Sunday, June 27, 2004

Larry Eustachy, Shame On You!

Shame on you, Larry Eustachy.

You show up in Hattiesburg, Miss., and all of a sudden your employer is causing problems for the University of Iowa.

OK, just kidding on that “shame on you” comment, big guy. And I also think I’m kidding when I say there are “problems.”

As you can maybe tell, I’m approaching this controversy with about as much humor as I can muster.

Larry, the day I get bent out of shape worrying that your school’s logo is too much like the Tiger Hawk logo at Iowa is the day I start riding my 25-year-old Raleigh bicycle 75 miles a day, seven days a week, so I get in shape for RAGBRAI.

Hey, on a nice June afternoon, I guess I think the folks at Iowa should have more to do than worry about logos. But I’m just here to comment on the news, not make it.

Here’s the scoop. The AP sent a story that officials at Iowa have asked the University of Southern Mississippi to get rid of its Golden Eagle logo, saying it looks too much like the Hawkeyes’ Tiger Hawk logo.

“We’ve had the Tiger Hawk logo for 20, 25 years and the Southern Mississippi logo seems confusingly similar,” Iowa spokesman Steve Parrott said. “We congratulate Southern Mississippi on its taste in logos, but we’ve contacted Southern Mississippi and asked them to change it because it’s too close to ours.”

[Pause. Go ahead, clear your throat. Now you can laugh].

The AP went on to say that the folks at Southern Mississippi don’t care much for what Iowa wants them to do.

“I’m not sure what the whole deal is,” athletic director Richard Giannini said. “But I don’t think (the logos) look anything alike. The only thing they have in common is they are both bird-heads and they’re both the same color, but there’s no other similarity.”

Southern Miss introduced the Eagle-head logo in January, 2003. The logo had avoided the radar of Iowa officials until the school hired Eustachy as its new basketball coach March 25. Media coverage of the hiring in Iowa brought the issue to the attention of Hawkeye officials.

“We saw the coverage and saw the hat he was wearing,” Parrott said.
Eustachy is the former Iowa State coach who was forced to resign because of alcohol-related problems. He spent last year in treatment.

When he was hired by Southern Miss, the AP sent a photograph around the nation showing Eustachy wearing a baseball-style cap with the Golden Eagle logo on the front. Frankly, it does look a little like the Tiger Hawk, but so what? Who’s going to care?

Nobody is even going to care when Eustachy brings his Southern Miss team to Iowa City next Dec. 3 for the Hawkeye Challenge.

Parrott wouldn’t speculate on whether Iowa would pursue litigation on the matter of similar logos. He said Iowa would wait to see how Southern Miss responds.
Litigation over a logo? Come on, Iowa. Act your age.

Meanwhile, the Hattiesburg American in Hattiesburg, Miss., reported today that “students and alumni from Southern Mississippi said, while there are similarities between the two logos, most don’t think it matters.

“That’s two different conferences, so it won’t really conflict,” Leroy Brown, 22, of Baton Rouge, La., told the newspaper.

Enough of that. Let’s get on with the important stuff… how the soybean crop is doing in Iowa this summer. That’s what I care about.


I’ve told you about George Shirk before.

Shirk and I used to sit across from each other at desks in a newspaper office in Des Moines. In those days, the city had two daily papers. George worked for one, I worked for the other.

Shirk was….well, a bit unusual.

He brought a whole new fashion statement to the newsroom. He wore faded blue shorts that looked like they once were size 34x32 pants from the Army Surplus Store. I think Shirk took a pair of scissors to them 15 minutes before showing up for work. I also think he had painted his bathroom while wearing them the night before.

The only reason I think I’m right on that was because there was still plenty of paint on the cut-offs when he showed up for work.

Shirk also wore sandals and no socks. Also, maybe a T-shirt, maybe a sweatshirt.

I liked George, but not everyone did. He had a way of making people kind of mad. I mean, Chuck Shelton, who then was coaching football at Drake, didn’t particularly like it when George wrote a column saying the university should drop the sport.

After games, when Shirk asked Shelton a question, the coach acted as though George wasn’t in the room.

This was the same Chuck Shelton who complained regularly that the game stories about his Bulldogs were buried so deeply in the Sunday paper that they were “back by the tire ads.”

I talked a lot to Shirk in the newsroom, but rarely did we discuss music. Maybe it was because he told me his favorite kind of music was that performed by the Grateful Dead.

Shirk didn’t stay in Des Moines long. He worked at newspapers in Philadelphia and San Jose, Calif., covering the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants.

Later, he was editor of San Francisco-based Wired News. Now Shirk, 50, and his wife, Jean, 46, run a California magazine called Mammoth Monthly. It must be a pretty area there because the photographs sure are.

