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Published continually since 1998, "NEWS YOU CAN USE" was a Blog before the "Blog" was  even a word! It's intention has been to help inform the football coach and the interested football observer on a wide variety of to
pics, usually - but not always - related in some way to coaching or leadership.  It contains news and views often (trigger alert!) highly opinionated but intended to be  thought-provoking.  Subjects cover but aren't limited to coaching, leadership, character, football history and current football happenings, education, parenting, citizenship and patriotism, other sports, and even, sometimes, my offense.)

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 26,  2016   “An efficient hawk hides his claws.”  World War II Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.   

All five discs are now ready and being shipped.  DISC  #5 WAS MAILED OUT LAST FRIDAY - AHEAD OF DEADLINE.










*********** TESTIMONIAL

Hi Coach Wyatt,

Love Video 5 -- And 4, and 3, and 2, and 1 -- the Entire Package

This ain't your Mama's Wing-T no more.

       Instead of
  .... it should be...

Great package of football information.  Thanks for sharing.

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

*********** Bob Novogratz is a friend and a member of the board of the Black Lion Award. He is truly a wonderful person who with his wife has raised an amazing family.

IN addition to being a two-way football player for Army in 1958, Bob was also an All-American heavyweight wrestler.

One of his children, MIchael, was also a great wrestler, an All-American at Princeton.  Michael went on to achieve great success is business with his own hedge fund.  He is reported to be worth billions (with a “b”).

And to his great credit, he has used his influence and large sums of money to keep amateur wrestling alive in America.

Thanks to his generosity, there is high school wrestling in New York.

Thanks to his efforts, there is an annual college wrestling exhibition in Times Square.

Thanks to his efforts, wrestling in still and Olympic sport.

Now now, thanks to him and other wealthy former wrestlers, American Olympic medal winners will now receive bonuses of up to $500,000.

From The Spectator…

for most athletes in the Olympics, a medal is the ultimate payoff. Not for wrestlers, however, the sport that remains as pure as it was in ancient times, but whose name has been muddled in the public’s mind with that phony show that is called professional wrestling. Olympic wrestlers do not get the endorsements after a victory that, say, a great track and field athlete does, or a swimmer.

At least in America, where wrestlers are not sponsored by the state, as they are elsewhere, and are mostly dependent for a college education on scholarships to make ends meet. Until now, that is. A billionaire by the name of Mike Novogratz, a private equity tycoon, heads a fraternity of well-heeled former wrestlers, several of whom have made it big on Wall Street. They have offered a prize of half a million greenbacks for a gold, and less lucre for silver and bronze, suddenly making wrestlers the envy of athletes not named Bolt or Phelps.

*********** In February, at the University of Chicago to deliver a speech, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez had to leave the building after she was confronted by Black Lives Matter protesters in the audience who held up signs started chanting.

The very next day, the University’s police department had to being an end to a scheduled talk by with a Palestinian human rights activist after protesters disrupted his speech.

And in April members of the Armenian Students Association broke up a talk by a scholar who they said denies the Armenian Genocide.

Enough, said the University of Chicago.

Incoming freshmen just received a letter from the school  stating clearly  that it does not condone so-called “ or “trigger warnings.”

Read the letter from Dean of Students Jay Ellison, “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

In 1939, University of Chicago President Robert M. Hutchens, disturbed by the fact that football was being glorified at the expense of academics (yes, this has gone on for a long time), persuaded the board of trustees to pull out of the Big Ten and  discontinue football.  No other major college followed Chicago’s lead.  Let’s hope that this time the Grand Poobahs at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Brown and other elite hives of liberal illiberalism will take courage from their betters at Chicago.

*********** A friend took over a team that had zero success last year, and he’s struggling.

Seems the players are questioning some of his strategy - you know, the old “this offense doesn’t work” whinging.

In such cases, where coaches have shared their frustrations with me, I’ve often deferred to Bill McCartney, former national championship coach at Colorado and President of Promise Keepers:
  "You have to convince your players that the only reason a play failed was that they didn't execute properly."

Very simply, you will not solve anything when players who have never accomplished a thing as a team are permitted to bellyache and shirk responsibility.

So long as your players are permitted to blame you or your strategy, they will work hard to prove their point -  not to improve.

It means that they believe that it is up to you to solve, and that they have no responsibility.

*********** Much is being made of the fact that Hillary Clinton is not really campaigning.  She’s out raising money and showing up on TV shows, but she hasn’t attend many rallies and she hasn’t had a press conference in months.

For those who don’t know history, she is running what used to be called a “Front Porch Campaign.”

It is one in which the candidate simply doesn’t get out and campaign.

One example was the 1896 campaign in which William McKinley pretty much stayed in his hometown of Canton, Ohio while his rival, William Jennings Bryan, made hundreds of speeches.  McKinley defeated Bryan.

***********  Food City, a supermarket chain in East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia,  has produced a highly-moving commercial that honors those who’ve served our country…

*********** Internet Wisdom…

I took down my Rebel flag (which you CANNOT buy on EBAY any more) and peeled the NRA sticker off my front window. I disconnected my home alarm system and quit the candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.  I bought two Pakistani flags and put one at each corner of my front yard. Then I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you CAN buy on EBAY) and ran it up the flag pole.

Now the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service, and other agencies are all watching
my house 24/7. I’ve NEVER felt safer and I’m saving the $69.95 a month that ADT used to charge me.
I bought burkhas for my wife and me to wear when we shop or travel. Everyone moves out of the way and security can't pat us down.  If they ask why a male is wearing a burka, I just say I'm feeling like a woman today.

Safe at last!

*********** Tom Smythe is one of the great coaches in the long history of Oregon high school football.  One of his tenets has always been “Less is More” - that you could over practice, that there was such a thing as a point of diminishing return beyond which the work you put in simply didn’t produce sufficient results to justify the effort.

Like most coaches, I haven’t had the nerve to depart from the time tested football coaching formula of work, work and more work.  I believe in repping and repping and repping. I always want to run one more play.

I just wouldn’t feel right practicing offense one day and defense the next.  I know of successful coaches who practice that way, but I just have this fear that if we ever missed a day of offensive practice, things would go all to hell.

How smart is that? The evidence is all to the contrary.  We’ll play a game on Friday night and give our kids the weekend off and they’ll come back on Monday and run the offense without a hitch.

And yet…

So there we were Wednesday and (for us) it was hot.  We’d had an exceptionally good morning practice, and we decided to cut the afternoon practice short by nearly an hour, and I’ll be damned if the practice wasn’t exceptionally sharp.  The enthusiasm was amazing. 

Less is more.

*********** A while back I wrote about Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw, the starting QB on a triple option team. (Can’t get any more important than that.)

A week ago, going into his junior year, he faced the biggest decision that any West Point cadet can face - whether to drop out at that point, and owe the American taxpayers absolutely nothing, in return for two years’ education at one of the top institutions in the nation, or to sign up for two more years at West Point, followed by five years of active duty in the US Army.

Bradshaw chose not to stay.

You talk about some anxious people.  I’m told that the Superintendent himself spoke with the young man to point out to him the pluses and minuses of his decision.

At the very least, the football team was without its starting QB, less than two weeks before next Friday’s opener at Temple.  At the most, the US Army lost a potential officer, and Ahmad Bradshaw lost out on a chance to earn the West Point degree, than which there are few more prestigious.

However it worked out, Ahmad Bradshaw relented, returned to the classroom and the football field, and he’s now a full-fledged member of the West Point Class of 2018.

Army’s Jeff Monken has to be breathing easier now, but such are the problems faced by a service academy coach.  I rather doubt that Nick Saban has ever had to deal with one like this.

*********** From the Shaking My Head and Wondering if These Might be the End Times Department:

Mission Viejo, California High School is a powerhouse program, and it has “partnered” with Under Armour to - get this - make it possible for them to have  28 f-king different uniform combinations.

“We did this for the kids,” Mission Viejo wide receivers coach Garrett Gray, who worked with head coach Bob Johnson and UA executives to design the looks, told USA Today.  “It’s going to give them something special that they can put on their social media.  What’s really great is the kids will choose the uniform combination they want to wear each week.  The goal is to not re-use a combo.”

Yeah, right.  Something special.   We have kids who sleep in three different places, depending on the day of the week and how they’re getting along with this person or that, so you’ll have to forgive us if we sometimes fail to give our kids “something special that they can put on their social media.”

Not to mention 28 different f-king uniform combinations.

Black Lion Patch*********** IT’S TIME TO SIGN UP!





(1)  Have your team’s head coach email me with his contact information.

(2) Head coach: Once you’re approved, inform your players that they’re a Black Lion team and one of them will be selected as the team’s Black Lion, based on his leadership, his courage, his unselfishness and his willingness to do anything for his team. Tell them that if they all try to win it, you’ll wind up having a great team.

(3) Head coach: at season’s end, select your award winner.  We strongly suggest that the coaches do it.  We strongly discourage having the players do it.

(4) Head coach: Email us your letter nominating your winner.  We do ask that you send us a letter being specific about why you chose him.  (HINT: Use some of the comments your coaches made when you decided on him.)

Be sure to include the mailing address where the award should be sent.

Be sure that you get an email back, informing you that we received your nomination

(5) Once your nomination is approved, we will send you the Black Lions patch (as shown on the player in the picture) and the certificate suitable for framing.  There will be space on it for you to sign.

(6) Present your award at your banquet or award ceremony.  Where possible, it is a great idea to have a service member - retired or active duty - on hand to present it.  If we can, we will try to find someone nearby who might be able to do it.


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 23,  2016   “I am a juggler; I never let my right hand know what my left hand does."  Franklin D. Roosevelt

***********   I thought you might enjoy a Finnish explanation of Amerikalainen Jalkapallo. Er, American Football.

Hey - you might even learn a little Finnish:

That’s about how much I know.  A little.  I coached seven seasons in Finland,  and Finnish friends have told me my Finnish is excellent.  But then, I'm not sure how they would know.  Most Finns speak English quite well, and they’re blown away when they hear ANY foreigner even try to speak their language.

Finnish is hellishly difficult to learn. I’ve worked hard at it.  If I’d spent seven seasons  coaching in France, or Spain, Italy or Germany, I’d be fluent in their language.

Amerikalainen means American type, Jalkapallo means football -  Jalka (foot) pallo (ball).  To get a bit more complicated: Amerikalaisen Jalkapallon, which you’ll see,  means “OF American Football.”  Finnish doesn’t have prepositions - you have to learn what all those “case endings” - different endings to the same word - mean.  Fortunately, my study of Latin prepared me for that concept.  It just didn’t prepare me for how difficult Finnish is.

Finnish tends to make large compound words out of several smaller ones.

For example: Rautatieasema, which means railroad station (Rauta: iron; Tie: Road; Asema: station)

For us,  think of footballstadium.  It could happen - football started out as foot ball, then after a halfway stop at foot-ball, they went all the way and made it into one word.

Back to foot ball - sorry, football:

“Pelinrakentaja” - the “maker of the play” - is the QB.   Finns often just say “KOO-BEE” (they have no “Q” in their alphabet)

And as you’ll soon see, Puolustus means defense.  Hyökkäys means offense.

One of the first sentences you’ll see is : Pelinrakantaja on hyökkäyksen johtaja.   “Johtaja” means leader, or manager. Literally, the sentence means “QB (they don’t have any articles - a, an, the) is of the offense the leader.”

There!  You’re on your way to learning Finnish!  Oh - almost forgot - now tyou have to pronounce it. 


*********** Ralph Dispigno is 87 years old, and he runs the nation’s oldest Italian restaurant, Ralph’s, on 9th Street in the heart of still-heavily Italian South Philadelphia. It was started in 1900 by Ralph’s grandfather, Francesco.  Francesco Dispigno named it for his son, Rafael, but in the great immigrant tradition of wanting to be American, he gave it the Americanized version of the name.

You don’t stay in business that long without serving a good product, and you don’t stay in business without great attention to the smallest detail.

After I read this quote from an interview with,  I sensed immediately that if Mr. Dispigno hadn’t grown up in the family business, he’d have been one hell of a head football coach…

“You have to watch me some night and see what goes on. You'll see what it takes. Lots of little things. You have to see the little things that you have to correct a lot of times. It's the little things, like the old saying, little things become big things. My father used to say, "I can walk through the dining room and see eight or 10 different things wrong." The waiters walk by, they don't see nothing. They don't see no mistakes, nothing wrong. I do the same thing, I see a lot of different things. I'll tell the waiter, "That's not right," or ... all those little things that you see. You see during the day, you see those things. That's not a knock on the wait staff, no. It's because I've done this all my life.”

*********** Could there be something pathologically wrong with Jim Harbaugh? Why else, when given a choice between being pleasant to someone or shoving a pie in their face,  would he instead turn it into a choice between whether to use  real whipped cream or Reddi-Wip?

Watch him, vintage Harbaugh, take it as  an affront that reporters, people with jobs of their own to do, might actually ask him questions whose answers their readers would like to know.

Golden Domers everywhere should rejoice.

Harbaugh may be a hell of a coach, but thanks to his arrogance and total lack of charm,  Michigan - the school of Bo Schembechler, a school whose football program has never had so much as a touch of scandal - could make a run at Notre Dame as the Team You Love to Hate.

*********** Uh-oh.  Spoke too soon.  Notre Dame has responded to Harbaugh’s challenge with the arrests of six players, three of them for possession of an unregistered gun, one of them a senior nailed for “allegedly” resisting arrest.  Sheesh. What’s a Notre Dame education for if a guy who’s spent at least three years there still hasn’t learned that one likely way to wind up on the wrong end of a police bullet is to resist arrest?

*********** Occasionally, when I was younger, I’d hear older men refer to a baseball player as an “Old Oriole.”  It meant he was tough. It meant he would do anything to win - within  (and sometimes without) the rules.  It meant he took no quarter and gave none.

The “Old Orioles,” were the Baltimore Orioles, who played in the major leagues from 1882 to 1899 until they were essentially dumped by big league baseball in a sort of downsizing.

The Old Orioles were rough and tough, vulgar and vile.  They fought with opponents and they fought with each other.

In a magazine interview years afterward, Old Oriole John “Muggsy” McGraw recalled, "On that old Baltimore club we used to keep a row of files hanging on the wall back of a bench just outside the visiting players’ dressing rooms, and as the visiting team came out to start its practice we’d be sitting there sharpening up our spikes."

I’m not in the habit of quoting Wikipedia, suspect as its sources often are, but this does sum it up rather well.

The original Orioles were one of the most storied teams in the history of the game. Managed by Ned Hanlon, they won NL pennants in 1894, 1895 and 1896, and sported some of the most colorful players in history including John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, Wilbert Robinson, and Dan Brouthers.

They were rough characters who practically invented "scientific" baseball, the form of baseball played before the home run became the norm in the 1920s. Like the style known today as "small ball", the "inside baseball" strategy of Orioles featured tight pitching, hit and run tactics, stolen bases, and precise bunting. One such play, where the batter deliberately strikes the pitched ball downward onto the infield surface with sufficient force such that the ball rebounds skyward, allowing the batter to reach first base safely before the opposing team can field the ball, remains known as a Baltimore Chop.

What made me think of the Old Orioles and of a time when Americans were a tougher breed was this article in my Sunday paper about the Baltimore Orioles. The New Orioles.  Definitely not the Old Orioles.

“The Baltimore Orioles have placed starting catcher Matt Wieters on paternity leave.

“Wieters left the team Saturday to join his wife, Maria, who is due to give birth to the couple’s second child.”

WTF?  Paternity leave?  For a big-league baseball player?

 For you young guys, you need to understand that to us older guys, the idea of an expectant father taking time away from his job while his wife has a baby is unthinkable.

I’m reminded of the old war story about the sailor who requested time off because his wife was going to have a baby.  The captain scoffed, and said, “Your presence was required at the laying of the keel.  Not at the launching.”

I'm shaking my head trying to imagine the razzing an Old Oriole would have gotten from his teammates when  he came back from “paternity leave.”  (If he'd have the nerve to come back.)

At the least, if Maria Wieters gives birth to a boy, they should name the kid Muggsy.

(In 1953, at the news that the St. Louis Browns were being moved to Baltimore - to become, once again, the Orioles - poet/humorist Ogden Nash, a Baltimorean, was inspired to write this poem, called “You Can’t Kill an Oriole”

Wee Willie Keeler
Runs through the town,
All along Charles Street,
In his nightgown.

Belling like a hound dog,
Gathering the pack:
Hey, Wilbert Robinson,
The Orioles are back!

Hey, Hughie Jennings!
Hey, John McGraw!
I got fire in my eye
And tobacco in my jaw!

Hughie, hold my halo.
I'm sick of being a saint:
Got to teach youngsters
To hit 'em where they ain't.

*********** Our President, always ready with a comment on any racially-charged police shooting, not only chose to continue playing golf on Fantasy Island while Louisiana coped with the flood, but then had the astounding gall to issue a 16-page document warning the people of Louisiana - as they struggle to rescue and assist one another without regard to race - not to “discriminate.”

If this had been a Republican President, he’d have been roasted on a spit by the liberal media (a redundancy).

Uh, not that people who’ve been chased out of their homes have their computers handy, but considering what they’ve been through while Mister Obama frets about whether to use a 9-iron or a wedge - who TF has the time to read that Washington crap?

And if he can’t break away from his golf (taunted about the “optics” of what he’s been doing, he now says he’s going to visit Louisiana on Tuesday - only a week late) he should at least tell those hundreds of people in Washington who “work” churning out 16-page memos cautioning rescuers and rescued not to discriminate to get their asses down to Louisiana and help real working people - blacks and whites - get their lives back in order.

Meanwhile, anyone who’s ever been caught in the traffic caused by the Presidential motorcade as The Man made his way to and from a fund raiser can only laugh at the Louisiana governor providing cover for the President by saying in effect, that the Big Man and his entourage would just get in the way.

*********** ESPN college football analyst Rod Gilmore has issued a statement announcing that he's been diagnosed with blood cancer:

"First, I feel great and my prognosis is good. “I have great support with an amazing medical team, an incredible wife and family, and amazing friends and colleagues.”

Gilmore, a former Stanford defensive back,  is expected to be in the broacast booth when  South Carolina plays at Vanderbilt to kickoff college football's opening weekend.

*********** With the season opener against defending Oregon class 6A champ Jesuit just two weeks off, Tualatin (Oregon) High coach Bill Zernickow left abruptly to take a job as elemntary/middle school vice principal in California.

The guy can coach.  Prior to coming to Tualatin, he was 87-37 at a California high school, and at Tualatin (too-OLL-uh-tin) he took over an 0-9 2014 team that lost by an average 25-point margin, and in his one year produced an 8-3 season.

If I know football coaches, there’s got to be more to this story than simply a highly successful football coach chucking it all in order to take a ho-hum administrative job.

***********  Naomi Schaeffer Riley writes in the New York Post  that while upperclass elites are in favor of legalized pot,  those people aren’t using it to the extent that the lower class is -  and
now that it’s being legalized, the increased use of pot by the poor and less responsible,  is making them even poorer and even less responsible.

For instance, people who have a household income of less than $20,000 a year are only 19 percent of the population but they’re 28 percent of marijuana users.

The proportion of users who smoke daily or near daily has increased from 1 in 9 in 1992 to 1 in 3 in 2013. Says Steven Davenport of  RAND,  “This dispels the idea that the typical user is someone on weekends who has a casual habit.”

“The typical user is much more likely to be someone at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, whose daily life is driven, at least in part, by the question of how and where to get more marijuana. Just consider the cost. Almost a third of users are spending a tenth of their income on marijuana. And 15 percent of users spend nearly a quarter of their income to purchase the drug. The poor have not only become the heaviest users, but their use is making them poorer.”

Interestingly, marijuana use today resembles tobacco use more than alcohol use: While cigarette smoking is almost nonexistent among the educated and well-off,  the poor and working class have continued to smoke, despite the exhorbitant  - and increasing - cost of cigarettes.

LINC DANNINGER SLO*********** THE PHOTO AT LEFT WAS SENT TO ME BY Sent me by Kurt Heinke, a longtime Black Lion coach from San Luis Obispo, California -

It's Link Danninger, 13-year-old his Black Lion Award winner from last year, wearing his Black Lion patch at a recent jamboree.

What about you?  Shouldn't your team be a Black Lion Award team?





(1)  Have your team’s head coach email me with his contact information.

(2) Head coach: Once you’re approved, inform your players that they’re a Black Lion team and one of them will be selected as the team’s Black Lion, based on his leadership, his courage, his unselfishness and his willingness to do anything for his team. Tell them that if they all try to win it, you’ll wind up having a great team.

(3) Head coach: at season’s end, select your award winner.  We strongly suggest that the coaches do it.  We strongly discourage having the players do it.

(4) Head coach: Email us your letter nominating your winner.  We do ask that you send us a letter being specific about why you chose him.  (HINT: Use some of the comments your coaches made when you decided on him.)

Be sure to include the mailing address where the award should be sent.

Be sure that you get an email back, informing you that we received your nomination

(5) Once your nomination is approved, we will send you the Black Lions patch (as shown on the player in the picture) and the certificate suitable for framing.  There will be space on it for you to sign.

(6) Present your award at your banquet or award ceremony.  Where possible, it is a great idea to have a service member - retired or active duty - on hand to present it.  If we can, we will try to find someone nearby who might be able to do it.


american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 19,  2016   “The history of a battle is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals may recollect all of the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost, but no individual can recollect the exact order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred, which makes all the difference as to their value or importance.” The Duke of Wellington

*********** At North Beach High, we have two practice days behind us, and we’re looking good.  Thursday, we got a taste of “hot” weather (a relative term - it was 70 degrees in Ocean Shores, which we consider hot) and our preseason circuit workouts had our kids well prepared.  We worked hard for three hours and no one flinched.

A coach in Connecticut asked me how long it takes to install our offense and get ready to play a game.  I told him that although there’s only one player on our offense starting in the same position as last year, and only four returning starters at all, there isn’t much “installation” required.  I told him that if we had to, we could play a game Friday night (our third day of practice).

We might not be ready on defense yet, but our kids will pursue you and they’ll hit you.  Our kicking game won’t be as crisp as we’d like, either.

But on offense, we’ll be ready.  Our execution will still leave something to be desired, but we’ll be able to run a surprising number of plays, and run them surprisingly well.

The reason for this, as I’ve explained before, is that our kids don’t have to memorize assignments. Their assignments for every play are right on their play cards - each position has one.  The assignments are abbreviated so that they can fit on the cards, and the players do have to know what the abbreviations mean, but that’s not even close to having to memorize their assignments on, say, 40 plays (20 right and 20 left).

I want to coach.  If they know their assingments, I can teach them their techniques.   What I can't do is help a slow learner memorize his plays. I don’t want to waste my time running a memory course, and I don’t want to have to sit a better player just because his ability to memorize is not as good as that of a lesser player.

It’s a lot of work setting up my playcards (I use Excel) but when you realize that all the hard work in the world won’t help a good player with a bad memory remember his plays, it’s well worth the trouble.

*********** The name Wilcox is fairly prominent in football.  Dave Wilcox played at Oregon, then played 11 years with the 49ers, and he played well enough that  he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  His eldest son, Josh, played at Oregon and had a brief NFL career with the Saints. Younger son Justin also played at Oregon and has been a defensive coordinator at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, USC and, now,  Wisconsin.

But few people know of Dave’s older brother, John, who played at Oregon four years before him, and signed with the Eagles in 1960, drafted 17th only after his college coach, Len Casanova, recommended him to his old friend, Eagles’ coach Buck Shaw.  John played just that one year - played on the Eagles’ 1960 NFL Championship team - and then walked away.

Turned down a  contract worth $8500 for 1961 and $9500 for 1962, and became a high school teacher and coach. (I can assure you that he didn’t earn $8500 a year as a teacher.)  After years as a teacher, coach and AD at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, he retired to his apple orchard in Eastern Oregon.

As he told author Robert Gordon, in “The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles,”

“You know, I really can’t say why I didn’t return. I was just a 22-year-old kid and I don’t really know exactly why I didn’t come back. President Kennedy was making a big push to improve high school science programs. He was offering draft deferments for science teachers at the time, so I went back to Oregon,  teaching math and coaching football.  I know that had something to do with my decision.  Then, too, as much as I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia, I missed the West Coast and living in a small town (Vale, Oregon, about eight hours’ drive east of Portland, near the Idaho border).”

Now, here’s the great irony.  Dave Wilcox played 11 years with the 49ers and he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he never played on a championship team.

John Wilcox played just one year in the NFL - and went home with a championship ring.

*********** Coach,
Can we still shoe shine with the new clip rule?


You can block below the knees in the free blocking zone - provided the contact takes place in the free blocking zone between two players who started out (1) on the line of scrimmage and (2) in the free blocking zone (4 yards on either side of center, 3 yards forward and back of the line of scrimmage).

What you CAN’T do any longer is CLIP in the free blocking zone - you can’t make contact with an opponent from the back.


Because the action takes place in such close quarters, there is always the chance that your player will block legally but an official doesn't see what actually takes place, and flags you.

There’s also the chance that an official may not know the wording of the new rule and may think that blocking low is also prohibited.

And there’s always the chance that your player may actually clip.

So for those reasons, and in anticipation of the day not being far off when shoeshining will also be outlawed along with clipping, I don’t teach it any more.

I’m not condemning the practice, you should understand.  It’s just caution on my part.

But, confirming - it is still legal. So, yes, you can still shoe shine.


*********** Sayonara, shoeshine block.    Hola, slide and turn.  Bon jour, Cutoff/Turnback

I’ve seen this coming for some time.  Anybody who knows me well knows that I’ve been saying for several years that the days of the shoeshine block - the backside tight end’s perfectly legal cut off of an opponent’s pursuit - were numbered.

So long as the block took place in the free-blocking zone - three yards to either side of the line of scrimmage and four yards to either side of the ball - and so long as it complied with other requirements, it was legal,  even when it took place below the waist and from the back, which anyplace else on the field would be clipping.

Not no more, as my grandma would say.

Now, even in the free blocking zone, there will be no more clipping.

I have to confess I didn’t even know we had a problem.  Maybe, because I’ve been way out there on the edge of the continent, I’ve missed what’s been going on, but I just haven’t seen  all those young men on crutches,  and in wheelchairs,  hobbled by low blocks.    Maybe we have another epidemic on our hands, a lower-extremities version of the concussion hysteria that’s being used by football haters to bash our sport.

Otherwise, I have my suspicions that it’s people who have no use for blocking low, and hate to play people that do,  who successfully convinced the NFHS rules makers that it was a serious safety issue that required immediate action.  And if it just happens to hamper an opponent with a powerful running game, well…

But life goes on.  And until the day when NFHS finally makes it official and mandates that we play either flag or 7-on-7, we still have an offense to run.

Relax.  If you’ve been depending on your tight end to shoeshine a defender on the backside, don’t despair.

There’s the slide-and-turn (or "cutoff/turnback")

It’s how we’ve been having our tight end cut off anything between him and the center - without the shoeshine.

It starts with a big slide step with the inside foot.  One big slide should do it, but if not, two quick, smaller ones will.

He slides because he has to stay square.  He has to stay square because if he gets to the center and isn’t needed, he has to turn back.

That’s the slide-and-turn. I used to call it the “pull-hinge” but I changed for two reasons: “pull” could give the player the idea that I want him turning and running to playside, and “hinge” could give him the idea that I want him to give ground, as if he were pass protecting.

Take a look at this clip of 77 Super Power (to the left) and 66 Super Power (to the right).

Especially on the 66 - watch the way the TE slides inside fast enough to unload on the defender.  If he can makes it to that point fast enough, his job is 90 per cent done.  If the center has already engaged that man, the TE will turn back and take the next thing coming.

Here’s where you’ll be at an advantage if you’ve been running “my” Double Wing - if you’ve been listening to the things I’ve been preaching for, oh, close to 20 years now.

I realize that other double wings do things differently,  lining up on the ball, for example, and they must have their reasons for doing so, but I have my reasons for doing things the way I’ve been teaching this, and - trust me - your Tight End’s chances of getting his job done are greatly enhanced if:

a. Your splits are tight.  This applies to most Double Wingers.  Very simply,  the farther your TE is from the center, the harder it is for him to do his job

b. Your TE’s stance is “light” - if he doesn’t have his weight forward (check his down hand to make sure he’s got almost no weight on it)

c. Your TE has his inside hand down.  If instead he has his outside hand down, it’s likely that his inside foot will be forward, and he might get it tangled with the tackle’s outside foot.

d. Your linemen are back off the ball.  Lining up as deep as legal (basically, the rule states that the top of their helmets must not be deeper than the center’s waist) gives your TE more time to get to where he needs to go before any defender does.

Another advantage to the slide-and-turn is that it’s legal against a blitzing linebacker. (See Left)  It’s always been illegal to go low on that guy - even in the free-blocking zone - unless he started out on the line of scrimmage.  And where a blitzer may or may not have started out is a judgment call by an official,  who may only know that he saw your Tight End blocking a linebacker at his knees.

***********  Clark County, Washington, where I live, is just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.  Its population is about 50,000 people and it’s one of the fastest growing counties in our state, thanks in large part to a good quality of life and the fact that housing is more affordable here than in Portland.

For years, Clark County has had no Catholic high school, so Clark County parents who for various reasons wanted their kids to get a Catholic education have sent their kids to Portland - mostly to Central Catholic or Jesuit.  Both schools have excellent sports programs, and many Clark County kids - much to the chagrin of Clark County public high coaches - have gone there to play.

A few years ago, Seton Catholic opened its doors, in answer to parents’ desire to send their kids to a Catholic school closer to home.

NO chance of keeping those athletes from going to Jesuit or Central Catholic, though - Seton Catholic didn’t even start play football for a year or two after opening.  Instead, it offered - get ready for this - soccer.

When they did start football, they did a bad job of it, and they’ve won no more than a game in any season.

Now, just before the start of this year’s football practice, Seton Catholic cancelled its football season.  Nice timing.

Back in June the word was that they had cancelled a few of their games against tougher league opponents who, needless to say, were pissed because at that point it was difficult for them to find other games.

How did it happen?

In my opinion, they totally screwed things up right from the start.

Right out of the box, instead of starting a football team, they started playing that damn Communist sport.   Dumb, dumb, dumb. What the hell kind of boys are you going to attract when soccer is your featured sport?

Then, despite the fact that they are actually North Beach’s size, putting them in the smallest classification that plays 11-man football, they chose to play up - to play in the next larger classification - because that would mean less travel for all their other sports, boys and girls.

But it also meant that when they decided to start a football program, they would have to play in a higher classification than their enrollment called for. So in return for less travel for its other sports, Seton sacrificed its football program by throwing it up against tougher competition.  Put another way - football, the most vulnerable and most numbers-sensitive of all the sports, and the most visible to the public, wound up taking one for the team. 

I know that it isn’t unusual for well-established Catholic schools to “play up” and do very well, but Seton Catholic, trying to start a program from scratch, wasn’t in that position yet.  Not even close. 

There also were what I would call a few questionable decisions, including hiring an AD with no knowledge of high school football (nothing new there), and coaches’ thinking that first you decided on an offense (spread) and then hoped that there would be players to make it work. (Didn’t happen.)

The result has been disastrous.  I’ve seen them play over the past three seasons and seen absolutely no progress. We played them the past two seasons, and they were easily the worst team I’ve seen in my six years of coaching at the 2B level.

I’d like them to succeed.  Their principal was once my wife’s principal and he’s a good guy.

I don’t take any particular satisfaction in the recollection that back when they first announced they were going to play football I contacted their AD and never heard back.

*********** Hope Solo?  Or Ryan Lochte?  Ryan Lochte?  Or Hope Solo?

Solo, who called the Swedish women’s soccer team “cowards” because they employed a slowdown, defensive game against the favored Americans (a strategy that proved to be a winning one)?

Or Lochte, who may well turn out to represent to the world  the stereotypical ugly, entitled, spoiled, churlish American ?

My vote goes to Lochte, a 32-year-old man who makes the kind of living swimming - swimming, for God’s sake! - that most school teachers will never know.

What a f—king jerk. The world dumps on Brazil, host country of the Olympics, and Lochte - it appears - thinks it's cool to pile on.

For sure, if what seems to be the case with Lochte turns out to be true - that he and his buddies told a story about being robbed at gunpoint by either cops acting like robbers or robbers acting like cops, when in reality they were 30-year-olds acting  like a bunch of drunken frat boys, they trashed a service station rest room and then concocted the robbery story for some unknown reason (some say it had something to do with, um, the "professional female companionship" they’d partaken of earlier in the evening)  he’s done Lady Solo an enormous favor by surpassing her as the Ass Hat of the 2016 Olympics.

Meantime, Lochte has managed to escape from Brazil, the country he insulted, and fly back to the US, the country which he disgraced.

Back to the idiot sponsors who’ve enabled him to live the privileged life of a career Olympian.

Used to be when someone disgraced his country at the Olympics, they’d send the bad actors home.

Now, My fervent hope is that they’ll send Mister Millionaire in a Speedo back to Brazil.

*********** I’m sorry, but I laughed - and laughed, and laughed, and laughed - when I heard that the USA women’s soccer team had lost to Sweden.  Those poor babies.

It didn’t help things any that their goalie, Hope Solo, who if she were a man would be called a thug,  showed the world how gracious Americans can be in defeat by calling the Swedes “cowards.”

Maybe you remember how America's darlings refused to play a game in Hawaii,  disappointing thousands who'd bought tickets, because the field was - gasp! - "unplayable."   Omigod.

Maybe you remember that they sued FIFA because - gasp! - they had to play their games on - get ready for this - artificial turf!  "A nightmare," team captain Abby Wambach called it.  Oh, the humanity.

Maybe you remember the way they argued that they deserve to be paid the same as players on the USA men’s team.  After all, they said - they had been much more successful on the world's stage than the men, conveniently ignoring the fact that their pay is a function of the revenues earned by the Women’s World Cup, which is a fraction of what the Men’s World Cup earns.  Oh - and forgetting to mention that we’re one of the few nations that  take women’s sports seriously, so it’s not nearly as difficult for them to dominate world soccer as it is for the men.

For the men, with soccer no better than our fourth most popular sport (fifth if you include NASCAR), theirs is a constant struggle for recognition in their own country.

Nasty break, girls.  Better luck next time.  And until then -  shut up and play.

*********** I once heard legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry put a really positive spin on mistakes.

He said, in practice, you want to expose mistakes -  so you can correct them.

He called it “Plowin’ up snakes and killin’ ‘em.”

*********** Can’t say passing guru Hal Mumme is a bad businessman.  Once, people would develop computer programs (back before they called them “apps"), then they'd sell the programs, and that was that. Once they sold all they could, the programs became like dry wells, no longer producing any revenue for their developers.

And then along came various developers who figured out that they could create longer-lasting revenue streams by “renting” the apps - selling annual subscriptions.

Got to hand it to them.  And  to Hal Mumme…

If you want to tap into his “Air Raid” scheme, it’s going to cost you $750.



I’m not complaining. If the guy’s product has value, then pay his price.  Just be prepared to pay it every year. 

What happens if you don’t pay it next year?  Dunno. Does your system go black?  Do the repo men come in the middle of the night and take your playbook?

Why not go the old-fashioned route and buy my system for - introductory price - $150.  And I guarantee it will never be reposssessed!

And it's a one time only fee! (Until I can find a way to charge a $750 annual membership fee.) 

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 16,  2016   "The word 'racism' is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything - and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist.'" Dr. Thomas Sowell


Grrr. Had to sit through one of these on Monday.  It was either that or not coach.

My disdain for USA Football, a tentacle of the NFL octopus, knows no bounds, but I must give the presenter credit for making the “clinic” endurable.

I’ve been teaching my way of tackling since 1982.  There were two trigger points. First was when I saw an article in Scholastic Coach Magazine (Jeez, I miss that mag) by a coach in New York State who taught hitting up in the chest.  After looking at it on the field, I liked it, and decided to begin teaching it.

The second was at a clinic in Seattle, where I sat in on a presentation by Bud Wilkinson.  Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma teams of the 1950s and early 1960s were some of the greatest college teams of all time. Back in those days I was going with a girl from Oklahoma, and I actually took a job
digging ditches out in OKC the summer after my freshman year in college so I could be near her, and while I was out there I was blown away by the love of OU that I found in all places and at all levels of society.

Bud's presentation was about advice he’d give to youth coaches.  The topic didn’t  particularly interest me - I just wanted to hear the great Bud Wilkinson.  But what I heard thim say  changed the way I coached.

Essentially, he said that whatever we teach, we have to start out slowly,  only picking up the pace when the kids are really good.  Over and over again I’ve seen the wisdom of that - if you start out teaching something at full speed, you'll never be able to make small corrections. 

He also said that we have to deal with the kids’ fears - that most first-time players are scared to even be out there, and we need to keep that in mind.

And finally, he said that tackling should be taught the way you would teach a kid to swim.  You have to help kids overcome fear, and you have to progress very slowly, as they gain confidence.

It took lots of tweaks and adjustments until I knew I had developed a safe yet effective method of tackling that - key point - could be easily and quickly taught to kids of all ages.  I guarantee it - any player who has ever played for me can teach someone else how to tackle.

The big point for me was that it could be taught fairly quickly; there was not a lot of fancy-dancy footwork or steps to be taught, and just a few key coaching phrases could reinforce major points.

In 1999 I put together a video called “Safer and Surer Tackling” to show how I teach it, and with only a minor adjustment here and there, that’s still the way I teach it.

So we coaches from our staff looked on as the presenter showed the “Heads Up” tackling stuff, and shook our heads at the complexity of their teaching method and drills.  It’s fine if it’s just you and a couple of kids spending a half hour or so during the summer, but if you’re coaching an entire team, and you have one or at most two qualified assistants helping you, you’re going to be devoting a LOT of time just to the installation of the “Heads Up” tackling technique.

Look - I personally don’t give a sh— if no one buys another tackling video from me, but it really seems to me that they’ve tried to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

*********** “you can go grab a shortstop and teach him to play quarterback easier than you can make someone accurate.”

So says Washington State’s Mike Leach, arguing that if a guy isn’t accurate, there’s no point in recruiting him.
“People make this mistake all over the country, and everybody can think of one, but there will be a guy who is big, strong and athletic, and everyone gets tempted by speed and if someone has a super strong arm.”

“Then they say ‘Well all he has to do is work on his accuracy. Well ok. He won’t be accurate in high school. Then some college will take him, and then he won’t be accurate there, and then the NFL says ‘all he has to do is work on his accuracy,’ and they’ll take him there, and he won’t be accurate there and then he’ll be out of the league.”

“The thing that’s amazing to me, is that after all of high school he’s not accurate, and now all of a sudden you’re special and you’re going to make him accurate? And then after college he’s not accurate, and you’re special and you’re going to make him accurate? I just haven’t seen that happen. I’ve seen guys improve, but they don’t all of a sudden become accurate.”

*********** Charlotte (NC) Independence High fired their head coach last Friday,

(1) just a week before the team’s opening game…

(2) Just three months after he had heart transplant surgery…

(3) Less than a week after his father died.

Surely there’s a good reason why they’d do this to a guy - and to his team - at a horrible time like this, but if there is, the  school administrators (as usual)  aren’t saying what it is.

So in the absence of any explanation, they’ve left themselves wide open for people like me to accuse them of being heartless pricks.

***********   Morning coach,

Good News You Can Use as usual. Great with coffee.

I want to get your take on a parent/player issue.

On my younger team (13/14) we have 28 players. League rules necessitate a "fair play rule" where substitutes rotate in every other series. No problem with that. I like the rule as it forces coaches to coach every player as every player will be going in the game.

My problem is a parent (who I know well and has typically been very supportive). He is incensed that his son will be one of the rotating kids and not starting for the entire game.

The player is a fine young man, but right now he is short, squat, and slow. I have him rotating in at center and he is barely holding on there.

Dad called me last night (props to him for not hiding behind an email) and wanted to know why other kids were not rotating and that his son would "do what ever I said" and " he loves you and football, but may not come back next year if this continues."

I pushed back without being insulting, but here is my dilemma:

This dad needs to realize we have put his son in the best place to play without the team suffering. He is a good boy, but being short, slow, and weak, limits where we can play him. Mom and Dad are influential in the community and up until this point have been advocates for the program, but they are not afraid to make a stink.

Any advice on how to clearly communicate the fact that his son is not good right now, and we will continue to work with him, but there are no promises that this will change?

Welcome to the Dunning-Kruger Effect -

*********** Ever have a kid who is so good that you just look at him, in practice or games, and go, “Wow?”  Ever wonder why other kids playing the same position don’t see see the same thing you do - and don’t understand why they’re not the ones starting?

All this time, without us coaches knowing it, there’s been an explanation for it. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect,  and it’s named for the two Cornell University psychologists who first researched it and wrote about it.

It describes people who are unskilled and unaware of it.

Seems to me we feed it with all the trophies-for-everybody, nobody-wins-because-we-don’t-want-anyone-to-lose, everybody-is-special, you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be crap that we expose kids to from the time they’re little.

I’m hoping that Dunning and Kruger aren’t finished, and that their next work will be a study of the phenomenon of parents who spend tons of money on camps and personal coaches and travel teams because they’re too dumb to realize that their kids aren’t as good as they think they are.–Kruger_effect

I can’t tell whether “fair play” means “equal Play,” so If this is just about the “prestige" of “starting," Dad is sick.
These deals are always tough because parents really are blind to their own kids’ inadequacies.

This is a major reason why - in the future - you want to make clear at your parents’ meeting that there are two items that are not subjects of conferences between parents and coaches: the amount of playing time, and coaching strategy (especially as it relates to where a player is playing or how he is being employed).

But it’s too late for that this year, so…

I think you have to be perfectly frank with Dad and remind him that playing time is a scarce commodity that is awarded on the basis of merit, but to make sure that no one goes without, there are rules in place to make sure that everyone does get some playing time…

That the coaches attempt to put players at the position where they can make the greatest contribution to the team.  Fortunately, there are opportunities in football for players of a variety of size and skills.

That it’s your responsibility as a coach to see to it that the boys all understand that there’s only one criterion that determines who plays when and where, and when one player clearly is the better player at a position, the better player will earn more playing time.

That In the judgment of the coach(es), - - - - -  is not at this point the better player at his position.

That where there might be some disagreement with the coaches’ judgment,  it is possible, at the player’s request,  to set up an open competition, but experience generally shows that this does not have a good effect on the morale of the loser.  We think it’s best to accept the judgment of the coaches and work to improve…

That we understand that players mature and develop at different rates, and we want to make sure that they stay with the sport.  So we coach them up and encourage them and try to show ways that they can get better and play more.  In the case of ——— , he needs to get stronger and faster.  Fortunately, those are things that he can work on, on his own.  He should take this as a challenge.


There’s no question that you have to be frank.  Diplomatic, but frank.  

Argue for the benefits of being a part of a good group of young men who are learning important things as they work toward a common goal.  One of those things is that every player plays a part in a successful team effort.

 If Dad pulls his son, that’s too bad for the son.  Not necessarily for you.   Dad may be influential in the community, but when it comes to advocating for his own kid, who’s he going to influence?  I suspect that those he might try to influence already understand quite well what this is all about.

And in the meantime, two things:

(1) Get the parents’ bulletin updated in time for next year, if not sooner

(2) Make a special effort to recognize the backups.  This might mean, as some successful youth coaches I know have done, forming them into a unit of their own, giving them a small package of plays, and telling them that they can stay on the field until they score, turn the ball over, or run out of downs.

Good luck with this one.

*********** The Seahawks beat the Chiefs, 17-16, on a last-play touchdown, followed by a successful two-point conversion. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it was an exciting game.  Not unless you like SIX field goals and just two touchdowns.

The Cowboys-Rams game, on the other hand, was actually interesting.

Maybe it was because of the huge crowd in the LA Memorial Coliseum, out to watch a hometown NFL team for the first time since 1994.

Whatever - we got to see some very impressive quarterback performances.

Jared Goff DoofusFor the Cowboys, Dak Prescott looked great.  I feel bad because Kellen Moore broke his ankle, and I like Kellen Moore, but it’s tough business.

For the Rams, Sean Mannion was outstanding, leading the Rams to the winning TD.  Nelson Spruce, a rookie wide receiver from Colorado, was outstanding, not only catching the ball but getting tough yards after the catch.

Highly-touted rookie QB Jared Goff, while okay,  didn’t have the greatest of opening games.  And then he had to come out post-game looking like a doofus (LEFT).

*********** For years the Marines’ ranks have been between 7 and 8 percent female, lowest of all the services (the Air Force is highest, at 19 per cent). But now the Marines (or should I say “the White House) have set a goal of 10 per cent.    See, since Pentagon (White House) orders that they must open combat roles to women, somehow that means they now have a lot of open combat roles to be filled.

Only a liberal in the White House could have thought that somehow the Marines were missing out.

Now, in order to try to add women, they have begun a recruiting push for high school athletes.

One problem - even those who've signed up aren’t ready physically.

Some, we're told,  "can't do a pull-up or hang from a bar for long enough. And sometimes they need to get faster so they can finish the 1.5-mile run in 13.5 minutes."

All female recruits go on a "high-risk action plan" for at least five months that include vitamin supplements, weight management and an exercise regimen that includes weights, cross-fit training and a pull-up program.

Obviously, the Marines haven’t yet figured out the hidden meaning behind the memo from on high - the one telling them that they WILL meet that 10 per cent quota.

Hidden meaning:  don’t let those stupid “standards” you’ve been using get in the way.

*********** Have you noticed how the story about the NFL and USA Football using phony statistics to push “Heads Up Football” has disappeared?  That’s what a good PR Department does, and the NFL’s is the best there is.

*********** Turnabout is fair play.  With all the Australian Rules football players earning jobs as punters in the American game, it seems only fair that the Aussies might try to find some talent for their game among American athletes.

Mason Cox, a former Oklahoma State basketball player, has shown well playing for the Collingwood Magpies, and the Aussies are aggressively searching for other Yanks who might not be good enough to play in the NBA or NFL but might be well suited to the Australian game.

Basketball players -

Football players -

*********** Neill Armstrong died last week at the age of 90. Not to be con used with the astronaut of the same name, Mr. Armstrong played at  Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) was the Eagles’ first-round draft choice in 1947.  He played on the Eagles’ back-to-back NFL championship teams in 1948 and 1949.  I just point that out because that was when I first started following pro football, and as a kid in Philadelphia I thought it was just perfectly natural, being the center of the universe and all, that the Eagles would always win. Time, of course, has proved the fallacy of those childish beliefs, and now as I look at my photo of those old Eagles, I note how many of them are now gone.  Rest in peace, Neill Armstrong,

He went on after the Eagles to play a few more years in Canada, then embarked on a long coaching career in college, the CFL and NFL. He was a key member of Bud Grant’s Vikings staff that made four Super Bowl appearances between 1970 and 1977. He was head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1978 through 1981 and earned the hatred of Green Bay fans for a game in which the Bears were winning by a big score in the fourth quarter, yet he still had his quarterback throwing deep.  The final was 61-7 and Armstrong regretted not scoring more. 

There had to be something personal behind it.

From the Bears, he moved on to the Cowboys, helping them win Super Bowls in 1993, 1994 and 1996 before retiring.

Condolences to his wife of 70 years, Jane, who certainly saw her share of ups and downs in her husband’s long coaching career.

*********** Back when Pitt announced its plans to move games off campus, from old Pitt Stadium to Heinz Field, bad things were predicted.  Students wouldn’t go… loyal fans wouldn’t go… etc., etc.

Meantime, Pitt just announced a new all-time record in season-ticket sales:  53,775

(A rare visit by Penn State on September 10 may help explain it.)

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 12,  2016   “The best way to control your future is to create it yourself.”  Peter Drucker

*********** Tom Smythe is one of the most respected coaches in the history of Oregon high school football.

He’s been successful at several  high schools in Oregon and, for good measure, one in Washington.  He’s won several state championships at the big-school level.

He’s been an assistant in the USFL, he’s been a college head coach at his alma mater - Portland’s Lewis and Clark College - and he’s coached overseas, in Austria and Finland.

Tommy Smythe really knows his sh—.

And the most amazing thing about him - the most refreshing thing - is that he’s never been an “outwork the other guy” type.

He said he learned very early in a college business class about the Point of Diminishing Return.  One of his slogans is “less is best.”

He never was an advocate of owning his players year-round.  I’ve heard him say things to the effect that no school’s trophy case has any 7-on-7 trophies in it.

He’s not coaching anymore, but his ideas are still fresh, and maybe more appropriate than ever.

HIs book “The Flex Slot - Football’s Fastbreak Offense” is a good read if you only read it to get a look at his philosophy.

Here’s an example:
Once while coaching in the USFL the offensive staff was assembled in the film room watching the same four plays over and over again. The time reached midnight and still we watched. Most had glazed over eyes and only stayed awake because heads would bang against the wall often enough to make much needed sleep impossible. Finally, I whispered to one of the other assistant coaches, "Why are we still here?" After a few moments to reflect he said, "Because Dick Vermiel did it this way". After pondering that answer for a while I couldn't resist responding to my colleague. "Does anybody realize that doing it ‘this way’ drove Dick Vermiel out of coaching?"
Check out this great interview of Tommy Smythe.  There’s a lot of background noise, but it’s classic Tommy Smythe, and it's worth listening to what he has to say…

*********** Remember the Good Old Days before the invention of the “Transgender,” when gays and lesbians (I forget what they called themselves back then) said all they wanted was to be accepted as equal members of society?

And then at some point they became “LGBT,” and the next thing you know they were  qualified to advise the Big 12 on expansion…

*********** The Dallas Cowboys’ request to honor the Dallas Police Department with a sticker on their helmets was turned down by the NFL.

Oh, no - we can't be seen as honoring police.

This is the same NFL that did nothing about Rams’ players putting on a “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!” act at a time when racial tensions were running high in St. Louis...

The same NFL that did nothing about a Browns’ player who sent out a graphic of a cop having his throat cut…

The same NFL that keeps feminists off its back by wearing 
Pink Kevlar for the entire month of  October...

Oh, wait.  I get it.

It’s also the same NFL that honors our military - for a fee.

*********** Oh my goodness - John Saunders has died.  Only 61.  He always gave off a sense of competence and decency.

*********** Army QB candidate Ahmad Bradshaw knows that when he graduates from West Point, he could be sent someplace very dangerous.

But maybe not a lot more dangerous than where he comes from - Chicago’s South Side.

*********** So now it appears that Centcom - our Army's very top leaders - have been "persuaded" to change the information provided by their own analysts, in order to back up the rosy claims of our progress against ISIS put out by Our President.

Add to that an FBI whose director declined to press the case against Hillary Clinton…

Plus a “Justice” Department that refuses to investigate the corrupt practices of the Clinton Family Foundation but expects us to trust it when it says it’s capable of evaluating and directing the operations of big city police departments…

Throw in judges whose decisions treat large groups of citizens as if they’re childlike imbeciles, unable to provide proper identification in order to vote…

And a President determined to plant Middle Eastern “refugees” throughout the breadth and width of the country…

And it’s hard to make the argument that there’s anyone at the top with the integrity to do the right thing for the American people.

Face it - We’re screwed.

*********** Greg Koenig, at Beloit, Kansas High, runs a top-notch program.  Consistently, his Beloit Trojans rank among the tops in their class.  Part of it, I’m proud to say, is the way his teams execute Greg’s double-wing offense, but a major part of it is Greg’s overall approach to coaching young men, so I was flattered to read this on Facebook -
At the end of conditioning this morning, we started a new tradition in our program. I borrowed it from North Beach High School in Ocean Shores, WA. They are coached by my friend, Todd Bridge, and my mentor, Hugh Wyatt. At the end of every practice session, each of their players shakes hands with every coach before leaving the practice field. It was an outstanding way to finish this morning's workout. I already love this new Trojan Tradition.

*********** I started to laugh when I heard it, but then I got pissed.

The story was about “refugees” in Sweden.  Seems that the Swedish government is having trouble finding housing for them.  And on top of that, for many of the new arrivals, the accommodations provided (free of charge) by their hosts are not up to their high standards.

So the Swedish government, known for its generosity with the Swedish taxpayers’ money, has a great solution.

It’s asking Swedes who own summer cottages,  which they use only three months of the year, to allow refugees to live in them the rest of the year.

What got me was that the radio story said that they were asking “wealthy” Swedes to do this.

That’s what made me laugh - and got me pissed.

First of all, I’ve spent a lot of time in Scandinavia, and I can tell you that there are not a whole lot of “wealthy” people. Not, at least, by American standards.

There aren’t many poor people, either, because of generous government programs.  But you just don’t see that many people living in huge mansions on five-acre lots, either.

High, high taxation, which enables the governments to provide all sorts of “free” benefits to their fellow countrymen (not to mention rolling out the welcome mat for the uninvited human wave that has begun sweeping in) makes sure of that.

But secondly, from my experience with Finns, you can’t assume a person’s wealthy by whether he (or she) owns a summer cottage.

Although Finland is mostly farms and forests and lakes, most Finns live in cities, and most of them live in apartments.

The idea of getting away from it all - getting out of the city and into the woods - is in the Finnish nature, and it’s the near-universal aspiration of every Finn to one day own a kesämökki - a summer cottage.  Preferably on a lake, and always with a sauna.

But owning one doesn’t mean a Finn is rich.  Finns are thrifty people. It means that he did without a lot of other things - toys, conveniences, luxuries - in order to finally buy that kesämökki.

The Finns are generous, trusting people.  But I can’t imagine them letting foreign invaders into their summer cottages.

On the other hand, there is a good reason why they’re unoccupied much of the year. Scandinavian winters are brutal - cold and dark.  And those cottages aren’t winterized.

Maybe the idea is that come spring, after a winter on the shore of a frozen lake, the “refugees” may decide that life in the desert wasn’t so bad after all.

Three Frederick Falcons*********** When I played semi-pro football in Frederick, Maryland, one of my teammates was a guy named Clarence “Motts” Thomas. He was a local Frederick guy who’d played college football at Morgan State, in Baltimore, where his roommate was a linebacker named Willie Lanier (the same).

(In the photo at left, taken in the Fall of 1968, Motts is on the left, I'm on the right, and teammate Gene Snowden is in the middle)

As we got to know each other, we tended to bond because unlike most of the other players, we were both college graduates.

My wife and I and Motts and his wife became good friends, and often drove to away games together.  (The “Motts,” he told me, was because as a little kid he loved Motts Apple Sauce.)

After a season together, he was called up to serve in the Army, and we never got to play together again, but we stayed in fairly close touch as our careers advanced.

His career advanced from coaching high school ball in suburban Washington, to coaching at Bowie State, a historically-black college between Baltimore and Washington, to succeeding his college coach, the great Earl Banks, as head coach at his alma mater.  I remember him telling me how difficult it was following a living legend, especially one who remained on the scene as the AD, but as an assistant coach at Morgan State he had had the honor of going against the one and only Eddie Robinson of Grambling in the Urban League Classic in Yankee Stadium.  (Those were still the days before SEC schools got smart and began recruiting black athletes; at that time, Grambling was churning out NFL prospects.)

After leaving Morgan, Motts got a job as an assistant at Williams College, a prestigious liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts, and it was largely on the basis of his experience there, working with that sort of kid, that brought him to the attention of the people at Pomona College and Pitzer College in Claremont, California, when they were looking for someone to be the head coach of their combined football program.  At that point, I was living on the West Coast, and when he asked me what I thought about making a cross-country move, I remember saying, “Go for it!”

He did that, and made a name for himself at Pomona-Pitzer. First, as a good football coach (to the extent that anybody can ever build a powerhouse at schools with Ivy-type admissions standards, and in a league that didn’t permit its coaches to leave campus to recruit).  But second, as a man beloved by the people on campus, and invested with the supervision of an “outreach” program designed not just to identify minority youngsters who might benefit from a quality education, but also to prepare those kids - and their families - for the rigors of the college experience.

As a football coach, with summers free because of the low-intensity nature of Pomona-Pitzer football, Motts took a job coaching football - American football - in Finland.  He did a great job, as a coach and as an ambassador, and as a sign of the high  regard in which he was held, in 1986 he was named head coach of the Finnish National team.  His recommendation was good enough to get me a job in Finland, too, and ironically, in 1989, we faced each other in the national championship game, his Giants against my Colts. They’d beaten us earlier in the season and came into the game unbeaten, but we won the big one, 3-0. We had the offense - we’d scored 296 points in nine games - and they had the defense - they’d given up only 33 points - but in this one, our defense won it for us.  My best running back was hurt and my quarterback, best in the league, had a sore arm, but in the fourth quarter we managed to block a punt in their territory and then kick the winning field goal.

me and motts 2006The last time I saw Motts (photo at left), he and his wife, Catherine, stopped by our house just before Christmas.  He was retired and they were living in Bandon, Oregon. ( Bandon, if you don’t know, is home of Bandon Dunes, consistently rated one of the world’s top golf courses, and Motts managed to wangle a job as course marshal, which got him free golf privileges!)

In 2008 and 2009 Motts came out of retirement to coach the Bandon High football team, but his comeback was cut short by a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Sadly, despite treatment, the cancer got him.  He died in February, 2011.  Getting "the call" from Catherine was one of those events that you never forget. I was in  Florida for a clinic in Orlando, and I was staying with my friend Tom Hinger and his wife, Jane.  I can picture exactly where I was sitting when I got the news.

How here’s the most amazing thing, something he told me the last time we saw each other:

He grew up in  what was still something of a southern town in its attitudes toward race. He was the youngest child of a very large family.  His father, who was fairly old when Motts was born, was also the youngest of a large family.  And his father’s father - Motts’ grandfather - was born a slave.

Motts Thomas, the head football coach and esteemed faculty member of a prestigious California college… Motts Thomas, the head coach of the Finnish National team… was the grandson of a slave.

Please don’t  try to tell me that you can’t make it in America.

This whole thing started when I came across an article in the LA Times recently.  It was written  at the time that another Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a justice of the Supreme Court.

"I've gotten a little bit of ribbing but it's all good-natured stuff," Motts told the Times.  "But as far as I'm concerned, I am the real Clarence Thomas."

He noted that few people actually called him Clarence.  "In some phone books, I'm not even listed as Clarence. People who know me always call me Motts. Only my mother calls me Clarence."

But he said that he and his players all enjoyed a good laugh when Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed.

"We had just had an inauguration for our new (school) president and I was wearing a robe," he said. "But we still had to practice. So after the ceremony, I ran onto to field with my robe on and screamed at my players, 'I got the job! I got the job!' "

*********** I spoke with Art “Ossie” Osmundson on the phone Tuesday.  Ossie (that’s how he spells it but it’s pronounced “Ozzie”) finally retired two years ago, but he taught - and coached football and baseball - at Ridgefield, Washington for 37 years.  He was head baseball coach for 33 years and head football coach for 16.  His 1995 football team went 13-0 and won the state championship, dominating opponents without even so much as a close game. (Running the Double Wing, I should add, and inspiring me to make my first video.)

I had the privilege of coaching with Ozzie for five years prior to that big season, though, and I can tell you there were some tough seasons along the way. That’s when Ozzie showed me what kind of coach he was.  The low point was the year the levy election failed - that would have been about 1991.  The superintendent called all the faculty in and told us that with the failure of the levy (which provided taxpayer funding for all the school items that the state didn’t pay for), it meant that there wasn’t any money for sports. No new equipment, no coaching stipends, no transportation to away games.

A couple of the coaches got up and walked out, as much as saying “screw that.”

But Ozzie and I looked at each other and nodded.  He was in and so was I.  No way we weren’t going to have a football team.

We got a couple of other volunteers to join us.

We didn’t need any equipment, fortunately, but transportation was a bit of an issue.

We managed to get the superintendent’s approval to carpool to away games, and the most part, it worked well.

But in our phone conversation, Ozzie reminded me of a late-season game at Ilwaco.

Ilwaco is on the coast (its teams are the Fishermen), about 2 hours’ drive from Ridgefield, most of it on dark, winding roads.

Somehow, a few cars full of kids got lost along the way, and there we sat, Ozzie and I and a handful of kids, in the Ilwaco locker room as game time approached.

I kept looking out into the parking lot for the latecomers, and Ozzie remembers me coming into the locker room and saying, “Hey Oz - we can play.  We got eleven!”

We played.  And finished the season.  And kept Ridgefield football alive. And Ozzie and the kids went on to reward the town with a state championship, the first football state title ever won by a team from our corner of the state.

And in 2002 they paid him back by letting him go because certain influential parents didn’t think he was throwing the ball enough to showcase their children.  He was only 49, and he stayed on as Ridgefield's baseball coach for another 12 years, but he never coached another down of football.

(Ridgefield went 8-2 last year -  and the head coach stepped down, saying that after four years he'd had enough of the parental interference. “I love coaching and I love coaching those boys,’’ he told a local newspaper.  “If it was just me, the boys and the coaches, life would be perfect. But, we just have people in this community who are relentless and that’s unfortunate.’’)

*********** University of Arizona center Zach Hemmila  died in his sleep Sunday night.  Tragic. What else can I say?

Somehow, there's someone out there who'll blame football.

***********  A friend wrote…  I thought you might find this report interesting in light of our recent discussion about declining participation in football.

On a positive note, we gained 2 new freshmen at our parents meeting last night.

Yes, I wrote, and after reading the article,  another positive is the increase in the growth of soccer.   Just keep bringing in those illegals from Latin America and young male "refugees" from the Middle East and it's sure to continue!

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 9,  2016   “The great promise of socialism is something for nothing.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

***********  Michael Tanks, head coach at Southwest  DeKalb (the locals say “Dee-CABB”) High in suburban Atlanta and a former Florida State star center,  suffered a stroke and died unexpectedly just before the start of the season and his 49th birthday.  Rest in peace, Coach Tanks.

***********  It's Olympic time (yawn) and ifyou're like me, and you don't get excited over the gold medals  of a 31-year old jerk who's never done anything in his life but swim,  you'll enoy this  hilarious take on the Olympics, sent to me by John Rockwell, of Austin, Texas.

*********** The same humor-impaired numbskulls who accused Donald Trump of encouraging the Russians to hack our secret emails (simply because he pointed out the irony that the Russians had her emails and we didn’t) are still at it.

This time,  after Olympic basketball team coach Mike Krzyzewski responded to some joking by former Duke star Kyrie Irving with a joke of his own -  a friendly “F—k you!” -  a headline read:

Coach K Curses Out Kyrie Irving During Team USA Basketball Practice

Obviously, the writer has never played on a big boys’ team.

*********** Clairton Pennsylvania quarterback Lamont Wade had Michigan at the top of his list until they pressured him to attend their camp.  Kid sounds a little full of himself - maybe he’s bent out of shape because they wouldn’t bring one of their “satellite camps” to his town.

*********** From Open Wing newsletter #5 - Two Good questions -

Two quick questions.  First question where would you put your best guard?  Tight side, or open side and why?  

Second question, if you had to strip it all down and just rely on one pass play, besides bubble/smoke, what would it be?

Thanks coach, we open practice Monday.  I’m excited to be back in coaching!

(1) It would be the Tight Guard because of
1. Wedge
2. G
3. Counter to the Open side
4. Black/Brown to the Open side

My better tackle would be the OPEN tackle because I can stick a lesser tackle between the tight guard and tight end and he’ll be double-teaming a lot.

(2) If it came down to ONE SINGLE PASS PLAY at ANY TIME it would be 6-GREEN or 7-GOLD

Otherwise, though,  I would teach RED and BLUE protection and footwork because of all the things we can do with it, to any of our receivers.

Hope you get off to a great start.  VERY glad to hear you sound so excited.

*********** There’s still hope for Levi…

With no concern over whether I’m being a thorn in the side of Yale’s president Peter Salovey, I was a strong advocate of honoring Levi Jackson by naming one of Yale’s two new residential colleges for Levi Jackson, a New Haven youngster who became captain of Yale’s football team and went on to become a vice-president of Ford Motor Company.

President Salovey, to his credit, at least took the time to acknowledge my letters.

Sadly, though, Mr. Jackson didn’t make the cut.  One of the colleges was named for Benjamin Franklin - great person, great American, but without any connection whatsoever to Yale.

