Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Tell the Kid to Be a Lineman

OK, your 14-year-old son likes to play football.

He’s going to be a big kid. He’s fairly athletic and he’s got some speed.

You’re 5-11 and weigh 200. Your wife is 5-8 and pretty well put together herself.

Because your wife is tall and was a two-sport athlete in high school, your son is projected to be 6-4 and, with weight training, about 230 when he quits growing. Everybody knows the kid will get his size from his mother.

The kid keeps telling you he wants to be a running back or a fullback when he gets to high school. If not one of those two positions, he’d shoot for being a tight end. Obviously, he wants to stay in a “glamour” position.

“Forget it,” you tell him over pork chops, baked potatoes and salad with blue cheese dressing at the dinner table. “I want you to be an offensive lineman.”

The kid leaves the table and goes to his room, where he turns on Sports Center. There, he hears the announcer say that rookie Robert Gallery of Iowa is going to make between a guaranteed $18 and $19 million to play for the Oakland Raiders.

“Maybe the old man was right,” the kid thinks. “Maybe I should be an offensive lineman.”

That little scenario was my way of telling you that all mommies and daddies out there should try to persuade their sons to be offensive tackles and not cowboys or bank presidents.

Use Robert Gallery as your example.

After all, the 6-7, 320-pounder from tiny Masonville, Ia., became a very rich man today. reported that Gallery’s representatives reached agreement in principle with the Raiders, the second player selected in the NFL draft.

Len Pasquarelli wrote that Gallery, who is expected to be the cornerstone of the Raiders’ efforts to rebuild an aging offensive line, will receive between a whopping $18 million and $19 million in guaranteed money.

Oakland starts its training camp Thursday in Napa Valley, Calif.., and Gallery wanted to be under contract by the time workouts began.

Gallery, who won the prestigious Outland Trophy at Iowa, is regarded as the best NFL tackle prospect in several years. He’s known as much for his strong character as for his football prowess.

And the word “character” has nothing to do with the shoulder-length hair and large loop earrings Gallery wears. Gallery, who turned 24 two days ago, is no long-haired freak.

This guy can play. And, with the kind of money he’s going to be making on NFL fields, he’ll never have to work a day in his life after his football career is finished.

Gallery is expected to challenge six-year veteran Barry Sims for the starting job at left offensive tackle after a 2003 season at Iowa that saw him become a consensus all-American.

As a Hawkeye, he participated in 3,230 snaps, had 359 knockdown blocks and 41 blocks that resulted in touchdowns.

Obviously, Gallery’s progress at Iowa is another feather in the cap of Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz, whose specialty is coaching offensive linemen. No wonder Ferentz’s name is constantly mentioned as a future NFL head coach.

Ferentz may be wondering, though, if the coaches will ever make as money as the players.

The answer? Probably not.


The Iowa-Arizona State football game Sept. 18 could wind up being on TV after all.
After information began circulating in the Iowa City Press-Citizen and elsewhere that there was no way the game could be on the tube, things began happening.

“Don’t bet on the Iowa vs. Arizona State game not being on TV,” a highly-placed TV executive from our state told me in an e-mail today. “There are lots of behind-the-scenes discussions going on. Something could happen, hopefully in the next two or three days.”

Let’s hope my friend is right. Iowa-Arizona State is too game a game to not be on TV.

Vol. 4, No. 246
July 28, 2004

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

It's the TV Announcers' Fault

You watch the millionaires who play baseball for the Chicago Cubs.

You might get to Wrigley Field for an occasional game, but most of the time you watch the Cubs on TV.

They’re on TV a lot around here. So that means we all get to see how poorly they hit, how poorly they run the bases, how poorly they bunt, how badly they need someone who can pitch in the ninth inning when they have a one-run lead, and the lousy attitudes a lot of them have.

The Cubs aren’t going to win the National League Central this season and, if things don’t improve soon, they’ll be out of the wild-card race, too.

So whose fault is it that the Cubs have fallen 10 or so games behind the St. Louis Cardinals?

It must be the fault of Chip Caray, the play-by-play TV announcer, and Steve Stone, the TV analyst.

Then again, maybe it’s the fault of the newspaper reporters. It’s probably time to blame them, too.

But we’ll worry about the guys from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times another day. Today, let’s pinpoint the TV announcers as being the bad guys.

At least outfielder Moises Alou thinks Caray and Stone need an attitude adjustment. And Manager Dusty Baker might think so, too.

Alou told Sun-Times and Tribune reporters that Stone and Caray often accentuate the negatives about the Cubs during their broadcasts on WGN-TV and Fox Sports Net.

Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan said Alou’s “characterization of Caray and Stone as negative reverberated through the Cubs’ clubhouse.”

Said Baker: “Sometimes you can get annoyed by what the announcers say. We think we’re all on the same side. That’s where the divisiveness comes in. We refuse to let anything divisive creep in here on us.”

Sullivan said Caray and Stone have ruffled feathers in the clubhouse with criticism of the Cubs’ sometimes sloppy play. Stone has built his reputation in Chicago as an analyst who speaks his mind.

“That doesn’t mean I have to agree with them,” Baker said.

Stone, a former outstanding major league pitcher, told Mike Kiley of the Sun-Times that he knows he has complimented Alou on telecasts. Then Stone detailed the problem he has with Alou saying he and Caray dwell on the negatives.

