Monday, January 22, 2018

NFL coaching changes 2017-2018

1/22/18 - Giants hire Pat Shurmur as new head coach
1/22/18 - Cardinals hire Steve Wilks as new head coach
1/20/18 - Tennessee hires Mike Vrable as new head coach
1/15/18 - Tennessee parts ways with Mike Malarkey
1/8/18 - Bears hire Mike Nagy as new head coach
1/6/18 - Gruden to return to Raiders
1/2/18 - Bruce Arians retires as Arizona head coach
1/1/18 - Bears fire John Fox as head coach
12/31/17 - Colts fire Chuck Pagano after six seasons
12/31/17 - Jack Del Rio out as Raiders head coach
12/4/17 - Giants fire Ben McAdoo as head coach


Thursday, January 18, 2018

2018 High School Football

1/18/18 - Kahuku names Sterling Carvalho as head coach, fifth head coach in six years


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football

1/18/18 - Rolovich to reload the run-and-shoot
1/17/18 - Rolovich ranked no. 108
1/16/18 - Dylan Collie to transfer to earn a graduate degree after graduating in May
1/16/18 - Andre Allen hired as receivers coach, Ricky Logo hired as defensive line coach
1/16/18 - Marc Weber to be named offensive line coach
1/5/18 - Mark Banker expected to be named assistant head coach
1/5/18 - Corey Batoon loves coaching
12/31/17 - Before and after New Orleans
12/31/17 - Rolo reflects
12/30/17 - Corey Batoon hired as defensive coordinator
12/27/17 - Sean Duggan, linebackers coach, won't be returning
12/19/17 - Warriors await National Letters of Intent Day
12/21/17 - Rolovich blows the conch shell on signing day
12/18/17 - Legi Suiaunoa and Kefense Hynson to leave Hawaii for Oregon State


Monday, January 15, 2018

Trump vs. the NFL (and NBA)

1/15/18 - NBA responds to Trump

11/22/17 - Trump calls LaVar Ball "poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair"
11/20/17 - Marshawn Lynch's mother vs. Trump
11/20/17 - Trump tweets that Marshawn Lynch should be suspended
11/19/17 - Trump's predictable response to LaVar Ball
11/18/17 - LaVar Ball comments on Trump's involvement releasing his son from China
11/17/17 - South Carolina women's basketball team won't be able to attend White House celebration
11/11/17 - Stephen Curry on the protests and veterans
10/30/17 - High School referees walk off the field to protest the protestors
10/29/17 - Houston Texans players protest owner's remarks
10/26/17 - Kennesaw State cheerleaders banned from the national anthem
10/18/17 - NFL won't force players to stand for anthem
10/17/17 - Popovich calls Trump a "soulless coward"
10/15/17 - Kaepernick files grievance against NFL owners for collusion
10/13/17 - Nate Boyer's open letter
10/10/17 - Goodell wants players to stand during anthem
10/8/17 - Pence leaves Colts game during national anthem / PR stunt?
10/1/17 - NFL protests in week 4 / Marshawn Lynch
9/29/17 - NFL wrestling on how to plot a path forward
9/27/17 - Rahm Emanuel (and others) think Trump's comments were a distraction and is dividing the nation
9/24/17 - Players who protested in week 3 (vs. week 1)
9/23/17 -  NBA players players respond / LeBronMichael JordanPopovich
9/23/17 - Trump rescinds invitation to Golden State Warriors
9/23/17 - NFL responds to Trump / Tom BradyJerry Jones
9/23/17 - Goodell: Trump shows lack of respect for the NFL (and so on)
9/22/17 - Trump says NFL owners should fire players who protest

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Keith Jackson

Keith Jackson, the folksy voice of college football who for decades weaved backwoods wit through Saturday afternoon ABC broadcasts, has died. He was 89.

Jackson died Friday night, according to ESPN and other media outlets.

In a 52-year broadcasting career, Jackson covered a wide-ranging array of sports for radio and TV, including a rowing competition in the former Soviet Union, but he was best known as ABC’s voice of NCAA football — and for the homespun phrases he used in reporting it.

To Jackson, linemen were not guards and tackles, they were “the big uglies.” Running backs didn’t drop the ball, there was a “fuumm-bull!” Of an undersized player, he might say, “He’s a little-bitty thing, a bantam rooster. But he’s young. If he keeps eatin’ his cornbread, he’ll be man-sized some day.”

And, of course, there was “Whoa, Nellie!,” his signature phrase.

Or was it?

Strangers in restaurants, airports, stadium parking lots and downtown streets would sidle up to Jackson and bellow, “Whoa, Nellie!” Jackson, however, always maintained that he might have — might have, mind you — used the phrase a time or two early in his career but that mostly it was the work of impersonators, primarily Roy Firestone, who were responsible for the spread of the phrase.
“This ‘Whoa, Nellie!’ thing is overrated,” he said frequently. “There were all kinds of stories going around. People said I had a mule in Georgia named Nellie. Well, we had a mule in Georgia, but her name was Pearl.”

Despite his protests, however, Jackson enthusiastically proclaimed, “Whoa, Nellie!” in a beer commercial late in his career.

So entrenched in college football was he, though, that ABC wouldn’t let him retire the first time he tried. He announced before the 1998 season that it would be his last, that, at 70, he was tired of getting on airplanes. But he was back in the booth in the fall of ’99, the network having lured him with a promise of keeping him close to his Sherman Oaks home by restricting his assignments to the Pacific time zone. He finally called it a career after describing the Texas-USC national championship game at the Rose Bowl in early 2006.

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Monday, January 08, 2018

2017 NCAA College Football

1/8/18 - Tagovailoa leads Alabama over Georgia to win national championship
12/3/17 - College Football Playoff committee picks Alabama over Ohio State
12/2/17 - UCF 62, Memphis 55 in OT /  Scott Frost leaves for Nebraska for 7 years, $35 million
12/1/17 - Jimbo Fisher leaves Florida State for Texas A&M (for 10 years, $75 million)
11/26/17 - Texas A&M fires Kevin Sumlin after six seasons
11/26/17 - Florida hires Dan Mullen away from Mississippi State
11/25/17 - UCLA hires Chip Kelly after firing Jim Mora
11/25/17 - Nebraska fires Mike Riley
11/25/17 - no. 6 Auburn upsets no. 1 Alabama
11/25/17 - UCF escapes USF 49-42 to remain undefeated


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Jon Gruden to return to Raiders

for $100 million.