Another was named for a person named Pauli Murray.  She did receive a law degree from Yale, but truthfully, when one talks about alumni of a university, one normally talks about those who were bent and shaped by the university as undergraduates.   And despite whatever Ms. Murray may have accomplished in her lifetime, in no way did her accomplishments reflect on Yale one way or the other.  I’ve been reading the alumni monthly for more than 50 years, and I’d never heard of her.

But this is Yale, bastion of everything Politically Correct, and she sure did check a lot of the boxes - black, female, lesbian, feminist, liberal.

Levi Jackson, on the other hand, brought credit to Yale from the time he enrolled, first as the first black athlete to play football at Yale, then as the first black captain of an Ivy-League team.  Yale football was still big then, and his election was an occurrence of such note at the time that it merited a front-page story in the New York Times.

Following graduation, he went on to become the first black executive of Ford Motor Company, and was the driving force behind Ford’s minority dealership program.

To me, Levi jackson was the embodiment of what, back before Yale went coed,  used to be called a Yale man, someone who was expected to represent the university with pride and distinction, and leave the world a better place for his having been in it. 

There’s still hope for me, with the news that Yale will consider once again renaming Calhoun College, named for the South Carolina senator , a Yale graduate, who was a staunch advocate of slavery.

Who better to replace a fiery defender of slavery than Levi jackson, a black kid from New Haven who took his Yale education out into the world and made it better?

Levi Jackson lived the last words of our alma mater - “For God, for Country, and for Yale.”

Tom Walls Newsletter*********** Not so long ago, I mentioned Tom Walls, of Winnipeg, and the newsletter that he sends out to the players and parents in the organization he founded - the Sunrise Coyotes, of suburban Oakbank, Manitoba. Starting from scratch, he and his partner (his wife, Shandy) have seen  the club grow to its present size of  seven teams  and close to 200 players.

Recently, at my invitation, Coach Walls flew in to Seattle - then drove another three hours to Ocean Shores  - in order to observe first-hand our summer mini-camp.

Interestingly, one of the things that most impressed him was our practice of shaking hands:  before and after every practice, every player shakes hands with every  coach.  It's a manly trait that too few kids get to use nowadays, and on a team it's a wonderful way of building mutual trust. This way, it's unthinkable that a kid could go home angry or upset.

"Coach Tom" as he's known back home  wrote about his visit in highly flattering terms in his most recent newsletter.

*********** I’m looking at a way to easily send in formations (including flipping formations) using the wrist coach system. Sounds like you may have expanded on this already with your new dvd sets. I figure using each column, 1 through 5 or so, for a specific formation would do the trick. Obviously this would limit the formations, but it seems like a quick way to communicate formation and personnel. What do you think?

North Dakota


I put a play and the formation (and, where applicable, motion) I want to run it from into a square on the card.  (And each individual player's assignment.)

If I want to run the play from another formation, or with a motion other than the one on the card, I signal it or call it in.

Very simple for us to do and it works.

*********** There was just one running back in major college football last year who ran for 100 yards or more in every game - and he’s not even mentioned as a dark horse in the pre-season Heisman hype.

He’s Oregon’s Royce Freeman, and over the last two seasons he’s rushed for more yards (3,201) than any back in any Power 5 conference.

Maybe it’s because he plays in the Pacific Time Zone, and maybe it’s because he’s been outshone on the West Coast by Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, but Freeman, at 6 for, 230, is a horse.  A race horse.

*********** Amazing what the NFL thinks it can get away with. (Remind you of a certain presidential candidate?)

So someone screwed up royally and  the Pro Football Hall of Fame game wasn’t played. The Hall of Fame (which is technically not a part of the NFL), has announced that it will  stiff thousands of its most loyal fans, who took time off, spent money on gasoline, food, overpriced hotel rooms and highly overpriced tickets to watch the Hall of Fame game by  offering to refund their ticket money.  And nothing else.

Good business sense would dictate making it all good to such devoted fans.

But no.  Not the the NFL.

With billions of dollars in TV rights money spilling out of its pockets, it didn’t get where it is by being considerate of its paying customers.  It knows that they’ll show up with their money no matter how it treats them.

*********** Stephen A Smith tweeted: If @TonyDungy was white, would he be a Hall of Famer?

God, these people who look for discrimination under every rock are a pain in the ass.

I see an awful lot of black guys getting into the Hall of Fame.  Actually, I see an awful lot of black AND white guys getting into the Hall of Fame whose credentials I question.

(The biggest joke, of course,  is OWNERS getting into the Hall of Fame.  What? It isn’t enough to own a piece of property worth a billion dollars or more, but they have to give you a place in the Hall of Fame for being a good OWNER?)

I have the utmost respect for Tony Dungy as a man and as a coach, and I'd be delighted to see him in the Hall of Fame.

But in the meantime it would be better for all concerned if Mr. Smith would go back to commenting and writing on sports and stop trying to stir up  sh—.

*********** Not in Daisy's wildest dreams did they ever think that one day shooting a BB rifle would be an Olympic sport.

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 5,  2016   “I had on occasion to be on the lookout for natural leaders.  Athletes take a certain amount of kidding, especially from those who think it’s always brain vs. brawn.  But, I noted how well ex-footballers seemed to have leadership qualifications and it wasn’t sentiment that made it seem so.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

***********  Coach; Hope you're doing well. I enjoy reading your News section. You might remember a coach from the 1950s and 1960s named Phil Dickens who coached at Indiana and Wyoming. He ran an offense called the "Side Saddle T." What was the Side Saddle T? How was it aligned?
Thanks, Jim Stovar, Houston, Texas

wyoming side-saddle

That was back  in 2007, and I came across Coach Stovar's email  while working on the final  video of my 5-part Open Wing series.  To help make a point in the video, I’ve included some clips of the side-saddle.  This still shot (above) is from the 1954 Wyoming-Arizona game.  Wyoming is in dark jerseys, on offense.

Here’s what I wrote back then to Coach Stovar - with a little more added since...

Phil Dickens ran the "side-saddle T" at Wyoming in the mid-50s.  He did well there, which earned him the job at Indiana, where like so many others over the years, he did not do so well. I don't know whether he ran it at Indiana. (Wyoming has always been a real incubator of successful coaches: Dickens' predecessor there was Bowden Wyatt - no relation that I know of - who went on to Tennessee where he was Coach of the Year in 1956;  Bowden Wyatt’s successor was Bob Devaney, who would go on to build the Nebraska program into the powerhouse that it was until a couple of years ago when its current AD dismantled it (remember, this was 2007- HW). Others have included Pat Dye, Dennis Erickson and Joe Tiller.)
Tennessee play sheetDickens was a Tennessee guy, who learned his football as a single wing tailback under the legendary General Robert Neyland.  Coach Neyland's balanced-line single wing originally employed a quarterback close enough to the center to take an indirect "T-formation" snap, while offset slightly  to the strong side so that  the ball could also be "direct-snapped" back to the tailback or fullback.  (The diagram at left  is page one of an abbreviated playbook General Neyland  issued to all incoming Vols.  Note where the blocking back - the quarterback, who actually called the plays in those days - lined up.)
That was the offense that Dickens played in at Tennessee in the 1930s, and it's basically the offense that Phil Dickens was running at Wyoming under the name "Side-saddle," which entailed making more use of the quarterback than the General did.

At few years later, John McLaughry ran another version of it at Brown; I remember seeing Brown run it when I was in college.  Several years later, while in Providence, I spoke with Coach McLaughry, who told me that he was not a single-winger like Dickens, but he employed  the side-saddle because he felt that it better enabled his QB to make the toss-and-turn on the off-tackle power play, while still allowing him to run his wing-T attack.

Although Coach McLaughry, from film I’ve seen of his Brown teams, as well as scouting reports I’ve saved from my college days, did employ some direct-snap in his attack, he was basically a T-formation (under center) coach. 

Coach Dickens, on the other hand, was a single wing guy. From what I have seen,  he employed at least as much direct snap as under-center stuff, so it’s a misnomer to call what he was running a side-saddle “T.”
What the Wyoming and Brown offenses had in common was their hybrid nature - from the same formation, they could run single-wing or Wing-T plays.
As late as 1963, BYU was running a form of it, according to an article by their coach, Hal Mitchell, in which he appeared to give the impression that he thought he'd done  something innovative.
General Neyland, by the way, moved his QB away from the "side-saddle" position following the 1948 season.  According to Dr. Andy Kozar, a former Neyland player who compiled and edited the extensive journals of the General: "As teams adopted the T formation in droves, the quick buck (dive) lost its novelty, and Neyland abandoned the quarterback direct pass.  He cited the lack of clever personnel in handling the ball and, essentially, the loss of novelty."

As a young kid on the “pound teams,” (our school had 70, 80, 90, 105, 120 and 135-pound teams) I can remember seeing a few opponents running some sort of side-saddle, and  I can still see the side-saddle having some application in today's youth football, not only because it enables the QB to actually see the ball on the under-center snap, but because it does permit some crossover between wing-T and single wing.

brown side saddle(The page at left is from the 1959 Ivy League'pre-season press guide)

FROM A 1959 ISSUE OF BROWN ALUMNI MONTHLY, introducing new Brown coach John McLaughry…

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS most frequently asked of Brown's new football coach, John McLaughry, since his appointment in February has been:

"Just what is your Side-Saddle T formation?"

Being as good an artist as he is a coach, McLaughry drew the accompanying sketch to illustrate some aspects of his now-famous offense, the only one of its kind in the country.  The large drawing shows the relative position of the backfield, with special emphasis on the quarterback, who is facing the sideline. The two smaller diagrams illustrate the plays that would not be possible from the normal T-quarterback setup. Because of his placement, the side-saddle quarterback can make a handoff nearer to the point of attack than his original station. The play in diagram number two is a standard single-wing cutback by the tailback, in which the quarterback can be used as a key blocker.

How did the Side-Saddle T get its start? "Well," McLaughry explains, "we were using a conventional wing-T at Amherst in 1955, and we were faced with that old problem of tipping our hand on fourth and one situations. If we were going to run, we came out in the T. If we were going to punt, we came out in punt formation. I wanted to do something about it, so we moved our wingback to the deep spot and left the other two backs at their normal positions. Of course, we had to get the quarterback out of the way so we could make a direct snap if we wanted to and yet leave him in position to hand off if that was our strategy.

So, we set him in  this new position where his hands are placed exactly the same as they would be  in the T, but one foot is pivoted so he faces the sideline. We only used the formation several times that year, but, during the winter when we realized its possibilities, we developed a whole new offense around it."

In the three years he used the offense at Amherst, it averaged about 350 yards  per game. In 1957 the Lord Jeffs led the East in total offense with 391 yards per game.

McLaughry 's offense can be deceptive, but it isn't fancy. He doesn't use spreads or flankers to any great extent. "I think you win football games on fundamentals  and toughness. When you see us doing something fancy, it's just to please the  folks in the stands."

Basically, the Side-Saddle T would seem to be a happy combination of the best of  the single wing and the T. The tailback (Barry) stands almost directly behind the  center and will receive a direct pass from him about 20 per cent of the time. The  fullback (Choquette) stands further forward, behind the guard, but is not in a  position to receive the snap. The wingback (Carlin) stands outside the end and  is in a position to take a handoff, block, or go out for a pass.

The key man in the Side-Saddle T, of course, is the quarterback (Pannes). McLaughry listed three definite advantages which a Side-Saddle T quarterback has  working for him. "First of all," he said, "the quarterback can move up and down the line much faster than in the T, which requires a lateral movement. The T quarterback can only gain an average of six inches in his first step, while in the Side-Saddle T he can average four feet. The large sketch shows him taking but two steps to get out behind the end. Secondly, being half-turned, the quarterback can pitch out much quicker and then get ahead of the play faster as a blocker. Finally, he can also hand off much quicker on reserve spins to the fullback, for example, who will line up less than two yards from the ball."

The effects of the Side-Saddle T have already been felt in the Ivy League. The seven other Varsity coaches spent the spring bombarding the officials at Williams College for the films of the 1958 Amherst-Williams game. As Len Watters, Williams coach, said: "Had we charged the seven Ivy schools a rental fee for these films, we could darn near have balanced our athletic budget this spring."
*********** Every time the State Department trots out this “Admiral John Kirby” character, I think, “what a weasel.”

But appearances can be deceiving, because the guy is a retired admiral, a distinguished rank only a select few career naval officers ever achieve, so I figured he had to have done something right.

Was I wrong.  A Wikipedia check reveals that this guy spent just about this entire F-king navy career as a F-king PR guy!

Wow. Such a warrior.

Never went through the rigors of the Naval Academy.  Never been in harm's way. Never been shot at (or fired a shot in combat). Never had to sleep in a tent or eat an MRE. Never had to hump a 40-pound backpack on a 20-mile march. Never had to jump out of a plane or a helicopter.

Never had to do anything but churn out press releases. 

What he did exceptionally well, I suspect, was kiss the right tochuses.

Perfect preparation for his current job.

*********** A coach wrote me to say that he needed to do something more offensively  than run from one formation - said that for him, the “golden age of the Double Wing” was a thing of the past.

I wrote,

Nothing wrong with the Double Wing.  I love it.  Great offense.  But as you and I know, it’s often hard to sell it to some kids and their  parents, hard to sell it to administration and boosters.

It’s a lot like politics - you have two jobs.  The first job is to get elected;  the second is to do what you’ve been elected to do.

Problem is, you don’t get to do the second job until you’ve done the first one.

*********** Tom Jackson has announced he’ll retire from ESPN following this weekend’s Hall of Fame game.

I’ll miss him.  He was one of the first black former athletes to work on an ESPN studio  show, and while he was certainly a good player, he didn’t get his job because he’d made a big name for himself on the field; he defiitely didn’t get it because he acted like a jackass on the field or a criminal off the field.

Damn.  Time flies.  Tom Jackson is 65 years old.  Doesn’t seem that log ago he was playing linebacker for the Broncos.

Political Ad*********** In Arcadia, Iowa, a parade celebrating the local fire department’s 100th anniversary featured a “float” consisting of a Hillary Clinton  lookalike (actually a guy in a red pantsuit) in a cage, but close enough).  Parade watchers were handed water balloons and, well…

************ By now, except for those in foreign countries,  all of you coaches who ordered the 5-DVD Open Wing set  should have received DVD #4.  

After being able to work with our kids all June and July, we now have 2-1/2 weeks of state-enforced “dead time,” which I plan to use to finish up #5, which is about two weeks from shipping.

In the meantime, a good question from an early user:

On Belly (55-XO and 44 XO) - shown in DVD #4 -  is your X block unconditional or do you rule block it like Wing-T belly? Thanks in advance and best of luck this year.

A. All we do (so far) is X-block it. So, yes, it is unconditional.  We run 55/44 if the front is there. If not, we don’t run it.  Most fronts we see permit it.  We usually see a man in the “5” tech and another in either a “”3”, “2” or “1”, with a backer somewhere between the two down linemen.

Besides the “X” block, my two favorite plays that hit inside the open side edge player (DE) are the Criss-Cross…

and (if your QB can run) West Liz 65-C-OP - a QB keep, with the option to take it outside if for some reason it’s clogged. The Liz motion should affect the defense and either loosen the DE or widen the #3 man.  If it doesn’t we’d be crazy not to follow right up with “WEST LIZ BLUE WING BUBBLE” - Bubble to the motioning Wing, with Split End blocking #1, Slot Back blocking #2.  It’s an easy pass for the QB.

Still attacking the open side DE…

West Strong 65-C LEAD is a great play.

West Strong 5-C is pretty good because it hits quick, and with LIZ motion it looks even better.

In a recent mini-camp we took a look at “West 6 Black-O Shovel” (shovel-shuffle - who knows?) We show 6 Black-O  while bringing the WING underneath, as he does on a counter, but slightly slower.  We have the QB put on the brakes on his rollout and shovel the ball back to the Wing.  There should be a big hole between the open tackle’s down block and the Tight Guard’s “O” block.  (The tight guard should let the DE widen for contain.)  This also looks good from “West Strong.”

That ought to be enough to keep that DE back on his heels.  Enough to keep him from pass-rushing aggressively, or chasing our tackle on WEST 6-C.

(All these plays are equally good from EAST. In the interest of time and space, I just described them from West.)

Hope things are going well.

Send me any questions or observations you might have.

Ty Darlington*********** Campbell Trophy  winner Ty Darlington, of Oklahoma, is featured in the National Football Foundation’s latest mailing, shown with enlarged photos of the ring he received.  The Campbell Award, named for the late Bill Campbell, nicknamed "the Coach of Silicon Valley," who made the switch from coaching (head coach at Columbia) to  business and attained the very summit of high tech - as VP of marketing for Apple, then CEO of Claris Corporation, then of Intuit Corporation, then named a member of the board of directors of Apple by Steve Jobs. At the time of his death in 2014, he was chairman of the board of trustees of Columbia.  (Not too bad for an old football coach!)

The Campbell Trophy is presented annually to a senior college football player who is judged "absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership."

Ty is the son of Rick Darlington, highly successful coach at Apopka, Florida High School.

***********   Since 2011, the National Football Foundation (NFF)  has partnered with Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating (CFO), to help generate awareness for the rule changes in college football through a series of regular columns distributed by the NFF.

Having officiated football for more than three decades, Redding started his career working high school football in Texas. He later officiated in the Southwest Conference from 1988-93, served as a referee in the Southeastern Conference for nearly a decade and worked three national championship games. He received his bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech and later obtained a masters and Ph. D. in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt. Redding was honored with the NFF's Outstanding Football Official Award in 2010.
Here are highlights of the  2016 rule changes as summarized by Rogers Redding:

Scrimmage Kick Formation (aka "See-ya, A-11!")

Punts and field goal attempts are classified as scrimmage kicks, because they are made as part of a play from scrimmage. The rules for scrimmage plays require the offense to have at least five linemen wearing jerseys numbered between 50 and 79. However, if a team is in a scrimmage kick formation, they may replace some of those players by linemen wearing numbers outside the 50-79 range; these typically are "speed players," backs who are faster than the larger linemen and can get downfield faster to cover the kick.  
Because some teams were beginning to "game" the rules by running or passing the ball from this formation (CAN YOU SAY "A-11"? HW) the rules committee felt that it needed to tighten the requirements. Under the new rules, a scrimmage kick formation must have a player at least 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage (the likely punter) OR a potential kicker and potential holder at least seven yards deep. Another important part of the rule is that "it must be obvious that a kick will be attempted."

Tripping the Ball Carrier
For a number of years it has been illegal for a player to stick out his foot or leg to trip an opponent, but it was legal to do this to the ball carrier. Because of leg injuries to runners over the past couple years, the committee now has made it illegal to trip any opponent, including the ball carrier.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct by a Coach

For many years, NCAA football has had a rule wherein a player who commits two fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct is disqualified for the remainder of the game after the second foul. Interestingly enough, no such rule exists in college football for behavior by coaches. Football is the only NCAA sport that does not have such a rule. For example, in basketball when a coach receives two technical fouls, the second foul disqualifies him for the rest of the game.
The rules committee believes that as teachers and adult leaders of young athletes playing football, coaches should be held to a high standard of behavior appropriate to such a responsible position. Thus, starting in 2016, the rule will be that a coach who commits two fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct will be disqualified from the game. He must leave the playing field before the ball is next put into play, and he must remain out of view of the playing field for the remainder of the game.

Use of Technology for Coaching
The rules committee was recommending that coaches be allowed to use video and computers in the press box and the locker rooms, but after receiving expressions of concern from a number of conferences about implementing this change, the committee has voted to delay this new rule until 2017. This will give institutions more time to prepare for this major change in the use of technology. So there will be no change in the technology-for-coaching rule for 2016.

Sliding Ball Carrier: Defenseless Player
There are several situations where a player is considered "defenseless" for purposes of the targeting rule. Examples include a pass receiver who is concentrating on catching the ball and a kick-return man awaiting a punt. This year the committee added the ball carrier who has "obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first."

Low Hits on the Passer

This rule that protects the passer is clarified that the tackler may not legally make forcible contact against the passer at the knee or below, even if he is making a wrap-up tackle.

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 2,  2016   “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”  Milton Friedman

***********    In September, 2014, John McPhee wrote in the New Yorker magazine about one of his old classmates at Princeton, the last of the long line of single wing tailbacks to win the Heisman Trophy:

The Heisman winner was Dick Kazmaier, who went to Harvard Business School instead of the N.F.L. There were ten of us around a central living room, where a sign on a wall asked what it might have been like to be a college roommate of Red Grange. As I said in an introduction at an event some fifty years later, we knew what it was like to live with Dick. He had better things to do than play gin rummy. He drew a tight circle around his teammates, roommates, and other friends. Across the years, he often said that what mattered to him most at Princeton was, in his words, “what I was part of: I was like every other student.” He alluded to the Heisman Trophy and all that went with it as “an unusual external part of the picture.”

He was enduringly superstitious. When he went down the tunnel into Palmer Stadium for football games, he was always the last player. It had been so augured. Somewhere. He told George the quarterback never to let him touch the ball on Princeton’s first play. In the old single wing, the tailback and the fullback always lined up where either one could take the snap. Dick was the tailback, Russ McNeil the fullback. After other teams somehow became aware of Kazmaier’s superstition, Russ McNeil, on the first play, went down like General Custer. The number that Kazmaier wore—42—became his lucky number. His Massachusetts license plate was KA42. His e-mail address was (’52 being his class year). When he was in a restaurant, if the check came to x dollars and forty-two cents he was made happier than he could ever be by the sum contents of ten thousand fortune cookies. Seat No. 42 in any kind of theatre or arena was a good-luck seat. His company, Kazmaier Associates, on Elm Street, in Concord, Massachusetts, seemed to have a tentacle in every aspect of most known sports, from the international licensing of basketball broadcasts to the manufacture and sale of baseball uniforms and football helmets. Dick’s parking space at Kazmaier Associates was No. 42. There were thirty-six spaces in the parking lot.

*********** Nial Ferguson, British historian, wrote in the Sunday Times (of London) on November 15…

Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble.  As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true that the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies, including our novel notions about sexual equality and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities.  And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.

I do not know enough about the fifth century to be able to quote Romans who described each new act of barbarism as unprecedented, even when it had happened multiple times before; or who issued pious calls for solidarity after the fall of Rome, even when standing together meant falling together; or who issued threats of pitiless revenge, even when all they intended to do was to strike a melodramatic posture.

I do know that 21st-century Europe has itself to blame for the mess it is in now…

“Romans before the fall,” wrote historian Bryan Ward-Perkins, “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue forever substantially unchanged.  They were wrong.  We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.”

*********** This past weekend, we conducted a two-day, four-session mini-camp at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), and it was both exciting and scary.

Exciting because of the progress we’re making, despite the way graduation hit us; scary because while we can put a decent 11 on the field, we have only 17 bodies.

But they’re good bodies.  They’re good kids - “OKG’s” (Our Kinda Guys) as Washington coach Chris Peterson calls them - and they’re coachable and reliable and as much fun to work with as any kids I’ve ever been around.

I was reading a little bit of football history Monday morning and happened to be reading about Illinois’ legendary coach Bob Zuppke.

In 1921, his Fighting Illini upset Ohio State - in Columbus, yet - 7-0.

Before the game, he informed his team that his starters had better plan on being iron men:

“We will play only eleven men,” he told them. “Nobody but a dead man can come out of the game.”

Imagine the number the media would do on a coach who said that nowadays.

Zuppke was known to enjoy a drink.  Once, while taking a sip or two, he said to Howard Jones, great coach at Yale, then Iowa,  then  USC, “Howard, you’re a great coach, but you’d be a greater one if you'd take a drink once in a while.  You’d have more imagination.”

Replied Jones, “I never heard of a drink yet figuring out a play.”

“You haven’t?” Zuppke said.  “Well, I’ve just had two drinks and figured out three new plays.”

(The book I found that in is a treasure: Tim Cohane’s “Great College Football Coaches of the Twenties and Thirties.”)

***********  Hi Coach,

Just a quick note to thank you for the Open Wing DVD's. I thoroughly enjoyed them, as I have all of your material. I really appreciate the effort you put into these. They are jam packed with a myriad of possibilities coaches can implement.


Ed C., Florida

*********** Steve Spurrier was not universally liked by rival coaches. He was hated by opposing fans. He sneeringly insulted and demeaned opponents, and
had (has?) a well-earned  reputation for being a wiseass.  So it does seem strange that his new job title at the University of Florida  should contain the word “ambassador.”  

But anyhow, he’s just been named Ambassador and Consultant for the Florida Athletic Department.

The  job's probably just going to entail going around speaking to alumni and criticizing whoever the Gators' current head coach happens to be.

*********** I noticed that you go on first sound and the QB moves his hands to start motion.

Why? Have you found that this prevents defenders from "jumping the snap?" Do you ever go on another count? How long did it take until you had everyone firing off on "go"?

Yes, we start motion with the hands and snap it on “GO!”

I have snapped it on “GO” for at least 10 years.

We NEVER get procedure penalties.  Haven't had one in years.  It’s no fun starting out first-and-fifteen.  And it’s no fun when you had second and goal from the three and suddenly it’s from the eight. What’s it worth to go into a game knowing that you’ve already eliminated one way that can beat you?

We do practice going on “Second GO,” and we will actually do it occasionally in a game.  

Sometimes, we will quarterback sneak (when we go under center) “On the Goose” - the center snaps it when the QB flips his hands up against his thighs.  Everyone else moves on the snap.

It hasn’t ever been a problem for me anywhere I’ve gone, either as a coach or a guest coach.

The most important thing to me: it’s one less thing for our kids to remember.

*********** Donald J. Trump (why do they insist on including the “J”, as if there’s some other Donald Trump out there that we might confuse him with?)  reminds me of a football coach who’s up against a crummy team that he ought to be beating by ten touchdowns - but he continues to stifle his team’s drives by picking up unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,  for insulting the opposing players, flipping off the crowd,  and arguing with the referees over trivial things that have nothing to do with the game.

So now here he is claiming that he got a letter from the NFL complaining about a presidential debate being scheduled at the same time as an NFL game, while the NFL denies that there was such a letter.

Whom to believe?

Donald Trump? The NFL? 

Neither one of them known for being completely respectful of the truth (how’s that for being tactful?).

Jeez - you’d think, in return for The Donald almost singlehandedly bringing down the USFL, that the NFL would be in his camp.

*********** Steve Eisenhaur, an All-American guard at Navy in the 1950s who went on to an outstanding career as a Marine officer - including flying 120 combat missions in Vietnam - died back in May.

*********** Bill McCartney, 1989 coach of the year at Colorado, is suffering from Alzheimer’s, his family has announced.

His has been an amazing coaching life.

He was a successful high school coach in suburban Detroit when he was hired by the great Bo Schembechler at Michigan.  He was the only high school coach Schembechler ever hired.

After eight years as an assistant under Schembechler, he was hired at Colorado, succeeding Chuck Fairbanks in June of 1982. (Talk about a late start.)

In 1982 the Buffs went 2-8-1; they climbed to 4-7 in 1983, but went in the dumps in 1984 with a 1-10 record.   That’s 7-25-1 in three years.

He might not have lasted in today’s win-immediate climate.
   But he was given a contract extension, and he repaid the CU people by going 7-5 in 1985 and, getting progressively better, until winning a share of the national title in 1990.

His time at Colorado had its soap-opera aspects: in early 1989, star quarterback Sal Aunese was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  He died in the middle of the 1989 season, and at about the same time as his death, it was revealed to the public that Coach McCartney’s 19-year-old daughter had given birth to Sal Aunese’s child, a baby boy.

To his credit, Coach McCartney and his family handled the situation with great aplomb.***

While at Colorado, he founded Promise Keepers, a Christian men’s organization that, in my opinion, showed great promise (no joke intended) as a means of bringing American men together to accept their responsibilities as husbands, fathers, and men.

In 1994, he resigned at Colorado.  He was just 54, but he never coached again.

In 1995, his name was mentioned as a possible successor when Bob Schembechler retired at Michigan, but the job went instead to Gary Moeller.

May God watch over Coach McCartney and his family as they go through what are sure to be some difficult times.

As they said in a statement,  "We are making this public to ask for your understanding and patience as we know he frequently runs into fans, friends and former players.  This is a frustrating and confusing disease, and if he appears disconnected or unknowing, please don't take it personally."

Great advice.  I mentioned earlier a book that my daughter-in-law, Michelle Wyatt, has had published in Australia about dealing with her Mum, Bev’s, 13-year bout with Alzheimer’s.  It’s called “Not Right in the Head,” a title  inspired by Michelle’s dad, Frank, who used the expression to describe some of the residents at the Alzheimer’s care-home where Bev was living.  (Well no kidding, was MIchelle’s reply.  That’s why they’re here.) Shamelessly plugging the book, I must say that it’s a marvelous insight into one family’s coping with a horrible disease that nearly all of us have had some exposure to.

*** The McCartneys handled the news that their daughter was carrying Sal Aunese’s baby with about as much dignity and Christian understanding as is humanly possible.

After hearing the news that not only was their daughter pregnant, not only was the father of her child refusing to have anything to do with her, but that he and his friends were encouraging her to have an abortion.  In response, Lyndi McCartney, Bill’s wife, wrote Sal one of the most beautiful, courageous letters I’ve ever read.

The late, great Jim Murray of the L.A. Times wrote this, in 2008…

“You’re not going to be happy with me,” Kristy McCartney told Aunese when she broke the news to him. She was right. Aunese was so unthrilled, he refused to have anything to do with her. His friends closed around, recommending Kristy have an abortion and not tell her parents.  Kristy, heartbroken, told her parents.

Kristy’s mother, Lyndi, sat down and penned this letter to Aunese:

“Hi Sal,

“I wanted to talk to you in person so I could give you a big hug. . . . I know you’re hurting, too, and I know it’s very scary and difficult to face. I want you to have confidence that the decisions you’ll be making . . . will be totally acceptable no matter what they are–with two exceptions. No quitting school and no quitting the team. These are vital to your future and personal well-being.

“Kristy is so deeply concerned for your future and doesn’t want to hamper your success in any way. We feel the same and I hope this letter will convey warm feelings and no judgments.

“Coach Mac and I think you are a terrific person, and it is not our desire to pressure you or punish you in any way. What you and Kristy are experiencing is life. Perhaps it’s not what either of you planned, but a moment of passion has created a miracle within Kristy, and I know that within Kristy’s heart that moment was filled with love. . . .

“I really need to express my feelings as Kristy’s mom. She is my treasure, my beautiful little girl, her Dad and I love her with every fiber of our being. We have prayed for a loving Christian mate for our children.

“It’s important that the mate she chooses has a lifelong, loving commitment, that she is his treasure and he is hers, that they live a life that gives love and warmth and joy, that they be connected in soul, heart and purpose. . . .

“I don’t see two people getting married if the love isn’t there, just because they created a baby.

“If you and Kristy don’t love each other, don’t get married. We don’t need an unhappy life for either of you. . . . If you or Kristy want our help, we’ll be there for you both. . . .

“Sal, if there’s anything I’d ask of you, as Kristy’s mom, it would be just to be her friend. You don’t have to marry her. You don’t have to love her. You don’t have to date her. You don’t have to be responsible for her or the baby. You and your friends are her closest friends, share this precious secret. Kristy needs you, just to be kind, caring friends. Remember you are loved.”

In a P.S., she added: “I have to say I’m deeply disappointed that you and (your friends) have advised Kristy to kill a defenseless baby. Thank God your parents did not do that to you for the world would be a sadder place without the four of you in it.”

St. Paul couldn’t have said it better.

Meantime, Sal Aunese’s baby?  The little boy was named Chase McCartney and raised by his mother.  Chase turned out to be a pretty decent Denver-area high school player, and he was recruited to LSU by Les Miles, who as a member of Bill McCartney’s staff was the guy who recruited Sal Aunese to Colorado.

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 29,  2016   “Political reformer: one who wants his chance at the trough.”  Malcolm Forbes


"Nice football program you have here… sure would be a shame if your coaches didn’t get USA Football certified and you didn’t have anybody to coach it.”

With that sort of mob tactic, the NFL and its front, USA Football, the self-styled “governing body for football in America,” have been spending millions forcing a program called Heads Up Football on coaches.

Their claim?  It’ll make the game safer for kids to play.  And the corollary - if you aren’t Heads Up Football trained, why, you’re a danger to the sport.  And Moms, ask your son’s coach if he’s “Heads Up Football” trained.  And if he’s not…

Now, Big Football has been exposed.

Thanks to Coach Jerry Lovell of Bellevue, Nebraska for alerting me to a story that broke Wednesday in the New York Times, appearing to confirm what I’ve suspected for a long time - that  “Heads Up Football” is an opportunistic scam that’s been perpetrated on coaches, players, parents and the public by the NFL and USA Football, fortified by false statistics claiming dramatic improvements in player safety where teams have been Heads-Up Football trained.

As part of the program, coaches have been forced by their leagues and their state associations to submit to “Heads Up Football” training sessions - on their own time - while Big Football and its faithful stooge have run ads trying to reassure  parents, scared to death already news of former NFL players suffering from CTE, and by the NFL’s tolerance of such unsafe practices by its own players as tackling head first and wearing helmets that clearly have not been properly fitted.

Now comes the revelation that the figures that USA Football and the NFL have been using to support their claims for the motive results of Heads Up Football training are phony.

We youth and high school coaches don’t have enough problems with concussion hysteria and declining turnouts, without the muckety-mucks of our game cynically making safety claims that just aren’t so.

Turns out, as Alan Schwartz writes in the New York Times, the NFL and its flunky  have been cooking the books…

As increasing numbers of parents keep their children from playing tackle football for safety reasons, the National Football League and other groups have sought to reassure them that the game is becoming less dangerous.

No initiative has received more backing and attention than Heads Up Football, a series of in-person and online courses for coaches to learn better safety procedures and proper tackling drills. The N.F.L. funds and heavily promotes the program. The league and U.S.A. Football, youth football’s governing body, which oversees the program, have sold Heads Up Football to thousands of leagues and parents as having been proved effective — telling them that an independent study showed the program reducing injuries by 76 percent and concussions by about 30 percent.

That study, published in July 2015, showed no such thing, a review by The New York Times has found. The research and interviews with people involved with it indicate, rather, that Heads Up Football showed no demonstrable effect on concussions during the study, and significantly less effect on injuries over all, than U.S.A. Football and the league have claimed in settings ranging from online materials to congressional testimony.

“Everybody who is involved in trying to improve the safety of youth sports, when parents such as myself are so desperate to have effective solutions, has the responsibility to make sure that any information that they are putting out to the public is accurate, is comprehensive, and is based on legitimate science,” said Elliot F. Kaye, the chairman of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, who has worked with U.S.A. Football and the N.F.L. on improving helmet safety. “It does not appear that this met that standard.”


The NFL chose to combat the issue of  declining numbers in youth and high school football by pushing Heads Up Football training on youth and high school football coaches: it gave USA Football  $45 million; it added its marketing and PR  muscle, with logos on the field, signs at stadiums, TV commercials, and newspaper articles praising the program; and it “lobbied” (if you want, you can substitute “bribed”) state legislatures and associations to require their states’ coaches to undergo Heads-Up Football training.

Schwartz continues…

The N.F.L. and its players’ union formed U.S.A. Football in 2002 to oversee the sport and help it grow among children ages 6 to 14. But participation has dropped precipitously in recent years, from 3 million in 2010 to about 2.2 million last fall — a decline generally attributed to concerns about injuries, particularly to the brain.

In 2013, in consultation with the N.F.L., U.S.A. Football started Heads Up Football, whose primary goals were to improve safety and reassure parents. The program requires one “player safety coach” per team to attend a clinic that focuses on concussion recognition and response, blocking and tackling techniques, proper hydration and other safety topics. A team’s other coaches must take online courses in those subjects as well.

In March 2014, the N.F.L. gave U.S.A. Football $45 million, in large part to get more youth leagues to adopt the program.


I’ve been pointing out for some time that USA Football,  while claiming to be our “governing body” or some such,  in reality is the NFL in disguise.  The NFL has gone to some lengths to promote the myth that USA Football is independent, and that Heads Up Football is its baby, but slips of the lip by NFL higher-ups, and the fact that USA Football is almost totally funded by the NFL say otherwise.

Schwartz writes,

While U.S.A. Football is said to operate independently from the N.F.L., the league is its primary source of operating funds, and some researchers consider the two almost indistinguishable.

“In my mind, U.S.A. Football and the N.F.L. are one,” said Dawn Comstock, a professor of epidemiology and the primary researcher into high school sports injuries at the Colorado School of Public Health. “If I’m talking with one about something involving youth football safety, my perception is I’m talking to both.”


But even knowing full well  that their figures are NOT correct, and that they are NOT making the game safer, they persist in their scam…

Writes Schwartz, “During a high school sports conference in Alabama last week, a coach presented a glowing slide show about the program to fellow coaches and athletic directors, unaware that many of the numbers and statements were not supported by the data.”


I am not pulling for the NFL or USA Football in this.  I am on the side of the game of football, which thrived for a long time before the NFL felt strong enough to arrogantly claim it for its own, and now I fear for its survival in the hands of such self-serving organizations as the NFL and USA Football.

Full disclosure: I confess to having a dog in this fight, so long as  USA Football continues to sell a “Double Wing Playbook” that in many places is a total ripoff of my work, the stuff I spent years developing and naming.  I mean, come on - “6-G?”  “Dollar-Bill Splits?”  My guess is that they simply commissioned someone to slap together the playbook and didn’t ask any questions about where it came from, knowing that even if it had been lifted intact, there really aren’t a lot of people who can afford the legal fees to fight the NFL.  Or "Football's National Governing Body."

Now, if you'll excuse me... I have to hurry because the Seahawks are coming to town to teach our kids how to tackle.*

* For all you liberals out there, that was sarcasm.


Jim Brown, possibly the greatest running back in the history of the NFL, was also one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time. And, while at Syracuse, he also lettered in basketball and track.  He was inducted into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame on July 27.  

***********  When I read that Under Armour had coughed up a pile of money to make Yale an Under Armour school, I fretted at first at the thought of what they might do to the uniforms.  Those clownish Maryland uniforms, inspired by the state flag (a very nice one, I think, as a former Marylander), came immediately to mind.

So when the new Yale football uniforms were unveiled last week, I could scarcely believe my eyes.  They look like real football uniforms!

***********   Representative Robert Pittenger of North Carolina wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, noting a certain hypocrisy in the NBA’s  oh-so-righteous stand against North Carolina’s “Boys in the Bathroom” law, while at the same time cozying up to those noted advocates of human rights, the Chinese…

Dear Mr. Silver:
Last week, I met with constituents from China who outlined the Chinese government practice of forcefully harvesting vital organs as part of their oppression of religious minorities. Meanwhile, the NBA will start selling tickets for preseason games in China next week.

Is the NBA implying that China’s abhorrent violation of basic human rights is acceptable, but North Carolina saying men shouldn’t use the girl’s locker room is a bridge too far? What is the NBA’s true priority? The unmistakable hypocrisy is clear to me.

Please justify how you can be engaged with a country who [sic] has flagrantly violated human rights with forced abortions and selling vital human organs. There seems to be a gross lack of judgment and moral clarity.


Robert Pittenger
Member of Congress

***********  So…. Bernie was “authentic,” did I hear you say?

Maybe.  But  when I saw all his angered followers, who’d been  led along and then dumped,  one thought came to mind:  “Judas Goat.”

So named because of the trusted disciple who betrayed Christ, the Judas Goat was used in slaughterhouses to lead a flock of trusting sheep along a path to their slaughter;  at the very last minute, too late for the unsuspecting sheep to escape their fate, he’d veer off, saving himself.

There’s a football analogy here:  Bernie’s bailout on his supporters  reminded me of the super recruiter, who on the basis of a bunch of grandiose promises brings in a great class of recruits and then,  once they’ve all signed their letters of intent, skips off to a bigger and better job, leaving them to fend for themselves.

*********** About this time last year, Coach Rick Davis,  a long-time Massachusetts coach who’d moved to New Zealand was getting ready to come be a guest coach with us at Ocean Shores for a few weeks.  He flew in, rented a car, and came and stayed with us at our place.

Right now, he’s back in Massachusetts on vacation, and he just wrote me…

I think I need to buy a lottery ticket.....get this, the vehicle I rented last year when I was in OS...I have the same vehicle...not same make/model, same vehicle (Arizona license plate tipped me off and I checked it with an old photo). What are the odds?

*********** If the NFL doesn’t kill our game, $1500 helmets ought to about do it.

*********** I coached football in Finland for seven seasons.  I love the country and the Finnish people.  My only regret about coaching there is that if I’d gone to coach almost  anywhere else, I’d be fluent in the language by now.  But Finnish, considered one of the world’s most difficult languages, is devilishly tough to learn, and despite my best efforts to pick it up - my five years of Latin helped a lot, and I compiled a long list of vocabulary words - I would say that my language skills never advanced past those of , oh,  a five-year-old Finnish kid.   (But, in fairness, a five-year-old Finnish kid who knows all the swear words.)

Finns love their European sports, especially winter sports. They are especially passionate about ice hockey, and Finns are well represented in the NHL.

But American football does have a following there, and someone put together this rather interesting explanation of our game, in Finnish, of course, since it’s aimed at a Finnish audience.

*********** My son’s friend Nathan Chapman runs an organization in Melbourne, Australia called ProKick Australia, which identifies Australian Rules players as potential NFL punters, and coaches and prepares them for American colleges.  He estimates that he has sent some 60 punters to American colleges.

How good are these Aussies, who grow up playing a game based on being able to punt accurately and far?

The last three Raymond Guy Awards, given to the best college punter, have gone to Australians.

On top of that, they have good hands and they’re used to contact.

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 26,  2016   "Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing."   P. T. Barnum

*********** For a number of years, I held a clinic in the Santa Clarita-Valencia-Stevenson Ranch area of Southern California, a beautiful area of hills and canyons about 20-30 miles north of LA.  It is a neat place, probably the one I’d choose to live in if I were to move to the Southland.

Its population continues to grow, but it's a large enough area that it doesn’t seem too crowded, and you’re never that far from wild country.  In fact, in the early days of movies, many westerns were shot there, and William S. Hart, the very first of the movie cowboys, owned a lot of property in the area.  A local high school is named for him.

There’s really only one problem with the area, but it is a big one - wildfires.  Wildfires, like the one that’s now roaring out of control around Santa Clarita, consuming dry brush and trees and everything else in its path .

My heart goes out to the people who’ve had to evacuate, who’ve had to pick up and leave the homes of their dreams and everything inside.  Say a prayer, if you will, that they’ll be able to return soon and resume their lives.

*********** After he retired from the movie business, early Hollywood cowboy actor William S. Hart wrote a series of books.

One of them, published in 1920, was entitled, “Injun and Whitey.”

Talk about politically incorrect.

I have a feeling that if one of today’s precious Yalies should ever come across a copy in one of the school’s libraries, it would set off a stampede for a safe space reminiscent of the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

***********  Donald Trump says “I’ll build a wall.”

Its purpose?  To keep foreigners from crossing our border and entering our country illegally.

But let’s face it - until we actually see that wall, it’s just so much B-S.

The Democrats, though, are not bullshi—ers.  They’re people of action.  They get things done.

They’ve already built their wall - a four-mile long, eight-foot high fence, actually.

Not on the border, however.

Around their convention site.  In Philadelphia.

To keep Americans out.

Oh - and not even loyal Democrats can get in without showing a government-issued photo ID. 

Hmmm. Hypocrisy, anyone?

*********** Keep reading my NEWS page! Stay ahead of the pseudo-intellectuals!

I heard Bill O’Reilly on Fox News discussing his series “Legends and Lies - the Patriots” and he mentioned an upcoming episode about Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox.” 

He lamented, “People don’t even know who he was.”

Haha.  That’s for sure.  Not today’s history majors, anyhow, who “study” bogus subjects like the History of Male Domination or the History of White Privilege,  but otherwise don’t know sh— about their nation’s history. 

But I know a bunch of football coaches who do.  (If they read my News page.)

***********  Good Morning Coach Wyatt,
My name is Darrel Fiddermon, I coach a 12U team. Currently I serve as Head Coach Offensive and Defensive Line. I enjoy teaching the kids line play, even though I was a QB in high school. One of the things that concerns me is player retention. Last year we were fortunate to have a nice mixture of kids with at least 4 years’ experience to augment our first year players. As with all youth football kids grow older and you are confronted with the problem of recruiting new players every year. I guess my question would be how would you go about retaining the players that may not have been starters the previous year? Thanks for taking the time.
Darrel O. Fiddermon
Washington, D.C.

Hi Darrel,

Nice to hear from you.

You are right to be concerned about player retention.

Let’s put aside concentration on a single sport as an issue for you, because if they’re 11 or 12 years old and still playing football, it must mean that the soccer types didn’t get to them in time.

I have always believed that the most important measure of a youth - or middle school - coach is whether his kids turn out for football again next year.

The number one factor in those kids’ decision to stay with the game is whether they had a good experience.

I think that the challenge of player retention is a two-pronged one.  Of course the decision not to continue with the game is often the kid’s, but more and more, it is the parents’ decision.  At the very least, where once they would encourage their sons to play football - insist, even - they now will “leave it up to him.”

The time to work on retention is in-season.

It’s treating kids with respect and setting standards and enforcing them  - fairly and firmly -  without being hard-nosed.  This is a skill that can be learned.

It’s making sure that the kids treat each other with respect.  You have to communicate clearly to the kids that you like them and respect them for playing a man’s game. You have to be alert for the slightest sign of bullying or hazing and nip it in the bud.  Watch out for the way “starters” treat “non-starters.”

It’s never a bad idea to find ways for the “veterans” to befriend and teach things to the younger guys.

On our team (North Beach High, Ocean Shores, Washington), before we break at the end of practice, it’s a point of emphasis - has been for several years now - for our seniors to single out younger players who have done something during practice that impressed them.

It’s making sure that they learn and believe that they’re getting better at what you’re teaching them.  The key word is “teaching.”  I taught and coached for a long time before I realized that I needed to be more of a coach in the classroom and more of a teacher on the football field.  It is extremely important that the coach see himself as a teacher first.  If you can get someone on your staff - or someone to advise you - with experience teaching kids of the same age as your players, it could be extremely helpful.  

It’s making sure that they have fun.  It’s always a good idea to do something fun at the end of practice, so they go off the field with smiles on their faces.

It's teaching them the importance of working together for success as a team, of trusting other guys and earning their trust.

It’s making sure that every kid knows that if he follows the rules and takes part in practices he’s going to play.  You can’t fool a kid.  You can’t talk to him about the importance of teamwork when he doesn't really believe he's a part of the team.  The expectation of playing time - significant playing time - is a major factor in a team’s overall morale.

Many coaches are reluctant to do this because they feel that giving the younger kids playing time  somehow “cheats” the starters, who may become resentful of having to “give up” playing time.  It may takes a year or two to establish this as a part of your program, as simply “the way we do things around here,” but once you’ve done so, the older kids will all understand that it’s a team thing - that that’s the way many of them got to play when they were younger themselves, and that’s what makes their team special.

Today’s “me-first” society makes getting today’s kids to lose themselves in a team a bigger challenge that it once was.   There are two modern enemies of the team concept that weren’t such a problem years ago:  selfishness and sprawl.  Selfishness, because in an age when every individual is sacred and special, blah, blah, blah, kids aren’t taught the concept of being a part of something bigger than themselves, and being loyal to that cause or group.   Sprawl because in most large urban areas kids on a team often live far from each other and go to different schools, and only know each other from the hour or two they spend two or three times a week at practice and in games.

I think that a major factor in recruiting  parents is making them aware of the good things that you’re doing for their sons in a very crucial stage of their development.

To a certain extent, the issue is out of your hands.  “Player retention” is down at all levels of football, from high school on down to the youngest age groups, and it’s largely owing to the “Big C” (Concussion).

Football is under assault nowadays.  There have always been those who are resentful of football (and football players), and now those enemies of our game have been fortified by stories about professional football players whose brains may have been damaged by head injuries sustained while playing football.

The distinction that has yet to be made is that those professional football players for the most part had long careers, and they played at the highest level of the game, in which the number and force of collisions are far greater than anything the average high school or even college player will experience.

I think that it is irresponsible to equate the possible brain damage suffered by players who made careers of playing football with danger to youngsters, but there we are - the sky is falling, and parents, especially in households where the major decisions are made by mothers, are refusing to let their sons play football.  (Bear in mind that most of these same concerned parents will let their sons drive as soon as they’re legally able).

Obviously, then, you have to be able to confront that issue and allay their fears to the extent that you can.  You need to stress that you will see to it that all boys are properly equipped and conditioned, and that you will teach them safe techniques; that you won’t let a boy take part in contact  drills until you’re confident that he’s confident in his ability to perform; and that you’ll monitor all contact drills to make sure that they’re being performed properly.

And then, you have to move on, to emphasizing all the good that will ensue from his playing football - for you.

It’s essential that you teach the kids more than football - that you use football, and your example as the coach,  as the vehicle to teach them important life lessons.  And it’s important that the parents are aware that this is part of your mission.  You have to communicate with them constantly.    Share your mission with them. Make sure that you’re clear about your expectations for them and their sons, and they they’re clear about what you’ll do to help their sons develop.   Let them see how you’re working with their boys.  Encourage them to enlist your help if they’re having any issues with their sons.  What’s always great is when they tell you that they can see for themselves the effect that you - and football - are having on their son.

One final thought - It’s easy for kids to forget about football once the season’s over, so I think it’s important to stay in touch with your kids year-round. 

A coaching friend in Manitoba, Canada named Tom Walls started a youth football program from scratch a few years ago, and now his organization runs teams at several age levels.  A major factor in his success has been a newsletter that he emails to players and their parents at least once a month.

*********** The US was a hotbox on Saturday.

There was one state in the entire continental 48 that didn’t record a temperature as high as 90 degrees.

Drum roll, please… Washington.

In Camas, where we live, it was 72 degrees and sunny.  In Ocean Shores, where I coach, it was 66 degrees and sunny.

Our climate, between the Pacific Coast and the Cascade Range,  is not unlike that of Ireland’s.

Outsiders mostly know about our rainy winters, but we get our payback with warm (but seldom hot), dry, sunny summers.

Mystery Photo***********  Answering the question:    What position does the guy on the right play?

Josh Montgomery -  Berwick, Louisiana
Tim Brown - Athens, Alabama
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin

The  "guy" was the Cleveland Browns' great quarterback, Otto Graham.  The dapper coach was the legendary Paul Brown.

Coach Montgomery was skeptical when I wrote him that those Browns teams of the late 40s and early to mid 50s were possibly the best teams of all time.

No way, he said, that the football then could have been as good back then.

True, I agreed. The football wasn't better.  Not even close. But those Browns teams were head and shoulders above everyone else, in a  class all their own.

(Graham, Coach Montgomery pointed out, later wore #14.   And the Browns'  Hall of Fame Marion Motley 76fullback, Marion Motley, switched from wearing #76 to #36. )

Motley, shown at left,  played at 6-1, 240. He was a real handful as a fullback, but he sometimes doubled as a linebacker, where he was considered every bit as good.

*********** Denny Green died.  He was a football pioneer, just the second black man to become head coach of a major college football team.

He was a Pennsylvania guy - grew up in Harrisburg - and played his college ball at Iowa.  (It should be noted, too, that he graduated from Iowa. Cum laude - that means “with honors” - with a major in finance.

He played some ball in the CFL with the BC Lions, then embarked on a coaching career.

After a series of assistant coaching jobs, he was hired in 1981 as head coach at Northwestern.  He was only 32, and just the second black man to head a Division IA (FBS) team.  In 1982, he was Big Ten Coach of the Year.

In 1989, he took over as head coach at Stanford, and in his three years on The Farm, he beat Cal three times. In his final season, Stanford went 8-3, their best record in five years.

He spent ten years as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, and three years are head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

People got their laughs at his post-game conference when he said of the Bears, “They’re are who we thought they were,” which is all some people know about him.  That’s unfortunate, because he was well thought of among his peers.

Said Tony Dungy, who coached under him in Minnesota, “I’ve never been around a head coach who cared so much about the members of his staff, and wanted to put his staff in position to succeed the way he did.

“Denny was an excellent football coach. He took struggling college teams, Northwestern and Stanford, and made them so much better. He got the Vikings to two conference title games. He was terrific in raising the Arizona program. But to me his legacy is that of a coach who made other coaches better.”

*********** White privilege, Part Two - Orphan Trains

Remember my little story about the Breaker Boys?  How about this little tale from the history that they no longer teach in history classes...

My son-in-law’s grandfather, Bob Tiffany, spent much of his life in Abilene, Texas,  where he settled after World War II, but he grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota.

His father had arrived there by train.  A special train.

Orphan  TrainHe lived in New York, but when his immigrant  parents died and left him orphaned, he and his brother and sister were sent by train to Minnesota, where a family, eager for help on the farm, adopted them.

They were part of what came to be called the Orphan Train movement.

Between 1854 and 1929, more than 200,000 youngsters were shipped by train to various parts of the country.

Sometimes, they were pre-chosen, somewhat on the order of today’s Internet dating services.

Sometimes, the kids would arrive in a town and be put on a stage and looked over by prospective parents in a rather cold-hearted meatmarket fashion..

And sometimes, when adoptive parents could only afford to take on one child, siblings were separated.

Sometimes, the kids were simply seen as cheap labor, but as often as not, they found loving homes.  In almost all cases, they were better off than if they’d remained, homelesss and orphaned, fending for themselves on the streets of New York:

In 1850 roughly 15,000 children were homeless on the streets of New York City. They lived in alleys, under bridges and slept on sewage grates. Those old enough to work sold newspapers, shined shoes, picked rags or labored in dangerous factories and sweat shops. They were left to fend for themselves, to join gangs for protection, and grow up instantly in an environment of filth and violence. Families simply could not afford to support all the children they had. Written in trembling hand, a note pinned to a baby abandoned at an orphanage read, "Take care of Johnny, for God's sake. I cannot."

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 22,  2016     “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there's the United States of America." Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention Keynote Address, 2004

*********** Give Browns’ running back Isaiah Crowell a little credit. He obviously listened to advice.  After jeopardizing his pro football career by posting an absolutely vile illustration of a police officer having his throat cut, he at least attempted to make amends by attending the funeral of one of the Dallas police officers killed in the mass sniper attack.

Crowell had deleted the Facebook post shortly after publishing it, but, alas, too many people had already taken - and circulated - screenshots. 

Whether the guy is sincere is not the point.  The point is that at a time when cooler heads were needed, he did something terribly provocative,  and now his repentant actions may have helped calm things down -  at the very least, they’ve enabled him to stay in pro football, stay on the Browns, and concentrate on his job.

*********** The Vikings’ new $1.1 billion stadium finished and ready to go.  Six weeks ahead of schedule, if you can believe that.

It’s a beauty. It’s twice the size of the Metronome, which it replaced, and in deference to Minnesota winters, it has a roof -  but a transparent one, giving spectators the illusion that they are outdoors..

The Vikings pulled all kinds of levers to get their fans to pay for it - sure hope they were pleased with the $348 million from the state and the $150 million from the city. Now, they’re going to repay the taxpayers by opening up the stadium with - a f—king soccer game! Before the Vikings season even go to camp! I am not Sh--ing you.

The very first sports event to take place in glorious (it really is), new US Bank Stadium will be a soccer match between Chelsea FC and AC Milan. (I think I have the names right, but if not, t.s.)

Talk about jinxing yourself. This can’t bring good luck. You Vikings fans - yes, as your payment for bending over, you will get to host a Super Bowl in 2018.  But if your Vikings turn into the Chicago Cubs of the NFL, you'll know why.

***********Hello coach!  I trust all is well with you!

I know that you are focused on the "Open Wing" but I have a question concerning the "Spread Cat".
Would it be a sound practice to pull both the backside guard and tackle when running a power play, and expect the Q.B., after he hands off, to block/interrupt the chase defenders? I see, in the "Open Wing DVD" that both players pull when running "West - 6-C." although the Q.B. does not attempt to block.
Thanks, coach.  Your advice is always valued.
BTW - The Open Wing, as you already know, is super!
Hi Coach-

In “West 6-C,” the QB reads the chasing defensive end.

In Spread Cat, you could certainly try reading it, as we do on West 6-C, but I suspect that the numbers will not be in your favor -  they will have too many people left on the backside for you  to be successful. First, there would be a man on the outside shoulder of your pulling tackle who may or may not chase him - that’s the guy your QB would read.

But even if that guy chased, and your QB kept, there would also be an outside linebacker type who lined up on your running back - and assuming that he stays home when your back takes off, his assignment will be to watch your quarterback.  So I think that the numbers would not be in your favor.

But they are in your favor on the playside, so run the power (or, technically, “O”) even if you don’t pull your tackle.

Mystery Photo*********** You need any evidence that the media has a liberal bias?  The story of the murder of a cop in Kansas City, Kansas was buried on page 12 of the Oregonian, the major daily* in The Peoples’ Republic of Portland.  (It’s not really a “daily” anymore -  it’s only printed four days a week.)

*********** You wonder what’s wrong with America?  Start here: I heard a Cleveland police officer say that on the streets outside the Republican Convention there were 20 protestors - and 80 members of the news media.  A guy who planned to set an American flag on fire made sure to notify the media first.  And so, true to their code that when there isn’t any news it’s up to them to go out and make some, the slavish lackeys of the  left showed up, cameras at the ready.


Babe Parilli Card
*********** Called my old arena coach Babe Parilli, 86 and has a great memory still. Babe coached me in 1994 and 1996 in Anaheim and Las Vegas respectively. Where do I start when you mention a legend? He said he played in 3 bowl games, Cotton, rose, and sugar bowl If I remember correctly. Listen to this, how many men in America right now say they played for both Vince Lombardi and Bear Bryant? His memory was classic Babe. Says when he was Namaths back up, the year after the super bowl Babe says they should have won the next year also. The score was 3-0 with the ball near the goal line and Babe told Weeb Ewbank to go for it but Weeb played it safe and went for field goal. Babe was also the head coach In the World Football League and said they tried to compete with the NFL and that was their demise. I also heard Terry Bradshaw speak and he said his best qb coach was Babe Parilli. Babe also coached Craig Morton in the super bowl for the Broncos against the cowboys.

Babe is 86, lives in Denver, and just fought thru some chemo and he says he cant wait to get back on the golf course.

I bought his rookie card and mailed it to him and he signed it, Ill send you the pic.

Hugh, you said you coached in the WFL, Philadelphia?  I believe Babe coached the New York team


Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New Yofk


He was definitely Sweet Kentucky Babe.

Kentucky hasn’t had many great years in football, but it sure did when the Bear was their coach and the Babe was their QB.

He was one of the very first of the great quarterbacks to come out of Western Pennsylvania (Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame may have been the first).

Very glad to hear he’s doing well.

He was the first coach of the New York Stars, and I remember meeting him at a press conference in the early days of the WFL.

He was accompanied by their “GM”,  a woman named Dusty Rhodes, who was not a bad looker.  No further comment.

A coaching friend named Mark Kaczmarek, from Davenport, Iowa, played center for the Stars under Parilli.

*********** My friend Doc Hinger is bursting with pride:

On Saturday night, August 5, ESPN “SportsCenter on the Road” will be in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania to spend three hours broadcasting, among other things, a Pittsburgh Steelers’ intrasquad  game.

For years, the Steelers have made Latrobe - and St. Vincent’s College there - their training camp headquarters, and much to the delight of Latrobe merchants, Steelers’ fans from all corners of the country descend on Latrobe for the two weeks or so of camp.

A full 14 of the Steelers’ practices are open to the public, and the annual Saturday night intra-squad game is always sold out.  Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for kids or seniors, and all money goes to Latrobe Area High School activities.  Imagine - an NFL team actually leaving money on the table!  Giving it away, even! And people wonder why the Steelers are as close as any NFL team can come to being a beloved member of the family.

The ESPN broadcast crew will be in the Latrobe area for several days in advance of the broadcast, filming local points of interest.  Latrobe takes pride in being the place where the banana split was invented.  Latrobe is the home of Mister Rodgers of TV Fame, and of Arnold Palmer, perhaps the most famous golfer ever to play the game (and the inspiration for the drink by the same name). I’m guessing we’ll see Latrobe Country Club, where Arnold Palmer’s dad, Deacon Palmer, was the pro and the greenskeeper.  And possibly even the old tractor, made famous in Pennzoil commercials in which Arnold starred.

*********** A kerfuffle has erupted over the fact that a “person” named Dana Zzyym has been denied a United States passport because of refusal to check one of the two boxes (male or female) denoting his gender.  See, he doesn't "indentify as either male or female.

The poor thing.  He’s trapped in the rigid choice between two genders, when, as all children in our Washington public schools are about to be taught, gender is a “social construct.”  And hey - other oh, so enlightened people have been quoted as calling gender “fluid,” depending, I suppose, on your mood at the time.

Anyhow,  thanks to this misfit and his lawsuit - and a sympathetic judge -  taxpayers are likely to have to fork over megamillions to overhaul our passport regulations.

Hmmm.  Maybe, before we worry about shipping illegal aliens back,  we could first find a place that will give Mr./Ms.  Zzyym a passport more to his/her liking.  And ship his/her sorry ass there.

*********** A year or so ago, Jarryd Hayne had the people Down Under all excited about his tryout with the 49ers.  Hayne, a rugby star, showed flashes of promise, but never quite panned out.

Now it turns out that his next stated goal - to represent his native Fiji in Olympic rugby - will also go unfulfilled, with the news that he’s been cut from the squad.

*********** I consider David Maraniss, biographer of Vince Lombardi ("When Pride Still Mattered") to be one of America's great writers.

I just got this from my daughter Vicky, whose daughter (my granddaughter, Annie) will be their fourth child to attend Vanderbilt:
Hey, guess what? The Vanderbilt freshman book (they all read it and then discuss it in groups) is Strong Inside by Andrew Maraniss, David's son and a Vandy grad! It's about Perry Wallace, a Vandy basketball player who was the first black player in the SEC.
I am so proud to be able to say I know David Maraniss. And I can only imagine how proud David is of Andrew!

*********** It’s seldom I agree with columnist Leonard Pitts, but I have to side with him when he notes with disgust that Pokemon Go players have wandered into the Holocaust Memorial and - almost unbelievable - Arlington National Cemetery,  and wonders if there’s any sense of propriety left in America. He apparently hasn’t heard the term “The Coarsening of America,” or he wouldn’t be wondering.

*********** In your quote of William N. Wallace, we find this gem: "After World War II all but emptied its campus..."

Please tell me it won't take another World War to empty the campuses of the leeches and parasites that infest the Halls of Higher Learning now.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 19,  2016     "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." George Washington

*********** You try head-butting one of your kids - even if he IS wearing a helmet, and you aren’t - and see what happens to you.

But you aren’t Rush Propst.

Propst has been a big winner wherever he’s coached.  Nationallly-ranked Hoover, Alabama was one of of his stops. The guy’s won seven state titles, in Alabama and Georgia.  At Colquitt County, Georgia, he’s 30-0 over the last two seasons.

In fact, the incident occured during last year’s state Class 6A semi-final (which Colquitt County won, on its way to the state title).

For his head butt - which left him with a bloody wound on his forehead (and the kid probably thinking, "What the hell?")  - he was originally given a one-year suspension by The Georgia Professional Standards Commission, but on second thought, they decided that a reprimand ought to  be more than enough to straighten him out.

See the video!

*********** France is asking all citizens between 17 and 30 to consider becoming reservists.  A little late for France, I’d say, but there’s still a chance to save the U.S.

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

The "Bush Push" is legal now, correct? We can now teach our backs to push on the back of the fullback, yes?


It’s evidently no longer illegal but I’m not going to teach it.

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt -

I am a new coordinator of a 9-man football team in Melbourne, Australia. What adjustments would you make to the Double Wing Offence in adapting it to a 9-man format?
(The rules are the same as NCAA (IFAF adapted) - no more than 4 in the backfield at any given time)

Thanks for you time,

Coach Harry Jalland,
Melbourne, Australia

Hi Coach-

Nice to hear from you!

This is actually pretty simple and I’ve employed it with other 9-man coaches in the past.

You simply look at it as though you had been running from what I call “spread formation” (with two split ends) - and then you fire the split ends and play without them!

Take a look at this little clip of three plays - examples of a particular play that we’ve run from spread - and you will see that we could easily have run those plays without our split ends.

