

At South Kitsap, we keep practicing basically the same way we have all year long.  The players know what it is like to practice and to win. The stability we have maintained throughout the years is important.  Not changing when it is time to go into post season play is an important concept in being successful at the next level of competition. We have shortened our practices by 10 minutes and up to 25 minutes over the years.  The shortening of practice has some in the areas of conditioning and individual technique work.

We have tried to do more mental preparation than physical.  As a coaching staff we feel we have a choice: (1) going into a game slightly less conditioned than our opponent but with fresh legs and a fresh, positive mental outlook, or (2) our conditioning equals our opponents' but with weary legs and struggling mentally.  We take the number one choice every time.

Over the past sixteen years we have been involved in the state playoffs, I have learned a few lessons.  First and foremost is, don't change things on the players. Keep the routine as normal as possible. We have reached the playoffs because we were doing something right during the regular season. The kids believe in wheat we're doing, so don't screw them up by changing just because you're going into post-season competition.

Spending a little more time in the film room, studying their  opponent, and a little less time on the practice field, is time well spent in post season play.  The players are also asked to spend some time alone, by themselves - no phone, no radio, no TV (this was before texting and Twitter and Madden. HW)  - all alone, and think of what it means to them to play in the postseason.  Some internal reflection time is important for players.

(For what it’s worth, Coach Fisher’s South Kitsap Wolves made it to the 1996 state final game - his last game -  before losing to Richland, 34-25.  It was only South K’s third loss in four years.)

*********** Saturday’s TV was wall-to-wall Spring Games.  Well, call them “Games,” because for way too many colleges, they're becoming mostly drills followed by some sort of scrimmage with a meaningless  scoring system that allows the offense to play the defense the entire time.

Okay.  But if the TV people insist on showing us a half-hour of drills before the half-hour scrimmage that they call a "game," couldn’t they at least show us the drills themselves?  They seem to forget that the only people watching spring practices are us hard-core types, and we enjoy that sort of inside stuff.  But instead,  the drills mostly serve as a backdrop for exciting interviews with assistant coaches or former players now in the NFL.

Northwestern came first.  They looked okay, but, probably figuring that nobody would come anyhow, they stayed on a practice field.  Very low key. The "action" was often shot from field level, as if by one of the player's dads.

And then we switched to Lincoln.  Nebraska.

O. M. G.  You talk about a Sea of Red.

There were 80,000 people  in that stadium to watch a game, and - give those Cornhuskers credit - they gave them a game.  A real, honest-to-God game.  Kickoffs and everything. The crowd was even bigger than the usual Big Red spring game turnout, undoubtedly to see what the new coach’s product looks like. My impression?  Granted, I like Mike Riley, but I have to say that the Huskers looked pretty damned impressive. Welcome to Lincoln, Coach Riley.  Just keep winning.

One of the Husker QB’s was redshirt freshman Zack Darlington, son of Rick Darlington, state championship coach at Apopa, Florida. From what I saw, Zack looked pretty doggone good.

Minnesota had a decent crowd and looked pretty good.  Coach Jerry Kill was a good interview.

Stanford had nobody there.  Well, it is Stanford, after all, and besides,  there are plenty of other things to do on a sunny Bay Area Saturday than sit in a football stadium.  Stanford fans were obviously out doing those things.

*********** And to think Tom Osborne once thought he could straighten Lawrence Phillips out...


*********** A female coach in the NFL?

Bruce Arians thinks it’s possible.

And he may be right.  But where are they all now?  Shouldn’t we be seeing some women in high school coaching?

So far,  in all my travels and in all my years of coaching high school football, I’ve seen exactly one.

(She was, by the way, a  good one.  Her name was Nancy Fowlkes, and she coached under Steve Allosso at F. W. Cox HS in Virginia Beach.  I got to meet her because at the time, Coach Allosso was running the Double Wing.   In fairness, when Coach Allosso hired her, she was not exactly new to coaching, having won numerous state field hockey titles.)


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  10,  2015-   “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know”  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sorry - I'm in the process of making the switch over to a new computer - no NEWS today EXCEPT -


american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL  7,  2015-   "From the 18th century to today, many leading thinkers on the left have regarded those who disagree with them as being not merely factually wrong but morally repugnant." Thomas Sowell

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain

*********** "All week people on Twitter have been telling me that all discrimination is bad, no matter what. That’s awful news, because I really don’t want to invite pedophiles, Nazis, or complete strangers from the 7-11 parking lot to my Passover seder. Now I’m told such discrimination is wrong, no matter what."  
Jonah Goldberg: 

*********** From time to time I'm asked about my experiences coaching in Europe, and about the best way to land a "job" over there. I first have to tell them that my experience is now 20 years old and things have changed.

For one thing, there are more Americans over there than there were 20 years ago. But now, more of them are players, and fewer are coaches. I'm sure that by now there are many native Europeans, most of them former players,  who are capable coaches, and ready access to the Internet has been of great help to them in their education.

For another, the Internet and what American football they see has convinced them that there is just one way to play - the NFL way. Where 20 years ago they were willing to accept the Double Wing as a perfectly valid means of winning games, they're now even more intolerant of the offense than anybody you'll meet in the states.

But one thing hasn't changed. American football is still small potatoes over there. Soccer is number one everywhere except maybe in Sweden and Finland, where hockey is huge. Rugby is big in English-speaking countries and in France, and Cricket is big in England, but after that, there are niche sports.  And that's what American football is.  Which means that it has to scramble for crumbs - for the sponsorship Euros left over after the other sports have taken their share.

Teams are not normally "owned" as they are here in the states, and "profit" is not a concept associated with their sports.  There, if the football team is part of a larger sports club, it subsists on its share of membership fees and sponsorships.  For smaller, individual clubs,   it really is a hand-to-mouth existence for most teams,  requiring  fund-raising efforts that make ours look puny.

And the European relegation system,  which sends this year's best teams up to a higher league next season, and the worst teams down to a lower league, complicates financing even further. A drop down almost always means a loss of sponsorships, but a move up doesn't always mean adding sponsors, because first-year teams in the higher league often have a rough go, and sponsors sometimes adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Such is the perilous nature of funding for American football teams overseas that with their seasons about to get under way, two top European football teams have gone under.

One of them, the defending Norwegian champion, folded just two weeks prior to the start of the season.

It's too late for this season anyhow, but the best way to search for a job overseas is to subscribe to europlayers.com, a Web site run by an old friend (and double-wing coach!) named Roger Kelly, a Canadian who now lives in Sweden.


*********** A Look at the Targeting Foul by Rogers Redding

Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

Targeting became a part of the NCAA rules in 2008. At that time, the penalty was the same as for any other personal foul – 15 yards and an automatic first down. The NCAA football rules committee made minor changes to the language of the rule along the way, with nothing major until last year.

By 2013, the committee had become concerned about the increasing number of concussions and other head and spinal injuries, so it took a bold step forward by including automatic disqualification from the game in the penalty. If a player commits a targeting foul in the second half, he must sit out the first half of his team’s next game. The ruling is subject to review in games where Instant Replay is used. While this was seen in some quarters as an overly expensive penalty, the committee felt that it needed to take a strong stand in trying to remove this dangerous foul from the college game.          

There remains some misunderstanding about the rule, as we continue to hear people use the term “helmet-to-helmet contact.” But the rule does not mention helmet-to-helmet contact. Incidental helmet-to-helmet contact happens many times in a game as a matter of course, but this is not illegal. What is prohibited is (a) targeting action and forcible contact with the crown of the helmet and (b) targeting action and forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent – no matter what part of the body the player uses. It could be the shoulder, forearm, etc., as well as the head.

By “targeting action and forcible contact” we mean such things as a launch, an upward thrust out of a crouch and similar actions which signal that the player is trying to do more than make a good football play.

The rule is having a very positive impact on the game. We can clearly see that players are being coached to change their approach: they are lowering the “strike zone” to make a tackle or defend against a pass, they are getting the head out of the action and they are making more “heads-up-wrap-up” tackles. While targeting fouls continue to take place, and we as stakeholders need to remain diligent, our game is becoming safer because this rule is leading to changes in behavior.

*********** I was rereading "The Young Man From Denver," a biography of author, journalist and Hollywood screenwriter  Gene Fowler, written by his son, Will.

Gene Fowler knew everybody in the newspaper business and show business and everybody knew - and liked - him.  Over the years, he'd partied with most of them.

At the time of his death, famed writer Ben Hecht, one of his friends, reminisced about the time they'd visited another friend, famed comedian and notorious hard liver W. C. FIelds, just days before he died.

There he was in his garden, wrote Hecht, "pouring gin into himself and holding, of all things, a Bible in his hand."

"What are you doing with a Bible?" he was asked.

Answered Fields, "Looking for loopholes."

*********** A former Navy player applied lessons he learned in football to handling the responsibility of managing  40,000 employees.


*********** Yes, you could call me a Climate Change Denier, which I guess puts me in Big Al Gore's sights. 

Yeah. The sights on the old shootin' arn he's had since he was a boy back in the hills of Tennessee, when he used to go huntin' varmints with his daddy, (Senator Albert Gore, Sr.). 

Or was that Lord john ("Can I get me a hunting license?") Kerry?

So I gritted my teeth when I read that the head of some group calling itself The Wilderness Society has proclaimed that in order to prevent catastrophic global warming, 90 per cent of US coal must remain in the ground.

You hear that, all you miners in West Virginia and Kentucky?

Meanwhile, everybody in the US over the age of 5  has a cell phone, and our government is giving subsidies to electric car makers so that more rich bastards can buy their $100,000 Teslas, because, you see, electric cars produce "zero tailpipe emissions."

Well. Maybe zero emissions from a tailpipe in Beverly Hills, but that electricity that the expensive toy runs on has to be generated somewhere, and it sure ain't from solar panels on the roofs of those mansions. 

Get ready for this, Wilderness Society guy - at the present time, coal remains by far our largest source of electric generation,  producing nearly 40 per cent of the electricity we Americans consume.

And guess what? (1) We have all the coal we'll need for another century or more, - how's that for energy independence? -  and (2) coal happens to be one of the few things that we sell in any quantity to the Chinese. 

You think we're on the verge of class warfare now? Just you wait till  we start having daily brownouts  while  all those rich environmentalists  in their electric cars are down at the charging stations  getting taxpayer-subsdized fillups.

*********** World-Turned-Upside-Down Department

The insanity continues. Lolita Baldor, of the  Associated Press, writes that there's still debate over whether to let transgender "folks" serve in our armed forces...

U.S. military leaders have expressed reservations about any move to lift the Pentagon's ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, an issue since Defense Secretary Ash Carter's suggestion that he is open to the idea, officials say.

Carter told troops in Afghanistan that he was open-minded when asked if the Defense Department was planning to remove one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. But some defense officials have said they have broad concerns about the impact of such a change.

The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Much of the opposition centers on questions of where transgender troops would be housed, what berthing they would have on ships, which bathrooms they would use and whether their presence would affect the ability of small units to work well together.

There also are questions about whether the military would conduct or pay for the medical treatment and costs associated with any gender transition, as well as which physical training standards the troops would be required to meet.


*********** Mon Oct 20, 2014

Hello sir, My name is Jeramiah Komlofske and I am head coach of the 8-9 year old rookie squad Killen Patriots in Killeen Texas near ft Hood.  We are a military town with lots of football competition.  We are currently in TYFA division 2 and I have adopted your double wing this year.  I'm in love with it to say the least.  We are an undersized squad and we need this in order to compete.  We are 3-3 at this point and still unable to defeat the physically superior teams but my problem is this...the Refs.  I am fighting them every game.  My wedges cannot be stopped no matter who we are playing but I get flagged for arm locking when we dont, at all.  I've had 3 scores called back and countless yard removed because of this.  Refs do not understand the formation and will not let my line sit back from the los.  They call me for to many in the backfield.  It's killing my team.  I'm sure I'm not the only coach to have gone through this.  Need some advice.    Thank you for your time.

Jeramiah Komlofske

Head Coach Killeen Patriots

Tue, Oct 21

Hi Coach,

Thanks for writing.

Your problems are not uncommon, but usually the officials come around.

You might show them this clip of my team at practice.


We're running it from a different formation, but it illustrates how we teach the wedge blocking, and you won't see any locking of arms.

As for being back off the ball, the rule is clear that they are legally on the line so long as the top of their helmet penetrates an imaginary line drawn through the center's waist.  But if it's clear that you won't win this one, ask the officials to take a look at your kids and tell you what's legal, because you want to make sure that you comply, blah, blah, blah.

It's all about power, and you're not going to win, so you might as well let them know that you will do what they require.

Hope this helps you some.  Let me know how it works out.

Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Thank you sir,

We will get to work on that right away.  We need this win this week to stay in the race and its a far more superior foe.  I will sure let you know how it goes.

Thank You

Jeramiah Komlofske

Head Coach Killeen Patriots

Mon, April 6, 2015

Hello sir,
Thank you for the help and it most certainly helped.  I conducted a meeting with the officials prior to game and had no problems with them during it, as a matter of fact they were defending it against the other teams coaches without my help, LOL.
I switched to a shotgun double wing in order to fix exchange issues and took the motion out.  We were much more competitive but unfortunately we were not able to make the playoffs. We did, however enter the AAU Unrestricted National Tournament and ended up winning the Championship in December 30-0.  We will use this momentum for the future push.  Thanks again
Jeramiah Komlofske
Coach K.
*********** Yuengling, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, has been named the US's  top craft brewer...

Uh, I'm all for Yuengling, but the company isn't that small - it has three breweries, two in Pennsylavnia and one in Florida.

It's that the definition of "craft breweer" has been changed so that it might as well be "any brewing company not named AB Inbev, SAB Miller or Molson Coors."

The Top Five Craft Brewing Companies of 2014:
D.G. Yuengling Sons, Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Boston Beer Co., Boston
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California;
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado;
Gambrinus, Shiner, Texas.

The top 10 U.S. Brewing Companies” of 2014:
Anheuser-Busch Inc., St. Louis; (Foreign owned)
Miller Coors, Chicago, Illinois (A marketing joint venture of SAB MIller and Molson Coors)
Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles;
D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., Pottsville;
Boston Beer Co., Boston;
North American Breweries, Rochester, New York;
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California;
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado;
Craft Brew Alliance, Portland, Oregon;
Gambrinus, Shiner, Texas.


*********** ROCKY COLAVITO hit 374 career home runs and once, in 1968, he pitched 2-2/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn a win over his former teammates, the Detroit Tigers.

In 1965 he became the first outfielder in AL history to play an entire season (he didn't miss a game) without making an error.

Playing before the PED area, when he retired he had hit more home runs in the American League than any right handed hitters except  Jimmie Foxx and Harmon Killebrew.

Correct answer provided by...

Bill Nelson, Thornton, Colorado

Ken Hampton, Raleigh, North Carolina

Kevin McCullough, Lakeville, Indiana

***********  I have no objections whatsoever to the NFL's hiring its first female official.   But it's pretty bad when the best I can say is that she can't be any worse than some of the clowns they've already got.


***********  Lynn Swann and John Stallworth are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Has any team ever selected two better wide receivers in the same draft?

They were both drafted by the Steelers in 1974. Both became  All-pro wide receivers, and both were key components of the Super Steelers of the 1970s.

And the Steelers almost passed them up. They weren't fast enough.

Swann's 4.7 wasn't fast enough for Steelers' Coach Chuck Noll,   and neither was Stallworth's.   But Noll liked them both.

He told player personnel director Art Rooney to "get a good time" on Swann, so Rooney flew to the West Coast and timed Swann in a 4.55. And the rest is history.

For the lesser-known Stallworth, who played at historically-black Alabama A & M, he leaned on Bill Nunn.

Nunn, once the highly-respected sports editor of the black newspaper Pittsburgh Courier, was by that time a Steelers scout, the man given credit for the way the Steelers gained access to previously untapped talent in black colleges.

He knew that Stallworth had been timed on a grass field, and he went back to Alabama to "get a better time."  That he did. He timed Stallworth in 4.58, 4.6 and 4.62.

But only he and the Steelers knew that, and he was able to convince Noll that unlike the better-known Swann, from USC, whom the Steelers chose with their first-round draft pick, they could safely wait until the fourth round to draft Stallworth because no other NFL team had a time on him faster than a 4.7


*********** How's this for being a three-sport guy?

He scored the winning touchdown in the 1938 NFL championship game.

He coached the Providence team in the BAA, the forerunner of today's NBA.

And as an American League umpire for more than 20 years, he was the first base umpire when Don Larsen pitched his perfect gamin in the 1956 World Series.

*********** I swear to God I read this on a "forum" and the guy was serious...

"you must be looking in a mere."

*********** Charles Barkley, asked about whether he uses Twitter: "I don't do the Internet. That's where fools go to feel important."

Of course, a lot of Twitter users would probably give it up, too, if they had Barkley's audience.

*********** We were watching the Duke-Michigan State basketball game and during a commercial break I was reading a paper when my wife said...

 "Honey, play that back."

Wh-?  Why?

"Just play it back."

I'll be damned if it wasn't a Honey Maid commercial featuring two "guys" and "their" newborn baby.

"We're kind of traditional guys," one of the guys said.

It was a very short commercial - maybe 15 seconds - so it was over before I could say, "WTF?"

But just to be sure, its signature line took a snarky shot at Indiana:

"We Serve Everyone"


*********** It was back around 1960 that replay of televised events came into being, and it was so new and unheard of that at first, not everyone  understood that what they were watching was not live.

There were many. many stories of bets on games being won by those who understood, taking advantage of those who didn't.

It was another 20 years or so before we had the ability to record events on our own, at home, but no matter. Most of us thought this was a miracle.

But no good deed goes unpunished -  there were enough others who were indignant that nobody had told them they weren't watching something live.

You'd think that the TV people would have learned their lesson - you have to tell people, and tell them again, and tell them once again.  Repeat that process several times for a couple of weeks.  And then, maybe - maybe - half the public will get your message.

So there we were Saturday, and TBS, in order to accommodate those basketball fans who insist on hearing announcers that favor their team, provided five different broadcasts of the two games - the usual network broadcast, plus alternative  "homer" converge for the four teams playing on Saturday.

But clearly, based on the irate tweets flying around ("These guys are so biased for Kentucky!")  including a couple from Deion Sanders, not everyone was aware of TBS' noble experiment.

Never mind.


*********** Following Saturday's upset of Kentucky by Wisconsin, Kentucky's  Andrew Harrison was caught by a live microphone saying "F--- that n----" after a teammate was asked a question about Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky.

Harrison later called Kaminsky and apologized on Twitter.

"He reached out to me, we talked about it, I'm over it," Kaminsky told reporters. "Nothing needs to be made out of it."
This brings up a very interesting philosophical matter.
As anybody who draws breath knows, it is highly inadvisable for a white person to use the "N-word."  At all.

But as most of us also know, there are those black people (certain black people) who argue that it's okay for them to use the "N-word" around each other.

A forum full of ancient Greek philosophers would have been kept busy debating how it is that a white man can be fired in disgrace from the job of his dreams for saying a word considered hurtful - but not so hurtful that young black people don't throw it around  with cheerful abandon. 

But here's one that even Socrates himself would have had trouble divining:  what happens when a black person calls a white person the "N-word?"

Socrates aside, I'm really upset with Frank Kaminsky. Here he had a chance to  fuel the racial flames, and he had to go and defuse everything by saying he's "Over it!"

I want to say to him (looking up, of course), "Hey, big guy! You gonna let him off that easy?  After we just went out and bought all that paint? Now, here we are  painting our signs and planning a rally outside the Kentucky state capital - and you say, you're "Over it?"

Oh, well.   Just because you're taking the high road doesn't mean I have to let the opportunity go to waste.

Personally, I think there's only one way of dealing with this issue: the entire Kentucky team should have to undergo diversity training.  After all, it's only fair for black guys to get a taste of the sort of BS we whiteys - sorry, "persons of no color" -  have had to sit through over the years.

And furthermore - here's my chance to get in on the  racket - I'm offering my services to the Wildcats.

I'll require fIrst-class air fare, a suite in a four-star hotel, the use of an SUV, and a $15,000 fee for a three-hour diversity workshop.

From what I understand,  they'll be getting off cheap.


*********** You realize just how far this whole PC thing has taken us (and how hard it would be to be a comedian today),  when you read that one of the "racist" emails (I think they found maybe three) from the Ferguson PD was actually an Internet  joke:  

a guy said that he had come to grips with his wife's infidelity by finding religion.  Said he had become a Muslim, and tomorrow he was going to stone her to death.

It's a joke, for God's sake!   I'll bet even some Muslims find it funny.   Well, maybe not female Muslims.


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  3,  2015-   “Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.”  G. K. Chesterton

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain

*********** In his book "DUFFY," famed Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty wrote, "I learned a tough lesson in the mid-sixties when our first-string center, Walt Forman, quit football after his junior year because his nearly-perfect grade point average in the classroom won him immediate admission to medical school. I decided right then and there I'd never again recruit  a player that intelligent."

********** Eddie LeBaron died Wednesday in Stockton, California.  He was 85.

I wrote this back in 2003:

Eddie LeBaronA LOOK AT OUR LEGACY: In the portrait at far left, Eddie Le Baron is shown as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant; in the middle, he's shown as "The Little General," a 5-9 NFL quarterback. He was a college All-American, NFL Rookie of the Year, a Four-Time Pro Bowl selection, and an NFL General Manager. He was the first starting quarterback in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. Today, he's a successful lawyer (portrait at far right).

He was an All-American quarterback at College of the Pacific, and following graduation in 1950, with the Korean War starting up, he accepted a commission as an officer in the Marine Corps.

He spent nine months in Korea, seven of them in combat on the front lines. He was wounded twice, and was awarded the Bronze Star for an act of heroism at Heartbreak Ridge.

Back in the States, despite his height (generously reported to be 5-9) he wound up as the starting quarterback job with the Washington Redskins when Sammy Baugh broke his hand, and, coached along by Baugh, he wound up throwing for 1400 yards and earning Rookie of the Year honors.

After two years with the Redskins, he jumped to the CFL with two other Redskins, but returned a year later and, under Coach Joe Kuharich, led the Skins to an 8-4 record. Hopes were high for 1955, but a preseason car accident ended the career of star Vic Janowicz and the Redskins finished a disappointing 6-6.

From then on, although he was the NFL's leading passer in 1958, it was three straight losing seasons with the Skins, until his career was saved when Tom Landry traded for him and made him the brand-new Dallas Cowboys' first quarterback. Don Meredith understudied him, until gradually, as Meredith became ready, Landry began to shuttle the two quarterbacks in and out.

He had earned his law degree from George Washington University while playing for the Redskins, and he put his legal talent and business expertise to use as General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 1977 to 1982 and as executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1982 through 1985.

In 1980, Eddie Le Baron was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

(Remember when I used to ask you to identify people?)
Correctly identifying Eddie LeBaron- Joe Daniels- Sacramento... Mike Framke- Green Bay, Wisconsin... Kevin McCullough- Culver, Indiana... Dennis Metzger- Connersville, Indiana... Adam Wesoloski- Pulaski, Wisconsin... Dave Potter- Durham, North Carolina... Joe Gutilla- Minneapolis ("The Little General's exploits at Pacific are legendary. COP (as it was called back then) had a strong football tradition for many years, and LeBaron was the first in a line of outstanding quarterbacks play at Pacific. Pacific and Fresno State would play in front of overflow crowds at Memorial Stadium in Stockton. The Tigers-Bulldogs rivalry was as heated as they get. However that list of UOP quarterbacks will remain short since UOP's football program was one of many in California that fell victim to the Title IX budget axe.")... Keith Babb- Northbrook, Illinois ("Thanks for coming up with an easy one this week. Eddie LeBaron was very familiar to me when I lived in Texas and followed the then brand new Dallas Cowboys. He also appeared in the first book I ever read about football, 'Heroes of the NFL.'")... Ron Timson- Umatilla, Florida ("He was one of my idols, mainly because of his small stature that I also endured as an athlete. I admired the fact that he could make it in the NFL. I remember him throwing the jump pass to TE's and being a pretty good scrambler.")... Bert Ford- Los Angeles... Scott Russell- Potomac Falls, Virginia... MIke O'Donnell- Pine City, Minnesota... David Crump- Owensboro, Kentucky ("My dad and I saw him quarterback the Cowboys to a preseason win over the Giants in Louisville in 1960. I think that is was the only game they won that year. I know they went winless that year in regular season play. Eddie took a lot of tough hits playing for the Cowboys.")... Steve Staker- Fredericksburg, Iowa... John Reardon- Peru, Illinois... Alan Goodwin- Warwick, Rhode Island...

*********** An interesting story is the role Eddie LeBaron played in the emergence on the national scene of the Belly Series, as told by famed Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd, in "Dodd's Luck."

The Yellow Jackets were  coming off what was for them a disastrous 5-6 season.

Dodd retained Ray Graves who was a fine line coach and outstanding defense coach. For the 1951 season Graves installed the "monster defense" (the monster man was a roving linebacker-defensive back) hybrid. Graves had learned the monster, which was designed to stop the split-T, from Oklahoma's Bob Wilkinson.

On offense Dodd brought Frank Broyles back home to the Flats. "Broyles was a big asset," Dodd said. "He was
enthusiastic and a real good offensive coach."

It was Broyles, under Dodd's guidance, who introduced the Belly series to Tech football. In the summer of 1950 (actually, it was 1951. HW) , Dodd returned to  Chicago to serve as an assistant coach for the College All-Star team.

This time one of Dodd's quarterbacks was a half-pint Houdini named Eddie LeBaron.

One day during practice Dodd recalled, "Eddie and I were out there fooling around, which we did every once in a while, hiding the ball talking about different things.  And told me they had this play at Pacific which they got a lot out of called the  belly series. I said, 'show it to me.'"

LeBaron demonstrated the belly series.  Dodd was captivated.  "He was clever as could be,"  Dodd said.  "Just a great quarterback.  Anyway, he showed me the belly series and I immediately knew it was good."

It was the kind of offensive attack in which Bobby Dodd would have thrived as a quarterback, relying on ball handling, deception and quick thinking.  The secret of it, Dodd said, as he jumped to his feet to demonstrate, putting his hands together as if taking the snap from center then pivoting to handoff, "Was that the quarterback had the option at the line of scrimmage, either to hand off to the fullback coming up the middle,  or to pull it back and go wide.  Sometimes, of course, he'd give him the ball, but the fullback's covered up by the line blocking and the linebackers over there can't see if he's got the ball. And we blocked just exactly the same whether we're gonna give him the ball or not.

"And then if we don't give it to him, the quarterback takes the ball and he pitches it back to the halfback, who's gonna ruin wide.  We would freeze the linebackers with the fullback fake and then pitch the ball.  And we'd outrun 'em.  I had speed galore.  So we used the belly series, and we got a lot out of it."

I guess they did.   After going 5-6 in 1950, they installed the Belly Series (and the monster defense), and in 1951 Tech went 11-0-1. In the six years from 1951 through 1956, Tech went 59-7-3

*********** Eddie LeBaron was once deprived of a chance to set a record that would never be broken.  In 1962, his 99-yard touchdown pass to Frank Clarke was called back when a Cowboy lineman was called for holding.   To add insult to injury, because the infraction was committed in the end zone, it was ruled a safety.

