Sunday, February 27, 2005

Devastating Loss--Iowa State Took Huskers 'Lightly'


That’s exactly how I would characterize Iowa State’s 76-69 loss today to Nebraska.

“We didn’t come out with as much enthusiasm as we should have,” forward Rahshon Clark said on the postgame radio show after the Cyclones lost a game they all but had to win before a sellout crowd at Hilton Coliseum.

“We just took them lightly. They [Nebraska] just outplayed us.”

However, Clark—who scored 11 points and had three rebounds--gave Iowa State’s fans something to hang their hats on.

“We’re not going to lose another game,” he promised.

I felt Iowa State needed to not only win today’s game, but also Wednesday’s regular-season home finale against Missouri, Saturday’s game at Colorado and at least two games in the Big 12 Conference postseason tournament to make it into the NCAA’s 65-team field.

However, the Cyclones’ important Ratings Percentage Index took a big-time hit with today’s defeat. Nebraska came into the game with only a 12-12 overall record and a 5-8 record in the Big 12.

Iowa State, losing for the second straight time after reeling off seven consecutive victories, is now 15-10 overall and 7-7 in the conference. The Cyclones are tied for sixth and seventh places in the league with Texas A&M, a team that beat them soundly, 75-59, last week.

“Our backs are against the wall again,” center Jared Homan told the radio audience. “It’s us against the world. But when we were in that position earlier in the season, we [fought] our way back. Hopefully, we’ll bounce back and do the same.

“The guys have an uphill battle again. We’ve dug ourselves a hole. We’ve got to come out fighting and give it everything we have.”

Homan, who scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, plays the final regular-season home game of his Iowa State career Wednesday night.

“It’s senior night and there will be a lot of emotion,” he said. “We don’t want to have our last game here be a loss.”

Not so fast.

After what happened today, there’s still a chance that Iowa State will play again at Hilton Coliseum this season.

The trouble is, if there’s another game it would be in the NIT—a place the Cyclones don’t want to be.

Nebraska had 23 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded Iowa State by a whopping 51-37 margin. The Cyclones were 1-for-11 on three-point field goal tries and guard Curtis Stinson, who was averaging 17.6 points, was held to nine while going 3-for-12 from the field.

“The big difference in the game was rebounding,” Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan said on his postgame radio show. “

Morgan said Stinson’s injured left hand “really hurts. It’s courageous of Curtis to even finish the season before having surgery on the hand. The doctor told me that every time the hand is hit it’s same as if somebody drove a nail through it.”

Friday, February 25, 2005

Reader Suggests Alford for D.M. North Coaching Job

The basketball fortunes at Iowa and Iowa State continue to be hot topics with readers of my columns.

The first e-mailer suggests that Hawkeye coach Steve Alford might fit in as the next coach at Des Moines North High School.

For that and more, here we go:


I agree with all of your comments about the Iowa State men's program. However, I wonder why people are questioning Wayne Morgan for keeping Curtis Stinson on the bench to start games. The team is winning. Winning starts with the coach, and if Wayne is keeping Stinson on the bench to begin games, that should be his prerogative, and he should not be criticized for not saying anything.

As for Alford, his time is up. We have had some so-so players at Iowa through the years, but the coaches we have had, from Lute Olson to George Raveling, they have all been able to produce winning teams. Steve comes in as this big-name all -star from years gone by, has to bring his father in as an assistant coach. That was a big mistake, and then he thinks just because he was so great other teams would lay down and let Iowa beat them. Alford needs to learn the difference between small colleges [Southwest Missouri State] and big-time college sports

Bye-bye, Alford. Maybe he could come to Des Moines and coach Des Moines North to some victories.


[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Alford hasn't earned any kind of reputation as a builder of basketball programs, but North High would definitely give him the opportunity to do just that. North has a 3-16 overall record and is 0-10 at the bottom of the Metro Division of the CIML. Who knows, in a few weeks maybe Alford will be available for the job. I really think Alford's credentials would be strong enough to get himself a preliminary interview. After receiving the original e-mail from "Facs50ter," I messaged him back to see if he cared if I used his comments in this column. He wrote, "Thank you for your reply. I have no problems with you including anything that I wrote. Your columns have been in the papers for a long time, and they are great to read and share. Thanks again."]



Nice comments concerning ISU's win over KU. Thanks for the observations. I wish you would lay off Alford, though. He is exactly the kind of pompous, overblown phony that eastern Iowa school deserves. We Cyclone fans hope he stays there forever. Go, Cyclones!

Dan Conrad

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I checked with Dan Conrad to see if he wanted me to print his e-mail in the column. He wrote: "Sure. If I'd have known I would be quoted, I would have told you how I really felt, rather than sugar-coating it."]


To the Editor, Iowa City Press-Citizen:

I am a transplanted Iowan (City High, Class of 1960), now living in Palos Verdes, CA. In recent years, I have watched most Iowa basketball games on ESPN Plus. But [Wednesday] night's Iowa vs. Minnesota game was in the same time slot as several hours of re-runs of the Andy Griffith Show.