You’ll notice also that we’re running from my “Wildcat” direct-snap set, but if you wanted your QB under center the same reasoning would apply.

PS - My son, Ed, married an Australian and lives in Melbourne. He’s now an Australian citizen.

*********** Hey ESPN!  What the hell did you do with our CFL games?  Is it really possible that  NBA Summer League gets higher ratings?

*********** The NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) have been discussing the possibility of eliminating the kickoff from college football.

My spies tell me that outlawing blocking and tackling hasn’t been discussed. Not yet.


When there's no kickoff, will people still say, ”What time’s the kickoff?”

Will campaigns still have kickoff luncheons?

Will your grandkids someday ask you what an “opening kickoff” was?

Might there be some new, exotic way of opening a game, something like the “Scramble,” which the XFL used in place of a coin toss?

Maybe they should take a look at Australian Rules'  "ball up," a rough version of basketball's center jump.

Whatever they do, there's one hopeful note: maybe if  the kickoff  goes, the field goal can go with it.  (I can dream, can't I?)

*********** Marion “Swamp Fox” Campbell died last week at the age of 87.  He was a very good player - defensive lineman - a very good assistant coach, and a head coach who had the misfortune of stepping in as head coach of the Eagles during a time when they lacked talent. And, too, he had the added burden of succeeding Philadelphia favorite Dick Vermeil.

He was from Chester, South Carolina, and his full name - Francis Marion Campbell - was a tribute to Revolutionary War hero and fellow South Carolinian Francis Marion.

That Marion was an expert in guerrilla warfare, whose ability to surprise much larger British forces then escape into the swamps of South Carolina earned him the nickname “The Swamp Fox.”

And for most of his career, although few people in a country that scorns the study of history knew why, Marion Campbell the football player proudly went by the same nickname.

*********** In doing some research on Princeton’s legendary single-wing coach, Charlie Caldwell, I came across this nice article by the late New York Times sports reporter William N. Wallace,  a Yale man.

Charlie Caldwell of Princeton By William N. Wallace

I wish I had known Charlie Caldwell better. I could tell there was so much more in him than what I was getting, relative to humor, camaraderie and football sapience.

The barriers began with age, the separation of 22 years. He was, alas, only 55 when he died in 1957 of cancer and I then a green 33 years old. There was the wall between the nosy reporter and the wary coach protecting his secrets as well as his players. The third wall was subjective. He was Princeton and I was Yale. Never the twain shall trust.

I had seven good years around Charlie and he made me better, as he had 600 football players as head coach at Williams College (1928-1942, 76-37-6) and then at Princeton (1945-1956, 70-30-3).

In the 1920's and 30's the percent of high school kids who reached college was around 12. Those who aspired to the Eastern private colleges — the sobriquet Ivy League was far from invention - needed a little Greek and Latin, a little polish. Thus preparatory schools, like Caldwell's Mercersburg Academy in Central Pennsylvania, were a primary source of athletes and Charlie became one for Princeton.

He arrived there in 1921 and left in 1925 as a renowned graduate, one who went to the New York Yankees as a try-out pitcher and performed in three games before manager Miller Huggins told him to forget it.

Caldwell had played distinguished football as a fullback and center under head coach Bill Roper. He hung around as a Roper assistant for two years and then Williams College, in the gorgeous Berkshire corner of Massachusetts, hired him. He was there for 17 seasons and miffed when Princeton passed over him for Fritz Crisler in 1932 and for Tad Wieman in 1938.

After World War II all but emptied its campus, Williams put football on hold and Caldwell went down to Yale to help Howie Odell coach the Navy V-12's, the 4-F's and the 17-year-olds for two seasons. Then Princeton called at last and he was on that glorious campus in 1945. He knew what to do but it took awhile.

Between the mid-Octobers of 1949 and 1953 the Princeton teams, with the black jerseys and those orange rings down the sleeves, won 33 of 34 games and 24 of them consecutively. The losers were not pigeons - not Navy, nor Penn or Dartmouth. The Caldwell offense was that of the single-wing which he, and notably Red Sanders of Vanderbilt and UCLA, sustained when everyone else had gone to the T-formation. Stodgy, old-fashioned, slow, inhibiting for passing?

Allison Danzig, in his History of American Football (Prentice-Hall 1956), wrote: "With the beautifully drilled and perfectly balanced organization developed by Caldwell, it was a team (1951) that typified college football at its finest in the intelligence and high spirits of the personnel, in the speed, imagination and diversity of its running and passing operations, and in the virulence and alertness of its defensive depredations."

Danzig of the New York Times, a dean of college football writers, confirmed what I had come to suspect as a New York World-Telegram & Sun sportswriter fresh out of Yale, while writing up those Princeton teams and getting as close as I could.

A famous feature of the single-wing was its buck lateral series in which the wingback could come sweeping around the weak side having taken a lateral from the quarterback, who in turn had been given the ball by the diving fullback with the tailback faking to the strong side. Caldwell never ran out of swift 177-pound wingbacks who could run all day - like George Sella, Billy Kleinsasser, Dick Pivirotto.

Dick Kazmaier, the 170-pound tailback voted the Heisman Trophy in 1951, was the diamond discovered, shaped and buffed by Caldwell. Kazmaier could run off tackle as required. He could fake, ball handle, block and, best of all, throw a darn good pass while on the run after the defense had committed itself.

The quintessential Caldwell-Kazmaier-Princeton game came on a late October Saturday, 1951, in Palmer Stadium when the Tigers routed Cornell, an undefeated quality team, 53-15. Kazmaier ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns, completed 15 of 17 pass attempts, three for touchdowns and 236 yards, as Princeton's total offense exceeded 400 yards. This was no f ive-yards-cloud-of- dust single wing attack.

The Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, in conjunction with the American Football Coaches Association, named a coach-of- the-year annually with the peers doing the voting. There followed a big awards banquet at Mama Leone's Restaurant in New York. Scripps Howard was notably cheap but they spent on this one. Caldwell won the award after 1951.

Because my New York paper was the flagship of the chain, I thought perhaps Caldwell might now treat me better, maybe even occasionally call me by my first name. No chance. Charlie didn't operate that way.

I asked Caldwell one time to name his all- star team, the top players he had coached. He looked at me as though I was crazy. "Why would I want to do that," he said strongly. "What could I say to all of those who I left off?" That certainly made sense when I thought about it. I am certain he would have cited guard-tackle Mike Bowman, blocking back George Chandler, defensive tackle Hollie Donan, center Red Finney, tailback Royce Flippin, defensive lineman Brad Glass, linebacker Dave Hickok, end Frank McPhee and blocking back George Stevens.

Caldwell digressed one time about a game that changed his approach to football. He played in it, against visiting Notre Dame — the 1924 Four Horsemen team. He said, "I came out of that game feeling as fresh as when it started None of the usual aches, pains or bruises. And they beat the hell out of us." The score was only 12-0 but Caldwell perceived that Knute Rockne had conceived a different kind of football, one of speed and deception over the old bump-and-grind power game.

In season Caldwell could be grouchy and paranoid. He bawled out one of his captains, Homer Smith, in my presence when he found Smith engaged in a conversation with me, an innocent chat. But he did let a television crew set up and film his usual Sunday night squad meeting at Osborn Field House in which the game film of the previous day's encounter was critiqued by the coaches. It made for a program fascinating to the few who understood what was taking place.

Ahead of his time was Charlie Caldwell. And his time far too short.

*********** In digging up stuff about Charlie Caldwell, I came up with this link to some cool newsreel footage (the kind of sports shorts that they’d show just before - or between - features in movie theaters) of some 1950s Princeton games.  Included in there is the 1956 Yale-Princeton game, played in the Yale Bowl my freshman year.   That Yale team was really good.

*********** I could have told the guy:  don’t f—k with the Gypsy Jokers, but no…

For quite some time, the Gypsy Jokers have been the Northwest’s biggest and most notorious motorcycle gang.  I doubt that they’ll take offense at my saying that.  In fact, I would imagine they’d take great delight in being described that way.

Now, if you agree with me that it’s not smart to screw with a motorcycle gang, you could have predicted that when a guy named Robert Lee Huggins got the bright idea of burglarizing the Woodburn, Oregon home of the president of the local chapter of the Gypsy Jokers, and, in the process, tying the guy’s girlfriend to a chair at gunpoint, something bad was likely to happen to the guy.

It did.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Huggins was kidnapped from his home in Southeast Portland, in an area sometimes known as Felony Flats, then zip-tied and driven north to a rural area near Woodland, Washington.

There, he was disposed of in a rather nasty way, according to reports that have come out as his murderers - sorry, "alleged" murderers - await trial.

Mr. Huggins’ body, when found by loggers, had “a fractured skull, a broken rub, a broken leg, a removed nipple (ouch), nails driven through his boots, slash wounds to his back and face, and many blows to his face.”

Surely there’s a message in there somewhere for anyone else contemplating f—king with the Gypsy Jokers.  Including ISIS.

*********** Coach,

I just received this nice email from a parent of one of my Black Lions...Jack is such a fantastic young man.
Duxbury has a boy I coached also playing lacrosse at West Point, so hope I can get him in touch with Jack.
It's nice to get these types of emails, but really, those boys give so much back to us.

Hope you and Connie are enjoying your summer.

Rick Davis
Plymouth, Massachusetts

I just wanted to show you the impact you have had on Jack in his young life. I have attached a picture of him going into the dorms at West Point for a lacrosse camp the next three days when I dropped him off today. At the present time he appears to really want to go to the school for many reasons which are easy to know and as he has been kind of been  a bit of a Rudy his whole life  - it's the chip on his shoulder he needs. He just turned 16 yesterday and at 5 81/2 and 170 hopefully as few more inches will come. But As you know the heart could not be bigger. He is a 4.0 in school benches 260 pounds, Squats 360 and can do 34 pull ups in 2 minutes and 98 pushups in 2 minutes as well. Just wanted to thank you for your inspiration to him and others the results are evident. Hope everything is going well for you - take care and thank you, Ken
I also told Jack remember - you are still a Black Lion !!!!!


*********** Mack Rhoades, the new-on-the-job AD whose failure to act when several of Missouri’s player threatened to strike put then-coach Gary Pinkel in the position of having to support them, has moved on to Baylor, which has more than enough problems of its own.

He leaves behind at Mizzou an athletic program in turmoil, including a new football coach whom he hired and who now has to fight the battles without an AD to back him up - not to mention the negatives of having to court a new AD who may have his own idea of who the head coach should be.

There are suspicions that Baylor hired Rhoades because when he was AD at Houston he hired Tom Hermann, who’s now a very hot coaching commodity and one that many Baylor people would love to have.

David Ridpath, writing in Forbes, argues that Rhoades would be a whole lot smarter instead to lock up Jim Grobe, whom Baylor recently hired to bring some decency and fresh air to Waco.

*********** Jeff Tedford has been hired by the Washington Huskies as a consultant.  He’s not on the NCAA-limited coaching staff, which means he’s not permitted to recruit or work with players.  Bright guy - he has an offensive background, and he worked with Huskies’ head coach Chris Peterson on Mike Bellotti’s staff at Oregon. Hmmm. Wonder how a guy with Jeff Tedford's extensive experience as a coordinator and a head coach can work in with the current Washington staff.

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 15,  2016     "I take real offense when people insist I am a bigot just to make themselves feel good." Jonah Goldberg

*********** Back at the time of 9-11 I heard people referring to what happened as a  “tragedy,” and I wrote, “Where is the rage?”

Nobody seemed pissed.

Now, I hear people in the media referring to the “tragedy” in France, and I get pissed.

That was no  tragedy.  That was an act of war.

A tragedy is an unfortunate event that causes great sadness. 

“Tragedy” is  floods and earthquakes and tsunamis and fires.  “Tragedy” is a child dying of cancer, a promising young person dying way before his or her time, a family being killed in an automobile accident.

Pearl Harbor was not a tragedy.

The will to fight requires anger, not sadness.

If we call what’s happening to us at the hands of  Islamic Terrorists “tragedy,” then we’ve lost our collective stones, and we might just as well roll over and let it keep happening.

*********** Mike Lude celebrated his 93rd birthday recently at an event on Bound Brook, New Jersey.  On hand to celebrate it with him were 35 of his former players from the University of Delaware, where Mike was Wing-T inventor Dave Nelson’s offensive line coach and his chief recruiter. 

Quite a thing when guys think so much of their old coach to honor him like this, especially when you consider that Mike left Delaware in 1962 to become head coach at Colorado State. 

He hadn’t coached any of those guys in 55 years!

*********** Tim Duncan announced his retirement recently, and pro basketball is really going to miss him.  You may not have noticed him in games, because wasn’t the flashy type, and he was never  one to draw attention to himself, but he  is going to be missed.

What a team player!  Not many people realize that for the past several years, he has played for far less money than a player of his stature could have commanded, in order for the Spurs to have more money under the salary cap to pay other players more.

In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Ben Cohen told how, when Duncan was a student - yes, a real student - at Wake Forest, majoring in psychology, he served as a research assistant to Mark Leary, a social psychologist, in writing his book, “Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors.”

Leary asked Duncan to write a chapter on the subject of egotism, and some of what he wrote helps to explain why he became one of basketball’s great team players.

“Egotistical behavior,” he wrote, “is behavior that conveys to others that the individual holds an exaggerated perception of himself. Few interactions are a annoying, exasperating and unpleasant as the with people whom we perceive are behaving egotistically.”

In summary, he wrote, “Simply put, we don’t like egotistical people.”

When the book was published, the publisher gave Leary four free copies, and after keeping one for himself, he gave one to each of his three assistants -  but not before Wake’s NCAA compliance department could get the NCAA to rule that it was okay for Duncan to receive the gift of a book for which he had written a chapter!

Leary, justifiably proud of his best-known student, told Cohen, “He’s probably the best-paid person to write any psychological chapter or article ever.”

*********** Not that I’m an Income-Inequality geek or anything like that, but if I were, the first place I’d go to demonstrate wouldn’t be Wall Street.  How many of the tools who’d vote for one of these “Down With the One Per Centers” even knows where/what the hell “Wall Street” is, anyhow?

No, I’d go after professional athletes.  Perhaps the reason no politician has is because so many highly-paid professional athletes are people “of color.”

I began thinking about this because it was baseball’s All-Star game time - a game that we used to think was at least as important as the Home Run Derby that precedes it -  and I read about “our” Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano.

Now, this is a guy who comes from the Dominican Republic, a poor, poor country, and I am not going to argue that he shouldn’t  make as much money as he can while he’s able to.

But as I said, if I were the sort to go after a privileged group, I’d start with guys like Robinson Cano, who claims to own “a couple of thousand” pairs of Air Jordans, in innumerable colors and shades and patterns.

This is sartorially important, according to Cano: “It’s good whenever I want to wear something with a shirt I don’t have to worry about if I have to get a sneaker to match this shirt.”

Yup.  That’s where I’d start.

D B Cooper Country

*********** I just heard a guy refer to D.B. Cooper as “the guy who pulled off one of the most daring skyjackings in history.”

“Pulled off,” my ass.

On a stormy November night in 1971, a guy (supposedly) named D. B. (or Dan) Cooper, having been paid a large sum of money after hijacking a plane, jumped out into the rainy darkness over Southwest Washington state. (He was smart enough to have hijacked a Boeing 727,  the only commercial airliner with a real exit, enabling him to parachute out safely.)

“Pulled off,” they say? Not a chance, I say.  Take a look at the map above. The white area to the left of "Gifford Pinchot National Forest" is snow-capped Mount St. Helens; the one underneath is snow-capped Mt. Adams.  Somehwere in the middle of that vast, roadless area is almost certainly  where D.B. Cooper wound up.

I happen to live just east of Vancouver, Washington,  within 100 miles or so of the place from  he exited the aircraft.  It is a several-thousand-square-mile area of rugged, heavily forested mountains, with not a single east-west or north-south road passing through.  

Inexperienced hikers get lost in there all the time - in the summer.  Late fall and early winter are out of the question.

Other than the occasional logging road, there’s no way out. 

Not that Cooper ever had a chance to make it out.

Back in 1980, nearly nine years after his escapade, some of the cash Cooper had been given washed up on a Columbia River beach, not far from where we live, suggesting that something happened to Cooper to separate him from the money.

For anyone who’s flown over the area, it’s not hard to believe he got hung up and never got out of the woods alive.

The tree cover is thick, and where  there aren’t giant trees to catch a parachutist, there are enormous clear-cuts (areas that have been logged over) that are now covered with sharp, thorny blackberry vines as thick as your arm,  growing in a hellish tangle.  It would be absolutely impossible for anyone who fell into the middle of one of those mountain blackberry patches to escape. 

The belief among many of the locals - with which I concur - is that while so entrapped, he involuntarily "entered the food chain" via predators and/or scavengers, and over the next several years the money, of no interest to the animals, eventually made its way through a series of streams  into the Columbia.

*********** Over the past four years, Commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $145 million -  $65 million more than Drew Brees, the highest-paid NFL player during that time. 

Goodell may have his detractors, but he has helped make his employers, the owners, wealthy beyond imagination.

Forbes magazine’s list of the  50 most valuable sports franchises includes 27 NFL teams.

Number one in the world:  the Dallas Cowboys. They’re valued at FOUR BILLION DOLLARS (!) putting them ahead of  Real Madrid ($3.65 billion), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), the New York Yankees ($3.4 billion) and Manchester United ($3.32 billion).

This was the first time since 2011 that a non-soccer team has topped the list.

The most astounding example of the league’s money-making power was the news that back in February, CBS and NBC contacted to pay a total of $900 million for the rights to broadcast ten games each over the next two years.  On THURSDAY nights.

Let the players and coaches  bitch all they like about short preparation time and short recovery time, blah, blah, blah, , but then show them the math:  that’s $14 million (!) per year (!)  per team (!) just for having to play on Thursday night once or twice over a two year period.

*********** Ever have a kid who is so good that you just look at him, in practice or games, and go, “Wow?”  Ever wonder why other kids playing the same position don’t see see the same thing you do - and don’t understand why they’re not the ones starting?

All this time, without us coaches knowing it, there’s been an explanation for it. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect,  and it’s named for the two Cornell University psychologists who first researched it and wrote about it.

It describes people who are unskilled and unaware of it.

Seems to me we feed it with all the trophies-for-everybody, nobody-wins-because-we-don’t-want-anyone-to-lose, everybody-is-special, you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be crap that we expose kids to from the time they’re little.

I’m hoping that Dunning and Kruger aren’t finished, and that their next work will be a study of the phenomenon of parents who spend tons of money on camps and personal coaches and travel teams because they’re too dumb to realize that their kids aren’t as good as they think they are.–Kruger_effect

*********** Disclosure: I am partial to Temple football. Temple is in Philadelphia and I, despite many years and miles of separation, am a native Philadelphian.  And while Philadelphians are hard on their teams, when outsiders oppose them, we are fiercely loyal.  We circle the wagons. Except when they play each other, we want Philly teams to be successful.  To be Big Time.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that ever since Temple announced plans to build an “on-campus” stadium, I’ve been skeptical.

First of all, while Temple football has been reasonably respectable over the past decade or so, its default condition over the years has been “struggling.”

I grew up maybe five miles from old Temple Stadium, and as kids, on Friday nights, partly because of the novelty of night football (I am old, remember), we’d ride the the “S” bus out to watch the “Als” (that’s “Owls” in Phillyspeak) play the likes of Albright one week and Syracuse the next.

Temple football was really good in the late 30s - Temple played in the very first Sugar Bowl game. Its coach - a fella named Warner.  Glenn Warner, aka Pop Warner. Two of the defensive stalwarts of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 1948 championship team, Mike Jarmoluk and Bucko Kilroy were Temple guys.  Also Philly guys, as were most Temple players in those years. 

But Temple football was on life support during the 50s,  at one point losing 21 in a row. It was a little better in the 60s, playing .500 ball (45-44-4 to be exact).

There was a 13-year spell from 1970 through 1982  when Wayne Hardin, who’d coached Heisman Trophy winners Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach at Navy, went 80-52-3, but he would be the last coach to leave North Broad Street with a winning record. 

When he left, Temple football declined. 

He was followed by 30-year-old Bruce Arians (the same one).  In six years (1983-1988), Arians went  22-44.

Jerry Berndt followed.  From 1989 through 1992, he went 11-33.

Ron Dickerson was 8—47 from 1993-97.

Bobby Wallace  was 19-65 from 1998-2005

During that time, Temple football hit rock bottom when the Big East kicked them out.

The current revival began in 2006 with the hiring of Al Golden.  He went 1-11 his first year, but in his last two years, 2009 and 2010, his Owls were 9-4 and 8-4, good enough for Miami to hire him away.

Steve Addazio went 9-4 in 2011 and 13-20 in two years, and he was off to Boston College.

The current coach, Matt Rhule, is 18-20 in his three years, but the 2015 Owls went 10-4, only the second 10-win season in school history - and beat Penn State.

But there is no guarantee that Temple, which has gone 48-40 over the past seven seasons, will continue to play the kind of football that enabled it last year to finally beat Penn State after years of futility (Temple is a state school, too).

The second factor, every bit as important as the quality of football, is Temple’s location.  Temple is, uh, an urban school.  Broad Street, Philadelphia’s main north-south drag, cuts right through the campus, but if you didn’t see the large “Temple” banners hanging from street lights, you wouldn’t know it.

Temple’s is a concrete campus, and it’s surrounded on all sides by, to be blunt, rough neighborhoods.   There is next to no on-campus housing, and the notion of living “off-campus” as students do at most colleges is too dangerous to contemplate.    Every day, tens of thousands of students descend on the campus - and then they go home.

If they want to get a college degree - Temple is well thought-of - they have to leave the safety of their homes and fight the traffic and the parking and crime-ridden surrounding area.  They have no choice.  But It’s hard to imagine them surviving a week there and then voluntarily returning on Saturday to watch a football game.

It’s impossible for me to imagine an average fan, a guy wanting to take his kids to a college football game, even considering it.

*********** The first weekend of Pokemon Go was an eye-opener for me.  I saw people going into the cemetery across the street.  I saw people parking in dangerous places.  And I saw a guy on a motorbike stop in the middle of a street, holding his phone out in front of him.

From what I read, nothing - not signs, not barking dogs, not heavy traffic - can deter these fools in search of virtual “creatures” whom they can “capture.”

Trust me - It’s only a matter of time before someone gets shot while trespassing on someone’s property at 2 in the morning.

And then, the President of the United States will appear on television and - using the word “I” innumerable times - lecture us on how it’s no longer safe for our children to play childrens’ games and that it’s all because of our gun culture.

And then we’ll find out that the guy who was shot was 30 years old and having an affair with the shooter’s wife.

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 12,  2016     “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.”  H. L. Mencken


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 8,  2016    “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.”  Voltaire

***********  From an exchange I had with a young coach who's contemplating making a move...

Coach, I don't know why this hasn't popped in my head sooner, but...
You've always said that a coach can coach your double wing system by himself if he has to.  Would you still feel that way about a coach implementing the Open Wing? If a coach had to singlehandedly implement your system, how far could he get into the Open Wing?

The Double Wing is easier because you have fewer positions to coach. BUT - with the open wing you have those twins who could just be two guys that you get out of your way. The big thing is that once you get those assignments on those cards, an awful lot of your teaching is taken care of.

Thanks, Coach.  I'm just kicking around different scenarios in my mind. Good assistants around here are getting harder and harder to find and keep, so I'm just planning for every scenario I can think of.

At the very least, you want a reliable guy who can run your scout teams while you coach the real team. Another advantage to open wing - far less work with the QB.

I think if I had to, I could scrounge up one decent assistant.  But, sadly, any more than that is wishful thinking.

If they're not good people and reliable they will just get in your way. They don't have to know inside football. They have to be good, reliable people that you can trust.

*********** I got on ESPN's case earlier when we couldn’t get CFL games, so I have to give the World Wide Leader its due now that every week brings CFL games on Thursdays and Fridays.

I still have trouble with the three downs and the multiple men in motion, but it’s football, and since I don’t know much about the players, that means that unlike the NFL, I don’t know whether they're  jerks or not.  And even if they are a&&holesds, they're not overpaid a&&holes.

The Canadian game is no worse than the NFL in its lack of serious running attacks, but it does seem more exciting, and I can’t help thinking that, even though they play with 12 men,  the reason is the much wider Canadian field.

I’ve been contending for years that at some point the NFL is going to run out of stupid rules tweaks in its efforts  to goose the offense,  and it will have to enlarge its field.  Or die.

Either way, I win.

*********** Watching the CFL, I watched a great feature on Chris Jones, GM and head coach of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

Regina is the smallest city in the CFL, and its fans take great pride in that.  It’s something he’s familiar with.

He’s a native of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and he lives there in the off-season.

His is an amazing story.

His parents divorced when he was a kid and he grew up in “the projects.”

His plan to play football in college was derailed when he got his girlfriend pregnant, but with the help and support of his high school coach - who put him to work - he managed to finish college at the age of 28, and went to work as a high school coach.

But, like so many of us, he wanted more, and after two successful years at the high school level, he hit the road to Tennessee Tech, to convince the head coach to take him on as a graduate assistant.  When he got there, the coach was busy, but he decided to wait him out.  Eight hours later, he got his interview, and convinced the coach to “hire” him.

He’s paid his dues.

After two years as a GA at Tennessee Tech, he spent a year as a GA at Alabama before finally landing a paid position at Tennessee Martin.

That led to a position as defensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech, which led to his getting a job in Canada with the Montreal Alouettes as defensive line coach, which led to a series of CFL defensive coordinator jobs, which led eventually to the head position in Edmonton.

Last year, his Eskimos won the Grey Cup (Canada’s Super Bowl, and, just as NHL hockey teams do with the Stanley Cup, members of the Grey Cup winning team get  to take the trophy for a short time home and show it off to the home folks.

So Coach Jones got to take the Grey Cup home to South Pittsburg, and it was pretty cool watching the folks in a small town in Tennessee admiring the trophy.

Now here’s the really cool part, amid all  the stories about the a&&holes who enjoy tearing our country apart - he is a white man.  His high school coach - the man who kept him headed toward his goal -  is a black man.

*********** When we can’t trust the FBI, who CAN we trust?

Comey (the head of the FBI) stated that he did not personally interview Clinton, and did not talk to all of the “five or six” who did interview Clinton.

He was then asked, “did she testify or talk to them under oath?” Comey answered, “No.” But added that “it’s still a crime to lie to us.”

When asked if there was a transcript of the interview, Comey stated that there wasn’t one because the interview wasn’t recorded, but there was an analysis of Clinton’s interview.

But  hey - take him at his word, chumps:  no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against our esteemed former Secretary of State.

Translation:  We are SO F—KED.

***********  If Hillary Clinton can skate, why can't Butch Goncharoff?  I mean, as many state titles as he's won, he may be too important to punish...

School district administrators have backtracked on their plan to terminate Bellevue (Washington) High football coach Butch Goncharoff.
In a letter to Goncharoff in May, the district had said it would seek to fire the coach for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside entities and then failing to be forthcoming about the payments when his supervisors asked about them. But now the district has placed Goncharoff on paid administrative leave that is “non-disciplinary,” Goncharoff attorney Bob Sulkin said.

Michigan-Army*********** I saw a photo from the 1940s of Army playing Michigan.  I knew it was Michigan, of course, because of the “wings” on the helmets, and the three “stripes,” which were actually maize-painted strips of leather that held other, blue-painted, leather panels together.

And I knew  it was Army, because Army was the only team at that time to be completely outfitted in the plastic suspension helmets that following the war would be worn by 90 per cent of major college teams and are the ancestors of today’s Riddell plastic helmets.

I also knew, from seeing the 41 on the front of his shirt, that the runner about to receive the handoff is all-time great Glenn Davis, the famed “Mister Outside” of Coach Earl Blaik’s T-formation attack.

But that guy on the far left - the Michigan defender.  He sure looks like a black guy. There weren’t many black guys playing college football team, but the Big Ten led the way in integrating the game,  and I did know of one black guy who played for Michigan in the 40s.

That would be Gene Derricotte.  I knew of him.  Saw him in a Michigan team photos from those days. Could it be Gene Derricotte, I wondered? 

Answer: No, that’s not Gene Derricotte.  I have no idea who it is.

But it sure  was interesting doing the research on Gene Derricotte.

Among other things, Gene Derricotte was a Tuskegee Airman…

*********** Hey, Hall of Fame.

Next time you even mention some self-centered creep like TO, who never did a thing for the game…

Get Charlie Conerly in there - before everyone who ever saw him play is dead.

The question isn’t so much whether or not the late Charlie Conerly should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That’s a no-brainer.

The question is: How have so many people screwed up for so long that he isn’t?

Conerly isn’t, you know. He’s in college football’s Hall of Fame. He’s in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Hall of Fame. But some how, for some reason, he has never been enshrined with the greatest legends of pro football at Canton, Ohio.

He was the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 1948. He was a three-time All Pro quarterback. He guided a team to the NFL championship game three times and was a winner once.

He was the league’s MVP once. He was both valiant and brilliant as the losing quarterback in the greatest NFL game of all-time, the one generally credited with bringing pro football to the forefront in American sport. Conerly had already been voted the game’s MVP before Johnny Unitas led that famed comeback and overtime Baltimore victory.

But Charlie was more than that. He had a remarkable aura about him that transcended sport. He was a World War II hero. Ruggedly handsome, he was the original Marlboro Man, and he was to New York football what Joe DiMaggio was to New York baseball.

Over the years, I have campaigned for Conerly — as I did with (Raymond) Guy. I have talked to some of the nation’s most respected sports writers, all of whom have served on the Hall of Fame selection committee at one time or another. Some are gone now.

“You mean Charlie Conerly isn’t already in the Hall of Fame,” said the late Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I would have assumed that he was. There’s no doubt he should be. There are lesser players who are.”

“You gotta be kidding me,” said Peter Finney of the Times Picayune in New Orleans. “How in the world could Chunkin’ Charlie Conerly have slipped the cracks?”

“Yes, I know he’s not in, and it’s a shame,” said Dave Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the New York Times. “As I’ve written in the past, he’s the best quarterback who’s not in the Hall of Fame and he’s better than some who are.

“I remember the first year he was eligible he came up one or two votes short of being elected. It’s a shame.”

I ran into the late, great Jim Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist at the Super Bowl years ago and will never forget Murray’s consternation when he learned that Conerly wasn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “If Charlie’s not in the Hall of Fame, they might as well not have one,” Murray said.

When Conerly’s New York Giants teammate Frank Gifford was inducted, he said in his acceptance speech that he was embarrassed to be a member of the Hall of Fame when Charlie Conerly wasn’t.

The primary criteria for Hall of Fame induction is supposedly for the player to have been one of the elite players at his position during his era.
Conerly qualifies.

 My rule of thumb for a player’s Hall of Fame worthiness: Could the history of the NFL be written without his inclusion in the text? With Conerly, the answer is: No.

As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wrote at the time of Conerly’s death in 1996: “Charlie Conerly was the quarterback of the ’50s.”

Come on Seniors Committee, it’s time to make this right.

Rick Cleveland
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 1,  2016    “The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”  Will Rogers

************* We threw just four passes in our spring jamboree - completed two (one for a touchdown) and threw an interception.  For me, that was an okay outing for our new quarterback.

We’re on our third quarterback in the last four years, and we’re in the same situation as we were in two years ago - no quarterback in the system.

Just as we did two years ago, we selected the guy who we felt met all the qualifications - toughness, intelligence, reliability, character, coachability, athletic ability, and the ability to command the respect of the other players.  My thinking has always been that I can teach a kid how to throw, but I can’t teach him those other things.

With our last selection we were, to say the least, successful.  Our choice, Alex McAra, had never played quarterback before.  He couldn’t throw a football.  But he met all of my qualifications, and he put in the time necessary to become a passer.  In his two years as our QB, he led us to a 19-2 record. He didn’t get to throw much because (1) we had a very good running attack and (2) a lot of our games were out of control before halftime, and that meant no throwing the ball.  He didn’t have the flashy passing stats, so he didn’t make all-league, but in his two years as our quarterback, he threw for 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions.  He ran the offense flawlessly, and other than when we pulled our starters, he didn’t miss a play.

This year’s choice as our QB is rising junior Brenden Chaney. 

He’s probably not the quarterback you’d choose if you were going by the book.  He’s a hair under 5-5, and everyone knows that quarterbacks are supposed to be tall.  Or so the B-S announcers like to tell us.  That’s because, they tell us, quarterbacks have to be tall enough to see over the heads of their offensive linemen.  Right.  Obviously, they’ve never played quarterback, because I figure a pro QB would have to be, oh, 6-11 or so to be to able to see over the heads of offensive and defensive linemen who are 6-4, 6-5, 6-6.

But if Brenden were  on your team, and you knew him the way we know him, you wouldn’t rule him out so fast.

So when we decided that of all our players Brenden fit the bill - he played fullback and defensive end for us last year,  he’s a 4.0 student, he’s a wrestler and a pole vaulter, and his teammates really respect him - I asked him if he’d be interested in being our quarterback.

That’s the qualification that I hadn’t mentioned until now - a guy has to really want to be the leader. Not in title, but in actuality.  He’s going to have to ask people to do things that they don’t necessarily want to do, and he’s going to have to tell them not to do some things that they want to do, and he’s going to have to deal with the criticism that comes with the job.  I make sure that he understands that part of the job.

Brenden was eager to accept the challenge.

He did an exceptional job during our spring ball, and handled the offense far better than I’d hoped for during our spring jamboree.  He handled the ball well and ran well, and, although I didn’t expect him to throw at all, I did call three passes. (A fourth was a halfback pass.)  Above all, he maintained his composure throughout.

Now, with summer here, we’re working on his passing.  I spend two days a week in Ocean Shores (three hours from our home in Camas), and we work out for two hours at a time. Roughly 1/4 of the time is devoted to footwork, 1/2 to basic passing mechanics, and 1/4 to the setups and throws he’s going to have to make.

As we progress over the next week or so, we’ll cut that back to one hour, and then add an hour throwing to receivers.

Brenden’s a very quick learner and, more important, quick to put into play anything I tell him. A big thing for me is to “over correct” - when he, say, misses to the right on a pass, I expect the next one to be obviously to the left of that.  That way, he shows me that he’s heard me, and that he’s able to make the correction.  The fine tuning can come later.  Right now, I want him to show me that he’s physically and mentally able to correct.

By the way, he may not be tall, but he’s definitely not small.  He’s a solid 170 with broad shoulders and he’s extremely strong.

Just to give you an idea of how Brenden Chaney, a kid who’d never thrown a football before this spring other than to play catch, is progressing as a passer after just a couple of sessions.

I think you'll really like this one... I call it the Snow Angel Drill... freeze the action at any point and you'll see that Brenden is developing excellent form!  If I were to criticize, I would say that he is overstriding with his front foot.  The cure?  Widen the stance.

*********** Watched the Montreal-Ottawa game Thursday night, and watched a guy from Montreal, following a play,  slam right into an unsuspecting Ottawa coach,  knocking him down right in front of the Ottawa bench.  He then appeared to take on the entire Ottawa team, and then, after things settled down and he received a talking-to by his coach, he retired to the bench and gave the TV cameras the requisite pained “What’s everybody getting’ on me for?” look.

What an a&&hole.

The guy’s name is Duron Carter, and it turns out he’s Cris Carter’s kid.

Take a  look at Duron Carter’s resume - four different colleges, including two of the very best, and he was barely able to stay eligible long enough to play at  any of them - and you’ll see why he’s playing in Canada.  For now.

Cris Carter is a hall of famer. Duran Carter?  This is one apple that’s fallen far from the tree.

*********** Let’s see… Gays in the military, women serving in combat, a gay as Secretary of the Army, and now, to celebrate the Fourth of July, Trannies cleared for service.

Sleep well tonight, Americans.  Remember - Diversity (as the Libs like to say) is our strength.

*********** At Texas A & M, Johnny Manziel is the gift that keeps on giving. Kyle Allen, who transferred from A & M to Houston, said back in February that the chickens were coming home to roost in Aggieville.

“I think the culture was a big part of it, and I think that stems from Johnny’s era there — the way that they let Johnny and [others] act there,” Allen said. “They [could] do that and still win games because they had Johnny … and five offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now.

“A lot of people were riding off that, ‘I can do whatever the hell I want and win on Saturday.’ Everyone wasn’t in a straight line. Everyone was going this way, this way, this way. We had a ton of talent there. I think that, once you get all the right coaches there and get the vision right, you can do a lot of things.”

*********** A Florida man…

*********** Coach, do you have a call that moves the B Back to receiver?
Yes. We set him (or maybe a receiver  substituting for him) to one side or the other by calling “BULL” (B set to the left) or “BEAR” (B set to the right).  That would put us in an empty set.

Whoever it is, he occupies the first “open spot” on the side he’s set to.  If there’s no wingback on that side, he becomes a wingback (or a close-in slot).  But if there is a wingback, he moves wider and becomes a slot or a flanker.

If we want him to go in motion to either side, we say “GO BULL” or  “GO BEAR”

OS eagle

Seen on my Wednesday morning walk on the beach at Ocean Shores…

*********** If you ever wanted to stick it to a bunch of stuffed shirts, you couldn't do better than Britain’s Nigel Farage,  addressing the first meeting of the EU Parliament after the UK pulled out of the European Union.

“Isn’t it funny,” he started his speech,  “You know when I came here 17 years ago, and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me.  Well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?”

*********** A member of the EU suggests that with the withdrawal of the UK, English will no longer be one of its official languages.

Talk about stupid.

Much as I hate to use the word “global,” English is the global language.  Yeah, yeah, I know - there are billions of Chinese who don’t speak it.  But I never heard of an Italian and a German conversing with each other in Cantonese. 

Meanwhile, just travel abroad, and almost anywhere you go you’ll hear English spoken.  It may be heavily accented, and it may be lacking somewhat in its construction values, but it’s definitely English, and it’s the bridge that enables people who speak a wide variety of mother tongues  to converse with one another.

And, of course (this kills the French), English is the global language of air traffic.

What’s really stupid is the fact that the EU has 24 “official” languages, which means that everything official has to be translated into 24 different documents - a major source of inefficiency.

The EU talked a good game about unity, but without a common language, they had no chance.

The disintegration of the EU should make all Americans appreciate the enormous contribution that Noah Webster made to our becoming one nation - it wasn’t as much much the dictionary as it was the common language - American English - that we came to speak.

Now, pray to God that the forces of multiculturalism and diversity don’t take aim at our language.

*********** An interesting sidenote to the UK’s exit from the European Union is that it does seem to remove one possible obstacle to putting an NFL team in London.

Not that there aren't plenty of other potential problems,  but up to now, a major concern was that the NFL draft and the league’s limited version of free agency might not comply with the EU’s “free movement” laws.

american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 28,  2016    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  John A


Everything is going great we are getting ready for a couple 7v7 in the next few weeks. The assignments on the wrist coaches is very helpful so we really can just lineup and go. We haven't started on the rushing part yet. But we are looking pretty good with the passing. Our head coach loves the formation names and how everything is together. The past few years the team would name everything and never had a system to go with it. They just added plays they saw that they liked but nothing went together. It was a mess when I got there but I think we've got it all straightened out. Thanks for all your help.

(I should add that tech support is always available.)

*********** NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s fed up with people intentionally fouling guys who can’t shoot free throws. Says, “I now think that we need to make the change.  It’s just become ugly.”

He carefully avoided the obvious question: how does a guy play basketball long enough and well enough (in other aspects of the game) to make it to the NBA without learning how to shoot free throws?

Whatever his solution might be, can you see baseball making accommodations for guys who can’t hit the curve? Or pitchers who can’t get it across the plate?

The problem is caused by teams fouling when they want to get the ball back;  the obvious guy to foul is the worst free throw shooter.

And when he misses, chances are the fouling team will get possession.

The rule is a black mark on the sport: name another sport where a team so clearly benefits from breaking a rule.

An easy solution, my wife and I have maintained for years, is to charge the fouling team (and player) with a foul and give the fouled team the choice of shooting free throws or taking it out with a fresh shot clock.

*********** I'll bet some of the Euro-admirers on the left - the ones who think that everything America has ever done is evil and who are always throwing Europe in our faces when it comes to child care, health care, public transportation, gun control, and so forth - would dearly love to have the US take the UK's place.

*********** My daughter, Vicky, lives in Denver with her husband and those of her four kids who aren’t away working or at college.

Actually, in the past seven years, she hasn’t been home much herself - she's spent  two years in Victoria, British Columbia, and the last four in London.

Only one of their kids graduated from high school in the US.  Their eldest, my grandson, graduated from Denver’s Cherry Creek High School, but of their three daughters, one graduated  in Victoria, and two graduated from The American School of London.

She’s back in the US now, with mixed emotions.  She made many friends both in Canada and in London, and, quite unbeknownst to me - since she isn’t one to trumpet her activities - she’s been involved in tutoring kids there.

I am so proud of her that I’ve printed below a nice article that appeared in the newsletter of the organization that she worked for.

Vicky London

*********** Cincinnati finally got around to retiring Pete Rose’s number 14.  Not that they’d have given it to anyone else since he left, but they had to get permission from Major League Baseball to formally retire the number, since Rose, like the old enemies of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, is officially a non-person.

Asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Trent Rosecrans why 14, he said he had no choice.  It was in his locker when he arrived in the clubhouse. 

He had worn 27 during spring training,  but, he explained,  “27 wasn’t a good number for a second baseman, so I got 14.”


*********** Seattle, once a brawny logging town, gets more and more like San Francisco every day…

Forgive me for lifting this article intact from a local newspaper, but it's most enjoyable as written, because it gets better as the facts become known...

An internal investigation is under way after an officer responding to a domestic violence call shot an armed man June 19.

The Seattle Times reported that Michael Uivary is in serious condition at a hospital and charged with second-degree assault.

Charging documents say Uivary has a history of mental health issues and suicide attempts.

The documents say Uivary told his husband that he’d taken an Ambient and Xanax pill every hour for six hours.

His husband took the pills away.

Quivery eventually woke up and confronted his husband, who called 911.

Officers arrived to find Uivary armed with two knives.

The Force Review Board will look at Seattle Police Department Officer Sarah Velling’s choice to fire a gun rather than her Taser.

Velling is on paid administrative leave.
***********  Johnny Football's lawyer accidentally sent a text to the Associate Press suggesting that Johnny's chances of copping a plea on his domestic violence charge  might be good so long as he didn't have to undergo a urinalysis.

"Heaven help us," he said, "If one of the conditions is that has has to pee in a bottle."

Now, that lawyer has resigned from Johnny's "legal team."

Either way, you know you're in deep sh-- when you've got a legal team.

*********** Admittedly, I rarely give more than a million dollars to Yale at any one time, but I have been fairly faithful in my contributions.

Not no more.  Not since the liberal pantywaists they've admitted, most of them on financial aid made possible by the university’s generosity, took over the campus as part of Hope and Change - hope of  changing Yale into something more to their liking.

So this was my response to Yale’s latest request for money.

“Take control of the mob, and then we’ll talk.”

This was the answer I got:

Dear Hugh,
Thank you for your email.  We appreciate your feedback.
Please know that we are grateful for your past generosity over the years. I hope the events on campus will not diminish your overall affection for Yale. You are a valued member of the University family.
Kind regards,
Sandra L. Livramento

I’d almost have preferred they told me to go f—k myself.  Then at least I’d know there was still someone there with a spine.

*********** News from Knoxville is that legendary coach Pat Head Summitt may be near death.

It’s doubly tragic to know that Coach Summitt has been in decline, suffering from Alzheimer’s, since having to step down as Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach in 2012.

*********** Native Americans and dealing with the  U.S. Government’s double standards 

ITEM: Daniel Chee Walley, 47, a member of the Navajo Nation from Chambers, Ariz., was sentenced this afternoon for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Nicholas E. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.

Walley was arrested on Sept. 14, 2012, based on an indictment charging him with selling and bartering parts of a Swainson’s hawk tail on Jan. 31, 2009, in McKinley County, N.M., without obtaining permission from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. On Oct. 22, 2012, Walley pled guilty to the During this afternoon’s proceedings, Walley was sentenced to two months of home confinement followed by a year of probation. Walley also fined $150 to be paid to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund.

Swainson’s hawks and other migratory birds are protected under federal wildlife laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These laws prohibit the possession, use, and sale of the feathers or other parts of federally protected birds, as well as the unauthorized killing of these birds, to help ensure that bird populations remain healthy and sustainable.

“We want people to understand that over 1000 birds are safeguarded under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Service is committed to ensuring their protection,” said Nicholas E. Chavez, the US Fish and Wildlife Services Southwest Region Special Agent in Charge.

ITEM: Last year we told you about the hare-brained “Operation Powwow” in which agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the Lipan Apache and then confiscated their feathers under federal laws designed to protect migratory birds. The Lipan Apache would never kill eagles since they consider the birds “a great gift from God our Creator,” according to their pastor, Robert Soto. But since the tribe was recognized by Texas but not by Washington—even though the feds did recognize tribe members as Native Americans—the government claimed they were using feathers without a permit.

Pastor Soto was able to get his feathers back thanks to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But his victory did not extend to the rest of the tribe. Now, thanks to the new settlement, he will be able to share these sacred objects with other worshippers and with “generations to follow,” he tells us. He will start by leading a Monday ceremony to spiritually cleanse the feathers. He reports that when the feds took them they dragged them on the ground, a great taboo among the faithful.

ITEM: May 15, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency charged with protecting bald and golden eagles, is once again trying to make it easier for the wind industry to kill those birds.

Two weeks ago the agency opened public comment on “proposed improvements” to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. The changes would allow wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. That’s a lot. The agency estimates there are now about 72,434 bald eagles in the continental U.S.

Absolutely astonishing how cavalier the Greens, who worship at the altar of environmentallism, can be about the slaughter of tens of thousands of migratory birds by monstrous windmills, which wouldn't even exist without heavy govenrment subsidies and requirements that our power companies must purchase - at higher prices for consumers - the power they produce.

Pitt 1979

*********** Not long ago, I managed to get my hands on a huge supply  of old Army football programs, and as I went through them, I came on the program from the 1979 Army-Pitt game. 

As I looked at the two pages of Pitt  players’ photos, I said, “Holy sh—!  Talk about players!"

(A side note: there were a fair number of players on that Pitt team - very good ones at that - from the Deep South.  That was the work of Pitt head coach Jackie Sherrill, who had the southern background and the connections to land players of the quality of Ricky Jackson and Hugh Green.  In five years at Pitt, Sherrill's record was 50-9-1.)

And most of the 1979 squad was underclassmen  -  in 1980,  they were even better.

In fact, based on their talent, if not their record, the 1980 Pitt Panthers may well have been the best college football team of all time.

Their record was good enough - 11-1.  Their only loss was to Florida State, 36-22 on a hot, muggy Saturday night in Tallahassee, but that was enough to cost them the national championship, finishing second to undefeated Georgia.

But the talent! 12 seniors from that 1980 Pitt were drafted by the NFL and seven others signed NFL contracts as free agents.  Four guys on that team were NFL first-rounders.

All told, 14 1979-80 team members were drafted by NFL teams, and 16 of them wound up playing in the NFL.

Now, get this - of the 19 players signed off the 1980 Pitt team, EIGHT won starting positions on NFL teams as ROOKIES:
Hugh Green, linebacker, Buccaneers
Russ Grimm, left guard, Redskins
Ricky Jackson, linebacker, Saints
Mark May, left tackle, Redskins
Randy McMillan, fullback, Baltimore Colts
Bill Neill - nose tackle, Giants
David Trout - placekicker, Steelers
Carlton Williamson - strong safety, 49ers

























In September, 1981,  New York Times sports writer William N. Wallace was one of the first to realize what Pitt had.

He quoted Redskins’ Director of Player Personnel Bobby Beathard.

Beathard believes that no other college team has ever come close to producing eight pro starters in one season. ''And we have two, May and Grimm, one more than anyone else,'' he said.

american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 24,  2016    “Politicians are the same everywhere.  They promise to build bridges even when there’s no river.”  Nikita Khrushchev

*********** What a kick in the ass the British exit from the EU is for the great Barack Obama.

Although in bloodless fashion, the British people have repudiated tyrannical rule from afar just as American colonists did in 1776.  In both cases, it was called economic idiocy to do so. In both cases, the elite ruling classes advised against it.  And in both cases, a highly-motivated group of  ordinary people united to throw off the rule of a distant, central government and bring government closer to the people.

By voting to leave the EU, the Brits showed how much they respected and feared our Noble President, who on a recent visit had the effrontery to advise them not to leave, and then the gall to threaten them by saying that if they were to do so,  they’d go to the back  of the line (trying to sound British, he said “queue”) in any trade deals with the US.

Obviously aware of how much his “red line” threat against Syria meant, though, the Brits didn’t let Mister Smooth scare them. 

But uh-oh.  They shouldn’t feel safe. No, no. Not considering how we make cozy with the likes of Iran and Cuba, while demonizing longtime friends like Israel. In fact, being  longtime friends and allies, being people who share our culture and speak our language and uphold the the same democratic traditions, the Brits have become  logical enemies in Barack Obama’s eyes.

*********** Mark this recent NBA Final series down as the one that finally buried the once-accepted wisdom that without a New York, or Los Angeles, or Chicago team in the finals, TV ratings would tank.

This year’s Game 7 drew the highest ratings of any NBA game in almost 20 years - since 1998, and the heyday of MIchael Jordan’s Bulls

Only the NFL and the Olympics have drawn more viewers in this decade.

*********** I got a call the other day from Mike Pucko, in Worcester (that’s “WUSS-tah” or even “WISS-tah”), Massachusetts.

Mike is an outstanding coach - a double wing guy who’s built a record of 115-60 in 15 years of coaching high school ball in Central Mass, and now he’s taken a step toward a college head coaching job by accepting a position as linebacker coach at D-II Assumption College.

Mike was an outstanding high school running back in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and a three-year starter at linebacker at UConn, but after graduation he devoted his energies to building a business.

Out of football for a number of years, Mike found time away from the business to branch out into coaching, and in 1997 he was hired as defensive coordinator at Marlborough, Mass. High.  In 1999, he switched sides to become offensive coordinator at West Boylston High, where he began running the Double Wing, and where I first met him.

In 2001 Mike took over as head coach at West Boylston, and in four years there he went 26-18.

In 2005, Mike signed on at Worcester’s Holy Name Central Catholic, where they’d  just come off back-to-back  2-9 and 2-9 seasons.  The turnaround was immediate, and in his 11 years at Holy Name, Mike  went 89-42 and won three Super Bowls, the Massachusetts equivalent of a state title.

Mike’s always been active in working to get his kids placed in colleges, and he’s spent a lot of his own time and money taking them - as well as kids from other schools - on college visits.

Lately, he’s been out working at various college camps, and he told me how impressed he was by an organization out of Detroit called Rising Stars Recruiting that takes Detroit-area kids by the busload to numerous college camps.

The Rising Stars program is devoted to preparing the kids for the camps - and, obviously, for college - and it appears to be about more than football.  Mike said he was very impressed by the way their kids handled themselves, with a lot of “Yes sir” and “No sir,” and, in the case of a female trainer, “Yes Ma’am.”

I have no idea where they money is coming from, but I applaud them, and wish that some other group would do the same for potental doctors and engineers.

*********** Funny how we’ll spend millions in police overtime to enforce seat belt laws (“Click it or Ticket”) but we won’t go after drug users. Considering all the problems that drug use causes, not only here but in the nations where the drugs are grown, wouldn’t it make sense to try - just once - to attack the problem at the demand end?

*********** Hackers into the Democratic National Committee’s files found copies of Hillary Clinton’s speaking contracts. (You know, those $225,000 “speeches”)

$225,000 a speech?  As tough as it is to listen to that woman, I figured I could struggle through it for twenty minutes or so if they offered me $225,000.  And then I found out that they were paying her!

Now get this…

Besides the $225,000 fee…

Her Majesty requires a “chartered roundtrip private jet.”  Not just any jet, either - a “Gulfstream 450 or larger aircraft.” The Gulfstream seats 19 and can sleep six.

First class or business-class airfare for three of her aides. (What - you expected them to fly with Her Highness on the Gulfstream?)

For lodging, “a presidential suite” and  “three adjoining or contiguous rooms for her travel aides”

Up to two extra rooms for advance staff.

The Clinton travel party’s ground transportation, meals, and “phone charges/cell phones.”

A flat fee of $1000 for a stenographer to create “an immediate transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks.”

The contract includes this:   “We will be unable to share a copy of the transcript following the event.”

(Which is why we have yet to find out what she said for $225,000 a speech.) 

*********** ESPN announced it will give the University of Missouri  football team a special humanitarian award in July for the team’s strike, which led to the the school’s president being fired and a massive drop in enrollment.

Said ESPN in announcing the Award.

Racial tensions were becoming increasingly strained at the University of Missouri last fall. Frustrations gave rise to protests — one of the most notable coming when a student at the school began a hunger strike. Students were demanding action, and the Mizzou Tigers football team stepped in and announced that they would boycott their upcoming game unless changes were made. The players took a huge risk — their scholarships could have been revoked and their futures hung in the balance. But their actions indicated it was a risk worth taking to help bring action to this critical issue.

ESPN is also rumored to be working with the government of Norway  to award President Barack Obama a second Nobel Peace Prize.

*********** LSU’S Ben Simmons is likely to be the NBA’s top draft pick.  He’s an Australian, the son of an Australian woman and American dad who went to OZ to play basketball.

My son sent me an interesting story about Ben Simmons and Kevin Goorjian, his high school coach - for two years, anyhow - whom Ben invited to be with him and his family at the draft.

You think high school coaches aren’t important?

When Ben  showed up for “year 9” (freshman year) in high school, his school didn’t have a “year 9 team.”

But Goorjian wasn’t blind.  The kid was already 6-8, and he had basketball in his genes, so Goorjian went to the principal…

“The principal said that I could start a year nine program if I got 12 boys and 12 girls. I told myself that I’m gonna make this happen because of Ben,” Goorjian said.

“It was really special having him in year nine. He’s a once in a lifetime player. My whole family is in coaching and I knew in year nine that he was something special.

Ed added, “Kevin is Brian Goorjian’s brother. Brian (the most successful basketball coach in Australian basketball history),  is now working for Yao Ming’s team in Shanghai.”

*********** I’ve long deplored the way aspiring singing greats “perform” our national anthem to the point where I hate hearing it, and I’ve envied countries whose national anthems are virtually un-f—k-upable. Like Canada.

But then, before Thursday night’s CFL game in Toronto, I heard some poofter in a tee-shirt do the once-thought-impossible, sccrewing with "O Canada" while giving a great imitation of a guy fresh out of the hospital after being neutered.

american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 21,  2016   “There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”  Ronald Reagan

*********** After losing two straight outstanding classes, our challenge at North Beach was to cobble together a team.  On offense, we wound up with a lineup that has just one returning starter playing  the same position he played last year.  On defense, every player is either brand-new to varsity ball or playing a brand-new position.

Finally, after three weeks of spring practice, we finally had some contact. Literally.  With only 17 kids on our spring roster - and only 11 with any significant playing experience, we couldn’t have scrimmaged if we’d wanted to.

But on Saturday took part in an eight-team Jamboree at Castle Rock, Washington, and it was funny watching our kids, used to running offense against air and simply playing alignment-and-assignment on defense,  adjust to the pace of actual football.

There was no doubt in our mind about our scheme or about our kids’ toughness, but we had so many question marks at so many positions that we figured that the sudden exposure to contact would be like turning up the pressure in an old fire hose and finding out where the leaks are.

What we found was that we have three positions where we are quite good, another four who are pretty good, two who will become pretty good with experience, and two who might not be able to get the job done.

One defense, we are pretty solid at seven spots. But we are suspect at four of them, and there we have to have some kids come through.

We faced two teams, both a class larger than us - the host team, Castle Rock, a long-time power coming off an atypical 3-6 season, and Kingsway Christian of Vancouver, transitioning into a full league schedule after a 5-2 season as an independent.  We played Castle Rock once and Kingsway twice.

They both would be good, solid programs at our level, so they were a great test for us.

We met the test.  We played far beyond my expectations.

On offense, we scored six touchdowns - five rushing and one passing.  On defense, we gave up six touchdowns, but we expected to have some problems in our secondary and four came on passes. And in one series, we held Castle Rock for four downs from inside our 7-yard line.

The format was 10 minutes’ running time on offense, 10 minutes on defense.

Knowing that we were not guaranteed a set number of plays, we determined to run as many plays as we could, without playing race-horse football or going at NASCAR speed, or whatever others call it.   We simply dispensed with huddling and lined up ready to play, waiting for the next play call. That’s how we practice, so it was nothing new to the kids.

We could have gone faster, but obviously we did have to point out - and correct - certain mistakes.  And when we did so, we did it on the fly.

In three games, a total of 30 minutes’ running time, we got off a total of 61 plays - 21, 20 and 20 per session.

Watching other teams, I counted seven series, in which the number of plays ranged from a low of 13 to a high of 17. The  average was 15.  Based on that average of 15 plays per “game,” we effectively got in an extra game.

We do have our challenges, but we have a chance to be decent. Unless someone gets hurt.

*********** On one occasion Saturday we winced when we saw a player from another team lead with his head to make a tackle and reflexively said something like “Ouch! Keep that head up!" - and one of their assistants, who overheard, informed us they teach Hawk tackling.   (For what that’s worth.  But I do think that Pete Carroll is on thin ice when he markets that stuff as safe tackling.)

Rugby is the inspiration for the vaunted Hawk tackling.  Supposedly, they’ve figured out a way to taco safely.  Don’t believe it, writes Rick Davis, who coaches in New Zealand, where rugby is king. Coach Davis writes, “Would like to have a nickel for every time I've said ‘head up’ or ‘keep your head up.’ etc. I really cringe watching rugby...heads down a lot of time for both tacklers and ball carriers.”

*********** Coach Mike Norlock, from Atascadero, California, was kind enough to send me this photo from The Wall, where he’s touching Don Holleder’s name.

Don Holleder was the inspiration for the Black Lion Award - if you aren't already  a Black Lion team, email and sign up!

Mike Norlock at Wall

*********** I watch what’s going on in our country and I'm reminded of Mark Steyn’s quote:

“If Obama were working for the other side, what would he be doing differently?”

****I once had a PE instructor who would repeatedly pronounce badminton “badmington.”  (With a “g” in there.)

It always sounded weird, and he never learned, and it made me wonder, “WTF is wrong with this guy?”

So when the President of the United States (and his toe-sucking Secretary of State, John Kerry), are just about the only people in the whole world who say “ISIL” for what even the sucker media call “ISIS,” I always find myself asking the same question.

**** Forget for the moment about the thousands streaming unchecked across our borders… Forget about releasing prisoners… Forget about giving felons the vote… Forget about the additional thousands of “refugees” from the Middle East about to arrive in a neighborhood near you…

And move on to other atrocities…

**** From The Obama Ministry of Truth and Justice…

Loretta Lynch, who runs the ironically-named Department of Justice, announced on Sunday that she would release a transcript of the Orlando murderer’s phone call to Orlando Police - an edited transcript.

It had been edited to remove references the killer made to ISIS and the ISIS leader to whom he pledged allegiance. 

"I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]," the guy told the dispatcher.

“Omitted,” eh? 

Well, yeah.  We can’t have the American public hearing what the guy actually said.  Why,  the common people aren’t able to handle the truth, so it’s our job at the Ministry of Truth to see that they don’t get it.

And our own, trusted FBI, the same “G-Men” who youngsters of my generation grew up believing were on our side -  an impenetrable wall between us and everything evil -  has followed its orders from above to tell us what their truth is.

The deletions were necessary, said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ron Hopper.  “(The Killer) does not represent the religion of Islam, but a perverted view," he said.

(I honestly had no idea that courses in theology were required to advance in the FBI bureaucracy.)

His justification for concealing the evidence? ”Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist attacks in the past. We're not gonna propagate their violent rhetoric."

“Part of the redacting?”  And what would be the reason for the rest of?

Oh, wait - guess enough people like me raised enough hell.  They’ve changed their mind and decided we can handle the truth after all.

Nothing to see here, folks.  Move along.

**** Our increasingly-Godless military.  George Washington would be very proud …

A veteran of 33 years’ service in the US Air Force was removed forcibly from a deceased veteran’s flag-folding ceremony after  for complied with the deceased’s request that the traditional flag-folding speech, which includes references to God, be recited, rather than the sanitized, no-God version now standard in the military.

**** The idiocy continues…

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more “lateral entry” into the military's upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps as high as the O-6 paygrade.

The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. But while it's not universally embraced, there is interest in Congress and among some of the military's uniformed leaders — even, they say, in exploring how the services could apply this concept to the enlisted force.

This is a key piece of Carter’s “Force of the Future” personnel reform. Unveiled June 9, it aims to help the military bring in more top talent, especially for high-tech career fields focused on cyber warfare and space. Advocates say it will help the military fill important manpower shortfalls with highly skilled professionals and, more broadly, create greater “permeability” between the active-duty military and the civilian sector.

At the same time, it suggests eroding the military’s tradition of growing its own leaders and cultivating a force with a distinct culture and tight social fabric, which many believe to be the heart of military effectiveness. Critics worry it will create a new subcaste of military service members who are fundamentally disconnected from the traditional career force.

If you didn’t feel like reading all that, let me summarize: Ashton Carter, our esteemed Secretary of Defense, proposes to take people right off the street, as it were, and make them officers in our armed forces. Just like that.  They could enter at ranks as high as Colonel in the Army, or Captain in the Navy, ranks that most officers spend 20 years to attain. Even then, not all of them make it.

Such a deal: No basic training, no Service Academy or ROTC training, no Army or Navy War College, no moving the family every couple of years and no months’-long deployments to war zones. And, of course, no 20+ years climbing up the ranks. 

Oh - and obviously, no understanding of or appreciation for the military culture, which, if you happen to be a conspiracy nut like me, sure sounds like an attempt at injecting an element of pacifism into the ranks of our armed forces.

Add that to the purges of warrior types from the Pentagon that have already taken place, the current reduction in force of our various services, and a stated mission to increase “diversity” (read “LGBT”) in the ranks and you can’t help thinking that someone - hmmm - wants to neuter our fighting forces.

Needless to say, the Marine Corps is the service most “skeptical” of Secretary Carter’s brainstorm.

**** And then, worst of all, absolutely terrifying to anyone who understands history and the foundations of our country (talk about the One Per Cent) …

You may remember that the police use of armored vehicles in Ferguson, Missouri led to an outcry against the sale by our military of surplus equipment and arms to police departments around the country.

There. Police nullified.

Now, before the last body has been buried, politicians on the left are hustling to leverage the Orlando killings into disarmament of the American public.

Should they succeed… Citizenry nullified.

And then comes the alarming information in Friday’s Wall Street Journal (June 17, 2016) that our government, from top to bottom -  from the Department of Education to the Smithsonian Institution to the Social Security Administration to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs - is armed to the teeth.

At the same time “The White House”and its allies attempt to undermine the Second Amendment, it is equipping agencies with no relation whatsoever to our national defense with  military-style equipment, including heavy weapons, hollow-point bullets, night-vision goggles  and body armor.

According to an article by former Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of, “The number of non-Defense Department federal officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000).”

Maybe you’d better read that again. Not counting the actual military, there is a federal military force scattered around the federal bureaucracy that is larger in number than the Marine Corps.  (That’s pronounced “Core,” Barack.)

“During a nine-year period through 2014,” they write, “we found, 67 agencies unaffiliated with the Department of Defense spent $1.48 billion on guns and ammo.”

For example:

“The Internal Revenue Service, which has 2,316 special agents. spent nearly $11 million on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs, which has 3,700 law-enforcement officers guarding and securing VA medical centers, spent $11.66 million. It spent more than $200,000 on night-vision equipment and, $2.3 million on body armor.” (As recently as 1995, the VA had NO officers with firearms authorization.)

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spent $4.77 million on shotguns, .308 calibre rifles and liquid explosives, among other items of weaponry.

“The EPA,” the authors write, “has put more than $800 million since 2005 into its “‘Criminal Enforcement Division.’”

“The Food and Drug Administration employs 183 heavily-armed ‘special agents.’”