*********** A sad sidelight to the Georgia Tech success story: after a poor 1950 season, Tech coach Bobby Dodd made a tough call and   let two long-time assistants go. 

Tough, did I say?

The wife of one of the assistants was Mrs. Dodd's best friend, and  the Dodds and the other two coaches and their wives would socialize on Saturday nights after Tech games.

"We were all close back in those days," he recalled. "When you only have a small coaching staff like we had, you become close."

Years later, Dodd still called it  "The most depressing thing I ever had to do."

*********** Hard to believe that a businessman savvy enough to own an NFL team doesn't even know the details of the multi-million dollar deals he's committed to...

(Aaron) Hernandez signed a $40 million contract with the Patriots in 2012, but as defense lawyer Michael Fee questioned him, Kraft said he couldn't remember whether it ran through the 2018 season.

"I don't get into the details. I just knew we signed him," he said, adding that Hernandez was signed because he was "a very good player."

Hernandez also told Mr. Kraft that he had nothing to do with the murders he's accused of committing. Hmmm. Wonder if he still believes that.


*********** Coach Wyatt,
Here is the statement issued earlier this week.  Thought you would be interested in it.

Jonathan Thompson
Northwest High School
Wichita, Kansas

Wichita Public Schools 3‐29‐2015

Wichita Public Schools 3‐29‐2015

BACKGROUND FACT SHEET – Special Education Student and East High Athletic Letter


The Wichita Public Schools values and honors the contributions of all students to the life and culture of a school community. The world walks in the hallways of East High, and the school’s histories and traditions celebrate all students.

Michael Kelley’s participation, and that of the other student members of the East High Tri‐County league’s basketball team, have and will continue to been honored with letters and pins celebrating their participation on the team.

Mr. Kelley’s letter jacket was never taken from him as has been suggested. School staff did suggest a year ago to his parent that it not be worn at school because it didn’t feature the letter that he had received from the school. However, he has continued to wear the jacket proudly at school since then, and he continues participation on the basketball team, and it has not been the point of any further discussion at the school.

Athletic Letters in the Wichita Public Schools:

According to the Kansas State High School Activities Association, the opportunity to recognize students with athletic letters, pins, patches, etc. is the discretion of each member school.

In an effort to ensure consistency, the 9 KSHSAA schools that are members of the Greater Wichita Athletic League (7 from WPS and 2 from the Wichita Catholic Diocese) have defined in the GWAL handbook the criteria for earning an athletic letter in each of the KSHSAA‐sanctioned sports.

Beyond these sports, recognition for participation or achievement in clubs and activities is at the discretion of the individual school.

The Tri‐County Athletic League was created five years ago as a volunteer league focused on providing athletic participation opportunities for special needs students. Current organized sports ‐ basketball and soccer ‐ as well as cheerleading.

The Tri‐County Athletic League has been working for the last nine months to develop an athletic letter program that will allow participating students to earn an athletic letter based on consistent league criteria, and approach similar to the GWAL.

The Tri‐County league is unique. District leaders aren’t aware of other communities or schools where such a league has been created to provide regular and active opportunities for participation by special needs students.

The first letters are expected to be awarded by the end of the 2014‐15 school year. Criteria have been confirmed by the Tri‐County board, and the design recommendation for the athletic letter will be forthcoming soon.

Background on the incident that prompted questions:

According to Principal Thiessen, the subject of the jacket came up approximately a year ago.

East High currently recognizes student participants in the Tri‐County League’s basketball program. Students receive a letter and pins representing subsequent years of participation, based on school‐specific criteria in the handbook for student participants.

Mr. Kelley’s parent requested a standard athletic letter, and the school declined. A letter jacket and athletic letter were purchased from a local vendor by Mr. Kelley’s parent.

Approximately one year ago, a teacher suggested to Mr. Kelley’s parent that it was not appropriate for the student to continue to wear this letter on his jacket because it was not the letter that had been presented to him for participation in the league

The suggestion was made to the parent. There was never any direct conversation with the student about the jacket. In no way was there intent to embarrass or otherwise harm the student in any manner.

The student has continued to wear the letter jacket in the hallways of East High for the past year. At no time was the jacket taken from the student. Additionally, school staff indicated that there was never an exchange of the student’s letter jacket for an alternative jacket or sweatshirt.

In December 2014, the school received a request from the student’s parent to allow all student athletes on the Tri‐County League team to receive the same athletic letter as varsity athletes as a way to recognize their participation on their team.

Both Principal Thiessen and District Athletic Director J. Means indicated that awarding of letters or other honors for participation in activities such as this was a school‐based decision, falling outside of the GWAL criteria that have been defined for letters earned in KSHSAA‐sanctioned sports.

East High recognizes participants in the Tri‐County Athletic League with a team letter and participation pins. Other types of teams and clubs – JROTC, Science Olympiad,
music, leadership – are awarded appropriate letters or recognition based on established school criteria.

At the time of the December conversation, Mr. Kelley’s parent was advised of the Tri‐County League’s work to develop a league‐wide athletic letter program.

Media questions emerged following the March 25 2nd annual East alumni vs Tri‐County Basketball League fundraiser in the East gym. This event featured all the elements of a varsity athletic competition (announcer, band, student body participation).

Coach Thompson,
I really appreciate the info.  I should have suspected that this was something ginned up by the media.
What bothers me almost as much as the mother's wanting egg in her beer, and the media's not having checked into the facts, is that the story isn't "news" at all, and they've "neglected" to inform us of that.  Even Fox News fell for it.
And now, as ancillary casualties, Wichita schools, and the East high school principal especially, are besmirched as cold and uncaring,  despite their laudable efforts to provide opportunities for special needs kids to participate in sports.
The real story is not that a kid was deprived of something.  It is that the Wichita schools went way beyond the call of duty, and their thanks is public castigation because a mother wanted even more.
Thanks very much for contacting me. 

Notice there's been nothing on this the past day or so?  The news media evidently realize they've been had, but as for their attempt to set things straight - as Emily Litella would say, "Never mind."
This joke is dedicated to the Wichita mother...

It's a war, sunny day at the beach, when a woman suddenly jumps up and begins shouting frantically, "Help, help!  My son's drowning! He can't swim!  Somebody please help! "

A man springs into action and sprints several hundred yards down the beach to where the woman stands. Swimming out past the breakers to where the boy is thrashing his hands wildly, he grabs the youngster, and manages to swim back to the beach with one arm around the kid.

Once back at the beach, the man hands the boy to his waiting mother, then collapses onto the sand, exhausted. The mother hugs her son, then looks down at the boy's rescuer  and says, "He had a hat."

God's gift*********** Dad

Check this Twitter screen shot - Washington player of the year and his Twitter profile. Almost reads like a parody. And yes "Gods_Gift2015" is his Twitter "handle." Some coach will have to deal with this kid next year.


If Calipari can get this kid to play team basketball in a season or less, he deserves to be named Coach of the Year.

*********** Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller, disturbed by the "haters," tweeted -

Finally to the people that try to make us feel like our season was a failure. Go cheer for ASU!

Amplfying, he said, “These guys have been in the top 10 for every day that they’ve dribbled a ball at Arizona, and we lost to Wisconsin in two hard-fought battles in the Elite Eight. And if that’s a problem, I think you know what you can do.”

First of all, time to drop the hip-hop-inspired "haters" and "Hatin' on" crap.  Hate is serious.  Rape is serious.  College basketball is, well, not quite that serious.  Unless there's something wrong with you.

Coach, if the reaction of certain Arizona knuckleheads shocks you, you wouldn't want to trade jobs with Les Miles.

LSU football fans make Arizona basketball fans look like the parents who bring kids orange slices at halftime. Three or four more national titles might - might - be enough to appease them.

Not that that's any guarantee of security.  Let Saban have a couple of 9-win seasons at Alabama and wait for the fun to begin.

Coach Miller, this is what you signed up for.

*********** Remember a few years back when the baseball All-Star game  was ended   because one of the teams ran out of pitchers?  Total BS.

So here's what I'm asking you to do:

I'm asking you to name the slugger who once came in and pitched 2 and 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief, and scored the winning run.

Hint: He hit 374 career home runs. And he was 1-0 as a pitcher.  

*********** Watched the Stanford-Miami NIT Final.  Good game. But the TV cameras had to keep cutting away  to a certain Miami booster - and the last thing I want to see when I watch a basketball game (or anything else, for that matter) is that f--king Michael Irvin.

*********** When I watch Wisconsin play basketball and I hear "Bo Ryan," I sometimes think I've heard "Bo Rein." They both sound the same.

Bo Rein was a coach, too, and his is one of the saddest and most bizarre stories in college football history.

Bo Rein was a very good football player at Ohio State who spent  a brief spell with the Baltimore Colts before embarking on a career in coaching.

At the age of 30, he became the youngest head coach in major college football  when he succeeded Lou Holtz  at N. C. State.

In four years with the Wolfpack he went 27-18-1, and then, following the 1979 season, LSU hired him to replace Charlie McClendon, who'd been coach of the Tigers for 18 years.

Rein lasted less than two months as LSU's coach. On January 10, 1980, while returning from a recruiting trip to Shreveport in a private jet, his pilot took action to avoid a storm, heading eastward and climbing to 20,000 feet.

Then, for whatever reason - it's theorized that a loss of cockpit pressurization at that altitude caused a lack of oxygen that caused the occupants to black out - the plane went out of control, climbing to 40,000 feet and heading directly east.

Military jets picked it up and escorted it until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic, 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Bo Rein, 34, died before he ever got to coach at game at LSU.

"The weird thing," said LSU Athletic Director Paul Dietzel,  "is the plane's path took it right over the North Carolina State campus, where down below Bo's wife and children were sleeping."



*********** Years ago, Matt Szczur (pronounced Caesar) was a star football player for the Lower Cape May Raiders, coached by my friends Frank Simonsen and Floyd "Flash" Hughes. From there, it was a standout high school career, and then football/baseball career at Villanova  which saw him named the MVP in Villanova's 2009 FCS championship game victory.

Now, he's a top prospect for the Chicago Cubs, and there's a good chance he'll have a long career in the major leagues.
But whatever he accomplishes on an athletic field or a baseball diamond will pale in comparison to an inspiring  act of generosity.


*********** In Northern Virginia, a young volleyball player's parents are suing because their daughter isn't playing and the league won't let her change teams. See, she may not be good enough to play for an AAU (or whatever it is) team, but nevertheless they're keeping her from getting a college scholarship.


*********** In Iraq they're killing Christians and destroying works of art hundreds of years old.

Isis is kidnapping young Kurdish girls and subjecting them to all manner of indignity.

In Kenya, more than 100 college students were killed Thursday, most of them because they were Christians.

Iran is famously hostile to homosexuals.

But here in America, we can't be bothered with those places. We're more focused. 

Here, we pee our pants. And send out death threats.  And badger  basketball coaches to declare where they stand.  And threaten to business boycotts of  an entire state.  All because there might be a baker someplace in Indiana who might just happen to believe it's contrary to his religious principles to put two f-king men on top of a wedding cake.

Big f--king deal.

I used to think that Christianity would make its last stand in the Middle East, but now it's beginning to look like it might be in the Hoosier State.

*********** Hello Coach,

I hope you and your family are doing well.  I have some bad news to pass on - Leroy Lunn passed away this morning.  His health had been deteriorating for some time and I just thought you would like to know.

Jason Bland
Spring Valley, Illinois


Thanks so much.  I appreciate your thinking of me.  God Bless Mr. Lunn. I'm sure Spring Valley is very proud of a young man who went away to West Point and distinguished himself as captain of a great Army team.

Mr. Lunn's 1953 team was the team that brought Army back from a cheating scandal that resulted in most of the varsity starters being dismissed from the academy. After sub-par seasons in '51 and '52 Army went 7-1-1 in '53 losing only to Northwestern, tieing Tulane -  and beating Navy.

Mr. Lunn was gracious enough to present the Black Lion Award at Hall High School in his home town of Spring Valley, Illinois in 2010.

1953 Army Team

The 1953 Army team - Captain Leroy Lunn is number 60, in the middle of the front row.   Number in the back row is sophomore Don Holleder, who would be named All-American end as a junior before being switched to QB as a senior.  He is the inspiration for the Black Lion Award.

Leroy Lunn Army pre-season

Prior to the 1953 season, Army captain Leroy Lunn and coach Earl Blaik posed for this PR shot...

Leroy Lunn Army-Navy Program

As captain of the Army team, Leroy Lunn rated a full-page in the 1953 Army-Navy game program.

Leroy Lunn BL Award

In 2010 Leroy Lunn presented the Black Lion Award to Anthony Urbanski

Rest in peace, Mr. Lunn.

american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 31,  2015-   "You know the barbecue is good if the woodpile is bigger than the restaurant." Charles Perry, of Birmingham, Alabama, quoted in the Wall Street Journal

********** Q. Whose bright idea was it to play a regional basketball tournament in a football stadium, like they did in Houston last weekend?


Q. But why would they play important  games in a place with no backdrops for players to gauge their shots, a place where the stands at the end of the court sloped back so gradually that in fact there were no bleachers behind the basket, a place with an elevated floor that required the players to sit in what amounted to baseball dugouts?

A. Because a football stadium has lots more seats than a basketball arena, and with lots more seats to sell, they can sell more tickets, which means more money for the NCAA.

Q. But doesn't it change the nature of the game, after they've played an entire regular  season in gyms, arenas and field houses?

A. It's all about the Tournament.  Who cares about the regular season, anyhow?

Jesse CarperLocust Mountain Boys

*********** My 2001 Black Lion Award (Craig County Cougars) winner passed away last night in a car wreck. Jesse Carper, 26 years old, he was Craig County's favorite son. Hell of a mandolin player. Was in a bluegrass band called the Locust Mountain Boys, you should Youtube them.

He was also a fantastic muskie fisherman.

He was Craig County's favorite son. The local news is doing a segment on his life tonight. All players are special but a few are extraordinarily so........he was one of those. I can't count them on one hand, but I don't need two.

Jimmy Fisher
Roanoke, Virginia

My prayers for Jesse and my condolences to all who loved him.

*********** Yiddish, a language spoken by Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, was once commonly spoken  by immigrants in many of our big East Coast cities.  As its speakers have died off, it's pretty much died with them, but it was such an expressive language that  it's added a wealth of useful words, phrases and expressions to American English.

Just a few examples:

Bubkes - nothing
Dreck - Poor quality goods
Glitsch - (Anglicized to glitch) A minor malfunction
Gonif - a lowlife
Goy - a non-Jew
Kibitz - to offer advice without being asked
Klutz - a clumsy person
Kosher - in keeping with dietary laws - fitting, okay
Kvetch - to bitch constantly
Maven - An expert
Mensch - a really decent. honest, upright person
Nebbisch - a poor, hapless person
Nudnik - a pest
Nudge - a gentle push
Oy! - Omigod!
Oy, vey! - Oh, the pain
Putz - A jerk (literally, penis)
Schlemiel - A clumsy person
Schlep - To drag or haul something (or one's self)
Schlock - Poorly done work
Schlong - A penis, a person who's a prick (Literally, a snake)
Schmeer - what you spread on something
Schmooze - To converse, chat (sometimes, brown-nose)
Schmuck - A real jerk (liyerally, a penis)
Schnoz - Nose, especially a big one
Schpiel - An act, or scene,  as in a play

Tchotchke - A knick-knack
Tochis - The buttocks
Tushie - short for Tochis
Yenta - a blabbermouthed woman

One of my favorite Yiddish words is chutzpah - the "CH" is like a gargled "H".

It means guts, or nerve, as in "I can't believe the nerve of that person."

A classic example of  chutzpah is a guy who murders both his parents, then asks the court for mercy because he's an orphan.

I thought of that when I listened to John Calipari, the Kentucky coach who's built his program with talented one-and-done players, making excuses for his team's play against Notre Dame: "We had a lot of freshmen in there."

*********** You could apply the word "chutzpah" to the Wichita, Kansas woman whose special needs son played on his high school's special needs basketball team.  My congratulations to the Wichita schools for providing those kids a chance to play.  But, instead of being grateful that her schools found the funds - and the gym time - so that her son and others would have a chance to play games, Mom went a step further:  she went out and somehow bought her son a varsity letter. And when someone at the school told him that he couldn't wear it because he hadn't earned it, the woman has gone ballistic.

So, too, has most of the national media, gung-ho as they are in their opposition to anything that in any way resembles what they consider "elitist."

Check out the story online and see the comments. So immersed are so many Americans  in this crazy fantasy of equal outcomes that you'd think anything less than naming the kid to the all-state team was a form of bullying.   You won't believe the things that the principal is being called, simply because he had to be the one to tell the mother (and her countless supporters)  that at a time when some schools are even doing away with grades, a varsity letter is one of the few things left that kids still have to earn.

***********" I would always laugh whenever I'd drive through Middletown, Maryland, on old Route 40.  On the west end of town, a sign on the outside of a building  read, "RUDY'S WELDING SERVICE AND COLD BEER."

WTF? I would think.  I guess it was Rudy's idea of diversification.

I haven't been through there in a few years, but I'm told the place still exists, a very cool example of a very unique combination of services.

I thought of Rudy's Sunday when I read of a local guy whose life has been, shall we say, a bit of a struggle.

After a series of burglaries, he did 25 months in prison, but once outside, "fearing for his safety," he told our local paper, he got him a gun. Uh-oh.  Convicted felon.  Tsk, tsk.  Back to prison.

He's out again, and I'll let the paper take it from there.

"He decided he had to turn his life around.  He studied cosmetology and auto mechanics."


*********** This NCAA tournament has been a great one for the Poles:

Arizona's Tarczewski, Gonzaga's Karnowski, Wisconsin's Kaminski, Duke's Krzyzewski, Utah's Krystkowiak.

*********** No more of that legends sh-- at Michigan.  When a number's retired, it's retired.   And if a high school recruit insists on wearing a retired number worn by a Heisman Trophy winner, well,  too bad.  Unless he's really good.


*********** It's no secret that I am not a fan of the current President of the United States, but I believe in giving credit where credit's due, and I do believe that this time he's nailed it...

My fellow Americans, although if I had a son, I'd have to think twice about letting him play football, I realize the important part football plays in Americans' lives,  I intend tomorrow to make the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday a federal holiday.

Yes, there will be folks who'll say that this nation can't afford another federal holiday.

But the fact is that the folks who work hard to make our government work haven't had a new holiday in years, and besides, not much of any economic consequence is being done on that day as it is.

Whether in offices, stores or factories, government studies have shown that productivity suffers. 

Companies large and small tell me they experience  abnormally high absentee rates on Super Bowl Monday, and corporate HR departments report large numbers of folks taking personal leave days.

And those folks who do make it  to work are either worn out from the previous day's festivities, or they spend most of the day talking about the game anyhow.

Coming as it does, midway between two other federal holidays, Dr. Martin Luther King Day and President's Day, it will provide a well-deserved mid-winter break for our hard-working government employees.

With the possibility of the Super Bowl being played in northern cities, the chance of having to postpone the game is always present, which causes serious problems for those folks who have to be back on the job the next day. But now, should the game have to be postponed for any reason, working-class folks like you and me who've saved for years to realize the dream of seeing a Super Bowl won't have to go home disappointed.

And let's not forget the folks in the host city, either, folks who worked tirelessly for several years to make the Big Event happen.  This will be a bonus day for their restaurants and hotels, and an extra day of wages  for those hard working folks in the hospitality industry.

For folks in the transportation industry, it's a blessing - it gives them an extra day to spread out all those flights home.

And back home, in cities and towns all over America, it's one more day for folks to spend with their friends and families.

Normally I would ask Congress to pass legislation making this day a holiday,  but this is too important to entrust to a Congress dominated by an obstructionist Republican Party seemingly bent on opposing us at every turn.

No, this can't wait.  We can't afford not to make the day after the Super Bowl a holiday.  America's national morale and economic competitiveness is at stake.

So tomorrow, April 1, 2015, I will use my pen to sign Executive Order Number 14909, declaring  the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday to be known henceforth as NFL Appreciation Day.

Thank you and God Bless America and God Bless the NFL, the folks  who invented the great American sport of football.

*********** Coach,

Thank you for the great article that clearly explained the New Jersey problem with nonpublic schools, competing with public schools. Although like any other politically controlled system, if they do anything, It will probably take several years before we see anything happen.

It was also good that you picked up on me problems that we have in the Atlantic City high school district. We often joke anymore about going to Atlantic City,” if you're going make sure you wear your Kevlar suit”.

Frank Simonsen
Cape May, New Jersey

In my experience, in many parts of the country, the private schools are feasting on the public schools, without bringing anything to the table themselves.  The public schools don't have enough problems as it is, without the private schools skimming off their best kids, so it scarcely make sense to provide them access to a nice state tournament that only enables them to further demonstrate how much better they are, and why you should send your kid there.

*********** Famed North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, who died in February, provided in his will for  $200  to be sent to every UNC letterman who played for him - working out to between $35,000 and $40,000 - along with the wish that they'd each "enjoy a dinner out, compliments of Coach Dean Smith."


*********** Travel Tip for anyone visiting Aberdeen, Washington...

Kyle Mittan of the Aberdeen  Daily World reviews
The Thunderbird Motel ...

In an 85-day span between December and March, Aberdeen police officers responded to 66 incidents at the Thunderbird Motel, according to a list of reports obtained by The Daily World in a public records request.

The incidents were reported between Dec. 1, and Feb. 23. That’s about one call every 1.3 days.

The figures come to light after the state Department of Health revoked the West Wishkah Street motel’s license to offer lodging, citing numerous code violations that included an infestation of cockroaches, broken windows, hypodermic needles found in rooms of the hotel and mattresses stained with what appeared to be blood and urine, according to court documents.

But I would say that if you're planning to visit Aberdeen in the near future, go ahead and book a room at the Thunderbird, because according to Mittan,  there's a good chance it'll stay open:

Motel owners have appealed the decision, and a hearing is set for July 15. The motel can remain open and operational at least until the hearing date.


*********** Dad

Watched the 30 for 30 "Requiem for the Big East." Great line at the end - "I didn't sign on to the Big East to play in Morgantown, West Virginia."

Yeah, and they didn't sign on to play in State College, Pennsylvania, either - and that's the attitude that's left them a little, mostly-Catholic basketball conference.

Absolutely the most mismanaged conference ever, mostly because in their big-city Eastern myopia, they really believed that basketball was bigger than football.

Hubris and myopia notwithstanding, I think the times were changing and anyway you slice it, that "old" Big East was doomed. It was conceived by Gavitt purely as a basketball conference, taking a bunch of teams that didn't have any representation (or automatic NCAA tournament bids) and turning it into a powerhouse. Even if they'd added Penn State, I don't think that would have solved the problem of Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, St. John's vs big football. I think they could have done it better, but it would have been a far cry from what the Big East used to be. Football and the insane sums of money it starting making changed the entire landscape of college sports. You could do a similar 30 for 30 on the ACC.

Not sure it was hubris.  They just couldn't see it coming, but then, who could?

People knocked the BCS, but it had a lot to do with generating football's "insane" sums (can't argue with your assessment).

The ACC's transformation from a cozy, familiar bunch of southern schools that had played each other forever into a monster conference that sold its soul to become a so-so football conference would be an interesting one.  I guess.  It's just hard to get excited about the ACC now.  But give them credit - they saw it coming and did their best to turn themselves into a football-first conference.


Judith Shulevitz, writing in the New York Times, reports that the precious flowers that inhabit our college campuses are demanding “safe spaces” where they can go to be free from speech that might hurt their tender feelings.

She lists examples of the demands of students that verge on the incredible; in one instance, when a student group at Brown University called the Sexual Assault Task Force discovered that a debate was to be held where one participant, a libertarian, would slam the term “rape culture,” the group protested to the administration. That prompted Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, to schedule a talk concurrent with the debate that would provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” A “safe space” was created for students upset by the debate; the space included cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of puppies.

These can't be the same tender "children" we see in videos of Spring Break, shaking their tattooed hineys in front of dozens of drunken strangers.   Looking at them makes me want a safe space.


***********  When Duke's  Quinn Cook made one of two free throws with 0.7 seconds remaining, giving the Blue Devils' a 63-57 victory over Utah Friday, it cost the Las Vegas sports books large sums of money.

Duke was a 5-point favorite going in, and without Cook's shot - taken when the two teams were brought back from the lockers - the game would have ended in a tie after Utah was given the five points.


*********** "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Six Flags Great Adventure plans to cut down more than 18,000 trees in order to build a f-king SOLAR FARM. in NEW JERSEY.

But not to worry.  After taking that giant step to save Our Planet, Six Flags will plant 25,000 trees over a seven year period.  How do we know that?  Because Six Flags said so! We have their word! And you know you can trust somebody who cares enough about the environment that they'll cut down 18,000 trees.

Great. Park visitors on a hot, humid summer day can look forward to sitting underneath one of them. - twenty years from now.   (Actually, come to think of it, no one said where those 25,000 trees will be planted - if ever.)


*********** The CBS basketball halftime team of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Clark Kellogg and Greg Gumbel is really good.

They are knowledgeable, they are likable - I LOVE Barkley - and they really work  well together.

Sure wish I could see more of them.

*********** Bobo Brayton, who in 33 seasons as Washington State's baseball coach won 21 conference championship and 70 per cent of his games, died at the age of 89.


*********** The College Football Playoff, it was predicted, would kill off the lesser bowls. 

Still might.  But  the lesser bowls keep coming, with three new ones proposed,  one each in Tucson, Little Rock and Orlando.

Now get this. Assuming no existing bowls pack it in, the three new ones will increase the number of bowls to 41, plus the Playoff title game. Figure it out - there are 127 FBS teams, and 82 - almost 2/3 of them  - are going to be playing in bowl games.  Prepare to sit back and watch a lot of teams that have "earned" the right to play in bowl games by compiling losing records. 

If the Playoff doesn't kill the lesser bowls, that ought to do it.

*********** Oh, dear.  Evidently the only approved America-in-the Twenty-first-Century response to a new Indiana law denounced as "gay-bashing" is...  Indiana-bashing.

Better get on board, guys.

The day isn't far off when one of those white "POLICE" cars, property of the Department of Homeland Security, will pull up alongside you and a guy inside will call out, on his PA system, "Hey, fella - What's your opinion of gay marriage?"

TIP: I recommend you  answer, "It's great!"



american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 27,  2015-   "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!"    Sir Walter Scott

*********** In 2003, the football field at Natrona County High in Casper, Wyoming, was named Cheney Alumni Field in honor of alumnus Richard Cheney, former Vice-President of the United States. 

Two years earlier, a proposal to rename the high school itself in his honor failed to pass. Most of the school's students  opposed the name change, but one Natrona County High sophomore suggested to the Wall Street Journal that in view of Mr. Cheney's heart problems, a good nickname for the school would have been the Pacemakers.

*********** The greatest of all Army teams was either the 1944 team or the 1945 team.  Pressed to make a choice, Army coach Earl Blaik, did so with the skill of a politician asked to pick the most beautiful baby at the county fair : "The greatest squad was 1944, and the greatest team was 1945." 

I'll leave it to you to figure out what that meant.