So I had to choose between two hours of Steve Alford or two hours of Barney Fife. It wasn't even close. Barney and Opie and Aunt Bee would win that one every time.

If and when Iowa shows Steve Alford the door, there is another Lute Olson-type now coaching at Fresno City College. His name is Vance Walberg. His 2005 team is 29-0 and averages 105 points per game. His 2004 team was 28-3 and his 2003 team was 38-2. Prior to that, his Clovis West High School teams won 10 league championships in 11 years. Those numbers sure look like Lute Olson's high school and junior college coaching records.

Coach Walberg's teams use the full-court press every minute of every game, as he interchanges ten players. Truly exciting basketball that would bring back the sellout crowds to Carver Hawkeye Arena.

--Al Schallau

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Al Schallau, a frequent contributor to this column, is the man who is given credit for calling Iowa's attention to Lute Olson a number of years ago. Olson went on to become The World's Greatest Collegiate Basketball Coach, but he didn't become really famous until after leaving the Hawkeyes and going to Arizona. Schallau sent his e-mail about Steve Alford, Barney Fife, Opie, Aunt Bee and Vance Walberg to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, and forwarded a copy of it to me. Great hearing from you, Al. Keep us up to date on Vance Walberg's progress].


I can't believe this would ever happen but.....

The Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera is reporting that Ceal Barry will resign as Colorado's women's basketball coach at the end of the season and that Bill Fennelly of Iowa State is on the list of possible replacements.

--Women’s Basketball Fan

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Fennelly has certainly made his mark as the Cyclones' coach and will be mentioned as a likely candidate for just about any job that opens at a school in a major conference. So far, he's seemed happy at Iowa State, and I don't expect him to leave anytime soon. Then again, Boulder, Colo., is a beautiful city, and those mountains are sure pretty out there].


A sad day in Iowa football history. Like his booming punts, news of Reggie Roby's untimely death takes your breath away.

--Richard Hayman

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I totally agree with you, Richard. The death of Reggie Roby at 43 was a shock. My thoughts and prayers go out to Reggie's family].


Who does Mark Robinson think he is? Give Dolph a break. He didn't plan on the most unexpected play in Iowa football history to take place and have planned his response accordingly. Tell Mark to listen to Frosty Mitchell from now on.

--Brian Fleming

[RON MALY'S [AND GARY DOLPHIN'S] COMMENTS: Brian Fleming's e-mail was in response to reader Mark Robinson's comments about how Iowa play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin described Hawkeye quarterback Drew Tate's game-winning pass to Warren Holloway in the Capital One Bowl. Robinson said Dolphin "regurgitated" Jack Buck's description of Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series. "I could care less what [Robinson] thinks of my call, and if someone wants to accuse me of extolling Jack Buck's name, great, because he was one of my all-time heroes in the industry," Dolphin told me in an e-mail. "Does this guy really think we sit around for YEARS rehearsing a book full of planned endings????? When someone pointed the Buck correlation out to me, I vaguely recalled Jack saying that when Gibson hit the home run. But does Mark really believe Jack Buck was the first announcer EVER to utter, 'I can't believe what I just saw"????' It's a commonly used phrase--not exactly, 'Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!!!!' Oh well, fans are what make the world go round, huh? I've been at this 33 years, and I certainly wasn't worried about Tate throwing a 55-yard TD pass with no time on the clock. If you go back and listen sequentially, I'm wondering more about why in the world we aren't calling a timeout when we only need three points, not six. That's why I went from despair and anger to anxiety to excitement to utter disbelief. Maybe Mark wanted a, 'So there you have, it ladies and gentlemen, a rather routine ending to this year's Cap One Bowl. As we all expected, Drew Tate picks up another ho-hum LSU blitz and fires a TD pass to Warren over.....back with the postgame after this.' Take care, Ronnie, and always good visiting with you." --Dolph. By the way, some of you may recall the name Frosty Mitchell that Brian Fleming brought up. Mitchell was the play-by-play announcer for Iowa football and basketball games at KGRN in Grinnell and WMT in Cedar Rapids. He's now in retirement, but gets back to Iowa City for the Hawkeyes' home games each fall].

Vol. 4, No. 311

Feb. 25, 2005

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Maly's Column on Alford for Iowa Sports Connection

We should all give Iowa’s athletic administrators credit for one thing.

They tried.

The hiring of Steve Alford as the Hawkeyes’ basketball coach on March 22, 1999 looked to be an excellent idea.

Alford had been a standout player at Indiana, He obviously knew the game. He did well in his earlier coaching jobs.

He appeared to be the right kind of guy to coach Iowa, a university with a strong basketball tradition in a Big Ten Conference that cared more about football.

Unfortunately, Steve Alford and Iowa haven’t turned out to be a good fit.