The report goes on to say, “Other paper-pushing federal agencies with firearm-and-arrest authority that have expanded their arsenals since 2006 have included the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Education Department, the Energy Department, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”

Now get this - two of the most liberal colleges in the country, whose faculty and students would surely vote 99-1 in favor of taking your guns from you, seem to see some value in assault rifles for themselves. Cal Berkeley has acquired 14 5.56 mm assault rifles,  the Yale University Police  20 of them,  from the Defense Department.

The authors conclude by saying, “Our data shows that the federal government has become a gun show that never adjourns.”

You do realize, don’t you, that it wouldn’t take any effort at all to mine the data and compile a list of every climate-denier,  or everyone who applied for a gun license, or everyone who wrote something on the Internet criticizing Our Leader?  They probably already have the lists, sorted by state, county and zip code. 

And if only 10 per cent of those 200,000 armed “non-military” federal officers were dispatched to round ‘em up - who would stand in their way?

At last - the answer to two questions the lefties love to ask - (1) Why do we even need the Second Amendment? and (2) Why would any civilian need an assault rifle?

Back to America as we knew it...

*********** I received a call Sunday from Coach Dwayne Pierce, an old friend (and a veteran of the Double-Wing wars with parents) from Washington, DC.

He and his brother, Sean, made a deal that whichever one of them got a head high school coaching job first could count of having his brother as an assistant, and Sean got the job - at Northwood High in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Dwayne’s on board, of course, and another Double Winger, Greg Hall, has joined the staff.  They won’t be running the Double Wing, though - Dwayne is the defensive coordinator.

The brothers Pierce have their work cut out for them - the Northwood Gladiators have won just seven games in the last four years, and their best season in the last 10 years was 5-5 in 2007.

Nevertheless, Dwayne was really enthusiastic, excited especially about the attitude of the kids at workouts, and about some really impressive leadership being shown.

*********** The shooting in Orlando was absolutely horrible. 

I was watching Fox News and there they were, interviewing a young woman who said that she and her cousin were at the club to celebrate the cousin’s 18th birthday. Sadly, the cousin died in the massacre.

Hmmm. 18th birthday, eh?  Now, wait a minute, said I…

As someone with graying hair and male pattern baldness who’s been carded unapologetically “because we card everybody,” it occurred to me, and no doubt to others, that whoever is responsible for enforcing the drinking laws in Orlando wasn’t exactly on top of their game.

Sadly, I rather doubt that that young woman was the only minor killed, and I also doubt that there’s a shortage of lawyers in Florida capable of making the point to a jury that if the owners of the club had been complying with the law, at least one more young person would be alive today.

Hello coach Wyatt.
I'm really enjoying the "Open Wing DVDs and looking forward to the final two.

Meanwhile!   A question if I may!

Since there is limited room on the wrist cards, what procedure do you use to get the "tags" to the Q.B. such as, follow, pull, keep and so forth? Additionally, how do you get formation information to the team? Is this all done by sending it into the huddle by messingers?


J.C. Brink
Stuart Florida


Glad you like the DVDs.

To answer your question -  the base formation and the assignment is on each individual player's card. I simply add the tags.  If, for example, the play is located at “20-2” and I want to use RIP motion, I would tell the quarterback “RIP 20-2”

If in addition I wanted him to keep, I’d call “RIP 20-2 KEEP."

THIS IS KEY: to the linemen, all that matters is "20-2."

And so forth.

One play we ran Saturday was "BRONCO RIP 40-2 DIRECT"

But again, for the linemen, all they needed to know was "40-2"

I call out the play to the QB. If I’m up in the press box, that’s the job of a coach on the sideline.  In our case, it’s the head coach.  As soon as the last play is over, the QB hustles to within range of the coach.

I do NOT believe in messengers.  I do NOT trust anyone but the quarterback to get a play, intact,  to the team.  Intelligence is a must for my quarterback, and if he can’t do it, we’re screwed.

I have him repeat the play call back to me or, if I’m in the press box, he repeats it to the coach he got it from.

He’ll call the play to the team at the line. Not everybody on the team needs to hear the tags.  Many of them (such as “RIP”) only need to be communicated to one person, and  in the case of special tags such as “Keep,” we obviously don't call that out.

It works well for us.  If we only did it in practice, it would be worth all my effort.

american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 17,  2016   "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."   Winston Churchill

*********** As we conclude our spring ball at North Beach, it’s apparent that we’re going to be a classic “Dirty Dozen” operation.  We have exactly 16 healthy kids in uniform;  twelve of them are what we consider varsity-calibre players.

On offense, we have only three returning starters, and only one of them is in the same position as he played last year.

On defense, we also have three returning starters.

But in both cases, we have a pretty good player at every position, and our practices have been exceptionally sharp.  Obviously it’s a pain in th arse practicing offense against four or five defenders, but we manage by telling the scout team coach where we’ll be running, so that at least we can have people at the point of attack.

When  we’re on defense, it’s not so easy.  We have to do a lot of half-line, which eats up a lot more time than 11-on-11 work.

But enough whining (if that’s the way it sounds).

On Saturday we’re playing a jamboree against one school that’s more than twice our size and another one that was 9-1 last season - and we’re excited.

*********** Hello Coach,

How are you doing?

I was in a discussion with another coach the other day and we were talking about the new blocking rule adopted by the NFHS in January. I need a clarification. Are players allowed to cut block defenders in the free blocking zone? I was saying they could not and the other coach said you could, you just cannot clip in the free blocking zone. Would you be able to enlighten me on the new rule.  

Thank you

John Guebara
Newport, Vermont

The other coach is correct. But if you have your TE "cut" on Super Power it could look like a clip. And you'd better make sure the officials understand the new rule.

*********** Used to be you could freely use the word “pussy” on the football field, not  referring (1) to a cat or (2) to a part of the female anatomy, but (3) to a player who, very simply, lacked courage.

It’s not the wisest thing to openly accuse one of your players of cowardice in the first place, but obviously, it was the inescapable fact that outsiders confused definition (2) with definition (3) that made “pussy”   a Word That Shall Not Be Uttered on the football field.

It strikes me that if it’s absolutely essential to use such a word, all we have to do is change pronunciation a little bit.

Pronounce it “PYOOSE-ee.”  (“You tackle like a Pyoose!”)

If anyone questions you, inform them that it has nothing to do with a cat or a woman’s nether region - it’s short for “pusillanimous.”

Since they almost certainly won’t have ever heard the word before (and certainly not from a neanderthal football coach), let them know that it means “timid, cowardly, fearful, faint-hearted, spineless.”

Come to think of it, that very accurately describes a lot of today’s school administrators, wouldn’t you say?

*********** Funny how the same people who accuse Donald Trump of lumping every single member of a group together in his talk about restricting immigration or building a wall have no problem themselves with villainizing the “One Per Centers” and deploring something they call “White Privilege.”

*********** Urban Meyer has some great advice for kids and their parents who seem to be getting the idea that they can spend their way - on camps and personal instruction - to a college scholarship:

“I have parents ask all the time, ‘Should I send him to that camp?’ Sure, if you have 80 bucks to blow, go ahead,” Meyer said. “Here’s where you start: Go make your high school coach so proud of you that he’s going to tell the college coach, ‘Take him.’ How cool is that? It’s real simple. Don’t complicate things.

“For some reason, this recruiting thing is blowing up. ‘I have to go to this 7-on-7, do this, do this.’ I’ve got a better idea. Go become a great high school football player on your team. When (we) walk in that high school, guess what that high school coach says? ‘Take him.’ You know what we do at Ohio State when he says that? We usually take him. I don’t care what you do at those other camps. I want to hear your high school coach say, ‘Take him.’ If I have relationship with that high school coach like I do with these NFL coaches, guess what happens? We take him.

“Don’t worry about (all the camps). That’s all fun stuff, that’s great. But that’s not why Ohio State recruits you. I can speak for the majority of my friends that coach football. That means nothing. What means something is the recommendation of the high school football coach. Go become a captain. If you’re a captain of your high school team and you’re talented enough, you’ve got a great chance of being here. If you’re very talented and you’re not a captain, I’m going to find out why, because something’s not right.”

*********** Mark Steyn, filling in for Rush Limbaugh, has a great idea -

He noted that now that there’s been a shooting at a night club, we can certainly expect security barriers around night clubs.

And if the next shooting is at a pastry shop, there’ll be security barriers around pastry shops.

And then convenience stores, and sporting goods stores, and so on.

Instead, he asks,  why don’t we just have one big security barrier around our whole country?  We could call it a BORDER.

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

In reference to your post on the News You Can Use, you referenced play cards...are you referring to your wristband cards? If so, can you explain what you are doing now as opposed to what you use to do with the bands, please and thank you.  And anything you can share as far as examples go would be appreciated.

Thank You,

Mike Johnston
Elmira, New York

Hi Coach-

The big difference is that now, in addition to putting the play itself on the card, we actually put each player’s individual assignment on his card.  It’s a HUGE difference

The assignment-in-the-card system is a pain in the ass to set up initially, but it enables us to run far more plays - and run them better - than if we had to rely on kids to memorize.

And when a starter gets hurt, we don’t have to worry about whether his backup knows his assignments.  He may not be a very good player, but he’ll know his assignments  - because they’re right on his f-king card.

Thank You Coach, I appreciate you getting right back to me.  It looks very similar to the Tony Franklin Wristband System, would I be correct?  Only you have broken it down in to Simple Stupid for the HS system and as you say for the back up don't have memorize the assignment.  And you obviously like how this has worked for you and you are flip flopping.

I’m not familiar with the Tony Frankin system, but I’ve been doing this since 1996.  When we started running this Open Wing in 2013, I added the assignments.

It got me out of the memorization business, and it’s made all the difference.

I figured that kids may have to worry about memorizing things in the classroom, but I’m not going to let their inability to memorize plays hold us back on the football field.

That lets me spend my time teaching them how to do it instead of what to do.

*********** Hey Mom and Dad - if you don’t have the time to take the kiddies to “The Forest,” there’s always “The Park.”

On a day in May 2013, a 44-year-old homeless man stood in a Gresham, Oregon park, unzipped his pants, shoved his hand inside and arched his pelvis in the direction of a woman who was with her 7-year-old son.

The woman would later tell police that she turned her head away because she didn't want to see what she thought was about to happen: Thomas Bryan Wade exposing himself.

The little boy started crying. Mother and son hastily left the park and called police. Wade was convicted of second-degree disorderly conduct.

But this week, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the misdemeanor conviction, finding that Wade had committed no crime.

Even for Oregon, this one is off the charts.  And no, I’m not making it up.

Oregon has no such offense as “disturbing the peace,” and because the creep didn’t actually display his schlong, he couldn’t be charged with indecent exposure.

So Mom and Dad - on second thought, maybe you should go take your chances with the animals in The Forest.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Just finished doing a quick review of the “Open Wing” DVD’s. Great job as always. The passing DVD for me is priceless. I especially enjoyed the introduction on disk one. It brought back memories of the early VCR days where you would go through a bit of a history/football lesson. Always found them enjoyable. You don’t get that with today’s coaching DVD’s.
Coach, now that you flip your line, do you use a special huddle so that the break doesn’t look like a Chinese fire drill? Never flipped the O-line before. I could see doing it with the opewing.
One more question if I may. When blocking C to the tight side and the TE has an inside shade (44 def.) do you still block that with an influence out rule or is the TE blocking down in the inside shade and the open guard kicking the next defender ouside the TE down block?
Once again, thanks for the DVD’s. Yes I think the guys will like them. This one sure does.
Jim Kuhn
West Seneca, New York

Hi Coach-

Very happy that you like the DVDs.  I hope that you get a lot of use out of them.

The first question just has never been an issue.  I don’t take any credit for it.  I just never made a big deal about it and somehow the kids have figured it out.

(Maybe the reason I didn’t give it much thought is that we never huddle in practice.)

As for the C block - in the interest of simplicity I haven’t given the TE that assignment, so we wing up double-teaming the inside shade and therefore the open guard always kicks out the first man past the TE’s block. It seems to work okay for us.

Thanks for writing and please feel free to continue to ask!

*********** The Bellevue, Washington School District is lawyering up and appealing  the punishment imposed by its conference for recruiting violations of the sort that would have shocked even the University of North Carolina during its dirtiest days.

The punishment includes a 4-year ban on post-season play, as well as one on out-of-state games, which in Bellevue’s case meant trips to some pretty exotic locales - a powerful inducement, one would have to assume,  to out-of-district kids to “transfer” to Bellevue.

*********** The late Bear Bryant was a great one for insisting that when Alabama won, the players deserved the credit, and when Bama lost, the blame lay with him.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, later to become President Eisenhower, set a great example of this for leaders everywhere.

Prior to the D-Day invasion of northern Europe, General Eisenhower, its leader and coordinator, prepared for every contingency, including the terrible possibility that the operation might be a failure.  He wrote out a statement to be released in that event, taking full responsibility:

"My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."

When the operation did succeed, however, he gave the credit to others, saying to the Allied (US, British, Canadian) Expeditionary Forces:

“One week ago this morning there was established through your coordinated efforts our first foothold in northwestern Europe.  High as was my preinvasion confidence in your courage, skill and effectiveness… your accomplishments have exceeded my highest hopes. I truly congratulate you on upon an brilliantly successful beginning… Liberty-loving people everywhere would today like to join me in saying to you, ‘I am proud of you.’”

The National Football Foundation noted  that five new college football teams will take the field for the first time this season, increasing the number of schools among all NCAA divisions, the NAIA and independents playing  football to 774, an all-time high.

Since 1978 when the NCAA changed its method for tracking attendance figures, the number of schools playing NCAA football (FBS, FCS, DII and DII) has steadily increased from 484 in 1978 to a record high of 666 in 2015. Adding in the NAIA,  the number of colleges and universities now offering football has been increased to the all-time high 774.
In the past four seasons alone (2011-15), 36 football programs have been added at NCAA, NAIA or independent institutions.

All 774 schools will be represented on the three-story helmet wall, presented by Southwest Airlines, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 14,  2016   "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."   Calvin Coolidge (Sure sounds like he was talking about GRIT)

*********** Thursday was the last day of school at North Beach, and while most of the kids headed off to do whatever they plan to do this summer, the football players and members of the girls’ basketball team headed to Brookdale Senior Living, an assisted care facility in Ocean Shores.

The mission - “Mail call” for the World War II veterans at the home.

The “Mail call” was the idea of North Beach head coach Todd Bridge, as part of his US history class’ study of World War II.  The idea, knowing how much soldiers and sailors looked forward to mail call and the possibility of news from home, was to prepare “mail” for them - posters with photos and words of appreciation for the veterans and what they’d done - and then, one by one, he’d call out their names as players delivered their “mail” to them.

Before we went, Coach Bridge prepped the players, explaining  to the team by simple arithmetic that none of the people they’d be meeting could be younger than 88 years old, but every one of them was young once, just like them, and everyone had to put life on hold to go fight a war.

Two of the veterans were ladies who had served as corpsmen (that’s pronounced “CORE-men, if you’re reading this, Mr. Obama).  One of them retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

One of the men, Woody Howard, grew up on a Maine farm. He became a pilot, and when his P-38 was shot down over France, he was hidden for nearly two years by French Underground.

Another vet was brought up on a dairy farm in Carnation, Washington, and yes - he knew the old “Carnation Milk in a can” poem. (“No tits to pull, no hay to pitch - Just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.”)

A third vet was a Tacoma, Washington boy who wound up serving in the Navy for four years, on a destroyer.  He said that in his time at sea they got two Japanese subs.  Said that it was really shocking to drop the depth charges and then see things from a submarine come to the surface.  He seemed resigned about it - said “somebody had to do it.”

A fourth gentleman who isn’t a resident of the home but lives in Ocean Shores was also invited.    His name is Arnold Samuels and he was born in Germany.  A Jew,  he was brought here by his parents in July, 1937 - before the Nazis were able to round them up and ship them to a concentration camp.  Although not a citizen, he managed to enlist in the Army, and because he spoke German, he often wound up often going behind the German lines, armed with a forged German passport,  to acquire intelligence.  He was on the scene when American forces liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, and after the German surrender, again because of his ability to speak German, he served in the CIC - the Counter Intelligence Corps - interrogating former Nazis.  His boss was another German Jew who would one day become Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. 

Read his amazing story:

I found it very  interesting that while for some of them their memories of certain events had become hazy, they all remembered their home towns.

I believe that the visit made quite an impression on our kids.  I know it made a great impression on the veterans.  It’s been said more than once that the most important thing for any fighting person to know is that if anything bad should happen to him, he won’t be left behind.  To that I might add, also that he won’t be forgotten.

Todd addressingmail delivery

LEFT: Coach Bridge at mail call; RIGHT: Vets check their mail

Brenden Chaney delivers mailBen presenting

LEFT: Brenden Chaney delivers the mail, and RIGHT so does Ben Poplin

*********** Yee-haw.  Football’s back!  The first CFL exhibition games are played this past weekend!  Saturday night, I was able to watch Saskatchewan vs BC.

Thanks to AppleTV, which enabled me to watch it on my TV. Otherwise,  I would have had to watch it on my laptop or my iPad.

Which got me wondering…  why do we have to jump through hoops to watch Canadian Football?

This can’t be the fault of the CFL, which I’m sure would love to expand its audience in the US.

And I imagine that ESPN itself or some other US network wouldn’t mind showing it, considering some of the dreck they’re forced to show this time of the year (no offense, rugby sevens).

So could this be part of an NFL scheme to  suppress the CFL?  Call me a conspiracy nut, but I say, YES!

*********** The National Safety Council announced that in 2014, accidental deaths were up 15.5% in ten years

The Top Eight Causes of Accidental Death in 2014

1. Poisoning (which includes drug overdoses) 42,032 up 78% since 2005 

2. Motor Vehicles 35,398 down 22%

3. Falls  31,959  up 63% (likely to increase as Americans’ average age increases)

4. Choking 4,816

5. Drowning 3,406

6. “Fire, flames, smoke”  2,701

7. Suffocation  1,764

And in eighth place, at 1.4 per cent of poisoning deaths… 1.7 per cent of Motor Vehicle deaths… 1.8 per cent of Deaths by Falls… Are you ready for this?

8. Firearm accidents  586 down 26% from 2013

Now, unless I’m incapable of reading this correctly, I find myself asking why doctors are asking people if they have guns at home when they should be asking themselves why they're writing so many prescriptions for  pain killers.

*********** At the very top of the list of reasons why college basketball coaches like to recruit Australian kids is the fact that in the Australian sports culture, being a good teammate is very important - way, way more important than individual glory.  From an interview with Golden State’s Andrew Bogut…

Q. Do you wonder how your resume would look had you stayed in Milwaukee?

“Yeah.  I probably wouldn’t have a championship.”

Q. Your individual resume might look a bit different.

“Who gives a shit?  I really don’t care. I mean. I’d rather have some rings, be part of a winning culture.  Like I said, in Milwaukee, averaging 15, 16 and 10, individual accolades, and be, you know, drinking a beer at the end of April watching the playoffs?  Or would I rather be averaging half that production, but be part of a winning culture and a winning group, and getting a championship ring?   I’m fine with that.  A lot of players say they’re fine with that, but they’re not.  A lot of players are, ‘I want to win, but I want to win on my terms.’  I really don’t care at this point in my career.  I mean, I’ve had those individual successes. I was All-NBA one year and all that kind of stuff. But that wasn’t really enjoyable, because I was home in the summer.”

*********** Elisabel Enriquez, Guatemala's vice-consul in Mexico, said migrant smugglers now rent trucks and shuttle migrants from southern Mexico all the way to the U.S. border nearly 2,000 miles  away, for up to $8,000 per person.

If they had that kind of money, couldn’t they have lived pretty well in Guatemala?

*********** Morning Coach,

I have a couple of coaching questions I would like to get your feedback on.

This spring I have been coaching two teams, a six man team made up of 13-16 year old girls and a twelve man team made up of 15-17 year olds.

The 6 man team has been running the DW and the 12 man team has been running a power I.

The 6 man team is doing very well. We are 5-1 and practices are lively, focused and well attended. The 12 man team is doing poorly. We had a scrimmage two weeks ago, and had very few plays that went for positive yards. Practices are challenging with low attendance and lack of enthusiasm.

The 6 man team was successful last year (I coached them), while the 12 man team lost every game and only scored twice (I did not coach them).

Here are my questions:

The six man team is heading into the last game of the season against an undefeated and un-scored upon opponent. Last year, I was heading into a similar scenario and you advised that the kids should be treated honestly and  told that the opponent we are facing is a very good football team and that we are not in that place yet, but we will be much better after the game than we were before the game. Although we are 5-1, we are still a very young and small team. A coach commented that we are winning through "smoke and mirrors." He meant it as a compliment to the DW. How would you suggest I approach talking about the next game with the team? We've done well and I am proud of them, but I don't want to set them up for a huge disappointment, just prior to the playoffs.

The 12 man team is where my head is. We have our second scrimmage tomorrow and today my two starting slot backs and the back up tailback told me they can't make it. Attendance at practices hangs in the low 20s on a 32 man roster. Spring is a difficult time to get good attendance at practice, but this week I had to teach our basic play three times because of the turnstile of players at practice. In addition, our fundamentals are very poor. Linemen who stand up, backs who swing the ball, and a QB who throws the ball up when he is under pressure. I am trying to figure out what to do for the fall season. I am tempted to revisit the DW or the Wing T as an equalizer to other teams who are physically better. However, if I was to run something very basic- I formation- it would be easier to move kids in and out of positions and would lend itself to being able to spend more time on coaching the basics. I would also not have to reteach anything to assistant coaches.  How would you approach this? Oh, and when the 12 man team starts again, I will be coaching Tommy's 12 year old team.

Hope all is well.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Tom,

Sounds like you’ve been pretty busy.

It’s impossible to say whether the success of the 6-“man” team is due to its running the Double Wing, because there are no doubt other factors involved, but it’s certainly a contributor.

I think that honesty is still the right approach, mainly because it always is.  Kids are pretty good at being through a phony and pretty good at recognizing when they’ve been conned.  I think that if they have a chance you should tell them that in football, skillful, mistake-free play will often make the difference.  There’s a good chance that they might be somewhat nervous and apprehensive, and you want to assure them that they are definitely good enough, but they’ll have to play the way they’ve shown they’re capable of playing.  In other words, be realistic without damaging their confidence.

My advice with the 12-man team is to go Double Wing.  It’s something you know and can coach and it gives you a better chance than the I formation.  I formation is, indeed, “basic,” but it does depend on good personnel.  There is little misdirection.  For the most part, everyone knows who’s getting the ball, which is fine if you’ve got the blocking upfront (because they have to sustain their blocks until the ball gets to the line of scrimmage), a stud fullback who play after play is going one-on-one with the other team’s best defenders, and a super tailback.  If you lack even one of those three, I-formation is probably not the way to go.

Go Double-Wing and develop a nice quick-passing game with your 12th man - not unlike what I’m doing with the open wing.  The main thing is that your linemen will be able to use leverage and mechanical advantage with the blocking rules.

If one of your wingbacks is far superior to the other, consider flipping them.

After what I did last year, I wouldn’t rule out flipping the entire team.

And I would definitely suggest using my playcard system (with each player’s assignment on his individual card).

It really takes coaching - practice and games - to another level.

Among other things, you can hand a kid a wrist coach with the appropriate card in it, and even if he’s never played the position before, you can put him in the game and if he understands what the instructions mean, he can do a decent job of faking his way.  Moving players in and out of positions can’t get any easier than that!

Tell Tommy I said “HI!”

*********** Our scrimmage went well yesterday, despite the challenges of attendance. I held a meeting with the players and their parents afterwards and explained that although life is busy and things do come up,  we cannot build a team on who we hope will be at practice. I emphasized the need  for communication and that players are expected to control what they can control (homework, work schedules) in order to attend practice.

Half of the parents nodded along and the other half looked at their shoes and shuffled uncomfortably.

I think I am at the point in my coaching where, where like my play calling, I would rather have a few that I can count on than a bunch that might work.

Have a great Sunday.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The meeting was called for.

If football is to provide life lessons to kids, those lessons should include what I call our three R’s - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience.

You hit on two of them - respect for their teammates, and responsibility to take care of their obligations and be there when needed.

Brace yourself - people will test you, and then, when you stand up to them, they will enlist others in support.

You’re “at the point?”  I passed it long ago, and I can tell you that that’s the reason why I’m still coaching.  As it is, I could go until they bury me so long as I’m working  with  good kids who subscribe to the 3 R’s.

But I’d have been out of coaching long ago if I’d had to put up with  a**holes, no matter how talented.

I won’t deny that it has often meant watching lots of potential starters disappear after learning that we had expectations that they didn’t care to live up to.

There are lots of kids who want to play football.  There aren’t nearly so many who are willing or able to do the things necessary to be a good team member.

I’d suggest that you strive to convey to parents the benefits- other than fun - that will accrue from their kids’  being a part of your organization; that the sacrifice, if that’s what they call it, is well worth it in the growth and development of their kids.

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m all for you.

Carry on!

*********** Very, very sorry to see Gordie Howe pass.  What a man. He played professional hockey until he was 52.  He was physically able to actually play professional hockey with his two sons.

He was skillful - one of the game’s top scorers - and he was tough - very tough.  No one willingly went after Gordie Howe. Anyone who did came out second-best. In his rookie year he got into it with Montreal great Maurice Richard, no slouch himself, and knocked him cold with one punch.

He played most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, and his heyday was their heyday. 

You could say that it was Detroit’s heyday as well. 

Its population in the 1950 census was nearly 2 million, the highest it would ever be.  It was the nations fifth-largest city. It would’ve been fourth,  but fast-growing Los Angeles had just skipped past.

The automobile industry was humming, meeting the pent-up demand of the war years.

Life was good in the Motor City.

The Lions were really good.  Back in those days before the Super Bowl, they won NFL championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957.  They lost in the title game in 1954.

The Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1948 and 1949, and they finally won it, for the first time since 1937 in 1950. Howe suffered a life-threatening head injury in the playoffs, but made a full recovery.

The Red Wings won  the Cup again in 1952, and then won it back-to-back in 1954 and 1955.  

They made it to the finals in 1965, but lost to the Montreal Canadiens, the first of six straight cup wins by the Canadiens.

Canadian teams - Montreal 15 times and Toronto three times - won 15 of the next 24 Stanley Cups.

The Red Wings wouldn’t win it again until 1997.

The Lions? They haven’t won the league title since 1957.

And Detroit itself? By the the year 2000, its population had dropped below 1 million - the first time this had happened to any American city.  It also marked Detroit’s last appearance on the list of our ten most populous cities.

An interesting side note: after winning the cup in 1950, Red Wings’ captain Ted (“Terrible Ted”) Lindsay skated around the ice triumphantly, holding the cup overhead, starting one of the great traditions of professional sport.

*********** Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor is accused of raping an “exotic dancer” at a Philadelphia joint called - I am not making this up - the Cheerleaders Gentlemen’s Club, after practice Thursday.

Now, even if he were ugly, you’d think that in Philly a guy who played for the Eagles  would have no trouble finding an obliging woman to entertain him for free.

But,  if there are no groupies handy, you’d figure  a guy who was a first-round pick in the NFL draft could afford to pay for what he wanted.  As much as he wanted.

So-o-o-o-o something here sounds a little fishy.  Makes you go “hmmm.”  No, I am not blaming the victim, so piss off, feminists. (If by some chance you’ve stumbled onto this page.)  But I’ve heard (total hearsay, you understand) that exotic dancers have been known to do things for money besides dancing, and I suspect that whatever took place started out as an agreed-upon business arrangement and then suddenly turned into “rape” after a disagreement over the price or the terms of payment.

However…  on the chance that the guy is guilty, I note that on the Eagles’ website it says that one of Agholor’s favorite books is “All the Places You Will Go,” by Doctor Seuss.

Ironic.  I’ll bet he never thought that one of those places might turn out to be Graterford, Pennsylvania.*

* Graterford is home of Eastern State Pen. (Not to be confussed with Penn State.)

*********** The Forest Service, concerned that visitors to our forests and parks are not sufficiently “diverse,” has launched a campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council that urges listeners, especially those in our inner cities,  to “Discover the Forest!”

One of the radio ads the geniuses came up with features a dad telling about the first time he took his kid to “the forest.”  And then we hear the kid saying, “It’s HUGE! You can’t even see the TOP of that thing!”

I have to laugh when I hear it.  We’re supposed to believe that the kid was so excited by the sight of some big tree that he forgot that there aren’t any rollercoasters out there. Worse yet, wait till he discovers there’s no cell phone service.  We’re really supposed to believe that your average little kid won’t whine that there’s “nothing to do!”

I also laugh because the only time ever I hear it is on the Aberdeen, Washington radio station.  You might say that Aberdeen is in the sticks. Possibly the radio spot’s also running in the big cities,  but it’s not like people in Aberdeen really need to be told to “Discover the Forest”  - go 30 minutes in any direction from downtown, then walk another 30 minutes off the road and you’ll discover the forest, all right.  You’ll be in woods so deep that if you should happen to lose your bearings, you might never come out.

But anyhow, let’s go to the forest.  Yellowstone, to be precise.

It wasn’t exactly in the forest, but the recent death of a 23 year-old guy from Portland does make you wonder if maybe those “Discover the Forest” radio spots ought to have some warning notices at the end, like the pharmaceutical commercials. (“Warning: Ignoring warning signs can cause serious injury or even death.” But of course, they wouldn’t pay attention this warning, either)

This particular guy met his untimely end when he left the trail (despite warning signs) and fell into a hot spring.  Died, did I say?  We’ll just have to presume so, because according to news reports, there was no evidence he ever lived. There were “no significant human remains” left behind.  All that was found were some “personal possessions.”  Otherwise, in water 199 degrees Fahrenheit, and “highly acidic,” we can only imagine where (or what) he is.

But the Forest Service’s advertising campaign is evidently working, at Yellowstone at least: tourists, many of them “never exposed to wilderness on such a large scale” (sound like city folks to you?) are showing up in larger and larger numbers, to “Discover the Forest.”  And along with them has come a sharp increase in “visitor misbehavior.”

Said a Yellowstone official: “This is not a resort. This is not a zoo.  This is not a farm or ranch.  This is a place that will kill you, and people are not used to that.”

But no worries, city folks.  Come and discover the forest.

***********  There is Portland, a very pretty city but a total leftist looney-tune paradise.  And there is Eugene, home to a nasty band of anarchists.  But then there's the rest of Oregon, a vast expanse that's home to a lot of loggers and farmers and fisherman and cowboys.

It was a thief's misfortune to choose to commit his crime in the southern Oregon town of Eagle Point, where a cowboy lassoed him.  Literally.

I think they should make crook-roping an event on the pro rodeo tour.

american flag
FRIDAY,  JUNE 10,  2016   "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."   Franklin D. Roosevelt


NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refinining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.   

Earlier, I said, "The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6..."

Amazingly, they were, indeed, ready to ship by June 6, and out they went.    Sure hope the guys like them!

So discs 1, 2 and 3 are ready to go.  I'm now shooting for the week of July 4 to ship discs number 4 and 5.

*********** My friend Ralph Balducci’s son, Alex Balducci, wasn’t drafted,  but as a free agent signee with the 49ers, he may turn out to be the steal of the draft…

New 49ers’ coach Chip Kelly once recruited Alex to play at Oregon.  At the time, the Ducks weren’t sure whether top play him on offense or defense.

Alex wound up playing at nose guard, between two highly rated defensive ends, Arik Amstead and DeForest Buckner.

Armsted and Buckner were both high draft choices of the 49ers, and now Alex has joined them.

But he won’t be playing defense - Kelly, noting his athletic ability, has decided to move him to center.

Best of all, for my wife and me - we arrived home from Ocean Shores to find an invitation to Alex's graduation - he did it in four years!


Charlie Conerly, a soft-spoken Mississippian who quarterbacked the Giants during their glory years, was later hired to be the original Marlboro Man - rugged and handsome. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know his widow, Mrs. Perian Conerly, and she said that in those days when NFL players weren’t exactly overpaid,  getting residuals for the commercials was “like finding money in the street.”  She also said that in his later years, after the effects of smoking became widely known, Mr. Conerly expressed regret at having taking part in a campaign to sell cigarettes.








*********** Bellevue, Washington High’s football program has been barred by its league from post-season play for the next four years.

In addition…

"For the 2016 through 2019 seasons (four years), the Bellevue HS Football Program may not receive any donations (including but not limited to money, services, equipment, products etc.) from any outside public or private entity. Bellevue HS Football will be limited to the funds provided to them by their district approved budgetary process. In the spring of 2018, the Bellevue Athletic Director may appeal to the KingCo League for these sanctions to be dropped. If the League determines that BHS has put in to place standards, procedures, and safe-guards for accepting funds from outside entities, including booster clubs, the League may reinstate the acceptance of these funds," the conference said.  The conference also said the school's entire athletic department will be on probation for four school years: 2016-2017 through 2019-2020.

So Bellevue’s now-former coach Butch Goncharoff, who for several years, knowingly or unknowingly, has been the beneficiary of the kind of recruiting that at the college level once got SMU the death penalty,  claims that the four-year postseason ban imposed against Bellevue by its conference is “punishing the kids.”

In the Middle East, they call that using human shields.

In sports, whenever a school or a coach find themselves facing punishment for some recruiting wrongdoing, they cry, “don’t punish the kids!”

Well, yeah, Butch, it is punishing the kids.  But that’s because horsewhipping coaches and boosters isn’t legal.

But okay, then, Butch.  Since you’re always thinking about the kids  (at least the ones from other districts who are big and talented and can run fast) -  how about we say that for the next four years, any Bellevue kid who doesn’t want to be “punished”  for what you (allegedly) did is free to transfer to the high school of his choice?

*********** Did the drug make her scream so loud?

Maria Sharapova, one of the very best women’s tennis players in the world, has been banned from competition for two years for use of an illegal performance-enhancing drug, Meldonium.

It may just be a coincidence, but Ms. Sharapova is Russian.

Dr. Tom Bassindale, a British expert on forensic science, told the BBC that Meldonium  is “advertised as giving a mental focus, removing external stress so you feel sharper. There is a slight central nervous system effect, like with stimulants such as caffeine, which gives you a sharper edge.

"But it will aid recovery quicker from a hard effort, whether that's playing multiple games of tennis or a cyclist coming back the next day for another stage. There is also an endurance effect."

I say let her back on the condition she stops sounding like she’s in labor every time she hits a shot.

*********** A tip for all you college guys…

No means no.  So does saying nothing at all, indicating that she might be drunk and passed out, and legally incapable of giving consent. (We’ll save for another time the discussion about whether women should be drinking themselves defenseless.) And if she says Yes, she still may be drunk and about to pass out and forget (or regret) saying Yes.

So it seems to me you need to get that consent in writing. That means carrying around a blank consent form.  Or better yet, maybe you’ll be the guy who designs the app for the smartphone that’ll scan the thumbprint of your intended love mate. 

In either case, make sure it’s properly witnessed.

There.  Now that your ardor has subsided…

On to the case of  Brock Turner, the creep swimmer at Stanford who, a jury found, “had carnal knowledge” of a woman after she’d passed out at a frat party.

I have no idea what took place or how, but it does appear that this guy is a flawed young fellow, who seems to want us to believe the Devil Made Him Do It.

Either that, or it was the Stanford “party culture” and all those drunken swim team members that he fell in with.

In a letter he penned to Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky,  Turner wrote that he was shattered by “the party culture and risk-taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school.”

Shattered, I say!  Shattered!

Turner said he came from a small town in Ohio and never experienced partying that involved alcohol. But when he started attending Stanford, Turner wrote, he began drinking to relieve the stress of school and competitive swimming.

Yeah.  Because being a good enough swimmer to wind up at Stanford, he’d never before encountered the stress of competitive swimming.

“The swim team set no limits on partying or drinking and I saw the guys take full advantage of these circumstances, while I was shown to do the same,” he wrote.

Imagine - treating people like young adults.  Expecting them to act appropriately!  (I'll bet that if they’d had a curfew or a no-drinking rule,  this weasel would have been the first to challenge it.)

“I witnessed countless times the guys that I looked up to go to parties, meet girls and take the girl that they had just met back with them.”  

Just wondering - were any of those girls comatose?

Describing himself as an “inexperienced drinker and party-goer,” Turner said he looked up to members of his swim team. On Jan. 17, 2015, the night of the sexual assault, Turner said he drank five beers, two “swigs” of Fireball whiskey and bounced from one party to another.

Come on - it was his first rape.   And any time he's ever  made a bad decision in the past, he's always gotten a second chance.

*********** Many a coach has been “non-retained” because he/she worked in an affluent community with influential parents who provide the alcohol and the party site, then defend their kids - kids who’ve never been told “No” - no matter what they’ve done, even if it means calling for the coach’s head.

Sounds as if Oakwood, Ohio, the Dayton suburb which spawned Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer, could be such a place.

Kate Geiselman, a writer and professor of English at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, lives in Oakwood.  She writes, in the Washington Post…

There is an Oakwood in every city; there’s a Brock Turner in every Oakwood: the “nice,” clean-cut, “happy-go-lucky,” hyper-achieving kid who’s never been told “no.” There’s nothing he can’t have, do, or be, because he is special. Fortunately, most kids like this will march into their predictably bright futures without victimizing anyone along the way. Many will do good in the world.

But it’s not hard to draw a straight line from this little ‘burb (or a hundred like it) to that dumpster at Stanford. What does being told “no” mean to that kid? If the world is his for the taking, isn’t an unconscious woman’s body? When he gets caught, why wouldn’t his first impulse be to run, make excuses — blame the Fireball, or the girl or the campus drinking culture? That is entitlement. That is unchecked privilege.

It’s  times like this that I’m grateful to coach where I do, in a place where a very small minority of our kids even has two parents at home.

*********** I know it’s a free country (or at least, it used to be) and I know there’s nothing illegal about it, but there’s something very sleazy about getting in line with all the other admirers to get tickets to Ali’s memorial service - and then trying to sell them online.

Serve the bastards right if something should  “go bad” (as in “drug deal gone bad”) when the actual transfer of the tickets takes place.

*********** Denver Bronco cornerback Aqib Talib told Dallas police he was at a park with a crowd of people - at 3:40 in the morning - when he was shot in the leg.

Police suspect he was at a club (I’m betting it was a “Gentlemen’s Club”) when he was shot.

Now comes word that he told police, “Everything was a blur, and I was too intoxicated to remember what happened.”

Lotsa unanswered questions.

Where was he, really?

Did he actually shoot himself?

Would that mean he was illegally in possession of a firearm?  (Not a good idea in Texas.)

Did he shoot anyone else?

How could you NOT remember being shot?

When was the last time you chilled with your buddies in a park at 3:40 AM?

*********** “Gentlemen’s Clubs” sound somewhat like Christian Churches, in the sense that they believe that one day a real gentleman will appear in the flesh

*********** Marshall Hahn died recently at the age of 89.

Mr. Hahn earned a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Kentucky at he age of 18 and, after serving two years in the Navy, he earned his Ph.D. in physics from MIT at the age age 23. At only 35, he became president of what was then called Virginia Polytechnic Institute, making him the youngest president of any state college or university.

One of the first things he did was to drop the school’s mandatory military requirement.

One of the next things he did was to make the school co-ed.

And perhaps his most significant accomplishment was to convince the Virginia General Assembly - the state legislature - that Virginia Polytechnic Institute, commonly known as VPI, should be a state university, and in 1970 it was given the jawbreaking title of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

From that point, the VPI all but vanished, replaced by “Virginia Tech.”

When he became VPI’s president, its enrollment was slightly  more than 6,000. When he left in 1974, it was  Virginia Tech and it had 17,400 students.

He had a backbone.  When students occupied a school building in 1970, he called in state troopers to throw them out, and take them off to jail.

But he actually had two highly successful careers - after leaving Virginia Tech, he  went to work for Georgia Pacific Corporation, and retired at its CEO in 1993.

Michelle's book***********  My daughter-in-law, MIchelle, is a very talented woman.  My son Ed met her when they were both working in L.A. for Fox Sports World, and not long after they married, they moved to Melbourne, where she grew up.

She’s a television producer who’s produced a number of shows, including the Australian version of the Emmies and a late-night show called Rove Live, starring an Australian comedian named Rove McManus.  She’s also produced the pre-game specials shown on the JumboTrons at Aussie Rules games.

Several years ago, not long after I’d bought my first iMac, she and Ed were visiting, and she asked me, “Mind if I use your computer, Dad?”

She needed to create a brief pilot of a show she was pitching to one of the networks Down Under.  She had the video already shot, and needed to put it all together.

I didn’t need to show her  much - Macs are notoriously easy for anyone who’s used a computer, and after the heavyweight editing systems that she was used to working with, iMovie was a piece of cake.

She figured it all out as she went, discovered things about my own computer and its software that I never knew, and within an hour or two she’d created a very professional-looking half-hour show featuring a teenager - her nephew, as it turned out - preparing different meals for his family.

I was, to say the least, impressed.

Now, MIchelle’s officially an author.

The book’s entitled “Not Right in the Head,” and it’s a story of her 13-year experience of coping with her mother (her Mum, in Australia) Bev’s Alzheimer’s.

Bev was a lovely, delightful woman, and her husband, MIchelle’s Dad, Frank, doted on her.  They were a great couple, and Alzheimer’s took her away from him.

Alzheimer’s, as anyone who’s had experience with it knows, is especially tragic because the “survivors” often suffer even more than the patient.

Bev’s family cared for Bev as her condition declined, and often what kept them going was their ability to laugh at things.  Not howling laughter, you understand, but an appreciation of the fact that humor can sometimes help you get through
the toughest of times.

In its first week of publication, “Not Right in the Head” jumped to the #1 spot on the Australian Best-Seller’s list.

The  publisher calls it “A light-hearted, heart-warming account of how one family faced Alzheimer's and how the almost comical events within the secure walls of the nursing home made them realise that humour was the only way through.”

I've just begun to read the book.  It’s not yet on sale at Amazon, and my wife just finished reading our copy.  (She says it’s a very good read and a very fast read.)

I have no doubt that it’s excellent.  It seems to me that it would be especially interesting to anyone battling the disease in their own family.

(The cover’s somewhat poignant. Check the iron placed - mistakenly - in the fridge.)

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Michelle Wyatt's mum always joked with the family that if she ever developed Alzheimer's like her own mother-Michelle's grandmother-they should put her in a home and throw away the key. When she did ultimately succumb to the disease, the choice to put her in a nursing home became the only option. During the next six years, Michelle, a well-known television producer, visited her mum often while her dad kept a daily vigil in the nursing home.

What Michelle and her family discovered throughout these challenging times was that allowing themselves to see the funny side of the weird and wonderful things they witnessed while visiting her mum made a difficult journey just that little bit easier.

This memoir is a light-hearted but moving account of Michelle's experience with her mum's dementia-giving us an insight in how to cope compassionately, effectively and lastingly with a disease that affects almost 400,000 people in Australia alone.

*********** Seattle University - a Jesuit institution, mind you - is currently under siege from a group of “students” making demands - demands, mind you - that include hiring “queer professors.”

This is just the first part of the list…

Our current curriculum does not reflect the kind of education we expected nor want. The current Humanities curriculum is Eurocentric and Classical in nature, damaging, stifling, and fails to align with content taught elsewhere in the University. As such, we demand:
1    A non-Eurocentric interdisciplinary curriculum, which
    1    Decentralizes Whiteness and has a critical focus on the evolution of systems of oppression such as racism, capitalism, colonialism, etc., highlighting the art, histories, theologies, political philosophies, and socio-cultural transformation of Western and non-Western societies.

    2    Is taught by prepared staff from marginalized backgrounds, especially professors of color and queer professors.

    3    Collaborates with other departments and programs, such as Women and Gender Studies, Sociology, Social Work, Political Science, and Psychology, in redeveloping curriculum.

    4    Radically reinterprets what it means to educate teachers and leaders for a just and humane world by centering dialogue about racism, gentrification, sexism, colonialism, imperialism, global white supremacy, and other ethical questions about systems of power, setting a standard for students before doing service, learning, or studying in other communities or countries.

    5    Prepares students to work for social change in nonprofit, for profit, governmental and grassroots settings. To do this, students would be informed of anti-racist, decolonizing, sustainable, and ethical practices.

    6    Has clear and transparent objectives, mutually agreed upon and approved by students, staff, and faculty, and grounded in decolonizing and anti-racist pedagogy.
*********** Add to your list:

"The other 99"

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

ALSO:       Mass incarceration
            That said

*********** Aaron Rodgers had better not have a bad game or two because there’s a chance he could lose a bit of his support with his recent announcement that he’s dropped dairy products from his diet.  That means cheese,  guys.  Packer or not, he's in Wisconsin, home of the Cheeseheads.

He says he’s on "more of a vegan diet with some red meat at times and some chicken."

To avoid further alienating the locals, I would advise him to make sure that that "red meat" includes some brats.


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TUESDAY,  JUNE 7,  2016   “You can’t move up the ladder if you don’t get on the ladder.” Dr. Thomas Sowell


NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refinining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.   

Earlier, I said, "The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6..."

Amazingly, they were, indeed, ready to ship by June 6, and out they went.    Sure hope the guys like them!

I'm still shooting for July 1 to ship discs number 4 and 5.


















*********** Monday was the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, the day of the Allied invasion of Europe - a day on which young American men (sorry, I won't do the obligatory PC "men and women") performed incredible feats of bravery.  Think about those young guys - many of whom never came home - the next time you read about some college puke calling for a "safe space."

(For a good understanding  of D-Day read Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day," a best-selling novel on which a movie was based. It's not a historian's type of history book - it's a history book that the reader can understand and enjoy.)

*********** The latest Sports Illustrated contains a great article by Jon Wertheim about what he calls the worst team in the history of professional sports.  That’s saying something, but it’s hard to argue against the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (the A’s).  They were 36-117.  They committed 314 errors. (Their shortstop alone had 78.) Two of their pitchers combined had a 2-36 record. Eight of their pitchers recorded losses but not a single win.  In an eight-team league, they finished 40 games back - of the seventh place team.

They’d played in the World Series a recently as 1914 - they lost it, but they’d won the Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913.

But then the team’s manager/general manager (and part owner), Connie Mack, sold off all his stars.  (And many of his lesser players, as well.)

Author Wertheim says that probably makes him the very first of the pro sports guys to do the tear-down-and-rebuild of a decent team.

Mr. Mack (everybody called him that) did the same thing again in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the A’s were arguably the best team in baseball. They won the World Series in 1931, and finished second and then third in 1932 and 1933, but from then until 1954, when they were sold and moved to Kansas City, they never finished higher than fourth in the American League.

Mr. Mack managed the A’s from 1901 through 1950 - 50 years.  And unlike every other manager in the history of baseball, he never managed in a baseball uniform.

He was born in 1862 - during the Civil War - and died in 1956.  When I first started following sports, around 1946 or 1947, he was in his 80’s.  He had already been known as the Grand Old Man of Baseball for quite some time.  He was tall and quite slender, with bushy, white eyebrows and thinning white hair parted in the middle.

Although by that time there were many Philadelphia fans who thought he was way too old for the job, there were many more who dreaded the day that he’d turn the job over to his sons, Earl and Roy, who my Dad and most of his friends considered to be total  imbeciles.

And despite those who thought the game had passed him by, and those who mocked him as a cheapskate, there was never any doubt about his character.  He was kind and gentle to his players.  He lived a life beyond reproach, and he encouraged his players to do the same.  (It being baseball, he couldn’t do much more than encourage them, and more than one of his great stars - men such as Rube Waddell and Jimmy Foxx - were known for liking strong drink.)

He was perhaps one of the first of professional sports manager/coaches to post a Code of Conduct:

    •    I will always play the game to the best of my ability.
    •    I will always play to win, but if I lose, I will not look for an excuse to detract from my opponent's victory.
    •    I will never take an unfair advantage in order to win.
    •    I will always abide by the rules of the game—on the diamond as well as in my daily life.
    •    I will always conduct myself as a true sportsman—on and off the playing field.
    •    I will always strive for the good of the entire team rather than for my own glory.
    •    I will never gloat in victory or pity myself in defeat.
    •    I will do my utmost to keep myself clean—physically, mentally, and morally.
    •    I will always judge a teammate or an opponent as an individual and never on the basis of race or religion.

An example of his ability to deal with the most difficult of players was an exchange he once had with first baseman Ferris Fain.

Fain had a reputation as a hothead. One of his teammates, shortstop Eddie Joost, recalled that Fain ”had a lifestyle of his own and would do exactly what he wanted to do. There were many things the players didn't like about him. Occasionally he'd overdrink and wouldn't be attentive on the field."

The story goes that after Fain threw into the stands behind third base twice in the same week while trying to nail runners going from second to third on bunts, Mr. Mack suggested, “Perhaps you should just pick up the ball and hold it.”

Insulted, Fain replied, “What the hell - why don’t I just stick it up my ass?”

“Ferris,” said Mr. Mack, ever the gentleman,  “You have to admit - it would be safer there.”

miami oh board

*********** Among current NFL coaches, John Harbaugh is in a class by himself,  as a Miami of Ohio graduate who played there and then went on to coaching success.  That puts him  right up there on the message board with other Miami graduates who won league or national titles: Earl Blaik, Weeb Embank, Paul Brown, Paul Dietzel, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, Johnny Pont and Carmen Cozza. 

Others who’ve played or coached at Miami and gone on to bigger and better things.

Bill Arnsparger - 1 year asst - NY Giants, LSU
Woody Hayes - head coach before going to Ohio State
Sid Gillman - head coach 1944-1947 - Cincinnati, Chargers
Bill Mallory - Head coach 1969-1973 - Indiana, Colorado
Jim Tressel - Asst 1979-1980 - Youngstown State, Ohio State
Dick Crum - Head Coach 1974-1977 - North Carolina
Bill Narduzzi - 2 years LB coach - 10 years Youngstown State
Randy Walker - 9 years as HC at Miami, then Northwestern
Gary Moeller - asst 67-68 - got his start there
Larry Smith - asst 2 years - Tulane, Arizona, USC, Missouri
Dick Tomey - GA - Hawaii, Arizona, San Jose State
Sean Payton - OC 1995-95 - New Orleans Saints
Terry Hoeppner - HC 94-99, Indiana
Ron Zook - played at Miami - Florida, Illinois
Joe Novak - asst - 11 years, Northern Illinois

*********** In discussing cities that live in the shadow of even larger cities, I whiffed on Oakland, home of the Black Panthers and the Hell’s Angels. Man - you talk about diversity!

But Oakland's also the producer of some of the greatest athletes of all time - Bill Russell and Frank Robinson, for starters.

*********** Sorry if this offends you because you’re really into Rugby Sevens (Seven-man teams, two Seven-minute halves), but I would really have a hard time coming up with a dumber way to use a nice grass field.

Based on the crowd at Saturday’s “Penn Mutual College Championship” (it’s not an NCAA sport), I’d have to say that there really aren’t that many who disagree.

College athletic directors probably love the idea of a sport that doesn’t require a lot  of equipment or scholarships.  But there’s that one problem.  A BIG problem - lack of fan interest.

Look - there’s only one college sport where a crowd of 15,000 is considered small - football.  And rugby sevens is to football as slo-pitch softball is to hardball.

Full-team rugby (rugby union) is a great sport, but it’s just never been popular in American and isn’t likely ever to be.

Why not go with a pared-down version of football? Why not try 8-man football on a regulation-size field?  I think that football fans who’ve never seen an 8-man game would find it enough like the 11-man game. In fact, because of the action and higher scoring, some might actually prefer it.

The main thing is that it contains just about everything that Americans like about the larger version of their favorite sport.  

Nevertheless, assuming that this summer’s Olympic games go on, rugby sevens is going to be an olympic sport. Which means it’s inevitable that following the Olympics, some fool promoter is going to try to cash in on its new, temporary popularity by trying to find some fool millionaires interested in investing in a pro league.  Good luck, guys. I assume you saw the crowd on hand for the college championships. And a friendly tip: if you want Americans to follow the game, get your announcers to stop using precious soccer terms like “nil.” 
*********** It's graduation time once again, and as always, our local newspaper lists all the schools in our county and includes the number of graduates and, where appropriate, the valedictorians and salutatorians.  I say "where approrpriate" because some schools finally reached the critical mass of valedictorians - trophies for everybody - and said, "the hell with it," and simply list the top 5 per cent of their graduating class.

Either way, if our county of some 500,000 people is any indication, I can state  that we've got  a BIG problem in this country.   It's our boys.  They've given up.    Whatever it is they're doing,  it's not related to what we  call academic success.

Get this: at schools that still have valedictorians and salutatorians, the score was 22 females to 4 males.

At schools that recognized their top five percent, it was 124 females to 52 males.

No surprise that enrollment at many colleges is approaching 60-40 female-to-male.

No surprise that we're becoming a matriarchal society.

What's next - affirmative action for lazy suburban slugs who spent their high school years playing video games?

***********  If  the Warriors and Sharks both win championships this month, Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban will profit - he owns the trademark for the "City of Champions" slogan printed on tee-shirts that are  sold whenever a city  can claim two or more  championships in one of four major team sports.

He paid $40,000 for the trademark several years ago, probably optimistically thinking that one day, the Cowboys would be good again.

Yes, yes, I know - Oakland and San Jose aren’t exactly the same city. But, see, they’re in the same “market.”  That’s the way the Mark Cubans of the world think.

Come on, Mark, gimme a break - they aren’t even close to being the same “city.” They have their own daily newspapers and their own international airports. And other than the weather and their proximity to San Francisco, they have zero in common. 

Interestingly, they’re just about the same distance from each other as Baltimore and Washington,  which few people would ever consider to be the same “city.”

Complain if you will about Mark Cuban’s  laying claim to “City of Champions,” a common combination of common words.

But where you might see greedy opportunism on Cuban’s part, I see a chance to perform a public service and make a buck or two at the same time.

So I’ve applied for trademarks for common cliches and  phrases…

At the end of the day
The 1 per cent
Going forward
Social justice
Institutional racism
gender equity
gender reassignment
gender fluidity
That said
So (at the start of an answer)
Diversity is our strength
We're a nation of immigrants
It's for the children
Life's lottery
White privilege
Change the world
Make a difference
Save the planet
The right side of history
It's the right thing to do
Safe space

I figure that if I have to listen to that pretentious nonsense, I might as well get paid for it.

And if they don’t want to pay me, they’ll have to shut up or see me in court. Or find something else to say to make their point (whatever it is).

Oh - I almost forgot the one that’s going to make me a rich man.

I’ve trademarked, “uhhh.”

That way,  every time Our President goes off his Teleprompter…

*********** Muhammad Ali was a hell of a boxer and an amazing figure, and it was terribly sad to see him in decline over such a long period.  May he rest in peace.

Several years ago, I visited the training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, where he trained for his major fights with Frazier and Foreman.

*********** I was never the world's greatest Ali fan.

 I have to confess that he got off on the wrong foot with me, simply because I was a Philly guy.

I was pulling for Sonny Liston.  He was a big, fearsome-looking  man who hit with the force of a mule's kick, and appeared to be on his way to  years as the heavyweight champion.  And he was from Phillly.  Well, sort of.  He was a St. Louis guy, but he was owned and managed by a guy named Jack Nilon, a concessionaire from Chester, Pa. Liston was a total criminal, and it's quite possible that he was really owned by someone in the Philadelphia mob, but when he fought, they announced that he was from "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania" - and that was good enough for me.

How stupid is that?

I listened to his first fight with Cassius Clay  and sat in disbelief as he sat on his stool and failed to answer the bell.

And I sat in the Baltimore Civic Center nad watched the rematch - the one in Maine - on closed circuit TV.  Following a phantom punch, Liston flopped on the canvas like a dying fish as Ali did his victory dance. A guy in front me turned to me and said, "He ain't hit him yet!"

So certain was I (still am) of Liston's going in the tank that you'll have to excuse me if I was skeptical for a long time of Ali's true fighting ability.

And then there were his fights with Joe Frazier.

Smokin' Joe was a Georgian originally, but he trained at a gym on North Broad Street. In Philly.

That made him a Philly guy.  Sorry, Ali.

*********** John Kundla, now almost 100, is living in an assisted living facility in Minneapolis.  You probably don’t know him, but at one time, he was the best coach in professional basketball.

He was the coach of the Minneapolis Lakers, the kings of pro basketball (such as it was) in the 1940s and 1950s.

I don’t recall that they used the word “dynasty” back then, but those Lakers, with their dominant big man, George Mikan, surely were one - the NBA’s first.

Those were different times for pro basketball.  Unless your city had a team, pro basketball never made the front sports page.

There was a definite lack of stability. First there was the NBL, then the BAA, then, finally, the NBA. Syracuse and Rochester had teams.  But through it all, the Lakers dominated.

Now, Coach Kundla watches NBA basketball and marvels at how good today’s players are. He watchs on an old, analog TV. Whenever he can, since he can’t afford cable (are you listening, Commissioner Silver?)

I read a great comment about him:

I helped to care for him as an intern at the U of MN hospital and asked him, "So you were the head coach of the Lakers?" He sighed and said, "Head coach? How many coaches do you think we had? I was the head coach, the assistant coach, the towel boy, and the trainer."

*********** ON THE SUBJECT OF GRIT...

I coached in Finland for seven seasons, from 1987 through 1993, and I made sure to learn all I could about that marvelous nation and its wonderful people.  Finns have fought hard to build - and keep - their nation, and they wouldn't have been able to succeed without grit.

Back in 1940, when tiny Finland was at war with its powerful neighbor, Russia, and was giving the Russkies all they wanted,  Time Magazine write about  a uniquely Finnish characteristic...

The Finns have something they call Sisu. It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate Sisu as "the Finnish spirit" but it is a much more gutful word than that. Last week the Finns gave the world a good example of Sisu by carrying the war into Russian territory on one front while on another they withstood merciless attacks by a reinforced Russian Army. In the wilderness that forms most of the Russo-Finnish frontier between Lake Laatokka and the Arctic Ocean, the Finns definitely gained the upper hand.

american flag
FRIDAY,  JUNE 3,  2016   "I never have found a crowd at the front line.”  General Doc Bahnsen, most decorated member of the West Point Class of 1956, and this year’s recipient of West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award, discussing the scarcity of real leaders


NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refinining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.  The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6, and numbers 4 and 5 will be shipped no later than July 1. 













***********  Coach Wyatt,

I do not know what your thoughts will be on this but with your strong support of Memorial Day I thought of you as I read it.

I hope you and your family are well.

Mark Hundley
Dublin, Ohio


I appreciate your thinking of me.

I have a very difficult time realizing that these same people who do these ugly things are the beneficiaries, just like me, of a country that might not even exist if it wren’t for the men (and their families) who made such enormous sacrifices for us.

What those a**holes in California, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama who defiled our Memorial Day by objecting to crosses and defacing memorials and graves, obviously don’t realize is that the people we honor were young guys who had no say in why they were fighting, and for the most part would much rather have been doing almost anything other than fighting a merciless enemy in a steaming jungle or a frozen forest.

***********   Wrote Emily Esfahani Smith in the May 3 Wall Street Journal
Most people would think of John Irving as a gifted wordsmith. He is the author of best-selling novels celebrated for their Dickensian plots, including “The Cider House Rules” and “The World According to Garp.” But Mr. Irving has severe dyslexia, was a C-minus English student in high school and scored 475 out of 800 on the SAT verbal test. How, then, did he have such a remarkably successful career as a writer?

Angela Duckworth argues that the answer is “grit,” which she defines as a combination of passion and perseverance in the pursuit of a long-term goal. The author, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has spent the past decade studying why some people have extraordinary success and others do not. “Grit” is a fascinating tour of the psychological research on success and also tells the stories of many gritty exemplars, from New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who submitted some 2,000 drawings to the magazine before one was accepted, to actor Will Smith, who explains his success as follows: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. . . . If we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”

One of her first studies was of West Point cadets. Every year, West Point enrolls more than 1,000 students, but 20% of cadets drop out before graduation. Many quit in their first two months, during an intense training program known as Beast Barracks, or Beast. The most important factor in West Point admissions is the Whole Candidate Score, a composite measure of test scores, high-school rank, leadership potential and physical fitness. But Ms. Duckworth found that this score, which is essentially a measure of innate ability, did not predict who dropped out during Beast. She created her own “Grit Scale,” scored using cadets’ responses to statements like “I finish whatever I begin” or “New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.” Those who scored highest on the Grit Scale were the most likely to make it to the end of Beast.

Here's an interesting fact:  there's no positive correlation between ability and grit. A study of Ivy League undergraduates showed that the smarter the students were, as measured by SAT scores, the less gritty they were.

Ms. Duckworth noted the importance of adults making sure their kids complete anything they commit to.  She told about NFL quarterback Steve Young, after a discouraging first semester on the Brigham Young football team, wanted to come home. His father said, “You can quit. . . . But you can’t come home because I’m not going to live with a quitter.”

*********** Mike Foristiere is an old friend.  He’s the head coach at Wahluke High School in Mattawa, Washington and his son, Randy has just finished his Plebe year at West Point as is now heavily involved in Air Assault Combat Training. (I think that means rappelling out of helicopters.)  I sent Mike the article on Grit saying that there was no question in my mind that Randy had it.

Mike wrote back,

Hugh, I went and googled the article and found the full version. The article itself is not rocket science. But how she researched it and found those that make it are not the smartest, but those who are driven to succeed. I have known a lot of people with Grit and I was influenced by a lot of them to do the things others say can’t be done.

I have found my theme for this year’s team.

They say we are young and won’t be successful. I feel I have a lot kids with grit or the ingredients it takes to have it. I saw how she referenced Beast Barracks at West Point. Knowing my son endured it, and then endured the year as a plebe, and still wants to come back for more... you are right, Randy has grit. I hope he always has it. Thank you for passing this along. I am going to forward this article to Randy to read. I know my 2 other sons possess this but I believe my wife has this the most in the family.

Take care


(Mike’s wife, Cielo, is quite a woman. Among other things, she is a cancer survivor.)

*********** After three days of spring ball at North Beach… whew.  We have only 100 boys in our school, and just 24 showed up for our first day.  By the end of Thursday’s practice, we were down to 20 kids eligible to play.

We are graduating a very good group of seniors,  kids who won more games than any class in school history - 19 games in their last two seasons.  There were nine of them, and every one  was a key player.  Bottom line - we’re having to replace 16 of 22 starting positions.  The middle three of our offensive line.  Ninety-three per cent of our rushing yardage. One hundred per cent of our passing and 95 per cent of our receiving yardage.

We do have some good kids returning, but  finding the best way to employ them is a bit of a challenge.

Fortunately, as always, our no-compromise “Three-R” (Respect-Responsibility-Resilience) approach to conduct and citizenship does make working with these kids very enjoyable.  (As usual, in the belief that most kids will act the way we want them to provided we let them know - in advance -  how we expect them to act, we spent the better part of the first practice session going over our rules and expectations.  It’s probably no surprise to most of you that we get a lot of kids who’ve never had to obey orders from anyone.) 

And as always, the gulf between the returnees and those kids new to our program (or to the game of football) is astonishing.  At the same time, it’s gratifying to see how the kids who’ve spent a year or two in the program know how to act.  Also how to block and tackle.  The older ones know the fundamentals well enough that they’re a big help to the newbies.

Another benefit of having kids go through the same program for four years, with our constantly stressing the Three R’s,  is that we always have some graduating seniors on hand, eager and able to help us during spring ball as volunteer coaches.

We had one young incoming freshman who on the basis of his first day out for football seemed a very good bet not to make it to the second day.  He’s a good-sized kid but quite a bit overweight.  He’s very soft and not very athletic, and it was clear that even our minimal amount of physical work (in cool, 60-degree weather, no less) was getting to him.  He struggled with even the simplest of requirements - I’m guessing it will take him at least a season to get into a decent three-point stance.

And he puked a couple of times.

To top it all off, he had an attitude.  He did not take correction well.  Someone who knew him said he had anger issues.

Chalking it up to the fact that he likely had never had to do anything remotely demanding in his life, we managed to get him through the first practice, and urged him to stick with it and come back the second day.  (None of the coaches thought he would.)

Damned if he didn’t come back Wednesday for another go.

He still struggled, but he kept going.  At one point, I asked him to do something and he said, “I can’t!” which gave me an opportunity to let him (and the rest of those listening) know, very gently, that those were two words that we never used together on our football team.