The line coach of those great Army teams was the legendary Herman Hickman.  A native of Chattanooga and an all-time great at Tennessee, Hickman was a great line coach, a legendary trencherman (eater) and a lover of literature and quoter of  that earned him the nickname "The bard of the Smokies."

Tim Cohane, in "Gridiron Grenadiers," writes that on one occasion, when asked  by reporters  to discuss his  Army line,  Hickman replied in verse...

Hercules was a mighty man, and Samson was another.

And Goliath, from his press reports, might well have been their brother.

Old Atlas tossed the world around in days, now dead and gone,

And Milo was well honored by the natives for his brawn.

Ajax had his moments when he didn't do so bad,

And Thor the Norseman, history says, was quite a robust lad.

I picture them alive today, a wondrous dream is mine:

Centers, tackles, ends and guards - the perfect football line.

*********** You're an NFL GM.  You have a decision to make.  Before you make that decision, here are a few facts to consider...

OMAHA, Neb. -- Defensive end Randy Gregory said he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine last month and that he failed two drug tests at Nebraska last year.

Gregory disclosed his marijuana use in an interview with NFL Media on Wednesday.

Gregory went into February's scouting combine projected to be among the top 10 picks in the draft. He declared for the draft after his junior season at Nebraska, where he recorded 17 1/2 sacks in two seasons.

He said he tested positive for marijuana at Nebraska in January 2014 and April 2014. Gregory said he hadn't smoked marijuana since December.

"I blame myself," Gregory told NFL Media. "And I know it sounds cliche, but there's really no one else I can blame."


I say, what the hell.  Since everybody agrees that the guy's a player good enough to draft, here's your Choice:

Would you rather have him

(A) smoking pot and mellowing out at home

(B) slapping his "fiancee" around

(C) drinking cognac with the lads at some "gentleman's club"

Myself, I'll draft him and take my chances with (A). But face it, just my luck it'll be ALL OF THE ABOVE

Soldier Field 1926

*********** The first crowd of over 100,000 to watch a football game and (obviously) the largest crowd up to that point ever to do so, was at the 1926 Army-Navy game.

Played in Chicago, it was the first time the game had been held elsewhere than  the East Coast, and a crowd of 110,000 was on hand to formally dedicate Soldier Field.

The game ended in a  21-21 tie. That would be the only smirch on Navy's records, and it would cost the Middies a "true"  national championship, one determined, for the first time, by a system based on a colleges' record and the quality of its opponents. 

Here is the  1926 Top Ten, selected by the Dickinson system, named for the college professor who devised it. In fairness, not everyone  accepted the good professor's judgement, and many considered Navy the national champion.

(Notice there's only one "SEC" team in there. And no, Lafayette and Brown are not misprints.

1. Stanford
2. Navy
3. Michigan
4. Notre Dame
5. Lafayette
6. USC
7. Alabama
8. Ohio State
9. Army
10. Brown

Among the incorrect guesses: a Michigan game.  The "Big House" wasn't built until 1927, and at its opening, its capacity was "only" 72,000.

And it wasn't the Rose Bowl, which, designed in 1921, wasn't made a complete "bowl" until 1928.

Penn State? Fuhgeddaboutit. Penn State - sorry, Lions' fans - was way too remote in those days to draw the kind of crowds it does today.

Army-Navy Ticket 1926


Five Atlantic City High School students were arrested on aggravated assault charges last week, after "allegedly" attacking school leaders during a fight at the school.

A 17-year-old girl is accused of spitting on the Director of Security. An 18-year old "man" was charged with assaulting a female assistant principal. The principal was assaulted by three other "students," aged 18, 17 and 15, while he was attempting to separate two other students.

The principal's last day at  "Atlantic High" is April 14, when he leaves to become superintendent of another South Jersey school district.


*********** On Monday night, Maryland’s women’s basketball team defeated Princeton  in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, giving the Tigers  their first loss of the season. President Obama, who has a niece on the Princeton team, was on hand. He'd picked Princeton to beat Maryland and advance to the final four, losing there to  UConn.

Following the game, Maryland coach Brenda Frese brought out a cardboard cutout statue of the president wearing a Maryland jersey and said, “Sorry, man, but we had to bust your bracket!” and her Maryland players shook the President's image.

Well. Many were offended that the Maryland players were so disrespectful, conveniently overlooking the fact that when a  President works so hard to show what an ordinary guy he is, he risks being treated like an ordinary guy - and one who's disrespected people at that.

One commenter took advantage of the incident to take a shot at the University of Maryland...

I suspect the underlying reason is that the majority of the Maryland players couldn't last a semester at Princeton. They won a basketball game, big deal, in 5 years I could see them serving the Princeton players in the local restaurant. I hope the Princeton players tip them generously.

Careful there, Joe Ivy. Like any public institution, Maryland serves the masses, yes, but it's done a pretty good job of producing people who've made some pretty significant contributions, as pointed out in this response...

Right. Google, UnderArmour, Outback, Sirius, Seinfeld, The Muppets for just a few of the businesses and entertainment created by Maryland grads.


*********** It's always been amusing to hear a fight manager say, "We'll fight anybody."


I get the same reaction when I read that the White House is FURIOUS at Israel.

Um, does that mean "The President" is furious?  That's his right.

But the house he lives in?  WTF?

Or does it  mean all the bootlickers and lickspittles and parasites who live  in the reflected glory of The Man and begin to think THEY were the ones elected?

*********** I was sitting at a stop sign yesterday when a big, white police SUV approached on the cross street.  I knew it was a police car because - duh - it said POLICE in bigass letters on the side.

But it was white.  That's funny, I thought.  Camas (our town's) police cars are silver.

As the white "police" car whooshed by, I could see for sure  that it wasn't one of ours - the SOB said, "Department of Homeland Security."

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Police, my ass.

Is this where this whole Homeland Security Monster is  headed?

This is scary as sh--.  A national police force? 

Is this part of a  Department of "Justice" plans to swoop in and rescue the oppressed citizens in towns whose police departments it disapproves of?

Or are they just going to be cruising our streets looking for "VOTE REPUBLICAN" lawn signs?

*********** You go, Bill!

"We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can’t spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?"


Rick Davis team*********** Longtime friend and Double Winger Rick Davis and his wife, Beth, picked up and moved from Duxbury, Massachusetts to New Zealand a couple of years ago and, eager to keep coaching football (er, "gridiron") he found a way to do so. That's his team at the left. Coaching in NZ  hasn't been without its challenges, and one of the biggest has been  equipping his players.  Maybe you can help.  Rick writes...

Coach Wyatt,

Thanks so much for posting this on your blog. It was your post about a year ago that put me in contact with Joe Ashfield, who used to coach in New Zealand, and who helped get the ball rolling. Briefly, I was able to restart an American Football club on the North Shore of Auckland, but one major challenge facing us is procuring equipment, which is very expensive to buy new and import. I was able to borrow equipment from the league this past season for our 14-16 year-old team, and am looking to add a 17-19 year-old team this coming season.

Our 14-16 year-old team had a great season. The boys embraced running the Double Wing and we ended up 5-5 and made the playoffs. I’ll be the head coach of both teams so there will be lots of Double Wing (and maybe some Open Wing) to go around.

I’m returning to Duxbury, Massachusetts for a month in July to visit friends and family, and would like to obtain used equipment to ship back to New Zealand. I’m looking mainly for helmets and shoulder pads in reasonably good condition and will be happy to drive to anyplace in New England to pick the equipment up (could bump it out a state or 2 further if a team had more than a couple of sets to donate). It can be larger youth sizes but I’d really like to get some equipment that would fit the larger Polynesian boys as well (I had twin 250+ pound linemen wearing 170-pound shoulder pads this season).

If any of your readers would like to help out, or have any information on teams/organizations that would like to help, please email me at 4baselead@gmail.com. Thanks very much again for your support.

*********** A proposal being considered by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association committee would set up separate leagues and tournaments for public and parochial schools.

Public schools have long complained that private schools can recruit and draw players from a wide area, giving them an unfair talent advantage. In one part of South Jersey, they point out, in the past three seasons the three private parochial schools that play football are 59-10 overall against public schools.

Several  New Jersey public schools, acting on their own,  have already announced plans to forfeit football games against private schools this coming fall.

Few public school coaches can be found to oppose the idea.

“I’m all for it,” one public school coach told the Atlantic City Press. “They (private schools) get to recruit all they want. They can form their own all-star teams. I understand what they’re doing. But it’s not fair to play those types of schools. They pick the cream of the crop. Once every 10 years you might beat them.”

It was suggested that the breakup might actually work out to the private schools' advantage, giving them opportunities to play well known, out-of-state schools, which could help them recruit even more better players.

Said another  public school coach, “More power to them if that’s what they have to do to bolster their programs. I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about who we have to play and making sure the playing field is as even as it can be.”


*********** New Jersey is also looking at dealing with the increasing numbers of athletic-inspired transfers that plague many areas of the country.

Their plan is to make transfers ineligible to compete in post-season play.

A new proposal would classify schools as "closed enrollment" or "open enrollment."

Closed enrollment schools would be conventional public schools, that draw students from a specific geographic al area.

Open enrollment schools  would be private schools and those so called public "magnet" schools that can draw students from anywhere.

The plan would require varsity athletes who transfer to an open enrollment school  to sit out the first 30 days of the season and to be banned from taking part in the state tournament.

Athletes who transfer from one closed enrollment school to another closed enrollment school  would be eligible immediately so long as there is a "bona fide" change of address.


*********** With a recent poll showing that only a third of its residents want Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the group organizing the city's  bid has reversed its original position and now supports a voter referendum on the proposal.

John Fish, chairman of the group, Boston 2024, pledged that if the measure failed, the group would drop the bid.

(For what it's worth, John Fish  is also chief executive of the Boston area's largest construction company.  Hmmm.)

The United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee  are opposed to such a ballot measure because it can prove to be an embarrassing rejection.

Things haven't been helped by the mayor's signing an agreement barring city employees from criticizing the bid, and then it was it was disclosed that Boston 2024 was paying former Governor Deval Patrick $7,500 a day to be a “global ambassador” for  the Boston Games.

This winter's record snowfall has caused people to question whether Boston public transit system could transport Olympic-sized crowds  if it couldn't transport commuters.

“Terrible idea,” former United States Representative Barney Frank told Boston magazine. “If we can’t find a place for snow, where are we going to find a place for the Olympics?”

Back in January, 51 percent of Bostonians supported the Olympic bid. By February, support had dropped to 44 percent. Last week it was 36 percent, according to polls conducted by the local NPR station.

“At this rate," said Daniel Payne, a Democratic consultant, "by the time the IOC makes its decision, support here will be about 2 percent.”


*********** Daniel Podolsky,  a New York college student,    missed his flight out of St. Louis when Southwest Airlines barred him from boarding while  wearing a shirt with the word "F-CKING" boldly printed on the front.  

Video of the airport confrontation shows the gate agent providing several chances for the young man to remove the shirt, cover it or turn it inside out — but he refuses on grounds that he is expressing free speech.

“Is there anything you can do not to display the shirt because at this point we can’t allow you to go,” the Southwest employee asks.

Podolsky shoots back, “I have freedom of speech … really it’s not bothering anyone.”

“I know you do,” the worker explains. “I can show you in our contract of carriage that you can’t wear any shirt that says offensive (things).”

But Podolsky wasn’t having it.

“Can we take a poll?” he asks.


Outraged at this violation of his supposed rights,  he immediately contacted St. Louis TV station KTVI.

Nice job of raising the kid, Mr. and Mrs. Podolsky.  And wherever he went to high school - nice job of teaching him about what the Constitution really says about "freedom of speech."

*********** Coach Wyatt,

It seems like yesterday but I have been running your system now for 5 years at 3 different schools. Your materials have been very good to me and the offenses I have coached. Last year at an inner city school taking them to a 5-5 record with 3 freshman offensive lineman and two down to the wire losses. I just saw the clips you posted on your website of the "open wing" offense and was wondering if I could see more or a more in depth look at your passing, running, and formations used. I have the athletes this year to have some fun in the shotgun and would love to see what you were doing for such great success at North Beach. If you are still looking for clinic sites, please do not overlook Ohio! We love double wing here and I have always wanted to come to one but distance has always been a factor with a young family. Let me know what you think coach!

Thank you for the constant help and support with your system!

Luke Katris
Columbus, Ohio
West High School

Coach Katris,

Nice to hear from you.  I'm very pleased to hear of the great job you've done using the Double Wing.

At the present time I don't have anything very helpful for you, but I can let you see some of what we've been doing in the form of the video of our opening game last year.


If you go through it and mark down questions at the particular time on the video, I'll do my best to help.

But it would be really helpful if you could somehow get away for a clinic.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 24,  2015-   "I'm proud to be an American and pay taxes, but I could be just as proud for half the money."   Arthur Godfrey

*********** Nap time, story time, finger painting - but not for little kids. For something  called adult pre-school.

It caters to millenials, with, I'm willing to predict, not a Republican in the bunch.

And while they have their cookies and milk and settle down for their naps, ISIS is beheading Christians in the Middle East.


*********** QUESTION: A crowd of 110,000 people - largest at that time ever to watch a football game - looked on at the dedication of this famous stadium.  What was the stadium and what (and when) was the game?

*********** GRRRRRR.

Good Morning,
Enrollment for USA Football’s High School Heads Up Football® program is now available for the 2015 season. If you have not done so already, visit www.usafootball.com/headsup to sign up North Beach HS.
 The Seattle Seahawks are hosting a Heads Up Football® Player Safety Coach Clinic on Saturday 3/28/15 at the VMAC Training Facility in Renton, WA.
Heads Up Football® will meet and exceed WIAA Coaching Requirements that all Heads Football Coaches must be certified in for 2015.
Once your organization is enrolled online, here are the next steps to focus on:
·         Nominate a Player Safety Coach (PSC). The PSC will be trained by USA Football and will lead the implementation of Heads Up Football within North Beach HS. The Player Safety Coach should be an experienced, senior-level coach on the staff or administrator who has earned the respect of your coaches and parents and is committed to a better, safer game.

·         Get your PSC certified. All Player Safety Coaches must take and pass the Heads Up Football, Heat Illness Prevention and Concussion in Sports courses at NFHSLearn.com.

·         Get your PSC trained (3/28/15 at the VMCA) USA Football hosts more than 200 clinics across the United States where Player Safety Coaches are trained in Heads Up Football curriculum and drills. All PSCs – including returning ones – must attend a single-day clinic each year to receive the latest information. This year instruction on Heads Up Blocking and handling cases of sudden cardiac arrest are new items in the curriculum.

·         Get your coaches certified. All coaches become USA Football coach members and complete the Heads Up Football, Heat Illness Prevention and Concussion in Sports courses at NFHSLearn.com.

·         Track your coaches. Through your USAFootball.com dashboard, you can see which coaches have registered and which have completed their 2015 certification requirement.

·         Share a certificate of insurance. Maintain and provide proof of insurance that meets USA Football’s requirements: $1 million general liability, $25,000 accident and health/participant liability with USA Football added as an additional insured.
Once again, please visit http://usafootball.com/headsup to learn more about Heads Up Football or call me at (317) 489-4426 to discuss how this program can help your organization and your athletes.
Thank you for your commitment to make the game better and safer!
Bassel Faltas
USA Football
H.S. Regional Manager, West
317-489-4426 Office

*********** Hugh, after reading your news this morning I need to share this with you. I need to take a Language arts/ and health and fitness to become credentialed in the state of Washington, and I was up on the teachers website to register for testing. 

One question stood out. It asked if you are male or female, but to my surprise there was a third box??
The boxes went male, female and - UNDECLARED!

I thought, you have to be shi--ing me!?!

My father would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what we as a society have become. I just wonder if I want to be a part of it. Have a great day!


The interesting thing is that the state just made it illegal to "counsel" gay youngsters  with the intent of making them straight because, LGBT activists insist, they are born that way.  So if that's the case, what's to declare?

*********** Just channel surfing, we came across "The Express," the Ernie Davis story Sunday night after the basketball games were over, and watched it till the end.

Although some of the scenes dealing with racial issues were in caricature form (naturally, white southerners were all pretty much racist swine), overall the movie was decent.

The uniforms were pretty authentic and the plays they ran were not unlike the Syracuse unbalanced offense of coach  Ben Schwartzwalder.

One laughable gaffe occurred on Ernie Davis' very first touchdown run when used several camera cuts as he raced downfield,  first camera one, then cut to camera two, then back to camera one, and finally, as he crossed the goal line, to camera two again.

The problem? They shot the run with the two cameras at two different times. In the camera one shots, he's carrying the ball in his right hand, and in the camera two shots, with his left.

Now, unless he actually switched hands three times,  while in the clear and outrunning the opponents...

Also, there's the matter of Ernie Davis' recruiting his successor, Floyd Little...

In the movie, Davis is being introduced over the PA in Cleveland Municipal Stadium, but he holds up the crowd of 60,000  to turn to coach Schwartzwalder and tell him, "Floyd Little's going to Syracuse!" 

Little's version differs a bit from the movie - he says he was still debating whether to go to Army or Notre Dame when he learned of Ernie Davis' death, and remembering that he'd given Davis his word that he'd do so, chose to go to Syracuse.


*********** It's all over - CLAP, CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP

Starbucks, a liberal corporation which, like all true liberals, set out to change the world, is back to selling high-priced coffee without the racial discussion.

Next  person in line, please.


*********** The big talk behind the scenes at the NCAA basketball tournament  is about speeding up the game.

Defense?  Bad. Passing more than once? Bad. Shooting quickly? Good. Racehorse basketball?  Very good.

Tell that to the Navy.  The Navy football team, that is.

In the 2004 Emerald Bowl, the Midshipmen iced a win over New Mexico by putting on a goal-line stand with a minute left in the third quarter, then staging a drive that ate up 14 minutes and 26 seconds.  It took 26 plays, and lasted 32 minutes in actual time. In terms of the time consumed, it was the longest drive in college football history - and it didn't even end in a touchdown.

Starting at the Navy one-foot line, it ended on fourth-and-goal at the New Mexico 5-yard line, where the Mids kicked a 22-yard field goal with 2:25 left.

Not all the Midshipmen were happy about killing all that time.

"Our defense was starting to get mad at us," Navy fullback Kyle Eckel told the Wall Street Journal in 2009. "For a lot of the seniors, it was their last time playing football, and here we were spending the whole time on the field."

*********** As always, your blog is an oasis in a sea of madness:

1. I believe the sanctimonious Starbucks soliloquies will turn out to be a HUGE loser for these twits.  This gives me a warm feeling, because most of these "conversations" about the libprog cause du jour are actually one-way lectures, rather than two-way conversations.  Interestingly enough, Starbucks seems to be getting more negative response from their hipster core customers, rather than from crusty old conservatives.

2. Hillary -- Nixon without the charm...and also without the geopolitical acumen.  Putin wouldn't be running rings around the Ol' Trickster.

3. Since everyone knows Al Sharpton is many millions in arrears to the IRS, howcome he's not in the same trouble you or I would be, in similar circumstances?  Somebody's got a heap a 'splainin' to do.

4.  Good for Army with the new (old) uniforms.  Hope they start a trend.

5. Tim Tebow.  It's almost enough to make me believe in a conspiracy.  Fantastic athlete -- a winner wherever he goes.  Unparalleled character and off-the-field contributor -- a perfect role model for kids.  Yet the NFL treats him like he's radioactive.  If he were playing at Jacksonville, he would make umpteen dollars for the club in jersey sales alone.  Something's fishy.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

Right on all points. Where do I start?  

Starbucks?  Precious liberals chatting it up with other precious liberals? Like New York Times reporters covering a Democratic convention.  Maybe to get a little diversity of opinion they should offer 50% off on Duck Dynasty Tuesdays.

NIxon?  People disliked him and disagreed with his opinions and his tactics, but no one could have doubted his love of country, his strength, or his competence.

Sharpton?  The single most divisive thing that our Uniter in Chief has done has been to give that torch the standing of an unofficial cabinet member.

So long as they get their uniforms from Nike, Army football is still a wait-and-see.

Signs that our world has turned upside-down:  Israel is bad and Iran is good;  a gay football player is celebrated and a Christian football player is scorned.

*********** My, how times have changed.  I was looking through the March 1988 issue of Scholastic Coach (Remember that?  Great mag) and I came across a panel discussion among two high school ADs, one from Indian and one from Virginia, and a high school football coach from the Denver area.

The Indiana AD said he expected to get seven years' use out of a helmet before having to replace it, while for the Colorado coach the expected life was six years, and for the Virginia AD it was five.

The Colorado coach sent helmets out for reconditioning every three years, the Indiana coach every two years, the Virginia coach every year.

*********** In an article in that same March 1988 Scholastic Coach issue, Jackie Sherrill, then head coach at Texas A & M noted the benefits of switching from film to videotape (VHS), a move they'd made just  the previous August.

*********** It's my guess that Army AD Boo Corrigan has been busy answering calls from SEC athletic directors after the conference ruled that it will count independents Notre Dame, BYU and Army as "Power 5" conference opponents.

So Army can step in there in place of Western Carolina or Savannah State - and the SEC team gets credit, just as if it were playing Penn State or Kansas State, without nearly  the risk.

I'm not sure, as an Army fan, how I feel about this.  Yes, big money. But at least at this point in Army's football fortunes, little else to gain.

Air Force and Navy miss out on this grand opportunity because they have conference ties.  Air Force is  a member of the Mountain West, and Navy will begin play in the American Athletic Conference this fall.


***********  Watch this and then try to convince me that (1) Our schools aren't wasting our tax dollars, and (2) It's not time to raise the voting age to, oh, 25 or 26.  Or 35 or 36.


I guarantee you that newly-naturalized citizens know a lot more about our country than those hopeless twits on whom the Democrats spend millions trying to get them to vote. 

It was, of course, dead wrong, back in the days of Jim Crow,  for  southern states to employ literacy tests as a devious way to keep blacks from voting. And now, unfortunately, because of their evil associations, there is zero chance of ever implementing literacy tests  on a national scale to cull out all the morons walking around.

Dude - Rock the Vote.

************ Remember the Three Tenors?

Maybe instead of one President, we need the Three Sheriffs:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona  


Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin


Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida



Actually, I'd settle for any one of them.

*********** "Proselytizers of atheism seem to have concluded that if they’re big enough jerks, they will seduce the faithful into abandoning God. It’s sort of like asking Don Rickles to run your customer-service desk."   Jonah Goldberg

flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 20,  2015-   “There is no bigot like the atheist.”  G. K. Chesterton

*********** Janet Napolitano against student protestors. Wow.

What if you don't care who wins?  What if you hope both sides lose?  What if you just want to see blood?   It must be something like  the voyeuristic sensation some people feel when watching teenage girls fight.  

While protesters raised hell about proposed tuition hikes during a meeting Wednesday, Napolitano, President of the University of California, leaned over to a member of the Board of Regents sitting next to her and said (microphone still on), “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”

Well, of course she doesn't.  She's Janet Napolitano.

She's paid a $570,000 salary, gets $9,000 a year car expenses, and  lives in a house that the The University leases for $9,950 a month.  For that, you'd think the students would show her a little respect.

Jeez.  I actually find myself leaning toward the protestors.

*********** So 49ers linebacker Chris Borland decides he's had enough of football and cashes in, after one season,  and that's all the proof that America needs. No football for my son!  Too dangerous!

Now, I respect Chris Borland's right to decide the best course for his life. But you'll have to respect my right to suspect that there might be something more to the story than fear of concussions, which is how it's being played.

So it was with a  sigh of, "Finally!" that I read about a medical professional who says, "Enough Already!"

Dr. Joseph Maroon, professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is also the Pittsburgh Steelers' neurosurgeon, and a consultant to the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

He says long-term neurological damage from hits to the head has been exaggerated, and that there is no proof of any connection between CTE and youth or high school football.

“I think the problem of CTE, although real, it’s being over-exaggerated and it’s being extrapolated to youth football and to high school football,” he said on Tuesday’s "NFL Total Access."

"There are more injuries to kids from falling off of bikes, scooters, falling in playgrounds, than there are in youth football,” he said.

"...it’s much more dangerous riding a bike or a skateboard than playing youth football.”

Sadly,  in America's wussified society, a likely consequence of Dr. Maroon's remarks will be mommies taking their kids' bikes and scooters from them.


*********** In his 23 years as a big-time head coach, Bill Snyder has won two Big Twelve titles  and 16 of 18 bowl games. He's been named Big Eight Coach of the Year three timed, and Big 12 Coach of the Year four times.

At Kansas State.

Barry Switzer once called what Bill Snyder has accomplished at K-State  the greatest job of coaching in football history, and I tend to agree.

He's done it, writes David Collier in "Football Matters," a publication of the National Football Foundation, by his attention to  things you can't see out on the field.

The values and standards Snyder lives by are a part of every day life, and they always have been. Snyder has taught those values to every guy he’s ever coached. In fact, Snyder requires his players to take a test on the values that the Kansas State football program are built on in addition to having a group discussion about a topic the head man chooses.

However, Snyder says all of the credit goes to Snyder’s mother, who raised him as a single mother and molded Snyder into the man he is today.

“I’ve been blessed in my life to have a lot of caring mentors and people who were of great assistance to me,” Snyder said. “I learn from people every day. My mother was the most significant. She was an amazing lady who had a set of principles that are certainly replicated in what we are interested in here and what I’m interested in my own life.”


*********** Stone Phillips, former network news anchor, was a pretty good quarterback at Yale in 1975 and 76, and on the celebration of Carm Cozza's 80th birthday in July, 2010, he had this to say about his coach...

Carm was always mindful of his teams in their totality. Whenever an opportunity arose to get second and third string players into a game, Carm made sure they got off the bench and onto the field. The other day, I was looking back at an old Football Y News following the 1976 Princeton game, the same game during which John Pagliaro broke the all-time scoring record. In his “Coach’s Corner” comments, Carm began, not with commendations for individual play, but compliments for the team as a whole. And this line, in particular, jumped out at me: “I was pleased that we could play every able bodied player on the squad, some 70 people.” To some, maybe that’s not a big deal. But making sure that everyone got into the game mattered to Carm. He knew how important it was that 70 uniforms be soiled and stained with grass from the Bowl that day. He knew how many out-of-town parents would have pointed and yelled, “He’s in the game! Our boy’s playing! Go Yale!” Admittedly, the score was lop-sided—Yale won 39-7—but the substitutions started early. Long before the game was put away, Carm was opening it up. Good for him! Great for Yale!

*********** From a coaching friend...

last night we played --------- in a 7X7 and after about four plays I looked over the defense and I notice they had a safety at 15 yards, two corners at 12 yards and then five backers across the field at 5 yards.  Well, call me crazy but that is 8 players.  I called their head coach over and he told me that they are going to a 3-5-3 defense and his kids need to practice with all 8 guys in the mix.  I retorted by asking if we could then add another receiver but he did not think that was a good idea.  Imagine that... we still hung in there and scored 4 or so touchdowns.   I wanted to punch the arrogant SOB in the teeth.  That is why I hate 7X7's.

*********** Saint Mary’s Cathedral, in San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.

The cathedral's four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, attract homeless people who interfere with worshippers as they attempt to enter the cathedral.

To discourage the homeless from camping there, water is poured intermittently and without warning from a hole in the ceiling above each alcove.