The Oakland Raiders will sign Jon Gruden to one of the longest coaching deals in NFL history -- a 10-year contract likely approaching $100 million -- when it is made official Tuesday, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Friday.

The length of Gruden's contract is not unprecedented. The Dallas Cowboys gave Jimmy Johnson (in 1989) and Tom Landry (in 1964) 10-year deals as well.

The Raiders have called a significant news conference for Tuesday, at which time they will introduce Gruden as the team's next coach, a league source confirmed to ESPN.

Gruden, who coached Oakland from 1998 to 2001 and has been working as an ESPN analyst, is returning to the Raiders to replace Jack Del Rio, who was fired after the regular-season finale Sunday.

Gruden will work under general manager Reggie McKenzie, who has turned down a request to interview for the Green Bay Packers' GM opening and is expected to remain with the Raiders, sources told ESPN.

Gruden will become the 12th head coach since 1960 to have multiple stints with one team, and the 16-year gap between jobs with the Raiders is the largest in NFL history for a head coach with the same team.

He had a regular-season record of 38-26 during his first stop with the Raiders and went 2-2 in two postseason appearances prior to being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million in 2012.

He won Super Bowl XXXVII in his first season with Tampa Bay, and he has a career 95-81 record in the regular season while going 5-4 in the postseason.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

June Jones headed to Canada

[8/2/17] Former University of Hawaii head football coach June Jones has been named the assistant head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

“It’ll be fun,” Jones told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning.

Jones said he departs for Canada on Thursday night.

He will remain as the athletic director of development for Saint Louis School, a position he began in December.

Ryan Blangiardi, who was named associate athletic director two weeks ago, will continue to handle the day-to-day operations at Saint Louis.

Jones was UH’s head coach from 1999 through the Warriors’ 2008 Sugar Bowl appearance.

[8/24/17] June Jones promoted to head coach after three weeks on the job

[8/28/17] Art Briles to join Hamilton staff

[8/29/17] Art Briles will not be joining Hamilton staff

[8/29/17] Hamilton worked out Johnny Manziel (but it didn't work out)

[9/14/17] June Jones, 2-0

[12/28/17] CFL opens door for Johnny Manziel


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Dick Enberg

Dick Enberg, the Hall of Fame broadcaster whose "Oh my!" calls rang familiar with so many sports fans, has died, his wife and daughter confirmed Thursday night.

He was 82.

Enberg's daughter Nicole said the family became concerned when he didn't arrive on his flight to Boston on Thursday and that he was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood, with his bags packed for a trip to see his third grandchild for the first time. The family said it was awaiting official word on the cause of death but believed he had a heart attack.

The family "is grateful for the kind thoughts and prayers of all of Dick's countless fans and dear friends," according to a statement released by Enberg's attorney, Dennis Coleman. "At this time we are all still processing the significant loss, and we ask for prayers and respectful privacy in the immediate aftermath of such untimely news."

Enberg was one of America's most beloved sports broadcasters, with his versatile voice spanning the world on networks such as NBC, CBS and ESPN. In all, he covered 28 Wimbledons, 10 Super Bowls and eight NCAA men's basketball title games, including the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird showdown in 1979.

His work was celebrated with a host of honors, including the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award (2015), the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Rozelle Award (1999) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Gowdy Award (1995). He won 13 Sports Emmy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and UCLA named its media center in Pauley Pavilion after Enberg this year.

Most recently, Enberg had served as the primary play-by-play television voice of the San Diego Padres, retiring in 2016 after seven seasons with the team.

"Baseball," he said then, "has been in my DNA from the time I was in diapers."

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017 Hawaii Rainbows Warriors football

11/27/17 - A season of problems
11/25/17 - Hawaii 20, BYU 30 (3-9) / the Kafentzis who got away
11/21/17 - No. 19 Hawaii moves a notch below no. 20 BYU
11/18/17 - Utah State embarrasses Hawaii 38-0 (3-8)
11/11/17 - Hawaii dropped by Fresno State 21-31 (3-7)
11/4/17 - UNLV holds off Hawaii 31-23 (3-6)
10/28/17 - Hawaii run over by San Diego State 7-28 (3-5)
10/17/17 - John Ursua out for season with torn ACL
10/14/17 - Hawaii manages to get by San Jose State 37-26 (3-4)
10/10/17 - Hawaii debuts in bottom 25, Nevada drops from 5 to 17, San Jose State is 6, UMass is 5
10/10/17 - San Jose State no. 3 (in the bottom 10), 128th in country (Hawaii 109th, 113th in week 6)
10/9/17 - Hawaii isn't last in penalties
10/8/17 - Nevada defeats Hawaii 35-21 for their first win of the season (2-4)
10/7/17 - Chris Naeole resigns citing philosophical differences
10/5/17 - Chris Naeole apparently no longer on staff / no comment and comments
9/30/17 - Hawaii crunched by Colorado State 21-51 (2-3)
9/23/17 - Wyoming 28, Hawaii 21 (OT) (2-2)
9/09/17 - UCLA executes Hawaii 56-23 (2-1)
9/2/17 - Hawaii 41, Western Carolina 18 (2-0)
8/26/17 - Hawaii rallies to defeat UMass 38-35 (1-0)

Rainbow Warrior Football Preview
8/23/17 - QB - Dru Brown
8/23/17 - RB - Diocemy Saint Juste
8/23/17 - WR - Keelan Ewaliko
8/23/17 - OL - Dejon Allen
8/23/17 - DL - Penitito Faalologo
8/23/17 - LB - Jahlani Tavai
8/23/17 - DB - Trayvon Henderson
8/23/17 - Special Teams - Noah Borden
8/23/17 - Coach - Nick Rolovich
8/23/17 - Ferd Lewis predicts 7-5 / Hogue 6-6 (San Jose State missing in the article)

7/23/17 - A look at the Rainbow Warriors entering training camp
7/22/17 - Khoury Bethley commits to Hawaii
2/19/17 - Warriors to open spring training
2/17/17 - Attendance increased for the first time since 2012
2/10/17 - Legi Suiaunoa promoted to defensive coordinator to replace Kevin Lempa
2/2/17 - Hawaii signs 23, none from Hawaii


Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 High School Football

12/17/17 - Cordeiro and Mauga are players of the year
12/12/17 - Cordeiro named Gatorade Hawaii player of the year
11/28/17 - Chevan Cordeiro stuck it out
11/18/17 - St. Louis pulls out the victory in battle with Kahuku 31-28
11/18/17 - Lahainaluna 75, Konawaena 69 in seven overtimes
11/10/17 - HHSAA semifinal: St. Louis runs away from Mililani 47-23
11/10/17 - HHSAA semifinal: Kahuku slips by Waianae 10-7
9/23/17 - St. Louis comes back to edge Narbonne 56-50 at Aloha Stadium
9/20/17 - Kaiser cancels the rest of the football season
7/8/17 - OIA compromise / Iolani in Division II? / a Pyrrhic victory for the OIA (Reardon)
6/18/17 - OIA counter-proposal
6/14/17 - OIA, Dave Reardon has a solution
6/9/17 - OIA won't participate in open division
6/9/17 - Three-tiered tournament passed 63-27 with all 27 OIA ADs voting against it
6/8/17 - Why not OIA-ILH for the whole season?