Alford hasn’t been the winner that fans expected. He loses games he shouldn’t lose. He loses players he shouldn’t lose. He loses fans he shouldn’t lose.

Taking into account everything I know, Alford is a fine person and a hard worker. He could be a success in many jobs.

But coaching basketball at the University isn’t one of them.

Consequently, I think it’s time for Iowa to turn the men’s basketball coaching over to someone else.

Alford doesn’t get all he should get out of his players, he doesn’t beat the Northwesterns, the Michigans and the Wisconsins of the world as often as he should, and he doesn’t take his team to the NCAA tournament as many times as he should.

When he coached at Southwest Missouri State, Alford seemed to be the perfect guy for a high-powered job like Iowa.

Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be the case.

This should have been a very good season for Hawkeye basketball. With players such as Jeff Horner, Pierre Pierce, Greg Brunner, Adam Haluska and Erek Hansen, Alford had the makings of a team that should be finishing high in the Big Ten standings and winning a couple of games in the NCAA tournament.

Iowa streaked to a 12-1 record in November and December. Everything seemed fine. I thought that maybe—just maybe—this might be the start of something big.

I wondered if people would then quit joking that “Kirk Ferentz and Steve Alford have one thing in common—their teams both peak in November.”

Unfortunately, now the jokes are back.

One thing that’s not a joke is attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Continuing a disturbing trend, fans are staying away from Iowa’s games in droves.

Not many coaches talk about attendance, but all of them know what might happen when fans lose interest.

“That’s why coaches get fired,” Larry Eustachy told me a day after I had written how Iowa State’s attendance had fallen since Johnny Orr coached there.

Eustachy, of course, learned later that declining attendance isn’t the only reason for which a coach gets fired. But that’s a column for another day.

Strangely, this season’s Hawkeyes lost their first two Big Ten games. Michigan upset them in the conference opener at Carver-Hawkeye. Not good.

Then Ohio State beat them at Columbus. Not good.

Remember, Pierce was still playing for Iowa then. He was the team’s best player. Still, the Hawkeyes were losing.

Later, Pierce was kicked off the team. He’d been given a second chance by Alford, and blew it. He had to go.

The tailspin on the court continued. Alford couldn’t solve the problems.

All of us began wondering if home-grown players such as juniors Horner and Brunner – and maybe even sophomore Haluska – would finish their Hawkeye careers without ever appearing in an NCAA tournament.

Attendance has continued to sink. When 4,000 Illinois fans bought their way into Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a Saturday afternoon game in February to give Iowa only its second sellout of the season, it was more than disappointing.

It was an embarrassment.

I’ve been watching Hawkeye basketball since Pops Harrison coached the team in the mid-1940s. I can’t ever remember something like that happening.

Steve Alford is a fine person and a smart person. But it’s time to pull the plug on him as Iowa’s basketball coach.

[This column appears in the March issue of the Iowa Sports Connection]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Doctors Tell Rob Borsellino He Has Lou Gehrig's Disease

If anyone deserves our thoughts and prayers, it's newspaper columnist Rob Borsellino.

Borsellino has been told by doctors that he has Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Borsellino has always been a battler and a fighter.

He'll battle and he'll fight this time, too.


Here's the announcement of Borsellino's illness that was sent to employees at the paper:

From: Anger, Paul

Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 4:31 PM


Subject: FW: Staff

To the newsroom:

In his column for Wednesday, Rob Borsellino will inform readers that he has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Rob has worked with the knowledge of this for some time, continuing to turn out his unique blend of humor, commentary and warmth. Tomorrow's column is no exception. Rob will be writing two columns a week -- Monday & Wednesday.

-- Paul/Rick

All-America Hawkeye Punter Reggie Roby Dies at 43

Reggie Roby, an all-America punter at the University of Iowa and a 16-year veteran of the National Football League, died Tuesday at his home in Nashville, Tenn..

Roby, 43, was found unconscious and without a pulse at his home by his wife, Melissa. He was later pronounced dead at Saint Thomas Emergency Department.

Roby, a native of Waterloo, was marketing and development director for Backfield in Motion, a non-profit organization that combines athletics and academics to inspire inner-city boys to reach their maximum potential and become significant contributors to society.

“Reggie Roby was a WINNER!” said former Iowa Hawkeye Coach Hayden Fry. “He was a tremendous athlete and a wonderful person. His Hawkeye teammates and coaches are so sad to learn of his death. His family has our deepest sympathy.”

Roby was a member of the first recruiting class of Coach Fry. He led the nation in punting in his final two seasons, setting an NCAA record in 1981 with an average of 49.8 yards per kick. That mark is still an NCAA record for a player with a minimum of 40 punts. He remains Iowa’s record holder for punting average in a game (55.8), season (49.8) and career (45.4).

Roby earned first team all-America recognition in both 1981 and 1982 and he earned honorable mention honors in 1979. Roby was used to kickoff and also handled extra point and field goal duties during his career. An all-around athlete, Roby was an Iowa baseball letterman as a freshman.