“If you don’t come to me and tell me how good it is, then don’t come to me and tell me how bad it is,” Stone said.

Has Stone been negative?

“Of course,” he told Kiley.

In telling fans what is happening on the field, he stressed there has been no choice over the years.

“I have said some things that haven’t gone well,” Stone told Kiley. “On the other side of the coin, I have been exceptionally positive.”

Stone said the fact that players “rarely thank him for praise,” so he wonders why they are critical of him when he talks about their poor play.

Stone said only one player—relief pitcher Joe Borowski, who now is injured—has come up to him in the last 1 ½ years and said, “I really appreciate what you said in some very trying times.”

The comments by Alou and Baker aren’t new. Many professional athletes and many professional managers—not just those with the Cubs--are overpaid, spoiled people who have been handed everything for so long that they’ve lost touch with reality.

Many of them think reporters should be fans just like the people sitting in the bleachers.

Some college athletes and coaches are the same way. There are plenty of football and basketball players who don’t understand it when, say, Gary Dolphin and John Walters tell it like it is during Iowa and Iowa State radio broadcasts.

Many think they’ve been betrayed when a TV announcer such as Larry Morgan makes a comment during a game that indicates clearly that he’s not a cheerleader. Morgan doing the play-by-play of a game should be no different than Keith Murphy doing the 10:20 sports on WHO-TV. Not all the news at 10:20 is positive, either, and Murphy lets you know when it isn’t. That’s his job.

TV, radio and newspaper reporters are paid to tell the story of a game, and sometimes that story must include negative comments. If the players, managers and coaches don’t like it, they should get a real job.


Speaking of TV, it looks like the Iowa-Arizona State football game at 9:05 p.m. (Iowa time) Sept. 18 at Tempe, AZ, won’t be televised.

It was earlier thought that Fox Sports Net would carry the game, but an Arizona State spokesman told the Iowa City Press-Citizen that’s not the case.

“All TV windows are full,” Mark Brands told the newspaper.

There was some thought that maybe the game could be moved to the afternoon so it could be on TV, but Brands said it will be too hot in Tempe to play in the afternoon.

Well, Gary Dolphin, I can say right now that a helluva lot of people are going to be listening to you on the radio Sept. 18.


It won’t be long before two-a-day football practices at Iowa State and Iowa start. The Cyclones hold their media day Aug. 9 and the Hawkeyes will meet reporters Aug. 10. Iowa opens its season Sept. 4 against Kent State, and Iowa State starts the same day against Northern Iowa.


Jack Tiong, my Singapore Connection, is a sharp young guy. Lately, he’s been getting sharper while reading on the Internet about Christie Vilsack, the wife of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

Tiong has read about the column Vilsack wrote for the Mt. Pleasant News 10 years ago in which she said she was “fascinated at the way some African-Americans speak to each other in an English I struggle to understand, then switch to a standard English when the situation requires.”

Boston reporters have been having fun with Christie this week in stories in which they said she “slammed blacks, easterners and southerners as bad speakers.”
Tiong can’t figure all of this out.

“I think Mrs. Vilsack was trying to be humorous more than anything else,” he tells me in an e-mail. “This was more mischievous than malicious. Reminds me of what Bill Cosby said about black families not bringing up children who speak proper English.

“Cosby was serious and that sparked a debate in the media. But I think the First Lady was mainly kidding.”

Vol. 4, No. 245
July 27, 2004

Monday, July 19, 2004

Cyclones Picked to Finish Last

There are plenty of people who think reporters don’t know anything when it comes to making football predictions.

Well, let’s hope those people are right. Why? Because reporters are saying that Iowa State is going to finish the 2004 football season right where it wound up in 2003—dead last in the North Division of the Big 12 Conference standings.

Kansas State is picked to win the North in the reporters’ vote. Oklahoma is picked to win the South. Missouri, Nebraska (in Bill Callahan’s first season as coach), Colorado, Kansas and Iowa State are picked to follow K-State in the North, in that order.

Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Baylor are picked in that order to follow Oklahoma in the South.

Actually, reporters have done pretty well in picking Big 12 divisional winners in the past. They’ve been correct in 10 of the first 16.

Iowa State will be trying to rebound from an 0-8 record in the Big 12 last season and a 2-10 overall record.

Not much improvement is expected. The Sporting News, in its preseason Big 12 magazine, picked the Cyclones to go 1-7 in the conference, with the victory over Kansas on Oct. 30, and 3-8 overall, with Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois being the other victims.

No Iowa State players are picked by reporters to be first-team all-Big 12. Darren Sproles, Kansas State’s 5-7, 180-pound senior running back, was chosen the offensive player of the year, Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson was picked the defensive player of the year and Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson was picked the newcomer of the year.


The Big 12 media days are Tuesday through Thursday in Kansas City. This is when head coaches and various players from each school are brought in to be interviewed by reporters.

Three players—tailback Stevie Hicks, defensive back Ellis Hobbs and defensive end Jason Berryman—will accompany Iowa State coach Dan McCarney to the Wednesday session.

Hicks led Iowa State in rushing as a redshirt freshman last season with 471 yards in 123 carries. Hobbs has made 122 tackles the past two seasons, and Berryman was a first-team freshman all-American last season after making 110 tackles.


McCarney, whose nine-year record is 38-67 at Iowa State, is ranked the 10th-best coach in the Big 12 by the Sporting News.