At the end of practice, when we gathered to listen to the head coach, I pointed out to him that after just having said “I can’t!” he found out that he could!  I told him that without any experience at what we were doing, he really had no idea what he could - or couldn’t - do, and he was just going to have to trust us when we said he could.

When we shook hands as he left for home (we coaches insist on shaking every kid’s hand when he enters the locker room and when he leaves after practice), I asked him how it went, and he said, “A LOT better than yesterday.”

And damned if he didn’t show up for practice on Thursday.  And damned if he didn’t make it all the way through.

He may be a player some day, and he may not.   But if football can teach him that he’s capable of doing hard things that he’s never had to do before, he’ll have acquired an ability to stick to jobs that have to be done, no matter how hard they might seem.  That’s more important than being a football player.

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

I trust all is well with you.

One quick question:  When you flip the line from right to left do they take their numbers with them so that the left side would then be the "even" numbered side?


J.C. Brink
Stuart, Florida


That’s a very good question.

No, they do not, and as much as anything, that may be for my convenience in not having to make the changeover in my mind.  I’ve been thinking “even right, odd left” for too long for me to be able to make the change now.  At my stage of the game, I wouldn’t want to have to learn to drive on the left side of the road.

Besides, it really doesn’t matter what I call the play. The play number is of little concern to my players anyhow because they know it by its location on their placard.

To explain:

If I want to call, say, West 6-C, I don’t call it “West 6-C.”  Instead, I’ll call out the address on their playcards where they’ll find West 6-C.  Let’s say that that address is “22.” When they go to “22" on their card, they’ll see  (1) which side (West) to line up on; (2) the name of the play (6-C) and (3) most important of all - their assignment.  (Each position has its own placard with its assignments on it.)

For three years now, I’ve been putting our players' assignments on their play cards.  It’s a lot of work to set up, but it eliminates a lot of dumbass mistakes, and it sure beats being limited in what you want to do by your players’ ability to remember assignments.  I am coaching a football team, not running a memorization class.

*********** Portland Public Schools found lead in the water in the drinking fountains at two elementary schools, so now they’re providing all the district’s kids with bottled water for the rest of the school year.  Nothing like being safe.

***********   Coach, I have a question I am hoping you could help me with.  Like I told you before, this is my 1st year as a HC, and I have a question on staffing.  It looks like there will be 8 paid coaches and maybe 1-2 volunteers for 3 teams (120 kids).  I am trying to figure out how to break down the coaching staff so we can cover the three teams.  Here is one way I was thinking.  To, have the Varsity coaches coach both JV and Varsity, and have a separate set of coaches for the C-Team.  I would like the ability to float and monitor everything.

Varsity/JV Coaches

Offense - QB/OC- WR/RB - OL-

Defense - DL/DC - LB - DB


I think that plan is very doable.  I don’t know a thing about your staff or their strengths, but I’m assuming that you have confidence in their abilities.

And you do have the bodies to cover most of the positions, provided that you can fill the OL spot.

I notice that you yourself are not coordinating either side of the ball, which is ideal if you have competent coordinators in place that leaves you free to “float” and observe and consult.

I would see it divided into 2 periods with the team and staff divided: varsity offense - JV Defense time, then JV offense-Varsity defense time - to spend as they wish.

That would be followed by a third period - a varsity vs JV period.  During that time, JVs would serve the varsity O or D as you decide.
It’s during that last period that you could take a look at any JV players who might look promising.

The important thing about this arrangement is that it’s great for the future of your program - your JV kids get really good coaching, and your varsity staff gets to know all the players well.

I spent two years working on a staff like this at Evergreen High, in Vancouver, Washington, under an outstanding coach named Jon Eagle,  and it worked quite well.  

In my experience,  option #2 - dividing your staff in three and coaching Varsity, JV and C-Team separately - would prove to be a waste of staff because those C-Team kids are usually still undeveloped in terms of skills and work habits and attitudes.  They have needs that you just shouldn’t be dealing with at the varsity (or even JV) coach level.

Also, in my opinion, by dividing the time into three one-hour periods, offense, defense and special teams, an hour is way too much time to devote to special teams.  I know, I know, the TV guys all say that it’s 1/3 of the game, but it’s not. Only if you want it to be.  If you wanted to, you could easily spend 1-1/2 hours every day on special teams. But time is precious. You can control the amount of time you spend on the kicking game by focusing on not losing the game in the kicking area. You can spend a lot of time working on fancy returns or blocking kids, but  if you never return a kick or block a kick, you won’t lose a game because of that.  What you absolutely have to do is (1) cover kicks - and you can even hedge your bets here by squib kicking on kickoffs; (2) get punts away and cover them; (3) field onside kicks; (4) make a field goal in overtime (in our case, we seldom kick PATs - 90 per cent of the time we go for 2).

Thanks for having the confidence in me to ask. Feel free to bounce things off me.  

One thing you will learn as head coach is that while you will be surrounded by people,  you will often feel lonely.

*********** Earlier this spring, I wrote about Cornell’s baseball players screwing around during the national anthem, and KC Smith, of Walpole, Massachusetts, (a Harvard guy, by the way), sent me this, with a suggestion to forward it to Cornell’s AD…

Virginia Tech head men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams starts every year teaching his players a lesson on respecting the national anthem and veterans who have served, and sacrificed, for our great county

They were all relatively subtle things like looking down at their shoes, swaying back and forth, or tugging at their shorts or jersey, but Williams didn’t like the message that body language conveyed, so he brought in a group of veterans to help him hammer home his message.

With the veterans standing next to the bench on the sidelines, Williams had his guys stand facing the veterans as he delivered his powerful message starting with, “We didn’t earn those chairs. How tall you are and how fast you run, or how well you shoot didn’t earn those chairs.”

“We draw up the play, we recruit real hard, but I didn’t earn the chair.”

“These guys,’ Williams said while pointing to the veterans, “when they were your age, they interrupted their life. They paused their education. They changed their career, and they gave their life for those chairs.”

I sent it along with a nice note to the athletic director at Cornell, and, to his great credit, he responded promptly and courteously.

*********** I once heard a restaurant expert on the radio talking about a location in Seattle where a restaurant had just closed. It was the fourth or fifth failed attempt at that location in maybe ten years, most by people with a record of success elsewhere.  The guy said that all he could figure was that there were some places where you just couldn’t be successful.

The point is that, yes, although Baylor and Kansas State are the outliers, there are places where you are almost certainly doomed to fail.  (As a big Army fan, I’m hoping that Jeff Monken can prove that West Point is not one of them.)

*********** Word is out that the Bellevue, Washington school district has recommended to its school board that Bellevue High coach Butch Goncharoff be fired. Goncharoff is the guy who’s won a lot of titles over the years (Bellevue is the team that ended DeLaSalle’s historic winning streak) and he’s been well compensated by the school’s football booster club, to the tune of some $60,000 a year.

He’s been cleared of any wrongdoing in the sick setup that enabled Bellevue Booster to move kids in from other school districts (arranging to pay the rent for a number of them), and to arrange for those who struggled academically to attend a private school in the Bellevue district.  Since the private school didn’t have a football team, those kids could play for Bellevue.  Bellevue is a relatively affluent community, and how Coach Goncharoff could be unaware that certain kids of modest means were moving into his district and paying the tuition at a private school and then - voila! - turning out to be very good football players is a mystery to me.

Anyhow, there’s been some speculation as to whether another high school would touch a guy with his reputation.

Some poster on a forum suggested that maybe he’d find a job coaching at a college, to which another poster replied, “You mean like Gerry Faust?”

(Gerry Faust, for those who aren’t familiar, was a highly successful coach at Cincinnati’s Moeller Catholic High School, and based on his record there, and on the very good players he had produced, Notre Dame took a chance on him and hired him.  It didn’t work out well.)

There followed one of the great posts of all time:

"The difference between Goncharoff and Gerry Faust is that we know Goncharoff is a highly skilled recruiter."

*********** Who’s the Big 12 going to take in - assuming it decides to  expand?

The Big 12 has made no secret of the fact that it’s talked about expansion, although Texas recently threw cold water on the idea when it suggested maybe the conference should stay with the status quo.

Not to say that Texas is the tail wagging the Big 12 dog, but where money in college football is concerned, Texas is a man among men.  Texas is as big as a big dog can get:  with its own TV network, it brings in far more money than any of its conference rivals.

But should the Big 12 pursue expansion, Pat Forde of did a great job of listing the pluses and minuses of eight schools certain to be considered:

Academic Ranking: T-66th
Football Ranking: 39th
Stadium Size: 63,470
Basketball Ranking: 41st
TV Market: 33rd (Salt Lake City)
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,185 miles
Selling Points: National brand with a strong football heritage, solid academic reputation and not much in the way of off-field baggage. Brings in a new TV market and provides its own national TV reach via BYUtv. Would have company in the religious affiliation wing of the league with Baylor and TCU.
Problems: Mormon refusal to play on Sundays can create scheduling issues in multiple sports. BYU would face a manageable exit fee from the West Coast Conference, where it competes in everything but football. Previous conferences have found BYU to be a difficult, high-maintenance partner. Inclusion would make the Big 12 a three-time-zone league, which only adds scheduling and travel complications. Football coach Bronco Mendenhall’s surprise departure for Virginia could destabilize the program. Is the league markedly improved with BYU, or just bigger?


Academic Ranking: T-168th
Football Ranking: 168th
Stadium Size: 44,206
Basketball Ranking: 181st
TV Market: 19th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,100 miles
Selling Points: Would open up the Florida frontier, in terms of TV market, exposure and recruiting. Huge school (enrollment is more than 60,000) that will have a huge alumni base in coming decades to tap for funding. Despite disastrous 2015 football season, program has established itself quickly on the FBS level and won the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Hiring of Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost was widely viewed as a coup that will return the product to competitiveness in short order.
Problems: Coming off an 0-12 football season and a 12-18 basketball season does not put UCF in a position of maximum desirability. Neither does the academic profile, for those who care about such things. UCF’s ability to "deliver" the Orlando market is questionable, given its second-tier status in the state behind Florida, Florida State and Miami. Is the league markedly improved with UCF, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-140th
Football Ranking: 75th
Stadium Size: 40,000
Basketball Ranking: 35th
TV Market: 34th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 948 miles
Selling Points: Would provide lonely West Virginia with a potential travel partner on the Eastern frontier, which could uncomplicate some scheduling issues. Established football-basketball programs in a major market that actually cares about the local college teams more than many metro areas. School president is all-in and has been pushing hard for the Big 12 upgrade.
Problems: Does the league really need more teams on the Eastern frontier, or was the Morgantown Mistake enough? Rising football coaches haven’t stayed in the past (Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly, Butch Jones). Current football program could be built on shifting sands, with declining returns in Year 3 under Tommy Tuberville. Academics are underwhelming. Cincy TV market dominated by the Bengals and Reds, with heavy competition from Ohio State and lesser intrusions from Kentucky and Xavier. Is the league markedly improved with Cincinnati, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-127th
Football Ranking: 93rd
Stadium Size: 32,500
Basketball Ranking: 141st
TV Market: 18th (Denver)
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 844 miles
Selling Points: Ascendant school that now has the largest enrollment in the state (32,236), surpassing Colorado in 2015-16 for the first time. Building a new, 41,200-seat on-campus stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017. Bullish administration that is significantly ramping up funding and fundraising for both academics and athletics.
Problems: Like BYU, addition of CSU would make the Big 12 a three-time-zone league. Impact in Denver TV market is debatable, given the presence of four pro sports and all-encompassing focus on the Broncos. Would have to prove it’s a destination school for rising coaching talent, and not a steppingstone. Another academically unspectacular school. Is the league markedly improved with Colorado State, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-57th
Football Ranking: 91st
Stadium Size: 40,642
Basketball Ranking: 25th
TV Market: 30th (Hartford)
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,708 miles
Selling Points: Highest academic ranking of the eight schools listed here. If the Big 12 wants a toehold in the greater New York area – something the Big Ten and ACC both have sought – UConn presents the best available option. Basketball power, in both men’s and (especially) women’s hoops. Made a play for ACC membership, so they know the realignment readiness drill. Football coach Bob Diaco appears to have that program up off the deck after disastrous Paul Pasqualoni tenure. Residing in ESPN’s backyard is not a bad thing.
Problems: Might as well be on the moon. Provides no fit, further exacerbates the league’s travel issues, doesn’t open up enticing recruiting turf, and any inference of a New York impact is a stretch. Good luck convincing Texas that it should embrace playing a November football game in the Northeast. Is the league markedly improved with UConn, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-187th
Football Ranking: 21st
Stadium Size: 40,000
Basketball Ranking: 69th
TV Market: 10th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 254 miles
Selling Points: There are no travel or geography issues here. Athletic program is robust – especially in football, where the Cougars are poised for a second straight huge season after keeping coach Tom Herman in the fold. Houston is selling a huge TV market, and college football ratings indicate that the city is not already as locked-in on Big 12 football as you might think – thus there is room to improve market share by adding the hometown team at something near its historic peak. Big-shot Texas booster Red McCombs is onboard.
Problems: That academic ranking – ouch. Even in a league rife with academic lightweights, Houston would bring down the average. There is fear of oversaturation with Texas schools. Herman is a major plus – but does anyone believe he’s at Houston for the long haul? Or even past December? McCombs may be onboard, but Texas AD Mike Perrin doesn’t appear to be – and his input probably counts more. Is the league markedly improved with Houston, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: Not in the Top 200
Football Ranking: 48th
Stadium Size: 59,308
Basketball Ranking: 75th
TV Market: 48th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 472 miles
Selling Points: FedEx CEO Fred Smith is unapologetically trying to buy the Tigers into the league, offering to sponsor a Big 12 championship football game. In terms of geography, there are far worse options. Not a bad area to get into for recruiting purposes. City wholly backs the Tigers, unlike many metro areas. Big basketball following.
Problems: Worst academic profile of the lot – which is saying something. Adding the No. 48 TV market won’t move the media-rights needle. Best football coach Memphis has had in decades – maybe ever – left after four seasons for Virginia Tech. (And if it hadn’t been Tech, he would have gone somewhere else.) Basketball following is irrelevant. Is the league markedly improved with Memphis, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-156th
Football Ranking: 57th
Stadium Size: 65,890
Basketball Ranking: 222nd
TV Market: 13th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,108 miles
Selling Points: Like UCF, this would open up the Florida Frontier and get into a big TV market. Like UCF, there is a huge enrollment (more than 40,000) that could become a huge fan base under the right conditions. May have the right football coach in Willie Taggart to capitalize on latent potential and build something special.
Problems: Florida is a long way from anywhere else in the league. Three-time-zone issues. Few people in Tampa are tuning in to watch USF games. The Bulls are creeping back to respectability in football, but have never been great and for a time recently were awful. Is the league markedly improved with South Florida, or just bigger?

*********** Baylor couldn't have hired a better man to clean its Augean Stables (look it up) than Jim Grobe, who's taken the job on an interim basis.

He won  at Wake Forest.  Say that again - slowly.

And he did it with an insistence on recruiting people of good character, passing up highly talented a**holes.  (Are you listening, Baylor?)  As you might expect when a guy wins at the smallest school in all the Power Five conferences,
he drew offers  from a host of other,  biggerschools. But, showing a loyalty seldom seen in today's coaches, he turned the others down in order to stay at Wake. 

Alas, he spoiled the people at Wake - got them to thinking that they were entitled to win EVERY year.  And when he couldn't deliver the goods every year, they fired him.  Good call, Wake.

In this case, given that he'll probably inherit Art Briles' staff, including Briles' son (?), it's not likely to be a walk in the park for Jim Grobe at Baylor, but God knows he'll do it the right way.

(Full disclosure - my grandson is a freshman at Wake and he loves the place.  Therefore, so do I.  But they should never have fired Jim Grobe.)

american flag
TUESDAY,  MAY 31,  2016  “There are no great men, just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.” Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey



NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refinining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.  The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6, and numbers 4 and 5 will be shipped no later than July 1. 










    IN, OUT












*********** The photo below was sent me by Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana. The title: “Last Day of School in Louisiana.”

Crawfish Boil

(If you didn’t know, those are boiled ("bawled") crawfish - definitely not “crayfish” in Looziana. Talk about good -  they are  hot and spicy! I am not the world’s biggest PBR fan -  I’ve already given Coach Montgomery some sh- about that -  but when you peelin’ and eatin’ crawfish, you gonna need sumthin’ cold! )

*********** A coaching friend who played some pro ball several years ago wrote me…

A few years back you wrote a piece on Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith getting substantial payouts because they played pro football games in California. So being me and having a hip replacement both acl's done and shoulder and wrist ailments. and knowing I played professional Arena football, I called  a lawyer in California and got the ball rolling and got in before they stopped allowing settlements. 2 trips out to see lawyers and doctors and I got a pretty substantial workers comp settlement.

The thing that bothers me the most, is that I have had former teammates who I played with in California, never even mention this to me. If it wasn’t for you making it known to me 3 years ago, i would have been none the wiser.

Where do I send the check?
A beer will suffice, I told him.

*********** Florida is considering a radical revamping of its current football playoff system…

*********** I have made it pretty clear in the past that Donald Trump is not my idea of the best that America has to offer.  However…

On my recent trip back East I spoke to a surprising number of people - educated, successful people - who confided that they were supporting Mr. Trump.  And I look at the people at Trump rallies, and I don’t see the jobless, toothless losers that the New York repeatedly describes.

And day by day…

When I see the knuckleheads waving their Mexican flags and throwing stuff at the police outside the Trump rallies…

It becomes clearer and clearer that as the video of those “protests” gets seen by more and more of the vast, uninformed American public, this election is over.

And then, after Donald Trump is elected, if the rioters insist on continuing their “protests”…

It’s Game On.   Let The Revolution begin.

And it will become even clearer why Americans who are sick of that sh— voted for Trump, rather than the mealymouth weakies we’ve been offered in the past.

*********** Stan Naccarato died last week.  He embodied the spirit of Tacoma, Washington.

Tacoma’s fate is to be located less than an hour (depending on traffic) from Seattle, a larger, more glamorous, more famous city.  In that sense, it’s not unlike Philadelphia and Baltimore, two large cities I’ve lived in that also have to exist in the shadows of larger, more glamorous, more famous cities. 

Call it the Philly effect.  Philly is the largest city in the world less than 100 miles away from an even larger city.  But size isn’t everything: there’s the glitz factor, too.  While Philadelphians will go to New York for a weekend,  I suspect you’d spend a lot of time in a search for New Yorkers who’ve even been to Philadelphia.

Baltimore is a less than an hour away from Washington, the nation’s capital and one of the most important cities in the world.  At one time, millions would have to pass through Baltimore going between Washington and New York, but now, they don’t even have to do that. Now, they go around Baltimore on a beltway, or under Baltimore, through tunnels.  Few Washingtonians have ever been to Baltimore other than to see a baseball game: for years, they had to get their major league baseball fix by  going to Baltimore to watch the Orioles.  Even then, it was a quick in-and-out trip on freeways - no need to spend any time at all in the city.  But now that Washington has its own team,  Baltimore might as well have ceased to exist as far as Washingtonians are concerned.  (And last summer’s riots haven’t made Baltimore any more attractive.)

Tacoma shares a lot of the characteristics of Baltimore and Philadelphia, as my son, Ed, noted.

He lived in Tacoma for three years.  He taught at Bellarmine Prep, a Catholic High School many of whose students were the children and grandchildren of Eastern and Southern European immigrants - especially Italians - who through hard work made good lives for their families in their adopted country. (Please don’t mention that in California, where it’s considered racist to suggest  that others might still be able to do the same thing in this horrible country.)

As anyone who remembers last year’s US Open at Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, will attest, Tacoma has been blessed with a whole lot more natural beauty than Philadelphia and Baltimore, but otherwise, the three cities have a lot in common.  They're port cities. They're working-class towns whose  whose once-busy factories and mills no longer provide solid wages for working-class families. Their  residents remain proud, almost defensive, of their towns.  As Ed described Tacoma, “More ethnic European heritage than other West Coast cities, hard-working, a bit rundown, full of spirit, good athletes…”

I don’t know enough about Fort Worth, but I suspect that there might be some Philly effect there, too.

***********  A new California law that goes into effect January 1, 2017 prohibits schools from using the nickname “Redskins.”

Turns out that all that bluff and bluster by fearless California legislatures affects exactly FOUR schools.

Two of them, Tulare and Chowchilla, are still debating what to do.

One school, Calaveras,  has decided to go without a nickname entirely.  Sounds crazy, but by doing this - simply dropping the offensive-to-some nickname -  they’ll be able to keep all the native images and signs in the school building and on their uniforms.

The fourth school, Gustine, is a lesson in irony.  Gustine is going to become “Reds.” For a second time.  That was their nickname many years ago, until aversion to Communism caused a change, in 1936, to - “Redskins.”

*********** At this past weekend's  Washington state Class 2B track meet at Eastern Washington U in Cheney, Washington, the North Beach Hyaks took two firsts, a second, a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth place. 

In two events. 

By four of last year’s five offensive linemen.

In the shot put, they finished 1-2-4-5.  Tim Poplin took first, with Jonny Law, last year’s winner, second.  Seth Bridge finished fourth and Alex Horn took fifth.

In the discus, Seth Bridge kept first place in the family for the second year in a row by replicating  his older brother, Caleb’s, 2015 win.  Alex Horn took sixth.

The North Beach throwers, it should be noted, were coached by head football coach Todd Bridge.

(Sadly, only one of those four linemen will be back next fall.)


PHOTO AT LEFT:  PLACING IN THE SHOT PUT (L TO R) Seth Bridge, Jonny Law, Tim Poplin, Alex Horn
PHOTO AT RIGHT: PLACING IN THE DISCUS: Seth Bridge in center of photo, Alex Horn at left

*********** The Black Lion Award came full circle last Monday morning in Rochester, New York, where Aquinas Institute, Don Holleder’s high school, made its presentation.   The event was coordinated by Jay Polston, an Aquinas graduate who serves as associate director in its alumni office and saw the importance of tieing in the Black Lion Award and its inspiration, Aquinas’ own Don Holleder, with the school’s long, proud football tradition.

With a number of dignitaries on hand, including Aquinas alumni in the armed forces, the Aquinas’ Black Lion Award was presented to Jamir Jones.

The letter below, written by Jamir’s coach, Chris Battaglia, expresses as well as I ever could what being a Black Lion Award winner is all about.  The parallel to Don Holleder's own career at West Point is astonishing.

Dear Black Lion Committee,
As the head football coach of Don Holleder’s alma mater Aquinas Institute, I often use his legacy of being an unselfish leader as example to my team. I try to enrich them with the stories of his courage and sacrifice that make him such a great hero. I hope that my players will use his example of self-sacrifice as a guide on how to be a better person, student, and teammate.

Jamir Jones has shown those characteristics throughout his career as a high school football player on our team. After his sophomore year Jamir was rated as one of the top tight ends/ defensive Ends/ linebackers in the country. He worked very hard to push himself and teammates to get better and prepare for the season. By the end of the summer of his sophomore year he already had 2 small scholarship offers as a defensive End. With a great junior year at defensive end we believed big time offers would be on their way after his junior season.

As the season began, Jamir was starting both ways at tight end and defensive end, his primary position. On the 1st play of our 2nd game our starting quarterback Jake Zembiec broke his wrist. Our team was in a panic mode and needed someone to play quarterback. We knew we were in trouble because the team we were playing was the number 2 team in the state Canisus - we were the number 1 team in the state. We decided to put Jamir in at quarterback even though he hadn’t played it and just try to get through the game. Jamir did a nice job but we lost the game.

On the ride home and the meetings that night we decided to keep Jamir at quarterback, but also came to the decision that he can’t play defensive end, his position he was being looked at for scholarships, because he needed to be all in at quarterback. The concern was how we were going to tell Jamir that we were taking him out of a position he loved and he had a chance to get his college education paid for, to play a position where he may sacrifice that huge opportunity for our team’s success. I decided I would call him the next day to discuss it with his family and him.

That conversation never was needed.  The next morning I was shocked to wake to a text on my phone. It read “I will do whatever the team needs me to do and if that means play quarterback I am all in - Jamir" I was astonished that a young man would sacrifice his chances of a scholarship to help his team win. He was not only going to change position but showed so much courage to play a position like quarterback.
Jamir showed great leadership and selflessness that year. He led our team to an 8 and 2 record and we were the top team in our area. He showed great courage and confidence throughout the year and carried our team on his shoulders. His belief that the team came before his personal successes was an example not only to our team, coaches, and players parents, but to the whole Aquinas community. Don Holleder would be definitely proud of Jamir and the whole Aquinas Football program.

Chris Battaglia
Head Football Coach
Aquinas Institute
Rochester, New York

After four years of playing for the “Little Irish” of Aquinas, Jamir Jones, 6-4, 220, will be playing for the “Big  Irish,” at Notre Dame.  His older brother, Jarron, 6-5, 315, is coming off knee surgery and is expected to start on the defensive line for the Irish.

Video of the presentation :


*********** Are my 14s allowed to participate in Black Lion Program ?

Alberto Correa
New Britain, Connecticut

Coach, We welcome youth, middle school and high school varsity and JV programs. The US Military Academy (Army) and Kansas State are the only colleges approved to present the Black Lion Award.

To all coaches:

There is no cost to participate in the Black Lion Award program.

E-mail me at to register your team.

(And be sure to read the FAQ's to get an idea of what's required of you, the coach)

*********** If ever an athletic director deserves to be fired, it's Georgia's Greg McGarity.  He's either amoral, or totally tone-deaf, but it's people like him who are responsible for the increading ugliness of college sports.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity has apologized to the athletic association's board of directors following the disclosure that rapper Ludacris was paid $65,000 to perform at the school's spring football game and was also provided liquor and a box of condoms.

He says he's sorry.  Right. Who isn't sorry, afterwards? But I betcha he was yukking it up and slapping hands when the contract  was signed.

I can't imagine Mark Richt being a party to this, which probably is why he was let go.

(Actually, when I first read it,  I thought they'd been caught offering that to a high school running back.)

*********** I feel sorry for Baylor and - sort of - for Art Briles.  Sorry for Baylor because in recent years, it's undergone an incredible transformation  into a very desirable school for college-bound high school seniors.

And football has had a lot to do with the transformation, as Baylor made the climb from perennial bottom feeder to  national power.

Unfortunately, Baylor's done it with the kind of player likely to be lured to Waco by what got Ludacris to Georgia.

Briles, obviously, had a hand in bringing undesirables to Baylor, and now he's paid for his malfeasance with his job.

Briles has a record of winning wherever he's been, so he can surely coach.  Even, I suppose, when all he has to work with is good citizens, but now, we'll never know.

I don't know a lot about the guy, but he did give the public  impression that he considers himself a good bit superior to the rest of college football coaches, and furthermore, that he's above the law.  Oh - and that he doesn't give a sh-- what you or anyone else thinks. (Think Jim Harbaugh with  a drawl.)

Nevertheless, I sort of feel sorry for him because now, as skilled as he is, he's radioactive. 

*********** A coaching friend wrote with pride of his son’s college graduation, but added…

We couldn't help but chuckle at the services that were held...there was a Communion/Worship Service on Friday evening, the Baccalaureate Service Sunday morning, and then the Graduation Sunday evening. At all of these services, there were some hymns sung. Every single gender reference had been changed in the words of the songs. For example, "Be Thou My Vision" in one verse originally says "Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son"...changed to "I Thy true child". It was really silly, but is another sign of the "correct" atmosphere we find ourselves in. Some lady sitting behind us on Friday night was gushing over how "safe" she felt with the words changed...

“Faith of Our Fathers," eh? Don't you mean  "Faith of Our Single Moms?"  "Faith of our Parents or Legal Guardians?"

“Safe?” I wonder how she’d feel in the Middle East where Christians are being beheaded and don’t have the luxury of worrying about the wording of hymns.

american flag
FRIDAY, MAY 27,  2016  “War must become as obsolete as cannibalism.” Andrew Carnegie

*********** 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." They 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.

"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, if you will,  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 gone and left us now, but  George Jones' music will live on.

His "50,000 NAMES CARVED IN THE WALL" - a tribute to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam - may be THE American Memorial Day song.

(Warning - this one  could will make you cry.)


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

A TRIBUTE TO DONALD WALTER HOLLEDER UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY CLASS OF 1956 - THE MAN WHOSE STORY INSPIRED THE BLACK LION AWARD... 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 ( 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

*********** A YOUNG MAN'S REMEMBRANCES OF DON HOLLEDER... 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 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, of course, 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 his 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 an embittered, now-old man.

Trigger warning: So is this..

*********** Trophies for everybody. There really 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 grieiving by telling them that Memorial Day is not about them. Not about remembering Uncle Charlie. 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 does honor and thank its veterans.

Actually, 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 - (Where it's still called "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-themed 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; now, 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. But now that that’s no longer safe,  adult partiers have takn it over and made it the second-biggest beer sales day of the year

Thanksgiving - Don’t you mean “Turkey Day?”  You know - the day before Black Friday?

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

*********** In a Wall Street Journal article at this time a year ago, a writer named Jerry Ciancolo urged  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 asked that we dispense with referring to “hollow abstractions” such as “ultimate sacrifices,” and to think in everyday terms.

Many of those young guys, he noted...

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, I'm sorry to say,  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 a bit difficult to picture what things must have looked like in 1863.  Throw in the close-by souvenir shops and similar catchpennies that await the throngs of tourists, and…well, let's just say that Gettysburg has been loved to death.

But not far away, 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 notion 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 at just about this time last year, but that visit, coming so close to Memorial Day,
seemed especially poignant. The Antietam battlefield is just outside the lovely old town of Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Southerners called the battle the Battle of Sharpsburg, while Northerners called it  “Antietam” for the creek that flows through the area. (Southerners named battles for nearby towns, northerners for nearby geographic features.  The Southerners' Manassas, for example,  is better known by the Northerner's name,  Bull Run. Winners write  history.)

Sharpsburg still 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 otherwise 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 with a statue or a stone every single indivdual or unit that ever fought there, and as a result, it’s possible to tour the area and see it very much as it would have looked in 1862 - just 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 into a trench 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, 2015.  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.

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TUESDAY, MAY 24,  2016  “I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.”  Malcolm Berko, financial advisor, in giving a correspondent an answer he wasn’t hoping to get


NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refinining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.  The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6, and numbers 4 and 5 will be shipped no later than July 1. 












10.  PULL -


12. TRAP


***********   China 
was going to  be next…

michigan campaussie camp

Smilin’ Jim Harbaugh could have stayed stateside and restricted his “satellite camps” to places like Florida and California, but no…

He had to put on a camp in Melbourne, Australia.

Who knows what his intent was,
Australia not exactly being noted as a recruiting hotbed for American football,  but for some reason - despite having an NCAA compliance department at his beck and call, he fell afoul of NCAA regulations, and now the camp is off.

How like Coach Loose Cannon to set something like this up without checking things out before. Nice,  stiffing people like Nathan Chapman.

If I had to guess I’d say that Harbaugh's going to go down, and it's going to hurt Michigan.  He’s made way too many enemies already.  He may be a hell of a coach, but he’s not bigger than the game.

 (And to think that the Detroit papers hung Rich Rodriguez out to dry for running a little overtime on some off-season practices)

*********** Today’s NFL Character Lesson for all you young football players:

Janoris Jenkins, the New York Giants’ costly, new free-agency acquisition,  has five children, raging in age from 2 to 8,  with four different women.  He’s only 27, so I’m betting he’s not done contributing to the future of the human race.

“It ain’t a lot,” Jenkins told The New York Post. “It’s just five kids. A lot is something you can’t handle, and I can handle five kids.”

He told The Post’s Paul Schwartz that everything’s cool with the kids’ mothers.

“Have you ever heard anything about my baby mamas?” he asked. “Have you ever seen my baby mamas come out and say, ‘Oh, he’s not being a father?’ When they were going with me, they understand, ‘OK, he’s a football player. He’s gonna have multiple women.’ That just comes with dating a football player.”

And now that he’s just signed a $62.5 million deal with the Giants that includes $29 million in guaranteed money?

“It didn’t change me,” he said. “All it did was, I called each one of my baby mamas and said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna give you all extra a month. You’re gonna go from this to this. Either you cool with it or you’re not. If you ain’t cool with it, then do what you got to do, you feel me?’ I haven’t had any problem.”

Wow.  That just comes with dating a football player.

*********** Coach,

I stayed up the other night watching ESPN's 30 for 30 "Four Falls of Buffalo."  I rarely feel for pro athletes, but the pain of Scott Norwood was palatable.  My sons, my wife and I sat there in silence.  You wanted to give him a rewind, a do over, a whatever, but that's not real life so instead we sat there and just watched.  Him missing.  Him on the field after the kick.  Him in the locker room.  Him at the press conferences (30 MINUTES WITH THE POOR GUY!).  And then him at the rally after the team returned to Buffalo.  

The rally at Buffalo.  The city chanted for Scott Norwood to talk.  They offered him grace and love and adoration.  And he responded as a champion, or at least one worthy of being a champion, should.  Amazing.

I don't remember the gentleman's name, but I believe he was a Bills coach, who said he named his adopted son after Scott Norwood "because some day I want to tell him 'that is how you should act when you grow up...just like the man you are named after.'"  

And then I thought of Cam Newton.  

We joke about 'keekers.'  But Scott Norwood deserves the respect of coaches and athletes everywhere.  I'd say Cam acted more like we'd expect a keeker to act (like all those soccer players).

Todd Hollis
Chemistry/Physical Science
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School

Have to agree with you wholeheartedly.  I am something of a Buffalo sympathizer (“fan” would put my health in jeopardy, I’m afraid) and I watched the show and hurt for all those fans and players and coaches.  And, for sure, for Scott Norwood, who exemplifies everything we try to instill in kids.  It was definitely a show worth watching, one of the best of an overall excellent series.

*********** It seemed as if “The White House” sprung on us a dictate that all the equality that Title IX was designed to provide for women  must similarly be extended to “transgender” types claiming to be women,  simply by substituting the word “gender” in place of sex.

Turns out that this had been in the works for some time, thanks to relentless pressure from assorted LGBT and Transgender advocate groups given ready access to the White House, and they pulled the trigger when the North Carolina Bathroom Kerfuffle got national attention.  Meanwhile, the Charlotte anybody-can-use-any-bathroom-they-want law that led to the whole North Carolina issue came about when funding by organizations in New York and Washington managed to elect a gay-friendly Charlotte city council.

Think words don’t have meaning?  Now you know why the word “sex” other than as an activity has been dropped from the language, in favor of “gender.”  It was for a reason.

Sex is what we’re born with.  We have no say in the matter.  In some very, very rare cases, we may not like it,  but that’s that.  Or at least, that’s been that for, oh, several thousand years.

But this is the Twenty-first Century, as progressives delight in telling us, where we’re so-o-o- enligtended that Gender, they also like to tell us, is “fluid.”  We can, their theory goes, go back and forth at our whim.

And Our President signs off on the idiotic claim that merely “identifying” as a female entitles a sexually-equipped male to all the rights and protections  to which a woman-by-birth is entitled.  True to their courageous nature, our lawmakers in Washington have had little to say on this one, but just wait till a progressive Senator’s daughter loses her starting position on the girls’ soccer team at her exclusive Washington area prep school to a boy who was just cut by the boys’ soccer team and now “identifies” as a female.

Barack Obama says that a male who calls himself a female is a female.

Abraham Lincoln said,  “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg.”

Who you gonna believe?

*********** The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is upset with the San Diego Padres.  Seems that as they stood on the field at Petco Park to sing the national anthem, a recorded female voice of the anthem drowned them out.

In a statement, the chorus said:

 “What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community.”

“… 100 volunteer singers of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus took to the field to proudly sing the National Anthem. Instead, in front of the large crowd gathered for the LA Dodgers game, the San Diego Padres played the recorded voice of a woman singing the anthem.

“No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including “You sing like a girl.”
Uh-oh.   Is "You throw like a girl" a homophobic taunt?

Anyhow,  get this-  they want the Padres and Major League Baseball to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.

*********** “The only rule change I would recommend would be a penalty and a loss of down for offensive holding. If a rule cannot be administered, as the officials claim, then the penalty should be made greater.”

Frank Broyles, longtime Arkansas coach and AD, in an interview on “Scholastic Coach,” August 1986

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FRIDAY, MAY 20,  2016  “I would rather be certain of a good result than hopeful of a great one.”  Warren Buffett













*********** Clark Welch was one of the most highly-decorated Black Lions of the Vietnam conflict.

He died recently, and he is being honored by the good people of his hometown of Durham, New Hampshire…

*********** As the Centers for Disease Control report:

In 2014, a total of 66% of reported TB cases in the United States occurred among foreign-born persons. The case rate among foreign-born persons (15.4 cases per 100,000 persons) in 2014 was approximately 13 times higher than among U.S.-born persons (1.2 cases per 100,000 persons).
An alternative public health policy– one that the United States used for decades in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century–is to test immigrants and refugees for infectious disease before they are allowed into the country.

In that earlier era, those who tested positive were sent home. Today, however, many are welcomed in and pose a risk of infecting the rest of the American population.

So you  Feds can’t even test newcomers for TB (and other nasty diseases) but we’re expected to believe you're going to weed out all potential terrorists, right?

***********   "There's s sucker born every minute": P. T.  Barnum

"And most of male suckers think they're going to be pro football players":  Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy

This was sent me by Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington...

nfl summer camp
(Pay Special attention to that word "Elite")

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy has launched a scouting campaign  (more about the scouting below)  to uncover the nation’s premier high school and middle school football players to participate in their invitation-only, scouting and educational event this summer.

The world-class camps will be held on new fields at Hall of Fame Village, a $500 million development of the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus in Canton, Ohio. There will be two exciting sessions with a limited number of slots available by position. One session will be dedicated to the nation’s top middle school athletes, and one session will be dedicated to the nation’s top high school underclassmen.

Rod Woodson, Hall of Fame defensive back and current assistant defensive backs coach for the Oakland Raiders, will lead the camps along with several other former NFL coaches. In addition to coaching on the field, Woodson will lead breakout sessions on character, respect, leadership and integrity.

(You'd think that by now they'd realize that when Americans hear the words 
"character, respect, leadership and integrity," the last thing that comes to mind is the NFL.  But there's no quit in Big Football. They keep on pushing.)

A formal invite is required to attend each session, and (here's where the "elite" business comes in) athletes are encouraged to nominate themselves (how elite can you get?)  or other players through the nomination process below. (Here's where the scouting somes in.)  If you believe you are a top football player in your region,
(Self-scouting, eh?) make sure to sign up below.

In addition to STACK providing coverage of the event for millions of athletes nationwide, will be on hand to evaluate talent.

CLICK HERE to Nominate Yourself or Another Player

More About the Camps:

The Game Changers Camp, held July 10-13, 2016, features customized programming, testing and education, and caters to the top 250 high school athletes. The participants will be immersed in three and half days of football programming featuring NFL Master Coaches. Highlights of the curriculum include 24 hours of elite athlete training, comprehensive testing, master coaching and competition. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy’s football curriculum has been developed by current and past NFL personnel and experts in youth athletic development.

The Playmakers Camp, held July 14-17, caters to the top 250 middle school football players and provides the same hours of instruction and all the world-class components as the high school curriculum. It is further customized to fit the needs of developing 7th and 8th grade student-athletes

*********** This was sent me by a friend.  It's by Becky Carlson, women's rugby coach at Quinnipiac University in New Haven, Connecticut

It's titled, "An Open Letter to the Athlete We Must Stop Recruiting"
Dear Prospective Student-Athlete,

I received your introductory two-line email and read through it. I must say your first sentence was painfully familiar as you introduced yourself by first name only. I assumed if you were trying to make an impression that you would have paid more attention to punctuation but my assumption appears incorrect. While your opening email failed to identify your last name, what year in school you are, where you are from, or what position you play, you managed to include your most pressing question as to whether our team is "giving out scholarships".

A week later, I received a second email with full color resume attachment including your action photos, and a variety of links to related newspaper articles. Each of these items were compiled in an orderly fashion and sent out directly from both your parents' emails.

While it took a bit to thumb through the long list of your impressive extracurricular activities please thank your parents for putting this packet together and understand that it would have been far more beneficial for our staff to speak to you personally by way of an old school phone call. As my staff sent correspondence to your personal email, we have received only a return from your parents apologizing and explaining that you are simply "too busy to answer".

As a word of advice, while many college coaches support parental enthusiasm, initiative taken by the athlete is crucial if you are serious about connecting with a quality program. Our staff explained to your parents that we would prefer to connect with you directly, but they continue to respond on your behalf. This will be a red flag for any coach, so please be aware of this feedback being a possibility from any of your other options.

When you visited the campus with your parents, the first thing I noticed is that they did most of the talking for you. However, when you did speak, you were openly correcting and verbally scolding them when you deemed their information sharing inaccurate. As a coach, an athlete who displays disrespect, especially to their parents, is a red flag in the recruiting game of analysis and observation.

As we toured the campus I took copious mental notes including a short ponder on how you were too busy for a returned phone call or email to our staff yet, your email-ready smartphone was all but attached to your hand the entire unofficial visit.

Upon your departure, our staff reviewed your stats, strength numbers and transcripts. All are impressive, but of course we had to see you compete. Unfortunately, the highlight film you left us with that was edited to perfection to omit mistakes, was unhelpful.

Despite my reservations, I made the trip to watch your game live so I could determine if your resume matched your talent. After observing only a few minutes of the team warm-up, I noted that you were clearly the most gifted on your squad. However, your talent was unfortunately overshadowed by the lack of energy and effort you displayed.

At halftime, the team huddled up and as always when observing recruits, I honed in carefully on your demeanor and body language. I watched you walk in the opposite direction of your teammates and take a seat on the bench away from the group. You did not return to the team circle until prompted by your assistant coach. As the head coach spoke, I observed you break off into a private conversation with another teammate, rather than offering the coach your attention.

In the second half, when you scored I noticed you waited for the other players to huddle around you and celebrate. In contrast, when a teammate scored, you retreated to your position without acknowledging or congratulating them.

You added much depth in the scoring category with some impressive runs but when you made mistakes you became vocal and eager to point out where your teammates needed to improve. You had moments of greatness but they were followed by sporadic lulls of half-hearted effort.

As you are the team captain, I found it disappointing that you did not contribute to the post game team discussion. I watched as your mother brought over snacks and saw that you made no effort to assist her in bringing those large containers of cupcakes from the bleachers out to your 40 other teammates. Last, as the rest of the team broke the field down and put equipment away, you found a quiet spot on the empty bench to text on your phone.

Perhaps as a high school-age athlete, these are behaviors you are simply unaware of. In a world where you are being taught the X's and O's of mastering a sport, so much practice and dialogue in character building is diminishing. I realize that you have been told repeatedly by many of your previous coaches that you are amazing in your sport. However, players like you, with similar demeanor are a dime a dozen.

Since you have been a star in your sport for quite a while with coaches and parents who have clearly allowed these details to slip through the cracks also, you are not entirely to blame. However, please bear in mind, none of this makes you a bad person only potentially, a bad teammate. The attributes I am judging you on happen to be far more important than any of your trophies, all-star selections or travel team accolades.

There is no doubt you are talented. However, from my experience, here are the 10 things I know about athletes like you.

1. Your incredible talent is the same talent that in your sophomore year of college will suddenly suffer an ego blow when a new freshman arrives with equal or greater talent. Battling your feeling of ownership over your position and feeling threatened is inevitable.

2. Rather than working hard to better your game, you are more likely to be the athlete that is constantly comparing your success to others rather than focusing on growth for yourself. This will become a tedious and exhausting process for your coaches and team to constantly have to reassure you of your self worth and value.

3. As those around you put in the work, rather than be grateful to be surrounded by a committed group of individuals who share common goals, you are more likely to resent them and seek out allies to split the team support in half and create locker room chatter.

4. In the event you see time on the bench you may not be emotionally prepared, willing to engage or support the teammate who is starting over you. Also, it is likely you will find it challenging to support the success your team obtains when they win without you on the field.

5. When you become unhappy with your own performance you are more likely to blame your coach, teammates or anyone other than yourself.

6. Since your previous coaches and adult guidance have fallen short in emphasizing the importance of accountability, you will likely be that much more of a challenge for our staff and program to work with.

7. Aside from your time in college, the end goal of being a student-athlete is to get a degree while playing a sport you love. If your goal as an athlete-student is to get a starting position while earning a degree you tolerate, your goals will be out of alignment with the program from the start.

8. Athletes who truly work for their program become stronger people who work well with others and are able to admit their weaknesses in order to improve. If I am forced to spend your first two years of college trying to catch you up on late lessons of being accountable and respectful, it is probable you will spend your second two years resenting me which ultimately leads to an ambush of bad senior exit interview feedback.

9. Athletes are treasured in the workforce and therefore, you are likely to land a job after you graduate. However, if you fail to get along with those in our program you are prone to carrying this over into your professional life. If you are unhappy with your boss or coworker you will be more likely to find yourself unequipped to work through your problem without soliciting complaining or quitting.

10. By choosing not to recruit you, I am saving my team culture. On the bright side, perhaps if you are rejected this will be your first opportunity to face adversity and grow from it.

I recognize that it is possible you could change with guidance by coming to our program. However, the investment on my end presents high risk to the health of team morale, my livelihood and sanity. In my younger coaching years I believed far too often that many like you were capable of transformation. Over time, without consistent support from the powers that be, I have lost my fair share of those battles and have watched colleagues lose their jobs when athletes like you are unsatisfied. I am a great coach who takes so much of my success and failure home with me at night and am actively making the choice to choose ethics and attitude over talent.

Today I crossed you off my list as a potential recruit despite your obvious talent. Over the thousands of hours I have spent away from my family recruiting, answering emails, calls, official visits, watching game film and logging contacts and evaluations, I have learned from my mistakes. As a result, although the athlete playing right next to you has half the stats and three quarters of your speed, they are supportive, determined and selfless. This kind of athlete, will be our next signee.

Please take these words and advice into consideration and I wish you all the best.

Coach   ___________

Note to our Fearless Coaches:

We have the ability to shape our programs by adjusting our goals without fully sacrificing outcome. The letter above is by no means an account of one particular recruit, but rather a series of experiences and personal accounts of many coaches that demonstrate scenarios we can ALL share as professionals in this crazy world of athletic leadership.

In 10 years of NCAA recruiting I have had many positive experiences and have made great connections with athletes and their families. Our program is successful but victory comes at a cost. This cost is countless hours of employing methods and exercises to shape culture, but more importantly keeping it in tact.

Over time I have learned that no matter how many resources are available to our coaches and regardless of the time we spend on getting that "yes" from an athlete, recruiting is still a 50/50 chance. No matter what division, sport or level you are representing, we all have those athletes we recruit who suddenly show up to campus and turn into complete wild cards.

I have kept careful documentation of my experiences and have discovered that today's traditional references by high school coaches, guidance counselors, club coaches and teachers are less about honest feedback concerning the emotional capability and attitude of a student-athlete and are more geared toward the end result of simply aiding an athlete in being recruited.

Today's goals appear to be shifting where many club programs and high school coaches appear to crave the notoriety that comes from advertising that "X number of their players" obtained an athletic scholarship or opportunity from "Y University."

For us as college coaches, we must take our profession back. We must become diligent in our pursuit and acknowledgment of the clear indicators that a player is not cohesive with positive team culture. If you have culture challenges or team chemistry issues currently, perhaps your special sauce in recruitment may require a new ingredient. Recruiting is the most crucial component in determining what materials you have to mold and build your program with.

Finding the right players instead of always finding the best ones creates the beginning of the end to entitlement and team drama.

When winning and/or expectations of high roster numbers and retention are at the forefront of your program and administrative goals, sacrificing talent for character is certainly no easy commitment.

However, many factors come in to play depending upon your particular institution and what kind of student you seek for membership within your program. If we are looking for all the #1 players on every team, we must be mindful that when they arrive at college, very few if any figures in their life have taught them how to handle being #2.

Coaches, pass up talent every now and then by fishing from the #2 player pond, as opposed to solely aiming to catch the headliner. Only then will you continue to win the battle to sustain a culture that supports FEARLESS COACHING.

Was this piece helpful? Please tweet @QUCoachCarlson using #FearlessCoaching and share it.

*********** I’m still working my way through “American Caesar,” William Manchester’s magnificent biography of General Douglas MacArthur. This is a book to be savored.  The last thing I do every night is read a couple of pages.

Let me tell you - MacArthur was one cool customer under fire, just the sort of person you want in charge when things are their toughest.

MacArthur was on board the cruiser Boise as American forces were attempting to retake the Philippines, and Manchester relates this example of his total composure:

The kamikaze terror was approaching its peak - forty U.S. vessels were sunk or damaged by suicidal Japanese pilots during the trip - and enemy submarines were active. MacArthur stood erect by a battery near the quarterdeck, watching the action with professional interest. He observed the approaching wakes of two torpedoes fired at the Boise, nodded approvingly at the skipper’s evasive action, and nodded again when the sub surfaced on the cruiser’s port side and was rammed by a U. S. destroyer.  Later he was below in his cabin when a kamikaze dove out of a cloud and plunged toward the Boise. Dr. Egeberg (MacArthur’s personal physician), petrified, watched as it came closer and closer. The zero was three seconds away when the flier veered toward another ship, was hit by flak, and exploded, shaking the Boise’s deck. The doctor went below and found the General stretched out in his bunk, his eyes closed. Egeberg thought he must be faking, that no one could be that clalm under such circumstances, yet when he stood in the doorway and counted MacArthur’s respiration, it was sixteen breaths a minute, indicating a tranquil pulse of seventy-two. Entering, he took one of his patient’s wrists,  That awakened MacArthur.  The physician asked how he could sleep at a time like this.  The General said, “Well, Doc, I’ve seen all the fighting I need to, so I thought I’d take a nap.”

Good coaches, like good generals,  are cool under pressure.  But that cool?

*********** Cam Newton, I read,  is going to host a kids’ show on Nickelodeon.

It shouldn’t be a tough gig for him.  All he has to do is act the way he usually does.

Hi, Kids!  This is your old buddy Cam!

Bet you wish you could be an All-Star NFL quarterback like me!

Well, maybe someday you can!

But you know, you’re not always going to win.  Some times, no matter how hard you try, you’re going to lose.

When things don’t go the way you’d like - that’s when you have to show people what kind of guy you are.

That’s why today’s Word of the Day is P-O-U-T!  It’s pronounced “POUT!”

Lemme show you what it means.

Okay, kids - stick out your lower lip.  Lke this…

Everybody got it?

Okay now, tuck your chin down against your chest - like this.

All set?

Now, ask your Mom to hand you a towel.  If you don’t have one, a tee-shirt will do.

Got one? Drape it over your head… so nobody can see your eyes.  Sorta like a hoodie.

Hey - no looking up!  Keep looking down!

And remember - this is the most important thing of all - no matter what anybody says to you - Don’t say a word!

And keep looking down!

Now -  don't say a word - keep that towel on your head - get up and walk away.

Now, that's poutin'!

Till tomorrow, kids - this here's  your old buddy Cam!

american flag TUESDAY, MAY 17,  2016  "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”  George Carlin

***********  The National Football Foundation has donated an eight-foot bronze sculpture of early NFF leader and College Football Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik to the U.S. Military Academy. Blaik led the Army Black Knights to three national championships and amassed a lifetime record of 166-48-14, including a seven-year stint at Dartmouth. In recognition of the donation, the West Point Association of Graduates inducted the NFF into its Omar N. Bradley Lifetime Giving Society. The sculpture was created by renowned artist Glenna Goodacre, and a formal installation of the statue will take place in the near future.

There is a bigger story here.  The statue was originally donated to the US Military Academy, with the intention of placing it outside MIchie Stadium.  But attached to its base were bronze plaques, on which were the names of every Army player who’d lettered under Colonel Blaik, and when word of that got out, an uproar ensued.  Some of the players whose names were on the plaques had been expelled from the Academy in what was then referred to on the nation’s front pages as the Cribbing Scandal.  (READ MORE - )

Blaik StatueTo make a shorter story of it, a large number of cadets, many of them members of the nationally-ranked football team, were expelled for violations of the academy’s honor code.  Instructors were in the practice of giving identical tests to different  sections of the same class, even when they met on different days, and cadets had become accustomed to exchanging information about what was on the tests.  The code not only prohibited passing or receiving such information, but it went even further - to even have knowledge of the exchange of information and not to inform the higher-ups was itself grounds for dismissal.  In the latter case, the coach’s own son, Bob, returning for his senior year as the starting quarterback, was found guilty of that knowledge.

There was a considerable split among West Point grads between those who believed quite strongly that a fact was a fact - that those men, despite their having been dismissed by the Academy, had lettered under coach Blaik.  There were others who felt that after the passing of more than 50 years, those men had more than paid for their errors.  (Many of them went on to distinguished careers in a number of fields.  One of them, Ray Malavasi, went on to become head coach of  the Los Angeles Rams.  Bob Blaik finished at Colorado College, then after coaching college ball at Miami and Oklahoma, had a successful career in the oil business.  It’s been my great honor to have met him and to have spoken with him.)

Opposing those who advocated for leaving the names in place were those who believed, quite sincerely, that a violation is a violation, and violators are violators - they, and any trace of them, should be kept away from the US Military Academy.

There was never any question about leaving the statue and removing the pedestal.  It was always all or nothing.  The players and their coach would not be separated.

Things got so contentious that the leadership at the academy finally caved in.  They went back on their initial agreement  to place the statue and returned it to its donors.  (Talk about honor!)

From there, it wound up at the College Football Hall of Fame, then located in South Bend, Indiana. On a visit back in 2012, I had my picture taken next to it - I have always considered Colonal Blaik to be a mentor - and sent it to Bob Blaik.

Since then, the College Football Hall of Fame has moved to impressive new digs in Atlanta.

And for some reason, unknown to me, the Blaik statue has been “donated” back to the the US Military Academy.  Who knows what will happen next?

*********** Syndicated columnist Norman Chad lists those from the world of sports who’ve endorsed Donald Trump:

John Daly, Mike Ditka, Lou Holtz, Richie Incognito, Bobby Knight, Mike Leach, Terrell Owens, John Rocker, Dennis Rodman, Pete Rose, Rex Ryan, Latrell Sprewell, Mike Tyson and Dana White.

He writes, “Now, that’s a hatful of humanity, no?”

*********** When does the stadium arms race stop?  The Falcons’ new stadium will have a retractable roof.  They think.'s

*********** Harvard’s all-male “final clubs” - think of them as glorified fraternities - have been ordered to admit females. They’re off-campus and their only involvement with the college is that being enrolled in Harvard is a qualification for membership, but that hasn’t stopped the college from sticking its nose in the affairs of these private groups, some of which have existed for over 200 years.  Change, the college has ordered them, or none of your members will be permitted to take any sort of “leadership role” in any college activity.  That would mean captaincy of an athletic team.

Just the sort of subtle pressure the the federal government puts on schools when it issues “guidelines.”

I say turn the libs’ little transsexuals-in-bathrooms game against them - club members should simply take turns “identifying” as females.  Problem solved.

*********** Jarryd Hayne’s leaving the 49ers…

Hayne, an amazing athlete who was already a legend in rugby league, now hopes to lead the Fiji national rugby sevens team to Olympic gold.  (Don’t laugh - Fiji may be remote, and it may have fewer than 1 million people, but it produces far more than its share of excellent rugby players, and in the quirky seven-man version of the game to be played in the Olympics, the Fijians will have no trouble fielding a good team, and could well be favored. 

If American football were an Olympic sport, and American Samoa were to field its own team - as Puerto Rico does in basketball - tell me they couldn’t put together a powerhouse team.)

My son, Ed, sees it this way - he’ll never be a great running back in the NFL, and who knows whether he’ll even make the 49ers’ roster this year?  But if he should lead Fiji to an Olympic medal, he could return to rugby as an Olympic medalist, rather than a middle-of-the-road NFL football player.

*********** Five years after a head-first tackle left him paralyzed as a 13-year-old, a Los Angeles youngster died last week of “complications from surgery related to management of his injury.”

I can think of few things worse than  the paralysis and subsequent death of a young man injured while playing a game.   What’s worse, he was urged to employ the very "tackle low" tactic that led to a catastrophic end to his life as a normal boy.

So in comparison with that tragedy,  I view it as a minor inconvenience that thanks to the Neanderthals who insisted on ducking the head and tackling low, those of us who’ve been teaching “Safer and Surer” Tackling for years now have to sit through “Heads Up Tackling” sessions.

Wrote John Torres, of Stevenson Ranch, California, who sent me the article, “You saw this issue 20 years ago when you cut your “Safer and Surer Tackling” video.  People thought I was crazy when I taught it.  You were ahead of your time.”

Yes, and now, thanks to those knuckleheads who knew better than we did, we have to sit in a classroom every year if we want to be “certified” to coach.

And then, capitalizing on the tragic story of the young boy’s passing, along comes an ESPN “panelist” (whatever that is) with the recommendation that there be no tackling until high school.  He’s got just about seven months to sell this to Our President so he can turn it into an executive order.

*********** Carson Ketter, my first Open Wing QB at North Beach, is now a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma, Washington.  A starting free safety on the football team, he just finished second in the 100 meter dash in the Northwest Conference’s outdoor track and field championships, with a time of 10.95, which translates (roughly) to a 4.5 40.  Not bad for a kid who’s now 6-3, 200.

*********** It’s become common practice, thankfully, for school districts to have protocols in place to deal with disaffected parents of athletes.

These protocols, a step-by-step effort to prevent grievances from escalating, require parents to meet first, individually, with their kids’ coaches when they have issues, and for the most part, they work.

(Most schools’ protocols take playing time and coaching strategy off the table as matters for discussion.)

However, this being a time in world history in which the parents that schools are dealing with are mostly older spoiled children -  the offspring of the spoiled “Question Authority” children of the 60s - there’s really no satisfying people who insist on getting their way.

So it’s not all that surprising to read about how a group of girls’ soccer parents in Helena, Montana (yes, there are a**hole parents even in the Old West) refused to deal one-on-one with their kids’ coach, and then, encountering a lack of satisfaction at every step of the process, ultimately took their complaints directly to the school board.

There, despite the results of an investigation clearing the coach of charges against her - an investigation that cost the district $11,000 - the decision  to renew the coach’s contract was overturned by a 5-3 vote.

She’s gone.  Poof.  Just like that.

I know how hard women have fought to get schools to adopt girls’ sports, and then to earn respect and the funding that comes with it.

But I wonder if they ever dreamed that one day they’d have to put up with the same sh— from parents that boys’ football and basketball coaches have dealt with for years.

***********  Idaho, an FBS member since 1996, finally had to give up the ghost.  Unable to  find a suitable conference to play in, the Vandals will join the FCS Big Sky Conference in 2018.

A little-known fact: until 1958, Idaho played in the Pacific Coast Conference, which consisted of USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State… and Idaho.  (The forerunner, you might say, of today’s Pac 12.)

Finally, in 1958, the Big Guys in California, plus the Washington Huskies, announced that they’d grown tired of the conference’s gate-sharing policy, which meant that the smaller northern schools would share in the big gates when they played at the big schools, while the big schools got bupkis when they played in the boonies.

Since then, things evolved to the point where Boise State - a junior college back in 1958 - has far surpassed Idaho in terms of football prowess, leveraging its base in the state's capital and economic center to become a regional power,  leaving Idaho in its dust.

american flag FRIDAY, MAY 13,  2016  “In much of the world, the distinction between criminal and politician is nonexistent.”   Holman Jenkins, Jr. Wall Street Journal

***********  Since the Kansas City clinic in early April, with the exception of time off for a trip back East, I’ve been hard at work producing a series of videos covering what I went over at the clinic.

It’s a major project, more than anything I’ve undertaken in years, but I’m now more than 1/3 of the way done.

It’s based, as was the clinic, on the Open Wing I’ve been running for the last three years.

The series consists of five DVDs:
1. The Basics of the Open-Wing System and converting from Double Wing, including making (and taking) the snap, and teaching your wide receivers how to stalk block
2. A basic, easy to install Open Wing package:   power, misdirection and play action,  making use of the same basic blocking scheme
3. The passing game - the quick game that’s a part of many RPO’s, and a couple of important Run and Shoot plays
4. Expanding the offense - moving the backs and ends around to be able to run base plays from a variety of formations
5. Running from under center - Double Wing basics, Stack plays, “Stud” formation… and an Open Wing package with the QB under center.

The series will go on sale before June 1.

Tentative pricing is $39.95 per DVD or $150 for the entire set.

*********** The Oregon Department of Education has passed along several “guidelines” to state public schools caught in the Great Transgender Controversy, mainly to emphasize that in Oregon schools, Trannies are free to call themselves what they choose, and schools are obliged to accommodate them.

For example, students should be allowed to use the name and pronoun of their choice, and schools should use their chosen names, even when they aren’t the students’ legal names.

(The word “should” is used instead of “must,” but school administrators can’t possibly miss the point.)

This "guidelines" apply  to attendance sheets and grade books, and go even further at graduation time: where necessary, a student is to be issued two transcripts and two diplomas, one with the student’s legal name and one with the “preferred” name.

Transgender students, the state goes on to say, should not be prevented from taking part in any activity or sport.  If a student informs the principal that “she” identifies as female, then “she” must be able to participate in girls’ sports.

How in the hell did we get here?

*********** When Yale announced that it as naming its two new residential colleges after (1) Benjamin Franklin, whose connection with Yale was nearly nonexistant, and (2) some female civil rights participant whom I had never heard of, and who happened to have gone to the law school, I was bummed.

Twice, I had written to the President on behalf of Levi Jackson, of the Class of 1950.

Twice, I received a nice letter thanking me for my interest.

Working with me toward the same goal was Bob Barton, of the Class of 1957, a long time sports reporter for the New Haven Register and the  authority on Yale and New Haven sports..

And now, it's over.  Or is it?

Now, another alumnus,  Joel Alderman of the class of 1951, a retired sportscaster at New Haven radio station WELI, has taken up Mr. Jackson's  case.

He writes, in Sportzedge...

Many students and faculty of Yale University, its alumni throughout the world, the media, unaffiliated people, and outside organizations have recently been debating the failure by the Yale Corporation to eliminate the name of John C. Calhoun from one of its residential colleges.

By continuing to flaunt the identity of an avowed racist and slave owner, Yale missed a golden opportunity to switch to a politically correct designation and in so doing to honor one of its historic pioneers and graduates, Levi Alexander Jackson, class of 1950.

Jackson is arguably among the three greatest football players New Haven has ever produced, the others being Floyd Little and Albie Booth. His achievements at Yale and his distinguished career at the Ford Motor Co., where he concentrated in the areas of minorities and equal opportunity, should be given a permanent place on the landscape of his alma mater.

This could have happened if Yale had renamed Calhoun College or named one of the two residential colleges being constructed in honor of this man.

*********** Coach,

Last year our state association mandated that no more than 90 minutes per week be Thud or Full-contact.  Honestly, we didn't have to trim too much.  And since we only go full pads on the field on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we pretty much were limited to your "two day" limit.  I wonder what other coaches who read your News think or how they've adjusted.  

In the end, I think it comes down to smart coaching.  The guys who want to line up and smash head for two hours won't last.  Did they ever, really?  At some point, if you do that, late in the season you will field a sub-par, banged-up team.

Again, your thoughts?

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

The new state rule limiting us to two days a week of “Thud” isn’t going to change a thing for us.  That’s what we do already.

We have a pad between players whenever we practice tackling and blocking and we haven’t taken a player to the ground in a drill (or scrimmage) in years.

But after having a kid break a tooth in a non-contact practice collision a couple of years ago, we wear helmets at all practices.

*********** I have to admit that there’s a lot I admire about Bernie Sanders, but I do find it ironic that after all his hard work  to win all those states he sees their delegates mysteriously going to Clinton. 

Ironic, because his whole campaign has been based on expecting  Americans  who’ve worked hard for what they have to pay for the benefits of people who wouldn’t know hard work if it bit them in the ass.

*********** So Budweiser, that All-American (if Belgian-owned) beer, is going to go by the alias “AMERICA” for the next six months, this being an Olympic year and all that.  (Evidently “ZIKA” was tested and found wanting.) 

The idea, I’m guessing, is that every time people chant “USA! USA! USA!” they’ll actually be calling for a Bud, and every time they play the National Anthem (ours, not Belgium’s) during medal ceremonies, they’ll really be playing the Bud jingle.  (The tune was, after all, an English drinking song at one time.)