As a prep at East High School, he earned all-state honors as a punter and tight end and. He also earned all-conference and all-state honors in baseball and was a three-year basketball letterman.

Roby was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the 1983 NFL Draft. Roby played for the Dolphins for 10 seasons. He also spent time with the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers before retiring in 2002.

“We are all saddened by the death of Reggie Roby and offer our condolences to his wife, Melissa, and his family,” said Bob Bowlsby, athletic director at Iowa. “Reggie was well liked and respected by his coaches and teammates as a student-athlete at Iowa and during his lengthy professional career. He was a great ambassador for Hawkeye football and the University of Iowa.”

Said Iowa State coach Dan McCarney: "I am deeply saddened by the news of Reggie Roby's death. I helped recruit him to Iowa. His family has our deepest sympathy here at Iowa State. I remained good friends with Reggie long after he left Iowa for the National Football League.

"First and foremost, he was about family -- a great father and husband. On the field, football is a team game. That being said, I can't think of anyone under Hayden Fry who had more to do with turning the Hawkeye football program around when we were there than Reggie Roby."


For almost 53 years, Arlene Hamilton was the rock behind Milo Hamilton, one of the most famous voices in baseball. She was the Iowa sweethearts' steady hand at home, raising two children as her husband marched through a Hall of Fame broadcasting career.

For more than half a century, Arlene sat quietly in the booth behind Milo, the voice of the Astros since 1985.

For that reason, the mood was somber at the Astros' spring-training facility at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday as players learned Milo's wife had died at 2:30 a.m. at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

"She was the rock," Hamilton said from Houston, fighting off tears between pauses. "With me being gone, she had to raise two kids alone. With all the traveling, with all the moves I made throughout the years, she always was the one that said, 'Let's go.' "

Arlene Hamilton, 73, had been a fixture at events with her husband. Before her health began failing in recent years, she almost always was at Milo's side for home games and the numerous public appearances he made on behalf of the franchise.

"She was positive and loved baseball and loved Milo's role for the Houston Astros," team owner Drayton McLane said from his home in Temple. "She was an important part of the Houston Astros family."

An accomplished silver life master bridge player, Arlene is survived by Milo and their two children, Mark and Patricia Joy of Atlanta.

Arlene Hamilton, who recently had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, had a heart attack late Friday night. She also had been fighting pneumonia. The Hamiltons were to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary April 6.

--Houston Chronicle (c)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

ISU Headed to 'Dance,' Alford Should Be Headed to Door

All right, admit it.

Wayne Morgan is surprising you, right?

Remember, this is the same Wayne Morgan who was the administration’s third or fourth choice to be Iowa State’s basketball coach when Larry Eustachy was told he was no longer welcome in Hilton Coliseum.

You figured Morgan was a recruiter, not a coach, right?

You figured he’d finish .500 or less for a couple of seasons, then be told to take his act to Division II, where he belonged, right?

You sure didn’t figure ol’ Wayne would propel his Cyclones to the semifinal round of the NIT last season in the Big Apple, right?

After his team lost its first five Big 12 games this season, you told your buddies at the water cooler that last season was an accident—even though it was a pleasant accident-- right?

Hey, enjoy it, folks. Iowa State is for real.

Teams aren’t supposed to walk into Allen Fieldhouse on the University of Kansas campus and come out a winner.

But Morgan and his players did just that yesterday. They now have seven straight victories.

They’re up there with the big boys. They’re playing much better than most teams in America, and they’re headed to the NCAA tournament.


Wayne Morgan isn’t getting out of this with a free pass.

Something is bothering me about the Cyclones’ second-year head coach.

Curtis Stinson, the remarkable guard who scored 29 points, including seven in overtime in Iowa State’s 63-61 victory at Kansas, didn’t go into the game until 4 minutes 25 seconds had elapsed.

Play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin and commentator Fran Fraschilla of the ABC television team immediately told viewers that Stinson wouldn’t be in the starting lineup.

To Fraschilla’s credit, he said Iowa State’s coaches had told him Stinson wouldn’t start due to “a minor disciplinary problem.”

Franklin quickly jumped in to say that Iowa State’s trainers had said Stinson had a minor injury.

I thought Franklin said it was a tailbone injury, but actually Stinson has been bothered by an ailment to his left hand.

Whatever, Morgan evidently didn’t mention any disciplinary action against Stinson in his postgame comments to reporters. Neither did Stinson.

I don’t like that.

If the Iowa State coaches were telling Fraschilla that Stinson was being disciplined, Morgan should have said the same thing to reporters after the game.

Until I’m told otherwise, I believe Fraschilla had the straight scoop on why Stinson didn’t start. I think he was being disciplined.

If Stinson was healthy enough to score 29 points after entering the game, there was no reason to hold him out of the first 4:25.

I haven’t watched every second of every Iowa State game this season, but I believe it was the second time something like this has happened to Stinson.