“His program’s three-year streak of bowl trips ended last season, but Iowa State isn’t dumping him after sticking with him through thick and thin for nine years,” the magazine wrote. “But to be shut out of the postseason again would undo his earlier success.”

Mark Mangino of Kansas and Guy Morriss of Baylor are the coaches listed behind McCarney.

Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, the former Iowa player who was the fans’ choice as the successor to Hayden Fry as the Hawkeyes’ coach, is the Sporting News’ pick as the Big 12’s No. 1 coach.

“Save for late-season disintegrations the last two years, Stoops has been at the top of his profession,” the magazine said. “He claimed the 2000 national title and played for all the marbles last year. Why? Because few are better than the Visored One when it comes to making decisions on Saturday afternoons.”


Barney Cotton, who is in his first year at Iowa State, is listed as the fourth-best offensive coordinator in the Big 12 by the Sporting News—behind Mike Leach of Texas Tech, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and former Iowa player and assistant coach Chuck Long at Oklahoma.

“After a disastrous 2003 season, Steve Brickey is out (at Iowa State) and Cotton, the former Nebraska offensive coordinator, is in,” wrote the Sporting News. “Cotton likes a physical, tough offense where most things are based off the running game and did a nice job of improving the Huskers’ attack. Better health on the offensive line will help.”

Nick Quartaro, a former Iowa player, Drake head coach and Iowa State assistant coach, is listed as the sixth-best offensive coordinator. He’s now at Kansas. Jay Norvell, a former Iowa player and Iowa State assistant, is tabbed the 12th-best. He’s in his first season at Nebraska.

Del Miller, a co-offensive coordinator at Kansas State, is listed 11th along with co-coordinator Greg Peterson. Miller is a former Iowa assistant coach who almost got the Iowa State head coaching job when McCarney was picked.

Bobby Elliott, a former Iowa player who was an assistant with the Hawkeyes and at Iowa State, is listed as the Sporting News’ second-best offensive coordinator in the Big 12. Iowa State’s John Skladany is ranked No. 9.

“Defense was a key during the Cyclones’ three-season bowl run, but production dropped last year,” the magazine said. “The biggest culprit was a pass rush that ranked last in the Big 12 in sacks. An iffy secondary must be protected by a better rush.”


George Wine of Coralville sent this e-mail after my column last week about the “Throwback Game” Iowa will play Sept. 4 in its season opener against Kent State:

“Ron – Enjoyed your piece on the Throwback Game. If they really want to go back to how football was played 75 years ago, they will let the quarterback call the plays, dropkick field goals, take the coaches out of the press box and have sportswriters sip whiskey and smoke cigars.

“I was going to suggest they cut coaches’ pay to about $5,000 but, hey, we can only go so far. I note you call Mike Hlas the best sports columnist in the state. I’m going to tell Sean Keeler what you said.”

[NOTE: I’m sure there might be one or two sportswriters sipping whiskey (or some other alcoholic beverage) in the press box, whether anyone knows it or not. The closest I came to having whiskey in a press box came a number of years ago following a Minnesota-Missouri game at Columbia, Mo. You know it was quite a while ago because the local paper was still covering games like than then. Shortly after the game ended, a guy from a Minneapolis paper reached under the desk, pulled out a pint of whiskey and said, “Do you want a drink?” I passed that time because I had to make that horrible Columbia-to-Des Moines drive that night. However, I recall when beer was available in a number of college press boxes after games, and I didn’t pass then. Now most have eliminated it because of liability issues. However, as far as I know, beer is still available in NFL press boxes. As for the cigars, you’d better go outdoors, pal. No cheering and no smoking in the press box anymore. And I’ll stand on my claim that Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette is the state’s best newspaper sports columnist].


Hlas, a funny guy, sent this e-mail after my “Throwback Game” column:


I’ll buy your coffee after those generous words [about being called the state’s No. 1 newspaper sports columnist].

“I wouldn’t buy anybody’s jersey. I don’t collect sports memorabilia. The only things I think I’ve kept over the years are a Sun Bowl mouse pad (I’ll use it someday) and a pair of ear plugs I bought at Hilton Coliseum during the Hoiberg/Meyer/Michalik era that I should have used that night.”

[NOTE: I wrote that I’d meet Hlas in Solon on the morning of an Iowa home game. I’d wear a replica of the Iowa uniform that will be used in the Throwback Game and Hlas could wear the Kent State uniform. But it looks like he’s passing on that opportunity, even though I appreciate his offer to buy the coffee. I’ll take mine black, Mike].


An item that may have slipped through the cracks around here was the one involving Bret Bielema being named the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin after being the co-defensive coordinator along with Bobby Elliott at Kansas State.

Bielema is the fiery former Iowa player and assistant coach. He got everybody’s attention after his Hawkeyes beat Iowa State, 21-7, in 1992 for the 10th straight time. Iowa went on to a 15th consecutive victory in the series before Dan McCarney ended the streak with a 27-9 victory for Iowa State in 1998.

After the 1992 game, Bielema confronted Jim Walden, who then was Iowa State’s head coach, at midfield in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

“You’re a big prick, and I enjoyed kicking your ass for five years,” Bielema told the bewildered Walden.

Bielema was also counting his redshirt season when he said he enjoyed whipping Walden for five seasons.

Bielema was undoubtedly reflecting the thoughts of Iowa’s entire football program when he made his comments.

However, he was ordered to apologize to Iowa State for his comments, which he did by telegram, a rather strange way of doing things.