Since AB InBev (Budweiser’s parent) can’t trademark the brand “America,” I think it would be hilarious if some large supermarket chain were to contract with a brewery someplace to produce its own version of “AMERICA BEER.”

*********** The West Point kerfuffle caused by 16 black female cadets photographed - in uniform - while appearing to  give something that many interpreted as the Black Lives Matter raised fist has been handled expertly.

As I expected, the US Military Academy Superintendent, General Robert Caslen, dealt with the case adeptly.  There will be no punishment, which means silence from those looking for a racial offense under every rock.

And no mark on the potentially long careers in front of the young women.

But at the same time, they will undergo some additional “education.”

And in communication with the news media and with members of the West Point community (and undoubtedly with the women themselves) General Caslen made it clear that they came very, very close to the edge.

"As members of the Profession of Arms,” he said,  “we are held to a higher standard, where our actions are constantly observed and scrutinized in the public domain.  We all must understand that a symbol or gesture that one group of people may find harmless may offend others."

He noted the importance of time and place in which cadets say or do something.

"For instance,” he went on, “ last July, the class of 2019 spontaneously raised their fist in pride upon the playing of the Army Strong song during the Fourth of July Concert.”

Furthermore, he said, “Last December, on the night before the Army-Navy game, I joined hundreds of staff and graduates in raising our fist in support of the Army football team during the Army-Navy pep rally video. The time, place and manner of a symbol can also hold significant meaning and influence perception."

The key issue, it seems to me, is that if those young women were to have been found to have placed a greater importance on a forbidden display of allegiance to a highly-controversial organization, they would have disqualified themselves from ever commanding troops.

The absolute essential of any combat unit is what is known as “Unit Cohesion,” which essentially means putting the unit - one’s comrades - ahead of anything else - ahead of issues of race,  religion, national origin, sex or politics, drugs or alcohol. 

Unit cohesion has been defined by a Presidential Commission as

 the relationship that develops in a unit or group in which 1) members share common values and experiences; 2) individuals in the group conform to group norms and behavior in order to ensure group survival and goals; 3) members lose their identity in favor of a group identity; 4) members focus on group activities and goals; 5) unit members become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and 6) group members must meet all the standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival.

In football, we call it “putting the team first” - ahead of, say, individual glory.  Or maybe some sort of anti-social activity.

There’s a good reason why military leaders continue to be concerned about females in combat - it’s not misogyny - or homosexuals in the military -   it’s not bigotry.

It's concern for unit cohesion.  It’s  concern that the sexual tensions that inevitably arise when young people of opposite sexes operate in close quarters can be devastating to a military unit.

I’ll bet there’s a football coach reading this who has seen at least one  good player go down the drain - and take the team with him - after falling heavily for a girl.   Imagine them both on your team, sitting next to each other on bus trips, making eyes at each other in team meetings.   Wouldn't that be great for team morale?

After all the sh-- that this country's been through, thanks to him, 
can there be anybody in the United States dumber - or more in need of a good kick in the ass - than George Zimmerman, who’s trying to auction off the gun he used to kill Treyvon Martin?

*********** Proud Papa John "JT" Torres wrote to tell me that his son, JK, a sophomore at Aurora College, was named an All-Midwest Lacrosse Conference midfielder.   It wasn't that long ago that JT, a longtime youth football coach, got  lacrosse  started  in the  Valencia/Castaic/ Santa Clarita/Stevenson Ranch area north of Los Angeles "so the boys could do something in the spring, other than   baseball."

american flag
TUESDAY, MAY 10,  2016  "The history of failure in war can be summed up in two words: Too Late."  Douglas MacArthur

*********** My wife and I are native Pennsylvanians, and we've lived in Washington since 1975.  But if we were pressed to say where "home" is,  we'd probably say "Maryland."  We moved to Baltimore not long after I graduated from college, and between 1961 and 1975, we lived in Baltimore, Frederick and Hagerstown.  In Baltimore, I worked for the once-powerful National Brewing Company.   Our owner, Jerrold Hoffberger, also owned the Orioles, and we were major sponsors of the Colts.   In Frederick,   eight years after graduating from college, I joined the Frederick Falcons, a startup team in the old Interstate League, and that was my back door to football coaching.  From Frederick, I moved 30 miles west to Hagerstown as general manager of the rival Hagerstown Bears, and when our head coach abruptly resigned, my coaching career was launched. By default. 

Baltimore has suffered from some horrible incidents, but we still love it, and we took a little time on our recent trip back East  to visit our old neighborhood, Northwood.  And we were able to enjoy dinner with some old coaching friends, Brian Mackell and Jason Clarke, and Brian's wife, Tammy.

We spent a day in Hagerstown, visiting some of our old haunts.  One of our favorite places is the Potomac River, at Williamsport, Maryland.  The old C & O Canal went through Williamsport, and we used to take our kids for hikes along the canal towpath.  In the wintertime, back before humans had to go and warm up the planet, we'd skate on the canal.  It was right along the river, at Williamsport's Riverfront Park, that my Bears first practiced.

A few things have changed in Old Hagerstown, some for the better, some not.  One REALLY nice addition is a Primanti Bros. restaurant, an offspring of the  Pittsburgh place famous for its huge sandwiches served with fries - in the sandwich.  Supposedly that was so that busy truckers could hold their sandwich and fries in the same hand and eat everything at once.

Dinner at G & MBrian, Jason, me

At Left: Dinner at the G & M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, world famous for its crab cakes. From left to right, Coach Brian Mackell, his wife Tammy, my wife Connie, myself, and Coach Jason Clarke.   At Right:  Coach Jason Clarke is on the left, and Coach Brian Mackell is on the right.  These guys have been with me going back to the 1990s.  Coach Mackell has been to clinics in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Durham and Kansas City, where he ALWAYS sits in the front row.  Always. It was he who suggested the name "Open Wing" for the offense I've been running for the past three years.

Riverfront ParkPrimante Bros

At Left:  That's the Potomac River behind us, with West Virginia on the other side.   Forty-six years ago, I got my start in coaching not 50 yards from this spot.  At Right: World-famous Primanti Bros has come to Hagerstown!


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.

This week we finish our coverage of the 2016 rule changes for college football. Here we look at the remaining changes, which affect several areas of the game.
Use of Technology for Coaching- It was noted in our first column on the changes that the rules committee was recommending that coaches be allowed to use video and computers in the press box and the locker rooms. After receiving expressions of concern from a number of the conferences about implementing this change, the committee has voted to delay this new rule until 2017. This will give institutions more time to prepare for this major change in the use of technology. So there will be no change in the technology-for-coaching rule for 2016.
Input From a Medical Observer- In 2015, the committee approved an experimental rule that allows the Instant Replay official to interrupt a game at the request of a medical observer. This was to take care of the situation where the medical observer saw that a player had been injured on the field, but neither the officials nor the sideline personnel noticed this and therefore had not stopped the game. The committee received indications from a number of institutions that showed that this was a very successful experiment in 2015. So, for 2016 the committee has improved this as a permanent rule change.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct by a Coach- For many years NCAA football has had a rule wherein a player who commits two fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct is disqualified for the remainder of the game after the second foul. Interestingly enough, no such rule exists in college football for behavior by coaches. Football is the only NCAA sport that does not have such a rule. For example, in basketball when a coach receives two technical fouls, the second foul disqualifies him for the rest of the game.
The rules committee believes that as teachers and adult leaders of young athletes playing football, coaches should be held to a high standard of behavior appropriate to such a responsible position. Thus, starting in 2016, the rule will be that a coach who commits two fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct will be disqualified from the game. He must leave the playing field before the ball is next put into play, and he must remain out of view of the playing field for the remainder of the game.
Experimental Rule:  Collaboration in Instant Replay- In addition to these changes in the rules, the committee has improved an experimental rule for the 2016 season. This experiment will allow what is being referred to as a "collaborative approach" to the use of instant replay. This means that the replay official will be in communication with observers who are watching the game on television at a site other than the instant replay booth. The replay official will be in consultation with the remote observers while reviewing a play. The purpose is to allow for a second observer in addition to this replay official to assist in making the decisions about a review. As a part of the experimental rule process, conferences that use this approach will report back to the rules committee at next year's meetings with the results of this experiment.

*********** Going back, going back… to 1984

The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs is eschewing the terms “felon” and “convict” when officials refer to individuals convicted of crimes, opting instead for less “disparaging labels,” Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason announced Wednesday.

The Office of Justice Programs plans to substitute terminology such as “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated” in speeches and other communications as part of an effort to remove barriers that officials say hinder progress of those who re-enter society after completing their prison sentences.

“I have come to believe that we have a responsibility to reduce not only the physical but also the psychological barriers to reintegration,” Ms. Mason wrote Wednesday in a guest post for The Washington Post. “The labels we affix to those who have served time can drain their sense of self-worth and perpetuate a cycle of crime, the very thing reentry programs are designed to prevent.”

(Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was first with this idiocy.  In 2013, he signed an executive order requiring city employees to use the term “returning citizen” when referring to a person  released from jail or prison.)

*********** What would prevent a conference - the SEC, say - from having a traveling road show, setting up  “SEC Combines” in the same towns and on the same dates that Harbaugh has his “satellite camps.”

What Atlanta or Birmingham kid would attend a Harbaugh camp if it meant passing up a chance to be seen by all the SEC schools?

Why couldn’t  other conferences do the same thing?  What Dallas kid would be more interested in a Michigan camp than in a chance to attend a Big-12 combine?

And if it can’t be done on the conference level, maybe local schools - such as USC and UCLA in the Southland, Stanford and Cal in the Bay Area - could run their own camps in competition with Harbaugh’s.  It would be much, much easier and much less expensive for them to stage camps locally, which ultimately  would convince Harbaugh that it wasn’t worth the effort and expense.

Meanwhile, since the NCAA seems unwilling to act on this… how long can the Power Five conferences operate before they realize why the NCAA was established in the first place, and set up a regulatory office?

*********** Hmmm.  Wanna make a Bernie rally clear out fast???  Book Rodrigo Duterte as your opening act.

Duterte, Mayor of Manila, is currently the leading candidate for President of the Philippines.

Listen to a line from a recent speech:

”All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you," Duterte told a huge, cheering crowd Saturday in his final campaign rally in Manila. "I have no patience, I have no middle ground, either you kill me or I will kill you idiots."

Wait - where’s everybody going?  Don’t you want to hear what Bernie’s going to give you?

*********** Man I hope Army can get things turned around.  I like Navy, but sure would like to see both be competitive.

Your thoughts?

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


It’s a tough grind.  It’s hard to watch the old-timers come back and support the program with everything they have and not see their support requited.

I do think that Jeff Monken - Illinois-born and educated and the son of an Illinois HS coach - is as good as I’ve seen at West Point since Bobby Ross.  (Bobby Ross was a great coach but at the stage of his career at which we got him, he seemed to lack the energy to get it done.)

Monken is younger and plenty energetic and he showed at Georgia Southern, where he beat Florida and almost beat Alabama, that he can get it done.

Of course, there’s recruiting.  A recent survey showing that 64 per cent of FBS football players think they’ll play professional football someday would seem to indicate that there are a tremendous number of good high school football players who wouldn’t consider giving up their dreams of playing pro football in order to serve five years in the military.

Then, having narrowed down the recruiting pool to those guys willing to go to a service academy (and whose parents are willing to let them do so), there is the “sexiness” factor: to a kid who dreams of flying a jet plane someday, the Army has nothing to offer him.  (Few Air Force football players ever get to fly, either, but you can’t expect the AFA recruiters to tell them that.) And then there’s the Boots on the Ground deal: especially as things appear to be escalating into war in the Middle East, there’s a far greater chance that an Army football player, rather than a Navy or Air Force football player, will find himself in a nasty place avoiding land mines and exchanging fire with hostile types.

And, finally, it’s impossible to deny Navy’s and Air Force’s record of success - over Army in particular - the last 10 or 15 years.

Coach Monken still has a huge job in front of him.

My appraisal is that they will make fewer mistakes this year, and I think they’ll be a little better on defense, but what I didn’t see was playmakers - guys who can break a game open with one touch.  That may be because they were very vanilla offensively in the spring game - the fullbacks carried probably 2/3 of the time, and the QBs were protected, even on options, so we never got to see the speed of the wingbacks.

They are very young, with a tremendous number of sophs (freshmen seldom get to play because few of them are able to recover quickly enough from the physical rigor of the summer’s “Beast Barracks.”)  Also encouraging: roughly 3/4 of the roster have spent a year at USMAPS (US Military Academy Prep School) which means they should be a bit more mature and a bit better-prepared academically.

But all in all, a 5-win season would represent  a massive turnaround, and a great springboard for future success.

At which point, we’ll be faced with a new challenge: keeping Jeff Monken.

The last time an Army coach left for greener pastures was 1965 - when Paul Dietzel left for South Carolina.

Since you asked...

WEST POINT FEMALE FIRSTIES*********** By now you’ve probably seen the photo of the black female first classmen (seniors) at West Point, who had their picture taken, as is West Point tradition, in a turn-of-the-century pose.  Only one problem - one BIG problem.  They posed with clenched fists raised.  It has been been interpreted as a tribute to the “Black Power” salute from 1968 Olympics, or as a Black Lives Matter gesture.  The problem is that ALL members of the military, including ALL West Point cadets, are made well aware that they leave certain rights behind when they leave the civilian world, and one of those is the right to make political statements of any kind or show affiliation with any political group. 

It's why generals don't criticise the President or endorse candidates for any office.

There is, of course, the possibility that this is all a giant misunderstanding. 

If not, it would be sad to think that obviously intelligent young women so close to the end of four hard years  would put everything at risk by violating a rule  known well to all members of the US military.

More than that, it would be deeply disturbing to learn that after four years at West Point, which stresses putting country first and foremost, a political group associated with chants calling for “frying pigs (police) like bacon” would occupy such a prominent place in their thoughts.

Coach Mike Foristiere’s son, Randy, is a plebe (freshman) at West Point, and Mike, coach at Wahluke High in Mattawa, Washington  writes...

Hugh, talked with Randy yesterday about the photo of 16 firsties (seniors) taken outside of Davidson Barracks. I am sure you have seen and read about it. I asked him what he thought. He said

“First, Dad, you are told not to align with any political group while you are at West Point and in the military. He added, that perception is reality and now they can be turned back or separated, which in simple terms means removed from the Academy. Now whether it goes there or not is up to the commanders. That’s why, Dad, I keep my mouth shut and do what I am told.”  

Recently, I  actually saw a clip of a group of soldiers - possibly West Point cadets - at a concert, and when the band started playing “Army Strong,” they all cheered lustily - and raised their right fists in the air!

Perhaps - perhaps - that’s all we were seeing in the photo.

A problem for the superintendent  in trying to get to the bottom of this is that if they admit that they were, indeed,  making the BLM gesture, they are in violation of strict US Army regulations prohibiting such conduct;  but  if they deny doing so, and evidence (such as Facebook posts) were to show that in fact they did, they would be in violation of the Academy’s strict honor code - “A Cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate others who do.”

Either way, the resulting punishment  would displease a large group of people who do not necessarily subscribe to the Army's - or the Academy's - values or appreciate its standards.  And the Army (and the United States Military Academy) would find itself in the middle of the very thing its regulations are intended to prevent - a nasty political controversy.

So if I were the Supe (sure glad  I’m not) I’d try to turn this into a “teachable moment.” (How’s that for an educational cliche? )

I’d call them all in - together - and say, “By now you’re undoubtedly aware of the furor caused by your group photograph.   I don’t intend to try to guess what you meant by the gestures in the photo, and I’m not going to ask you.  On the assumption that you were simply signaling 'Army Strong,' I’m going to wish you the best of luck in your Army careers, and remind you to be very, very careful what you say and do for as long as you represent the United States Army, especially regarding political statements or positions.”

In the process, I'd do my best  to scare the crap out of them so they'd realize what a break they were getting.

BUT - if just one of them were to so much as make any mention at all of BLM, it would be grounds for either turn back (repeat senior year) or separation (expulsion).

*********** Tom Butters died not long ago, and I failed at the time to note his importance in sports history.

As Duke’s AD in 1980, he hired a little-known basketball coach at West Point named Mike Krzyzewski.

After three seasons at Duke, Krzyzewski (he was not yet known as “Coach K”) was 38-47, and was coming off two-straight 17-loss seasons.

But instead of firing him, Butters gave him a fourth season - and a contract  extension in the middle of season #4 - and the rest is history.

***********  The great  Bill Russell went to high school in Oakland, but his family's roots were in the South, in Monroe, Louisiana.  

He recalled…  “One of my favorite memories, and I’ve told this story many times before, is that my grandfather had never seen me play basketball.  So my father and my grandfather go to the game, and they’re watching me play.  During the game, Bob Pettit
(St. Louis Hawks superstar)
says to my grandfather, ‘It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Russell.’  On the way back to Monroe after the game, my grandfather says to my father, ‘Something happened to me today that’s never happened before.’  My father said, ‘What’s that?’  And my grandfather said, ‘I’m ninety-one years old, and that’s the first time in my life that a white man has called me Mister.’”


57.2.3 Following the first contest (jamboree or game) participants are limited to two (2) days per
week (not counting contests) of thud or live action drills.

Definition of levels of contact:

Thud – Drill is run at assigned speed through the moment of contact; no pre-
determined “winner”. Contact remains above the waist, players stay on their
feet and a quick whistle ends the drill.

Live Action – Drill is run in game-like conditions and players may be taken to the

american flag
FRIDAY, MAY 6,  2016  “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”   John F. Kennedy

*********** There was an interesting article in USA Today earlier this week about San Diego State and its “old-fashioned” football.

Said Offensive Coordinator Jeff Horton to USA Today’s Paul Myerberg, “We’re the dinosaur. I feel that’s our niche. That’s who we are. Teams always say, when they’re getting ready to play someone good, ‘We’re looking forward to playing real football - old-fashioned football.’ But they haven’t had a guard pulling on them or tackles blocking down or a fullback leading the way.”

Added Bobby Hauck, associate head coach: “We’re about the brick and mortar, the foundation, here.  It’s maybe even a dying art in our game to approach it that way, but the formula hasn’t changed.   You go back 100 years in this game - the formula works. And until they make blocking and tackling illegal, it’s still going to work,  It’s still going to be a formula that works in this game.”

It fits with head coach Rocky Long’s “no bling” approach.

The SDSU weight room, he says, is “very average.”  And football shares it with all the other SDSU sports.

The locker room?  “Looks high a high school locker room.”

There’s no training table, no cafeteria just for the football jocks.

Says Coach Long, “We’re not one of those schools that amaze them with what I call bling…  We don’t have the problem of getting the kid that comes there because  it’s the prettiest and it’s the best and it’s the most wonderful. We don’t have that problem because the kids know what we’ve got. And if they don’t, they see it when they get there.”

I was reminded of this when I listened to Army coach Jeff Monken last Saturday before the Army spring game. A season ticket holder put him on the spot by asking him how Army recruiters deal with  the fact that Air Force and Navy offer more glamorous service assignments, while for West Point grads it’s pretty much boots on the ground - in some very nasty places.  Replied Monken without a moment's hesitation, “I want tough guys.”

*********** Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams is a character.  The fact that he’s even in the NBA is a story in itself.

*********** Wrapping up his announcement that he was “suspending his candidacy,”  Ted Cruz said,   “We left it all on the field.”

Interesting that  he’d use a football metaphor.

Considering that we've been witnessing the ugliest campaign in my memory,  there's a lot more that the Republican contenders could have learned from football coaches.

Think back, and ask yourself,…

“How many football coaches go out of their way to antagonize their opponents by openly insulting them?”

“How many football coaches, espcially when facing overwhelming odds against them,  boast that they’re going to win?"

************ Mike Sielski, in the Philadelphia Inquirer (In Phillytalk, that would be the “IN-quire”) wrote an interesting article about the spot that the Eagles (“Iggles”) find themselves in, after drafting a QB with the number two overall selection.

On the one hand, they’ve got starting QB Sam Bradford.  He’s unhappy because, on the other hand, they  gave up two starters and three draft picks to move up so they could select Carson Wentz.

Doesn’t sound like confidence in Bradford, does it?  Bradford doesn’t think so. He’s asked to be traded, and he’s been AWOL from team workouts.

The Eagles insist that the idea is for Wentz to backup Bradford and, ultimately, slide into the starting spot.

If anybody can relate to the situation, it’s Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson.  Back in 1999, after the Eagles had drafted Donovan McNabb (with the number two pick), he was signed to hold Donovan’s place until the rookie was ready.  Donovan finally took over in game 10.

But nowadays, as management throughout the NFL has become more impatient, 10 games is a long time to wait before throwing a highly-paid rookie QB to the dogs.

Sielski did his research and found that in the last 10 NFL drafts (not including this one)…

There were 25 quarterbacks selected in the first round.

15 of them were week one starters, and  21 were starters by game 10.

There were 14 quarterbacks selected in the top 10 in their draft.

11 of them were week one starters, and 13 of them were starters by the fifth game

There were 11 who were drafted either 1, 2 or 3 in their draft - and NINE of the 11 started in the opening game.

HARBAUGH POSTER*********** Not sure how, exactly, but I can’t help thinking that this sh-- is going to blow up in Harbaugh’s face one of these days.   Personally, I think that if Bo Schembechler were alive, he’d haul him into his office, slam the door behind them, and say, "Just WTF are you trying to do???"

This is so arrogant.  So... Trumpish.

Speaking of which, maybe USC or UCLA should hire the Costa Mesa Mob to picket the "Showcase."


*********** Coach,

People use stupidity and ignorance sometimes and think it is comedy.  As a parent of children with special needs, I unfortunately get that.  The Will Farrell thing is water off a (this) duck's back.

But, I'd like to brag since you brought up Special Olympics.  Meg Hollis is the regional champion in the 200m and 400m dash, qualifying for the State Games.  Sister Alina was fourth in the softball throw and their 4x100m relay team took second.  I'm a proud dad.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Good for Meg, Coach - and good for you.


coach blaik graveeamon fallon












*********** Far too many writers just don't seem to understand the importance of checking and double-checking.

Such was the case with a writer named Robert S. Lyons, who in "On Any Given Sunday," a biography of late NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, wrote...

The top pick was multipurpose back Dub Jones of Tulane, whose selection by the Chicago Cardinals was not announced until a few days later. Keeping his name secret was a waste of time. He was lured away by the new league and ended up playing four unspectacular seasons for Miami, Brooklyn and Cleveland of the AAFC.

Well.  "Four unspectacular seasons for Miami, Brooklyn and Cleveland of the AAFC,”  Eh?

That's how he "ended up?"

Shockingly poor research.

A tad more digging  would have revealed that Dub Jones had six rather exceptional years  for  the mighty Cleveland Browns - of the NFL.

At a time when most pro teams still employed three running backs,
  the Browns’ legendary coach Paul Brown, ever the innovator, made Jones into the first of what came to be called “flanker backs” - multi-talented guys who were equally dangerous as runners or receivers.

In 1950, when the   All-American Football Conference was absorbed into the National Football League, the AAFC champion Cleveland Browns played their very first NFL game against the defending NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles.  In Philadelphia.  On a Saturday night, the night before all the other teams opened their seasons.

“It was like the first Super Bowl,”  Dub Jones would recall later. “Two league champions, with a crowd of nearly 90,000 people. It was probably the biggest game I’d played in my life.”

Jones scored the first touchdown of the game on a 59-yard pass from Otto Graham and set up the final touchdown with a 57-yard reception,  as the Browns stunned the defending champions - and the entire pro football world - with a 35-10 win.

In his 10-year AAFC-NFL career, Dub Jones caught 171 passes for 2,874 yards and 20 touchdowns.

In addition, he  had 2,209 yards rushing, and ran for 21 touchdowns.

Hall of Fame numbers, right?  Almost certainly, on most teams.  But those Browns had so much talent that it probably cost Jones a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Six teammates are in the Hall, and Paul Brown always  insisted that Jones merited a place with them.

Dub Jones is still in the NFL record books for scoring six touchdowns in a 1951 game against the Chicago Bears. Late in November, with both teams atop their divisions, Jones scored all of Cleveland’s touchdowns - four rushing and two receiving - as the Browns won, 42-41.

“It seemed like everything went right for me,” he said later.  “I scored five of the last six times I touched the ball.”

Late in the game, when Coach Brown learned that Jones was one touchdown away from Ernie Nevers’ 22-year-old record, he asked Jones what play he’d like to run. "A post," Jones told him.  The play went for a 50-yard TD.

The feat of scoring six touchdowns in a game has only been accomplished two other times in the history of the NFL - by Nevers in 1929, and by Gayle Sayers in 1965.

Four of Dub Jones'  sons played college football. One of them, Bert,  was an outstanding quarterback for LSU and the (Baltimore) Colts, and Bert and Dub Jones were the first father-and-son to make it into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

"...ended up playing four unspectacular seasons," did he?

************* The Village People may have to add a park ranger…

From the New York Times

The White House is considering the creation of a national monument to the gay rights movement on a small piece of Greenwich Village parkland across the street from the Stonewall Inn, where a 1969 uprising helped inspire the push for equality, advocates said on Tuesday.

The interior secretary, Sally Jewell, and other federal officials are scheduled to attend a listening session next week in New York, during which supporters of such a park will make their case. The advocates include Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and Representative Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats from New York.

*********** "Target should allow a 20-year-old to get a senior discount if he self-identifies as a 65-year-old."

Tim Wildman, President, American Family Association

*********** As if Rutgers doesn’t have enough problems just trying to compete in the Big Ten…

Its athletic department is in the process of offering season tickets - sort of.  Actually, it’s offering a get-rich-quick scheme. 

Forget supporting your team!  Forget the excitement of Rutgers football!  Forget crisp fall Saturday afternoons! That’s for chumps!

Make big money!  Invest in season tickets - and just wait till you see what those seats  will go for when Penn State or Michigan or Ohio State come to town!  Their fans will be waving wads of 100-dollar bills at you!

This can't miss!  But hurry!  Get your season tickets now!  They’re going fast!


Maybe it would be better if the other schools just refused to play against them. All games that Bellevue is scheduled in just get canceled because the opposing school refused to show up and play. Bellevue cannot take a state championship if all their “wins” are by forfeiture. No pro or college scout is going to see the high valued recruited players play if there is no game. Shun them. The whole league refuses to enable their cheating by giving them a field on which to play. Do that for all their sports.   The only way they win is if the rest of the league allows them to.

As a BHS alum, I'm embarrassed by this fiasco. Before being allowed to resign, Butch should send a handwritten letter to each student he's ever coached or coached against explaining why felt cheating to win is greater than developing a sense of integrity. This isn't on the students, it's on the coaches, administrators, parents and school district who knew what was going on and allowed it to continue. Disgraceful.

The Booster Club response is everything you thought it would be - baseless accusations of racism, harrassment, and interrogations followed by a bunch of nits picked, such as "The Bellevue Wolverines Football Club did not, nor did any coaches, pay The Academic Institute tuition for football players."  No the club didn't - it's members did.  LOL. 

Looking forward to some indictments here. Tax evasion for one. That would mean all of the documents would be subject to a real subpoena, not just a state agency 'investigation'. If they stonewall or lie on the discovery, then they become complicit in obstruction and falsifying evidence. I also wonder what else journalists could find using FOIA. The school is 100% public funded, every scrap of paper and every email there should be public information. (while respecting any real privacy rights of students).

What about the students at the High School who didn't make the team?   Do they feel victimized?  Can you be a victim if someone is chosen over you?  Even if that person shouldn't have been there in the first place? It is the same logic used in anti-immigration agendas.  I'm not saying it is right or wrong but it would be interesting to hear from the people who are actually affected.

What about a class action suit from every school and player that was cheated out of a state title? A class action suit against the BSD and Boosters.
You could be looking at thousands of claimants.

If you live in Bellevue and you have a son that did not get to play varsity football this past decade, you have to be seething. Your tax dollars went (and are going) toward keeping some other kid from out of the district on the field and preventing your son from participating nd protecting all of those involved from liability.

Anyone who claimed a tax exemption for their donations to the booster club, but who was a director with knowledge that the purpose of the entity was not tax exempt, may be liable for breach of fiduciary duties and or tax evasion among other potential causes of action. The booster club appears to be a 501(c)(3), or more accurately, has claimed that status. If the directors took actions on behalf of the club that were not in compliance with the code, e.g, giving players scholarships just to keep them eligible for Bellevue High Football, they long ago killed their 501(c)(3) status. If the same directors were also donors who claimed tax deductions on their tax filings based on these donations, they are likely liable for the back taxes. Obviously, they may also be subject to criminal liability.  If all other donors were not made aware of how their funds were being used, there is likely a breach of fiduciary duties of the board members to the other club members or donors. These kinds of gifts to players and their families, or direct payments to the private school were contrary to the WIAA rules which appears to be one piece of evidence regarding the standard of care for the board of directors of the club. This report is just the beginning of the fireworks show for the directors.

THIS ONE QUESTIONED WHETHER WIAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MIKE COLBRESE HAD THE NECESSARIES TO STAND UP TO BELLEVUE'S BOOSTER...   Let's remember that Archbishop Murphy forfeited its season and missed out on a state title opportunity because a coach dying of cancer missed an expiring physical (and then self-reported)... Boy yeah...that was Colbrese at his finest.  "We have no alternative" he said at the time, even when a group of team seniors visited his office to respectfully request consideration for the extreme circumstance behind that paperwork error by a dying coach.  The rules are the rules, said Colbrese (who, btw, has a Bellevue background and personal connection).  And remember, NO ONE even alleged that error gave an iota of competitive advantage to AM.  Yet Colbrese threw the book at the team and voided their title hopes. See how you made your bed there, Mike Colbrese???  See how there better be some title voiding for BHS your own rules.

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TUESDAY, MAY 3,  2016  “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”   G. K. Chesterton

***********  On the road - see you Friday!

*********** As we all know by now, Donald Trump proposes to build a wall. (Q.) “And who’s going to pay for it???”

But as we’ve all been told, Walls don’t work.  

Maybe fences do.

At least, the Secret Service seems to think so.  It’s proposing doubling the height of the fence around the White House - you know, the Peoples’ House - from its present seven feet to 14 feet. Not only that, but it would add sharpened spikes to the top, in addition to what it calls “anti-climb and intrusion detection technology.

Every day, hundreds of illegals cross our (wall-less) borders.   But nothing’s too good for Our President.

***********  Love him or hate him, one thing Donald Trump has done - he’s given us a look into the future. 

And if those protests in California are what the future’s going to be like with our porous borders and unwillingness to enforce the law,  take it from this 70-plus-year-old:  you’re welcome to it.

Actually, that was very selfish of me.  For the sake of my kids and grandkids, I just hope this awakens Americans to what’s been happening to their country while they were busy playing video games and texting and listening to music on their iPods.

*********** Will Ferrell is a really funny guy.  But NOBODY is funny enough to make a joke out of somebody’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Why didn’t he just go for some REAL laughs with story about handicapped kids tripping and falling at the Special Olympics?  Hilarious.

(For the humor-impaired - spare the "that's not funny" emails. I was not serious.)

*********** Best moment from the scrimmage:

Young, rookie, A back when Power Right was called:
"I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do!"
Veteran Left Guard, "Just catch the ball and follow me."

I laughed.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

At least somebody understands!

(Great coaching point by the way - and a great way to reward the guard for the key role he plays!)

**********  FROM A COACHING FRIEND--- I read the news on how people from the stands criticize our coaching. How you would let them coach but had to jump the hoops we do. I also know someone added the before game and after game things with equipment, field etc etc. But let's talk about the things we do when it is not season. Running, strength and conditioning programs, coaching clinics, ordering new equipment or fundraising and so on.

Let's talk about the human factor and it does run deep.  Monday our locker room smelled like a pot farm. Yes we have an issue and it is bad. Of course it is legal in this state. I found out 6 of my current players are using heavily and they actually have videos of them smoking pot.

Tuesday I get a call a player who never misses a workout - a great kid where you wish you had more than one. His house burns down  - total loss - all he and his family have are the clothes on their back. I text all my players for a major clean up at the home after school wed. Also start the donations of clothes and basic necessities. I have over 30 players show up and we work for 3 hrs to clear as much of the rubble as possible. My wife even gets in on things too.  The kids are awesome and we finish the next day.

After that spent all day Friday talking to those certain players about drug use and met with parents with an interpreter. But Thursday nite was the cream of it all. I get a call from a mother, her son is one of my starting lineman, great junior season. He OD's on a new form of Marijuana called DEB. It is a wax form which is 95percent THC. Her mother comes over at 9pm to bring him to me after coming back from (the hospital)  where they saw his levels of THC was off the charts. . Single mom, she has 2 other daughters with her. Anyway this kid is really out of it and she wants to know who he got it from. After 15 min of nowhere she loses control and starts slapping the hell out of her 240 pound son. The older sister starts in also. You know when (those) women get fired up it is wild. After I separate them then I pull the kid away  and after 30 min I get the name of the dealer he is getting it from. A student at the high school.

I know other coaches go thru these things and I read where coach Koenig lost an athlete recently in an accident. If you coach long enough we coaches do all these things. We also deal with Administrators who are clueless and all they worry about is contract hours and where you should be.  I told my principal I have no contract hrs  - I am always on the go. She is slowly figuring it out.

In the end you have some idiot on Friday night questioning your coaching abilities. If they knew all the things we do long before we hit the field they would keep their mouths shut. I didn't write this for a pat on the back. I wrote so all those coaches that do things right and show genuine concern for their players know how appreciative I am that they are out there.


More on Friday

american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 29,  2016  “Chance favors the prepared man.” Louis Pasteur

***********  I'm in Philly right now.  After an evening watching the NFL draft while eating hoagies (from Lee's in Abington) and drinking Yuengling, it's off to West Point tomorrow to see Saturday's spring game.  Not a lot ot time to write.

But count on me to write a few things about the craven cowards at Yale and their recent PC decisions in response to student protests


ALMA MATER WANTED:  Football-loving college graduate abandoned by his college seeks hookup with another college.  Could lead to permanent relationship, with possible purchase of football season tickets, and school apparel  as well as token cash contributions on a semi-regular basis.  Must have decent, competitive football program, preferably FBS.     Must consider  conservative points of view - even Christian - in its overall conduct of affairs, and must have a president with the courage to inform protesting students that  the college is not going to change to suit them,  and that in making any decisions regarding the operation of the university, heaviest weight will be given to the opinions of its graduates.  School must admit students solely on the basis of academics, extracurricular activities and character, and must have tuition no more than half that of the least expensive Ivy League school. School must not have any major whose name ends in “Studies,” and must  grade in such a way that no more than 50 per cent of any class’ grades will be A’s and B’s. 

DIPLOMA FOR SALE:  Framed.  Elite Ivy League college.    Several years old but still in excellent condition.  Current owner has no further use for it.   Add prestige to your business by hanging it on your office wall.   Contact Hugh Wyatt

I'll have a few things to say about the cheating at Bellevue, including the news that those of us who want Bellevue punished are racists, see, because most of the athletes whom the Bellevue Boosters assisted (illegally) with  apartments and tuition payments to a private school were black.  Nice try, guys. That card's been used so much by so many scoundrels that it really doesn't pack much of a wallop any more.

The Bellevue Booster Club has been paying Coach Butch Goncharoff  $60,000 a year, in addition to his $9,000 coaching stipend.  When this issue came up a few years ago, the state association (WIAA) said that any payment by a booster club to a coach had to be approved by the school board in question.  When the Bellevue school board said it had never approved the $60,000 payment to Goncharoff, the Booster Club's answer was that the money wasn't for coaching.  Okay, okay.  Maybe it was to give speeches. I mean, if Hillary  is worth $250,000 a speech...

*********** Bellevue in the Draft! UCLA's Myles Jack was one of the players from outside the Bellevue area who migrated there to take advantage of its academic excellence.  Also to play football.

He's a hell of a player, and he could very well have been one of the top players drafted.   But, they kept telling us, scouts were concerned about that knee he injured in a practice session last season.   Not a word about the rumor that he was fit to return to play but chose instead to sit out the rest of the season rather than risk his draft prospects.

*********** Way back last September, Peggy Noonan wrote this in the Wall Street Journal.  It's if she were drawing up a game plan for Donald Trump.

The gap between those who run governments and those who are governed has now grown huge and portends nothing good.

Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighborhoods and are protected by their status. Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality—normal human roughness, human tensions. Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime. Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract. Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular.

The decision-makers feel disdain for the anxieties of normal people, and ascribe them to small-minded bigotries, often religious and racial, and ignorant antagonisms. But normal people prize order because they can’t buy their way out of disorder.

People in gated communities of the mind, who glide by in Ubers, have bought their way out and are safe. Not to mention those in government-maintained mansions who glide by in SUVs followed by security details. Rulers can afford to see national-security threats as an abstraction—yes, yes, we must better integrate our new populations. But the unprotected, the vulnerable, have a right and a reason to worry.

The biggest thing leaders don’t do now is listen. They no longer hear the voices of common people. Or they imitate what they think it is and it sounds backward and embarrassing. In this age we will see political leaders, and institutions, rock, shatter and fall due to that deafness.

***********   From Sports Business Daily...

Interstate travel. Year-round play. Single-sport specialization. “Elite” competition, too often defined by time and money invested rather than the actual level of play.

The architects of what would become USA Hockey’s American Development Model considered those trends to be more detrimental than developmental, particularly as they trickled down to the youngest children strapping on skates.

And so, spurred by an internal study that revealed that 43 percent of children who tried hockey quit by age 9, the national governing body hit the reset button on its affiliated youth programs in 2010.

It pulled the plug on its 12-and-under pee wee national championship, reducing travel for younger players. It banned body-checking, responding to concerns about concussions. Most importantly, it laid out a boilerplate of recommendations — the skeleton of the ADM — adapting the game to make it more accessible and, in what was then an extreme example of zigging while its sports counterparts zagged, encouraging hockey players to play other sports.

Said Ken Martel, technical director of USA Hockey’s ADM program, who led both its design and implementation,  “The average parent looks around and they go, ‘What we’re doing doesn’t seem right.’ In their gut, they know it’s not right. Why should my 9-year-old in Chicago have to travel to Boston to play in this tournament? All they hear is the loud voice of the youth coach who wants his piece of the glory or the business operation that’s going to take their money because they can convince you that your kid is the next coming.

“What we’re finding in our sport, because we’re preaching this, is that a lot of parents are going, ‘Whew. Thank you. I knew this wasn’t right.’ It’s nice to have someone who is actually saying so.”

As youth sports have taken off as a business, with weekend calendars chock-full of events that fill nearby hotel rooms and coaches of elite travel programs selling the promise of an athletic scholarship, the governing bodies that oversee those sports increasingly voice concern about the byproduct.

The tug for a child to choose one sport over another is a powerful one. The most successful club soccer programs and travel baseball and basketball teams offer year-round training and jam-packed tournament schedules. Some require parents to sign commitment forms that promise not only that the child won’t play for another team in that sport, but that they will prioritize that team’s activities over those in any other sport.

Sport specialization and year-round play long have been linked to burnout in sports such as tennis and figure skating. But doctors now also recognize a physical toll, suggesting that overtraining is behind an increase in injuries.

Even as some kids are playing one sport too much, more kids than ever are playing no sport at all. Inactivity among children 6-17 approached 20 percent last year, continuing a disturbing trend spanning the last six years. While much of the evidence is anecdotal, several national governing body heads said they worry that the push to specialize early weeds out good athletes before they have a chance to emerge. Among 6- to 17-year-olds, the average number of team sports played per participant has fallen 5.9 percent in the last five years, dropping from 2.14 to 2.01, according to the SFIA.

“We have millions of kids playing soccer,” Martel said. “But they’ll lose to Tobago. The last Olympics, we got pounded in the bronze game [in hockey] by Finland. We’ve got more kids playing hockey in the state of Michigan than they do in all of Finland.

“We have all these resources. We have 100,000 8-year-olds playing hockey. But we burn them up and turn them around. Not only is it not what’s best for the kids, it’s not what’s best for the sport.”

***********   Coach Wyatt,

Great topic    "And while he's wondering where the weekend went -  there's Monday’s practice.  Sure hope he shows up with a good plan.  Kids are great at spotting disorganization."

Friday night still
Don't forget, the field has to be put away (home game), or all the kids have to get on the bus, all equipment loaded.

Uniforms washed,
Injuries tended to.
Film exchange with upcoming opponent.

We often have the kids in on Saturday to watch film and get a lift in.

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato MN

Yes, and don’t forget  to call the newspaper (with all the stats) before their deadline!

*********** The people who give California - and Californians - a bad name…

A  60,000 gray whale was beached in San Clemente, California, between Los Angeles and San Diego.

It is lying there, rotting, while authorities try to figure out what to do with it.  Some suggest towing it out to sea.  Others think the solution it to cut it up and truck off the pieces.  (To where?)

The removal operation is complicated by the fact that there is limited vehicle access to the dead creature.  “I don’t think the carcass could have landed on a  worse stretch of beach,” said the superintendent of the state beach.

Now, here’s where the stereotypical Califirnians come in:

“Cynthia Stern, of Santa Monica, drove 75 miles with her friend to place a pink and white orchid by the whale and press homeopathic remedies onto its rotting blubber.

“‘You should be paying homage to such creatures,’ she said,  ‘that are so intelligent and so wonderful. Even though it’s a carcass, it’s profoundly positive - and anyone who went there is blessed.’”

Yeah, profoundly positive.  Rubbing “homeopathic remedies,” whatever the hell they are, on a dead whale.

Said a more normal Californian, “I was a chef for a while, so I’ve seen all sorts of dead fish, but never like this.”

(Let’s not ruin it by telling him it’s not a fish.)

***********  DRAFT PREDICTION: Laremy Tunsil will  miss at least one game to suspension for every year he plays in the NFL.  The Dolphins knew exactly what they were getting and took him anyhow.

*********** "If foreign nationals were swarming into the U.S. illegally from Europe to find jobs as journalists, government workers, and lawyers, the progressive elites might worry about their own employment and be less utopian about open borders." Victor Davis Hanson

*********** This is a year old, but it bears repeating...

According to an article in the Portland Oregonian, there were a number of forfeits among Oregon's small schools resulting from the state's concussion protocol.  Schools with low roster numbers have found themselves unable to field a team after a number of their players were deemed unable to play after displaying concussion-like symptoms. The problem is compounded by the fact that many of these are rural schools without convenient access to the health-care professionals who are the only ones empowered to clear the kids to return to play.

I refer to all this as the NFL devouring its young.  When we needed help financing programs, they were nowhere to be found.  We had to institute "participation fees," and our needs helped kick-start an entire fund-raising industry. What did the mighty NFL do for us?  Why, they selected "high school coaches of the month," and hosted national conventions for select coaches.  Thanks, guys.  My players get by with hand-me-down shoes.

But now that they're under fire as the likely cause of dementia in retired players, the NFL tries to buy Kevlar for itself by posing as the saviour of youth football, using its USA Football front to teach tackling and show coaches how to fit helmets.  See - we really CARE!

There, Mom.  Now that you've been scared out of your wits by stories of dementia among players who played football for years at an intense level, don't you feel a whole lot better, knowing that your little boy's coach is USA Football-certified?

Personally, I would have liked to see the NFL players' suit go to trial.  It could have gotten ugly, of course, with the NFL's lawyers delving into the private lives of some of those plaintiffs and their various methods of "recreating" and self-medicating, but it might have shown that more factors than football were to blame for their sad conditions.

american flag
TUESDAY, APRIL 26,  2016  “A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary.”  Fred Allen

***********  I often think how are fortunate we are to be coaching football, if only  because our players are insulated from the fans/parents more than with any other team sport (except maybe Australian Rules, where the field is much, much bigger, and the fans much, much farther away).

I would hate to coach basketball.  I really feel for basketball coaches when I see how many of their kids are looking up into the stands instead of at them during timeouts.

Then there are the loudmouths in the stands.

Over the years I've had a few, but not that many.

Besides, the football coach always has his trump card -  invite the guy to come down out of the stands and try coaching the team himself.

Good luck.

Baseball?  A lot of guys could do it.  Not well, but they could do it.  Basketball? Likewise.  Soccer?  Almost certainly.

Football?  Make me laugh.

Even if a guy were to come on down and somehow manage to get through a game,  I'm not letting him off that fast.  He's going to find out how much goes on that he's not aware of.  First of all,  there’s a lot of video to watch over the weekend to see what needs improvement.   Sure hope he knows what to look for.

And while he's wondering where the weekend went -  there's Monday’s practice.  Sure hope he shows up with a good plan.  Kids are great at spotting disorganization.

And then there’s Tuesday’s practice… and Wednesday's... and Thursday's...

And then...  Hey - where’d that guy go?

***********  As NFL draft time approaches, an article in the New York Times nearly brought me to tears.

It was about - sniff - Johnny Football.  About how the poor kid has been used!  Chewed up and spit out by the NFL and its thoughtless fans, who see young men like Johnny as little more than beef on the hoof.

Knowing what we know about things like concussions and addiction; the possibility of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E.; and the likelihood of a shortened life expectancy, you might think that we have moved past viewing football players as interchangeable parts to be haggled or numbers to be calculated.

We have not. Instead, we draft them again, this time for our personal fantasy football teams.

After the N.F.L. draft, if the players dare not meet the expectations heaped upon them by teams and fans when they were 21 or 22 years old, they are destined to become the butt of a long-running joke about busts. The misguided hype is seen as a character flaw of the player rather than a misjudgment by teams, analysts or fans — a broken promise in a one-sided relationship.

Manziel is the latest example, playing out in real time as another draft approaches. To read online comments and social media posts about Manziel’s troubles — arrests, parties, rehabilitation — is to explore the underbelly of fandom, dismissive and cruel. Schadenfreude is the flip side of reverence, and perhaps a stronger attraction.

Do you gnash your teeth when some do-gooder  says that “society failed" a criminal?   Does it piss you off when someone asks, “Where have we gone wrong?” as if WE taught the guy how to deal drugs?

It’s hard to read the Times article without getting a sense that there are those who think that after all his atrocious conduct, it's not Johnny's fault.  We've failed him, see, and now - after all he's had handed to him - he's still owed something.

Listen to his father,
Paul Football (actually, it’s really Manziel).   Back in February, he  told the Dallas Morning News, “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.”

Seriously?   Did you catch that “they” business? 

Could that mean you and me?

I suppose if we don't act now -  if we don’t get Johnny help -  it might  drive him right into the arms of ISIS.

Not a chance.  ISIS parties like it's 1315.

*********** With  the latest news on Brady, I’m guessing that Bill Belichick has already offered Johnny Football a  four-game contract.

*********** Wait a minute… Intel just announced that it’s planning to slim down by laying off some 12,000 employees world-wide.

In Oregon, where Intel is one of the state’s largest employers, it’s expected to mean 2,000 or so workers will be “made redundant,” as the Brits say.

Meantime, at various US locations, Intel employs 15,000 foreigners.

It appears that a major reason for the seeming contradiction is that Obamacare requires the company to pay for the American workers, but not for the immigrant labor.

So much for “Progressives” constantly working to improve your job conditions - at jobs that, thanks to them,  no longer exist.   (Watch the jobs start to disappear once you can make that $15 an hour minimum wage.)

*********** Three reasons why I believe that we should make a much bigger deal of the William V Campbell Award  (named for the former Columbia football player and coach and giant of the tech industry who died last week), than we do of the Heisman Trophy:

1. Johnny Manziel

2. Johnny Manziel

3. Johnny Manziel

Call it the “Responsibility” factor.    When it’s matter of...

Building your house…

Running your business…

Teaching your kid…

Piloting your plane…

Arguing for you in court...

Operating on your mother…

Marrying your daughter…

Investing your money…

Who you gonna call?  The Heisman Trophy winner? 

Or the Campbell Award winner? 

*********** Ever since they won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and attributed the win as much to Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” before their games as to the hooliganism that earned them the nickname “Broad Street Bullies,” the Philadelphia Flyers have “honored our country” (as the PA announcers are fond of saying)  with that particular song.

Kate Smith, who’s long dead, made it her trademark song, and the woman sure could sing it.

Sunday,  I watched the very start of the Flyers-Caps game  and listened in disgust as some blonde in a Flyers’ sweater delivered  her personal interpretation of “God Bless America,”  one that automatically put her right up there with the thousands of wannabes who routinely defile our national anthem before NFL games.

*********** You may or may not know that former NBA coach Pat Riley trademarked the term “Three-peat.”  (Be sure to send him your royalty check the next time you use the term.)

In Australia, the Hawthorne Hawks have won the Aussie Rules Grand Final three years now - and now the term being tossed about Down Under   is “Fourthorne.”

(With a Strine - Australian - accent, Mate, 
it rhymes with "Hawthorne.”)

*********** As the draft approaches, NFL people are pissing and moaning because college coaches insist on running these damn spread offenses.

Evidently they view winning (and holding onto their multimillion-dollar contracts) as more important than grooming players for the NFL, so college coaches have been neglecting their long-time role as the unpaid development league for the NFL, and allowed themselves to get so caught up in exciting, wide-open, crowd-pleasing offensive football that they’ve failed  teach certain skills - skills that the pros themselves can’t be bothered teaching.

Seems to me that this is all ass-backwards.  If you make wool clothing and there’s a falloff in the world population of sheep, there’s no point in whining. Or, like the NFL, asking herders to turn  goats into sheep. You’d better figure out how to make clothing out of cotton.  Or synthetics.   Or something.   So if this is what the colleges are sending you, maybe you need to change your formula.  Ever thought about adapting your game to the talent available? 

Yeah, sure. Make me laugh.

Not the NFL, which doesn’t acknowledge that football  is even played on Saturdays. Not the NFL, which insists on deluding the public by arrogantly dropping the “pro” from “pro football,” as if it has a monopoly on the game.

Not the NFL, which in the manner of generals throughout history, insists on fighting this war with the weapons of the last war.  Maybe a dozen top colleges still play the so-called “pro-style” attack, and good for them.   But far more don’t, and the game they play is exciting and popular.  Far more so, I would argue, than the NFL's game.  But just as the crusty old guys from World War I  derided Billy Mitchell for his crazy idea that a war could be fought by planes launched from flat-top ships,  the NFL refuses to recognize reality:   these college guys are way ahead of them.

*********** "After seven long years of disaster after disaster, at home and abroad, under the Obama administration, have we learned nothing about the dangers of choosing an untested candidate for President of the  United States on the basis of his saying things we want to hear?"   Thomas Sowell

***********  In the 1930s, Notre Dame coach Elmer Layden desperately wanted to recruit a great high school running back in Elkins, West Virginia named Marshall Goldberg.  As the name suggests, he was Jewish, the son of a merchant in the small town.

But Notre Dame’s President, Father O’Hara, had placed recruiting restrictions on his football coach - he could not leave campus to sign players.  They had to come to South Bend.

Meantime, a famed movie producer who was also a Notre Dame booster promised that if Goldberg  went to Notre Dame, he'd make a movie called “Goldberg of Notre Dame.” (At the time, the story of  a Jewish kid starring at the nation’s best-known Catholic school would have been a sure box-office hit.)

Alas,  Marshall Goldberg never went to Notre Dame, and the movie was never made.

Goldberg was successfully recruited by Jock Sutherland, legendary Pitt coach, and along with Dick Cassiano, John Chickernio and Curly Stebbins formed what came to be called the Dream Backfield.  Thanks in large part to them, for three years, from 1936 through 1938, Pitt was a national title contender.

Goldberg played a major role in Pitt defeats of Notre Dame in 1936 and 1937, and went on to a solid career in the NFL.

I’d sure love to have seen “Goldberg of Notre Dame.”

*********** When Jacoby Ellsbury (former Oregon State Beaver - ahem) stole home last week, it was the first straight steal (not as part of a double-steal) of home by a Yankee in 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS!

Hard to believe how one of the most exciting plays in baseball has all but vanished from the game.

Jackie Robinson was famed for the big leads he’d take off third, scaring the pants off opposing pitchers.

In his career, he stole home 19 times (20 of you count a steal of home in the World Series).

And get this - 19 steals of home in a career only place Robinson in a tie for 9th place.  He is, though, the most “modern” player on the list, an indication of how the steal of home has become a lost tactic.  (It’s not without its risks - Robinson was thrown out stealing home 12 times.)

At the top of the list is Ty Cobb, with 54 steals of home.  We’ll see a guy hit safely in 57 straight games before we’ll see someone steal home 54 times.

Speaking of Ty Cobb, everyone knows by now that he was a vicious racist, right?

Wrong, says Charles Leerhsen, author of “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.” 

In a speech at Hillsdale College on March 7,  he makes the point that it all started with a hatchet job on Cobb, in an article published in “True” Magazine by a hack writer named Al Stump, and from there the
The Cobb-is-racist legend
took wings.   It was further validated by subsequent biographers who simply accepted the original Al Stump story as gospel, with the result, Leerhsen says,  that “People have been told that Cobb was a bad man over and over, all of their lives. The repetition felt like evidence.”

Mr. Leerhsen’s evidence, which is laid out in “Imprimis,” a monthly publication put out by Hillsdale College, is enough to convince me that Ty Cobb was defamed by a writer named Al Stump.

american flag
FRIDAY, APRIL 22,  2016  “Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Ian McLaren

*********** Turns out it wasn't just their Wing-T that won all those titles at Bellevue, Washington.  Nope. They've been winning the old-fashioned way - cheating their asses off.

If Bellevue were a college, even the gutless NCAA would  shut them down.

But watch our courageous state association, the WIAA, deal with a school with the power and prestige of Bellevue. If you were the coach of a small, rural school, the WIAA would have no compunctions whatsoever about taking your state title from you if you had self-reported that,
winning 45-0 with a minute to play, caught up in the excitement and in your desire to play every kid,  you’d played an ineligible third-stringer.

You'd be toast.

But guaranteed - they'll   give the highly-paid coach of Bellevue, an elite school in an elite suburb, a slap on the wrist. 

Another one, I should add.

Last year, when the cheating first came to light, Bellevue’s head coach - whose coaching stipend (he doesn’t teach) is reported to be in the neighborhood of $100,000  - was given a two-game suspension.

*********** Damn shame about Prince -  but would somebody please interrupt the non-stop eulogies to point out for the sake of our young poeple that it appears that "recreational" drugs have claimed another victim?

*********** You look at the "quality" of the people running for President and ask yourself how this could possibly be the best a nation of  300,000,000 people can do. And then  you think about how quick everyone was to reject former Senator James Webb, of Virginia, and how quick they were to follow a 70-year-old  pied piper who promised them the world - without having to work any harder than he ever has.
Webb and Sanders


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

Now, in looking back at a successful career as an international banker, Seiki Murono reflects on the people and things - including football - that enabled a young man born in a World War II Japanese internment camp to climb to the highest rungs of business.


Looking back at a long and varied career that’s taken him from an internment camp to a company town to a small and selective college to athletic success in college and professional sports, to the acme of international business, Seiki reflects on the factors that helped make him successful.

From an early age, the sense of “belonging” was a powerful motivator.  “When I was growing up,” Seiki says, “I thought about being ‘different’ constantly and did whatever I could to be accepted and excel in everything I did.  It was the driving force in my early years which shaped who and what I became.”

Playing sports, he says, was “huge,” in terms of his his overall development. “I felt most ‘American’,” he said,  “When I was playing sports.  It was probably the main reason I chose to participate in assimilate and to gain acceptance.”

Teachers and coaches, football and family have been major forces in his life…

“My high school English teacher, Mrs. Jane Owen, was very special,” he says.  “She made sure I learned how to speak proper English by teaching me how to diagram sentences and conjugate verbs.  To this day, I remember and use what she taught me.  When I was a senior in high school, it was she who suggested I consider a career in international banking.  Amazing, since I had no idea what international banking was!”

Two other important influences were his football coaches – Barney Fisher at Bridgeton High School, and George Storck at Franklin and Marshall.  “Both were exceptional mentors,” he said, “from whom I learned so much about life skills, leadership and being decent human beings.”

F & M, he says now,  “Was a very good choice.  I received a terrific education and had the opportunity to play for a great football coach. Football - and the positive influence of Coach Storck  - laid the foundation for my career in business.  Playing team sports, especially as a quarterback, taught me leadership skills and the importance of cooperation and collaboration as keys to achieving success and reaching objectives.”

But most important of all were his parents.

Other than the abduction of Ginzo Murono and the separation from the life the Muronos knew in Peru, and other than the fact that incarceration was their introduction to the United States, the Muronos were like so many other immigrants to the United States in the manner in which they worked and sacrificed to give their children opportunities that they knew they would never have themselves.

At one point they considered moving back back to Peru, but they chose to remain in the US because they wanted all three of their children to be educated here, and they thought opportunities would be better for them here.

“They believed that we could make it,” Seiki says. “And the key was for all of us to receive a good education.  They made tremendous sacrifices so that we could achieve this objective.”

In return, he said, “We wanted to make our parents proud and bring them honor for the sacrifices they made.”

The Muronos must surely have felt honored and repaid by the accomplishments of their children.

In addition to Seiki, older brother Eisuke earned his PhD in endocrinology and was a senior scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and taught at the medical schools at the University of South Carolina and West Virginia University.

Older sister Toyoko graduated from Columbia University.  While still an undergraduate, she worked in the Foreign Admissions Office, and continued to work there after graduation, overseeing applications from foreign students hoping to attend Columbia.

It is almost incomprehensible to think of what the Muronos did for the sake of their children.  Dealt an unfair hand in life, they accepted their lot and made the best of their situation. Ginzo Murono, Seiki’s father, never returned to the business life he had known in Peru, and worked at Seabrook Farms until his retirement.

Amazingly, Seiki said he never heard his father complain or display anger over the injustices he and his family had suffered.  “My father was a saint,” Seiki says.   “He never expressed or showed any kind of bitterness as a result of being interned.  In the end, he was grateful and proud to be an American citizen and appreciated all the opportunities that this country afforded his children.  He was especially proud of the fact that all his children received college degrees and went on to have successful professional careers.”

Seiki does concede that there were occasions in both high school and  college where he was the target of discrimination and racial slurs directed at him by opposing players. 

But his professional career was quite different.  “During my entire 26 years at the Chase Manhattan Bank,” he says,  “I was always treated fairly and with respect and consider it a privilege to have worked there.”

The subject of the Japanese internment was never mentioned in high school, and at the time he was in college, very little had been written about it. As a consequence, very few of his classmates or teammates at F & M knew anything about it.  “Most," he says,  "were surprised and shocked to hear the story.” 

Growing up, Seiki said, he was reluctant to discuss the subject of the Japanese internment, because, “One of my primary objectives was to gain acceptance,  assimilate and look as ‘American’ as possible.” 

Now, he says, “I am more willing to speak about it.  My hope is that as more is written about the internment experience, it will foster a greater understanding of the perils of prejudice and discrimination and lessen the likelihood that these types of injustice are repeated.”

He sums up the way his parents and other Japanese interns dealt with the difficulties of their lives:  "There's a word in Japanese: gaman – to endure," he says. "My parents used to say that one's ability to endure hardship prepares one for life."

american flag TUESDAY, APRIL 19,  2016  “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.  Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  Winston Churchill

*********** Other than the loss of a member of his own family, there can’t be anything harder on a coach than the death of a member of his (or her) team.

Just the thought of losing someone so young, so promising, so full of life, someone we love like a son or daughter, is enough to shake us all. 

When one of our coaching brothers loses one of his football family - what can we say?

Greg Koenig, head coach at Beloit Kansas, was awakened Saturday morning by a phone call informing him that some time around midnight the night before, one of his players, Noah Smith, a promising sophomore running back/strong safety, had been killed in a one-car accident north of Beloit.

A farm boy, Noah came from a large, supportive family.  His older brother, Casey, played for Coach Koenig and was Beloit’s Black Lion Award winner in 2010.  A younger brother will be a freshman on the team this year.

Noah started at running back the latter part of last season, but it was on defense that he shone: credited with 99 tackles and four interceptions, he received Honorable Mention on the All-State team.

In a Beloit program that emphasizes more than football ability, he was a standout in more ways than as a player.

“His impact ran deep in our school, our community, and people in church youth group…a lot of his relationships are long-lasting,” Coach Koenig said. “He was a gifted athlete, but that was nowhere near the whole picture.”

May God comfort his family, his teammates, his schoolmates, his coaches and teachers and the Beloit community.

***********  Tsk, tsk.  No more off-campus camps in the far reaches of the country for Michigan or Michigan coaches.  Nice try, Coach Harbaugh.  Now you’re stuck on that campus of yours with its puny 100,000+ seat stadium and those multimillion-dollar football facilities. 

Instead of bitching about the unfairness of the NCAA, you ought to be working on a way for poor kids from Florida and Georgia and Texas to somehow materialize at your on-campus camps.  (Dumb me - as if you aren’t already on that one.)

*********** As a huge fan of the 70s Steelers, I liked Lynn Swann as a football player.  As a football fan in general, I liked his work as a TV guy.  And as a native Pennsylvanian, I liked the fact that he stayed around after his playing days. And I liked his politics.

But his hiring by USC as its AD puts me in position of conflict.  I like Lynn Swann, but I can’t stand USC.  At the very least, I hope the job doesn’t gobble him up.

I liked his predecessor, Pat Haden, too, but as upstanding as he was, even he wasn’t enough to keep the Trojans clean. And, too, he did hire Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian.  I know he's had health problems, but either of those hires would have been enough to get most ADs fired. 

*********** Isn’t it time to retire this whole corny Raider/Red Sox/Trojan/Beaver/Cornhusker/Buckeye "Nation" deal?

*********** Everything’s in place for the Rams to be successful in LA.

Well, almost everything.

They still have to win.

***********  While waiting for North Carolina to be horsewhipped with a feather boa...

There aren’t many things left that the NCAA has the power to do,  but one of them concerns the sanctioning of bowl games.  Last week, the august organization did college football a favor by placing a three-year moratorium on any new bowl games.

NEW bowl games?  Sheesh.

Talk about bowlflation: last year, there were more bowl games than there were FBS teams with winning records, and as a result,  just to provide ESPN with programming,  three 5-7 teams “earned” bowl invitations.

It’s sad to reflect on all those great Big Ten and Pac-8 teams that had to stay home because of  conference policies that sent only their winners to the Rose Bowl - and left everyone else home.  (And then there were those years when they had “no repeat” rules, which meant that the champion had to stay home if it had gone to the Rose Bowl the year before.)

*********** Between the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 Networks, plus NBC Sports and a few others, there were 15 spring games on TV Saturday.

I "watched" a few.   Well, the TV was on - let's put it that way.

One of the highlights for me was a little nutcracker-type drill that LSU ran prior to their “game.”  They had Les Miles mic’ed up, which was rather humorous,  because one (evidently) poor effort elicited a rousing “BULLSH—!” from Coach Miles (or someone standing very, very close to him).

Notre Dame seemed to have some real backfield speed.

I watched the Cal game to see redshirt freshman Ross Bowers, a Bothell, Washington kid whose dad, now a coach at James Madison, is originally from my old stomping grounds in Hagerstown, Maryland. The kid is going to be good.  Maybe you’ve seen the video of the way he stuck his landing, gymnast-style,  in the end zone in the state championship game.  He comes by his agility naturally - his mom is head gymnastics coach at the University of Washington.

The best thing for me was learning more about Cal running back Vic Enwere.  From Missouri City, Texas, he’s the son of Nigerian immigrants.  Hmmm, I thought.  Knowing the way  the Nigerians that I’m aware of value their children’s education, this kid is more than just a good football player - he’s undoubtedly a good student, too.


Yes, he is.  And so is his brother, who’s at MIT. And so is the sister who was valedictorian of her class at the University of Texas.  And so is another sister who plays volleyball at Northwestern.

















*********** It was a beautiful day in central Illinois yesterday.  And I am recovering from knee surgery.  So, while my kids played outside I sat in a chair and did a little reading.  I pulled out a book I picked up a long time ago, The Football Bible, and started reading an article by Joe Paterno.  I thought you would appreciate it:

"During a lecture many years ago, Paul "Bear" Bryant talked about the keys to getting prepared for a game.  Sitting there among hundreds of other coaches, I was expecting a detailed description of how Coach Bryant readied his offense, defense, and kicking units to perform at their best each contest.  Instead, the wise veteran offered this profound bit of advice.  "Whatever you do," he said, "make sure your game plan is a small one."  He warned that the worst mistake we coaches make is to develop grand strategies for every unit, down, and distance and fail to become very good at any of them."