He also didn’t start in a game at Kansas State, and no reason was given by Morgan or anyone else. That time the TV announcers evidently weren’t told anything about why Stinson began the game on the bench.


It’s obvious there are some big-time basketball problems at the University of Iowa.

And I’m not just referring to Pierre Pierce.

I’m referring to the entire program.

I’ve always felt a coach deserved the opportunity to stay on the job as long as his contract said he could.

But I think time has run out on Steve Alford.

He’s not getting the job done. He’s in over his head as the Hawkeyes’ coach, and I think the university’s administration should reach a settlement with him and send him on his way.

Otherwise, talented players from this state such as Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner [both of whom are now juniors] are going to conclude their collegiate careers without having played in an NCAA tournament.

It’s shocking to me what has happened at a place where there should always be a competitive basketball team and where there should always be a sellout crowd—and most of the 15,500 fans should be cheering for Iowa.

Yesterday was a total embarrassment.

Iowa had just its second sellout of the season, and more than 4,000 of the fans were from Illinois.

I’ve been watching Hawkeye basketball since 1946. I’ve never—I mean never—seen anything like that.

I’ll bet Pops Harrison, Bucky O’Connor and Ralph Miller are rolling over in their graves when they hear that 4,000 Fighting Illini fans bought their way into Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Bring in Illinois to old Iowa Fieldhouse when Popsy, O’Connor and Miller were coaching Iowa, and Hawkeye fans would be rocking the rafters.

The closest an Illinois fan could get to the Fieldhouse in those days was East Moline.

Now a fan from Illinois – or Michigan State or Minnesota – can call the ticket office and ask, “What time is the game?” The ticket manager will say, “What time can you be here?”

Alford says his team lacks leadership.

He’s absolutely right.

However, what he neglects to say is that leadership starts with the head coach.

This Iowa basketball team is without a leader, either on the floor or the bench.

This ain’t Southwest Missouri State, folks.

It’s Iowa, and it’s time to make a change.


Talk about guys who don't have a clue..

Rick Majerus was on ESPN yesterday, saying the Iowa State-Kansas game was in Ames.

And they pay the big guy big bucks to say that stuff.


Iowa assistant coach Craig Neal told Sports Illustrated that some NBA teams would like to have Pierre Pierce in the future.

I certainly wouldn’t argue with that.

I fully agree that Pierce will be the very first 77-year-old player to be a first-round NBA draft choice after he serves his 56-year term in the slammer.

Vol. 4, No. 310
Feb. 20, 2005

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

E-Mailer Says It's Time for Iowa's Alford to 'Move On'

The mail lady -- well, actually the e-mail lady -- was a couple of minutes late.

“Heavy load this afternoon,” she explained. “It looks like people have a lot on their minds.

“I'll bet they do," I told her. "It's been a busy winter. I realize Pierre Pierce has been spending a lot of time in West Des Moines, but it's not every February that he shows up at the courthouse in Adel.

"Well, no use wasting time. Let's see what the e-mailers have to say about ol' Pierre and a number of other subjects:”

Hello, Mr. Maly,

I've read your piece on the Pierce/Alford situation.

As for me, I'm just so disgusted with Iowa basketball right now that I've just tuned it out. Steve Alford came to Iowa with such promise, and it just hasn’t worked out.

I'm sure he'll be a great coach somewhere else, but it is time for him to move on. From mishandling of star players to consistent mediocrity, I've just had all I can take.

And although I have great respect for Bobby Knight as a basketball coach, he has consistently embarrassed himself and his profession with his intemperate ways. That Steve Alford keeps public company with Bobby Knight is a liability.

I still haven't forgotten the press conference a couple years ago when Steve Alford sat by, like a puppy on a leash, while Bobby Knight issued another string of public
expletives and innuendo.

I don't want Iowa basketball to be associated with that kind of personality, or lack thereof. And, in the light of the overwhelming success being enjoyed by our football program, the basketball program looks all the worse. In the face of shrinking athletic department budgets, we really can't afford to keep Steve Alford any longer.

The basketball program is a major sport that should be subsidizing other varsity
sports and it is not pulling its weight. The dismissal of Pierce from the
team should be the forerunner of Coach Alford's dismissal from the
university. I wish him all the best. It just hasn't been a good fit.

--Richard Hayman

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Richard Hayman is a former Iowan who owns a degree from Grinnell College. Even though he no longer lives in this area, he remains a fan of Hawkeye sports and likes it a lot when the football and basketball teams win. By the way, in a 15-minute meeting today, Alford rejected an appeal by Pierce to reconsider his dismissal from the team. Pierce's next step is to appeal Alford's decision in writing to Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby].


Richard Hayman sent another e-mail, this one pertaining to Iowa’s last-second victory over Nick Saban’s Louisiana State football team in the Capital One Bowl:

One last thing to get off my chest about The Game. Namely, I'm a little taken aback by Nick Saban's remarks about how "you hate to lose like

I've been stewing for days. He says that we didn't beat them.