Being a co-coordinator at Kansas State and the coordinator at Wisconsin makes Bielema a favorite to be picked a head coach at a place like Wisconsin or Iowa in the future.

Vol. 4, No. 244
July 19, 2004

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Buying the Miata Is a Smarter Move

I was minding my own business the other day, mowing the lawn and thinking about what a guy usually thinks about while mowing the lawn—whether he wants his new bright-red Miata convertible with the leather interior to have the optional suspension package or not.

I mean, deciding on a $672 suspension package is not easy.

Suddenly, my neighbor to the south started waving his arms frantically. Robert is his name, and whenever he waves his arms like that I figure he wants to say something about football.

“Are you gonna buy one of those Iowa uniforms?” he shouted even before I shut off the mower.

“Why, are they for sale?” I asked.

“Well, the replica uniforms like those being worn in the ‘throwback’ game are,” Robert said. “They cost $500. I thought you’d know about them. You wrote a book about Iowa football, didn’t you? The uniforms are replicas of those that Nile Kinnick and the rest of the 1939 Ironmen wore. Iowa’s players are going to wear them Sept. 4 when they play the Kent State Golden Flashes.”

“What the hell would I do with an Iowa football uniform from 1939?” I asked. “Wear it while I sit at home watching the Hawkeyes play on TV at Arizona State on Sept. 18?”

Robert didn’t think that was very funny. When it comes to Iowa football, he’s a pretty serious guy. So he went back to trimming his bushes. He does that a lot.

Anyway, when I finished the mowing, I started thinking more about what Robert said about the replica uniforms. I started wondering if maybe I should fork over the $500, plus whatever it costs for the dreaded shipping and handling.

I mean, why shouldn’t I have one of those uniforms? I could wear it, as well as the gold helmet that goes with the outfit, to my grandchildren’s soccer and baseball games. [That would be as good a way as any to get hauled off to the funny farm on a Saturday morning, wouldn’t it?] By the way, none of my grandkids are old enough to play football yet, so wearing the uniform to one of those games is out of the question.

I also had one other idea.

I thought maybe I’d talk to Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the best newspaper sports columnist in the state. I’d ask if maybe he was interested in buying one of those uniforms, too. Then maybe he and I could meet for coffee in, say, Solon on the morning of an Iowa home game and talk about whether we think the Hawkeyes will have their game faces on that day.

Knowing Hlas, though, he’d probably decide to buy the Kent State replica uniform. I can’t say that I’d blame him. The Golden Flashes’ uniforms are cheaper. They cost only $250.

I’m happy to know that the people over at Iowa aren’t stopping with just the replica football uniforms for the Sept. 4 game. They also plan to hand out 40,000 straw hats and fedoras that they think people were wearing to games back then.

I’d have to check with Bob Brooks to find out more about that. He’s one of the last guys alive who are old enough to remember what it was like at an Iowa game in 1939. Well, then there’s Jim Zabel. He might’ve broadcast one of those games.

All I know is that Brooks and Zabel would sure look good in one of those straw hats now.

One other thing about that throwback game. It’s probably good that the Iowa-Minnesota game will be played in Minneapolis in the upcoming season. I’d hate to think what the people at Iowa would decide to do with my old pal Floyd of Rosedale if the Hawkeye-Gopher game would be a throwback version.

Somehow, I don’t think Floyd would take too kindly to being outfitted in a fedora.

[NOTE: This is Ron Maly’s editor. Before Ron moves onto the rest of this column, I thought I should inform any Miata dealers around the country that he’s been dreaming of owning one of those cars for about a dozen years now. But don’t bother sending him any price quotes. I mean, Mike Rickord pays him a ton of money for those columns he writes in the Iowa Sports Connection, but not quite enough to buy a 2004 Miata for cash. One year Ron thought he wanted a Miata, but decided at the last minute to buy a 5-year-old Pontiac at the DOT auction at the Fairgrounds instead. He now has a 15-year-old Toyota and a 6-year-old Honda. Obviously, anything he writes about a 2004 Miata is pure fantasy. Sometimes he’s like a little kid dreaming about getting a new 15-speed bike. What I always say to him is, “Keep dreaming, Ronnie-boy. Maybe you’ll win the lottery.” I wish he would already, then maybe I’d get a raise.]


I see Mike Ditka has decided he doesn’t want to run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. Ditka is no dummy, even though he may act like one at times. He sang the National Anthem at a Cubs’ game the other day, and the fans—even those who’d been drinking all day at Wrigley Field--could actually understand the words.


It’s about time Drake had another night football game at home, and it’s finally going to happen.

Dave Blank, the Bulldogs’ athletic director, said today that the Sept. 11 home opener against William Penn (another of those 9-11 games!) will be played at 7 p.m., with portable lights provided by the Musco Lighting Co. The game had originally been scheduled for 1 p.m.

It will be Drake’s first home night game since Nov. 11, 1960, when Wichita State was the opponent. The lights at Drake Stadium were removed in August, 1967.
However, Drake Stadium is considered the home of modern night football with the first game ever played under lights in the nation occurring Oct. 6, 1928 when the Bulldogs beat Simpson, 40-6.

“I’m tremendously excited about bringing night football back to Drake for the first time since 1960,” said Drake coach Rob Ash. “I’m anticipating a big crowd….I think some fans will be attending perhaps their first Drake game because of the novelty.