Despite signs warning the homeless about what happens in these doorways,  they are a persistent lot, some of them bringing waterproof gear and umbrellas.

“We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person," said a spokesman for the Archdiocese.  "But there is only so much you can do.”


*********** "Yale's Ironmen," by William N. Wallace, was a really good read.  The late Mr. Wallace, a long-time sports reporter for the New York Times, was a Yale grad, and one of the first football games he ever saw was the Princeton-Yale game of 1934.  Even in the depth of the Depression, 53,000 people turned out to watch that clash.

Few gave Yale any chance. The Blue was 3-3, while mighty Princeton, under coach Fritz Crisler, was riding a 15-game win streak dating back to a 7-7 tie with Yale at the end of  the 1932 season.  

But Yale won, 7-0. 

Princeton had gone undefeated in 1933 and most of 1934, and would do so again in 1935, but in the middle of that fantastic three-year stretch was that damn loss in 1934 to underdog Yale, a loss that tormented many Princeton men to the day they died. (Princeton was at the least a 5-1 favorite, 10-1 in some places. Bookies had not yet adopted the idea of handicapping - of giving points to an underdog.)

The most remarkable thing about the game,  and what prompted  Mr. Wallace to devote his last years to researching and writing it, was that just 11 Yale players played the entire 60 minutes, the last time that "ironman" feat has ever been accomplished  in a college game.

(Following the 1937 season, Crisler would take his single wing - and the now-famous wings on the helmets - to Michigan, where he would become a coaching legend.)

We all grow old, of course - those of us who are fortunate - and Mr. Wallace's research followed many of the participants throughout the rest of their lives.

One of the most poignant parts, entitled "Pepper Constable's Last Victory," is the story, written by his widow, of the Princeton fullback  who went on to become a doctor, and in 1981 made the self-diagnosis that he was a victim of Alzheimer's disease.  She wrote,

"During the first two or three years, there was little obvious change. In fact, Pepper's strong, healthy good looks fooled nearly everyone for all five and a half years of his illness.  Friends and family, in kindness, tried to tell me the diagnosis was wrong.

My answer was, "But you don't live with him."

In August, 1987, while vacationing in Nantucket, his wife woke up one morning to find him gone, his pajamas by the door.  During the night he had walked  out the door and into the ocean.

*********** There's been a lot of concern expressed by certain basketball writers about the lack of scoring in college basketball, and most of the suggested remedies have something to do with shortening the shot clock.

Funny that nobody's mentioned the size of the court, and the way it restricts offensive movement.

I've said for years that football - pro football at least - needs a bigger field.  As big and fast as today's players are, how much sense does it makes to play on the same size field that they were using  100 years ago?

That idea came to me when I read an interview several years ago with one-time pro basketball great Ed "Easy Ed" Macauley, who argued that the game had changed quite a bit from when he played.  At 6-8, he was one of the bigger men in the game. At the time he spoke, long after he'd retired, players had become much bigger.  Not only taller, but wider - no more beanpoles playing in the NBA.  And the players were faster, too.

That was a great idea then, and it's an even better one today.  Now, if we can just persuade those celebrities with their front-row seats to move back about six feet...


*********** It used to be common among the older, more cynical types among us  to respond to a worthless idea by saying, "Yeah - that and a dime will  get you a cup of coffee."

That, of course, was back when a cup of coffee cost a dime.

So hats off to Starbucks, which built a business empire on the idea of selling a highly-embellished ten-cent cup of coffee for many multiples of a dime.

Needless to say, Starbucks didn't build that empire by locating its stores in urban ghettoes  and decaying mill towns. 

And forget older people, even affluent ones. They grew up in the ten-cent days, and they can't quite cope with the notion of a four dollar cuppa, even when it's served in a recyclable paper cup by a server who's not just a server, but - a barista, for God's sake!

No,  Starbucks stores are found where the younger, more affluent gang hangs out - the college town, the techie town, the quaint "Old Town."  "Fish where the fish are," is the way the old-time marketers used to put it.

Their market is young, affluent, hip - and liberal.  And so devoted (addicted?) are their customers that Starbucks appears to think there's something more than a simple buyer-seller relationship between them - something that will enable it to achieve the dream of every liberal - to "make a difference."  To "change the world."

So Big Coffee is embarking on a campaign called "Race Together," whose goal  is to get people talking about the topic of race - with baristas or with others in line - while waiting for their coffee.  Or while drinking it. 

The   Company has plans to publish what it calls  "Conversation Guides" designed to encourage baristas to engage you, with questions like  "How have your racial views evolved from those of your parents?"

Hmmm.  I've talked about an awful lot of things with an awful lot of bartenders, but I just can't see myself and a "barista" with lime-colored hair and neck tattoos and multiple rings in her eyebrows holding up the line while we discuss whether The Man really is out to get black people.

I have a suspicion this idea was sneaked into a Starbucks marketing  meeting by an undercover Dunkin' Donuts employee 

*********** ANSWERS
In 1995, Utah  had players selected Number One in both Football and Basketball: Alex Smith  and  Andrew Bogut

Correctly answered by...
(1) Bill Nelson
Skyview HS
Thornton, Colorado

(2) Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

(3) Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina


Connoe and Quinn Cook*********** For the second year in a row, my grandson Connor Love celebrated his birthday with breakfast at Elmo's Diner, a famous  Durham eatery, and for the second year in a row he ran into Duke star Quinn Cook.   Go Devils!


*********** I heard Coach K on the radio talking about beating UNLV in the NCAA semi-finals in 1991 after losing by 30 to the Rebels in the final game the year before. 

He noted that they  had a week to prepare- he said "that was huge" - and  said that during that week, he really stressed mental preparation. One of the things he did was show his players clips of the good things they'd done in the game the year before. ("We didn't show them all the and things," he admitted.)

He said that he and Jerry Tarkanian were good friends, and that afterwards,  he told Tark that if they'd met in the finals - which yowled have meant Duke had only a couple of days to prepare - UNLV would have won.

After all, he reminded us,  "We had Laettner and Hurley and Grant Hill - and we still only won by two!"

*********** Aaargh!  Heads Up Football Comes to Washington - Like it or not

From the WIAA Handbook:

23.3.1 COACHING REQUIREMENTS - Described below are the minimum standards for a paid and/or volunteer interscholastic coach for employment, progressive employment and continuous employment

Beginning with the Fall of 2015 all middle school and high school head coaches must meet the requirement.

Beginning with the Fall of 2016 all football coaches must meet the requirement.

Options for schools:
Any coach that successfully completes a USA Football “Heads Up Football” Player Safety Coach (PSC) clinic will meet the requirement.

If a coach from the school successfully completes the Player Safety Coach clinic and then trains other coaches from that school in each of the components, each coach trained would meet the requirement.

Schools may choose to use programs other than Heads Up Football. Schools should pre- approve these programs and have documentation to show that each component of the requirement has been met.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 17,  2015-   "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want - and deserve to get it good and hard."  H. L. Mencken

*********** As the ranks of the transgendered "folks" swell, it's important for us "breeders" to be sensitive and refrain from automatically using "he" or "she" as the preferred pronoun when referring to them, when many of them prefer that we use "ze" instead.

"When in doubt,"  advised an article I was reading, "ask a transgender person which pronoun is preferred."

My problem has always been asking somebody if ze's transgendered.

*********** I like a lot of teams in this year's NCAA basketball tournament, and it's a damn shame that Kentucky isn't one of them, because I don't see anybody beating the Wildcats.

I really like Notre Dame.   Partly  it's because they beat North Carolina, but there's more. The Irish are really fun to watch.   They're very unselfish, possibly because they actually have SENIORS.  And they've got three kids from Massachusetts, for crying out loud!

I like Duke because... because I like Duke. I have for years.  And I really like and admire Coach K.  And my daughter and son-in-law went there.

I like Villanova because I'm a Philly guy at heart, and because I really like the football people at Villanova. And because I've heard a lot of good things about their coach  And, of course, because one of my grandsons went there.

I like Arizona because they've got two kids from Pennsylvania.  One of them's from Chester, which is near Philly and  has always been a good basketball town. Chester's also the home of Bo Ryan, the Wisconsin coach. Their point guard, T. J. McConnell, is a Pittsburgh kid,  and he's as good as there is anywhere. Zona also has a big kid from New Hampshire - New Hampshire! - named Kaleb Tarczewski. 

I like Wisconsin because I like their coach. He's a Philly guy.  And I like their big center, Frank Kaminsky.  Guy is really good. And I like the fact that they've actually got WISCONSIN kids on their team.
A LOT of  them.  What is this, something new?  Recruiting kids from your home state, and winning with them?

I like Iowa State for the same reason I like Kansas State in football. With richer, better-known, more glamorous schools in their own conference, they've managed to win two conference tournaments in a row.  And they keep coming from behind.

I like Virginia because it's still a good school academically (I think) and I got to like the coach, Tony Bennett, when he was at Washington State.  He catches hell because his teams win with defense, and that means there's often not a lot of scoring.  Sounds a llittle  like a Double Wing coach.

I like Gonzaga because it's a Washington school, although way over on the eastern side of the state, I like the coach, Mark Few, and I like the eclectic mix of backgrounds of the players and the way Few always manages to get them to play as a real team.

I like Wichita State because they have a great player named Ron Baker who was an all-state HS QB in Kansas, and I hope that at least the Shockers win their first-round games so they get a shot at the Kansas Jayhawks, who haven't been willing to play them otherwise. The two teams haven't met since 1993.  How about this one- Wichita State is the winningest team in Kansas over the last three seasons.

Yeah, I'd be happy to see any of those teams win, or maybe even a Northern Iowa. But who's kidding who(m)? Hard to bet against Kentucky.

*********** Jason Gay wrote it, in the Wall Street Journal: "You can drive from Philadelphia to Vancouver during the last two minutes of a college basketball game."

*********** Seattle, famous for the high quality and great number of its restaurants, has been seeing them close down at an astonishing pace lately.  You don't suppose, do you, that  the minimum wage, set to start going up on April 1  to $15.00 an hour, has had anything to do with it?


*********** "MEET COUGARS," was the subject line.  Talk about a wasted Email.  For me to meet cougars  they'd have to take me to a nursing home.

*********** Washington QB Cyler Miles has chosen not to participate in the Huskies' spring practices this year.

"Cyler is dealing with some things in his life that are more important than football, and he felt it was important to take some time away from the game," Washington coach Chris Petersen said in a news release. "We are working to support him in any way we can and hope he returns back to the football field soon."

This will the second year in a row Washington will have to go through spring practice without a bona fide starting quarterback.

It will also be the second spring practice Young Mister Miles will miss.  Last year, he was suspended the entire time because of his role in the beating up of a guy following a Seahawks' game.

Whatever his problem is now, you would think that after last spring's fiasco, Huskies' coach Chris Peterson would have made damn sure that this spring he had a Plan B.


*********** I heard a guy being interviewed last week who'd spent  50 years with the same company - Mansfield Plumbing Company, Perrysville, Ohio -  and never missed a day of work.

Notice that in the graphic that accompanies this TV story,  "Mansfield"  is spelled it with two "n's."

Probably the regular guy who does the graphics was home sick.


*********** A Vallejo, California football coach fired by a Catholic school for not knowing about the hazing going on in his program sued the Diocese and  has received a $4 million settlement.


*********** Yes, we have freedom of speech.  Of course we have freedom of speech.  But not complete freedom. There are some well-known limits. It's been long established that you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre, and you can't announce that you're planning to bomb your plan.  And if you'd like to meet some swell secret service guys, try making it known that you intend to kill the President of the United States.

And many are the guys who got their noses bloodied after telling ethnic jokes to the wrong audience.

At one time, ethnic jokes were very popular. Polish jokes, Irish jokes, Italian jokes.  They even tell me that  up in Da U-P they told Finnish jokes. 

If you happened to be a member of an affected minority, you could laugh, or pretend to ignore it, or handle it like Jerry DiPaolo.

Jerry was our Eastern Division sales manager when I worked for the National Brewing Company in Baltimore, back in the 1960s, and very proud of his Italian heritage.

He came to me one day and said, "What's black and blue and floats in the harbor?"

"I don't know," I told him.

Said Jerry, "Next son of a bitch that tells me an Italian joke."

************* That guy who pops up whenever there's the potential of a racial disturbance? He does pretty well for someone who's stiffing  the rest of us to the tune of more than $4 million in unpaid taxes and penalties, writes Jillian Kay Melchior, in National Review.com

When he speaks at public colleges and universities, Al Sharpton flies first-class, stays in upscale hotels, travels to events in a chauffeured vehicle, and often brings a bodyguard or aide with him. He makes these demands on taxpayer-funded institutions, despite owing as much as $4.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

"In terms of travel, Rev. Sharpton travels first class on flights and will require a large black SUV for transportation and, if the trip requires lodging, he will require a suite in a four/five star hotel," wrote Sharpton's assistant, Abyssinia Tirfe, in an August 14, 2014, e-mail to Michigan State University (MSU) obtained by National Review. "Also, Rev. Sharpton travels with [an] aide who will require [an] economy ticket and a standard hotel room (if needed)."


Doc Blanchard*********** It's semi-official.   Army is going to "rebrand." No more of that "Black Knights" sh-- (I hope).  No more of that guy in a capes who looks like he just came back from the trick or treating (I hope). And no more "who-the-hell-are-we-watching-anyhow?" uniforms that change weekly (I hope).

Bring back those black jerseys with the gold and gray stripes.  And the gold helmets with the black stripes (Army, back during World War II,  was the first college team to wear  Riddell plastic suspension helmets).  And  bring back the  gold pants.

Those uniforms were ARMY, and anybody who saw them knew right away who they were looking at.

As a kid in Philly, I grew up on Army-Navy. With Army always winning(that's how long ago that was).  

To me, those will always be the real Army uniforms.  Navy? They'd   come out in something crazy every year, but Army's look never changed. Why should they? They were ARMY. They were the standard of excellence.

Those uniforms were classic, which means that they'll never go out of style.

If we can't bring back the glory days of the great Doc Blanchard (in the photo), can't we at least bring back the look?

*********** Bill Walton did the Arizona-Oregon Pac-12 final.  Even allowing for the fact that my dislike for him is hard-wired, dating back to his playing (and non-playing because of injury) days in Portland, he is really obnoxious when he gets behind a mic.

He won't STFU.  He goes non-stop, with a stream-of-consciousness blather that ignores the action and makes you say "WTF?" every couple of minutes.

But don't take my word for it...


*********** Only one college has ever had the first player drafted in both football and basketball in the same year.



*********** A proposed change in the NCAA's illegal man downfield rule has been tabled-

Did you know, for instance,  that three yards downfield isn't  considered "downfield?"


*********** So Chip Kelly had Tim Tebow in for a look. Don't know about you, but I sure would love to see somebody - anybody - sign the guy.  And give him a chance.  And for me,  it would be even better if it could be Chip Kelly and the Eagles.

***********  George Tsugawa is now 93. He and his family have owned and operated a nursery in Woodland, Washington, about a half hour from where we live, since 1980.

He's a native-born  American,  born in 1921 in Everett, Washington to Japanese immigrants.

In 1925, the family moved to HIllsboro, Oregon where his father ran a fruit stand, and in 1939, George  graduated from Hillsboro High School.

In 1942, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 calling for the  evacuation of Japanese and Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. (Actually, the executive order didn't say "West Coast" and didn't specifically mention Japanese - it simply gave the Secretary of War the power to "prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded.")

The "military areas" were a wide band extending from Washington to California, and inland to Arizona.

The "persons"  to be "excluded," it was understood, were Japanese and Japanese-Americans.

The Tsugawa family was rounded up and transported to  Portland, Oregon and held temporarily in an area normally used to hold livestock. The entire family was permitted to bring just one duffel bag; the rest of their possessions were seized and never returned.

After two months in Portland, the Tsugawas were loaded on a train, into crowded cars whose windows were blacked out so no one would know where they were headed, and transported to an internment camp in the sagebrush desert of south-central Idaho, about 190 miles from Boise.

Today George recalls it being “very intimidating, large fences with barbed wire at the top and armed soldiers on watch towers.”

While there, his older brother Akira volunteered to serve in the US Army.

In 1944, with his mother  dying of cancer, the family was permitted to move to Boise.

After the war, they moved to the Beaverton, Oregon area and took up farming. In 1950, George married Mable Taniguchi, and together they would have six children.

In 1956, George bought a  farm in Woodland, Washington, and over the years provided  thousands of local kids with summer jobs picking berries.  In 1980, after all the children had graduated from high school, Mable started the family nursery.

Mable passed away in 2011.

For several years now, Shari Conditt, a History and Government teacher at Woodland High School, has had Mr. Tsugawa come to school to give ther students  a unique look at  a period of history and a government action that today seems incomprehensible.

A couple of the things  Ms. Conditt remembers from Mr. Tsugawa's visits  really stuck with me.

First was his pride in his ancestry:

One year, after hearing that Japanese families had to register their ethnic background in downtown Portland before heading to the camp, she asked Mr. Tsugawa if he  had ever considered lying about his descent - for instance, telling the government he was of Chinese heritage - in order to avoid internment.

The class, she said, couldn't believe his answer. "They were so shocked that it would have never occurred to him to deny who he was because he had so much pride in who he was,” Ms. Conditt said. “Those are the kind of moments where the students’ eyes are really opened.”

Second was his utter loyalty to his country of birth.

When asked by Ms. Conditt if he was bitter that he and his family were deprived of their property, their business and their belongings and forced into an internment camp, he answered,





american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 13,  2015-   "To be able to look back upon one's past life with satisfaction is to live twice."  Lord Acton

*********** ONE person got the answer to what the list of great players had in common-

they were all Heisman Trophy runners-up.

Kudos to  Kevin McCullough, of Lakeville, Indiana, who added...

Purdue had some good teams back in the 60's......Leroy Keyes could do everything.......i can also remember " it's Theisman rhymes with Heisman".....seems like it was pronounced "Theesman before he became a starter

Yes, Purdue had some good teams and good players.   And yes, according to the story, upon arriving at ND
Thiesmann was persuaded by Sports Information Director Roger Valdiserri  to change the pronunciation.

*********** Hugh,

Five years ago my wife and I were in Ukraine to adopt our fourth child.  While there a big celebration occurred - International Women's Day.  It was basically explained to us by our interpreter as "a day in which you give flowers and candy to the women in your life." So, mom, wife, daughters.  I thought it was kind of unique and cool, so I bought candy for all of the women at the orphanage.  I looked at it not as a requirement, but as a positive like "let's honor and celebrate the women in our lives."  No parades.  Nothing over the top.  Just flowers and candy.  

Seeing all of the issues domestic violence, sexual assault, etc., I think "International Women's Day," as it was celebrated in Ukraine (and I expect much of Europe), would be a small step in the right direction for many in American society.  

1 Peter 3:7   Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


I think it is a wonderful idea.  Not as a protest march or a demonstration of grievances, but as a way of honoring the women in our lives.

It takes me back to Bill McCartney and Promise Keepers, back in the 90s,  in which men promised, among other things, to honor their wives and the promises made to them.

What's really dismaying to me, as I look back at an earlier time, is the refusal of so many of today's women to accept their Biblical role, and the refusal of so many men to honor theirs.  

But it's still a wonderful idea.

Maybe we could start out small and call it American Football Coaches' Women's and Girls' Day.

And then, considering the attention being paid to how poorly some football players treat their "fiancees,"  we could expand it to include players, as American Football Women's and Girls' Day.

Better get on it fast before somebody trademarks it and tries to make money off it by selling tee-shirts and hats and holding rock-concert-like meetings.



*********** A Pittsburgh guy who stabbed and killed a police dog got 3⅓ to 7 years in the Big House.

Make that 17+ years total, after adding in time for attempting to disarm a sheriff’s deputy and stabbing a  police officer.

Sure hope the dog got the bastard good before he died.


*********** A Washington, DC guy is being sued by his neighbors because they claim his tobacco smoke is seeping into their home through cracks in the wall that separates them.  As a result, a judge has told him he can't smoke... IN HIS OWN F--KING HOME.

There's more.  It's a story about urban gentrification.

The guy is black and the house has been in his family since 1964.

The neighbors, on the other hand, are white, both of them lawyers, and they've lived there all of four months.

This one could be fun to watch.


*********** Jake Locker has retired after just four seasons (and God knows how many injuries), and now there are pussies on the Internet and on talk radio, pukes who've never strapped one on, ripping him for it.  Like he should have come back to  incur a couple more serious injuries and take more of their criticism.

No matter.  He'll be forever remembered fondly where it counts. Kid comes from a long line of athletes and coaches in the small town of Ferndale, Washington, up near the Canadian border. Hell of a football and baseball player.  Turned down a baseball contract to play football at the "U-Dub," the University of Washington.

In 2007, his freshman year, he rushed for 986 yards, passed for 2062, and was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.  But the Huskies finished only 4-9, and fans were calling for Coach Tyrone Willingham's job.

He missed most of his sophomore season with a broken thumb and the Huskies fell to 0-12, and Coach Willingham was let go.

In 2009,  under new coach Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies climbed back to 5-7, highlighted by upsets of #3 USC and #19 Cal. Locker passed for 2800 yards and rushed for 388, and at the end of the season was presented  the Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award, Washington football's oldest and most prestigious honor.

When  he announced at season's end that he would forego the NFL Draft and return for his senior year, he earned himself a place in the hearts of Husky fans everywhere.

In 2010, his senior year, the Huskies made it back over .500 by ending the season with wins over archival Washinton State and, in the Holiday Bowl, Nebraska.  The win over the Cornhuskers was especially sweet, because in addition to giving the Huskies their first winning season since 2002, it avenged an earlier 56-21 loss to Nebraska in the third game of the season, a game in which Locker had not played particularly well.

He was team captain for the second straight season, and again won the Guy Flaherty  Award, becoming  just the fourth player in the 103-year history of the award to win it twice.    And he'll be remembered forever after  for sticking around and helping the Husky turnaround.

So let the dweebs who sit in front of their computers down in their parents' basement take their shots at Jake Locker.  To tens of thousands of loyal fans of the University of Washington, he'll be loved and respected as long as the Huskies play football.

At Washington, Jake Locker's reputation as a great player and a good person is carved in stone. You do the things he did for his school, and you'll  be remembered and appreciated for a long time,  all the more so if you've demonstrated your allegiance as he did.

Personally, that's the place where I'd choose to be respected.

In an NFL city? Look - unless you're a Walter Payton, an all-star who plays his entire career for one team (is there such a thing anymore?), you're just another mercenary who passed through town on your way to a bigger contract.


*********** Remember when certain things just weren't discussed in "polite company?" ( For those of you who remember when there was such a thing as polite company.)

In the category of unmentionables were terms related to excretion, but with the increasing use of "poop" and "pee" on TV and in everyday conversation, the barriers are coming down.

Now,  where once  the term "bathroom tissue" was used because "toilet paper" was considered a bit crude, some company is on TV trying to sell the public on buying a new, improved paper that it says does such a GREAT job of, uh, wiping one's posterior that one will be tempted after using it to go without underwear.

(To "Go Commahndo," as the properly British-accented announcer says.)


The old advertising expression is "sex sells," but my gut tells me that they're going to have a hell of a time   using sex to sell toilet paper.  Sorry - bathroom tissue.

*********** My friend Mike Lude, one-time AD at Kent State, Washington  and Auburn, said that he used to meet with all the school's teams before very season and impress on the athletes that like it or not, because they were Kent State, or Washington, or Auburn athletes, they would be held to a higher standard of conduct out in the community.

To reinforce his message, he'd ask them how the headlines back home would read if he were on vacation someplace in Europe and had too much to drink but went ahead and drove anyhow -  and killed somebody.

Their  answers, he said, with only slight changes depending on the school, were pretty uniform:


I thought of that this week when the Aberdeen, Washington Daily World headed its story about a kid in a neighboring town:


(Hmmm. He took English all four years.  Why wasn't he identified as an English student?)


*********** Tweet from Andy Levy: hillary clinton is richard nixon without the charm

*********** Good morning!

I just finished the news and wanted to add something to Jason Gay’s comments about Russell Westbrook achievements.  
He notes Oscar Robertson averages but fails to mention the Big “O” did not just average a triple double for a month but rather for an entire season.  From the Basketball Hall of Fame site:

The Big O's best statistical season came in 1961-62. Oscar averaged a triple double for the entire season, averaging 30.8 ppg, 11.4 apg and 12.5 rpg, a feat that has never been duplicated.  

The averages for his first five NBA seasons are a triple-double: 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game. 

He was truly an amazing player!

I am not sure that the average fan can even begin to understand that accomplishment and is part of the reason why I believe that Oscar Robertson is the greatest to ever play the game.

Dennis Metzger
Richmond, Indiana


I agree that Jason Gay might have expanded on his comments about Oscar Robertson.

He was indeed a great one.  I can't go so far as to call him THE greatest, but I will allow for your both being Indiana guys and not dispute your claim.

I would certainly put him in my Top Five, along with Chamberlain and three others yet to be decided.  Jabbar and Jordan are almost certain to make it.  Kobe and LeBron have decent shots at it.   Maybe Westbrook can keep it up.

*********** Long after his baseball playing days were over, the great Joe DiMaggio was still in demand as an endorser of consumer products.  One of them, Mister Coffee, used him in so many  TV commercials that he developed a whole new generation of fans, who didn't have the slightest idea that he'd ever played baseball but wanted his autograph - because he was  Mister Coffee.

I was reminded of that when I saw George Foreman on Fox News the other night.  How many younger people, I wonder, who know that he sells grills, know that he was once one of the most feared boxers on earth?

He got on the subject of how he transitioned from heavyweight boxer to renowned marketer, and I saw in what he said a lesson for coaches.  "If you can't sell," he said (although in his Texas accent he pronounced it "Say-ull") "you're gonna starve."

Great point, whether you're in business or you're a coach. What is selling, after all,  but convincing people that it's in their interest to do something that you'd like them to do?

His secret, he said, was simple - learn to smile.  It wins people over. If you're not  a smiler, force yourself to do it, until it comes naturally.  It will.

Don't worry about whether it might seem phony. You can learn.  As my coaching friend Greg Koenig, in Beloit, Kansas, likes to tell his kids in cases like that, "Fake it till you make it."

*********** I'm so impressed by the wonderful job our schools are doing indoctrinating  our young people in the new, official state religion of environmentalism that I'm going to give them a project to keep them busy:

(A) How many tons of nasty, filthy pollutants  are spewed into our atmosphere every day
(B) how many nasty, filthy power plants
owned by 
(C) which nasty, greedy profit-hungry corporations
(D) how many tons of  nasty, filthy coal
just so
America's little environmentalists can charge their f--king phones?

Amare*********** Amare Stoudamire took his teammates to task, telling reporters, "We’ve got to find a way to refocus. We’ve got to key into the details of the game of basketball.

“We can’t cheat the game. We can’t screw around in shootarounds and practices and joke around all the time and figure we’re going to win games. This is the pros. It’s the highest level of basketball. We’ve got to act that way.”

And here he is, making his point.  Challenging his teammates.

Assuming they  take him more serously than I do.