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


It’s great advice.

I was just doing a little research on something called Occams’ Razor,  a centuries-old principle for deciding between several explanations for an occurrence: the most plausible explanation is usually the simplest one.   (The “razor” is a figure of speech - it shaves away unlikely explanations to get to the point.)

In practice terms, I've  referred to it as “peeling the onion” - getting rid of unnecessary demands on our time.  The military calls it “Teaching to the Mission.”

Coach Bryant expressed it as well as anyone.

And it’s something I constantly struggle with.  A game plan for me is a balancing act between what I know I’ll need and what I’m guessing that I might possibly need, depending on this contingency or that.  It’s as if I were packing for a long trip, wondering what to pack and what to leave at home.

Suitcase or game plan, I almost always overpack.

I’ll bet that there are very few coaches who wish after a game that they had had more plays in their game plan!

Julia and Gene Banks*********** My daughter, Julia, was at Duke when it all started - when coach Bill Foster brought in a talented group that included a Philly kid named Gene Banks.

Coach Foster died not long ago, and Julia sent me this note on Gene Banks’ Facebook page:

Bill Foster Memorial- April 9, 2016
Rutgers University- Kilpatrick Chapel
New Brunswick, NJ
Words cannot express the sheer moment that was shared with my former teammates and brothers "celebrating" the life and times of our beloved Coach Bill Foster. There was so many emotions that swirled on this day and it was a "Celebration" to see the many people that he touched besides myself. Seeing each and every one that had been touched and that touched my life in a time that was truly one of the most vital parts of my life was Priceless. Coach was the director and producer of "men" and was the developer of the "Resurrection" of the Duke dynasty. (2 ACC Championships, A NCAA Championship appearance, Number 1 ranking (twice) for several weeks two years) There was an amazing tribute to Coach that was shown during this time and I did get to speak and got al ittle emotional through it. Couldn't help it. He allowed me to "Spread my wings" and "Fly" during that time of my career at Duke and he was the one coach that knew my potential of such and didn't hold me back. He helped me become a man in many ways and dealt with so much, when it came to me...he my Father...truly and he is missed not just by me...but everyone he came in contact with. They broke the mold when he was made after and never has a man (or person) touched my life like he did. I enjoy seeing ALL my brothers, from Tate Armstrong, Terry Chilli and Larry Doby, Jr. who also were present and paid respect. It was truly a spiritual moment and Priceless. He will NEVER be forgotten.

(In the photo, Julia's the one on the left.)

*********** Way back when I was in high school, my coach got me a summer job at Camp Tecumseh, a sports camp in New Hampshire where he would be working as a counselor/coach.  In return for my work in the kitchen serving meals, cleaning up afterwards, setting up for the next meal, and dumping garbage (making sure to shovel plenty of dirt on top so the skunks wouldn’t smell it), I got to take part in all the sports activities of the regular campers. 

The camp was run by former Penn football coach George Munger (my coach had played for him) and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet and compete with some really good athletes and take part in some sports I’d never been exposed to.  I learned how to play tennis there. I learned how to paddle a canoe. And portage.  And because of the competition, I got better at track, and baseball and football.

One of the counselors from previous years was there briefly, visiting because his younger brother was a camper. He was a big, dark-haired, athletic-looking guy named Pete Jannetta, and he’d played football and lacrosse at Penn.

Last week, I was reading the New York Times on my phone as I try to do every morning, and I saw the headline: last week.  Dr. Peter Jannetta, a world-renowned neurosurgeon died at 84.

In the words of The Times…

Dr. Jannetta, a retired faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was considered one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world.

A specialist in cranial nerve disorders, he was renowned in particular for having identified the minute culprit responsible for trigeminal neuralgia — a condition causing agonizing facial pain — and for developing a way to vanquish that culprit through microsurgery on the brain.

“This was a condition that had been documented for a thousand years: There are references in the ancient literature to what was originally called ‘tic douloureux,’ ” Mark L. Shelton, the author of “Working in a Very Small Place: The Making of a Neurosurgeon,” a 1989 book about Dr. Jannetta, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “People knew of this unexplained, very intense, episodic facial pain but didn’t know the cause of it.”

Trigeminal neuralgia is so excruciating — and early remedies were so inadequate — that in the past, some patients committed suicide.

“It’s the worst pain in the world,” Dr. Jannetta told The Times Union of Albany in 1999. “The nerve endings in the face are the most concentrated in the body, even more than the fingertips.”

From highly-respected college athlete to “one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world!” To think of all the water that’s gone under the bridge since the first time I saw Pete Jannetta.

*********** Football player agent Eugene Parker died March 31 at 60.  With a distinguished client list that included the likes of  Ron Woodson,  Cornelius Bennett,  Curtis Martin,  Deion Sanders,  Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Pierre-Paul, he was often described as “the first of the black super agents.”

Even owners and general managers spoke highly of him, partly because of his integrity, partly because of his ability to be creative in structuring his clients’ contracts, but also because of his ability to be firm but reasonable.

As he liked to say, “All we want for our clients is the high side of fair.”

*********** With great pride, Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington, sent me an article about local kid Josh Garnett, a very good football player, student and person…

*********** Several weeks ago, I was called for jury duty.  I lasted one morning.  They picked a jury and - surprise - the defense attorney evidently didn’t want a football coach sitting on a jury that decided whether or not her client was guilty of dealing drugs.

And that was enough public service to last me for another couple of years, easy.

But while I was there, I did enjoy watching the prosecutor explain what a jury’s purpose was.

To illustrate what was going to happen, he asked us to suppose - just suppose - there was a law in our county  that made it illegal to wear a red necktie on a Monday.

(It was Monday, and he was wearing a red tie.)

He told us that we were to take all the evidence -  in this case, there were witnesses confirming that the accused had worn a red tie on a Monday, and there was conclusive video as well -  and  decide on the guy’s guilt.

The guy’s guilty, right? Asked the prosecutor.

Most of us nodded our heads, but a woman in the back raised her hand.

You have a question? The prosecutor asked.

"Yes," replied the woman. “I’d want to know why he did it.”

*********** FROM THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION (April 18, 2016) -

Bill Campbell, the namesake of the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy, the 2004 NFF Gold Medal recipient and the longest serving board member of the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, passed away today. Born Aug. 31, 1940, Campbell was 75.
"We lost a giant today and certainly one of the most prominent and significant leaders in NFF history," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "Bill touched so many people and organizations during his lifetime, and we were incredibly fortunate that he chose the NFF as his vehicle for giving back to the game he loved so much. His reputation brought immediate credibility to all of our efforts, and he worked with us on numerous occasions to leverage his relationships to further the NFF's mission. He was a great friend, and we are incredibly proud to carry on his legacy of leadership as the namesake of our top scholar-athlete award."
"We are incredibly saddened by the passing of Bill," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "He embodied the term leadership, and he used his experiences as a player and coach at Columbia to build one of the most successful business careers in the Silicon Valley as a confidant to generations of our country's most influential business leaders. Nobody had a bigger heart or gave back more to the game. His philanthropic efforts included quietly giving away tens of millions of dollars during his lifetime while continuing to coach an eighth grade football team near his home in California. He truly was a remarkable individual, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many, many friends."
Bill Campbell joined the NFF Board in 1978 while he was still a coach at Columbia, and he continued to serve with distinction until his passing. In 2004, the NFF recognized Campbell's contributions and accomplishments by presenting him with the NFF Gold Medal, the organization's highest honor. In 2009, the NFF named college football's premiere scholar-athlete award as the William V. Campbell Trophy in his honor. The trophy is currently presented by Fidelity Investments, displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club and endowed by HealthSouth with a $25,000 annual scholarship.

Known as "The Coach of Silicon Valley," Campbell played critical roles in the success of Apple, Google, Intuit and countless other high tech companies. The captain of Columbia's 1961 Ivy League championship team, he found his true calling after an unlikely career change at age 39 from football coach to advertising executive. His ability to recruit, develop, and manage talented executives - all lessons learned on the gridiron -  proved to be a critical component of his ability to inspire his business teams to the highest levels of success.

Campbell has been a major NFF supporter with several large donations to support the organization's youth development programs over the years, and he endowed one of its prestigious postgraduate scholarships in the name of his late brother, James J. Campbell, who was a three-sport athlete at the U.S. Naval Academy, including All-America honors in football and lacrosse.

Campbell, who served as the chairman of the board at Columbia, helped foster a strong relationship between the NFF, Columbia and the Ivy League. The relationships led to the NFF co-hosting an annual event, presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, that provides the stage for announcing the recipient of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup to the Ivy League's Football Players of the Year. 

Campbell grew up outside of Pittsburgh in Homestead, Pa. His father worked two jobs, pulling nights in a mill and days as a high school teacher and basketball coach. Football reigns supreme in Western Pennsylvania, and Campbell played guard and linebacker in high school. Bright and energetic, Campbell migrated east to play football at Columbia University for Coach Buff Donelli.
A four-year student-athlete, Campbell captained the 1961 Ivy League Championship football team, which was inducted into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, and earned All-Ivy League accolades as a senior. In a 1974 interview, Donelli described him as "the best captain I ever had. He's a person who made more of an imprint on people who know him than anyone I've ever known."
Campbell graduated from Columbia with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1962, later earning a master's degree in education also from Columbia. Before entering the business world at age 39, Campbell held several football coaching jobs as an assistant at Columbia University and then Boston College before landing the head job at his alma mater from 1974-79.
After his coaching stint, Campbell embarked on a legendary career, starting as a vice president of J. Walter Thompson, a New York based advertising agency, and then as a general manager of consumer products at Eastman Kodak Europe. He joined Apple Computer in 1983, and he rose to the level of executive vice president. He went on to found and served as president and CEO of Claris Corporation, which Apple purchased in 1990.
During his tenure at Apple, he played a critical role in a high-risk decision to air the famous "1984" ad directed by Ridley Scott that introduced the Mac during Super Bowl XVIII. The ad, which would be named the greatest commercial ever made by Advertising Age, helped build Apple's legend and its transcendent brand.
From 1994-98, Campbell served as the president and chief executive officer of Intuit, the maker of Quicken, QuickBooks, and Turbo Tax. Campbell also served as CEO of the company from September 1999 until January 2000. He would go onto serve as chairman. During his tenure at Intuit, the company's market value grew substantially, starting at $700 million and growing to more than $26 billion today.
Campbell joined the Columbia University Board of Trustees in 2003 and was named chair just two years later. He led the university through one of the most dynamic eras in its history - one that included the planning and groundbreaking of the new Manhattanville campus, the opening of the University's Global Centers, the successful completion of the record-setting Columbia Campaign and The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, the creation of the Columbia Alumni Association and many more initiatives.
Because of his tremendous leadership and passion for Columbia Athletics, the university dedicated the Campbell Sports Center in his honor in October 2013. The state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot athletics headquarters at the Baker Athletic Complex on West 218th Street became the first new athletics building for Columbia since the mid-1970s. In fall 2014, the athletics program retired uniform number 67 - the number Campbell wore as an offensive lineman and linebacker for the 1961 Ivy League Champions - for all 31 of Columbia's varsity teams.
Campbell is survived by his son, Jim, daughter, Maggie, wife, Eileen Bocci, stepson, Matt Bocci, and his former wife, Roberta.

american flag
FRIDAY, APRIL 15,  2016  "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."   George Orwell

***********  We lost a great American  Monday night when Clark Welch passed away in his sleep .

There is no better book about the Vietnam War than David Maraniss’ “They Marched Into Sunlight,"  and if it can be said that there was a hero in a book about the terrible battle of Ong Thanh, one in which the famed Black Lions were ambushed  and cut to pieces by a superior force, it would be Clark Welch.

A New Hampshire kid who’d enlisted ten years earlier by keeping his chronic asthmatic condition hidden from military doctors, he was, wrote Maraniss, “A Soldier’s soldier.”    The pain with which his loss is being felt by his fellow Vietnam veterans is a testament to the respect – almost awe – in which he was held.  He was a Black Lion's Black Lion.

To the men of Delta Company in Vietnam, he was known simply as “Big Rock.” He once overheard a soldier say of him, “That’s one old son of a bitch that’s got his sh—together.” It pleased him.  To Clark Welch, wrote Maraniss, it was “the ultimate compliment.”

Author Maraniss tells how, after being grievously wounded in the battle, Clark Welch lay in a hospital bed as General William Westmoreland, who headed American forces in Vietnam, arrived to award Purple Hearts to soldiers wounded in the battle…

In the recovery ward at last, Westmoreland went down the row of men, pinning Purple Hearts.

“I just want to congratulate you,” he said to Bud Barrow, the Delta first sergeant.

“Well, I’m not sure whether you ought to congratulate me or the enemy,” Barrow responded.  “They’re the ones who won that one.”  His mind raced back to the seventeenth, the denseness of the jungle floor, the Viet Cong shooting from the trees, the terror of being out there, the grief of losing so many of this boys.

Westmoreland pinned a Purple Heart on Barrow’s pajamas and said, “Tell me, sergeant.  What happened out there?”

“Well, sir, we walked into one of the damnedest ambushes you ever seen,”  Barrow said.

“Oh, no, no, no,” Westmoreland replied briskly.  “That was no ambush.”  (For the top US leaders to admit it was an ambush would have been to admit a level of incompetence and ill-preparedness.)

“Call it what you want to,”     Barrow said.  The combination of his wounds, the medication, and all he had been through allowed him to speak more bluntly to a general than he would have normally.  “I don’t know what happened to the rest of the people, but, by God, I was ambushed.”

Next came Clark Welch, the Delta commanded. Shoes clicked, papers ruffled.  Westmoreland pinned a medal and said a few words. They propped up Welch with pillows and snapped pictures of the brave lieutenant and the crisp general. Westmoreland moved on, but his staff aide, a marine major, lingered and asked Welch a question about the battle.

Welch was barely conscious, his thoughts uncensored.  He had survived, but the idealism that buoyed him during the early days of forming Delta Company died that day in the Long Nguyen Secret Zone.

Things were totally f—ked up, he told the major, as he lay wounded in the hospital bed, his arms and chest wraped in bandages.

You could try to do everything right, but things were as f—ked up as they could be.

Everything was f—ked up, from the battalion commander up through the President of the United States. As f—ked up as anything he had ever seen.  Colonel Allen, even if he was the son of a famous general, was f—ked up.  The operations officer was f—ked up.  The entire operation was f—ked up.  They shouldn’t have gone out there like that. They should have had more air support beforehand.  They shouldn’t have check-fired the artillery.  They should have let him fire his mortars.

Just a f—kup from beginning to end, a f—kup that killed Terry Alen and left Danny Sikorski and Jack Schroder and a lot of other young men dead.

A f—kup is what Clark Welch said to the major. He had never felt quite that way before, but it came spilling out of him on that Sunday in Long Binh, a feeling that would linger for decades.

Throughout the book, Maraniss returns to Clark Welch’s letters to his wife, Lacy, as a means of  keeping  the narrative flowing.

In one, he shows how, even as he fought for his own life in the hospital, his thoughts were of his men.

I thought I had a pretty good idea of what “battle” is, but there’s nothing like what my men went through. NO man should have to go through what we were in.  If it had to be done, though, my men did it better that anyone else could have. There were men that ran, and men that shot themselves, but I just feel sorry for them. They were just normal men that reacted normally. All the others were exceptional, far above what we have any right to expect from a man.  They’re just good men, Lacy, and now most of them are out… All these men should have big signs on them so they could have anything they want the rest of their lives.

In one of his last letters to her from Vietnam, he wrote,

I love you Lacy.  It looks silly to just see it written out there.  I remember the second time I was hit and couldn’t get up or talk or do anything anymore. For a second I just wanted to be home with my Lacy to take care of me. Just to be home, that’s what was inside me all the time.  I love you, Lacy.  Tell our boys their Dad did the best he could and that was all I could do – there were just too many of them and too much fire.




Three items of note: first,  an article written almost 15 years ago in the Colorado Springs Gazette, when he was living in the Rockies, so deep in the mountains that he had to hike miles to his mailbox to get his mail.  To keep in condition, he’d do the hike with a knapsack filled with 40 pounds of rocks.

Second, a testimonial to  his stoicism and reseve, so characteristic of Vietnam veterans:   "I met Clark Welch at a high-school reunion in 1982 (he and my wife were classmates). He didn't talk about his tours in Vietnam, nor the terrible injuries he'd received there, and nobody at the reunion thought to ask. So we missed the chance to hear the story of a hero. The U.S. Army likewise forgot: Clark's records were lost when he was med-evacked to Japan, along with his efficiency reports, the Distinguished Service Cross that was pinned on him, and even the fact that he had been at Ông Thanh or served in the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment--the "Black Lions."

Third, General James Shelton's  recommendation of Clark Welch for the Congressional Medal of Honor.  It tells in considerable detail what Clark Welch and his men went through, and adds to the  official record of his incredible bravery.

Clark Welch was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest award presented by the Army, but was denied the Medal of Honor - largely because all eyewitnesses to his heroics had been killed in action.  Oh - and partly because his records were lost.


american flag
TUESDAY, APRIL 12,  2016  "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life - It goes on." Robert Frost

KC Clinic Group Photo
AT THE KC CLINIC(From Left) Gabe McCown, Piedmont, OK; Brad Knight, Clarinda, IA; Connie and Hugh Wyatt, Camas, WA; Brian Mackell, Glen Burnie, MD; Christopher Anderson, Arlington, VA; Greg Koenig, Beloit, KS

********** This past weekend’s Kansas City Clinic was great for me.  I hope it was for the attendees.  After having cut back on my clinic schedule the past few years, this was a chance to return to an area I really like, to talk about some of the things I’ve been doing over the past three seasons, to meet new friends.  Above all, though, it was a chance to bring together once again “the club”  - a group of good friends whom I’ve worked very closely with over the years -  and to "induct"  some new members.

As you might expect, there were coaches from the nearby states of Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.  But there were also coaches who came considerable distances - Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma and Virginia.

The K*********** On Sunday, Greg Koenig and I and our wives drove over to see Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play, and - what do you know? - the Royals happened to have a game that afternoon.  The two stadia - Arrowhead and “The K,” where the Royals play, are barely 100 yards apart, so we got caught up in the  traffic.  After a bit of talking on Greg’s part convinced a parking attendant that we just wanted to go in to take a  few pictures, we got a pass that enabled us basically to park free for an hour and walk around.

As to be expected, Arrowhead was impressive, but The K blew me away.  It is really one beautiful ballpark.  The photo was taken about an hour before game time, after I climbed a hill behind right-center field.

What really blew me away was the crowd itself.

Everybody knows the NFL is big, but unless your city has a major league baseball team, you forget how big baseball can be in a city that does have one.

Yes, I know that the Royals are the defending World Series champions, and you’d expect them to have a following, but sheesh - the atmosphere. As they filtered in, this was as festive and happy a group of people as any I’ve ever seen going to a football game.  And, I might add, a damn sight cleaner-cut and better-behaved than what you’d see at your average NFL game.  Not only could you bring little kids to a Royals’ game - people were doing it.  I didn’t notice until my wife pointed out it how many young kids were in the crowd, a good sign for baseball’s future. A lot of people were tailgating - at a baseball game, for Pete’s sake.  And there was scarcely a person who wasn’t wearing Royal blue.

The twin stadia are easily accessible from a freeway, and there was ample parking (although I imagine that Kansas Citians might have an idea of what hell would be like if the Royals and Chiefs were ever to play at the same time).  There were plenty of parking attendants, and they were not only efficient but extremely well-trained - both helpful and courteous.

If we didn’t have to get to the airport, I could easily have been persuaded to stay and watch a major league baseball game - for the first time in maybe 20 years.

*********** Outside the main gate at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium is Founder’s Plaza, at the entrance of which is a statue of the late Lamar Hunt, a remarkably  accurate depiction of the former Chiefs' owner, one of the most influential men in the history of professional football. Among other things, without his wealth and resolve the American Football League might very well have folded; he moved the Dallas Cowboys to Kansas City; and he’s credited with giving the Super Bowl its name. (With all that he did for football, he's earned a pass for his role in helping establish Major League Soccer.)

Between the statue and the entrance, diagrammed in the sidewalk is one of the most famous plays in Chiefs’ history, “65 Toss Power Trap,” which resulted in a touchdown by Mike Garrett that helped Kansas City thump the favored Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl 4 (I don’t think it was “IV” yet).

A number of bricks in the plaza contain a wide assortment of  expressions of devotion to the Chiefs.

lamar hunt statuekc trap playkc bricks

***********  To give you an idea of what a huge, useless racket diversity training has become, I quote a recent article in USA Today:

Fortune 500 companies and startups alike spend more than a collective $8 billion a year on in-house diversity training sessions that are largely ineffective and often counterproductive, says Frank Dobbin, a Harvard University sociology professor who has conducted numerous studies on diversity programs that date back decades.

“All lab studies show that you can change people’s attitudes for about 30 minutes after training,” he says. “But three to six months later there’s either no change or a negative reaction because you’ve actually activated their bias.”

I certainly didn't need Professor Dobbin to tell me what a crock of sh-- the diversity scam is, and I'm happy I no longer have to sit through any of that garbage, because
the first time one of those parasites tried pulling their "white privilege" crap on me,
they would find me, uh, "confrontational."

But the uselessness and expense of diversity training  hasn’t discouraged the NFL, which more and more seems bent on becoming the Fourth Branch of Government - Liberal Government -  from pushing on.  Now, Big Football, which won’t bring its Super Bowl to Your Town unless you agree to let trannies use whatever locker rooms and bathrooms they choose, is exploring the use of Virtual Reality for its diversity training.

The plan is that if you are a white guy (roughly 30 per cent of NFL players, as I understand it), you will put on VR goggles and discover (by looking at your avatar arms) that you are now a black woman, and that the (virtual) white guy you see in front of you is bent on doing you harm.  So, the thinking goes, once you take off the goggles, you’ll empathize with a black woman who’s the victim of a violent white guy -  which means no more beating up black women for you.  A kinder, gentler NFL.

It sounds Orwellian, and it  brings up an interesting question: if we really are able to perform such 1984-type attitude adjustment, is it bigoted of me to suggest that we at least to try it out on people who have this idea that they’re really the opposite of the sex God “assigned” them?




(Internet Wisdom)

*********** Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington, is named for Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa.  The Whitmans  came west over the Oregon Trail and established a mission to the Cayuse Indians at the location of what is now Walla Walla.   That makes them missionaries.  After a few years, as more settlers moved in, a measles epidemic wiped out most of the Cayuse adults and all of the children.  Blaming the Whitmans, the Cayuse killed them and 12 others.

Whitman College is, I think, highly-rated.  It almost has to be, because it doesn’t have football.  Gave it up 40-some years ago.

It’s also a very sensitive place.

It announced recently that the school’s teams (I have no ideas what sports they do play) will no longer be known as “The Missionaries.”

************ Lake Oswego, Oregon is perhaps THE elite Portland suburb.  Its median income is the highest in the area, as is the median price of a home.  Its schools and its school kids lack for nothing.

Or so I thought.

On Monday, ten members of the Lake Oswego High School girls’ softball team filed suit against the Lake Oswego School District, accusing it of Title IX violations.

This is what’s being reported:

The baseball team has an artificial turf field on campus, with its own hitting facility, while the girls play softball on a dirt field at a junior high, where there’s no hitting facility.

Even when their field is unplayable, the lawsuit claims, the girls aren’t permitted to use the boys’ facilities.

Two years ago, according to the lawsuit, the district promised that it would build the girls a hitting facility, and received a “substantial donation” to help pay for it,  but after their supporters had done the planning and engineering, they were told by the district that they wouldn’t get it until they’d won a state title.

Furthermore, the “substantial donation” was used for another sport.

Additional complaints include:

    •    The district does not adequately maintain the softball fields or provide the softball team with the proper equipment to do so.
    •    The baseball stadium has superior dugouts with drinking fountains, stadium seating, a press box with a sound system, and clean, usable bathrooms for players and fans. The softball field has none of these amenities, and “does not even have a United States flag for the pre-game national anthem.”
    •    Baseball players have a baseball-only locker room, but the softball team must share a team room with other female athletes.
    •    The baseball program -- with a concession stand at the baseball stadium and a hitting facility to conduct clinics -- has a greater opportunity to raise money. The softball program has neither.
    •    The baseball team has better protective screens and bullpen areas than the softball team.
    •    The baseball team has access to an athletic trainer and medical supplies during games. The softball team is not provided a trainer and “is not even provided with a basic first aid kit.”

Can the people at Lake Oswego, which I would have assumed were more enlightened than the average school district, really be this stupid? If they are - if  things are as described in the lawsuit -  I think that even I could win this one.  For the girls, that is.

*********** Greg Gutfeld on Donald Trump:   “He's New York. He's right there with the Rockettes, the Statue of Liberty and public urination.”

*********** The story in the New York Times was about the way the US Women’s National Soccer team (or whatever it’s called) made a strong statement on behalf of its members’ lawsuit seeking equal pay with the men’s team, defeating mighty Colombia in front of a “large crowd” of 21,000.

That same night, Wrestlemania drew 102,000 to the JerryDome.

*********** I’m still reading “American Caesar,” William Manchester’s biography of Douglas MacArthur (it’s a long one), and I continue to be amazed by the General.

He was brilliant by anyone’s standards, and exceedingly capable. He was used to making decisions and moving on, and certainly wasn’t one to sit back and wait for things to happen.  Like most great leaders, he was not affected in the least by self-doubt, and far more - and more ably - than most, he played the political game to get what he wanted.   Exceedingly ambitious, he could be devious and crafty, and sometimes, the way he played up to those above him was downright unctuous.  

He sure could use the English language.  Years after the end of World War I, he addressed a reunion of the Division he headed during the War: 

 “My thoughts go back to those men who went with us to their last charge.  In memory’s eye I can see them now - forming grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain of the foxhole, driving home to their objective, and to the judgment seat of God.  I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death.”

*********** A friend who’s got a very good coaching job in a nice town - where he’s been quite successful - told me about his  taking a peek at another job.

After  an interview - in which a number of parents and players played a part -  he felt encouraged by how things had gone.

And then the next day, he received an email, requesting:

The names and phone numbers of three parent references we can call.

The name and phone number of one player who is currently a Junior.

The name and phone number of your current principal/supervisor.

The name and phone number of one opposing coach your team has played against.

WTF? So without even a job offer in hand,  they expected him to  burn all the bridges at his present place, letting the word get around town that he was thinking about leaving.

Did they really think that anyone in his right mind would do that?

Oh - and he was also informed that the morning after every Friday night game, he’d be expected to attend a “Saturday Breakfast With the Coach.”

Concluding that  the parents were definitely in charge, 
and knowing that he had a pretty good job right where he was,  he withdrew his name from further consideration.

Here's how guys get in trouble:  if he'd been out of work, he might have pursued the job.

Year ago, I heard a veteran coach named Burley Crowe say it best: "The best time to go after a job is when you already have one."


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  His collegiate career at an end, Seiki enrolled in the business school at The American University in Washington, D.C.    But wanting to keep his hand in the game, he signed to play minor league football with the Westchester Bulls, an affiliate of the New York Giants...

The success of many minor league players extended well beyond their playing days.

Bob Brodhead, a Duke graduate, was twice named All-Continental League quarterback for the Philadelphia Bulldogs, and went on to be Athletic Director at LSU.

Gary Van Galder,  captain of Stanford’s 1957 team, was a student at Yale medical school in 1962 when he was coaxed into playing for the Ansonia (Connecticut) Black Knights.

Don Abbey, a big fullback/linebacker from Penn State, played briefly for the Hartford Knights in 1970 before embarking on a career in commercial real estate in Southern California that would make him one of America’s wealthiest men.

Jack Dolbin made it to the NFL AND had a successful career. An all-ACC running back at Wake Forest, he played minor league football with the Pottstown Firebirds and the Schuylkill Coal Crackers of the Seaboard League and spent a year with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League before signing with the Denver Broncos. He started 67 games for the Broncos, and was the leading receiver in Super Bowl XII.  He’s now Dr. Jack Dolbin, owner of a sports and rehabilitation center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. 

Seiki’s balancing act between the demands of a career and a love of football was not an uncommon one at the time, especially for quarterbacks.

Bob Brodhead, in his book, “Sacked,” told how he was forced to balance things when his team, the Cleveland Bulldogs of the United Football League, first moved to Canton, Ohio, then was acquired by a group of Philadelphia businessmen, with plans to play in the newly-formed Continental Football League.

They wanted Brodhead, who had just been named MVP of the United Football League, as part of the deal.  One problem:

“I couldn’t afford to quit my job in Cleveland and move to Philly for what they paid me to play football,” he wrote.

When the owners proposed flying him in for practice two nights a week, and then to wherever the team happened to be playing on the weekend, he accepted their offer.

As he described his routine, “Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the season saw me hard at work as general manager of A. J. Gates Company, a Cleveland-based materials-handling firm.  Late Wednesday afternoons, I’d hop a plane for the fifty-minute flight to Philadelphia.  I’d practice on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, sleeping at the Germantown YMCA, fly home for work on Fridays, then join the team on Saturdays in cities from Toronto, Canada to Orlando, Florida.”

Seiki Murono’s arrangement with the Westchester Bulls was similar: his school work in Washington meant frequent travel back and forth to New York.  “Playing for the Bulls while getting my MBA,” he recalled,  “required taking the Eastern Airlines shuttle between DC and NY 3-4 times a week for both practice and games.  It was a crazy thing to do now that I look back but at the time, it was exciting and fun.”

The following spring, he was tempted briefly to stray from his career path. His college coach, George Storck, had resigned his position at F & M to return to West Point, his alma mater, as lightweight football coach and associate athletic director, and  he asked Seiki if he might be interested in joining him as an assistant coach. But Seiki, about to graduate from American with his MBA degree, decided instead to enter Chase Manhattan Bank’s management training program in New York.

Meanwhile,  Seiki continued to play minor league football, and  his bosses at Chase Manhattan approved. “They loved it,” he told Ryczek.  “They put articles in the Chase newsletter. I worked in the same floor with the person who  eventually became president of the bank, and every Monday he’d say, ‘Well, how did we do this weekend?’  They loved that fact the I was a professional at the bank and playing professional football at the same time.”  

As with other minor league players, making money was not an issue.  He enjoyed playing football and was realistic about his chances of playing in the NFL: “I realized that was probably going to be the pinnacle of my football career,” he said, “and I was going to play as long as I could, while dedicating most of my energy and attention to my banking career.” 

By 1973, though, the physical toll of football combined with the increasing responsibilities of his position with Chase Manhattan persuaded him that it was time to focus on his banking career.

He never looked back.

The advent of the World Football League in 1974 created new opportunities in professional football, but he never considered it. “The WFL was a cut above the Atlantic Coast Football League,” he says,  “And I was realistic about my ability to compete at that level.”

Thus was launched a career with Chase Manhattan that spanned 25 years (and “3.1 million miles on United Airlines”),  starting in New York and taking him to increasingly responsible positions in Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

In Singapore, he was Southeast Asia Regional Manager for consumer and private banking in addition to running all of Chase’s Southeast Asia credit card operations.

In Hong Kong, he was Asia Pacific Area Executive for private banking,  responsible for more than $6 billion in clients’ assets.

In his last position, based in San Francisco, he was Senior Vice President of The Chase Manhattan Bank, and President of the Chase Manhattan Trust Company of California.

After retiring from Chase Manhattan in 1995, Seiki became Chairman of the Board of San Francisco-based Millennium Bank which was sold in 2000.  He currently serves on the board of directors of California Business Bank, based in Irvine, and Millennium Capital, a Shanghai-based investment bank.

He also is a Partner in the San Francisco office of Boyden Global Executive Search, specializing in senior-level financial services searches.


american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 8,  2016  "The future belongs to the fecund and the confident. The Islamists are both."  Mark Steyn


Quality Inn and Suites Kansas City Airport North (816-858-5430)

9:00-NOON    1:00-4:00         
By popular request, I've arranged to hold a clinic in the Heartland, close enough to Kansas City Airport for anyone coming from a distance.  Kansas City is served by direct flights from all major US cities, and the hotel provides free shuttle service to and from the airport.

I've been able to set aside a small number of rooms at a guarantee
d rate of $79.95 for either Friday night or Saturday night (or both). Call and ask for the Coach Wyatt Clinic rate.  The rooms will be held until March 27, and if you haven't booked by then, they'll go on sale to the general public.

As always, the registration fee is $100, seat guaranteed - $120 at the door, space permitting


*********** I happened to watch a little of the Michigan Spring Game, and from what  I actually saw, the Wolverines are going to be good.  Harbaugh can coach. He makes himself hard to like - which I don’t think bothers him in the slightest - and while he makes no bones about his willingness to push the rules as far as he can, there’s not a shred of evidence that he has ever been a rulebreaker.  There are sure to be comparisons with Urban Meyer, who is still a couple of national championships ahead of Harbaugh.  But in another area of comparison - the number of outlaws harbored in a program - Harbaugh will never  catch up to Meyer’s record at Florida.

There was a nice feature on Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh, born in Sierra Leone (West Africa) and raised in Des Moines, where he was introduced to American sports, and where the (white) family of a teammate took him under their wing.  It’s a great story  of the goodness and drive that newcomers can bring to our country, and of the basic goodness in the American people.

There was also an interview with new Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown.  Coach Brown is a New Englandah.  He’s a Boston native and he’s been all over New England colleges - Plymouth State, Dartmouth, Brown, Yale, UConn, Boston College, Northeastern, UMass.  (Did I miss any?)

I met him back in 2007 when UMass played Army.  Seemed like a good guy.   Not at all full of himself.  Put a good team on the field, too.

Back when the Yale head job came open a few years ago, he was said to be a leading candidate,  Instead, they hired a Harvard assistant, who after four years  is 21-19 and winless over Harvard.

I hope Don Brown does a great job at Michigan.

*********** At the elementary school where my wife taught for years, the kids still do the “hop.” But they hop in one place. They no longer do the “bunny hop.”

That’s been banned.  The bunny, you see, is a symbol of Easter, a holiday observed  by a once-significant but now largely-diminished group of people that refer to themselves as “Christians.”

As our President brings tens of thousands of Islamists to our country,
it’s essential that we welcome them with open arms and accept their culture and religion unquestioningly.  How better to do that than to eliminate all traces of Christianity?

***********Next time someone tries to tell you that the NFL is football and football is the NFL, blah, blah, blah… You might want to inform them that of all football teams - college and pro -  only one NFL team made the top 10, and only two made the top 17
in average home attendance last season.

1. Michigan (110,168) 
2. Ohio State (107,244)
3. Texas A&M (103,622)
4. LSU (102,004)
5. Alabama (101,112)
6. Tennessee (100,584)
7. Penn State (99,799)
8. Georgia (92,746)
9. DALLAS COWBOYS   (91,459)
10. Florida (90,065)
11. Texas (90,035)
12. Nebraska (89,998)
13. Auburn (87,451)
14. Oklahoma (85,357)
15. Clemson (84,038)
16. Notre Dame (80,795)
17. NEW YORK GIANTS (79,001)

Not that TV ratings aren’t important, but one deduction you could make is that college fans are invested in their teams, while the vast majority of NFL “Fans” are TV fans only, with no skin in the game except maybe a hat or a tee-shirt (or a jersey with some criminal's name on the back).

*********** Eleven college teams played in front of at least 1,000,000 fans, counting home and away games (and post-season)…

    •    Alabama  (1,354,327)
    •    Florida (1,168,182)
    •    Ohio State (1,156, 844)
    •    Michigan (1,141,598)
    •    Tennessee (1,131,422)
    •    Penn State (1,112,170)
    •    Texas A&M (1,104,438)
    •    Auburn (1,087,875)
    •    Clemson (1,082,512)
    •    Georgia (1,074,153)
    •    Michigan State (1,064,492)

*********** Home attendance figures for other divisions
    •    FCS Top Five
    •    Montana  (24,139)
    •    Jacksonville State (20,598)
    •    Yale (20,547)
    •    James Madison (19,498)
    •    Montana State (19,172)
    •    DIVISION II Top Five
    •    Grand Valley State (12,365)
    •    Tuskegee (10,663)
    •    Pittsburg State (KS) (9,856)
    •    Central Missouri (9,099)
    •    North Alabama (7,970( rounded out the top five in average attendance.
    •    DIVISION III Top Five
    •    Saint John's (Minn.)  (7,625)
    •    Wisconsin-Whitewater (6,122)
    •    Emory & Henry (Va.) (5,496)
    •    Geneva (Pa.) (4,797)
    •    Hampden-Sydney (Va.) (4,710)

***********  Temple posted the largest attendance gain during the 2015 season,  an increase of 20,789 per game .

The trick?  Easy.  Just  arrange to play both Penn State and Notre Dame at home in the same season   in Philadelphia  (anywhere, actually) - a scheduling feat not unlike getting all the planets to line up in a row.

*********** Got this in a Yale newsletter:

According to a new study, The United States is more likely to use force in a military dispute when the president is a Southerner.

The study argues that “Southern honor”  makes presidents from the South  more likely to use military force, to resist withdrawal, and ultimately to achieve victory.

When militarized disputes occurred under Southern presidents, it claims,  they were twice as likely to result in the use of force, lasted on average twice as long, and were three times as likely to result in an American victory.

“Our findings are consistent with Southerners being more concerned with demonstrating a reputation for resolve,” said one of the participants in the study. “They provide evidence of the powerful influence that concern for reputation has on international conflicts.”

The study includes 36 presidents and 215 disputes between the United States and another country, as well as 296 disputes between multiple countries in which the United States was an originator of the conflict. Presidents were labeled as “Southern” if they were born and raised in the South, or were either born or raised in the South and had spent their pre-presidential political career there. Eleven of the 36 presidents in the study met these criteria: James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, James Polk, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Wow. Southerners will fight.  What a surprise.  All you have to do is read James Webb’s “Born Fighting,” a history of the Ulster Scots, to understand why.  Better known as the “Scottish-Irish,” they were/are a bellicose, belligerent, don’t-tell-me-what-to-do and  don’t-screw-with-me people who came to America starting in the 1700s and, with most of the good, flat farmland already taken, headed west as far as “The Barrier,” the great wall of the Appalachian Chain, then turned southward along the Great Wagon Road through Virginia and North Carolina.  Many of them settled along the way in the hills and hollers of what we now call Appalachia; many made their way westward, through mountain passes such as Cumberland Gap, into what is now Kentucky and Tennessee.  Many continued south into the mountain country of Georgia and Alabama. 

They brought with them their music (bluegrass does have staying power, doesn’t it?) and dance, and a taste for whiskey (and an ability to make it).  And a deep respect for minding one’s own business and being left alone. (Later, to get their whiskey to market, add an ability to drive fast, which led to the sport of stock car racing.)  Oh - and a willingness to fight for the things they believe in.  They didn’t waste a lot of time arguing.   The fighting nature of its people and their resistance to outsiders trying to tell them what to do is a major reason why the South, despite being so resource-poor, fought so long and hard in the Civil War.  It’s a major reason why a disproportionate number of our military members have come from the South - and still do.  And it isn’t hard to build a case for the Scottish-Irish element as a reason for southerners’ love of football.

James Webb, by the way, is a former Secretary of the Navy and Senator from Virginia who in my opinion would  would make a far better President than any of the five we’re evidently left with.  He’s a Democrat, true, but not to the point where he puts intelligence and common sense aside to toe the party line.

*********** After UConn  had won their fourth straight NCAA women’s title, I saw a feature on UConn senior Breanna Stewart.

I’ve mentioned before that I really admire her play.  The kid is long and lean and graceful and extremely talented, and she plays hard.  And there’s no question that she makes the players around her better, too.  Given that her teammates are also pretty talented, she’s helped UConn become an unbeatable standard for all women’s team’s to aspire to.

I really enjoyed seeing a TV special on her.  She comes from a solid family in Syracuse.  Her parents definitely do not seem to be stage-parent types.   And, although she was taller than other kids from the time she was a little girl, it wasn’t apparent then that she might be a good athlete one day.  She was lanky  and gawky and rather uncoordinated.  She found out quite early that her body wasn’t an advantage in softball, but even in basketball she had no skills.  None.

She gave up on softball, but for some reason she didn’t let her awkwardness discourage her from playing basketball.  Remarkably, it caused her to work harder  at things she wasn’t good at, like dribbling.  Day after day, she would walk around the block in their neighborhood, dribbling as she went, getting to the point where she should dribble between her legs.

As her skills improved to match her height, and as her coordination improved as well, she came to the notice of the travel team people, and the rest is history.

But no one gave her a thing.  That work effort came from inside her.

*********** This ad for a calendar app had to be aimed at soccer coaches…

Sync Team & Personal Calendars, Know Who Can Make the Game
Sync TeamSnap schedules and personal calendars to stay organized!
Our Availability feature even lets coaches track who can make each away game. Never forfeit again!

*********** Merle Haggard is gone.  Damn, it’s hard to lose these guys.  He sure hit the nail on the head with “Okie From Muskogee.” I loved hearing how that bothered the flower children of the 60s.

*********** Pete Vann passed away in 2010.  For several years before he died, I had some very interesting conversation with him over the phone.  Pete Vann was an outstanding Army quarterback from the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg, New York.  He was the quarterback whose loss so concerned Army Coach Earl Blaik that he persuaded  his All-America end, Don Holleder, to switch to quarterback.  Fortunately for all involved, Pete Vann failed some courses and had to stick around another year to graduate, which meant that he was on hand to assist Holleder, who the year before had been his prime target as a receiver, in the fine points of quarterbacking.   Pete Vann knew his stuff. Pete’s quarterback coach was Vince Lombardi, and he loved telling me how, in teaching him to go straight down the line without getting any depth on an option play, Lombardi would stand right behind him and whack him if he dared step the slightest bit backward.

One of the last times I spoke with Pete, he’d stopped over at the local high school to try to interest the football coach in presenting the Black Lion Award. That was 2008 or 2009. Pete was living in  Kerrville, Texas, and the school was Tivy High School. 

The coach never got back to him

Now here’s the rest of the story.

Johnny Football is from Kerrville, and he went to Tivy High School.  2010 was his senior year.

He was one of the top prospects in Texas, but I rather doubt that as good as he was, his coach would have seen any “Black Lion” material in him.

In fact, I suspect that the coach may have figured that he didn’t want the headache of giving the Black Lion Award to someone other than Johnny, and then having to deal with Johnny’s daddy.

*********** Just curious - now that the Final Four is done and gone…

Is it okay if everybody stops reppin’ now?

***********   I’m not a huge fan of pro wrestling as it is today, although I will confess that in the early days of TV I was as into it as anybody.

I was reading a neat article about how many college football players go into pro wrestling, a tradition that started with Minnesotans like Bronco Nagurski and Vern Gagne (who can forget Oklahoman Wahoo McDaniel? and  I especially enjoyed reading about Bill Goldberg.

Bill Goldberg was a two-time All-SEC defensive lineman at Georgia and a defensive captain for the Bulldogs as a senior in 1989. He also played a few years of professional football, the final three with the Atlanta Falcons from 1992-94. After tearing his abdomen from the pelvis, Goldberg, now 49, knew his football days were over, and the hulking former tackle was a natural for the squared circle.

"There are a lot of us who might not have achieved our dream the way we wanted to in football, but we achieved it in wrestling," said Goldberg, who was billed as the only unbeaten wrestler in WCW history at 173-0 and also won a world championship in the WWE as part of a short, but successful, run from 2003-04.

Goldberg, admittedly a no-nonsense wrestler who'd typically go out and "kick the (bleep)" out of his opponents in three minutes or fewer, has always understood the theatrics of wrestling. He was never a big fan of theatrics in football, though, and isn't surprised so many players want to get into wrestling nowadays.

"Now, in the NFL, they promote that crap, all the celebrating and individualism of the sport," Goldberg said. "Now, it's a form of expression, which I have an issue with. It was an insult back in the day. Everybody's a showman now if they make a tackle they're supposed to make or run for 10 yards. It's gotten out of hand, and there's even more of a natural progression into professional wrestling now than it used to be."

***********  I don’t usually write a whole lot on here about women’s ice hockey, but it’s worth mentioning that  Kendall Coyne, of Northeastern, was the winner of this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award, which goes annually to the top player in Division I women’s ice hockey.

The Award honors Patty Kazmaier-Sandt, who while at Princeton played field hockey and lacrosse and earned four varsity letters as well as All-Ivy honors on Princeton’s women’s ice hockey team.

When she died in 1990 at age 28 from a rare blood disease, an award in her name was proposed, and it was first presented in 1998.

Her father was Princeton All-American tailback - and Heisman Trophy winner - Dick Kazmaier.

***********  I saw the video of that mother—ker standing on our flag and ranting, while police kept real Americans at bay, and the commentator said something about soldiers having fought “to protect his right to protest.”

I wanted to say, “Yeah, right to protest. Some unelected judges may have the crazy idea that Americans fought and died overseas so that you can debase our flag and holler, a&&hole, but next time  you pull that sh—, you’d better pick your spot carefully.  There are plenty of places left in the US where those little ladies in their black robes have never been and will never go, and there are plenty of people who went overseas to fight but when they did, they didn’t give you and your sorry ass and your protests a second thought.  They just wanted to do their jobs  and get back to their homes and families in one piece. Now, they’re back home, and they're working for a living.  You’re probably not, but if you’ll just wait till they get off work to drop that flag to the ground and wipe your shoes on it,  they’ll be happy to give you the education you never got on what this country means to most of us.  Oh - and the nearest sheriff’s deputy, who you’re probably expecting to come and stand between you and them for protection, is miles and miles away, with a whole county to patrol.”


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  For just the second time in its history, the Franklin and Marshall football team finished the season unbeaten, and Seiki Murono was named Conference MVP.

“He’s every bit deserving of this honor,” Coach Storck told the F & M College Reporter. “My contention at the beginning of the season that Seiki was the finest quarterback in the conference has certainly been proven.  Moreover, he’s withstood an awful lot of pressure and he’s come through.  He’s modest and accepts the limelight as a team member, not a star.  His humble approach makes him greater.”  

He played baseball his junior year, and after a summer working as a Coca-Cola route salesman in South Jersey, as he’d done throughout his college career, he returned to F & M with high hopes for his senior season.

Elected co-captain, his importance to the team was summed up by his coach, who referred to him in Sports Illustrated’s pre-season issue, as “the offense.”

Alas, although Seiki had another good year offensively, the Diplomats were unable to duplicate the magic of the previous season, and finished  a disappointing 4-4.

Nevertheless, for the second consecutive season,  Seiki was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.  He passed for 888 yards and nine touchdowns, and ran for 363 yards and four touchdowns, and in addition, he punted 31 times for a 34.4 yard average. 

In what was essentially a two-year career, Seiki Murono accounted for 2671 yards and 29 touchdowns on 552 plays, and punted 120 times for 4305 yards.

He was accorded an honor seldom conferred on a small college player when he was named second team All-Pennsylvania (one of his teammates: a Pitt lineman named Marty Schottenheimer).

And in his home state, he was also named the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club’s College Player of the Year, recognizing him as the outstanding college football player from South Jersey.   (Winners over the years  have included such college All-Americans as Penn State’s Franco Harris,  Lydell Mitchell and Greg Buttle,  Nebraska’s Mike Rozier and Irving Fryar, and Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne. Rozier and Dayne won Heisman Trophies; Rozier, Harris, Mitchell and Fryar all went on to make Pro Bowl appearances.)

As well as being co-captain of both the football and baseball teams, he was President of Franklin and Marshall's Black Pyramid Senior Honor Society, whose members, according to its site,  “are chosen through a rigorous screening of academic intellectuality, extracurricular activities, and community involvement.”

He graduated with honors in business management as his proud parents and his paternal grandmother, who flew in from Kyoto, Japan looked on with pride.

And then it was on to business school at the American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned an MBA degree, specializing in international finance.

His studies went well, but he missed football, and after a year away from the game, he signed a contract to play for the Westchester (New York) Bulls of the Atlantic Coast Football League.  The Bulls were an affiliate of the New York Giants and the two head coaches for whom Seiki played were former Giants Alan Webb and Joe Walton.  Joe Walton later became head coach of the New York Jets from 1983-1989.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, there was such a thing as minor league professional football, and the quality of play was quite high.

In 1967, when Seiki signed to play, there were just 24 major league professional football teams, 15 in the National Football League and nine in the American Football League, instead of the today’s 32.  And those 24 teams carried rosters of just 40 men each, which meant a total of 960 jobs in major league professional football. By contrast, today’s 32-team NFL has 53-man rosters, with 1696 spots for players. That meant, then, that in 1967,  there were more than than 700 unemployed players good enough to have made today’s NFL teams.  Many of them chose to remain active, playing the game they knew and loved.

Few of them made much money. Most of them had outside jobs,  Many of them were students. Some, cut by NFL or AFL teams,  entertained hopes of getting another chance at the big time.  Whatever their reason for playing,  at heart they were all playing for fun, postponing the inevitable day when they’d no longer be able to play a sport they’d loved since they were kids.

The best of them found their way to the Atlantic Coast Football League, whose best (and best-financed) teams were in Hartford and Bridgeport, Connecticut and Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

From the ACFL, some made it to the NFL. There was Bob Tucker, a tight end from Bloomsburg State who played for the Pottstown Firebirds before getting his chance with the New York Giants. He took advantage of it and lasted for 11 seasons in the NFL.

Marv Hubbard signed with the Hartford Knights out of Colgate, and wound up an All-Pro running back with the Oakland Raiders.

Chuck Mercein, a running back from Yale, was drafted by the New York Giants and sent down for two games to the Westchester Bulls before being cut. And then, in mid-season, Green Bay’s Vince Lombardi signed him. His running on the “frozen tundra”  was a key factor in the  Packers’1967 Ice Bowl victory over the Dallas Cowboys.


american flag TUESDAY, APRIL 5,  2016  “If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it."   Mark Twain

*********** Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats - an incredible tournament performance by a nice group of kids who were really fun to watch.  It isn't possible to play any better than they did in the semi-final against Oklahoma.

My grandson, Wyatt Love, is a recent Villanova grad, and he was in Houston for the Final Four.  Please, Lord, don't let him do anything stupid tonight. Well, not anything REAL stupid, anyhow.

I was thrilled by the win, and I'm excited for Villanova people everywhere.

I am very happy for the  football people at Villanova.  They've been extremely gracious to me when I've stopped by, and their wide receiver coach, Brian Flinn, has been a huge help to me in converting from a pure double-tight, double-wing, 99 per cent run team.

I have never heard anything but good things from the football guys about the much higher-profile basketball program and coach Jay Wright.

I thought it was one of the best NCAA finals I've ever seen, right there with Villanova's last win, in 1985, and N.C. State's win in 1983.


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  After an outstanding high school career as co-captain of his high school football and baseball teams, both of which won South Jersey large school championships,  Seiki Murono went off to college at Franklin and Marshall, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had a good year on the freshman team (in those days, freshmen were ineligible to play varsity sports), but he missed most of his sophomore year with an injury.

The 1964 season began with high hopes.  In pre-season scrimmages, then commonplace, the Diplomats held their own against a strong Lebanon Valley team, and against Upsala, Coach Storck called their performance “the best football I have seen Franklin and Marshall play.”

If they needed further reason for optimism as they prepared for the season opener in Baltimore against Johns Hopkins, the school newspaper pointed out that with junior Seiki Murono set to start at quarterback, it would mark the first time since 1959 that F & M had not opened the season with a sophomore at that key position.

The Hopkins Blue Jays fell,  21-6.  With Seiki completing 17 of 23 for 181 yards, the Diplomats ended a 6-game losing streak.

Swarthmore was  next. Leading only 7-6 going into the fourth quarter, F & M scored twice to win, 21-12. Although Seiki completed only 4 of 5 passes for 46 yards, he ran for two touchdowns.

The next week  in a downpour, F & M struggled to pull out a 6-5 win over Dickinson.  Just two minutes into the game, Seiki was tackled in the end zone for a safety, and a field goal shortly afterward gave Dickinson an unusual 5-0 lead.  Hampered offensively by the weather, Seiki threw for just 109 yards, but one of his 13 completions was the winner - a 33-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. The win made the Diplomats 3-0 for the first time since 1953.

With win number four over Carnegie Tech, 18-14, the Diplomats equaled the total number of wins by the school in the previous four years.   Down 14-10 after 3 quarters, the Diplomats put together a late scoring drive, with Seiki sneaking over from from the 1, then passing for the two-point conversion.

Haverford led 6-0 going into the fourth quarter, but Seiki engineered two touchdown drives in the final 10 minutes to pull out a 14-6 win.

Pennsylvania Military (now Widener University) was the third straight opponent to take the game down to the wire,  scoring with a minute to play to take a 17-13 lead.  But Seiki drove the Diplomats  60 yards in less than a minute, scoring from the one with seconds left  to give them the 19-17 win.  For the game, he was  13 of 21 for 237 yards passing.

Against Muhlenberg, in what the school newspaper called “The most brilliant performance of his intercollegiate career,” Seiki completed 24 of 35, passing for  320 yards and three touchdowns and running for a fourth, as F & M triumphed,

Ursinus was the final opponent, and the Bears went down, 20-6.  Seiki was 18 of 25 for 130 yards, and ran for a touchdown.

The Franklin and Marshall Diplomats , 8-0, had finished a season unbeaten for the first time since 1950, and only the second time in a long history of football dating back to 1887.

The home crowd, as had become its custom throughout the season, tore down the goal posts, and an impromptu motorcade followed, taking the coaches and the players on a “triumphant march,” in the school newspaper’s words, through downtown Lancaster.

In the words of the student newspaper, “The sweet taste of victory had returned to F & M football.”

It had been quite a  season for Seiki Murono.   He accounted for 1150 yards of total offense, completing 108 of 180 pass attempts for 1021 yards and six touchdowns, and rushing 90 times for 129 yards and 7 touchdowns.

He led his league’s division in passing, punting and total offense.

And the honors poured in.

In recognition of his efforts, Seiki was honored by Philadelphia’s Maxwell Football Club. 

He became the first F & M player to be named to the all-conference team since 1960,  and was recognized as the conference MVP.


american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 1,  2016  “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society."  Aristotle

*********** Full disclosure: I am a Duke dad and a longtime Duke fan, which I suppose means that I should dislike North Carolina.  But I don’t.   Yes,  I favor the school  my daughter and son-in-law graduated from, but my respect for the Tar Heels goes way back - to the early 70s, when we lived in Maryland and looked forward eagerly to the ACC Game of the Week.  You couldn’t like basketball and not appreciate the way those Dean Smith Carolina teams played. 

Apart from basketball, the University of North Carolina is also a top-notch state university with a beautiful campus in a neat college town. And, on top of that, my son-in-law is a graduate of UNC Law School.

But… lost in the hoopla of this weekend’s  Final Four is the underlying story that few people can deny with a straight face - for 18 years, Carolina’s athletic program was sustained by a shameful academic fraud, directing poorly-qualified athletes into a bogus department  full of bogus courses whose academic requirements were nonexistent. 

Called the “Fake Class Scandal” by the Raleigh News-Observer, which first exposed it, Carolina’s selling of its academic soul in exchange for athletic success represented everything that’s wrong with the semi-professionalism  of big-time college sports, demeaning the  university’s academic reputation and the hard-earned diplomas of tens of thousands of Carolina graduates. Everything seemed primed for a huge, well-deserved ass-kicking by the NCAA.

But that was over a year ago, and the ever-vigilant NCAA, which took what seemed like mere hours to threaten Penn State with the Death Penalty, has dithered and dithered on this one.  Finally, though, its president, the ever-officious Mark Emmert, who should have spent time in the stocks for the way he punished Penn State, announced
recently that a decision is coming up soon.

Since the News-Observer first broke the news, though, the so-called Power Five Conferences have been granted a great degree of “autonomy” by the NCAA, meaning, roughly, that the NCAA now admits that there isn’t a lot it can do to punish a Power Five school.

So watch - the Tar Heels will win the Championship - while thumbing their noses at the NCAA.

And a few days later, the NCAA will hand down its ruling:  no pre-season basketball trips to Hawaii for the next two seasons and a loss of two football scholarships.

I didn’t even mention Syracuse, another member of the Final Four, whose coach sat out nine games earlier this season because of a cheating scandal involving doing coursework for a player and paying basketball players for work they didn’t do.

Apologies, kids, for all those things we've told you.  We lied -  crime does pay.

*********** I’m up to here with the Jim Boeheims and Roy Williamses arguing against NCAA sanctions because “they’re unfair to these kids, who didn’t do anything wrong.”

It’s the college coach’s equivalent of the human shield.

Yes, cheating may have gone on here in the past, the argument goes (but of course, if it did, I never knew anything about it), but that was years ago, before these current kids even came here.  So it isn’t fair to punish them for something somebody else did - to tell them they can’t play in the NCAA Tournament… or in a bowl game… or whatever.

Dismissing for a minute the coach’s hidden argument - it’s also going to cost him his tournament bonus, or bowl bonus (which can amount to as much as 10 per cent of his salary) - there’s no reason that the players on the current team need to be victims.

The solution?  Let them make an informed decision.  Require the school’s recruiters to inform them in advance that sanctions could be coming.  (Instead of accusing competing recruiters of spreading lies about the sanctions.)

And then, in BOLD-face type, in RED, at the top of the Letter of Intent every kid signs:


*********** “That’s my way of saying that age has given me the perspective to be able to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of race relations, despite what certain bomb-throwers would have us believe.  Just how far we’ve come was brought home to me once again when I watched the CBS studio show during this weekend’s Elite Eight games.  There, in front of a national TV audience, were four black guys - Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley - talking basketball, and all I could think  was, “These guys are really good.”
My thoughts though were, “Greg Gumbel & three guys undergoing “chemo”
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*************** Talk about decrypting an iPhone…  If you can decipher the New Zealand English spoken by these Maori/Polynesian kids, it’s a pretty good anti-drunk driving commercial.  My son, who lives in Australia, writes, “It’s about as New Zealand as you can get.”  (Hint: at the end, the hero wisely suggests that his mate “Crash Here.”)

***********  Following its successful  efforts in opposing Georgia’s and North Carolina’s laws barring transgenders from using the rest rooms of their choice, the NFL has announced a multi-year agreement with the National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Americans (NALGBTQA).

For its part, the NALGBTQA  and its members will refrain from picketing, marching, displaying signs, chanting or singing or in any other way creating a disruptive  scene in or around any NFL stadium, practice facility, office or training camp.

For its part, the NFL will consult with representatives of the NALGBTQA on all matters regarding league, team or player conduct touching on LGBTQ issues.

The NFL, working in conjunction with USA Football, will conduct diversity training sessions for youth and high school coaches in all 50 states to educate them on acceptance of alternative lifestyles .

The NFL will lobby the legislatures of all 50 states to make the NFL-USA Football diversity training sessions mandatory for all coaches by the 2017 season, and for all players by the 2018 season.

The NFL will designate the month of November as “Alternative Sexual Practices Pride Month,” during which time its teams will run onto the playing field behind an NALGBTQA member carrying a rainbow flag, players will wear rainbow-colored accessories, officials will employ rainbow-colored penalty flags, and NALGBTQA members will be selected to perform the national anthem before all games.  A prominent member of the local LGBTQ community will perform the coin toss.

Nike will be licensed to sell Official NFL-NALGBTQA apparel, featuring the rainbow effect.  Nike designers will work to make the rainbow design unique to each team.  Proceeds of all sales during the month of November will be split between the NFLPA and the AIDS Project.

“Kiss-Cams” will feature at least 50 per cent same-sex couples.

The NFL will grant the NALGBTQA the right to advertise itself as “The Official Alternative Sex Organization” of the NFL.

And NFL Commisisoner Roger Goodell has agreed to serve as Honorary Grand Marshal of the 2017 New York Pride Parade.


***********   America loves a winner.  Unless it wins too much.  (Duke, Yankees, Alabama, Patriots)

Add UConn to the list.  UConn’s women.

An esteemed Boston sportswriter, Dan Shaughnessy, tweeted that UConn was killing women’s basketball. And - gasp - he wasn’t going to watch them!

Yeah.  UConn’s women are so good that they’re killing women’s basketball.

Like UCLA killed men’s basketball.  Like the Yankes killed baseball.  Like the Celtics killed the NBA, or the Canadiens killed the NHL.  Like Rocky Marciano killed boxing.  Like Alabama’s killing college football.

Evidently, the “we can’t have winners because that means we’ll have losers” mentality  of our elementary schools has finally bubbled up to the surface.

We simply can’t have the UConn women winning, because that’s making all the other women feel bad.

Which is total nonsense.  This is America, and American  competitiveness is still alive  in women’s basketball.

Want some proof?  Instead of years of watching the same handful of teams rotate in and out of the Women’s Final Four,  this year’s Final Four will consist of UConn and  three schools - Syracuse, Oregon State and Washington - that have never been in it before.

*********** Just wanted to let you know that I accepted an assistant coaching job for next season here at —————.  The Head Coach is a young guy (27) without much experience who has said he wants to run the Wing T.  Im going to try to help as much as I can and keep him in the right direction as our football program is 0-27 over the last three seasons.  My hope is that I can teach these kids the right way to play the game, focus hard on fundamentals and help rebuild the program.  Anyway, just wanted to let you know I am back into coaching and I will try to be the best assistant coach I can be.

Based on my experience working with a young head coach, if you are able to establish a good working relationship with him - and if he can set aside his ego and defer to you in areas where your experience can help him, and not see you as a threat to him - it could be a very enjoyable experience for you both.

And with the program as down as it is, the opportunity is there to build a good program.

The biggest advice I would give, something you already know, is not to try to do too much too quickly.

The program has been sucking, which means the first order of business is - stop sucking.

Good Luck!

*********** Now that Big Football has jumped into the political arena,  threatening to punish Georgia and North Carolina  for their push-back against the wish of Transgender types to use the restrooms of their choice, I’m expecting that any day now  Commissioner Goodell and his Government-within-a-government will be kind enough to share with us the Official NFL Position on other matters, such as Abortion… Border Control… Charter Schools… Fair Trade… Super Delegates…  Supreme Court Vacancies… Fracking…  Gun Control…  Taxing the one-percenters…   Voter ID…  The Iran Nuclear Deal…

*********** In a town close to us, a 39-year-old woman has been accused of something called “3rd Degree Child Rape.”

Seems that a 15-year-old boy reported the “rape” to the police back in February.

Said it all started last summer and that during that time she’d “abused” him 20 or 30 times.

He didn’t say how he'd managed to break free from the chains.

*********** Remember how the wordmasters changed “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Workers?”

Get ready for this one, which I saw in our local paper:

“The Homeless” were referred to as  “Unhoused Residents”

An oxymoron, true, but frankly, I don’t have a problem with it, if they’ll just stop stop sh—ting in the streets.

american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 29,  2016  “When you get to be a general, you haven't any friends.” Douglas MacArthur

***********One quick question.

When running 88 power and only wanting to pull the backside guard, would you suggest running the backside T.E. on various pass routs or just send him to block the nearest safety until the defense begins to ignore him and then send him on a "post-corner" route.
Seems that that should get him open, the easiest, when the cornerback chases the power play.
It may take a while but sooner or later the corner will want to get in on the tackle of the power and figure the T.E. is just a fake.
Seems that way to me but that is why I'm asking!

"just send him to block the nearest safety until the defense begins to ignore him and then send him on a "post-corner" route."

That would be my suggestion, coach.

People tend to fall asleep on the backside and that has made the backside corner route one of our most productive passes.

My feeling is that if he runs a pattern on every play, they will cover him.

*********** Get this one - Irvin “Bo” Roberson of Cornell  is the only person to have an Ivy League degree, a Ph.D., an Olympic medal and an NFL career.
I remember him as a great all-around athlete at Philadelphia’s John Bartram High School.

At Cornell, he was a standout in football, basketball and track.

An industrial relations major, he was enrolled in ROTC, and after graduation,  he served as a lieutenant in the US Army.  He was assigned to coach track  at the US Military Academy, which enabled him to develop into a world-class athlete himself.

In February of 1960 in the AAU indoor Games, he set a new world indoor record in the long jump, breaking the mark set 25 years earlier by Jesse Owens.