2/10/17 - Vavae Tata won't return as Kahuku head coach


Saturday, November 04, 2017

GSP vs. Bisping

NEW YORK — So much has changed in the UFC in the last four years. The one thing that hasn’t is that Georges St-Pierre is a world champion.

Well, there is one difference: The long-time welterweight kingpin returned after a nearly four-year break and choked out Michael Bisping on Saturday in the main event of UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden to claim the middleweight title.

St-Pierre walked away from the sport in 2013 after defeating Johny Hendricks via a controversial decision in Las Vegas. He took more punishment than he was used to, the pressure he felt was about to make his head explode and he felt most of those he fought were cheating.

On Saturday, though, it was a replay to his heyday, though he was just a bit bigger and a lot more muscular. He survived several hard Bisping right hands, but finished him after cracking Bisping with a counter left.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Hawaii basketball champions

Eran Ganot talks all the time about the history of the Hawaii basketball program, and honoring it. A lot of times doing so is an intangible act, a frame of mind.

Not this time. This time it feels very tangible.

The Rainbow Warriors recently completed a Ganot project — spearheaded by assistant coach John Montgomery and SID Neal Iwamoto — to honor all 13 of UH’s past NCAA or NIT teams by giving each a unique plaque.

They went up on Wednesday in the Stan Sheriff Center tunnel leading to the Bows’ locker room (where other improvements were added in the summer). The wall has been painted green with a background photo design of UH’s second-round NCAA Tournament team of 2015-16, with the plaques laid over it halfway up the wall, spaced equidistant from each other and placed chronologically.

It’s undeniably cool.

“It’s really important to know what you represent, and the people who came before you,” Ganot said this week. “It’s turned to now feeling it, whether it’s bringing back teams, alums are coming by, players, teams, coaches. To be able to visually see that — we’ve done some work in our locker room, now in our halls leaving the locker room.”

Fabulous Five. Tom Henderson. Dynamic Duo. English and Savo. Believabows. They’re all there, with archived photos of each team and notes of season and player highlights.

“It’s a huge thing for our guys. There’s a lot of levels it touches,” Ganot said. “It starts with your current student-athletes to understand what they’re part of. They will be appreciated when they depart from here. For alums who come by here and there, it’s such a great place to show them and obviously it’s honoring them. We gotta continue to do that. And then for recruits, to see that we value the history of this program. To build it, it can’t just be talk. You gotta do some special things and (adding the plaques) was a next step in our initiative there.”

The plaques, combined with the locker room improvements, cost between $15K to $20K. That’s money well spent. Frankly, UH has lagged behind its peers in the area of visually paying respects to its past.

“It’s really cool to see all the past (teams),” said point guard Brocke Stepteau, a member of the 2015-16 team. “It’s one of the things this coaching staff’s really big on, is knowing the history and celebrating the history of the program. It’s good to see that (plaque) of the team I was on a couple years ago that made it to the tournament. To see that celebrated is good; it’s good to build the culture and keep moving that forward.”

Because the average fan visiting the Sheriff won’t have access to the lower tunnel, here’s shots of all 13 team plaques (five NCAA, eight NIT).


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bow's Best Basketball Seasons

Mid-October means a lot to those of us who love college basketball, as our favorite team is back on the court and ready for another great run.

Hawai'i head coach Eran Ganot is hoping that the 2017-18 Rainbow Warriors have some of the success of other exciting UH teams of yesteryear.

Here's my personal pick for the Top 10 greatest years in Hawai'i men's basketball history.

-- Bob Hogue, Midweek, October 18, 2017, page 55


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Connie Hawkins

Connie Hawkins, a high-flying basketball sensation who was molded on the playgrounds of New York and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but whose career was unjustly derailed when the N.B.A. barred him until his prime years had passed on suspicions of involvement in a college point-shaving scandal, died on Friday. He was 75.

The Phoenix Suns confirmed the death but did not say where he died. Hawkins, who lived in the Phoenix area, joined the team when he was 27 after starring with two lesser leagues and the Harlem Globetrotters. The Associated Press said he had been in frail health and was found to have colon cancer in 2007.

Even as a playground legend, Hawkins had the jaw-dropping flash that superstars like Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving and Michael Jordan would display, turning pro basketball into a national sports spectacular.

“He was Julius before Julius, he was Elgin before Elgin, he was Michael before Michael,” the longtime college and pro coach Larry Brown once said in an ESPN documentary on Hawkins. “He was simply the greatest individual player I have ever seen.”


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pitino put on leave amid federal investigation

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Interim university President Greg Postel said at a news conference Wednesday that Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach's attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has "effectively fired" Pitino.

Pitino's exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men's program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

it is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions handed out in June following an escort scandal that unfolded nearly two years ago, which could cost the school its 2013 national title.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director's nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Pitino, 65, was 416-143 over 16 years at Louisville, including that 2013 NCAA championship.

In the latest investigation, federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn't name the schools but contained enough details to identify one of them as Louisville.

Pitino is not named in the federal documents, though the school acknowledged it is under investigation by the FBI.

"These allegations come as a complete shock to me," the coach said in a statement Tuesday night. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney's Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."

Louisville was already reeling from the sex scandal. The program has been ordered to vacate up to 123 victories in which ineligible players received improper benefits -- a period that includes the 2013 title, its third -- along with the 2012 Final Four appearance. The NCAA also placed the school on four years' probation and ordered the return of money received through conference revenue sharing. McGee received a 10-year, show-cause penalty.