Instead, they made mistakes and let us win. You know, both teams made mistakes
that cost them points.

I can understand the frustration of a head coach when the most critical score of the game was largely due to player error. But what do we expect of these kids? To play a perfect game? Come on!

Both teams played hard and well. And, as I review the film of that last play, it
was no accident that the safety bit on the wrong vertical route. It was
just a terrific finish to a terrific ballgame and it's too bad someone had to

I just wish our win wasn't being minimized as an accident. It kind of makes me agree with Matt Roth's sentiments.....

Go Hawkeyes!

--Richard Hayman

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Hayman’s reference to defensive standout Matt Roth was because the Hawkeye flipped off LSU in front of thousands of Iowa fans the night before the bowl game].


I know you know this, but not ALL Hawkeye fans are disappointed in Steve Alford. Only those who think that Rome was built in a day would be disappointed in Steve. How can a coach deal with young men like Pierre Pierce, who do not have enough sense to stay out of trouble with the police?

--A Reader

[EDITOR'S NOTE: It's nice to know that not all Hawkeye fans are disappointed in Alford].



I enjoyed reading your recent commentaries about Steve Alford and Pierre Pierce.
As you well know, I have been saying for two years that Pierre Pierce should be
doing ten years in State Prison rather than playing basketball for the Iowa

But I was moved by one comment about Steve Alford which was, "Why is it so
hard to like that guy?"

I have never met Steve Alford and have never talked to him. So I am not
qualified to say if I would like him or dislike him if I knew him personally.
So all I know about him is what I read from others and what I see and hear on TV
and radio. But two important items caused my opinion of Alford to take a
nosedive downward:

(l) Two years ago, even after Pierre Pierce had pleaded guilty to a reduced
criminal charge, Alford's quote was, "As far as I'm concerned my man is
innocent." It bothered me that Alford apparently is not smart enough to understand that when a man stands in court and pleads guilty to a criminal charge, he is ADMITTING his guilt.

(2) Then there was the story about the woman from North Liberty who sent Alford a picture and asked him to autograph it so she could give it as a gift to a relative. Alford sent it back to her with a message that she would have to pay $50 for his autograph. The lady was incensed and wrote a Letter to the Editor that was printed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The lady is a university employee. Alford was so irritated by the Letter to the Editor that he called the lady's boss at the university and left a nasty message on her boss's voicemail expressing his displeasure.

I then called the lady in North Liberty to express my support for her right to send Letters to the Editor and to express my own outrage that the Iowa
basketball coach expected people to pay $50 for his autograph. I told her,
"You aren't going to get Steve Alford's autograph, but you will get an
autograph from the greatest basketball coach of all time."

Then I sent her a personally autographed copy of Coach John Wooden's book,
"They Call Me Coach."


--Al Schallau

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Schallau is an attorney and a native Iowan who has a degree from the University of Iowa. He now lives in California and writes frequently to Ron Maly. Schallau bought Maly’s dinner last year at a Court Avenue restaurant. It was there that Al and Ron talked for a long time about what an excellent football coach Forest Evashevski was at Iowa].


I wasn't aware that Alford was charging for his autograph. I doubt he has enough requests that he has to report that income to the IRS.

I agree with you about the announcers and their comments about Pierce. If I had their phone numbers I'd call them and tell them he's history and if we lose every game, it's worth it to be rid of the likes of him. Well, I was hoping they'd make a better showing.

--Eastern Iowa reader


If those idiots would stop mentioning that asshole’s name! He’s really laughing because they lost. They’d better charge him with something to save face.

--Urbandale reader

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The readers are upset because Dick Bremer and Mac McCausland, the TV announcers for the Iowa-Michigan State game, continually referred to Pierce during the telecast. I’m starting to think that most Iowans just want Pierce and the problems he’s caused to go away].


The Register just can't seem to find the high road in its reporting of the Pierre Pierce situation.

Although it is done in separate paragraphs, the paper is basically saying:

"The Des Moines Register's policy is to withhold the identity of alleged victims of sexual abuse but this one lives at 277 S. 79th St., Unit 704, in West Des Moines.”

--Des Moines Man

[EDITOR’S NOTE: “Des Moines Man” is a former editor and writer at the local paper. He often doesn’t agree with what goes on at the place where he used to work].



I was catching up on your columns recently, and I need to clarify something
you wrote on Jan. 5

Yes, I did cover the Drake-Southern Illinois men's game, and not the
Women’s. It was my request to skip the second game of the doubleheader.

I had been on the road since Dec. 28, and I needed to be in Des Moines for
an appointment at 8 a.m. the day after the games in Carbondale.

The women's game was originally scheduled right after the men's, and I was
going to pick it up in progress. But it was moved back for some reason, and was
just starting when I left the arena after filing the men's lede.

If the game would have been pivotal to the outcome of the Missouri Valley
Conference race, I would have still covered it. But the Saluki women make Frank
X. Lauterbur Iowa football teams look like BCS contenders.