In the 1960 Olympics, he won the silver medal in the long jump, missing gold - and a silver medal - by just a centimeter.

Following the Olympics, he played seven seasons of pro football, starting in the AFL with the Chargers and then the Raiders, Bills and Dolphins.

After retiring from football, he earned a Master’s degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, and at the age of 58 he earned his Ph.D.

From Cornell's Sports Hall of Fame citation:

One of the greatest pure athletes in Cornell history, he was outstanding as a football halfback, a pivotman in basketball and a sprinter, low hurdler and long jumper in track. Over his three-year football career, he rushed for 1,175 yards on 348 carries and scored nine touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 224 yards and one TD. He holds the Cornell record for the longest kickoff return, with 100 yards vs. Colgate in 1956. He led the team in rushing as a sophomore and junior. He was an Associated Press All-Ivy honorable mention selection in 1955 and was named to the Coaches All-Ivy second team in 1956. His specialties in track were the 60- and 100-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles and the long jump. He won five Heptagonal titles, winning two indoor Heps titles in the long jump (1957 and '58) and one in the 60-yard dash (1958), and outdoor Heps championships in the long jump (1958) and the 100-yard dash (1956). He was voted the recipient of the Outstanding Performer of the Meet Award following his performance at the 1957 indoor Heptagonal championships. In February 1960, he broke Jesse Owens' 25-year-old world indoor record in the long jump when he leaped 25-9 ½ at the National AAU Track and Field Championships. He won the long jump at the 1959 Pan-American Games. He won the silver medal in the long jump at the 1960 Olympic Games, finishing in second with a jump of 26-7 3/8. He won a varsity letter as a member of the basketball team in 1955-56, when he was the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 14.9 ppg. in 24 games. He led the team in rebounding, placing 15th nationally among percentage leaders with a mark of .567. He scored 20 or more points in six of the 24 games during the 1956 season. His game-high for the year was 37 points vs. Pennsylvania at The Palestra. He was an honorable All-Ivy selection. Roberson was named The Cornell Daily Sun Athlete of the Year for 1957-58. He played pro football for six years, with San Diego in 1961, Oakland from 1962-65, Buffalo in '65 and Miami in '66. He was the Oakland Raiders' most valuable player in 1962 and led the league in kickoff returns in 1964. He was the leading scorer for the Buffalo Bills AFL championship team in 1965.

*********** When there is something up here with an NFL or college connection I think of you. Back on the 12th there was an alumni/scholarship dinner for the university of Manitoba program that I attended. Israel Idonije who played 10 years, mostly with the Bears, was honoured. He was phenomenal player with the university team after playing just one year of 9 Man high school football.

Izzy was, and is, a very giving person and is involved with many organizations in Chicago, in Manitoba and in Africa. He was Chicago's Walter Payton man of the year ( perhaps more than once). There were some very entertaining speeches. His teammate on the Bears, Anthony Adams, made the trip up to Winnipeg and was quite funny in his delivery. He did explain that there were many occasions after practice when he was exhausted and asked Izzy what he was up to next and it was going to some schools and work with kids.

At our table at the dinner was a young man named David Onyemata. He played in the East/West Shrine game this year. (Izzy played in the game in 2003) On Monday the 14th David had a Pro day at the University of Manitoba with 21 interested NFL teams. In the end 17 teams were represented. It is a unique story as he was an international student from Nigeria who four years ago knocked on Coach Dobie's door and asked for a tryout after never playing football. I enjoyed meeting and wishing David the best. He is a soft spoken and humble young man and very agile for his size. It will be interesting to see what happens. By all reports he tested well- some of his numbers would have placed him at the top of the DL tests at the national combine.

All the best at your upcoming clinic. Nothing better than getting together with others and discussing football.

Yussef Hawash
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Yussef-

Hope you enjoyed your visit to the beautiful, expensive West Coast.

I love seeing the way the African kids come here and take to football.  Nothing says “assimilation” more than playing our native game (Canadian as well as American)!

Quick - someone needs to get to those kids and tell them about the dangers of playing football before they have fun, learn what it’s like to be accepted as part of a team working hard toward a goal, get an education, and maybe even make a lot of money doing something they’re very good at!

*********** Going all the way back to the legendary Phog Allen, Kansas has been one of basketball’s elite programs.

Kansas Football?  Other than a very few good years here and there, not really.

When Villanova beat Kansas to get to the Final Four (yesss!!!), I texted Villanova coach Brian Flinn that Nova ought to schedule KU in football, too.  Villanova may be FCS, but I’d bet on the Wildcats.

*********** I’m old enough to remember all-white major league baseball. (Yes, I remember Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers coming to Philadelphia.)  I’m old enough to have seen “Colored” and “White” pay windows (!) and, of course, drinking fountains and rest rooms at my company’s paper mill in Savannah.  As a packaging salesman, I sold boxes to Baltimore’s Parks Sausage Company, one of the largest black-owned companies in the United States, but when I wanted to take their purchasing agent (a black guy) to lunch, I had to call around town to various restaurants to make certain that I could bring him there without causing him the embarrassment of being refused service.  That was 1967!  In 1970, my landlord in Hagerstown, Maryland declined my offer to hold my team’s post-game parties at the tavern he owned - because we had black players on our team, and he was afraid that it would hurt his business if word got out that he served blacks. 

That’s my way of saying that age has given me the perspective to be able to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of race relations, despite what certain bomb-throwers would have us believe.  Just how far we’ve come was brought home to me once again when I watched the CBS studio show during this weekend’s Elite Eight games.  There, in front of a national TV audience, were four black guys - Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley - talking basketball, and all I could think  was, “These guys are really good.”

*********** Take a moment to reflect on how many owe so much to men like James Owens, who in 1969 became the first black scholarship athlete to play football at Auburn.

It wasn’t easy, wrote’s Brandon Marcello:   Owens heard racial epithets on and off the field, but powered through as a beacon for black football players in the SEC. He was kicked out of barbershops and bartenders refused to serve him, even while surrounded by his teammates. His teammates usually had his side and would leave alongside their teammate when service was refused at establishments.

In 2012 he recalled stepping on the field for the first time and hearing a section of black fans cheering for him. ”I realized,” he said,  “It’s no longer about you. It's about all these that are believing in you, hoping in you. This thing that I'm doing is not for me to get to the next level, but for others to have an opportunity."

That same year, Auburn honored him by establishing the James Owens Courage Award, “presented annually to a current or former Auburn football player who has displayed courage in the face of adversity, distinguishing himself while contributing to the betterment of Auburn University.”

*********** In announcing the shooting at the Capitol, what, exactly, did the media people mean when they broadcast that the police had “neutralized the threat?”


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  Seiki Murono, a 119-pound freshman, debated whether to quit the football team at Bridgeton High School -  and decided to stay.

He almost didn’t play football. As a freshman, he weighed just 119 pounds, and thought seriously about quitting.  “I questioned whether or not I could match up physically with some guys who were 100 pounds heavier than that,” he said. “I decided to hang in there, and was glad I did.”

And so was Bridgeton.  In his senior year, to make better use of Seiki’s talents as a runner and passer, his coach, Barney Fisher, installed a single-wing attack, with Seiki at tailback. Bridgeton won the South Jersey Group IV (largest classification) football championship, and Seiki was named first team all-conference quarterback and conference MVP.

As a quarterback himself , he especially admired the Baltimore Colts’ Johnny Unitas, “I didn't view him as a gifted athlete,” he said, “but someone who made the most out of what he was given.  He was steady, consistent and reliable and someone who almost always delivered in the clutch.”

In the spring, with Seiki playing second base, the Bridgeton High baseball team also won a South Jersey Group IV championship.

He was co-captain of both the football and baseball teams, and the president of his senior class,  and he graduated with honors.

And then it was off to college. Remarkably, nearly all of the Japanese students in his class at Bridgeton went on to college, to schools such as Rutgers, Tufts, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dickinson, Delaware, Bucknell, West Virginia Wesleyan, Trenton State (Now College of New Jersey), Ryder, Drexel, and Penn.

For Seiki, the choice was Franklin and Marshall, a small, well-respected  liberal arts college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Partly, he admitted, he chose F & M because his brother, Eisuke, was a sophomore there and a fullback on the football team.  Eisuke had chosen F & M because of its strong science department. Mainly, though, Seiki chose F & M “because it was an excellent liberal arts college where I could play football and baseball and get a high quality education.” 

When Seiki arrived on campus in the fall of 1962,  he wasn’t entirely unknown. His brother had already established himself as the starting fullback on the varsity football team, and his coach at Bridgeton, Barney Fisher,  had made sure to let the F & M coaches know what they were getting in Seiki. 

On the freshman squad (the rules at the time prohibited freshmen from playing varsity football),  Seiki played both quarterback and defensive back.  Playing an abbreviated schedule, the freshmen team finished an encouraging 2-1, while the varsity,  continuing to struggle, went winless. 

As he entered his sophomore year, the F & M Diplomats had won just three games in three years. 

But change was under way. A new coach, George Storck, had come on board, and he quickly saw what he had in his sophomore quarterback, Seiki Murono.  With new substitution rules taking effect, Murono would be able to concentrate on offense;  and to take full advantage of his talents, Storck installed a sprint-out, run-pass-option offense. 

Unfortunately, a shoulder separation suffered in an early game restricted Seiki’s play for most of the season, and F & M limped home with one win. 

In his abbreviated season, Seiki had completed eight of 30 passes for 178 yards, and he had run the ball 25 times for 92 yards.  His injury not only delivered a setback to the coach’s rebuilding plan, but also cut short his one season playing on the same college team as his brother, by then the team co-captain. Ironically, his brother’s season was also limited by injury.


american flag FRIDAY, MARCH 25,  2016  “I believe, of all the sports in America, football best represents the ideals upon which this nation was founded.” William McRaven, retired Admiral, fomer Navy SEAL, and current Chancellor of the University of Texas

*********** When he talks about the importance of the game of football, Admiral William McRaven (USN, Retired) has some serious credentials.

Admiral McRaven is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he ran track and was in the Naval ROTC program.

After graduation, his required service in the Navy turned into a 37-year career during which he would serve as a Navy SEAL, and  would oversee the special ops raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden .   He retired as a four-star admiral, and now serves as Chancellor of the University of Texas System. 

In January, he addressed the American Football Coaches Association, and said some things about our game that, as it comes increasingly under attack from those who hate it and resent it,  you should be aware of.

Here are a couple of quotes that I gleaned from his address, quotes that ought to go up in locker rooms across the country:

“I believe, of all the sports in America, football best represents the ideals upon which this nation was founded.

"With all the difficulties we see today in society, and with all the problems that arise from this contact sport, we should never forget that the benefits of playing the game -
this uniquely American game - far outweigh any downside.”

*********** Now comes word - “from reliable sources” - that the NFL made a covert deal with the St. Louis Rams to get them to draft Michael Sam, who, unless you’ve been in another galaxy for the last couple of years, you know was the first gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.

Whether the story of the deal is  true or not, it reflects shamefully on the NFL.

If it’s true, then it shows that the NFL - which stood aside as Native American groups protested the Washington Redskins’ name - quavered at the prospect of loud and powerful advocacy groups protesting its teams’ failure to draft a guy who’d just announced publicly that he was gay.

And if it’s not true,  the fact that so many of us believe it is shows  how little credibility the NFL has left.

*********** Parseghian ran the Wing-T at ND and won a National Championship with it.  Pitt ran the Veer and won a NC.

The Wing-T was not "decisively" Defensed.  Devine simply moved incrementally away from it.  One could argue that the Veer was Defensed, although not like,"Richie Pettibone decisively defensed the Run and Shoot with his "Zone Drop Defense" (Or whatever it ended up being called).  The Offenses are now "For HS Only".  And Carson-Newman.

Has anyone determined why the Wing-T dropped off the face of the earth? The Base Power is still seen from time to time but not the Offense itself.  Why?

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


I’m assuming that you’re talking about college, because there are still many highly successful high school teams running the wing-T and also the veer.

But at the college level, there are several reasons.  Not necessarily all of them, and not necessarily in any order:

1. Money.  Colleges really do need it, not only to pay for their minor sports and women’s sports, but also to keep up with their competitors in the arms race. It doesn’t matter if your team wins - you have to play entertaining, easy-to-understand football in order to draw fans to the stands and eyeballs to the screen.

2. Entertainment (closely related to #1).  For various reasons (including the influence of Madden) people are thrilled by seeing footballs in the air.  Pepper Rodgers once told me at a clinic that the only thing wrong with the wishbone (which he’d been running with great success at UCLA) was that “the alumni hate it, because they can’t find the ball.”

3. Rules.  The rules increasingly favor the passing game. I could write a couple of paragraphs on this alone.

4. Safety.  Other than the horrendous shots defensive backs take at helpless receivers, it seems to me that overall, the passing game results in fewer injuries since on most pass plays there are guys on the field who don’t even take part in the play.

5. Off-season.  Passing is fun.  Kids will work on throwing and catching to improve their skills. Simply add linemen and pads to that stuff you’re been working on all summer in 7-on-7 games and you’ve got 90 per cent of your offense in.  What can a wing-T coach or a veer coach do in the summer that’s fun and transferrable to his real offense?

6. Women.  The NFL realizes that women are a major part of their audience - and a major part of the market for NFL-licensed apparel - and it stands to reason that without a background in the game, they would be more excited by watching a ball fly through the air than by a guy trying to run through several 300-pounders.  Colleges have figured this out, too.

7. The upward pull of the NFL.  Players with NFL aspirations are less likely to go to a college that plays a less-wide-open offense that’s not conducive to developing them for the NFL.  Coaches with NFL aspirations are less likely to run an offense that has no place at the “next level.”

8. The influence of the tube.  All you see is spread offenses. How many times in a season do you turn on the TV and see a college team - even a D-III team - running an offense with two running backs and a tight end? You scarcely see a QB under center now.

9. Fear of being left an orphan.  There is considerable downside to a college AD hiring a run-first coach when everybody else is spreading it out and throwing it. A wise athletic director realizes that if he hires a run-first coach, that coach will of course recruit to fill his needs.  Which means that after stocking up on running backs and tight ends - and scaring away wide receivers - if the AD ever wants to fire that coach and bring in a passing guy, the cupboard’s going to be bare for a couple of years.

***********You state:

“Teaching” is a much-neglected word in sports.
... Coaching is teaching"

I had a good reason to find the Ol' Athletic Journal's Encyclopedia of Football recently.  In it is an article by some guys named Mike Lude and Paul Lanham.  Last paragraph:

"In our opinion, many of the outstanding coaches are men who pride themselves as teachers.  The better a coach teaches, the more objective he can be in analyzing critically his system as well as his techniques.  The result will be that he will more nearly realize his aims and objectives."

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** In Washington, the demonization of tobacco - and the normalization of marijuana - proceeds apace.

The Washington State Attorney General wants to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products in our state from 18 to 21.

Washington, from what I can see, doesn’t have any more success than most other states in enforcing its drinking age, and I rather doubt that it’s doing all that well with policing the  recently-passed law permitting the sale of marijuana (provided you’re 21) for “recreational” purposes.

The modern-day treatment of smoking (and smokers)  takes me back to when I was a kid watching all those black-and-white World War II movies, where smoking, it seemed, was a part of every scene. 

Bored, waiting for something to happen?  Time to light up. 

Scared sh—less after a close call?  Time to light up. 

Somehow,  despite all those guys smoking, we managed to win the war.

Makes me wonder how World War II would have turned out if our GIs had been smoking pot instead of tobacco.

*********** To me, reading a favorite book for a second - or even a third - time is like returning to a favorite place: you experience the comfort of the familiar things that you always enjoy seeing, the thrill of the things you’d seen before but had forgotten, and the unexpected delight at seeing something for the first time that you’d missed on your previous visits. 

The Great American Novel,” by Philip Roth, and  “A Confederacy of Dunces,” by John Kennedy Toole come to mind as books I’ve read more than once.   Anything by David Maraniss is a good candidate for a return visit.  Anything by John Irving.

Right now, I’m revisiting “American Caesar,” William Manchester’s epic biography of Douglas MacArthur.  It’s a big ‘un - 800+ pages - and I’m only 100 or so pages in, but I’m amazed at the stuff I missed (or forgot) from my first time through.

The first time, I guess I wasn’t as familiar as I am now with over-parenting.

MacArthur’s mother defined the term.  When her son was accepted at West Point, she moved there, staying for his four years  in a hotel adjacent to the campus and looking out for this interests.  Behind, in San Antonio, remained her husband, himself a general and a Civil War Medal of Honor winner.  Her helicopter-parenting  must have had some beneficial effect on his work, because he graduated first in his class.

Years later,  as Douglas  was about to leave for Europe and World War I service, she wrote to the Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, to try to have her son promoted to General.

Secretary Baker said in effect it was not his call but that of General John J. Pershing, commander of American forces; but the secretary assured her that if it were up to him, there could be no question what his decision would be (without saying outright what that was).

Her next move, of course, was  to write to General Pershing, who had at one time served under her husband.  Preparing a force of more than a million American men to fight in a foreign war, Pershing might understandably have bigger things on his mind, but he gave her the courtesy of reading her letter.   She reminded him very subtly of their past association, and closed by adding how well she knew Secretary Baker and how sure she was that if Douglas’ name were to be on the next  list for promotions, Secretary Baker would approve it.  But, she assured the General,  she had no intention of going around him:  “neither my son or I would care to have a Star (the symbol of a  General’s rank - HW) without your approval or recommendation.”

Fortunately for all concerned, Douglas MacArthur was promoted to the rank of General not long after. Based on his accomplishments before and after, there is no question of his deserving the promotion.

But still, just to make sure, Mom was there.

*********** The NFL released the much-anticipated news that starting next season, a player will be ejected after receiving two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties in a game (I love the fact that in Canada it’s called “objectionable” conduct, which is far more descriptive).

You read it here first:  there will be no more people ejected from game for excessive unsportsmanlike conduct fouls next season than there were this past season.

Anybody remember back in - oh, the eighties, I think it was - when the rules makers  determined to do away with spearing?  The penalty for spearing, we were told,  would be ejection.  Wow.  The death penalty.

Well, guess what?  Spearing still went on, but I never saw anyone ejected. Officials are human, and in keeping with our society’s tendency to place compassion for the violator ahead of respect for the rule of law, they’re reluctant to throw a guy out of a game.

Given that high school officials wouldn’t crack down on young players, how much more leeway do you suppose NFL officials are going to give their players, knowing that an ejection could cost a guy a large sum of money and his team a place in the playoffs?

*********** The world indoor track and field championships were held in Portland last weekend, and the highlight of the meet was the 6-5 high jump of a Las Vegas high school girl named Vashti Cunningham.  A week earlier, in the same building, she’d jumped 6-6 1/8.

If she’d been competing as a pro, the win would have earned her $40,000, but not to worry - she’ll be okay - the next day she signed a contract with Nike.  Now her sights - and Nike’s - are set on this summer’s Olympics.

Vasjti's father is former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, whose combination of prodigious talent and erratic performance would drive Philadelphia fans crazy.

I was at the Jets’ training camp at Hofstra University some 20 years ago when the Eagles arrived for one of those joint practice/scrimmage deals NFL teams would do.  Bus number one pulled up and the Eagles’ offense got off.  Bus number two pulled up and the Eagles’ defense got off.  And then a long, black limousine pulled up - and Randall Cunningham got off.

The following Monday, I called a Philly sports radio show and said that after my experience with the Philadelphia Bell and how our prima donna quarterback, Jim “King” Corcoran, was hated by his teammates, I doubted that things had changed to the point where now the Eagles players thought it was cool that their quarterback chose to live the life of an aristocrat.

The loudmouth behind the microphone dismissed me - “Ahhhh, that’s just Randall.”

“Just Randall” was pretty good, a very good runner as well as a passer, but during his 11 years in Philly, the Eagles made it to the playoffs just  five times.  Four of those playoff appearances came during a run of five years in which they won at least 10 games.  But then they fell off, and to fix things they brought in as their OC a West Coast guy - a guy named Gruden (maybe you’ve heard of him) - whose offense was ill-suited to Randall’s talents.  And Randall retired.

He came out of retirement and played a few more years, for the Vikings, the Cowboys and the Ravens,  and in 1998, he led the Vikings to a 15-1 season.

I join a lot of Philadelphia fans in wondering how good he might have been.

But anyhow, go Vashti.

 *********** Joe Garagiola died at the age  90.  He was a mediocre baseball player, but nowhere near as bad as he made himself out to be, in his self-deprecating way.   (Merely to be able to make it to the big leagues at a time when there were only 16 major league teams meant you were better than thousands of other guys competing for your job.)

When he left baseball to take up a career in broadcasting, he told enough stories about his boyhood pal, Yogi Berra, that he turned Berra into a legendary figure noted for his sage, witty and ambiguously puzzling observations  (“When you come to a fork in the road - take it.”)

Garagiola said that when his chance came to broadcast games, he wasn’t exactly  unprepared.  As he once said, “I used to sit in the bullpen and say, ‘Why the hell doesn’t he throw the curveball?’ Well, all I had to do to become an announcer was take out the ‘hell.’ ”


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  With World War II at an end, the Murono family leaves its life in an internment camp in Texas for a new life in Seabrook, New Jersey...

Looking back, Seiki Murono recalls a childhood that might have been spent any place in America… … Opening day of trout fishing season in April at Pennsgrove Lake and Shaws Mill Pond near Cedarville…  Waiting to hear the jingle from the Mr. Softee truck so I could buy my root beer float…  The Boy Scout troop under the leadership of Vernon Ichisaka (numerous Japanese-American children from Seabrook became Eagle scouts)

Seabrook’s kids played kick the can and Red Rover… And marbles (“our earliest introduction to gambling, because whatever you won, you got to keep.”)
And they took part in activities unique to a Japanese community – playing a game called jin-tori, said to be something like capture the flag, and making mochi, a Japanese treat.

As he grew older, there were pickup games.
There was basketball on the outdoor court at the elementary school.

There was baseball, which meant, as one schoolmate of Seiki’s recalled,  “sharing baseball gloves after each inning because not everyone owned one… a couple of bats, and an adhesive-taped ball that had to last the whole game... the team at bat designating one of its own players to call balls and strikes and each team keeping its own score, an arrangement that produced surprisingly few arguments… base runners stealing second base without sliding, to avoid tearing their pants or skinning their knees on the rock-hard ground.

And there was football. Seiki recalled “being chased away by Mr. Miller, the Seabrook School custodian, when we were playing football on the lawn in front of the school.” Added a schoolmate, “When we didn’t see his pickup truck parked by the school, we would play football. As we played, we would keep an eye out for his pickup coming down Highway 77. When someone saw it we would all scatter.”

But it wasn’t all play, by any means.  “I don't remember ever taking a family vacation,” Seiki said.   “From the time each of the children was 13 (the minimum working age at the time), we all had summer jobs.” He remembers picking beans, “making $.35 cents a basket and chasing rabbits to break up the monotony.”

And there was schoolwork.  In keeping with the emphasis on education and the desire to excel academically associated with Asians in general, Seiki says,  “My parents stressed education and wanted all three of us to get a college education. We were encouraged to study hard and we did this mostly at home since our community did not have a library.”

And whether at school or at play, Seiki and his brother strove to excel.

“My brother and I embraced the American ethic of competing to succeed,” he says. “We both wanted to excel both academically and athletically to prove we belonged.”

In the fall of 1958, Seiki and his classmates from Seabrook Elementary moved on to high school in nearby Bridgeton,  a city of 20,000 or so, with one large high school.  Bridgeton High School was itself quite diverse, with a fairly large African-American population, and the Japanese-American kids from Seabrook had no trouble  fitting in.

“We were very well accepted,” Seiki remembered.   “Most of the Japanese kids excelled in school and participated in athletics, mostly basketball, baseball and football.”

At Bridgeton, Seiki played football, basketball and baseball.

He almost didn’t play football. As a freshman, he weighed just 119 pounds, and thought seriously about quitting.  “I questioned whether or not I could match up physically with some guys who were 100 pounds heavier than that,” he said. “I decided to hang in there, and was glad I did.”


american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 22,  2016  "At the core of Liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.”   P.J. O’Rourke

*********** So tell me again why,  when we’ve seen plenty of very disappointed college basketball players handle themselves with admirable aplomb after their dream seasons - and in many cases, their careers - came to an end in the NCAA Tournament, Cam Newton couldn’t man up with the media after the Super Bowl.

*********** I knew there was something to those articles about the way online sales have been causing the decline of malls nationwide when  our county’s biggest mall  lost its Nordstrom’s and replaced it with  - a Gold’s Gym?!?

***********  The Chicago White Sox - where  every day is Take Your Kid to Work Day.

A major league baseball player named Adam LaRoche  is so upset that  his employer, the Chicago White Sox, thinks his 14-year-old son has been spending too  much time in the clubhouse (100 per cent of the time, the club says), that he’s decided to retire.

A few thoughts…

1. He’s pretty young to have his f-you money already. (But then, he did make $12.5 million last year.  Say that slowly, if you’re a school teacher.)

2. $12.5 million is REALLY good money for a designated hitter who hit .207 and only 12 home runs last season.  Maybe that occurred to the White Sox management, too.

3. He doesn’t sound like one of those guys who say they love the game of baseball so much they’d play it for free.  (If there are any more of them.)

4. He needs to look at another job  - as a soldier, or an airline pilot, or a cop, or a surgeon, or a trial lawyer, or a school teacher, or a car salesman, an automobile worker - and see if he can  bring his kid to work every day.   Spoiler alert - he can’t.  And he won’t make $12.5 million a year.

5. Doesn’t the kid ever go to school? Ever play ball with other kids his age?

One fan’s reaction, in the Chicago Tribune…

Look, Adam, this is supposed to be baseball, not Romper Room. The Sox finished 10 games BELOW .500. You batted .207, received 12 MILLION DOLLARS for 89 hits, and are 1 for 5 this year. The Sox were 13th of 15 in attendance last year. I want to see and read about baseball, not babysitting. I am with White Sox management on this one, all the way.

*********** In reading through a book, “1960 NFL Champions” (very creative title), about the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles, I read about John Wilcox, who played just that one championship season and then retired to a long career as a teacher and coach in the Northwest.

One of eight children, he grew up “in poverty,” in his words, in Vale, Oregon, a small farm town near the Idaho border that’s turned out more than its share of good football players and good high school teams.

He played one year in the NFL - and won a championship ring.

His brother, Dave, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He played eleven years for the 49ers and never played on a championship team.

*********** Thinking back to when we were in grade school and we were repeatedly  admonished to “look both ways before crossing the street,” I’m constantly amazed at the dumbasses I see crossing streets without looking at  all.  Looking down, actually - because they’re so f—king busy texting, or checking their playlist. (Did I mention they often wear earbuds?

So it was no surprise when I heard on the radio that something like 4,000 pedestrians were killed last year while focused on their smartphones.  You mean that’s all?

And people are trying to kill football because it’s dangerous?

*********** College wrestling isn’t even on the map in New York. College wrestling seldom even gets a mention in the New York media, but I can understand holding the NCAA wrestling championships in Madison Square Garden, because  the Garden IS the Mecca of indoor sports in the US.

But this year’s Frozen Four - the NCAA ice hockey tournament - will be held in hockey-mad Tampa. That's FLORIDA.

NCAA, are you f—king kidding me?  You don't suppose money had anything to do with it, do you?

It won’t be long before Jerry Jones is putting it on in the Jerrah Dome.

*********** Penn State won the NCAA wrestling championship this past weekend,  which got me to doing some digging on the Lions’ coach, Cael Sanderson, which brought me to the conclusion that he could be on his way to becoming one of the greatest college coaches of all time, in any sport.

Even if he hadn’t coached, he’d have been a wrestling legend.

For four straight years (1999-2002), wrestling at Iowa State, Cael Sanderson was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA Tournament.

In his college career, he was 159-0, a feat Sports Illustrated ranked second only to Jesse Owens’ setting four world records in one afternoon - at the 1935 Big Ten track championships - as the greatest individual college sports accomplishment ever.

In 2004, he won Olympic gold.

In 2006 he was named head coach at Iowa State, and in his first year at Ames, he took the Cyclones to a second-place finish nationally.  In three years at Iowa State, he won the Big-12 championship all three times.

In 2009, just 29, he was hired by Penn State.  In his second year there, the Nittany Lions won the national championship.

Now, there’s always been an abundance of good talent in the area - high school wrestling in Pennsylvania is very good, and neighboring New Jersey and New York produce their share of good wrestlers, too - but that was Penn State’s first NCAA title since 1953.

What a lot of people may not realize - and what may be a factor in wrestling’s not enjoying the national prestige and popularity it deserves - is the utter dominance of the sport by just two states - two schools, actually.

Since the first national championship in 1928, Oklahoma State and Iowa have won 57 titles between them.  Add in Oklahoma and Iowa State, and the two states own 72 titles.

In all the years since the championships have been held, Minnesota and Penn State have been the only schools without “Oklahoma” or “Iowa” in their name to have won more than one title.

Largely because of those two states, wrestling has been one of the few sports dominated by schools west of the Mississippi: until Penn State’s championship in 2011, the championship trophy had crossed the Mississippi only three times:  to Indiana in 1932, to Penn State in 1953, and to Michigan State in 1967.

But Sanderson didn’t stop with that one national title.  After 2011, Penn State won the next three, then after missing in 2015, came back to win again this past weekend.  That’s five of the last six, and last year’s title was won by another “eastern” school,  Ohio State.  That’s six championships in a row since the last time an Iowa or Oklahoma team won it.  (For the record, it was Iowa, in 2010.)

What Cael Sanderson has done is even more significant for the sport of wrestling than his amazing college career, and his winning five national titles in six years: he’s moved the geographic balance of power of an entire sport.

*********** The best thing about Yale’s basketball team making it to the tournament - and then winning its first-round game - was how safe the Yale campus must have been this weekend with all those rapists away in Providence,  either playing basketball or watching the basketball team play.

*********** A friend who coaches overseas wrote me about coaching an all-star team.  He said players who came from other teams were shocked by his approach to practice, which puts an emphasis on teaching, rather than just conditioning or hitting.

I wrote back,


“Teaching” is a much-neglected word in sports.

Practice attendance aside,  few things used to piss me off more about coaching overseas than to hear players use the word “training” when they really meant practice.

I know it’s a small matter, and it’s just a word, and no doubt it came from their learning the Queen’s English, with all its soccer terms, as their second language.

In our country, though, “training” is where you get your body ready for practice.  Practice is where you get your brain ready for the game.

Not that there aren’t football coaches who devote an entire practice to training.  I once watched one of my grandson’s “practices" in which the coaches all stood around in the middle of the field and shot the breeze while the kids spent an entire half hour (of potential teaching time) running f—king laps around the field.

Coaching is teaching.

*********** Steve Duin has been writing for the Portland Oregonian for years.  He started as a sports writer, but evolved into a general-interest columnist, writing on topics of his choosing.  Occasionally he returns to sports, and when he does, it’s usually to prick a balloon.

His latest target: The precious Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions. 

“Money, branding, influence?” he wrote.  “The Portland Timbers are on a marvelous roll.”

He wasn’t referring to their championship, though.  He was referring to - his term -  “the Timbers' stranglehold on Oregon youth soccer.”

The Timbers organization - actually, something called Peregrine Sports LLC, that owns the Timbers - runs Oregon youth soccer, and according to Duin charges fees ranging from $800 to $975  per team.

Oregon Youth Soccer consists of at least 75 organizations, some of which enter dozens of teams in its  fall and winter leagues.  Just two clubs, Lake Oswego Soccer Club and Crossfire Oregon, paid Peregrine Sports - the Timbers - some $36,000 to enter teams in fall and winter leagues.

“Anyone else think that's odd?” Duin wrote.  “The Trail Blazers aren't running this city's youth-basketball leagues. The Seahawks aren't cashing the checks necessary to keep Pee Wee football teams afloat in Seattle.”

The problem lies with Timbers Academy,  a development program/travel team at the top of the youth soccer food chain.  Selected from the 60,000 or so youth players in Oregon and Southwest Washington, Timbers Academy consists of the top 50 players in the area.  As I understand it, most MLS teams have similar programs.   And those programs can be expensive, which is where the youth clubs come in.

It appears to many youth soccer people that,  even after allowing for the costs of officials,  much of the money they’re paying for their teams to participate is being used to help defray the costs of  the Timbers Academy elites.  Said Mark Olen, president of the Lake Oswego Soccer Club and an assistant coach at Lake Oswego High School,“We love the Timbers' professional team. We've had season tickets since day one.   But what they've done for youth soccer is tax the masses, and use that to keep the cost down for the 50 best boys in the state."

Then there’s the effect Timbers Academy is having on high school programs.  The Academy teams play a 10-month season, which eliminates the possibility of those kids’ playing other sports, and they’re banned from playing soccer for their high school teams, a policy set by the US Soccer Federation and MLS.

It’s a policy, as you might imagine, that doesn’t sit well with area high schools.

"What you're seeing with the Timbers Academy is the birth of the zero-sport athlete," Mike Hughes, the athletic director at Portland’s Jesuit High School, told Duin.   Jesuit’s soccer program has lost several players to Timbers Academy.

"They can do zero high-school sports,” he said. “They become ghost students. They don't come to the prom. They're not actively engaged with their high school. We're all very frustrated with the Timbers."

Greg Bean,  the boys' soccer coach at West Linn (Oregon) High,  points out that there’s great incentive to be chosen for a Timbers Academy team, even if though it means ditching your high school buddies: “Your best opportunity to be seen by a college coach is not playing high-school ball, ”  he says.  Nope. It’s by playing on an academy team. That's where you get travel and exposure.”

Good for them.  I guess.

And good for the Timbers, who’ve figured out a very clever scheme to extract money from the mass of kids who are supposed, someday, to be their fans.  Most of those kids will never play college, much less pro, soccer, but much of the money that’s supposed to be used for their recreation is being diverted instead to help defray the costs of developing the most talented kids, a cost that most would agree is the responsibility of the Portland Timbers. 

It’s socialism in reverse, writes Steve Duin: “too many of the benefits accrue to the capitalists at the top of the pyramid, not the 60,000 kids playing at its base.

Sure hope the NFL doesn't find out about this or before you know it they'll have us paying USA Football for permission to coach our teams.  Oh, wait...


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  With his family still in an internment camp during World War II, a Japanese-American named George Sakamoto, in search of work, learned that a place in New Jersey named Seabrook Farms was looking for workers, and decided to investigate...

Most of the other workers at Seabrook had never seen a Japanese person before, he recalled, and "they were curious as hell," Sakamoto told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Vitez in June, 1988.  “They would come up and say, 'Hey, you don't look like the Japanese we see in the papers.' They were curious, but friendly."

Mr. Sakamoto decided to stay, and went to work at 49 cents an hour.  Seeing him gave C. F. Seabrook an idea – where others saw internment camps, he saw workers -  and he set in motion a plan  to solve his labor shortage with  former internees.

“Come and see for yourself,” were the words of Seabrook’s employment manager as he addressed internees at an Arkansas internment camp in April of 1944. “We’ll pay your transportation.”

Shortly after, a delegation of three representatives from the camp in Arkansas visited Seabrook, talking with workers and local business people and government officials to assess how Japanese-Americans would be accepted.

Their report upon their return must have been favorable, because shortly afterward, families began to leave for Seabrook.  In time, more than 300 families from that one camp would accept Seabrook’s offer.

The government paid their train fare to Seabrook, and the company agreed to provide lodging, lunch, and utilities. To house them, Seabrook had managed to get the federal government to build a large number of small concrete block homes.  For their part, the Japanese-Americans were required to work in Seabrook's processing plant for at least six months.

Eventually, following the initial wave of workers from Arkansas, families began to arrive in Seabrook from internment camps in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

"They were put to work as soon as they got here, as soon as they changed their shoes," George Sakamoto recalled. "You got here in the afternoon and went to work on the night shift."

The work was hard and long - 12-hour shifts – and the pay was low - anywhere from 35 to 50 cents an hour. During peak harvest periods they worked seven days a week.

Essentially, Seabrook was a company town.  Seabrook Farms owned the housing and the only store in town. The nearest other store was in Bridgeton, five miles away, but to people with no cars, not to mention wartime rationing of gasoline, it might as well have been 50 miles.

Nevertheless, the workers made the best of their circumstances.

"Some people might say C.F. (Seabrook) was an opportunist, taking advantage of our situation," said George Sakamoto. "But what the hell. We were in bad shape, we needed a chance. And for people in our situation, it was hard to say no."

The Seabrook that Seiki Murono grew up in was a remarkably diverse community.  The German and Italian prisoners of war had left Seabrook once the war ended, but they were replaced by Peruvian-Japanese like the Muronos, and by Estonians, who had fled their country when the Russians swept through Eastern Europe following the war.  There was no segregation by race or nationality. The various groups were integrated and, in Seiki’s words, “lived harmoniously together.”

The Muronos lived in a one-room house, with a coal burning stove for heat. There was no bathroom.  “There was a communal bathroom and shower facility which was used by all the residents of the complex,” Seiki recalled.  “I remember how terrible it was to have to walk to and from the bath facility during our frigid winters.”

Because Mr. Murono’s income wasn’t sufficient to support the family, Mrs. Murono had to go to work, too, which meant that two-year-old Seiki was sent to a child care center run for the families of Seabrook’s workers.

Until he entered Seabrook Elementary School, Seiki Murono spoke no English. At school, the Japanese and Estonian children were taught English as a second language. “It was quite a struggle at first,” Seiki now  recalls, “since my parents, who knew almost no English, spoke only Japanese at home.  It was a priority for me to learn English so that I could fit in.”

Seiki’s parents never studied English, but they became proficient, Seiki says, “through day-to-day living and watching TV.”


american flag FRIDAY, MARCH 18,  2016  "When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children." Albert Shanker,  former United Federation of Teachers president

***********  Sure hope the Yalies take it easy on Duke...

*********** On Monday, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety policy,  admitted to a congressional committee that there was a link between playing football and CTE.

And now, thanks to our friends in the NFL, who have been such models of good sportsmanship, good conduct on and off the field, good fundamentals and adherence to safe and fair play,  football  will begin to die,  from the ground up.  Participation figures at the youth level confirm that it’s already happening.

Oh, sure, the NFL's okay.  ESPN and NBC and CBS and ABC and DirectTV will keep emptying their pockets in return for the rights to broadcast NFL games.  But at the same time, thanks to the concussion hysteria fueled by the NFL’s mismanagement of the CTE issue, 
parents are refusing to let their little boys play football. What a bonanza for youth soccer.

A New York Times article that covered the news of Mr. Miller’s disclosure contained some additional  information that might be eye-opening for some of my readers, but not for me.

Many of you know that for some time I’ve referred to USA Football - the self-styled “governing body of American football” - as a sham, an NFL-front, a tentacle of the NFL Octopus.  And here’s the proof:

The N.F.L. has spent millions of dollars in efforts to tamp down fear among parents over football’s physical toll… It gave $45 million to USA Football, a formerly obscure nonprofit, to promote safe tackling and reassure jittery parents that football’s inherent risks can be mitigated through on-field techniques and awareness.

Hmmm.   Sounds more to me as if they simply bought USA Football.  Are you telling me that any "formerly obscure nonprofit” is going to take $45 million from the NFL and not do its bidding?  How’s this for trying to control the sport from the top down:  “Mommies, ask your little boy’s coach if he’s NFL - er, USA Football - certified.” Soon - mark my words - you won’t be able to coach unless you're licensed by Big Football.  
Can you say “tentacles?”

And thanks to the NFL - people who haven’t taught a player how to tackle in years, whose own players pop helmets on and off as if they were beanies and treat chin straps as if they’re a nuisance - for providing USA Football with the money to put on all those sessions on how to tackle and how to fit a helmet.  Sessions that we have to sit through - if we want to keep coaching.

Now, get this…

Several years later, the N.F.L. made Mr. Miller its senior vice president for health and safety policy. He successfully lobbied many state legislatures to pass laws that require any youth athlete who sustained a concussion to return to play only after being cleared by a medical professional.

Did you catch that?  "Successfully lobbied?" An NFL vice-president “successfully lobbied”  to give us the laws that now stipulate what we have to do if an athlete “sustains a concussion.” Now,  wasn't that thoughtful of the NFL?  Always thinking of us.

Lobbying, guys, isn’t what you learned in civics class.  It's not sitting down in a lawmaker’s office and showing him (or her) a PowerPoint on your laptop.  Lobbying can be  very dirty and sleazy and corrupt, and it's no cleaner when it’s done by the NFL than when it’s done by any industry, union, or interest group. ("Like to join me in our box at the Seahawks game, Senator?  Yeah, I know  they're playing in Green Bay. No problem. We've got room on the plane for  you and a couple of your guests. We can discuss the concussion bill on the plane.")

Unfortunately, “sustained a concussion” has come in some cases to mean,  “in the opinion of a completely unqualified non-medical professional  your player may have sustained a concussion,” which instantly takes a player out of competition until he is “cleared by a medical professional.”  So a non-professional, such as an official, can provide the diagnosis that sidelines your kid, but only a medical professional can clear him to return to play. Any of you out there live in a place so small and remote that it doesn’t even have a “medical professional?”  Any of you ever had to wait a couple of weeks before a “medical professional” can even see your kid?

Guys, as I’ve said for years, the NFL is killing our game.   We can’t let them do it.   It’s in our best interest to divorce ourselves from them completely. We don’t play the same game and we certainly don’t share their values.

Shun them.  
They're the enemy of high school football. They really have nothing of value to offer us.   Stop going to their bogus clinics and eating their food and wearing their apparel.  Start putting on camps of your own instead of letting them come to your town and put on those self-serving photo-ops that they call camps.

Just say no.

*********** FROM A YEAR AGO


You simply MUST read this column, first published  in December, 2014 in the Portland Tribune. It was written  by Dr. Ed Riley, a physician and professor of anesthesiology at Stanford and the father of a high school football player.  Dr. Riley is the younger brother of former Oregon State and now-Nebraska head coach Mike Riley.  The Riley boys' father, Bud, was a long-time college  coach.

My son’s high school football team finished 1-9 this year, and I wouldn’t be prouder of this team if they had gone undefeated.

They made a game of it each Friday night, and while they often were outnumbered and overmatched, they never were outplayed. My son and his teammates have learned more about hard work, sportsmanship and resilience on the football field than anywhere else, and these lessons will make them better men.

But as much as I enjoy the tradition of high school football, I worry about its future.

My son’s school has nearly 2,000 students, but his team is lucky to suit up 20 players for a varsity game. There are a lot more young men who want to play, but whose parents won’t let them. Their parents think the risk of brain injury outweighs the benefits of playing.

I understand the concerns and share them, but I have concluded those concerns are misplaced. My children are the most important part of my life. I am a widower, and when my son wanted to play football his freshman year, every mom and my in-laws chastised me for considering it. Even President Obama wondered whether he’d let his theoretical son play.

I’m a physician and medical researcher at Stanford, and I only decided to let my son play after reviewing the medical research.

The study that best elucidates the risk of football-related brain injury comes from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDCP officials studied 3,439 former National Football League players with at least five years of pension-credited playing seasons between 1959 and 1988.

This is arguably the highest-risk group of players available for study. Among these players, the incidence of neurodegenerative disease is three times higher than in the general population. However, the risk of death from neurodegenerative disease was relatively low in both groups: 3 percent in NFL players, and 1 percent in the general population. The risk associated with a long NFL career is not insignificant but remains small.

The high-profile research that is regularly cited as connecting the dots between football-related concussions and dementia in NFL players lacks sufficient data to establish a causal link. Most of the cases considered focus on former NFL players involved in a lot of high-risk behavior other than football, and none of these studies included a control group. Research like this is typically filed away as “interesting, but we need better data.”

The key here is that high school football is not the NFL. The Mayo Clinic found that the risk of high school football players developing degenerative neurological diseases later in life is no greater than if they had been in the band, glee club or choir.

The data suggests that the normal life of adolescents puts them at risk for brain injury all the time. What would be the alternatives to my son playing football? Sports such as soccer, skiing, rock climbing or lacrosse have similar risk profiles to high school football.

My late wife rode horses competitively growing up. As an anesthesiologist at a hospital that treats more horse-related trauma accidents than any other in the country, I’m glad my son went with football.

I believe the benefits of playing high school football are worth the risks. Football is an equal-opportunity sport. All different types of athletes make up a football team, the skills needed don’t require years of practice, and there is no real advantage for kids with private coaches. A healthy, average athlete who shows up to all the team’s practice sessions and attends off-season weight training can usually find a spot on the team.

My son’s teammates are from the whole socioeconomic and racial spectrum. The only reason that his team was able to make a contest out of each game, despite that they had so few players to work with, is that the boys learned how to build on what they had in common instead of focusing on their differences.

As Jack Kemp, the former pro quarterback and congressman, once said, “The huddle is color-blind.” In an increasingly diverse world, opportunities to learn how to work together with a wide range of people who start out on equal footing should not be lightly dismissed.

When I sit in the stands, I worry when my 160-pound son lines up on the front line of the kick return team, but that is only slightly less than I worry when I sit in the passenger seat as he merges onto the highway. Adolescence is a scary time for parents.

To all you parents who are keeping your sons from playing football, I say, “Let them play.” They are just as safe on the football field as they are in most of the other sports and activities we regard as a necessary part of a healthy adolescence. You can save money on expensive club sports and specialty coaches, and your sons will develop skills that will serve them and the rest of us well.

*********** Coach,

The NFL is what it is.  But I heard something pretty cool in an interview with Von Miller, Super Bowl MVP.  The interviewer asked him about sack dances and which one practiced for the Super Bowl.  And why we didn't see those.

The NFL as it is today (as closely as I can remember):  "I practiced lots of dances.  We had extra time before the Super Bowl and came up with some pretty good ones."

But here's the cool part.  The "we before me" that I would love to resonate with kids today:  When asked why we didn't see any of those dances. (as closely as I can quote)  "The performance of my defense was bigger than any dance I could've done.  I just wanted to be with those guys in that moment."  

My hunch is that if you really analyze Super Bowl (or state championship) teams, they have a lot more of those experiences than not.  Less show-boating by the teams that win it all.  In crunch time they realize what is important.  They've developed those bonds that are necessary to really elevate to different level.  And as a result they don't waste their efforts on things that won't help them reach that collective goal.  

Your thoughts?  

Todd Hollis
Elmwood Illinois


With you on this.  Most teams today are unable to get past the me-me-me that’s an inevitable result of the selfishness of our culture and free agency - which has been great for everyone except the game itself (and, of course, the fans).

I’ve no doubt that Denver had a bit of the unselfishness going for it.  I suspect, without naming the individual-who-will-remain-nameless, that there might have been an element of selfishness that brought a good Carolina team down.

I’ve read quite a bit in the last year or two about great teams of the past - the Colts of the 50s and 60s, the Packers of the 60s, the Steelers of the 70s, the 1960 Eagles, and right now, the 1963 Bears.

They all have in common the fact that they were close off the field as well as on.   True, we may have correlation confused with cause, and it might have been the success that caused their closeness, but I’m still a believer in the notion that there is such a thing as team chemistry that enables one group of players to beat another one that’s just as talented.

And teamwork, it seems to me, means not calling undue attention to one’s self.   Superman shirt, anyone?

*********** A friend wrote to tell me that he has been offered - and accepted - a position as head JV coach at a large high school:

The Varsity and Junior Varsity staffs are entirely separate and I would only coach the JVs.  The JV  staff is already set and I have six coaches.  Their JV program has a history of success and went 7-3 last year.  My two biggest challenges are learning their spread schemes and getting the assistants to have an open mind to my approach and philosophy.  The varsity head coach says that I have complete control over every aspect of the JV program including meetings, workouts, practice schedule, play calling and "flavor" of the offense.  I will try to bring a Double Wing flavor to the spread system if that is at all possible.  (I have no idea.  lol)  Any suggestions?

Congratulations on your imminent hiring as JV coach at a school with a solid program.

It seems to me that your “two biggest challenges” will more than occupy your time until you really get settled in, and I advise you to really get into #1. I think the two are interrelated, because if there are guys on your staff who get the impression that you’re not catching on to the offense, they might see it as a weakness to exploit, or as a lack of buy-in on your part.  

When the time is right, though,  I think that there might be an opportunity for you to add “flavor.”  But it will take some doing.  I see four major factors inherent in the spread system (as I see it on maxpreps)  that stand in your way - a lack of running backs, the absence  of a tight end,  the lack of demands placed on the linemen from the standpoint of pulling and trapping, and the line splits and stances.

I see the line splits as the biggest obstacle.  I think that you could find a tight end or two - either an athletic lineman or a good-sized wide receiver - and since you probably have a lot of wide receivers there surely are some of them who enjoy running with the ball after the catch; and I’m sure you could teach your linemen the movement necessary to do what we do.  But changing those big splits and those upright stances with the outside foot back means tampering with something that’s an essential part of The System, but unless you do it's going to be really tough to run our stuff effectively, and doing .  

Actually, the biggest obstacle, I think,  will be selling the head coach on letting you depart even slightly from the basic offense.  To make sure he doesn’t think you’re proposing a wholesale overhaul, it would be advisable to propose it as a simple “power package" - an off-tackle play, a counter, a wedge and a play-action pass. If you can show how your doing this doesn’t subtract from the basic system but actually adds to it, I think he’d be receptive.

As for coaching the spread - from the standpoint of your development as a head coach,  it will not be the worst thing in the world for you to have knowledge and experience of how the other side lives.

*********** RENTON, Wash. – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and Spalding agreed to a five-year contract making the sports equipment company the exclusive ball supplier for WIAA State Championships in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball starting in the fall of 2016.
“We have a shared vision, which caters to the needs of our member schools," WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. Their quality of service combined with their ability to provide industry leading sports equipment will have a positive impact on our schools and student-athletes."
Spalding's top-of-the-line sports equipment will be used during the WIAA State Championships, which includes the TF-1000 Legacy Men's and Women's Basketball, TF-5000 Soccer Ball and the Alpha Varsity Size Football.
Yeah, “shared vision.” Shared greed is more like it. We’ll force the schools to use your balls, and you’ll slip us the money.

Yeah, “needs of our member schools.” If we make the playoffs, we need to use a Spalding ball.  And if we have hopes of making the playoffs, we need to start using Spalding balls during the regular season. 

All those Biden footballs and basketballs that we’ve been forced to use the last several years?  Out they go.  Not even a year to phase out the old stuff.

Sure would like to see where the Spalding  money’s going, but I know one thing - high schools, especially high school football, won’t see a nickel of it.

In fact, not so very long ago, the WIAA informed us that they could no longer afford to pay the rent to use the Tacoma Dome for football semi-finals.  So instead, we’ll be playing at “neutral sites.”  Outdoors.  In late November.  In Washington.  With the official football of the WIAA.

*********** Remember when the rules first allowed teams to line up with 11 guys wearing eligible numbers on punt plays, with the idea  that teams could substitute smaller, faster players?  (Before that, some teams had the smaller, faster players  put on scrimmage-vest-type shirts with lineman numbers on them.)

All that was required with the new rule was to be in "scrimmage kick formation."  And all that meant was that you had to have one player at least seven yards behind the line of scrimmage.

And remember when someone turned that well-intentioned rule on its head, lining up a quarterback seven yards behind the line to create an “offense” that enabled all eleven  of those eligible-numbered men, originally intended to cover punts,  to be potential pass receivers?

They called it the “A-11.”  Wrote a lot of articles about it.  Generated a lot of talk.

But remember how fast most high school associations moved to clarify their rules in order to put an end to  the travesty?  North Carolina was the first, in 2008.  The NFHS followed a year later.

This year, the NCAA finally caught up with the high schools:

Scrimmage Kick Formation- Clarifies that a "scrimmage kick formation" must include either a punter at least 10 yards behind the line or a kicker and holder at least seven yards behind the line, and it must be obvious that a kick will be attempted.

*********** My friend Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington, knowing how I feel about the continued abuse of our National Anthem, sent me this,  convincing me that there still are people in the United States who respect our country’s song.  Watch and listen and try not to get tears in your eyes listening to these high school kids sing it.

*********** “Look me in the eye, Soldier!  Up here!”

When Duke’s  Marshall Plumlee  graduates in a couple of months, he’ll be an officer in the US Army.  A 7-foot-tall officer.

***********  Hugh,

Just this week I saw a video about the Virginia Tech basketball coach bringing in veterans to address his team about how they should stand during the national anthem.  Pretty powerful.

I was going to post it to my team's Facebook page, but then realized that somebody would respond 'but you are not out there during the playing of the national anthem.  You are showing disrespect.'  Which got me thinking, have I been in the wrong all these years?

Personally, I do not think so.  Our players know where I/we stand on military service.  We've sent plenty of boys on to active and reserve duty.  We've had a couple go to the Academies.  Whenever I one of our former players who went into the service shows up at practice we stop whatever we are doing and I ask him to address the team.  One of our coaches is a veteran and I asked him about this a number of years ago and he thought we were not being disrespectful.  Our time in the locker room right before the game is not loud or rah-rah.  It is a time for quiet reflection.  It is when we pray.  And if we ever hear the anthem being played, we stop any talking and sit quietly.  Some of that I cannot tell people and some of that people will not see as enough 'patriotism.'  So that's where I am right now.

So, I think a change of plans, at least for home games where we have control of the pre-game schedule, may be in order.  We can do what we need to do and still coordinate with the band.  So I think that is probably what we will do.  At away games I don't have that control, so we may or may not be out for the anthem depending on when their band plays.

Please give me your opinion.


I always believe that a coach has to do what he believes is best for his team, consistent with the reasonable demands that others make on him.

I personally wish that we had never reached the point where we can’t start any event, from the most trivial pee-wee game of flag touch all the way to the Super Bowl, without the national anthem.

I coached in Finland for seven and heard their national anthem before a game maybe seven times.  About the only time they play it is prior to an international competition. The Finns love their country and their flag and their national anthem every bit as much as we do, and they’re no less patriotic than we are.  They’re just a lot less driven to public, often insincere displays that are more entertainment than they are expressions of love for country.

But - given that it is a ritual to play the national anthem before every game,  I imagine that there would be members of our community who would be offended if we didn’t stand - and stand respectfully - for the national anthem before our home games.    And even though I can certainly understand why a coach might have his reasons for not being out on the field at that time, I don’t think that any explanation would be good enough to satisfy those people.  They’re not wrong. They’re good people and sincere people.  Some of them fought in our wars; some of them have sons or daughters in the service. Who knows?  And they’re accustomed by watching games on TV to seeing both teams on the field for the national anthem. It would be only natural for one of them to call your principal and ask, “Why isn’t our team out on the field for a national anthem?”   Who needs that?  Why do something that might  offend  good people when it wouldn’t take more than three or four minutes out of our pregame to stand out on the field for the national anthem?

I don’t think that this one is worth the battle.  I see this as one of those things that we simply have to do as our part of the deal.  Maybe you can ask the band director to make some adjustment in the pre-game schedule so that it doesn’t disrupt what you normally do quite so much.

I see standing for the national anthem the same way I do going to the wedding or funeral of someone I love and respect.  If I can possibly be there, I have to be there.  

At away games, it’s not the same thing.  I think it’s always nice if your kids can be out on the field for the national anthem, but I’ve seen some wide variations in pregame schedules, and it’s unreasonable for people to expect you to adjust to every schedule.

My opinion.



Of Division I college soccer players, 68 per cent – more than two out of three of them  – started specializing in one sport by the time they were 12 years old!!!  That’s even greater than the percentage of players  in tennis and ice-hockey,  sports that most would argue require considerably more skill development than soccer, at least until they play football on skates.   More than half of ice hockey players  and a near majority (49%) of basketball players had also begun to specialize in their sport by the time they were 12.   I could care less about soccer - you can have all those weenies who play games with their feet. It’s those hockey and basketball kids that concern me.  That’s a lot of kids who will never play football. 


The trend to specialization continues into high school, with participation on outside “travel” teams – sometimes in addition to, but more and more instead of, school teams.  Sometimes, as in the case of soccer, they’re sponsored by professional teams.  Sometimes, in the case of basketball. they’re affiliated with apparel companies. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that this is a sign of  the trend to year-round, single-sport  specialization, and as it  continues to grow, football, an anachronism as a single-season sport,  is in danger of losing more and more good athletes to it.


By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the first installment of this article...  in January, 1943, Ginzo Murono, a Japanese-Peruvian businessman in Lima, Peru, was seized  by police and  brought with other Japanese  to the United States - a place he had never been before - then sent to an internment camp in Kennedy, Texas. After six months there, he was transferred to another internment camp in Crystal City, Texas, where he was joined by his wife and two small children.

Crystal City, about 120 miles southwest of San Antonio and not far from  the Rio Grande, was primarily for internees with families. There were as many as 1,000 Germans there also, and a small number of Italians, but the camp’s population was mostly Japanese, some 3,000 of them, roughly half from the United States and half from Peru.

Nearly a year after their reunion in Crystal City, the Muronos welcomed their third child, a son named Seiki.  It was June 6, 1944.  D-Day.

At Crystal City, the internees were paid 10 cents an hour for their work, and although they were kept under guard and behind barbed wire, they were given a remarkable amount of freedom within the camp itself,  developing and running what Mr. Murono called “a rather efficient society.”

Inside the camp, the internees elected their own officials and managed their own schools, their own post office, their own stores, and such essential services as garbage collection. They had newspapers, amateur theaters and sports teams. They were allowed freedom of religion and the right to hold meetings.

The resourcefulness and resilience of people suddenly and involuntarily yanked away from everything they owned, from familiar faces, places and things, and then, after incarceration, making the best of their circumstances, is almost incomprehensible.

In August, 1945, more than two years after the Muronos had been reunited in Crystal City,  “A long siren sounded,” Mr. Murono recalled.  “The war was over and peace had finally come.”

Although World War II had come to an end, that did not mean freedom for the Muronos.   Like all Japanese Peruvians sent to the US, they had lost everything. They had no business to return to,  no home to return to.  And, worst of all, no passports.

They were stateless. Their passports had been taken away by the Peruvian government, and in the United States they were classified as "illegal aliens.” 

Finally, a year after the war ended, and after nearly four years of incarceration, in August, 1946 the Murono family left Crystal City for a new life, in a strange and faraway place called Seabrook, New Jersey.

Seabrook, New Jersey was the home of Seabrook Farms,  a giant producer of vegetables - growing, processing and packing the peas, beans, asparagus and other vegetables and fruits  grown on its 6,000 acres of farmland in rural southern New Jersey (“South Jersey” to the locals) about five miles north of the city of Bridgeton.

Charles Franklin (C.F.) Seabrook had bought his father’s farm in 1912,  and by the outbreak of World War II, through his pioneering work in frozen food processing and his application of modern industrial production techniques to farming, he had built it into what Life Magazine called ''The Biggest Vegetable Company on Earth.”

Seabrook Farms was the largest single farm in New Jersey, 9 square miles in size with 30 miles of paved roads.  It had its own giant packing plant with enough railroad siding to allow the loading of 30 freight cars at a time.  At peak production it employed 4,000 workers, and shipped 100 million pounds of vegetables a year.

The war effort required enormous amounts of food, and Seabrook Farms became the major supplier of vegetables to the military;  but with most able-bodied men either in the service or employed in well-paying “war work,” it was difficult to find workers.

Seabrook Farms did employ hundreds of Italian immigrants and German prisoners of war, but even so, under constant pressure to fill government contracts, it  faced  a chronic labor shortage.

In 1943, the US government began to  permit  many Japanese internees to leave the camps, provided they could pass a loyalty test and find jobs. They weren’t totally free to move about, though – their every move had to be approved by a government agency called the War Relocation Authority (WRA). And until December of 1944 the West Coast states remained off-limits to any former internees.

Seabrook’s connection to the internment camps began in December of 1943. A recently-liberated former  internee named George Sakamoto, who had left his family behind at a camp in Colorado while searching for a place to resettle, was riding on a train to New York when he happened to read an article in Reader’s Digest about Seabrook Farms.

Seabrook needed workers, it said, and so with the permission of the WRA,  Mr. Sakamoto made his way to South Jersey to investigate.


american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 15,  2016  "Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
Thomas Paine

*********** Jack Montague’s lawyer says he’ll be suing Yale University.  Can I buy a piece of the action?

Montague, the captain of the basketball team, was expelled from school for a “sexual assault” that supposedly took place in October of 2014.  He wasn’t charged until November of 2015 - more than a year later - when a young woman with whom he’d had a brief relationship reported the supposed incident to the school’s Title IX office, which then filed a complaint.

The following is from Business Insider.  Read it, and try not to grind your teeth down to stubs as you do…

"We strongly believe that the decision to expel Jack Montague was wrong, unfairly determined, arbitrary, and excessive by any rational measure," Max Stern, Montague's attorney, wrote in a statement obtained by Business Insider.

The Yale Daily News first reported on Montague's statement, which follows weeks of questions surrounding Montague's dismissal. Last week, sources confirmed to Business Insider that he was expelled in connection with a sexual-misconduct accusation.

But details remained scant about the allegations in question. Montague's attorney's statement Monday gave the clearest description of the events that led up to his dismissal.

It described a sexual relationship with a female student that took place in the fall of 2014 on four separate occasions.

It stated that the Yale University-Wide Committee (UWC) — the office tasked with investigating sexual-assault claims — ruled that three of those instances were consensual, but on the fourth instance, she did not consent to sex. Montague and his lawyer disputed the ruling.

The statement said that on the fourth instance:

She joined him in bed, voluntarily removed all of her clothes, and they had sexual intercourse. Then they got up, left the room and went separate ways. Later that same night, she reached out to him to meet up, then returned to his room voluntarily, and spent the rest of the night in his bed with him.

Montague's lawyer further said that it "defies logic and common sense" that a woman would choose to rejoin Montague and spend the night with him if the sex was not consensual.

The statement suggested that the Yale UWC was incorrect in its determination, saying that "only two persons could have known what happened on that fourth night."

It also strongly suggested that Yale caved to pressure from outside sources to be tougher on sexual assault on campus.

Sexual assault, which no one condones, is serious.  It’s  a crime.  Yet more than a year after the supposed assault occurred, the New Haven police have no record of any complaints filed in this matter.

Instead, Yale chose to conduct its own trial. Not a good deal for the one accused of wrongdoing. Out in the real world, the prosecution has to prove the accused guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That means exactly what it says - if there is the slightest shred of reasonable doubt of the accused’s guilt, he is to be found not guilty.  But at Yale, and at other colleges similarly given to trial by star chamber, all that is required to convict is “a preponderance of evidence,”  which means that in a he-said-she-said case, all that's required to convict is the inclination to believe that she’s telling the truth and he’s not.  Given today’s campus climate, how’d you like to be the accused?

(Anyone see “Fantastic Lies,” the 30-for-30 story about the framing of the Duke Lacrosse players?  The worst part of the whole thing for me, even worse than the willingness of the accuser to lie and the eagerness of the evil prosecutor to pursue the case to gain political advantage, was the way the Duke people - students, faculty, administration - swallowed the accusations whole.  The hell with a fair trial - string 'em up.  Thank God those boys were able to be represented by attorneys and tried in a court of law.  A real court of law. What would their chances have been if they’d been “tried” the way Jack Montague was?)

By February, Jack Montague vanished  from Yale, deprived of his education and his reputation by a secret tribunal, without the benefit of rights constitutionally guaranteed the accused in a court of law.

If he was accused of sexual assault, as it appears, then  surely that was a matter for the state to decide to prosecute or not; and  if found guilty, he should have paid the price, something considerably more severe than just expulsion from Yale.  But if what he was found “guilty” of is not a criminal offense, then expulsion and public shaming seems overly harsh.

It seems to me that it could be argued that  in its effort to protect the accuser, Yale not only deprived a young man of his rights, but also  conspired to  cover up a crime.  In doing so, it deprived the citizens of Connecticut of justice.   Justice, in the case of a crime, does not adhere solely to the victim, but to the citizens of the state, who have a right to the protection of its laws.

All this to create a “climate” that encourages “victims” to “come forward,” without having to identify themselves or face the accused. 

God help Yale if Jack Montague’s lawyers can find a jury like the one that just awarded Erin Andrews $55 million.

As one commenter on the story wrote,  “Montague University sounds better than Yale anyway.”