Pitino is 770-271 over a 32-year coaching career with stops at Hawaii, Boston, Providence and Kentucky, where he won the 1996 NCAA title. He has also coached in the NBA with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

NBA 2017-2018

1/22/18 - Bucks fire Jason Kidd
12/7/17 - Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, 2019 second-round choice traded from Philadelphia to Brooklyn for Trevor Booker
11/27/17 - Memphis fires Fizdale after going 7-12
10/23/17 - Phoenix fires Earl Watson after three games
9/29/17 - Westbrook decides to stay five more years with OKC for $205 million
9/26/17 - Dwyane Wade to rejoin LeBron in Cleveland for 1 year, $2.3 million
9/23/17 - Knicks trade Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, second round pick
8/22/17 - Cleveland trades Kyrie Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn's 2018 first round draft pick (and a 2020 second round pick)
7/25/17 - Portland trades Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn for Andrew Nicholson
7/25/17 - Derrick Rose signs with Cavaliers for one year, $2.1 million (the minimum)
7/21/17 - John Wall to agree to stay with Washington for four years, $170 million
7/21/17 - Kyrie Irving asking to be traded
7/15/17 - New Orleans signs Rajon Rondo for one year
7/11/17 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to sign with Lakers for one year, $18 million
7/11/17 - Dewayne Dedmon to sign with Atlanta for two years, $14 million
7/9/17 - Toronto to trade Corey Joseph to Indiana for C.J. Miles
7/9/17 - Toronto to trade DeMarre Carroll to Brooklyn for Justin Hamilton, 2018 first round pick, second round pick
7/8/17 - Wizards match Nets offer sheet to Otto Porter Jr. for four years, $106 million
7/8/17 - Jamal Crawford to sign with Minnesota for two years, $8.9 million
7/8/17 - Hawks won't match Knicks offer to Tim Hardaway Jr. for four years, $71 million
7/8/17 - James Harden signs extension giving him a six year deal for $228 million guaranteed
7/8/17 - Jeff Green to sign with Cleveland for one year, $2.3 million
7/7/17 - Tyreke Evans to sign with Memphis for one year, $3.3 million
7/7/17 - Celtics to trade Avery Bradley and a 2019 second round pick to Pistons for Marcus Morris
7/6/17 - Tim Hardaway Jr. signs four year, $71 million offer sheet with Knicks
7/6/17 - Rudy Gay signs with Spurs for 2 years, $17 million
7/6/17 - Kings sign Vince Carter for $8 million
7/6/17 - Kelly Olynyk to sign with Miami for 4 years, $50+ million
7/6/17 - Dirk Nowitzki to re-sign with Dallas for 2 years, $10 million
7/6/17 - Clippers sign Milos Teodosic for 2 years, $12 million
7/6/17 - Andre Roberson to stay with Oklahoma City for 3 years, $30 million
7/5/17 - Nick Young to sign with Warriors for 1 year, $5.2 million
7/5/17 - Danilo Gallinari headed to Clippers, Clippers to send Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, Rockets 2018 first-round pick, and cash to Atlanta, Atlanta to send Paul Millsap and Wizards 2019 second-round pick to Denver
7/4/17 - Gordon Hayward to join Celtics for 4 years, $128 million
7/4/17 - Nets offer Otto Porter max deal of 4 years, $106.5 million
7/4/17 - Miami waives Chris Bosh
7/4/17 - George Hill signs with Kings for 3 years, $57 million
7/4/17 - Kings sign Zach Randolph for 2 years, $24 million
7/3/17 - Darren Collison to sign with Pacers for 2 years, $20 million
7/3/17 - Kevin Durant agrees to accept a measly $53 million for 2 years
7/2/17 - Paul Millsap to sign with Denver for 3 years, $90 million
7/2/17 - Memphis signs Ben McLemore for 2 years, $11 million
7/2/17 - Kyle Lowry to return to Toronto for 3 years, $100 million
7/2/17 - Kyle Korver to remain with Cleveland for 3 years, $22 million
7/2/17 - Taj Gibson leaves Chicago for Minnesota for 2 years, $28 million
7/2/17 - Serge Ibaka to return to Toronto for $3 years, $65 million
7/1/17 - Andre Iguodala to re-sign to Golden State for 3 years, $48 million
7/1/17 - Joe Ingles to re-sign with Utah for 4 years, $52 million (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
7/1/17 - 76ers to give $23 million for J.J. Redick? / only $11 million for Amir Johnson
7/1/17 - New Orleans to retain Jrue Holiday for 5 years, $126 million (at least)
6/30/17 - Oh yeah? Steph Curry re-signs with Warriors for 5 years, $201 million
6/30/17 - Minnesota signs Jeff Teague (away from Indiana) for 3 years, $57 million
6/30/17 - Minnesota trades Ricky Rubio to Utah for top-14 protected first round pick
6/30/17 - Blake Griffin to re-sign with Clippers for 5 years, $173 million
6/30/17 - Pacers trade Paul George to OKC for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis
6/28/17 - Clippers to trade Chris Paul to Rockets for Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, 2018 first round pick (reactions) / Clippers also get DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer and $661,000.
6/28/17 - Phil Jackson and Knicks part ways

2017 Free Agent Buzz

6/22/17 - Bulls trade Jimmy Butler and 16th pick (Justin Patton) to Wolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and no. 7 pick (Lauri Markannen).

6/22/17 - NBA Draft (grades, transaction tracker)
1. Sixers: Markelle Fultz
2. Lakers: Lonzo Ball
3. Celtics: Jayson Tatum
4. Suns: Josh Jackson
5. Kings: De'Aaron Fox
6. Magic: Jonathan Isaac
7. Wolves: Lauri Markannen [traded to Bulls]
8. Knicks: Frank Ntilikina
9. Mavericks: Dennis Smith
10. Kings: Zach Collins (traded to Portland)
11. Hornets: Malik Monk
12. Pistons: Luke Kennard

6/21/17 - Dwight Howard and 31st pick traded from Atlanta to Charlotte for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and 41st pick
6/20/17 - Lakers trade D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and 27th pick
6/19/17 - Jerry West joins Clippers
6/19/17 - Celtics trade no. 1 pick in first round to 76ers for no. 3 pick in first round plus first rounder in 2018 or 2019