*********** A coach donates bone marrow and  saves a life...

Helping save a total stranger's life by donating marrow turned out to be just the start of Chris Gennaro's involvement with the cause of marrow donation during his time working at Yale. Gennaro, who made his life-saving donation around the same time that he first started working for the Yale football team in 2012, has also become one of the key volunteers for the Bulldogs' annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive. And earlier this month he took his involvement to a national level, traveling to Washington, D.C., to be a part of Legislative Day for Be The Match on Tuesday, Mar. 3. 

Gennaro, Yale's director of football operations, spoke to members of Congress about the value of marrow donation, emphasizing how easy and rewarding the marrow donation process was for him.

Originally from Saco, Maine, Gennaro first joined the Be The Match Registry while he was a member of the football team at Maine. The Black Bears were one of dozens of college football teams -- like Yale -- participating in the "Get in the game, Save a life." campaign, which was started by Villanova head coach Andy Talley.

In the early 1990s Talley recognized the impact that these drives have: donors that could help save lives join the registry through testing that consists of simple cheek swabs. He began getting football teams around the country to start organizing them on their campuses.

Yale assistant head coach Larry Ciotti, a friend and former teammate of Talley's at Southern Connecticut State, brought the drive to Yale in 2009.


*********** It used to be that a tremendous number of fires were caused by smoking in bed.

Here in granola land, I'll bet 90 per cent of the fires are caused by candles.

What the big deal is with candles, I don't know, but I do know I wouldn't leave the house with a candle burning.

That's what some knuckleheads around here did Monday, and now they're looking for a place to stay.

According to the Vancouver Columbian...

"A pet tarantula in the house was not harmed."

Thank goodness for that.  I've heard about saving dogs, but I doubt that there was a firefighter willing to  give mouth-to-mouth to a tarantula.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 10,  2015-   “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”  G. K. Chesterton

*********** Unless Missouri wins two games in the Big 12 conference basketball tournament, it will become just the 10th power conference  basketball team since  2004-2005 to win fewer games than its football team.

The other schools are Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, Iowa, Oregon, Oregon State, South Carolina, Southern California (twice) and Utah.

In most cases, it's a combination of a good football season and a bad basketball season, but in 2005-2006, when  Baylor was only 5-6 in football its basketball team couldn't even match that, winning only four games.  (Those were the dark days following a major scandal involving drugs and  the murder of a Baylor basketball player.)

*********** I saw the Oklahoma frat video and the first thing I thought was, "where did kids like that come from?"

I've been around thousands of kids, from coast to coast, and I have never seen any potential in them  for the  kind of ugly racism displayed on the video.

It's distressing to think that in Twenty-First Century America parents are raising brats like those frat boys who thought it was cool  to sing loud and proud about not allowing "any ni**ers in SAE" (the fraternity) but this is what you get when you can't spank kids  or wash  their mouths out with soap because you'd get jailed for  child abuse.

But is there anything that says we can't do that to their parents?


*********** When I was teaching, it would really anger me when I'd read about some teacher someplace who'd been caught having sex with kids.  Of either sex. 

Besides the fact that it was repulsive in and of itself, it bothered me because I knew that as a result of stories like that there were bound to be parents of my students who'd look at me and wonder if I were that kind of guy. 

And now, thanks to a handful of what I presume to be spoiled, rich white kids at a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, there are sure to be some black people who will look at us, well-intentioned white people, differently. They'll hear what we say and see what we do and yet still wonder whether, deep down, we think like those fraternity boys.

I see us losing a lot of the ground we've gained since the 1960s, and it really pisses me off.  White or black, it should piss you off, too.

*********** Oregon State basketball coach Wayne Tinkle is a big man.  He's 6-10, and broad-shouldered, yes, but it's what he did last Tuesday night that illustrates how big a man he really is.

Backtrack to the start of practice last fall, when Tinkle who had been hired from Montana to replace Craig Robinson, got his first look  look at what he'd inherited:  a roster depleted by transfers, injuries, and ineligibility.  So he actually put out a call to the student body: open tryouts.

Twenty-two  showed up; four of them were kept.    They made it possible to scrimmage, five-on-five. 
They were not given scholarships, but they made the traveling squad. Student-athletes, so to speak.

Some of them actually got into a few games during the season,  a season in which the Beavers far exceeded anyone's expectations by going17-13 overall and 8-12 in the Pac-12.

But none of them, not the four who made it through tryouts or a fifth walk-on holdover from last year's team, ever expected to start a game.

Yet on Tuesday night, in front of a big home crowd, against the hated Oregon DUcks, Tinkle started all five walk-ons, all of them Oregon kids.

They were only in for 30 seconds or so, and it didn't go very well while they were in. The Ducks scored three points and thanks to a turnover, had possession of the ball when OSU's regular starters came in.

The Ducks wound up winning  the game, and the winning margin was - three points.

Wrote the Portland Oregonian's Jason Quick...

Scoreboard be damned. This was not a loss for Oregon State. In the big picture, this was a victory.

After all, how many times can a program point to a moment and say, "This is what we stand for"? How many times can a program point to a moment and say, "This is what we value"?

And how many times is a program willing to do that while putting the ultimate prize -- victory -- on the line?

Said Coach Tinkle,  "I would do it all over again.''

Was it worth it? he was asked.

"Damn right,'' he said. "Damn right it was worth it.''


*********** Florida State,  taking no chances, pulled the scholarship of a Valdosta, Georgia kid...


*********** Prepare  yourselves, Americans.  They're not done yet:   in Thailand, a three-way gay marriage...


*********** Boeheim loses 108 wins, gets  a nine game suspension, and "Cuse loses twelve scholarships.


Wow.  And Syracuse self-reported.

What will happen to North Carolina?  (I know what should.)

"If you ran a college and knew there was substantial money to be had from sports but no requirement to educate athletes, you might cut corners—that’s exactly what the University of North Carolina did for nearly two decades." Wall Street Journal

*********** In the month of February, Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists a game, "a historic month," according to the Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay, "matched only by the sublime Big O, Oscar Robertson."

Wrote Gay, "...the average sports fan wants three things to happen during the average sporting event:

A. They would like for it to finish by midnight so they don't pass out in their 9:30 a.m. work meeting.

B. They would like coaches to chill out on the time outs in the final two minutes.

C. They would like to see something they've not seen before.

Westbrook can't promise "A" or "B" but he almost always delivers on "C."

*********** One of the few benefits of growing old is the likelihood that I won't have to be around to see how all this sh-- ends, because it isn't going to be pretty...

Stating that theAmerican  flag  symbolizes “colonialism and imperialism,” UC Irvine’s student body government voted to ban the showing of it in the college  student area.

The bill, R50-70, was authored by Social Ecology Representative Matthew Guevara, and accuses all flags, especially, the American flag, of being “symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism.”

"Flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets [sic] homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy,” the bill reads.

The  bill adds that such free speech as flags in "inclusive spaces," can be interpreted as hate speech.


*********** This past weekend, whether it wanted to or not, New York City "hosted" something called the International Women's Day March.   Not all the participants were female.   There were a few males on hand.   One speaker referred to them as "Men Sisters."

*********** To think that people send their kids to four years of college to study journalism, and this is what results...

Sideline reporter Allison Williams: "Coach Pitino, how did you manage to beat the Number Two team?"

*********** Meantime, it appears that North Carolina's practice of devising no-content, no-work, no-attendance-required classes for basketball and football players may have started even earlier than originally thought...


*********** Besides being great college players, all of these guys have one very significant thing  in common.  What is it?

Whizzer White

Angelo Bertelli
Charlie Trippi
Charlie Justice
Kyle Rote
Johnny Majors
Bob Griese
Leroy Keyes
Joe Thiesmann
Ed Marinaro
Gregg Pruitt
Anthony Davis
Ricky Bell
BIlly Sims
John Elway
Steve Young
Rockey Ismail
Marshall Faulk
Peyton Manning
Larry Fitzgerald
Adrian Peterson
Colt McCoy
Toby Gerhart
Andrew Luck
Manti Te'o
Melvin Gordon

*********** Many  rules are entered into the rule book in an attempt to "improve" the game, (although there is often disagreement as to whether the addition is actually an improvement). But many other rules, especially in the early, formative  days of the game, came about because of occurrences unforeseen by the game's founders.

It's hard to believe that football had been played for nearly 100 years before it was deemed necessary to pass this rule:

If Team B commits a foul, the period expires during the play, and the penalty is not declined, the period must continue until a down free from interference by a Team B foul.

(Loosely translated: "Unless the offense declines, a period can't end on a penalty against the defense.")

The rule dates back to Notre Dame vs Syracuse, 1961

According to the Notre Dame archives...

Trailing 14-15 with only a few seconds left on the clock, Notre Dame sent in kicker Joe Perkowski to attempt a 56-yard field goal.  He missed soundly as time expired, but there were flags on the field.  Syracuse player Walt Sweeney was called for roughing the kicker, a penalty that carried a charge of fifteen yards.  The gained yardage would put Perkowski in better position, although it would not be easy.  Since time had expired on the previous play, it wasn’t obvious Perkowski would even get a second attempt.  The Syracuse fans had already started to rush the field to celebrate their victory.

The officials had to make an on-the-spot decision about how to handle the foul, and they decided to enforce the standard penalty for roughing the kicker.  Even though time had expired, Notre Dame kicker Joe Perkowski was given fifteen yards and a second attempt, and he kicked the game-winning, 41-yard field goal.

As can be imagined, not everyone was happy with this impromptu decision.  The legality of the extra play was shortly afterwards contested by the Big 10 and Eastern College Athletic Conferences, who supplied the officials for the game, and the NCAA rules chairman General Bob Neyland.  Review of the game film and the rules books led many to question the referees’ decisions.  Did Walt Sweeney really rough the kicker and place holder?  Since the initial kick was far from its target, which team actually had possession when the foul occur?  In the end, neither the conferences nor the NCAA had the power to overturn the Irish win, leaving the game officials with the final say and the Irish with a win for the record books.  The rules were changed in 1962 to prevent any future confusion should a similar circumstance arise.



flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 6,  2015-   "I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven't just been sitting on my ass all afternoon." William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** While most major college football programs are making a mockery of the term  "education," and while the NCAA continues to promote the sham of the  "student athlete,"  there are still some  Terry Baggetts. 

Terry Baggett was a very good running back at Army - he holds the Academy record of 304 yards rushing in a single game - and he's a very good student, too - he will graduate this May with a 3.368 GPA - in Chemical Engineering.


*********** Coach,

Your quote by Coach Bible made me think "hey, I think I have that book."  I'm not sure if this is the exact place your quote was taken from, but I did find that in fact I do have Championship Football by Dana X. Bible.  I have not read the whole thing, but what I have is pretty good stuff.

On my bookshelf I also ran across my copy of Oklahoma Split T Football.  Bud Wilkinson knew his stuff and took the time to write about it thoroughly.  Man is that book good.  So much time spent on the reasoning behind why things are done (altering splits to set up a the defensive lineman for failure, etc.).  Really, really good stuff.

And in the same spot I found a copy of the video "Dynamics of the Double Wing" by some guy named Wyatt.  If I had a vcr I would watch it (for the umpteenth time).

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


Both great books.

Wilkinson was really good.  He was also one of the very first former coaches to become a TV analyst.  Boy, those were the days when we had guys like Bud Wilkinson and Frank Broyles and Ara Parseghian in the broadcast booth.  Now, with 75 or 80 games on TV every Saturday, I swear some of them must stop by the local pee wee practice on their way to the game and ask if anybody wants to make a few bucks analyzing a college game.

It surprises me that there isn't at least one make of VCR still on the market, simply because so many people have so many VHS tapes with no place to play them. Ironic that "vinyl" is on the way back.  Turntables, too.

*********** I don't know what percentage of American high school students attend a private school, but I do know that among all students K-12, the figure is less than 10 per cent.

So please explain, without using the "R" word, how come that of this week's USA Today's Top 25 Boys' Basketball Teams, 14  including the top three:

Oak Hill Academy (Virginia)
Montverde Academy (Florida)
St Vincent-St Mary (Ohio)

are Private schools.

*********** Good morning, Coach.

Have you seen the new requirement from the WIAA??


(Compulsory "heads Up" training for all middle school and high school football coaches)


DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington


I have.  The way I read it, only one guy on the staff has to attend, and then he can "train" the rest of the staff.  Suits me fine, as long as I'm not the one.  This year, the first year, it has to be the head coach.

I just read that USA Football received $45 million from the NFL Foundation (the "non-profit" league's charitable arm) to implement "Heads Up Football." That's almost as much as they pay Roger Goodell, and it's more than enough to make it the NFL's stooge. With that kind of money and power behind "Heads Up Football," there's no sense trying to get in its way.

On another subject, I also read the proposed rules changes regarding off-season practices (working with a QB, for example) and it appears that in return for limiting us to 20 "contacts" in the summer, they're proposing given us 20 contacts during the winter sports season and 20 in the spring.  

*********** From my friend Doc Hinger, in Winter Haven, Florida, now busy watching spring training:

At the ball park this morning I heard a guy utter what has to be the line of the day. "If Nancy Pelosi gets one more facelift she'll have a beard".

*********** Nice to talk with you again and sure hope you have a clinic in Atlanta because if you do, I can about guarantee you 3-4 attendees.   I saw on your site where you have been dabbling with the R & S combined with double wing.  I definitely want to take a look at that stuff.  


I had to get off to a later start this year and I'm hung up right now on a location - I'm trying to get a place not too far from the airport if possible where I can have kids on hand to demo my stuff.

For the last two years, I have run what I call my "open wing" along with a basic double-wing package.

Since "opening things up" (without changing our line play) we were 7-3 in 2013 and 10-1 in 2014.

Here's a clip from last spring showing a very basic look at what we're doing


Ed Modzelewski*********** Ed "Big Mo" Modzelewski (Mah-je-LEF-ski), the star fullback on Maryland's undefeated 1952 Sugar Bowl champions and the brother of Maryland College Football Hall of Famer and New York GIants' defensive tackle Dick "LIttle Mo" Modzelewski,  died February 27. He was 86.

HIs brother survives him. "He and I were very close as brothers,"  Dick Modzelewski told cleveland.com "We went to the same college. We both made All-American together. We were in business together and we raised cattle on a farm together. Ed will be greatly missed by me and my family."

At  age 15, with the World at war, Ed lied about his age and joined the Merchant Marine. But when his parents learned about American merchant ships being sunk by German submarines, they managed to get him released from service.

Returning to his hometown,  West Natrona, Pennsylvania,  he got a job,  but one day he passed by the high school practice field where the football team was practicing, and decided to return to school and turn out for football.

HIs team, Har-Brack High, made it to the 1947 Western Pennsylvania (WPIAL) title game but lost to New Kensington; he was named second team All-State fullback and awarded a scholarship top Maryland.

Four years later while playing for Maryland, the Modzelewski brothers got their revenge against New Kensington, when the Terps, on their way to an unbeaten 11-0 season, defeated Michigan State.  The Spartans had eight former New Kensington players on their roster, including Willie Thrower, who in 1953 would become the first black player to play quarterback in an NFL game.

Maryland was chosen to play in the Sugar Bowl against unbeaten Tennessee, already awarded the national championship (the final ballot in those days was conducted BEFORE the bowls), and defeated the Vols, 28-13.  Ed Modzelewski rushed for 153 yards, and was named the game's MVP.

He was the Steelers' top draft choice in 1952, and played one year in Pittsburgh, then   served for two years in the Air Force. On his return, he was traded to the Browns where he played for five seasons at fullback, following one great in Marion Motley and preceding another in Jim Brown. Selected by the Cowboys in their expansion draft in 1960, he chose instead to retire.

Paul Wiggin, his teammate on the Browns, told cleveland.com that Ed was talked out of retiring and taking a coaching job by Cleveland coach Paul Brown: "Brown said he'd like him to stay because of a young fullback he wasn't sure of," said Wiggin.  "That fullback was Jim Brown. Ed always joked about that."

Interestingly, although Dick ("Little Mo") is in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame, Ed ("Big Mo") is not.


Natrona, Pennsylvania - a look at a town that's seen some rough times - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9UXtDYHzSA

*********** Har-Brack High School is no more.  Like so many high schools in once-populous towns in western Pennsylvania, it's been "consolidated" - combined with another school and given another name. Har-Brack (for the towns of "Harrison" and "Brackenridge" which it served) produced the Modzelewski brothers, and not long after they graduated, along came Cookie Gilchrist, a 6-3, 253-pound running back who was so good that the great Paul Brown signed him to an NFL contract right out of high school.  But that's another story...


*********** By chance, I watched a couple of back-to-=back episodes of Friday Night Tykes.

They ought to call it Friday NIght Yikes.

It's a series devoted to youth football, Texas style.

I'm sure they do other things at practice, but if you didn't know better, you'd think all they did was practice tackling - by lining up little kids about 20 yards apart and having them smash into each other at full speed. Sort of like teaching them to swim by throwing them into the deep end.  I guess the misguided idea is that they're "turning them into football players."  Yeah - and turning at least as many into soccer players.

I loved watching a coach go through the kind of gyrations that give us the Jameis Winstons.

One kid - we'll call him JR - didn't show up for practice all week. Or for the game. Oh - and he was the QB. So they started the backup.  Let's call him David.

David played well, and they won the game.

The following Monday, with a big game coming up, JR was back at practice.  No apparent discipline, no nothing.

We were privy to a conversation between the head coach and an assistant.

"Who do you think I ought to start Saturday- David or JR?"

And then he reasoned aloud...

"David does a good job and does everything we ask of him."

"JR doesn't know how good he can be.  All he lacks is a work ethic.  He gives us our best chance of winning."

Do I have to tell you who got the start?

***********  The NCAA has lifted the postseason ban on Idaho - IDAHO, for God's sake! -  imposed for failing to meet academic standards for the 2009 through 2012 seasons.

Who would ever have known that was the reason we haven't seen Idaho in a bowl game lately?


***********   A West Linn, Oregon sophomore ("rated one of the top cornerbacks in the country for the Class of 2017," if you can believe that) suffered a skull fracture playing for "Team Oregon" in an elite 7-on-7 "national tournament" in Las Vegas Saturday.

Think hard now - when was the last time one of your kids suffered a fractured skull in practice?  Even in a full-out scrimmage?

Didn't think so. I never heard of such a thing in all my years of coaching, dating back to 1970.

Nevertheless, this year, in an effort to reduce the thousands and thousands of  head injuries that are reducing our young men to virtual vegetables, our state intends to follow the Know-It-All State, California, and limit in-season "contact practices" to two a week.

Full-padded, "thud" scrimmages, with no one being taken to the ground,  are considered "contact."

7-on-7 is not.


*********** I was listening to a radio broadcast of the Oregon State-Grambling baseball game, and the pre-game national anthem (I timed it)  took a band exactly one minute to play.  For comparison purposes,  at most NFL and major bowl games, it takes a Grammy-Award-winning singer upwards of two minutes.  To perform.

*********** The 18-year-old voting age has been such a success (hey- it got us legalized marijuana in Washington, dude!) that in Brattleboro, Vermont there's a move afoot to lower the voting age to 16.  Sweet.


***********  Back in 1990, Gordie Gillespie came to dinner.  A friend of mine, Ralph Balducci, knew him somehow, and when Ralph told me Gordie was coming to Portland to talk at a clinic, we schemed to get him over to our place.

What an impressive person.  Friendly, personable, gracious and knowledgeable.  He was generous in complimenting my wife on her cooking, and generous in sharing his knowledge of the game.

He was of interest to me because at that time, he was coaching the College of St. Francis, in Illinois, and the previous year, Portland State had played St. Francis and I deduced from the local papers that he was running an offense not unlike our Double Wing. (As it turned out, we was running something very close to what I call "slot" formation - a slotback and a flexed end on each side.)

All told, in 61 years of coaching in three different sports, he amassed 2402 wins.

He won four national titles in college baseball, and in 27 years as head coach at Joliet Catholic High School, he won five state championships.

Gordie Gillespie died on February 28 at the age of 88.  What a career.  What a coach.


*********** When I was a high school kid and being a smart ass, I was sitting in the back seat, passenger side, and I hollered something a little bit crude out the window of our car at a truck we were passing.  And then promptly put it out of my mind. Until several blocks later, when we were stopped at a light, and the driver of our car, looking in his rear view mirror, said, "Uh-oh, Hughie.  Here comes that truck driver."

As I was saying, "What truck dr---", he reached in the window, grabbed me by my shirt, pulled me halfway out the window, and popped me one in the nose.  Hard.

And then, saying, "That'll teach you to yell sh-- at me!" he turned and walked back to his truck and waited for the light to change. Mission accomplished.

My buddies, of course, were laughing their asses off, unconcerned about my pain or my embarrassment. You played, you paid.  Those were the rules.  Everybody knew them.

Nowadays, that truck driver would be facing charges.  And a lawsuit. But those were the fifties, and my biggest worry - once my nose stopped bleeding - was that my father would find out. Things would really go downhill for me if he did.  So I swore everyone to secrecy.  Having fathers themselves, they understood.

Those sure were different times. Say you were playing in the street, as we often did,  and you smarted off to a passing car, as we often did.  Nine times out of ten, the guy would stop - right in the middle of the street - and start chasing somebody. God help you if you were the one he chased, and he caught you.  No sense running home afterward and telling mommy, either. She'd only ask what you did to cause the guy to punch you, and remind you to watch your mouth.

Yes, those were different times, with a very different cast. Figure it out - by the mid-fifties, World War II was only ten years in the past. Just about every guy between the ages of 30 and 45 had been in the service, and a lot of them had seen serious action. After what they'd been through,  they weren't about to put up with any sh-- from some smart street punk.

Things don't work that way now.  Nobody bothers to make you pay.  And besides, you go on the Internet and write all manner of vile things about anybody you please, and you can always play it safe by hiding behind a screen name.

Unless, that is, you happen to write those vile things about Curt Schilling's college-bound daughter.  He's going to hunt you down and when he's found you, you're going to wish Al Gore had never invented the Internet.

And then, when that young lady's daddy is finished with you - that's what daddies used to be for - may that long-gone truck driver on that faraway Philadelphia street return to life and punch you  in the f--king nose.


*********** According to the official police report, a Jefferson Parish, Louisana (suburban New Orleans) kid, drunk out of his skull, refused to disperse when told to do so, started leading a group in chants of chanting F--k the Cops!," pushed an officer in the chest and said, "F--k you, Pig!" and then he got his smart ass whipped.

And now?

Why, he got him a lawyer!

Does that surprise anyone?

*********** Coach, is there any Double Wing option play you can suggest?


I don't advise getting too deeply into any option stuff because option football is a "time bandit" - it will demand practice time at the expense of the rest of your offense.

The old football wisdom is: "If you're going to run option - run option."

However, here's one fairly (I stress "fairly") simple option that I like because it employs  Double Wing principles.  It's a "double option" (keep or pitch) so there's no dealing with such a thing as a "mesh" with a dive back.  (That, in my opinion, would be getting you in way too deep.)

OPTION 88 DIAGRAMBlock it like Super Power (Super O, actually) - but make sure that no one touches the End Man on the LIne - the defensive end. That's the man you're going to option. Your backside guard should have been taught already that that DE is no business of his - that he has to help block that scraping inside backer.

The QB takes a big step straight back with either foot (to let the pulling guard past), then, shoulders still square,  "gathers his feet" and runs off-tackle, as if he were running Super Power.  Unless the DE pinches, the blocking is there and he should run there.

However, if the DE  sits in the hole, the QB will flatten and try to run across the End's face.  If he can, he is off to the races.  If he can't,  he pitches.

If the DE attacks the QB immediately, the QB has to be prepared for that, and must pitch immediately.

This takes practice reps.  You have to make sure that your QB sees in practice all  the things that an end can do to him.

It's the job of the motioning wing back to get - and stay - in pitch relationship. We want him about five yards wider than the QB and about 3 yards deeper.  He doesn't take his eyes off the ball, and he doesn't turn upfield unless the QB turns upfield or he's within five yards of the sideline.

A fairly constant pitch relationship is essential, and it takes a lot of work. Because the timing is different on every different type of option play, you want to limit your option attack.

I got this far without mentioning the most important point of all:  I'm assuming that you have a QB who can exercize good judgement and who can run.  If you don't, forget it.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 3,  2015-   "Nothing so needs reforming as other peoples' habits."  Mark Twain

***********  My son just celebrated his birthday, and I have to say I'm really proud of the type of person he's turned out to be.

For several years, before getting into radio and TV, he taught English at Bellarmine Prep, a private Catholic High School in Tacoma, Washington.

Not so long ago, the school publication, BELLARMINE TODAY, contained an article about Mike Bahn, since 2013 the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for  USSA, the National Governing Body for the US Olympic Ski and Snowboard Teams:

"Bahn remembers the passion that came from his Bellarmine teachers while he was here - from teachers like John Woltjer, Brother Paul Cawthorne, Ed Wyatt, and the late Cam Brown."


************ MInnie Minoso died Sunday at 89.  Or 90. No one knows.

He was a black man, born in Cuba, and while he was not baseball's first black player, or baseball's first Hispanic player, he WAS baseball's first black, Hispanic player.

His last name wasn't Minoso - it was Arrieta.  Minoso was the last name of a half-brother, for whom he was mistaken.  He was nicknamed "Minnie" because, well - for the same reason a guy named Smith is called "Smitty" or a guy named O'Brien is called "Obie."

He was a true all-around baseball player - he was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and he had a lifetime batting average of .298. He hit 186 home runs and had 1023 RBI.  He was a constant threat to steal, and he was willing to take one for the team - he led the league in hit-by-pitches 10 times.

Jonathan Eig, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who's now writing a biography of Muhammad Ali, wrote in the Journal about meeting with Minoso  nine years ago, and asking him what he would have done if he hadn't played baseball.

He said Mr. Minoso thought about it, and finally said, "I don't know. But I know one thing: I'd be a good gentleman."

*********** Although younger Americans, just like the rest of us,  generally want more and bigger things, there's one thing they appear to want less of.  Sports.

Take baseball. It used to be that a baseball game was a time away - a time devoid of the real world's cares, when a man and his son, or a couple of friends, or a salesman and a customer could relax and BS during the many breaks in play. But now, young people who "consume" (I swear, that's the word that sports marketers use) sports, want action.  Fast, concentrated action.  They don't want to sit an entire game just to see a couple of "highlights."  They want to be able to whip out their phone and see in an instant the bases-loaded, two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth homer that won the game for the Mudville Nine.  To hell with everything that went on up to then.

So our various sports, increasingly catering to the attention-span-deprived among us, are researching ways to shorten their games.

Tennis is experimenting with four-game sets. Cricket has had phenomenal success with something called 20-20, which enables a game to be played in a few hours, rather than - get this, Americans - several days. "Rugby Sevens"  - what you'll see in the Olympics - is a distillation of the real sport down to seven men on a side for two seven minute halves.

This whole idea of speeding things up catches baseball at a bad time, when not only are games taking longer to play, but for anyone who likes hitting, they're also becoming snoozers.  Two reasons are given for the latter.  One is that players no longer take "uppers," to get them through the long season, and stats bear out the fact that hitting is down in the late stages of the season.  Another is the pitching.  I just heard pitching guru Tom House say on "60 Minutes" that there are at present more pitchers in the Big Leagues capable of throwing 100 miles an hour than in all of baseball history up to now, and that stats bear that out, too.