I’ll have to catch up with crazy George one of these days and talk about the old days.


Tom Kroeschell recalling Marc Lillibridge, the former Iowa State linebacker who was named the Green Bay Packers’ assistant director of pro personnel a few days ago:
“Remember when he’d tell reporters, ‘Call me if you need any quotes?’”

Nothing brings out the emotions more than writing about kids and dogs.

Some of the e-mails I received after the column on the death of my dog, Saki:

From an Eastern Iowa reader:

“I liked your column, except you made me cry when you talked about your Saki. That’s so sad. I’m so sorry you lost her.”

From Al Schallau, a former Iowan who now lives in California:

“I am writing to express my sympathy concerning the death of your dog. I know first-hand how a dog becomes a cherished member of one’s family. We lost both of our dogs in 2001. The first died on her own terms of cancer. The second had to be put to sleep by the vet. She had a cancerous tumor on her liver that was bigger than the liver. It was great, great pain for all of us.

“Fortunately, my daughter Angela soon thereafter brought home a male dog who was not wanted by his then-owners. She named him Luke. At the NBA Pro Summer League in Long Beach, I told Luke Recker that my daughter named her dog after him. Luke has been Angela’s dog ever since, and he is now a cherished member of our family.

“Again, my sympathy to you and your family.”

From Rev. David Mumm of Des Moines:

“Sorry to hear about your dog. It is amazing how pets grow on a person, especially dogs. I think that is why we don’t have one right now. Our last—a wonderful greyhound—had to be put down at age 3. Kathy and the kids weren’t terribly upset by it, but that was my dog, who was right there beside me in some challenging days.”


I also got some reader reaction after writing about people who “flip the bird.” From an Eastern Iowa reader:

“I’ve got to say that I’ve never seen a woman ‘flip the bird,’ but I can tell you a rather funny story on a related incident.

“One time my mom, my sister and I were going to see dad (who was in a nursing home). My mom then was close to 90 years of age. My sister was driving, and someone cut us off on the Interstate. Mom said, ‘Give ‘em the thumb!’ That sweet little old lady didn’t know why my sister and I found that so amusing.”

From one of my classmates at Wilson High School in Cedar Rapids:

“When a couple of us were trying to find a picture of Kenny Oliver to put in the memorial for our 50th reunion last year, we couldn’t find one that was appropriate. For some reason, he didn’t have a senior picture in the 1953 yearbook. He wasn’t present for the 12-B homeroom picture in the ’52 yearbook.

“If you have the ’52 yearbook, take a look at the Hi-Y picture on Page 35 and you’ll see why we couldn’t use that picture of him. Some of the boys in the back row were being nasty.

“I think Kenny did enjoy doing things like flipping the bird. He looked pretty devilish. Steve Ammons was joining in the fun in that yearbook picture, too.”

[NOTE: This is Ron Maly’s editor. The photo showed Oliver and Ammons flipping the bird. Ron knew both Kenny and Steve very well, and he said he’d like to be able to call them and meet for a cold glass of something-or-other so they could all share some laughs about the bird-flipping that took place more than a half-century ago. Ron said he’d also like to talk with Kenny about the incident in fourth grade at Lincoln School in Cedar Rapids. (I didn’t know Ron in those days, but his mother tells me he was known as Ronnie most of the time). Ronnie and Kenny were chasing each other around the classroom, and they knocked over the teacher’s flower pot. The pot broke into a dozen pieces when it hit the floor. The teacher, who obviously was not in a real pleasant mood, said she wanted Ronnie and Kenny to replace it. So they went to downtown Cedar Rapids the following Saturday and—with the help of Ronnie’s mother--bought a new pot. Unfortunately, neither Kenny nor Steve cooperated with us on the update project in this column. They died and now are probably flipping the bird and looking at flowers and flower pots in that big classroom in the sky].


George Wine, author and former athletic department spokesman at the University of Iowa, has made The Big Move.

After living on a farm in Solon, he and his wife have moved to a condominium in Coralville.

So how’s it going?

“We’ve been in our condo for 19 days (but who’s counting?”) Wine tells me in an e-mail. “And I have no regrets about leaving country (yet).

“I just returned from my 55th high school class reunion and for some reason I feel older. Maybe a nap will help.”


It was great to get another e-mail from Rob Borsellino. People can say what they want about the guy sometimes being careless with the facts. And they can criticize him all they want about “I” being his favorite letter in the alphabet. I certainly can overlook most of that stuff when it comes to Rob. There is absolutely nothing better than having a loyal reader and friend like him. He’s a winner all the way.

Vol. 4, No. 240
June 27, 2004