6/19/17 - consensus mock draft (ranking)
1. Sixers: Fultz (1)
2. Lakers: Ball (2)
3. Celtics: Jackson (3)
4. Suns: Fox (4)
5. Kings: Fox (which means Tatum (5) I assume)
6. Magic: Jonathan Isaac (6)
7. Wolves: Markannen (9)
8. Knicks: Monk (8)
9. Mavericks: Smith (7)
10. Kings: Zach Collins (11)
11. Hornets: Donovan Mitchell (12)
12. Pistons: Luke Kennard (13)
13. Nuggets: Zack Collins (which means Frank Nitikina (10) I assume)
14. Heat: Donovan Mitchell (which means OG Anunoby (14) I assume)

5/17/17 - Mock Draft 1.0
1.  Boston: Markell Fultz, PG, Washington
2.  Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
3.  Philadelphia: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
4.  Phoenix: Jason Tatum, SF, Duke
5.  Sacramento: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
6.  Orlando: Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina State
7.  Minnesota: Malik Monk, SG-PG, Kentucky
8.  New York Knicks: Jonathan Isaac, PF-SF, Florida State
9.  Dallas: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
10. Sacramento: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

so many home runs

Giancarlo Stanton's smacks, Aaron Judge's jolts and all those dizzying long balls helped Major League Baseball move another poke closer to the inevitable.

Nearly two decades after the height of the Steroids Era, the sport is on track to break its season record for home runs on Tuesday — and not just top the old mark, but smash it like one of those upper-deck shots that have become commonplace in the Summer of the Slugger.

There were 5,677 home runs hit through Monday, 16 shy of the record set in 2000.

Juiced balls? Watered-down pitching? Stanton's renaissance? Sensational starts by Judge and Cody Bellinger?

"I don't think that we are ever going to have a single explanation for exactly why we've see so many," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "But players are bigger and stronger. They're playing a little differently, in terms of the way they swing. Pitchers throw harder. The one thing I remain comfortable with: Nothing about the baseball, according to our testing, is materially different."

There were 5,610 homers last year, an average of 2.31 per game, and this year's average of 2.53 projects to 6,139. That would be up 47 percent from 4,186 in 2014.

"The game has changed," New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "From when I started, there's a lot less stolen bases, there's a lot less bunting, there's a lot less hitting-and-running. You don't give outs away, and you let guys swing the bat."

Already 108 players have hit 20 homers this year, just two shy of the record set last season — and up from 64 in 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"The ball seems to soar from people that are hitting it farther than maybe they did a year ago ... and they kind of look like the same person," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor, a Hall of Famer hitter, said before Monday night's game at Yankee Stadium.

Along with sailing shots come strikeouts, which will set a record for the 10th consecutive year. There were 37,083 whiffs through Monday, an average of 8.25 per team per game that translates to 40,103 over the full season.

"The focus is hitting homers and tolerating strikeouts," Reggie Jackson said. "I don't really like all the strikeouts, and I was the king."

Baseball officials are worried about decreasing action and have been alarmed by the strikeout rise. This year's total is up from 38,982 last year and headed to an increase of nearly 8,000 from the 32,189 in 2007. The strikeout spike coincides with a rise in fastball velocity; four-seamers have averaged 93.2 mph this year, up from 91.9 mph in 2008, according to MLB data.

"These bullpens are making it extremely difficult. From basically the starter on you're going to have elite, hard-throwing guys that are looking to strike you out every single time," said Baltimore's Mark Trumbo, last year's home run champion. "The game right now is as max effort as I've seen it. Guys are throwing harder. At the plate sometimes you have no choice. It's hard to steer the ball around when it's 98 miles an hour and up in the zone."

"These bullpens are making it extremely difficult. From basically the starter on you're going to have elite, hard-throwing guys that are looking to strike you out every single time," said Baltimore's Mark Trumbo, last year's home run champion. "The game right now is as max effort as I've seen it. Guys are throwing harder. At the plate sometimes you have no choice. It's hard to steer the ball around when it's 98 miles an hour and up in the zone."

Jackson set a record with 2,597 career strikeouts, maxing at 171 in 1968. Six players already have reached 171 this year, led by the Yankees' Judge at 198. He could break Mark Reynolds' season record of 223, set in 2009.

"You'd have been on the bench," Jackson said. "But I don't know if you set a guy on the bench with 90 RBIs and 40 homers. That's Judge. You ain't going to sit that on the bench."

Steroids fueled the home run surge in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and power subsided after the start of drug testing with penalties in 2004. The home run average dropped in 2014 to its lowest level since 1992, then started rising during the second half of the 2015 season.

*** 9/29/17 ***

TORONTO — Kansas City's Alex Gordon broke Major League Baseball's season home run record with 12 days to spare, hitting the 5,694th long ball of 2017 on Tuesday night.

Gordon's home run off Toronto reliever Ryan Tepera broke a mark set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. The drive, which drove in the last run in the Royals' 5-2 loss, was his eighth this season and the 159th of his 11-year big league career.

Power subsided after the start of drug testing with penalties in 2004. The home run average dropped in 2014 to its lowest level since 1992, then started rising during the second half of the 2015 season.

"My biggest take on it is that players are trying to hit more home runs," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "Their philosophy overall, a lot of these position players, is to get the ball in the air and also pull the ball and get the ball in the air and hit it as far as you can. So you're increasing the launch angle, whatever you want to call this, stay away from the groundballs. And so they're sacrificing a little bit more contact to do a little bit more damage."

*** 10/2/17 ***

In a season of record-high home runs and strikeouts along with record-low complete games, there were some constants in Major League Baseball: Houston's Jose Altuve and a Colorado Rockies player won batting titles.

There were 6,105 home runs hit in the season that ended Sunday, topping the 5,963 in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton hit 59, the most in the majors since Barry Bonds set the record with 73 in 2001 and Sammy Sosa hit 64. Drug testing with penalties began three years later.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees led the AL with 52, breaking the rookie record of 49 set by Oakland's Mark McGwire in 1987. There were 117 players with 20 or more, up from 111 last year, and 41 with at least 30, up from 38.

Along with the round-trippers came quick returns to the dugout. Strikeouts set a record for the 10th straight season at 40,104, topping last year's 38,982.

Boston's Chris Sale led pitchers with 308 strikeouts, the first to reach 300 since Arizona's Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002. Washington's Max Scherzer topped the NL for the second straight year at 268.

In an era when analytical departments tell managers not to give away outs, sacrifice bunts dropped to 925, down from 1,025 last year and the fewest since 806 in 1900, when there were just eight teams. Kansas City's Whit Merrifield's 34 stolen bases were the fewest for an AL leader since Luis Aparicio of the Chicago White Sox had 31 in 1961. Miami's Dee Gordon led the NL with 60.