What's baseball going to do about the latter two factors?  One suggestion is to go back to a 154-game season, but start and finish the season at the same times as now, so that there would be some open dates in the schedule. As for the pitchers? Who knows?  Reduce the number of pitchers of the roster?

Move the mound back? I realize that baseball prides itself on the fact that since its inception (whenever that was) very little has changed in the basic layout of the game, but maybe, with all those fastballs out there, it's time to realize that people are bigger and stronger and faster than they were in the 1800s.

But as to the time factor...

Shorten the games? Put pitchers on a "shot clock."  Basketball players can do it, and quarterbacks can get a play off in the time allotted.

I say tell batters that they're free to step back out of the box and adjust their cup as they wish, but once that pitcher steps on the rubber, he's free to throw at any time, whether the batter's in the box or not. 

Even more radical - when my son was young and learning the game, and later when I was teaching PE, I found that one thing that really sped things up was to have just three balls and two strikes.

Or, really radical - cut down on the seemingly interminable commercial breaks between innings. 

Except that's about money.  Never mind.


*********** KC Smith of Boston was kind enough to write me and point out a  typo in my latest NEWS.

I thanked him and made the changes and, jokingly, said, "I need to pay my proofreaders more. Where do I send your check?"

His reply:    "Friends of Harvard Football"

*********** At the wedding of NASCAR driver Brian Scott to Whitney Kay, Scott got down on one  knee and said to the bride's little daughter something that anyone who's been the daddy of a little girl will appreciate:

“I promise to always hold your hand and skip with you down the street and bring comfort to your life. I vow to make you say your prayers before you eat. I promise to read you stories at night, to always tuck you in real tight. I vow to show you how a man should treat a woman in my relationship with your mother. And above all else, I vow to protect you, care for you, and love you forever.”


*********** Hmmm.

"I'm not ashamed of any of my past incidents because that's what made me who I am today."   Dez Bryant

*********** One of the reasons why Americans really don't understand our enemy is that we don't understand what motivates it.

When we hear the tired old  "they want jobs" nonsense it indicates a total lack of understanding that ISIS members are driven by deeply-held religious beliefs, and that they're willing to kill - or die - for those beliefs.

What would modern-day Americans know about that?

To Americans, an increasingly irreligious people whose true faith is as likely to be environmentalism or hedonism, whose opinion makers routinely ridicule Christianity, the idea of deep devotion to one's religion is totally foreign to anything in their experience.

Whenever I go to a strange church, the first thing I do after sitting down is reach for a hymnal. I open it and look for "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" (Ye Soldiers of the Cross).

Good luck finding them in most hymnals.  At a time when our Judaeo-Christian culture is literally under attack, it's quite dismaying to see how many Christian churches have abjectly surrendered to the forces of political correctness, and purged from their "approved" hymns those beautiful old exhortations to stand up for one's faith.

There is a great story about Onward Christian Soldiers. Evidently, it was written by the Yale Divinity School's director of music, for the school's first-ever graduation.  But when he submitted it to the dean for his approval, the dean said he thought "with the cross of Jesus going on before" sounded "Roman Catholic,"  and out of place at a Protestant institution. The director left and came back a few days later with an alternative: "with the cross of Jesus left behind the door...," and asked the dean, "Which version do you prefer?" 

*********** National Review's Andrew Johnson wrote that at the recent CPAC (Conservative) Conference, -  Christie told the audience he’d planned to give up the New York Times for Lent . . . but his priest told him nothing doing - he had to give up something he’d actually miss.

***********  Bob Novogratz and Pete Dawkins are two former Army All-Americans, members of legendary coach Earl Blaik's last team, (and Army's last undefeated team).  Both went on to long and successful careers in the Army, and then to successful careers in business.

Both knew the late Father Theodore Hesburgh, of Notre Dame, who died Friday, and it was very kind of them to permit me to print their comments  on Father Hesburgh's passing.

It's important, I think, for me to be able to pass along to other coaches the words of men like Bob and Pete, who exemplify the ideal of the scholar-athlete and what college football should be about.

Bob wrote...

Big loss at South Bend.

I met Fr Hesburgh at Notre Dame Stadium a couple of times. He was very fond of Pete Dawkins.

He was getting weak at our last meeting and Father Joyce, the President, was taking care of him as if he was his personal valet.

An interesting thing about these two campus biggies was that they lived in the dormitories.

Quite a contrast to many college presidents making more than $500,000 per year.

Sad day for the irish.


To which Pete,  an All-American like Bob - and a Heisman Trophy winner and Rhodes Scholar to boot - replied...

It is,  indeed, a sad day, not just for Notre Dame, but for college football more broadly, as well.

I had the privilege of serving with Father Hesburgh on the NCAA Scholarship Committee for some 15 years years in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s.  He and I became good friends, and I grew to look forward to our periodic meetings.  He viewed college football as truly an Intercollegiate sport — that is, a sport played by bona fide college students.  He was a passionate believer in Notre Dame and in Notre Dame football.  And he fervently believed that it was possible to play competitive Division 1 football with teams made up of students who went to class, studied, and graduated.

When I had the great honor of speaking at the 200th West Point Founders Day, one of the themes I spoke about was “Winning”.  On that occasion, I recounted a conversation I had had with Father Hesburgh at the end of the 1998    Army -  Notre Dame game at South Bend — a conversation that displayed not only his competitive spirit, but his respect for Winning the right way .

A Giant who walked modestly among us is gone.  We will miss him.  But, fortunately, we will remember him, too.

Father Hesburgh was more than the president under whose leadership Notre Dame rose to an academic prominence that matched its football prowess.  He became a national figure, widely respected by all for his opinions on controversial issues.

In 1969, when college presidents right and left caved in to student protestors, many of whom wound up occupying the presidents' offices, Father Hesburgh informed Notre Dame students in no uncertain terms that anyone attempting to disrupt the operation of the university would be expelled.

In 1991, Father Hesburgh led a special commission that looked into  the excesses of big-time intercollegiate sports. When the commission issued its report, his statement  indicated more hope than optimism: “We would love to put the sleaziness of college athletics to rest with this report,” he said.

Not that Notre Dame neglected football during his tenure. The Irish won two national during that time, one of them under the direction of a Protestant coach, Ara Parseghian.

The story goes that at his interview, when Parseghian mentioned his faith, he noted Father Hesburgh taking notes, and heard him say, out loud, "P..."

"That's 'P-A-R.." Parsegian said, accustomed to having to help people  spell his name.

"No, no," said Father Hesburgh.  "I'm trying to spell 'Presbyterian.'"


*********** Hesburgh, Hessberg - quite a coincidence that on the day I was writing about Father Theodore Hesburgh's passing, I happened to  correspond with Bob Barton, a retired sports reporter for the New Haven Register,  and he  mentioned a gentleman named Al Hessberg, who'd been a member of the same 1937 Yale backfield in which Clint Frank so impressed the nation's sports writers that he won the Heisman Trophy.

A bit of research on Al Hessberg, who died in 1995, disclosed that he was the first Jewish member of Skull and Bones, the exclusive Secret Society to which countless illustrious Yalies have belonged. In 1938!

Among the member of "Bones" over the years...

Presidents (William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush)

Presidential candidates: Robert Taft, John F. Kerry (okay, okay - even "Bones" can make a mistake.)

Numerous Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, Ambassadors and other prominent government officials (including Gifford Pinchot, first head of the US Forest Service, and the namesake of a huge National Forest near where I live)

(One notable senator: Prescott Bush, from Connecticut, father of one president and grandfather of another.)

Judges, including Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

College Presidents, including David Boren, current president of the University of Oklahoma

Authors/Writers/Poets/Historians, including Archibald MacLeish, John Hersey, William F. Buckley, Jr. and David McCullough

Actor James Whitmore

Businessmen, including numerous Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, H. J. Heinz, II; Henry R. Luce, Founder of Time-Life; and  Fred Smith, founder of FedEx

Football Players:
Walter Camp - Father of American Football - responsible for rules innovations that turned rugby into  American football
Amos Alonzo Stagg - Coach of U of Chicago for 41 years, U of Pacific for 14 more - overall record of 314- 199-35; invented the batting cage; played in the first game of basketball every played
Frank Hinkey - Four-time All-American (1891-1894)
Ted Coy - Three-time All-American - lost only one game in three years
Larry Kelley - 1936 Heisman Trophy Winner
Clint Frank - 1937 Heisman Trophy winner
Mike Pyle - Captain of the 1963 NFL champion Chicago Bears
Brian Dowling - Quarterback - "B.D" in the original Doonesbury cartoon

And, in 1938, while Hitler was preparing to take over Europe,  Al Hessberg.  
At a time when the game of football is under attack on several fronts, I'd like to ask those who would end our sport - could that possibly have happened if it weren't for football?

***********  Next time somebody gives me some crap about my occasional suggestions that we eliminate or minimize the importance of the field goal ("then how come you it's called football?"),  I'm going to be ready for them.

There is a very strong argument that the  term "football" does  not at all mean "a sport played with the foot."

Instead, it's argued, the name refers to a sport played on foot, as Medieval peasants would have been inclined to do, rather than on horseback, like the nobles.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

*********** Earl Lloyd, who became the first black player to appear in an N.B.A. game, died Thursday. He was 86.

Although  was not the first black player chosen or signed, he was the first to play.

In the 1950 draft, the Celtics selected Chuck Cooper, from Duquesne, in the second round.  The Knicks then announced their intention to purchase the rights to Sweetwater Clifton  from the Harlem  Globetrotters.  And in the ninth round, The Washington Capitols picked Earl Lloyd.

It was October 31, 1950, when Lloyd made his NBA debut against the Rochester Royals in Rochester.

Cooper played his first game with the Celtics  the next night, and three days later, Clifton debuted with the  Knicks.

In 1955, with
the Syracuse Nationals,  Earl Lloyd and Jim Tucker became the first black players to play on  an NBA championship team.

In 1971, Lloyd was hired as head coach of the  the Detroit Pistons, becoming the fourth black head coach in NBA history (after Boston’s Bill Russell, Seattle’s Lenny Wilkens and Golden State’s Al Attles).

He told Ron Thomas, who wrote,  “They Cleared the Lane: The N.B.A.’s Black Pioneers,”“I just hope I conducted myself where I made it easier for others, and I think I did.”


flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 27,  2015-   "Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought." Lord Acton

*********** Think about this, coaches, when you're tempted to go out and hire an assistant you don't know a thing about...

Larry Baer is the President and CEO of the San Francisco Giants, and in a Wall Street Journal interview, he stressed the importance of hiring people of character for jobs in the Giants' organization.

He noted that a venture capitalist whom he knows (aside: a venture capitalist is a guy who can come up with the money to stake your venture when nobody else will even look at you. In return, he'll take a piece of the action. But he isn't going to risk a dime unless he likes your idea. And trusts you.) told him that when he invests in something or someone, "he would much rather put his money behind an A person values-wise with B talent than A talent and B values."

Baer suggested one very good way of finding out about the character of the person you hire:  about 70 per cent of the Giants' new hires have come through their internship program.

*********** Coach--

Saw your comment today about Chris Conley's ample athletic ability shown at the Combine.  I want to add--he may be one of the smartest out there as well.

While at Georgia, he wrote and directed a Star Wars fan film/parody titled "Retribution"

(on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsJU5Ebka44).

It is a little bit cheesy, but it's very polished, and I'm sure you can imagine the amount of leadership, creativity, organization, and hard work it would take to pull a project like this together. Note the cameos by Todd Gurley and Mark Richt, and Conley himself plays the bad guy.

Some city is going to be very happy with that draft pick--I'm a little sad that the Falcons have so many good receivers there's little chance that we'll pick him.
John  Mooney
School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Georgia


My wife and I just finished watching "Retribution."  

Absolutely outstanding.  Very well done.

Apart from his physical skills, Chris Conley is an amazing talent.

NFL or not, he has a real future.

Thanks so much for the info.  I can't wait to pass it on to my readers.

*********** Keith Olberman took a bold step toward cementing his spot atop the America's Most Hateful list, getting into a pissing contest on Twitter with some Penn State students, and winding up with a four-day suspension from ESPN.

The students had just spent the weekend in some sort of dance marathon which they call "Thon," whose purpose is raising money to fight pediatric cancer. This year's Thon raised $13 million.

Perhaps in celebration, a Penn State student tweeted Olberman, "We are!"  (To which the appropriate response, if you're a Penn Stater, is "PENN STATE!")

But Olberman, decidedly not a Penn Stater (I'm embarrassed to admit he's an Ivy League snot), tweeted back, "Pitiful."

That, naturally, prompted a reply, to which Olberman responded with the rottweiler aggressiveness that's made him such a dead weight in the ratings game wherever he's gone.

And things went on - and down - from there.

To any rottweilers offended by the comparison, I apologize.


*********** The Pawtucket (Rhode Island) Pawsox have been the Boston Red Sox' Triple-A affiliate forever, but now, it appears, the team may move to nearby Providence, a much larger city with plans to build a new ballpark downtown, on the riverfront.

The Pawtucket ballpark is old and said to be decrepit and not worth the expense of refurbishing it.

On the other hand, downtown Providence is a very attractive place, and a downtown, riverfront ballpark would be a very nice place to spend  a summer evening.  

The cost? Hang the cost.  It's Rhode Island.  There's always some way of finding the money.   Buddy Cianci can do  it.   (If you don't know, he's the colorful former mayor who, while he may have spent a little time in the slammer for alleged misdeeds while in office, nevertheless deserves credit for turning downtown Providence from dingy and depressed to attractive and vibrant. Who cares where the money came from?)

Parking?  We'll worry about that later.


*********** I can't completely verify this, but it seems plausible:

In the 1860s,  British school boys commonly gave nicknames to things, often adding “er” to the end of the nicknames.  Rugby was - still is, frequently -  called “Rugger”.  Association Football became known as “Assoccer”, and then, just  “Soccer."

Because most other English-speaking countries were already playing their own form of "football,"  when "Association Football" arrived, it arrived not as "football," but as "soccer."

*********** For those of you who played football - how many of you ever knew what your high school coach thought of you?  How about your college coach?

How about you?  What would your kids say about you?

Consider what former GE chairman and CEO Jack Welch told the Wall Street Journal's Alexandra Wolfe.

Jack Welch is a business legend, and at 79, he's still going strong as a speaker and, with his wife, an author.

"How many of you know today what your boss thinks of you?" he said he'll ask an audience.

"You get 5 to 10 per cent of the crowd," he answered.

Moral for the football coach: There are a lot of kids today who face a lot of negativity in their everyday lives. You have  chance to make football the one place where everything's positive. Never pass up a chance to give a kid a sincere compliment: "I'm really proud to be your coach."  "I'm really glad you turned out for football."  "You're really making progress." "I admire your leadership."

And if a kid asks you where he stands, be honest with him: "I'm concerned about whether we can count on you until you get your grades under control."  "Frankly, when we put you in there, you acted confused.  If you don't know what you're doing, that's not the time to be letting us know."

Hell, you know what to say.  If it's just mouthing my words, it's not sincere.

*afca tackling**********
After receiving an email from the AFCA that contained the photos at left, I thought, "Holy sh--!" and dashed off an e-mail of my own. To the AFCA:

I enjoy the AFCA publications, but I was greatly taken aback to read the heading of an AFCA Weekly article "STUDY: Educated Youth Football Coaches Can Cut Head Injuries"  and then, directly below, see a photo pertaining to another article depicting a tackler who has ducked his head in a way that exposes him to the possibility of serious neck or head injury.

This isn't consistent with the AFCA's position as the leading spokesman for what's best for our game.

As a long-time member of the AFCA, I know that no one in the organization condones such a technique, and it's never good for our sport to show such a dangerous technique without an appropriate comment.

I really urge you to have someone with a football coaching background take a long look at the photos you use.

Best Regards,

Hugh Wyatt
Camas, Washington

(Before printing  this, I thought I'd give the AFCA a chance to respond.  I have yet to hear from them. In fairness, they probably outsource the publication. )

*********** In the Tennessee girls' state basketball tournament, two high school teams engaged in a screw-up contest involving deliberate turnovers, blown free throws, and even a shot at the opponents' basket, in an attempt to  lose their game and avoid having to play the defending state champion.

Imagine -   telling kids to take a dive.  Teaching kids to duck out when things get tough.

If they weren't planning on going to the tournament to go all-out, they should have stepped aside and let somebody else go to the tournament.

I'm not going to take the time to research it, but I'm guessing that this may have come about because they were in some sort of double-elimination tournament format, which enabled them to lose and still remain in the tournament, postponing the  inevitable date with the powerhouse.

Otherwise, my question for those coaches would be: "why in the world did you take a playoff spot away from some other team that would have been excited about going to the tournament and would have given it their best shot, no matter who they had to play?"

Thanks to Brooks Rawson of Alamo, Tennessee...


***********  I read the headline: "Former Louisville guard Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy"

Ho-hum, I thought.  Some guy who played basketball for Louisville a couple of years ago is back on the streets where he came from, back to the life he led before spending a few years living on a college campus.

And then I read that the rape and sodomy he is accused of took place last Saturday night, shortly after the guy had helped Louisville beat Miami.

And then, the next day,  the university announced that he was no longer on the team. So technically, whatever happens from here on, he's a "former" member of the team. (Think maybe they were tipped off?)

And then, on Wednesday, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

So on Thursday, we read about the "former" Cardinal being charged with rape and sodomy, and to put a fine point on it, that was correct.

Except that when he (allegedly) committed the crimes, he was still a member of the team

Very  clever, Louisville.  Had me fooled for a minute.


*********** Donald Keough died Tuesday.  He was 88.  Mr. Keough joined Coca-Cola in 1964 and from 1981 to 1993 was its president and chief operating officer.

He was at the helm in 1985 when Coca-Cola launched "New Coke", only to drop the idea after a few weeks when loyal Coke drinkers raised hell.

Said Mr. Keough in admitting the company had erred, "Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake.  Some cynics will say that we planned the whole thing.  The truth is, we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart."

*********** It was bound to happen.  A mob of Kansas State students rushed the court after the Wildcats' upset of Kansas, and in the melee, a K-State student (allegedly) "body-checked" a KU player.

There's something going on with college kids, something that I suspect can be traced to their growing up in an environment in which "boys don't fight," under any circumstances, and as a result, they soon learn that they can say or do almost anything without consequences.

Oh, how I wish that KU Jayhawk, Jamari Traylor, had slugged the fan who felt empowered to bang into him.  Amazing what a guy 6-8, 220 pounds (I looked it up) can do with one punch.

Yes, there'd be a few people who would condemn Traylor, but maybe college administrators would begin to realize that they can't continue to condone - encourage, almost -  the sort of vile verbal abuse that their students routinely heap on opponents and not expect it to bubble over once a game's over.

I've commented before about the danger in idiotic, most likely drunk college kids storming a football field and getting in the faces of opposing players.

Extra security isn't an answer.  I suspect that any college worth its salt nowadays offers a major in how to file police brutality charges.

My suggestion?  Goal posts. Wooden goal posts. Balsa wood, actually. Lower them from the ceiling as soon as the visiting team's off the floor.


*********** We're going to have to learn a little more about the Baylor football player who once was homeless and then, after someone in his hometown gave him a place to stay,  has been ruled ineligible  for receiving "impermissible benefits."

This much we do know: 

The kid was ruled ineligible not by the NCAA, but by Baylor.

The kid at first said that he was provided housing by a "close family friend," but later admitted that it was merely "an acquaintance."

Baylor's compliance office had warned him about the danger of accepting the benefits.

Meantime, the NCAA, having been exposed for its kangaroo-court treatment of Penn State,  appears utterly impotent, unable to do anything about North Carolina, a university that for years maintained an entire department with sham classes so that "scholar-athletes" could pretend to go to college.

*********** The Obama administration has begun referring to illegal aliens as "Americans in waiting."

Rush Limbaugh suggests calling them what they really are: "Unregistered Democrats in waiting."

*********** I really object to the news media's use of "The White House" this and "The White House" that, as if it's some huge, faceless organization.  As if there's no President there.  Well...

The scary thing to someone of my generation is that when we were growing up, any news coming out of Russia (actually, the USSR), would always start, "The Kremlin said..."

*********** Over the years, Ole Miss has taken its share of lumps for the way it went about  desegregation, but some of them were undeserved, based on this little item I found in the New York Times' obit of famed Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught, in February, 2006 -

In the early fall of 1962, a mob of segregationists tried to block James Meredith from becoming the first black student at the university. The football team's nickname, the Rebels, embodied the Old South, but Vaught was enlisted by the Kennedy administration in a futile effort to avert bloodshed.

''I had a call from Washington to tell me Meredith was coming on campus that particular day, and they asked me if I would use my influence to quiet the group and keep them normal,'' Vaught recalled in a 2002 interview with The Oxford Eagle. ''I went over to the Student Union and got on the high steps and looked at the crowd that was there, and I didn't know anybody. They weren't dressed like they were students. They weren't our people. They were outsiders. They weren't going to listen to me, so I just moved on.''

***********“We need to understand what true compassion is to reach out to individuals who think that being dependent is reasonable as long as they feel safe.  It’s not compassion to pat them on the head and say, ‘There, there, I’m going to take care of all your needs, your health care, your food.' That’s the opposite of compassion. I’m not interested in getting rid of a safety net, I’m interested in getting rid of dependency." Dr.  Benjamin Carson

american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 24,  2015-   "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" Thomas Jefferson

*********** WISDOM OF THE ELDERS -

Although the reasons for a team's success or failure in any particular game may defy generalization, certain components will make or break it over the long pull.   These components are called by different names.  Let's call them the Five S's - Spirit. Speed, Skill, Size and Savvy.

Which "S" is the most important?  The least?  We believe that size, beyond a reasonable minimum, is the last in the list. Little men have been outstanding players - All-Americans.  They compensated for their lack of size with a bountiful supply of the other four S's.

Let's put it this way: Give us a boy with normal intelligence and coordination, who is big enough to keep from blowing away in a stiff breeze and who has speed and spirit - and we have the makings of a fine football player.

Dana X. Bible

Dana X. BibleDana X.  (or sometimes just  "D. X.") Bible was one of the greatest of all college coaches. He was a head coach for 34 years, the last 29 of them at Texas A & M, Nebraska and Texas, and present-day coaches at those places can thank him for the often-unreasonable demands supporters place on them, because he's the one who spoiled them. His teams won 14 conference championships, and he posted an overall win-loss mark of 209-74-19.

Born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Dana Bible was a three-sport athlete in college, first at Carson-Newman and then at North Carolina.

Right out of college, he took a job as head coach at Brandon Prep in Shelbyville, Tennessee. After a year, he moved to Mississippi College, then moved to Texas A & M to become freshman coach.  Following a year as head coach at what is now LSU, he was offered the job as head football coach and athletic director at Texas A & M. It was 1917 and he was 26 years old.

You might say Coach Bible got off to a good start at A & M - his 1917 team was undefeated and unscored-on. With the outbreak of World War I, he saw service overseas as a pilot, but he returned without missing a beat - his 1919 team was also unbeaten and unscored-on.

He was a master motivator. In 1922 at halftime against Texas, with the game tied, 7-7, he drew on a bit of Texas history to challenge his men: in an act reminiscent of the defense of the Alamo, when Colonel Travis drew a line in the sand with his sword, Coach Bible drew his foot across the floor of the Aggies' locker room and said, ""Those who want to go out and be known as members of an A & M team that defeated Texas in Austin - step over the line." There was a stampede to cross the line, and the Aggies went out and beat Texas, 14-7.

When he left after the 1928 season to take over at Nebraska, he could truly claim to have put A & M football on the map. His record at College Station was 72-19-9, with six Southwest Conference (SWC) titles. He had undefeated teams in 1917, 1919 and 1927.

If for nothing else, he will be forever remembered at A & M as the man credited with starting the tradition of the "Twelfth Man" - the notion that every Aggie - anywhere - stands ready and willing to go onto the field and jump in if needed. (It's why Aggies stand for the entire game - they never know when they might be needed.)

In his eight years at Nebraska, he was 50-15-7, and won six Big Six titles, but in 1936 he was lured away to Texas with what was then, in the middle of the Depression - an unbelievable contract - $15,000 a year for 20 years, the first 10 as head coach and AD, the final 10 as AD. (The President of the University was making just $7500 a year.)

University of Texas football was down when he arrived, but he came up with a plan - which came to be called the Bible Plan - designed to put it on solid footing. He knew well that there was a plentiful supply of high school talent in Texas, and he believed that the key to success at Texas lay in winning the recruiting battle in-state, so he divided the state into fifteen districts, and designated prominent Texas alumni to play major recruiting roles - including providing "jobs" - within those districts.

At first, wins came slow - he won only three games in his first two seasons. But then the Bible Plan began to bear fruit, and from 1940 through 1946 Texas went 53-13-3, winning three SWC titles.

He served as a member of the National Football Rules Committee for 19 years (1929-1947). He is a charter member of the National Football Hall of Fame, and in 1934 served as President of the American Football Coaches Association

When he retired following the 1946 season, he hired Blair Cherry, who by most peoples' standards did a great job,  going 10-1 in his first season and beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Cherry's overall record at UT was 32-10-1, and he never lost to A & M. In fact, he went 9-1 in his last season, and the Longhorns finished third in the nation. Unfortunately for Coach Cherry, that lone loss was to Oklahoma, which finished first in the nation. It was UT's third straight loss to OU.

Coach Bible had so elevated the expectations of UT supporters that a 32-10-1 overall record,  9-1 season and a third-place finish nationally wasn't enough to offset three straight losses to Oklahoma, and, under great pressure, Coach Cherry "retired."

And then Coach Bible went out and found UT another coach - a young Oklahoman who'd just finished his first year as head coach at the University of Washington. A youngster named Darrell K. Royal.

*********** It sure looks as if year-round football - well,  the 7-on-7 version, at least - has arrived in Southern California.

One more thing for high school coaches to worry about.  One more claim on their precious off-season time.  Face it - if they don't get out and devote the extra time to coaching their own kids, they run the risk of turning them over to the football version of the AAU basketball coach, who may or may not teach them correctly and, given the plague of athletes' transferring  that's infesting L.A. area schools,  may or may not suggest another school where their talents may be better showcased. If you know what I mean.


*********** A West Point sweater worn by Vince Lombardi when he coached at Army was bought for 58 cents at a Salvation Army store - then sold at auction for $43,000.


*********** NASCAR.  Daytona 500.  Big event. Opening race of the season.  Three abreast for at least seven rows.  Rush-hour  traffic at 195 mph.  No way to pass.  Great driving unquestionably, but when nobody can get out of the jam, is it really  racing?

I tried to watch. I haven't had good luck watching NASCAR in the past, but  I tried be open-minded.  I was actually primed and prepped to enjoy it, but in my semi-ignorant way, I'm still waiting for the race to start.

Look - seven rows of cars, bumper to bumper and three abreast - even at 200 mph - is great driving, but - did I say traffic jam? -  actually, as tightly packed as the cars were, it was more like a high-speed parking lot.  Either way, there was very little "racing" going on.

Not when when most of the field was stuck in that traffic, penned in with zero chance of passing.  It would be as if the NFL had 24 with  no chance of winning the Super Bowl.  Oh, wait...

It was tremendous driving, for sure, but what was the point, except maybe to see how long they could keep it up without an accident?
And then - oops - some damn fool wrecked.  And there went the "race."