“This game will be, hopefully, a preview of many more night games that we will be able to play when the new Drake Stadium is completed in 2006.”


People have been sending me nice e-mails about Dan Johnson’s Hall of Fame story in the Sunday paper.

Johnson called a week ago to interview me about the sensational game, which was won by Denise Long’s Union-Whitten team over Jeanette Olson’s Everly team, 113-107, in overtime.

I wrote the game story that Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Auditorium after what was undoubtedly the best girls’ title game ever played. Olson scored 76 points and Long 64 in the rousing windup to another outstanding season of six-girl basketball in this state.

Johnson’s story was about Olson—who now is Jeanette Lietz—being named to the paper’s Sports Hall of Fame. Johnson did his usual superb reporting job, and quoted me accurately in his story. It was a pleasure talking with him about a game that turned into an unbelievable offensive explosion.


Mark Robinson, an Iowa fan who is a frequent contributor to this column and to Internet chat boards, e-mailed me to say that he has moved from Iowa City.

“I moved to Southern California this week to take on a new job. Not really a new job, it’s the same thing I’ve been doing for 23 years,” he wrote. “But things sure seem ‘new’ out here.

“I already miss Iowa City and Iowa in general. California continues to amaze and disappoint at the same time. I think I will enjoy it, though.”


Is anybody excited yet that the AAU Junior Olympics are coming to town?

Vol. 4, No. 243
July 15. 2004

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Van De Velde Dodges a Bullet

Just when some Iowa State sports fans thought they might not have Bruce Van De Velde to kick around anymore, the athletic director dodged a big-time bullet today.

Gregory Geoffroy, the school president, said that Van De Velde will remain as the director as an “exempt Professional and Scientific” employee, effective July 1, 2005, rather than a contract employee. Van De Velde has worked under contract since coming to Iowa State on Nov. 15, 2000. His contract expires June 30, 2005.

“This change makes the employment agreement with the athletics director consistent with that of other senior administrators who report directly to me,” Geoffroy said. “Bruce and I agreed to this change during our recent conversations about his contract.”

Geoffroy said, “Bruce has done an excellent job of leading the athletics department, particularly through the various serious budget challenges that the university and the department have faced.

“He has taken positive steps to increase revenue while also being mindful of the interests of our fans and the welfare of our student-athletes, and I have confidence in his continued leadership of our athletics program.”

Van De Velde has not been popular among some Iowa State fans, and many wondered if he was the right guy to lead the university’s athletic department in the coming years.

He has not been regarded as a “people person” and his leadership skills have been questioned by some fans.

However, it’s my gut feeling that Geoffroy’s confidence in Van De Velde will be good for Dan McCarney, Iowa State’s football coach, Wayne Morgan, the Cyclones’ men’s basketball coach, and all other coaches presently employed by the university.

Far too often these days in the high pressure of big-time collegiate
athletics, a new athletic director eventually brings in his or her own coaches, leaving behind coaches who had done well in the past.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue serving as athletics director at Iowa State,” Van De Velde said today. “I am extremely proud of our staff and the efforts they make on behalf of our student-athletes.”

Van De Velde manages a $27 million budget that includes 11 sports for women and seven for men.

Professional and Scientific is a category of employment at Iowa State that includes administrators, staff, some researchers and others. Exempt P@S employees serve at the pleasure of their supervisors, and they are evaluated annually against a set of performance objectives established by their supervisors.

Gene Smith, who preceded Van De Velde in the athletic director job, also held an exempt P&S appointment. Smith is now the athletic director at Arizona State.


Iowa State’s season-opening football game Sept. 4 against Northern Iowa will start at 1 p.m. in Jack Trice Stadium. That’s somewhat of a surprise, considering school officials have favored night games early in the season at home in recent years because the stadium now has permanent lights.


When I was in London a couple of years ago, I did something I had always wanted to do.

I made the short trip to Wimbledon.

Not for the tournament. Just for a look.

Wimbledon, of course, is regarded as the citadel of tennis. It is to tennis what Yankee Stadium in New York is to baseball, what Lambeau Field in Green Bay is to football.

I spent most of a cool morning in May, 2002, looking at the buildings and the courts at Wimbledon, where the 2004 championships were recently concluded. I’m fully aware that the sport of tennis has slipped considerably in popularity world-wide in recent years but, still, I came away from my tour of Wimbledon thinking that everything was all right with the game.

Then I read what Anne Guerrant wrote to her brother, Al Schallau, about Wimbledon and got a whole different perspective.

Guerrant, 55, is the former Mona Schallau, who grew up in Iowa City. She once was among the world’s best tennis players, and knows about playing at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, otherwise known as Wimbledon. I’ll explain her name change later in this essay.

First to her thoughts about a place that has 20 grass courts, five red shale courts, a museum and six restaurants. The way Guerrant explains it to her brother—who forwarded her thoughts to me and gave me permission to use them--there’s more to Wimbledon than the fresh strawberries and Devonshire cream that King George V made famous.

“I always hated Wimbledon for the most part….pompous officials, horrible weather, bad food and blatant favoritism toward top players,” Guerrant said. “There were three separate locker rooms: One for seeded players, one for the middle ranked, and the largest one downstairs for the rank and file.

“I was assigned to all three over the years. The top locker room had a laundry service, its own massage therapist and food delivery service….”