I covered the Drake women last season when they played in Corpus Christi,
Texas, after the men played. Two other times in recent memory I covered the Iowa
women in Ann Arbor when the men had just or were about to play there.

So skipping the women's game in Carbondale was my call.

Hope things are going well for you.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Brown’s e-mail came after a reader had questioned why he didn’t cover both the men’s and women’s games for the Des Moines paper at Carbondale. As I pointed out previously, Rick is a good friend of mine, and has always been a hard worker. Frankly, I couldn’t blame him for wanting to get out of Carbondale. It’s to the Missouri Valley Conference what Stillwater, Okla., is to the Big 12 and West Lafayette, Ind., is to the Big Ten].



I enjoy your website and your reports. Your column on The Auditorium brought back memories. I was fortunate to play in a few state tournaments in the early 70's and had the displeasure of choking down the smoke after halftime. Those were the days. Since I and the old barn (pardon the expression) turn 50 the same month, I'm feeling a bit antiquated, if you know what I mean.

I've been waiting for someone, anyone, to comment on Gary Dolphin's call of the Tate-to-Holloway touchdown in the Capital One Bowl. Here was perhaps the opportunity of a broadcaster's lifetime and all he could muster was a regurgitation of Jack Buck's call of the Kirk Gibson home run in the 1988 World Series.

"I don't believe what I just saw!" (My God), I can't believe what I just saw."

At least he didn't say, "Oh, the humanity!”

Take care,

--Mark Robinson

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mark is another Iowan who is now living in California. As you might guess, he’s been a big Hawkeye fan for a long time].



I agree with your comments about Dan McCarney. His team and my favorite pro team - the Packers -- had similar seasons. When Green Bay was 1-4, if someone had said they would be 9-6, and have their division title clinched, going into the last week of the season, I'd have said they were dreaming. The combination of Favre as quarterback and Longwell as kicker is fun to watch.

The death of Reggie White certainly was a shock. Having lived in Wisconsin during his Packer years, I can say that the comments made this week truly reflected the way people felt when he was playing. He wasn't the biggest or strongest defensive lineman, but no one mastered technique like he did. He never was a complainer. He always had a smile. People who met him on the street said he was always approachable and friendly. And, his faith was from the heart. I read an article from one of the Charlotte, NC papers about his passing. The author said that he had recently seen Reggie and a friend of his. Both were pushing strollers with their infant children in them, visiting and enjoying life in the private world. He also commented he had seen Reggie in a park one day, pushing a swing for one of his children. The author commented, and I had to agree, the greatest loss with the passing of Reggie White was not the loss to football, or to society, but to his family, to the little one who will never feel daddy push the swing, or the stroller again, and to his wife Sara, who now has only memories of her gentle giant.

The cause of his death, according to the reports I've read, included the component of sleep apnea. A lot of people minimize this problem and the importance of treating it. My hope is that many who suffer from sleep-apnea - and who set aside their CPap machine more than using it - will give a second thought to the importance of the machine for the quality of their life. Yes, the mask is a nuisance to wear, but, breathing properly while one sleeps can make a life and death difference.

David P. Mumm
Senior Pastor
The Ministries of Mount Olive

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Pastor Mumm manages to find time to watch an occasional football or basketball game when he’s not busy doing the more important things he’s trained to do].


Now that Bryce Miller is in and Randy Brubaker is out in the local paper’s ongoing “Rent-a-Sports-Editor” project, a guy who worked at newspapers for a long time is wondering if he should send congratulations or condolences to Miller.....I don’t know how many reporters named Daniel P. Finney there are around, but a Daniel P. Finney byline has been showing up on high school sports stories in the local paper the last couple of weeks. This Daniel P. Finney was listed as a "Register Correspondent," which I guess ranks somewhere between copy boy and night janitor. I’m told it’s the same Daniel P. Finney whose last stop was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he left under pressure after running a personal website with a phony name on which he was critical of people who also worked at the paper, and plugged the stories he was doing in his real job. When he left the St. Louis job, Finney admitted he had made "a kid's mistake. I'm old enough to know better, and I regret it." Let's hope Daniel P. Finney, the guy's real name, and Roland H. Thompson, the pseudonym, can get their act together.

Vol. 4, No. 305
Feb. 15, 2005

Friday, February 11, 2005

Flanagan of WOI-TV Asks: Have Athletes Changed?

Chris Flanagan called a few days ago to tell me about his plan.

Flanagan, who is the co-anchor with Lisa Carponelli on WOI-TV’s 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts, is dipping into his sports background to tackle a timely project.

“We’re doing a piece on college athletes nowadays and how they’ve changed, or if they’ve changed, from a generation ago,” Flanagan explained. “We thought it would be appropriate after what’s happened to Pierre Pierce.”

Flanagan said he “tossed the idea for the project around with news director Scott Frederick” and decided to go with it.