The average runs per team per game rose from 4.48 to 4.65, the highest since 2008. It had dropped to 4.28 in 2014, its lowest since 1992.

At 104-58, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the best record in the major leagues for the first time since 1974. Cleveland (102-60) and Houston (101-61) combined with the Dodgers for MLB's sixth season with three 100-win teams, the first since 2003.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Bobby Heenan

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, one of the most renowned managers and commentators in the history of professional wrestling, died on Sunday. He was 73. Although a cause of death has not yet been confirmed, Heenan had been battling throat cancer since 2002.

After early success in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Heenan was signed by the WWE in 1984. His first managerial client as part of the promotion was WWE Hall of Famer Big John Studd.

Throughout his years as a manager, Heenan formed what would come to be known as the Heenan Family, a group of superstars whom he managed. Among them were Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and Harley Race. All of those names also hold their rightful places in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Heenan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.

The undeniable charisma and wit displayed by Heenan as a manager soon transitioned to the commentary table, where he formed an acclaimed pairing with Gorilla Monsoon. Their verbal exchanges, which included Heenan's one-liners with Monsoon's flabbergasted responses, set the standard for professional wrestling commentary.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Tim Tebow baseball player

Tim Tebow contributed to the greatest rise in minor league baseball attendance in 23 years.

That number is quite appropriate because only one man, Michael Jordan, has done more for minor league baseball crowds than Tebow did this year. And Jordan -- who wore No. 23 for the NBA's Chicago Bulls -- had the benefit of playing Double-A with bigger ballparks to fill.

Thanks to Jordan, the Birmingham Barons' 1994 season attendance of 467,868 fans, with an average of 6,884 fans per game, still stands as a franchise and league record. Although Tebow's popularity didn't fill that many seats, the impact of the former NFL quarterback is undeniable.

The Columbia Fireflies, the Class A team Tebow played for through June 28, saw their attendance increase by nearly 54,000 fans, a 21 percent rise from 2016. The second team Tebow played for, the St. Lucie Mets of advanced Class A, saw attendance rise by 35,803 fans, up 37 percent from last year.

And that's just the beginning.

On the road, Tebow's Fireflies drew a crowd, too: to be exact, 2,591 more fans than the home teams averaged against other opponents. Baseball America calculated that Tebow was worth nearly $1.6 million in additional tickets, parking, concessions and other revenue for the rest of the South Atlantic League.

For the owners of the Fireflies, Tebow was the greatest value in all of sports. The New York Mets paid his salary -- $10,000 for the season -- and the Fireflies reaped the benefits, including merchandise revenue for what figures to be one of the 20 highest-selling clubs in the minors.
At most venues, Tebow went down the line and signed every autograph opportunity until he was finished.

Although Tebow hit just .226 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs, there were highlights on the field, including a home run in his first at-bat after he moved from Columbia to St. Lucie and an unforgettable moment when Tebow reached through the netting while in the on-deck circle to shake hands with an autistic boy during a July 29 game in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tebow then walked to the plate and hit a three-run home run in front of one of the many crowds packed in to see the former Heisman-winning quarterback take his shot at baseball.

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

50 greatest black athletes

The Undefeated partnered with SurveyMonkey to poll the public on the 50 Greatest Black Athletes. In April, 10,350 adults were asked to rank 200 athletes on 20 different surveys.

Respondents were asked how great of an athlete each person was/is using a scale of 1 to 10 stars. The athletes were ranked in order based on their average scores to form a top 50 list. From there, the top 60 athletes (including the first 10 who didn’t make the cut to 50) were used to create a final ranking. Each athlete was ranked on four factors: overall ranking, dominance, inspiration and impact on society. Average scores were calculated from each factor to create a composite score.

Athletes were ranked in order by their composite score to determine our final list, which will be unveiled in groups of 10 per week for five weeks. We’ll have more on how the public voted – broken down by race, age, gender, education level and census region – after the final group is revealed. The Undefeated’s Justin Tinsley, Jerry Bembry and Aaron Dodson wrote the biographies of the athletes, although they didn’t agree with some of the rankings. But the people have spoken, and the results should spark some serious debate.


Here's a sample of how controversial (and ridiculous) the rankings are.  Here's number 60-50:

    No. 60: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
    No. 59: Randy Moss
    No. 58: Kobe Bryant
    No. 57: Scottie Pippen
    No. 56: Moses Malone
    No. 55: Dominique Wilkins
    No. 54: Russell Westbrook
    No. 53: Walt Frazier
    No. 52: Evander Holyfield
    No. 51: Kevin Durant

Kobe ranked behind Pippen and Dominique and Clyde?  Dominique wasn't even rated as a top 50 basketball player!  (Admittedly though, not by me.)

OK, let's scroll down the count-down.

50.  Tim Duncan
49.  Isaiah Thomas
48.  Earl Campbell
47.  Derek Jeter
46.  David Robinson
45.  Joe Frazier
44.  Barry Sanders
43.  Reggie Jackson
42.  Larry Fitzgerald (what?)
41.  Ernie Banks
40.  Roberto Clemente
39.  Ray Robinson
38.  Arthur Ashe
37.  Ken Griffey Jr.
36.  Bill Russell (you're kidding)
35.  George Foreman
34.  Herschel Walker (really? well he was good in college)
33.  Florence Griffith Joyner
32.  Carl Lewis
31.  Michael Johnson
30.  Jim Brown (I'd rank him in the top 5, only 23 in dominance?)
29.  LeBron James
28.  Stephen Curry (above LeBron and Bill Russell and Kobe?)
27.  Jackie Joyner-Kersee
26.  Wilt Chamberlain (I'd rank him in the top 5 too)
25.  Bo Jackson (he wouldn't be on my list)
24.  Sugar Ray Leonard
23.  Joe Louis
22.  Pele (he'd be top 10 on my list)
21.  Wilma Rudolph
20.  Gale Sayers (what's he doing here?)
19.  Emmitt Smith (ditto)
18.  Satchel Paige
17.  Julius Erving (well he was awesome in the ABA)
16.  Shaquille O'Neal (well he did star in Kazaam)
15.  Venus Williams (what?)
14.  Usain Bolt
13.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
12.  Walter Payton
11.  Magic Johnson
10.  Jerry Rice
9.  Gabby Douglas (really? Well they did make a movie about her)
8.  Simone Biles (huh?)
7.  Hank Aaron
6.  Serena Williams
5.  Jesse Owens
4.  Willie Mays (I'm a fan, but this high?)
3.  Muhammad Ali (I'd put him no. 1)
2.  Jackie Robinson (I'd put him no. 2)
1.  Michael Jordan

No O.J.?  No Barry Bonds?  I guess I understand..  What about Mike Tyson? Tiger Woods is not black?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rollie Massimino

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. >> Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova’s storied run to the 1985 NCAA championship and won more than 800 games in his coaching career, died today after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.