Because  once the track was cleared,  the race was over in a lap or two.  As good as those drivers are, they could have finished in reverse.  (Which, come to think of it, might be something for them to consider.)

I gather, reading accounts of the race, that it was considered by insiders to be a hell of a race. 

Here's the problem: I'm not an insider.  I'm the little kid who watches the Emperor go by and wonders why he isn't wearing any clothes.  And I'll bet there are plenty of others  like me - fans of sports in general who're wiling to sit and watch and at least see what they've got, and then go away shaking our heads and wondering what just went on.

Many of us  will never come back.   Not me, yet.   Like a fool, I keep coming back, hoping that this time, it'll be great TV.

But face it, NASCAR - We've only got so much time, and there's way too many other sports fighting for our attention.

Grrr moment: with under five laps to go Fox went to "split screen" for a LONG commercial break - except that the screen was "split" about 3/4 commercial and 1/4 race. 

*********** There's a rumor afoot that the Big Ten, the Pac 12 and the Big 12 are discussing the possibility of freshman ineligibility - the way it was when I was in college, except that with this proposal, players (sorry - "student-athletes) would still have four years of eligibility remaining. Five-year scholarships, in other words.

Personally, I think that if colleges are at all serious about their academic mission, giving freshman a year to learn to act like actual students is a great idea. 

I don't think freshman ineligibility is likely to happen in basketball until the NBA changes its stance on signing players after just one year of college. College coaches certainly wouldn't recruit kids who would spend a year playing on their freshman team and then turn pro.

So most of what are now called "one and done" kids will instead go overseas and make a few bucks for a year and then enter the NFL.  That one isn't going to fly with the basketball guys.

Any return to the days of freshman ineligibility is unrealistic for basketball unless the NBA (and the NBA Players' Assn) first agree to something on the order of "three and free"  or "two-and-through."

It would be interesting to see how, given freshman ineligibility, how attending a JC would count against college eligibility.  I'm guessing that the first year at a JC would count as the "freshman year." Then, after two years at a JC, a player would transfer to a "four-year" college and still have three years of varsity eligibility left. This could be a bonanza for JCs and the colleges that feed off them.  

Although I favor the plan, for me it's a two-edged sword, because it would really hurt the service academies.

1. There's little likelihood of a cadet or midshipman staying around for a fifth year on the  taxpayer's dime  just to use up all four years of eligibility.

2. It's tough enough as it is persuading hotshot high school kids to spend a year at prep school, before actually enrolling at an academy.  How do they now tell him that he's going to have to spend a second year - one at the prep school and then another at the academy - before he can play a down of college football?

***********  Coach -  Just some information on McFarland to comment on something I saw you write.  I never ran the double-wing, but I respect the heck out of it and have read your news for several years.
I haven't seen it yet, but it definitely is "based on a true story" and changes some several key details.  I think this is mainly mitigated by the fact that the coach, Jim White, and members of that team are fully supportive of the film as is the town.  McFarland, even in the San Joaquin Valley where these small towns are all over the place, has almost always been considered primarily a migrant farm-worker town.  The migrants before WWII were primarily dust-bowl Okies and Texans, but the town's population demographics shifted to mirror each set of migrants who came to work.

The idea that Jim White came to coaching at that school as an outsider is pretty laughable.  Jim White was my Mom's sixth grade teacher in McFarland (HS class of '74) that makes him being new to McFarland in the mid-80s off by just a bit. I asked my mom about him and she told me he is extremely nice, was a great teacher, and very religious.

I will say that McFarland Cross County is exceptionally good for a small public school.  Due to CIF's policy of "competitive equity" (basically promotion/relegation), while almost all of McFarland's sports teams compete in Division VI (the lowest division), their boys cross country team competes in Division I with large (2500+) schools from significantly higher socioeconomic backgrounds.  Previous to this year (their first in Division I), they as a team had qualified to *every* state championship  the state has ever held.  This year, they did not.  Suffice to say that this policy has some feathers ruffled.


MIke Burchett
Learning Director
Woodlake High School
Woodlake, California

Hi Coach,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

I appreciate the insight.   I just watched a movie made in 1954 that claimed to be "A true story," despite numerous embellishments and acts of poetic license, so maybe we've made a little progress ovr the years with the addition of the phrase "based on."

So tiny McFarland builds a cross country powerhouse that earns it the right to keep moving up until finally going up against someone ten times their size.  "No good deed goes unpunished."

NIce to have you as a reader.

*********** Bill Parcells, who's either trying to push his book or can't stand being out of the limelight, or both, evidently is claiming that he was approached by Penn State to take their head coaching job tafter Joe Paterno was forced out.

Right. Just the guy.  Hasn't coached a college team since he went 3-8 at Air Force in 1978.

Okay. I might as well tell you.  They approached me, too.  It's all in my book...


*********** Army is rumored to be dropping the stupid "Black Knights" nickname and logo, and there's a rumor circulating among the faithful that that might mean a return to being the Cadets, and to a former logo they called the "Kicking Mule."

Army logosFor sure, the current logo of a rather swish-looking knight (don't you just adore the cape?), has been associated with a disastrous run on the football field.  Adopted in 2000 after three straight losing seasons, it's seen just one winning season (7-6 in 2010) and one win over Navy (in 2001, over an 0-10 Navy team).


One can only hope.  Writes one supporter...

I would love to see a return to "Cadets" but if we are to do this, then let us do it properly. No need to reinvent the wheel. Bring back the Kicking Mule in front of the "A" (maybe with a very minor touch-up to bring him into the 21st century) and very little more will need to be done.

And if we're truly set on returning to tradition, bring back the old uniforms or at least something resembling them. For the millionth time.

If we bury the "Black Knights" era this year, it will end up being remembered as the lost years of Army football - no cohesive or persistent on-field strategy, a coaching carousel that spun like a top, a rebranding that tried to give us a new identity for the new millennium but was met with a collective yawn, and, in its final years, a desperate attempt to forge a new look by paradoxically not having a look and doing a weak impression of Oregon.

Cadets. Kicking Mule. Black and Gold. End of story.

*********** A Portland woman learning to ride a motorcycle in a  parking lot died when she lost it and crashed into a parked car. She was 60 years old.  And she was learning on a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster. That's a lot of bike. It's like gong for a pony ride and finding out you're on a thoroughbred.

*********** Brooks Rawson writes from Alamo, Tennessee - "Following a showcase event in Boston for middle school football standouts, Rivals.com announced it will begin tracking two sixth-grade players, adding recruiting profiles to the website."

One is a 5-2, 105-pound middle school quarterback from Enfield, Connecticut

To me it's borderline child porn.  At the very least, it's one more example of adults exploiting and corrupting  kids' sports, coming the very week it was revealed that cheating by adults was behind the winning of last summer's Little League title.


*********** I watched a fair amount of the "Underwear Olympics" (The NFL Combine) and as always was impressed by the quality of the athletes on display, most of whom will never draw an NFL paycheck.

One guy that somebody has GOT to sign is Chris Conley, Georgia wide receiver.

He ran a 4.35 40, and had a 45" vertical jump and an 11-foot , 7-inch broad jump.  Oh - and he can catch, too.

*********** I think it was a new feature  for the Combine telecast - the "virtual" 40 yard dash races  created by  superimposing videos of two or three guys shot when they ran their individual 40s.

In one case, they created a match race between a couple of guys who ran their Combine 40s a couple of years apart -  between one of this year's better defensive linemen and current NFL star J. J. Watt.

*********** A big laugh for me came when the NFL Network's Mike Mayock on the Combine telecast, trying (unsuccessfully) to mimic a Pittsburgh accent. 

I think Mayock does a great job, but good luck trying to do any other accent when you're starting out with the sort of Philly accent he's got. (A Philly accent has been compared to Cockney.)

(For those of you who aren't similarly accent-hampered, a good start on Pittsburghese is Johnstown:  "Jawnstahn.")

american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 20,  2015-   "A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason."   J.P. Morgan, once the world's richest man

***********  "I'm asking people to stop their nonsense right now,' said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. "These are adults jumping out windows. It's a foolish thing to do, and you could kill yourself."

Boston, if you hadn't heard, has been buried by eight feet of snow this winter, and certain Bostonians (at risk of profiling, I am picturing young, male and perhaps at least a bit tipsy) have been jumping out of windows into high snowbanks.

"This isn't Loon Mountain," Walsh said.  "This is the city of Boston, where we're trying to remove snow off of the street and it becomes very dangerous. And the last thing we want to do is respond to an emergency call where somebody jumped out of the window because they thought it was a funny thing to do."

Charles Blockson*********** Stay with me on this.   It's worth it.

I was in high school when I saw Charlie Blockson play for Penn State.  He was fairly famous in the Philadelphia area because at nearby Norristown High School, he'd been an all-state football player, and between the shot put and the discus, he'd won five state titles. In his senior year, he won the National Indoor HIgh School shot put title in Madison Square Garden. 

He went on to Penn State, where  he played football as a fullback - and a teammate of future NFL stars as Lenny Moore and Roosevelt Grier - on some very good  Nittany Lion teams, and was an outstanding weight man on the track team.

But there was more to him than Charlie Blockson the athlete:

There was Charles Blockson the inquisitve student.

He recalled as a boy learning about African-American history from listening to his grandfather sing. "One Sunday afternoon, I asked him what he was singing about. He said he was singing about the Underground Railroad." Young Charles learned that his great grandfather had been a slave in Delaware and had escaped to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

"Our textbooks in those days said that all the slaves were happy on the plantations," Blockson wrote. "But I said to myself as I started to get into it, 'if the enslaved people were happy, why did they run away?'"  Thus began a lifelong interest in the Underground Railroad.

And there was Charles Blockson the collector. 

Inspired by a substitute teacher who told him there were no black people to study about  in history because "Negroes have no history - they were born to serve white people," he set out to learn more.

In his words,

When I was 15 years old, I travelled from Norristown to Philadelphia to browse in some bookstores.  At Leary’s Book Store at 9th and Market Streets, I found a thick, worn green cloth-covered book entitled The Underground Railroad by William Still published in 1872.  I paid five dollars for the book.  The book was much more than I had bargained for as I found two of my relatives who escaped on the Philadelphia’s Underground Railroad.  The discovery of William Still’s book began my interest in the history of the Underground Railroad which led me to write about it."

He reminisced about his Penn State days, and how "Lenny (Moore) and Rosie (Grier) would say, "Why are you always going to the book store?"

He began teaching, at Norristown High School, and continued to collect, in the process amassing an enormous collection of of books and other items pertaining to African-American history.

And he researched tirelessly.

Among the original manuscripts in the Blockson Collection are the letters of William Still.  whose 1872 book,  wrote Mr. Blockson, "was a major inspiration for my research and writing."

In 1984, he donated his collection  to the Temple University Library, and until 2006 served as curator of  the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection.

Today, Mr. Blockson is internationally known as the foremost expert on the Underground Railroad. He has written three books and lectured extensively on the subject.

Interestingly, he recalled that 20 or 30 years later, after he had attained some renown as a historian and lecturer, he encountered the teacher who had once told him, "Negroes have no history."

She apologized, and told him, "Charles, you have taught us all something about ourselves and our place in history."

Now here's what's especially cool, from the point of view of someone who follows football:

He went on,

During my research, I found a family connection between my family and the Still family.  Our family relationship extends almost 170 years.  I learned after contacting the National Archives for information on William N. Blockson,  the son of Leah Blockson, my great-grandmother.  William married Henrietta G. Still of Philadelphia on July 4, 1869 and she was the daughter of William Still’s brother .

In sum:

Charles Blockson's great-grandmother was named Leah Blockson.

Leah's son, William, married a woman named Henrietta Still.  Her uncle was William Still, the author of the 1872 book on the Underground Railroad.

That made Charles Blockson a part of the extensive Still family, which for over 140 years has held the Annual Still Day Family Reunion in Lawnside, New Jersey, once known as Snow HIll.

Among the many members of the Still family are former pro football players Art Still and Levon Kirkland, and current Cincinnati Bengals' defensive end Devon Still.

If you are a football fan, you undoubtedly know the story of Devon Still's 4-year-old daughter who's been fighting cancer.

The little girl's name is Leah.  I have a suspicion that Leah Still is named for Charles Blockson's great-grandmother Leah Blockson.

To get a better appreciation of Mr. Blockson and his place in the American tradition, I highly recommend this remarkable series of clips from an interview with him.


The Annual Still Day Family Reunion


Read more about Charles Blockson

Charles Blockson's Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award citation

Mr. Blockson's writings on the Still family

About William Still

The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection in the Temple University Library

************* I don;t know where they find these people, but  the administration manages to find one moronic  "spokesperson" after another willing to go out in public and make a fool of him (or her) self for the good of the cause.

One of these tools is a woman namd Marie Harf (rhymes with barf), who speaks for the State Department, and last week suggested that the way to deal with ISIS is not with bullets, but with... jobs.

"We're killing a lot of them, and we're going to keep killing more of them... But we cannot win this war by killing them," she said on MSNBC. "We need ... to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs..."

She went on "If we can help countries work at the root causes of this -- what makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47 instead of trying to start a business?"

Many, many years ago, that "root causes" crap was being tossed about as the real way to combat crime.   You know - if we could just get at the things that cause young men to commit crimes, we wouldn't have to spend all that money building prisons, blah, blah, blah.

Back in 1995, New York magazine ran this headline headline: “(Mayor) Giuliani and (Police Chief) Bratton think they’ve finally found the root cause of crime: Criminals.”

*********** Writes Ivan Maisel in espn.com

The NCAA Football Rules Committee recommended that the distance that offensive linemen may go downfield to block on a pass be trimmed from 3 yards to 1 yard, and every defensive coordinator in the Pac-12 yelled, “Halleluyah!” No teams have done a better job of turning that 3 yards into 5 or 7 than Oregon and Arizona. NCAA rules editor Rogers Redding said that officials had a tough time keeping an eye on where the linemen were while seeing when the quarterback released the ball. It will be interesting to see if this change impinges on the offenses, or merely makes it easier for the striped shirts to do their jobs.

The late Beano Cook used to say that every coach has a loss that will awaken him at 3 a.m. 20 years after retirement. Before Sunday night, Pete Carroll's 3 a.m. loss was in the Rose Bowl to Texas for the 2005 BCS Championship. The Trojans led Texas 38-33, had 4th-and-2 at the USC 45, and went for it. LenDale White gained 1 yard. Now LenDale White was a good back. He gained 1,302 yards that year. But he was not Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman winner, who rushed for 1,740 yards, wasn't on the field. Bush ran for a 26-yard score against Texas with 11:19 to play. He never carried the ball again.

*********** *********** A big scandal has been unearthed in Texas with a report  disclosing that the prestigious and highly-selective (I am not kidding, guys) University of Texas has been admitting under-qualified  applicants.  Well, duh.  They're called "football players."

Actually, they're children of the influential and well-connected, and despite substandard GPA's and SAT's, they've been admitted on the "recommendations" of members of the University's board of regents and powerful politicians.

So big deal.  If they find the work at Texas too hard, they can always transfer to North Carolina, famous for a major that doesn't even require going to classes.  Which means they could still live in Austin, enjoying the good life there.



*********** "McFarland" premieres tomorrow.  It appears that it's one of those "based on a true story" films, which means that something a bit like the true story may be shown the way it actually happened,  to characters resembling in some way the ones you see in the film.  I like fiction, and I non-fiction.  I understand the distinction, and I respect it, and it bothers the hell out of me the way Hollywood takes a "true story" then deletes, creates and embellishes at will, in pursuit of box-office earnings.

See, "Invinceable" wouldn't have been as great a story if we'd known that the real Vince Papale had actually played two years or pro football before being "discovered" by the Philadelphia Eagles, instead of being a down-on-his-luck bartender whose only prior exposure to the game before his Eagles' tryout was rough touch with his buddies.

And it wasn't enough for "The Elmira Express"  to tell the ennobling story of Ernie Davis, a young man of unlimited promise whose career - and life - were cut short by leukemia before he could ever play a down in the NFL.  Oh, no - the wizards of Hollywood had to portray his coach, Ben Schwartzwalder, by then long dead, as a classic racist.  Forget the fact that Schwartzwalder was way ahead of most other coaches of his time in recruiting black athletes.  That wouldn't have advanced the story line.

I might watch McFarland, though, just to see the way the town's portrayed.  I know McFarland.   More than a dozen years ago, I spent several days there, helping the then-head coach, James Beltran, install the Double-Wing.  McFarland, a farming town in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley about 25 miles north of Bakersfield, was almost totally Hispanic, so naturally the football players and coaches were, too.   But what struck me was that those were young American kids busting their asses, like American kids everywhere, to play an American game.  And out on that field, in McFarland, California, I could well have been coaching anywhere in the United States.  It felt so - American.  So unifying.

Having just seen the movie's trailers, I get the impression that this (white) coach winds up in McFarland, where the HIspanic kids have absolutely nothing going for them.  He persuades them to go out for cross-country (he's the coach) and through lots of hard work and motivational talking turns them into a powerhouse team which - you guessed it - goes out and kicks the asses of - privileged white kids. 

Unifying?  I have my doubts.

*********** A Pennsylvania high school basketball Coach, upset at learning at noon the day of a state playoff game that his team's 6-7 center was declared academically ineligible, decided to take action.

He went on Twitter and harshly criticized the athletic director, who I assume was the person who had made the hard call.

And then he announced that he would "take a stand" - and boycott the game.  In other words, not to coach the team he was paid to coach.

The game went on anyhow, and the team lost, 77-58.

There's more.  There always is.  The AD is the former basketball coach, who was relieved of his coaching position after 12 seasons, and is accused by the coach of attempting to undermine him.

Left unaddressed is my key question: where was the basketball coach when, with at most a dozen kids under his supervision, a player -  his best one at that - got to the point where he was academically ineligible?

Meantime, the coach now claims that he didn't resign.  Don't know WTF else you'd call it when a guy refuses to coach his team.


*********** Before you go betting the farm on the old US of A against the boys from ISIS  (or "ISIL" as our President insists on calling it), consider this:  Army recruiters say that seven out of ten young service candidates are unfit because of obesity, reliance of drugs prescribed for various disorders, and - tattoos.

Fortunately, all is not lost. The military is said to be reconsidering lifting its ban on transsexuals.
Myself, I'd just as soon have some tattoed dudes who can fight.  What the hell - once they're through basic, most of them will go out and get some body art anyhow.  (Ever seen how many tattoo parlors there are in a military town?)


*********** The Department of Justice has finally debunked the claim that one-in-five college women are victims of rape. It would have been nice if the White House and countless media outlets had never insisted on using the transparently bogus stat in the first place. It will be interesting to see who among the people who used that fake number now admit it was never true. The new number is about 1 in 52 college women have been victims of sexual assault. That’s still way too many if you ask me (and non-college women are more likely to be assaulted). But the campus rape-epidemic stuff was always a power grab.)      Jonah Goldberg


Jerome kersey***********  Jerome Kersey, a former Trail Blazer and a longtime favorite of Portland fans, died unexpectedly Wednesday.  He was 52.

In the photo, he's seen at Portland's Madison High School only the day before, appearing along with former Trail Blazers Terry Porter (on the left) and Brian Grant  (in the middle) to help observe Black History Month.
HIs death was attributed to a blood clot that originated in his leg and traveled to an artery in the lung.

Dr. Larry Lewman of the Oregon state medical examiner's office said Kersey's death could be a complication from surgery that Kersey had Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. But, said Lewman, the clots could have existed before the surgery, and  he is attempting to determine how long the clot might have been in his body.

"It's something we see in people who are sedentary,'' he said.

Jerome Kersey was extremely well-liked, a part of the "good" Trail Blazers (Drexler, Duckworth, Porter, Williams),  a team that made it to the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992 with good guys. 

Not long after, with those guys gone management tried to fool fans with an assortment of lowlifes that earned themselves the name Jail Blazers.  Oh, how they missed the likes of Clyde and Terry and Ducks and Buck and Jerome.

Current Trail Blazer Steve Blake, who's been  wearing Kersey's old number (25) said he was in a Bible study group when he heard of Kersey's death, and said that after lying awake all night and praying about it, he went to management and asked if they'd get the league's permission for him to change his number so no Trail Blazer would ever wear Jereome Kersey's 25 again.



*********** Coming soon, to a school near you....

For years, at Seattle's Franklin High School, graduation tradition has meant students marching in boy-girl
pairs, boys in black gowns,  girls in green, with boys then sitting on one side of the room and girls on the other.

Not no more, as my Grandma would say.

No, siree.  This is Seattle, and the school has a gay-straight alliance. And the gay-straight alliance raised objections.

Asked one (allegedly) female student, "How about if you don’t identify as a girl, (and) you want to wear black instead?”

Well.  What else could the school officials do, but give in?  From now on, everyone will wear black. Another tradition bites the dust.

I mean,  this whole idea of just two sexes, and staying with the one you're born with, is so twentieth century.


*********** Anyone in Boston remember this, from 2000?

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past


The Wisdom of the Elders...

Bob Reade won multiple Illinois state championships at  Geneseo High School, and then three straight NCAA Division III National Championships at Augustana College. Back in the 1980s, several of us Wing-T coaches in the Portland area pooled our resources and flew Coach Reade out to put on a clinic.  He was great. His Wing-T wasn't my wing-T, which was the Delaware version, but no matter - I got so much from listening to Coach Reade talk about offense, defense and football in general.  This,  clearly, was a man with ideas we could all use in our own programs.

Bob Reade on staffing: "I was always adamant that my high school assistant coaches be paid the same.  That let me organize my staff to best help our program without worrying that I was delaying someone's family an income.

Because the assistants knew they got equal pay, they always had great camaraderie. When all coaches are at the same salary, no one of them feels he's any more or less than any other member of the staff.

I have never believed in "I'm just the freshman coach," or "I'm just the assistant junior high coach."   There is no just anything.  If you're good and you contribute to the program, you shouldn't have to qualify your role. I think the coaches on my staffs have felt very much a part of whatever success we enjoyed because I gave them the opportunity to coach and didn't interfere.

american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 17,  2015-   "Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache." Mae West

*********** I spent three-and-a-half hours of my life Sunday night watching three-and-a-half hours of the four-hour 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live, and I finally gave up.
It was nice seeing so many of the actors again, and it was interesting seeing how some of the older ones have aged.  But I finally grew weary of waiting for the show to be funny.  There was introduction after introduction, and an occasional lame attempt at a redo of an old skit, but for the most part, there simply wasn't any there there. 

Yes, Paul McCartney is a legend  and all that, big enough to justify a special all his own, but how much did he do on SNL to warrant giving him all that time while 40 years' worth of the real stars of one of TV's greatest shows were shown in a series of rapid-fire montages that merely hinted at their amazing comedic talents?

*********** I have to admit that I watched a lot of the NBA's All-star extravaganza over the weekend.  I really enjoyed the three-point competition - Stephon Curry is really tough - and I got a big bang out of the slam-dunk contest, especially because it was won by the Timberwolves'  Zach Lavine, a kid off the mean streets of Bothell, Washington.  (Yeah, some mean streets - according to Zillow, the median home value in Bothell, a Seattle suburb,  is $417,000.  Real ghetto kid.)

The game itself wasn't really worth watching - it was 83-82 at the half and wound up something like 163-158, favor of the East.  (Or was it the West?  Does it matter?)

Perhaps it's because this year's festivities were held in New York, assuring the presence of a flock of celebrities, and perhaps because the NBA ties in the closest with the entertainment business, but it sure seems to me that of the four major sports, this is becoming by far the biggest and best all-star event.

*********** You probably already knew this, but just in case you didn't, the World Cup of Cricket is under way.  You can buy ESPN's package showing every game for just $99.95.

Kidding aside, Cricket, if you didn't know, is a passion in many large countries.

Sunday, in Adelaide, Australia,  India and Pakistan were scheduled to play.  Played far from both participating countries, the game was expected to draw 48,000 people, but the TV audience was expected to be more than a BILLION viewers.  To put that in perspective, the worldwide TV audience for the Super Bowl, including 115 million in the US, was estimated by Reuters at a paltry 160 million.

I heard a cricket expert trying to put the India-Pakistan rivalry in American terms - it was, he said, like the Yankees and Red Sox, except both sides had nuclear weapons and had fought four wars against each other.  Personally, I would have likened it to Alabama and Auburn, and offer thanks that the guy who poisoned the trees at Toomer's Corner couldn't get his hands on a nuclear bomb.

*********** I've been doing a little bit of research on the 1979 Pitt Panthers, and I came across a guy on the roster from Johnston, Pennsylvania named  Artrell Hawkins - which led me to his son, Artrell Hawkins, Jr., a former NFL player... which led me to the following article in which, in retirement,  he explains why so many NFL players are such jerks.


*********** A person wrote in to our local paper arguing for mandatory vaccination.

We're in agreement on that, because it's a public health issue -
if you want your kids to attend a public school,  you don't have the right  to decide to put other peoples' kids in danger.

But then the writer went on and blew it, as far as I'm concerned.

If we are going to to follow the argument of the opponents of mandatory vaccination, she wrote,  we might as well go ahead and abolish the child car seat and bicycle helmet laws, too.

Well, actually, I thought, I'm all for that.  Those laws came along after our kids were raised, thank God, but I know I'd have resisted the government's trying to tell me what size car seat I had to have before I could take a 40-pound kid someplace. 

But why stop there? As long as we're abolishing those nanny laws, let's do away with helmets for motorcyclists and  seat belts for adults.

*********** I read a story in our paper about a little kindergartner who got off a school bus at the wrong stop.  Before anyone blames the bus driver, whose job isn't tough enough as it is - 37 kids get off at that one bus stop every day.  You try keeping track of that.

*********** Charlie Weis told the South Bend Tribune it's "highly doubtful" that he'll ever coach again.

Now, Charlie - Yes, I know you've proven that you're not a college head coach, but since you definitely don't need the money, surely there's one high school or small college coach out there that you didn't manage to diss, back when you were a big shot, who'll let you volunteer.


*********** To make a short story of it, the Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, resigned recently because his "fiancee," one Cylvia (that's not a misprint) Hayes was busy enriching herself by taking money from green-energy companies in return for favors that she, as "First Lady," implied or assured that she could provide.

That's as brief as I can make it.

It goes deeper than that, though, back to when the Guv was first sworn in and announced that he and  Cylvia, who was then merely his girlfriend, would move in to the Governor's Mansion together, and she would be the First Lady.  Believe it or not, there were still some old fuddy-duddies in Oregon who thought the shackup arrangement was a bit unseemly, and furthermore, the First Lady is a wife.

But come on, guys.  This is the Twenty-first Century. And Governor Kitzhaber, who wears jeans and boots everywhere, is so cool.

Then stories began to pop up about how Cylvia was working both sides of the street as owner of a green energy consulting firm with unusual access to the governor.  Many people who'd come by their government positions honestly found themselves having to answer to the First  Concubine.

This past fall, the Guv was confronted with the news that some time ago, when Cylvia was in college, she'd found a novel way to pay for her tuition. She'd enter into an arranged  marriage with a 20-year-old Ethiopian (she was 30) under the terms of which she'd get paid a sum - and he'd get American citizenship.