Guerrant said her “best memory at Wimbledon occurred in 1978 in the doubles quarterfinals. I was playing with Sue Barker, an English player with a huge forehand who was among the world’s Top Ten for many years. She is now a well-known BBC sports commentator who interviews the winners on court after the Wimbledon finals.

“We were scheduled to play Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, who were not only the No. 1 seeds, but they had not lost a match all year! In fact, they had humiliated Sue and me in Kansas City a few months previously. Billie Jean had 19 Wimbledon titles at the time, and was going for her record-breaking 20th title.

“After waiting around for many hours and watching the weather grow cloudy and very cold, we finally were sent to Court 3 at around 7 p.m. We all wore long white pants and/or sweaters. As we stepped onto the court, I pointed this out to Sue and said the court condition was a great equalizer. I also told her to feel free to hit every ball as hard as she could. This was music to her ears!

“Sue belted everything. I poached badly, and the packed crowd was frenetic in their support of their own British player. It was a very close match all the way. Sue and I eventually led 5-4 in the third, my serve and 40-15, double match point. I was so nervous I could hardly breathe! It makes me nervous to write about it!”

But Guerrant kept writing.

“On the first match point, we had a rally at the net and they won it somehow,” she said. “On the second match point, I served to the ad court to Martina and hit the first volley back deep to her. Martina hit a good lob over Sue’s head and rushed the net. I ran around behind Sue to get this lob.

“However, Sue did a Michael Jordan leap into the air and hit an overhead down Martina’s alley for a winner! Game, set match! I couldn’t believe it. We won! The British crowd was overjoyed. When it was over, Billie and Martina were very gracious. Instead of making excuses, they told everyone they were just outplayed by us.

“In 1979, Billie Jean and Martina came back to Wimbledon and won Billie’s 20th title.”

Anne Guerrant now lives in Gilbert, AZ. Her brother, a California lawyer, says, “She is 55 years old and is in fantastic physical condition. She regularly plays and wins the national 50-and-over women’s tennis tournaments.”

It was on July 14, 1996 that Mona Schallau became the 148th member of the Des Moines Sunday Register’s Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.

I had the pleasure of writing the story about her after following her tennis career for many years in long-distance fashion.

So how did Mona Schallau become Anne Guerrant?

“Actually, my proper name is Ramona, and Anne was my middle name,” she explained to me eight years ago. “I’ve gone by Anne for about 10 years.”

She is married to Terry Guerrant.

In 1976, Guerrant was ranked No. 6 in the nation and No. 11 in the world as a tennis player. That year, she teamed with Ann Kiyomura of San Mateo, Calif., as the nation’s No. 1 doubles team.

“My best year in professional earnings was 1976, when I made $103,000,” she told me for the Hall of Fame story. “I made between $75,000 and $100,000 for four or five years.”

The whole idea of becoming a tennis player started when an 11-year-old Mona Schallau asked her mother, Elsie, for a tennis racquet. Her mother got one by using S & H Green Stamps.

The desire to be a successful tennis player was evident when Mona was a junior at City High School in Iowa City.

There were no sports for girls, but that didn’t stop the 5-foot-4 Mona from pursuing tennis.

“I went to the school board meetings by myself and sat for 1 ½ hours to ask if they’d join the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union so I could play in the state tournament,” she said. “I ended up getting all the votes.”

She won state titles as a junior and senior, and said she would have played more girls’ sports in high school had they been available.


No one with the exception of one or two guys already checked into an insane asylum ever thought Mike Krzyzewski was serious when he talked about maybe coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.

I mean, Krzyzewski coaching a sport where the players make more money than the coach would have been idiotic. The same for Roy Williams, who also was mentioned for the Lakers’ job. No way, my friend.

The way I look at it, Coach K and ol’ Roy were maybe just looking for a little attention in a lazy, hazy summer. And, yes, the pay bump will be on the way for both guys, I’m sure.

I always thought Tim Floyd was making a mistake when he left Iowa State and went to the Chicago Bulls. It wasn’t a question of whether he’d be a flop. It was how soon.

The college coaches belong in college. Let Shaq, Kobe and the rest of those spoiled multi-millionaires coach their own teams. That’s the way it’s always been.


Mike Mahon of Drake is one of the better sports information directors in the business.

I got a kick out of how he worded an e-mail this week to reporters and editors. He certainly took a stab at getting their attention. This was his message:

With the U.S. Olympic track and field trials starting this Friday in Sacramento, Calif., I hope you cover this event with the same enthusiasm that you covered the recent Olympic wrestling trials.

The amount of athletes with Iowa ties in the track and field trials is more than double the amount of Iowans who competed in the wrestling trials.

Athletes with Iowa ties in U.S. Olympic track and field trials:


Dave Paulsen, Waverly and Northern Iowa, 800

Matt Gabrielson, Belmond and ex-Drake, 5,000

Jason Lehmkuhle, ex-Drake, 5,000 and 10,000

Joey Woody, Iowa City and ex-Northern Iowa, 400 hurdles

Burke Buckman, Decorah and Northern Iowa, 400 hurdles

Jacob Pauli, ex-Northern Iowa, pole vault

Jamie Beyer, Prairie City-Monroe and ex-Iowa State, shot put

A.G. Kruger, ex-Morningside College, hammer throw

Kip Janvrin, Panora and ex-Simpson College, decathlon

Travis Geopfer, Panora and ex-Northern Iowa, decathlon


Missy Buttry, Shenandoah and Wartburg College, 5,000

Lolo Jones, ex-D.M. Roosevelt, 100 hurdles

Sarah Gray, ex-Cedar Falls High School, 3,000 steeplechase

Gina Rickert, ex-Iowa State, high jump

Aubrey Martin, Muscatine and Western Illinois, shot put

Leann Boerema, Clinton and Nebraska, shot put

Abby Emsick, Council Bluffs Lewis Central, discus

Fina Asigbee, Cedar Rapids Prairie and Missouri, heptathlon

Vol. 4, No. 242
July 8, 2004

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The 'F'-Word and Other Language

Caution. Some of what follows in this column contains more than the usual amount of “R”-rated language.