Massimino’s death was announced by Keiser University, where he was still the men’s basketball coach. He spent the final days of his life in hospice care.

Best known for that national title at Villanova, Massimino also coached at Stony Brook, UNLV and Cleveland State. He spent the last 11 years of his life at Keiser, where he started the program and turned it into an NAIA power.

“We are so truly honored to have shared this time with him and take some degree of comfort in knowing the positive impact he has had on college students for the last four decades remains immeasurable,” Keiser Chancellor Arthur Keiser said.

After one season at Penn, Massimino took over at Villanova. He spent 19 seasons there, best remembered by the 1985 NCAA title run that was anything but easy — for many reasons.

Villanova needed a last-second stop just to escape over Dayton (a game played at Dayton, no less) in the first round, went scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second half and somehow still beat top-seeded Michigan in the second round, and toppled Maryland in the regional semifinal — winning those three games by a combined nine points. And to get to the Final Four, Villanova erased a halftime deficit against North Carolina.

That game with the Tar Heels was the one where Massimino gave what those linked to that ‘85 team still call “the pasta speech” at halftime.

“He looked at all of us and threw his coat down,” Chuck Everson, who played on that team, said today. “He said, ‘If I knew it was going to come down to this, I’d rather have a bowl of pasta with clam sauce and a lot of cheese on it.’ Everybody was looking at him like, ‘What the heck does this have to do about playing?’ What he was saying was just go out and have some fun. Do something you like. Play. Everybody’s eyes exploded.”

Villanova dominated that second half. Pasta was had afterward.

The Wildcats downed Memphis State in the national semifinals. That left a Villanova vs. Georgetown showdown, an all-Big East final. The Hoyas won both regular-season matchups between the rivals, but Villanova shot a staggering 79 percent in the title game and pulled off a 66-64 upset when it mattered most.

“Even though his 1985 team beat us, I have always had nothing but great respect and admiration for him,” said Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing, who starred on the Hoyas’ 1985 team.

Villanova missed six shots from the field in the game, going 22 for 28.

“This is the greatest thing to ever happen to me,” Massimino said that night.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Michelle Wie to have appendix removed

OTTAWA, Ontario >> Michelle Wie was set to have surgery today to remove her appendix.

Wie withdrew before the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and was taken to Ottawa Hospital for the surgery.

“Further details on her condition will be provided when available,” her agency, IMG, said in a statement.

The 27-year-old Wie was tied for 23rd, six strokes behind leaders Mo Martin and Nicole Broch Larsen after three rounds at Ottawa Hunt.

Wie was 1-2-0 last week in the United States’ Solheim Cup victory over Europe in Iowa. Ranked 30th in the world, she tied for third in the Women’s British Open and has seven top-10 finishes this season.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mayweather vs. McGregor

[8/26/17] LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on a show in the last fight of his spectacular career.

Conor McGregor didn't do so badly, either.

Mayweather figured out a 50th opponent Saturday night, letting McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes in the 10th round.

It was a smashing end to a career that earned Mayweather more money than any fighter before him -- including an estimated $200 million for his last bout.

"I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see," Mayweather said. "I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight."

Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.

Before a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC fighter landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a man who had never been in a professional boxing match before.

McGregor boxed surprisingly well but after landing some shots in the early rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam. Mayweather then went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.

"I turned him into a Mexican tonight," McGregor said. "He fought like a Mexican."

Though Byrd cautioned McGregor for hitting behind the head on two different occasions, there were no real fouls in the fight and McGregor never tried to revert to any MMA tactics.

McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor.

Mayweather was credited with landing more than half his punches, as he solved McGregor's defense after a few rounds. Ringside stats showed him landing 170 of 320 punches to 111 of 430 for McGregor.

In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. He switched from southpaw to conventional at times and used his jab well, but Mayweather's experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.

[8/12/17] McGregor says Mayweather will be unconscious in less than four rounds.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Alexandra Buchanan is the real deal

McKinley didn’t get the win it was searching for on Saturday night, but the Tigers might have found their quarterback.

Oh, and it just happens to be a girl.

Alexandria Buchanan, summoned from the JV team, made her first varsity appearance and was 7-for-16 with 135 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. However, the Tigers fell 27-26 to Kalaheo at Skippa Diaz Stadium and are still looking for their first win since 2013.

“I just joined the varsity team this Tuesday. They moved me up after some consideration,” Buchanan said after the game. “It means a lot. This is my team; they’re like my second family, so it feels great to be able to play with them.”

The McKinley-partisan crowd was rocking on Saturday night in Kalihi, and the Tigers roster seemed to double that of Kalaheo, which had forfeited its matchup against Waipahu the previous week.  Mustangs coach Darrell Poole was inspired by the iron man performance of his team. Almost every Mustang played on both sides of the ball.

In addition to the team’s size, he knew facing Buchanan would be a challenge after previously watching her play on the JV team.

“She’s the real deal. You give her more time and she can throw with the best of them,” Poole said. “To me, it was awesome. I told my boys she’s gonna complete some passes against us. Hat’s off to her.”

*** [9/7/17]

She’s a 4.0 student, class president, assistant editor of the school newspaper and plays center on the girls basketball team.

“It’s kind of hard managing all those different activities, but they’re things I’m really interested in,” says Alexandria Buchanan, a 15-year-old sophomore at McKinley High School.

She also has a passing interest in football.

That’s not “passing” as in a casual curiosity about the game, that’s “passing” in the sense of throwing the ball. In addition to all of the above, Buchanan happens to be the varsity football team’s starting quarterback.

*** [9/16/17]

McKinley defeats Waialua to break four-year losing streak

*** [9/17/17]

Buchanan did her part


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Bolt defeated in farewell race

LONDON (AP) -- One final time, Usain Bolt peered down the last 50 meters of his lane and saw sprinter upon sprinter running footsteps ahead of him.

One final time, the world-record holder furiously pumped the arms and legs on his gangly 6-foot-5 frame, desperately trying to reel in all those would-be winners as the finish line fast approached.