Just to give you some idea of the kind of dog the governor was lieing down with. (Hey - where'd all those fleas come from?)

Still, blinded by love, he ignored all the goings-on.

And now, the Guv is out of a job, and since Oregon has no Lieutenant Governor, the next one up is the Secretary of State, one Kate Brown.

He/she is a bisexual, which - we're told as if it's a matter of great pride - makes him/her the first such governor in America.

Since Brown is  (currently) married to a man (at least I think that's what he is - he goes by the name "Dan Little") I'm going to refer to "her" with the female pronoun.

The good news for Cylvia  is that with a bisexual governor living in the Governor's Mansion, she might be able to arrange a way stay on and serve as First Lady when needed.

***********  Back in August (August 25, 2014 issue) Sports Illustrated ran an interesting article on a former NFL player named Alex Bernstein.

A graduate of Massachusetts' prestigious Amherst College, Bernstein spent  three seasons in the NFL with the Ravens, Jets and Browns until his career was ended by a neck injury.

That was 2000. In 201,  North Social, a software company he had founded, was acquired for $25 million.

He was wealthy.  But it wasn't easy.

He started out with an entry-level job in the tech industry, and said that he applied the same effort and work ethic that had kept him on rosters in the NFL - rising early, working hard and reading everything he could get his hands on.

"Instead of preparing for a game," he said,  "I devoured every book I could find on business."

And that, he said, is the problem with a lot of former players.

Some of his former teammates avoided entry-level jobs that they considered beneath them.

"I knew guys who after they were out of the NFL for two or three years were still hanging around old teammates, still talking about getting back into the league," he said. "Their wives would approach my wife because they knew she was a therapist and ask, "How do I get him to move on?"

An observation of his worth noting by any coach who's ever had to ask a kid to switch positions, from the one he always dreamed of playing to the one the team needs him to play:

"I had tons of terrible jobs. But I learned what I was good at and what I liked to do, and that often what you are good at and what you like are two different things."


*********** In the movie "Diner," set in Baltimore in the 1960s, Baltimore native Barry Levinson illustrates how much Baltimoreans loved their Colts in a scene in which a guy makes his fiancee prove her worthiness to marry him by answering a series of Colts-based trivia questions. 

One question had to do with the teams that Colts' running back Buddy Young had played for that no longer existed. The answer (then) was three: the New York Yankees of the AAFC, The New York Yankees of the NFL, and the Dallas Texans of the NFL.  The Texans existed for one season; they were taken over by the league and kept on life support until a wealthy businessman, Carroll Rosenbloom, acquired the franchise and brought them to Baltimore as the Colts.

Since the movie was made, though, the Baltimore Colts are no more,  having been moved to Indianapolis in the dark of night by a drunken lout named Bob Irsay.

Buddy Young's total is now four.

*********** My next concern, wrote John Bothe, of Oregon, Illinois...
The post-game behavior that college and pro football exhibited in bowl games and NFL playoffs (and some coaches).  I do not remember a post-season that had so many brawls, ejections, and incident as this year had.  Ridiculous.
The NBA is looking better all the time…

The NBA really has cleaned up its act.

I'm bothered that football increasingly is being portrayed, and seen by more and more people, as a lower-class sport.  Like it or not, in my opinion it's a big reason why many people are steering their sons to other sports  - under the cover of
the much-overblown spectre of concussions.

*********** "Run to Daylight," Vince Lombardi's story as told to W. C. Heinz, is one of the great football books. 

The "As told to" doesn't do justice to Mr. Heinz' role, because, alongside the great Red Smith, he was considered one of the great sports writers of his time, and it's not likely that Coach Lombardi struck a single key on a typewriter to assist in the writing.

I found two paragraphs from a recent Wall Street Journal about W. C. Heinz (he died in 2008 at the age of 93) especially interesting:

In 1962, Heinz’s friend and fellow sportswriter Red Smith put him together with Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi to write a book. In Wisconsin, Heinz learned that the coach had little descriptive recall of his life outside the gridiron, but his wife did, and Heinz slyly developed a method of gleaning Lombardi ’s memories from Marie Lombardi and then presenting them for his reaction, “Yeah, that’s right!” Soon they were filling up Heinz’s notebooks with what became the 1963 football classic, “Run to Daylight!”

A doctor he had interviewed for his 1963 novel “The Surgeon” introduced Heinz to Dr. H. Richard Hornberger, who was looking for help shaping his salty novel based on his surgical experiences in the Korean War. The two collaborated enough to share a byline as “ Richard Hooker ” for the novel “MASH” (1968), a best seller and the basis for the movie and television show that followed.


*********** My son Ed, admittedly a Ducks' fan, wrote regarding the Oregon Ducks' signing of Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams. Adams has a year of eligibility remaining and, because he has graduated from EWU, he's cleared to play at Oregon immediately,

Interesting how this NCAA graduation rule is allowing colleges to "recruit" players. I never really liked the rule anyway but this is starting to get absurd. However...for FCS coaches to make a big deal of it smacks of hypocrisy to me, since many of those schools benefit big time from FBS transfers who don't have to sit out a year. Another however...I agree wholeheartedly with the EWU coach that Adams can't work out with his team.

Theoretically, FBS schools can't "recruit" such a guy until he gets his release,  and evidently some people at EWU claim Oregon didn't wait.

You're right about the hypocrisy.  Many FCS schools make no secret of the fact that they tell kids being recruited by FBS schools, "If it doesn't work out, give us a call."

And before Eastern complains too loudly... not that long ago, the EWU coach was mentioned as a candidate for the Oregon State job.  Think he wouldn't have taken it if offered?


*********** Think that all those rules they've passed to protect quarterbacks (and receivers) as well as allowing linemen to hold haven't changed the pro game?

Consider the things that happened in the NFL in 2014 related to the passing game...

*** a record number of touchdown passes thrown (804)

*** a record percentage of passes completed (62.6 percent)

... a record nine quarterbacks threw at least 30 touchdowns. The previous high was five,  in 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. 

... The four quarterbacks in the NFL's conference championship games - Tom Brady,  Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson  - were responsible for at least 72 percent of their teams’ offensive output.

... 16 quarterbacks played in every one of their team's games. Back in 1992, when Brett Favre began his streak of 321 consecutive starts, Steve Mariucci, Favre’s position coach,  began keeping track of how many other quarterbacks would play every game that season.  In 1992, there were eight, and in 1993 and 1994, there were seven.

... Teams threw the ball 60 per cent of the time.  Why not? Forget that old saw that when you throw the ball, three things can happen, and two of them are bad.  Not any more.  Not in today's NFL.   In addition to that 62.6 per cent chance of a completion, there's also the possibility of a defensive holding, illegal contact, pass interference or  helmet-to-helmet penalty.


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 13,  2015-   "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."  William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** Thanks for posting the article from Dr. Ed Riley in your Tuesday News.  It is spreading rapidly among coaches in Illinois, I believe that every head coach in the state will be sent a copy of it by the association.
It is great from the injury standpoint but also the overall value of high school football.  Very well written.
John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois


We need more people like Dr. Riley to speak up and speak out.

Based on his statement about the research -  "Most of the cases considered focus on former NFL players involved in a lot of high-risk behavior other than football" -  the NFL might have helped our cause by fighting the players' suit,  but they chose instead to settle.

Also to continue to promote and celebrate a form of our game that puts on display some of the basest aspects of our culture.

*********** At the Army football program's  postseason banquet...

Larry Dixon, a senior running back from Bremerton, Washington, was selected as the Thruston Hughes Memorial Award winner. It was established in 1939 to honor the team MVP and will be presented officially during the Awards Convocation prior to graduation.

Joe Drummond, a senior defensive lineman from Pittsford, New York, wore the Black Lion patch during the Army-Navy Game presented by USAA in December. The Black Lion is presented to the football player who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder, an All-America offensive and defensive end for Army who was killed in action in Vietnam. Holleder’s daughter, Katie Fellows, presented the award.

Joe Drummond also was honored with the William C. Whitehead Jr. Memorial Award as the graduating senior with the highest grade point average. He also took home the Lt. Gen. Garrison Davidson Award for having the highest military grade and earning distinction in the areas of honor, country, sportsmanship and leadership. He also collected the Army Football Lifter of the Year for his commitment to his personal development on and off the field.

Larry Dixon and classmate Geoffery Bacon shared the Creighton W. Abrams Memorial Award as team captains.

*********** Oregon is bracing itself for legal pot. Pot, for "recreational" use, is now legal in Oregon.  But that doesn't mean it's welcome everywhere in the state.  Not in cowboy country, that's for sure.  Out there, in the wide open spaces east of Portland, it's generally seen as something associated with misfits and Portland hipsters.

It's certainly not welcome in Pendleton.  Pendleton's the home of the annual Pendleton Roundup, a BIG stop on the pro rodeo circuit with assorted side events.  One of the high spots - or low, if your prefer - is the Let 'er Buck Room, a rough-and-ready joint underneath the grandstands of the rodeo grounds.

What follows is a brief description of the goings-on inside, written a few years ago by a big-city writer from Seattle...  A female...  A very brave female...

After the last event of the day, Robert and I head for the Let 'Er Buck room, the fabled saloon that sits beneath the bleachers and serves only hard alcohol, with your choice of mixer being Pepsi or nothing. Within moments of joining the crushing throng that crowds into the bar after the rodeo, Robert and I are separated. Figuring I can get along well enough on my own, I decide to look around. Big mistake. Maybe a nun could run the gauntlet from the entrance to the back bar without her crotch being grabbed, her ass poked, or her boobs prodded.  Maybe.

If there was ever a joint that should hang a sign announcing, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here," this is it. The atmosphere of the Let 'Er Buck Room is a cross between a cattle auction and a potential orgy. It is a contest to see who can get drunk the quickest, cop the most feels, and get set up with a sure lay by evening's end. A gathering place for spectators and participants alike, here you find the cowboy groupies (or "buckle babes") offering "butt judging contests," and guys coming up with such memorable bon mots as "Hey, girl! Give me a squeeze out of one of them jugs!" Any illusion I harbored that a cowboy was a true gentleman was quickly shattered as I fended off groping hands. Troy, a Pendleton local who buys a $12 rodeo ticket just to gain entrance to this buckboard bacchanalia, sighs, "Sh--. This ain't nothing like it used to be. A few years ago you'da got the Wrangler patch bit off your ass."


Now, that story is a few years old, and it wouldn't surprise me if nowadays they're serving drinks with parasols in them.  Well, actually , it would, because the Roundup's huge crowds come from all over the West - not to mention Canada - and for some of them, watching rodeo isn't the only reason they come.

But Roundup time or not, pot isn't welcome in Pendleton. Unlike big-city Oregon, Pendleton police enforce drug laws aggressively.  As Parley Pearce, owner of Hamley & Co., a Western store noted for its saddles, told the Portland Oregonian,  "It's not so much that I oppose personal choice.  It's just that I know that people who make good personal choices end up paying for those who make bad choices."

*********** The Washington Post devoted a story supposedly investigating the fact that Scott Walker dropped out of college in the middle of his senior year.

To say the least, it stirred up the readers.    The last time I checked there were well over 5,000 comments, and 24 hours after the story was published they were still coming in faster than I could read them.

About a third of them named highly successful people from George Washington to Henry Ford to Bill Gates who never finished college. 

Another third questioned when they could expect to read a similar story on the as yet unreported college record of Our Current President.

A tiny sampling...
*** Absolutely astounding. The WaPo investigates a conservative's college records and yet we have yet to see the socialist president's transcripts, even after 6 years!

*** And where does this story begin ? Is it against the law to drop out of college ? I see some progressive fear between the lines. If this is suppose to be some deal breaker, well good luck with that. In the meantime since you find the college years of a potential candidate interesting, how about finding Obamas transcripts from Occidental, Columbia and Harvard. We have never been able to witness how smart he was.
*** If Obama had only been vetted half as hard as conservative candidates, maybe we would have known we were putting a community organizing, racist, Muslim sympathizer into office.

*** Bill Clinton is humping underage hookers at private orgies on a secret island with a pedophile... but the media isn't interested in that.

*** Let's see. Walker left college to work in the real world.  Obama snorted coke in college, kept going to school as long as he could, and then hid out from the real world as a law prof.. lol

*** Did he own any dogs?  
Did he have any black friends?  
Was he kind to his mother?
Does he now or did he ever use "Just for Men"?

*** WaPo is afraid of a match up between a young guy with a track record of keeping his campaign promises and getting things done for the taxpayer and a old, dishonest failure of a white lady Hillary Clinton.  If this is the worst they can turn up on Walker, Hillary shouldn't come out of rehab.

*** Thank you for this hard hitting article about Barack Obama's mysterious transfer from Occidental to Columbia and how he was given a waiver from the Classics core all Columbia students were required to complete as freshmen and juniors because he enrolled as a foreign exchange student from Indonesia with the help of an Arab businessman....oh wait, that article will never appear in the WaPo.

*** How does this compare with multiple allegations of being a rapist? If a serial sexual harasser, possible rapist, can become president, I am thinking that Walker will be okay.

*** WPO your bias is showing- again! Your article on Walker is silly. The Democratic Party spent millions trying to smear Walker and he beat them and their ridiculous candidates bloody in a deep blue state. You would have more credibility if you showed the tiniest interest in Obama's college and law school back ground including but not limited to : where are his transcripts, who paid for his college and law school education, has he ever published an article for Harvard Law Review? Why did his publicist claim he was born in Kenya? Did he apply at Columbia as a foreign exchange student? Come on WPO answer the questions and maybe we can take your interest in Walker as something more than partisan sniping.

*** Geez Louise, that's more words reported here in one article than all the words reported on Obama's college days in the last 8 years.. At least they remember him and acknowledge seeing him in class. I don't remember many stories here featuring Barry's classmates.

*** Walker, when he was 15 years old, threw to second base instead of first, in an attempt to get the lead runner. There were two outs.
Shouldn't he have thrown to first? Why didn't he?


*********** Jerry Tarkanian's gone now, but the truth is I've missed him for quite some time.  There's something about the American character that makes us like certain outlaw types, and Tark the Shark epitomized the sports version of  the lovable rogue.

Interesting that Tark, who tended to be sarcastic rather than jovial, and tended to put some rather unlovable characters out on the court, is remembered fondly, in a way that Bill Belichick never will be.


*********** Ed Sabol, founder of NFL: Films, died Monday.  Mr. Sabol was 98. He started out with a motion picture camera gin him as a present, filming his son, Steve's games at the Haverford School, outside Philadelphia.  If you can call this a connection, The Haverford School was in our league.  I was four or five years ahead of Steve, though, so it's highly doubtful that any action footage of me made it into the family archives.


Several years ago, my son and I were given a tour of the NFL Films headquarters in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, a Philadelphia suburb.  It was an eye-opener.  Believe me, nothing you can see or do - nothing you can see on TV or at an NFL game - will give you a better idea of the enormous scale and scope of the NFL than a look inside NFL Films.  Without NFL Films and the job it did conveying the image of The League to the American public, it's doubtful that the NFL could  have grown to the point where now more than 100 million people will watch a Super Bowl.

nfl films sign nfl films studio nfl films board games
The Face of the NFL is  hidden away, off the beaten path
The control panel, where  on a football  Sunday every NFL game is monitored (and recorded)
The halls of the building contain so much football memorabilia that the place is like a museum; on display  in this room, from the days before Madden,  is just about every football board game ever invented

************ I doubt that I'll be going to see a new British movie called "Kingman: The Secret Service," but I read a preview with some interest.

Jan Yamato in The Daily Beast describes one of the characters, a "supervillain" named Valentine:

Valentine is a disillusioned eco-philanthropist with a drastic plan to solve overpopulation: First, give free cellphones to the masses. Next, trigger a homicide-inducing subliminal frequency from the safety of a mountaintop bunker and sit back and watch as the population exterminates itself.

I think Valentine may be onto something.

Resisting the temptation to make some tasteless crack about Obamaphone-aided genocide,  I'd love to ask this Valentine  guy if there's some way his device can be made a bit more specific.  What I have in mind is being able to zap the a**hole who holds a full-volume conversation in a public place; or the one who crosses the street, phone to ear,  totally oblivious to oncoming traffic, which he expects to come to a halt for him;  or  the guy in the lane ahead of you who speeds up and slows down aimlessly because he's on the phone.  (In the latter case, we'd probably have to figure out a way to delay the effect until the guy's off the highway.)

Earthquake Enyart*********** He was a great linebacker and such a horse of a fullback in Dee Andros' feared Power T attack that his teammates called him "Buff," for Buffalo.  But to football fans all over the country, he was known by the name given him by his school's sports information director: "Earthquake."

Bill "Earthquake" Enyart was such a stud that his quarterback, Steve Preece, recalling the days before coaches sent in the plays, said, "He ws the greatest default for a quarterback calling plays you'd ever seen, because if you couldn't think of anything else to do, you'd just hand it to him and he was always good for five yards."

In one of the greatest wins in Oregon State history, when the "Giant Killers" upset Number One USC (featuring a running back named O.J. Simpson), Bill Enyart rushed for 135 yards as OSU beat the Trojans, 3-0.

He was a first-team All-American in 1968, when he carried 293 times for 1304 yards.  Those 293 carries, in the Beavers' 10-game schedule, worked out to 29 carries a game.  In 24-21 win over Utah, he carried 50 times (still a school record) for 299 yards (also still a school record). The Beavers finished 1968  7-3, losing to Iowa and Kentucky by one point each and to USC by four points.

Bill Enyart was drafted in the second round of the 1969 draft by the Buffalo Bills,  and played two season with Buffalo and one with Oakland, but he was slowed by injuries most of the way and retired after three seasons.

Coach Andros, a World War II Marine who played college football for Bud Wlkinson at Oklahoma, ran a hard-nosed offense perfectly suited for the kind of kids that came out of Oregon's logging and mill towns and its farm and cow country, and Bill Enyart  was the cover boy of his book on the Power T.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Bill "Earthquake" Enyart died Tuesday.  He was 67.

*********** Listen to Harvard Law Professor Jeannie Suk, describing the precious flowers now taking up valuable space in our academic institutions (bear in mind that many of these same easily-traumatized students will argue passionately that women are capable of serving in combat):

Students seem more anxious about classroom discussion, and about approaching the law of sexual violence in particular, than they have ever been in my eight years as a law professor. Student organizations representing women's interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class discussions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic.  These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape law unit might "trigger" traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word "violate" in class - as in "Does this conduct violate the law?" - because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.

First printed in newyorker.com on December 15, reprinted in the Wall Street Journal, December 24

*************** Bryn Mawr College, a prominent all-female college outside Philadelphia, is really in a quandary. It was decided that it will admit biological males so long as they "identify" as females.  But at the same time, it will not admit biological females who identify as males. 

Sure wish they'd make up their minds.  We're running out of pronouns.


Xavier with shield************  It was almost 13 years ago, at my clinic in Baltimore, that I asked  Xavier Underwood if he'd demonstrate a youth blocking shield I was selling at the time. Xavier, son of coach Dwayne Pierce and his wife, Dr. Darlene Underwood, of Washington, DC was happy to oblige.

Over the years, my wife and I have become friends  with Dwayne and Darlene and their kids, and we always look forward to seeing them at my Durham clinic. Darlene has roots in that area - she's a Wake Forest grad - and for years they've made it a point to arrange a trip to North Carolina to coincide with my clinic -  followed always by a get-together at my daughter's and son-in-law's place.

In the meantime, Xavier, their oldest,  has grown into an impressive young man, currently hard at work helping lay the groundwork for the anticipated presidential campaign of Dr. Ben Carson.  Recently, through the good offices of conservative radio talk show host Armstrong Williams, Xavier (on the left in the photo below) and Charlton Woodyard II of the Washington Times had the honor of a private meeting with Justice Clarence Thomas in his chambers.

Justice Thomas

*********** The Wisdom of the Elders...  Bobby Dodd on defensive penetration

Penetration cuts down on pursuit: Every step of penetration cuts down two steps of pursuit. It is basically more logical to play at the line of scrimmage, and to penetrate just enough to give you a change of pace. You will have to come in with penetration where the down and distance require it.

If you are to carry through with the axiom of pursuit, you must keep penetration to a minimum. You do not want to play for the "fourth and ten" - you are playing for the fourth with two or three yards to go for a first down.

A team that tries to stop the offense for no gain each time is leaving themselves open for the long gain.

Coach Dodd enjoyed a fabulous career at Georgia Tech.  The quote is from his book,
"Bobby Dodd on Football "

american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 10,  2015-   "Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity."  Lord Acton

*********** Dad,

As you know, I've never been a big Terrell Owens fan. Despite his undeniable talent, he seemed like a me-first guy who was more than happy to throw his teammates under the bus. But my perception changed after seeing him here in Melbourne and talking with him on our radio show.

TO was brought over (for a fee) by Corey McKernan, an ex-Australian Rules Football star who now owns a company that takes Australian sports fans to big American sporting events like the Masters and the Super Bowl. TO came over for the Australian football Grand Final (championship) in October and came back for Corey's massive Super Bowl party.

I didn't meet TO, but did interview him on radio for 10-15 minutes; he was engaging, honest, articulate and most interesting of all, expressed some regret for his past actions. Over the course of three days here leading up to the Super Bowl, TO did plenty of TV and radio, met a number of Aussie Rules players and even participated in a charity touch football game, which as you might expect, he dominated.

As I said, I didn't meet him, but everyone I talked to said he was a pleasure to be around, and displayed none of that arrogant behavior that we saw during his time in the NFL. And by the way, he is in great shape and still looks like he could play.

Love, Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia

*********** Dean Smith was the sort of person whose death brings different memories to different people.

For our family, the memories take us back to the 1970s.

Those were different times - three TV stations in every town, plus, in larger cities, maybe an independent station or two.  In the latter case, they were often "UHF" channels, unavailable unless you had a special UHF antenna and tuner.  There were a few cable systems, but they were known then as CATV (for Community Antenna TV) systems, and they existed only to provide reception in remote, mountainous places like Cumberland, Maryland and Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where you couldn't pull in over-the-air signals with conventional rooftop antennas.

That was by way of explaining that there was no ESPN, not to mention any Big Ten Network.

Unlike nowadays, when the list of college football games on TV takes up a quarter of a page in Saturday morning's sports section, there was one - ONE - college football Game of the Week.

And unlike today's college basketball, which offers a minimum of a half-dozen games on TV every week night, there was one game on Saturday.

But for those of us who lived in ACC Country, there was one more.  During the week.  The ACC Game of the Week.

We were fortunate enough to live in ACC Country - Hagerstown, Maryland - and the ACC Game of the Week was a major family event. 

To me, allowing for the possibility that all the fond memories attached to it may be a factor, there will never be any college basketball better than the ACC basketball in those days.

The ACC was good long before then, but the weekly TV show really helped to develop the mystique that to some extent still surrounds it.  And nothing was more representative of that mystique than the North Carolina Tar Heels, and the exciting brand of basketball they played.

Year after year, they put great basketball players on the floor.  They epitomized team play.  They could run, and they could slow it down.  Oh, could they slow it down. 

In those days, the Boston Celtics dominated the NBA, and once they had a game under control, their coach, Red Auerbach, would light up a cigar.  On the bench.  (Nowadays he'd get thrown out of the arena.)

Similarly, for those watching a North Carolina game, the signal to one and all that the game was as good as in the bag for the Tar Heels was when they went into their four-corner offense.  That, as much as anything, was Dean Smith's trademark.

I've read a few tributes to Coach Smith in which the four corners was mentioned in less than complimentary terms, dismissed as just a stall, and if all you've ever known has been basketball-with-a-shot-clock you mightn't appreciate it.  But to those who watched it in action, it was a marvel - a combination of masterful ball-handling and dribbling and passing and the deadly free throw shooting it led to that symbolized superior coaching.  It was Dean Smith at his best.

Dean Smith's coach at Kansas was Phog Allen.  And Phog Allen's coach at Kansas was Dr. James Naismith.  We didn't just lose a great coach.  We lost a direct link to the founder of the game.

*********** Bob Barton, a fellow Yalie (Class of 1957), is retired now, but as a longtime sports reporter and editor of the New Haven Register, he probably knows more about Yale football though the years than any man alive.

In brief,  Bob and I have become a committee of two whose mission is to get one of Yale's new residential colleges named for Levi Jackson.

To explain -  Yale College (the undergraduate division of the university) is divided into twelve "residential colleges" which operate almost as mini-colleges.

Even before arriving at Yale, students are assigned arbitrarily to one of the colleges, where they will live and eat most of their meals for their entire four years. (It is highly unusual for a student admitted to Yale not to graduate in four years, and it is highly unusual to live off-campus.  Fraternities exist as places to party, but no one lives there.)  Each college has a library, a dining room, a game room and a snack bar, and assorted other amenities.  There is intramural competition among the colleges in a varsity of sports, including, in my time, tackle football.  (When I was injured my senior year, coaching our college team was my first experience as a football coach.  I was hooked.) A master (who, I imagine, could be female as easily as male) resides in each college and in addition to his/her usual faculty duties, acts as a sort of combination college president and dean. 

Yale's residential college system was made possible by a grant in 1933 from Edward Harkness, a very wealthy alumnus who in his lifetime donated more than $2 billion (in today's dollars) to numerous causes.  The colleges were designed to emulate those at Oxford and Cambridge, where individual colleges operate independently of one another and to a great extent of the universities themselves.

One significant way in which Yale's system differs from those at Oxford and Cambridge is that Yale's colleges do not operate independently of the larger university.  All classes are taught in university classrooms by university faculty and are open to any student from any residential college.  In reality, the college system provides a nice balance between being a part of a large university and getting to know a wide variety of people, and at the same time enjoying the greater intimacy of a small college.  In such an environment, I think it would be less likely for a student in need of help to fall through any cracks.

The 12 Colleges have been named for Yale's founders, presidents and illustrious alumni, as well as a few  Connecticut governors from long ago, but to the school's credit, although it expects to spend $500 million to build the two new colleges, there has never been even the slightest thought give to naming one for a donor.

In contention to name the new colleges, there are far too many illustrious alumni to name, but given  that every college so far has been named for a white male, and given Yale's extreme consciousness of its elitist past, it would seem to me that they'd at least take a serious look at females or (a phrase I hate) people "of color."

The odds against a female are low. Given that Yale's first class including women didn't graduate until 1973, it's not likely that there are yet any alumnae ("alumna" is Latin for a female graduate, and "alumnae" denotes more than one) who qualify on the basis of (1) achievement and (2) being dead. (The latter qualification would almost eliminate the chances that the recipient would do anything to embarrass the university after being selected.)

This, then, brings us to a person "of color."  I would be proud to nominate Dr. Benjamin Carson, of the Class of 1973, but fortunately, Dr. Carson is still very much with us.

That's where Levi Jackson comes in:

Connecticut native, raised in Branford

Local, a graduate of New Haven's Hillhouse High School

First black man to play football at Yale

Elected captain of the Yale football team, 1949

First black executive of Ford Motor Company

Instrumental in forming Ford's Minority Dealership Training Program

Member President's Commission on White House Fellowships under President Lyndon B. Johnson

Member of Selective Service Appeals Board under President Richard NIxon

Ford's Man of the Year, 1968

Retired as Vice-President of Ford after 32 years

1987 Walter Camp Man of the Year Award