So if the “F”-word is not your bag, come and visit me again in a week or so. I promise that my next column will be considerably tamer.

I was reading the Poynter media website the other day when I came upon a story that was written by Christine Pelisek in LA Weekly.

Christine got my attention for a couple of reasons. First of all, her last
name isn’t all that common, and it was the name of one of my high school teachers.
The Pelisek I knew was even the football coach at old Wilson High School in Cedar Rapids for a few years.

The first name of the retired teacher and coach is Joe, and I have no idea if he’s related to Christine. He’s living in Nebraska now, so I’ll ask him one of these days.

The second reason that Christine Pelisek’s story in the July 2-8 edition of LA Weekly got my attention was because of the subject matter.
I mean, it’s not every day that the “F”-word is in just about every sentence of a story. The headline, too.

The headline on the story was this:

Fuck Yourself, Dick Cheney

As far as I know, that would be something physically impossible for the vice-president to do, even with the assistance of Viagra, Levitra or some of the other things the TV commercials keep babbling about these days.

But that’s beside the point.

Christine Pelisek was writing about how newspapers and wire services handled some of the recent news of the day.

“Dick Cheney had some advice during the U.S. senate’s annual photo session for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who has been relentless in his criticism of the no-bid contracts awarded to the vice-president’s alma mater, Halliburton,” Pelisek wrote.

“A search of the Nexis newspaper database showed only one U.S. daily newspaper—the Washington Post—quoted the vice-president’s wish for Leahy’s self-sufficiency: ‘Fuck yourself.’

“Here’s how other newspapers and wire services handled the vice-president’s words:

“L.A. Times: ‘Go…yourself.’

“L.A. Daily News: The headline said Cheney cursed.

“The story, the Associated Press, said Cheney said, ‘F---off’ or ‘F---you.’

“The Boston Globe: Referred to the expletive as a ‘vulgar directive’ and
provided no other clues.

“Calgary Sun: ‘(Bleep) off’ or ‘Go (bleep) yourself.’

[NOTE: This is me, Ron Maly, back again. I have no idea what it feels like to bleep myself or anyone else. I guess I’ll have to go to Calgary to find out].

“Daily News (New York): ‘Go f--- yourself.’

“Greenwire: ‘Go (expletive) yourself.’

“The Guardian: ‘Fuck off.’

“The Weekend Australian: F..k off’ or ‘Go f..k yourself.’

“Agence France Press: ‘Fuck you’ or ‘Fuck yourself’ then

“Miami Herald: ‘F--- off or ‘F--- you.’

“The New York Times: ‘obscene phrase.’

“The New York Post: ‘F--- yourself.’

“Newsday: ‘----yourself’ or ‘Go ---- yourself.’

“CNN: The ‘F’ word.

“The University of Iowa’s Daily Journal: ‘Go fuck yourself.’”


A lot of very nice things have happened over the years in the pleasant community of Tiffin.

Surely some of you recall The Lark restaurant. That place was nationally known for the wonderful steak and seafood dishes owner Bob Thompson and his cooks turned out for so many years.

Hell, the highlight of Bobby Knight’s trips to Iowa City for Indiana-Iowa basketball games was often the steaks he enjoyed the night before at The Lark. He bought my dinner there one night, and I still thank Knight for that every time I see him.

[Just so you don’t think it was a one-sided friendship, I bought his lunch the next day in Iowa City].

The trouble is, Knight and the rest of us who like good food suffered a downer several years ago when The Lark burned to the ground. I guess that’s the reason Knight got out of the Big Ten and took a coaching job at Texas Tech.

But, actually, The Lark isn’t why I began writing about Tiffin.
The boa constrictor is.

Yeah, you read that right. The boa constrictor

What a terrible thing to happen to a nice place like Tiffin.

I hear that things were going along nicely in the town until last week. That’s when it became known that some guy had a huge boa constrictor in his garage. He’d often come outdoors with the snake draped over his shoulder, then would walk around the yard.

There are names for guys like that, and even though I can get by with language in this column that other communications outlets can’t, I won’t use the words I’d really like to use.

But one resident of Tiffin did.

Someone in town called the authorities when he saw the snake’s co-owner walking around with the boa constrictor over his shoulder. The town has an ordinance against keeping exotic pets.

So the people who own the snake proceeded to call KCRG/Channel 9, a Cedar Rapids TV station, to complain that their rights were being violated.

A reporter from the station showed up in the neighborhood, and wanted to get both sides of the story. However, one of the first guys interviewed hates snakes. So that interview quickly ended when he called the snake’s owner a “dumb son of a bitch.”

The guy who used that kind of language is all right with me. I’m afraid my language would have been even stronger had the TV reporter interviewed me about a boa constrictor being in my neighborhood.