This time, the afterburners kicked in but not hard enough. Not one, but two overlooked and underappreciated Americans -- Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman -- held off what was once Bolt's undeniable late charge.

This time, Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at world championships. That's right: A bronze-medal finish Saturday night in the going-away party for one of the planet's most entertaining icons and track and field's lone shining star.

"No regrets," Bolt insisted, long after a result that stunned a pumped-up crowd into near silence. "It was always going to end, no matter what happened -- win, lose or draw. It doesn't change anything in my career."

Gatlin, who actually trailed Bolt at the halfway point, heard boos cascade loudly across the stadium when his winning time, 9.92 seconds, popped up on the scoreboard. The 35-year-old, who has served two doping bans and been widely cast as a villain to Bolt's hero, went sprawling to the ground with a huge smile. Later, he bowed down to the man he finally defeated.

"I wanted to pay homage to him," Gatlin said. "This night is still a magical night for track and field and Usain Bolt. I'm just happy to be one of his biggest competitors."

Coleman, a 21-year-old in the first major race of his life, was in shock, too: "To beat someone I looked up to when I was growing up. I was just happy to be on the line with him," he conceded.

Bolt, who finished third in a time of 9.95, accepted with class both the result, and the fact that, at 30, he probably is picking the perfect time to retire.

"I did it for the fans," he said after collecting a bronze to go with his three world golds at 100 meters. "They wanted me to go for one more season. I came out and did the best I could."

*** [8/12/17]

LONDON -- Usain Bolt was ramping into warp speed when suddenly, stunningly, the sprint turned into a somersault.

Fifteen steps into the final homestretch of his final race, something gave in Bolt's left hamstring. The World's Fastest Man skittered to a stop, hopping, skipping, jumping and finally dropping to the ground and tumbling forward before coming to a rest.

While the winning team from Britain crossed the finish line, Bolt was writhing on the track, where he wound up chest down with his face pressed into Lane 5. He was certainly every bit as stunned as any of the 60,000-plus who packed the stadium Saturday or the millions watching one of the world's most entertaining showmen make his final curtain call in the 4x100-meter relay at world championships.

There was no celebration -- no gold, no silver, not even a consolation bronze, which Bolt received a week earlier in his final 100-meter race.

Jamaica closed the night with "DNF" by its name: Did Not Finish. Bolt was helped into a wheelchair but eventually got to his feet and, assisted by his teammates, limped gingerly across the finish line. He gave a few waves to the crowd, then left for the trainer's room and, with that, presumably left track and field forever.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Ara Parseghian

Ara Parseghian, a Presbyterian of Armenian descent who might have seemed an unlikely savior of Notre Dame football but became just that, coaching the Fighting Irish out of the wilderness and back to greatness in the 1960s and ’70s, died early Wednesday morning at his home in Granger, Ind. He was 94.

Parseghian ranks with Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy in the pantheon of Notre Dame football coaches. In his 11 seasons (1964 through 1974), his teams won 95 games, lost 17 and tied four, for a .836 winning percentage. His 1966 and 1973 teams were voted national champions.

When Parseghian arrived at Notre Dame, the university’s football program had been in decline for years. The collapse started in 1956, when Notre Dame won only two games and lost eight. Though there were some victories, Notre Dame never won more than five games in a season from 1959 to 1963. Twice it won only two games.

Meanwhile, Parseghian was gaining a reputation. After five highly successful seasons at his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, where he was a protégé of Woody Hayes, he moved to Northwestern for the 1956 season. He barely broke even in his eight years there, but he was credited with doing a lot at an academically rigorous institution with no trace of a football factory image.

By the early 1960s, Notre Dame’s administrators were all too familiar with Parseghian; his Northwestern teams had beaten Notre Dame four years in a row.

At the time, Notre Dame had an interim coach, Hugh Devore, and Parseghian’s relationship with the Northwestern athletic director, Stu Holcomb, had become strained. Parseghian contacted the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, Notre Dame’s vice president and its chairman of athletics, and soon it was announced that he was headed to Notre Dame.

In the spring of 1964, student servers in Notre Dame’s main dining hall noticed that football players were forsaking gravy and ice cream. The new coach had told them that they were going to be leaner and faster.

“He told us we were good; he’d give each of us a chance to show what we could do in practice,” Jack Snow, who was switched from running back to wide receiver, told The New York Times in 1964. “And he’d be in there with us, doing exercises, snapping the ball from center, showing us how to block and run. He made us believe in ourselves.”

Parseghian had a keen eye for talent that had been misused or overlooked. Besides shifting the sure-handed Snow to receiver in 1964, he converted three big but rather slow running backs (“the elephant backfield,” he later called them) into linemen, where they thrived. Most important, Parseghian decided his starting quarterback would be the senior John Huarte, who had spent far more time on the bench than on the field his sophomore and junior years.

Snow was Huarte’s favorite receiver as the Fighting Irish won nine straight games in 1964, with many of the same players from the squad that had lost seven games the year before. Southern California spoiled a perfect season with a 20-17 victory in Los Angeles, but Huarte, who had not even won a varsity letter until 1964, was awarded the Heisman Trophy. Parseghian was acclaimed coach of the year.

But for all his success, Parseghian was saddled for a time with the reputation of a coach who “couldn’t win the big ones.” That image was reinforced on Nov. 19, 1966, when unbeaten Notre Dame met unbeaten Michigan State at East Lansing in the most eagerly awaited college game in 20 years.

Notre Dame fell behind, 10-0, then rallied to tie the score. But late in the game and in its own end of the field, Notre Dame played conservatively rather than risk a turnover, and the game ended in a 10-10 tie. Although Notre Dame was voted the national champion by the wire services, there were many who thought the game had taken some luster from the team’s image.

Parseghian’s year of total redemption was 1973. The team won all 10 regular-season games, then defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 24-23. The clincher was a daring pass from the Irish end zone for a first down that enabled Notre Dame to run out the clock and silenced those who said the coach lacked nerve when it really counted.

Parseghian announced in December 1974 that he was retiring, saying that a quarter-century in coaching had left him “physically exhausted and emotionally drained.” Another New Year’s victory over Alabama, this time in the Orange Bowl, enabled him to go out a winner.

Parseghian was only 51 when he left Notre Dame. Initially, there were rumors that he was weighing offers to coach in the N.F.L., but they remained rumors. As for the possibility that he might one day coach college football again, he would say, “After Notre Dame, what is there?”