The good news is that the owners—an adult brother and sister--were told to find other living quarters for the boa.

And just one more thing about a guy being interviewed on TV who starts out by calling someone a “dumb son of a bitch.”

It brings me back to Bobby Knight. One of Knight’s favorite things to do when he coached at Indiana was to purposely use profanity in every other sentence—sometimes every other word—when he wanted to have fun with a TV or radio announcer.

Knight knew that what he said couldn’t possibly be used on the air.

I recall him doing that with the late Gene Claussen of KXIC in Iowa City a number of years ago. Claussen came over to Carver-Hawkeye Arena the day before an Iowa-Indiana game and wanted to do a pregame show with foul-mouthed Bobby.

Knight began using one swear word after another, so it was obvious that Claussen couldn’t use the interview.

“I feel like running it anyway,” Claussen said.
But he didn’t.

Knight won again.


A friend of mine—someone who understands the newspaper business very well--writes:
“Ron: What’s this ass-kissing of Borsellino? Do I detect a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm there? My objective take on him is that he ain’t half the guy he was in his first trip through Des Moines.”

Me an ass-kisser? Watch yourself with that kind of language! Me guilty of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm? Could be, my very observant reader.


Ever since Saki, my 13 ½-year-old shih tzu, died unexpectedly recently, I’ve been hearing about others who have gone through the emotional experience of losing dogs.

Among them was an Iowan who had his 13-year-old black lab put to sleep late last week.

When the man did his running, the dog ran with him. But lately the black lab would stop part-way and wait until the man was heading back home. Another thing the dog particularly liked was going to the pond the man has on his farm.

But, with the change in the dog’s behavior lately, a veterinarian reasoned that she had suffered a stroke.

The owner was talking about how much the dog is missed by the cat owned by the man’s daughter. The dog and the cat made quite a pair, sleeping together in the yard.

I hear that for successive nights the cat scratched on the sliding door that leads to a bedroom at the house. The owner said he got up and walked around the yard with the cat to show her that the dog was gone, then gave her a treat.

The cat is an outdoors variety, and its owner is not a particular lover of cats, so those who know him well couldn’t imagine him doing that.

Because he misses the dog, he felt sympathetic toward the cat.

Ken MacDonald, Where Are You?

People in the newsroom at the local paper were chuckling when they received a memo from Kathy Hickman, whose job is listed as executive assistant to the VP/Editor.
The memo read:

“The Iowa Newspaper Association is asking—is former Register employee Ken McDonald still living? If so, does anyone have a mailing address for him?”
Well, I contacted a wise old retiree--a former reporter and editor at the local paper--about this terribly difficult matter. Here was his answer:

“Kenneth MacDonald was editor of The Register when I came aboard in 1955 and I think remained in that role until Gartner took over, sometime in the 1970s. Ken would be in his mid 90s and lives on Southern Hills Drive in south Des Moines. If anyone was looking for him, it would have been difficult to find since he is listed under his name in the Des Moines telephone book.”

In other words, MacDonald’s name was misspelled in the memo that went through the newsroom. And the “former Register employee” mentioned in the memo was a former editor. And if people wanted to call him, all they had to do was look for his number in the phone book.

Too difficult, I guess.

[NOTE: I asked a guy what Diane Graham would say about this Ken MacDonald thing. I got my usual answer. The guy said, “I’ll ask her when she wakes up.”]


Something else I hear:

A guy writes that “Ira Lacher was fired at Meredith, something about he couldn’t get along with fellow workers. Sound familiar?”
Lacher is a former sports copy editor at the local paper. Sources say he had outworn his welcome and was told he had no future there. All I know about Lacher is that he was the worst sports copy editor I observed in my nearly 40 years at the paper.
So then he wound up being Meredith’s problem. I guess one or two people at that place didn’t like something about him either.

“I got it from a reliable source that he was fired,” a former newspaper editor and reporter writes. “He had apparently been on probation for quite a while.”


Several people have responded to my column on the logo flap between the University of Iowa and Southern Mississippi.

Some of the e-mails I’ve received:

From an Iowa woman:

“The Iowa logo must have been copied from Hanna-Baber’s Fred Flintstone’s head, because I always thought it reminded me of Fred Flintstone. They should sue Iowa and then see where the shoe falls.

“This is ridiculous. Iowa has better things to pursue than a similarity in logos. I hope Southern Mississippi sticks to their guns and doesn’t let Iowa get to them. I hope they come up and beat the pants off of Iowa. Thank you. I don’t bleed over Iowa’s problems.”

[The reader’s reference to beating the pants off of Iowa has to do with Southern Mississippi’s appearance next December in a basketball tournament hosted by the Hawkeyes. Southern Mississippi is now coached by Larry Eustachy, formerly of Iowa State].

From another Iowa woman:

“Larry Eustachy is just wanting to get back at the state of Iowa for what Iowa State did to him. But he seems to be using the University of Iowa to do it. He is making a statement that ‘I am back with a vengeance.’ I wouldn’t use his name in the same sentence as the U. of I. If I were Bob Bowlsby, I would not play them. Then, again, maybe Southern Mississippi is looking for a reason not play Iowa!!!”

From yet another Iowa woman:

“If the guys aren’t smart enough to know who their team members are, maybe they shouldn’t be on the court to begin with!”

Vol. 4, No. 241
July 6, 2004