“The shows will run during the 10 p.m. newscasts Tuesday and Wednesday,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan was kind enough to invite me to appear on the show, and came to my home today with a Channel 5 photographer to put my thoughts about the topic on videotape.

“In addition to you, we’ve talked with Drake basketball coach Tom Davis, Troy Skinner and Scott Helverson,” Flanagan said. “We’ll also interview Jeff Hornacek and Jeff Grayer. So we’ll have a good mix of people.”

Skinner is a former University of Iowa basketball player, Helverson played football at Iowa and now is a Big Ten football official. Hornacek and Grayer are former Iowa State basketball standouts.

Flanagan has been at WOI-TV for 3 ½ months. He came to the station after being at KNTV in San Francisco.

“I was a sports anchor and reporter for a number of years,” he said. “That’s how I got my start in TV.”

Channel 5 has been an aggressive player in the Pierce saga. The station had a number of excellent stories last week, and obviously plans to follow with another strong package when it puts the finishing touches to the “college athletes—have they changed?” shows.


I've been following collegiate basketball for more than a half-century, and thought I'd seen it all.

Then I heard why Lonnie Randolph didn't start Drake's game this afternoon against Southwest Missouri State at Springfield, Mo.

Mike Mahon of Drake wrote to say that Randolph, a senior guard, didn't arrive at the arena for the 1:05 p.m. game until there were nearly 6 1/2 minutes gone in the first half.

The reason?

He was taking a law school entrance exam.

"Randolph, the team's second-leading scorer with a 10.7 average, didn't arrive at the Hammons Student Center arena until there was 13:36 left in the first half," Mahon explained. "Randolph spent the entire morning taking his Law School entrance exam on the Southwest Missouri campus along with senior teammate Nate Richie."

That, folks, is a first for me.

I know Maury John, the coach of Drake's 1969 Final Four team, will undoubtedly be rolling over in his grave once he gets this information.

If nothing else, it certainly emphasizes how much value Drake puts on academics these days.

If anyone out there has heard of a stranger way for a player to be late for a game, let me know at

The tardiness of Randolph and Richie wasn't Drake's only problem. Klayton Korver, the Bulldogs' leading three-point shooter, had missed the previous three days of practice because of an injury and made only a token appearance in the game.

He shot two free throws with 7:13 left in the first half after starting Drake's previous 21 games.

Randolph wound up playing 20 minutes and scoring 10 points in the Bulldogs' 85-78 loss. Drake's records sank to 4-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 8-14 overall. Richie played one minute and didn't score.

Paul Morrison, Drake's 87-year-old athletic department historian, told me Sunday that he'd never heard of an incident such as the one that happened at Springfield.

"I've heard of players being penalized because they were late for the team bus, or something like that," said Morrison, who was on hand for the Drake-Southwest Missouri State game. "In those situations, maybe those guys would be held out of the lineup for a minute or two. But this was a new one to me."


Iowa coach Steve Alford didn't say it, but it seems obvious to me that 6-8 Doug Thomas is in his doghouse.

Thomas grabbed a lot of pine time during the Hawkeyes' victory tonight over Northwestern.

"Doug Thomas did not log a minute--did not get off the bench. What can you tell us about that situation?" play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin of the Iowa radio network asked Alford after the game.

"Well, I think we wanted to give Seth [Gorney] some minutes, and we gave Seth a look," Alford answered. "I really like what Seth done. I think Doug will have a chance to get in there, but he's behind Erek [Hansen] and Seth off the bench.

"So that presents some problems for him getting playing time. Those things are going to have to be addressed in practice. In our meetings and things, he's going to have to show that he's deserving of those minutes over Erek and Seth."

Vol. 4, No. 308
Feb. 12, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Homebuilder And Alum Gratias Goes to Work for Drake

Tom Gratias builds houses.

Tom Davis builds basketball programs.

In the next several months, Gratias plans to build something that will help fatten the athletic pocketbook where Davis does his building.

"Drake used to own this state in basketball," said Gratias, referring to the golden years when coach Maury John's Bulldog teams made a habit of going to NCAA tournaments and advanced to the Final Four in March, 1969.

Gratias, a 1968 Drake graduate, told a group of boosters today that his company – Gratias Construction – will build a “walkout ranch home that’s going to be about a half-million-dollar house.

“I hope to raise between $150,000 and $200,000 for the Drake athletic department.”

Gratias said the home would be part of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Des Moines Home Show Expo in June.

A thunderous applause from the boosters greeted Gratias’ announcement.

“I was impressed, too,” said Davis, who is in his second season at Drake after becoming the winningest coach at the University of Iowa.

Davis said Rick Wanamaker, who played on Drake’s Final Four team, put him in touch with Gratias.

“Give Rick a lot of credit for this,” Davis said. “Keno, my son [an assistant on Drake’s coaching staff] and I had lunch with Tom Gratias, and he proposed the idea of building the house. After that interesting lunch, I went back to the office to talk with Dave Blank [Drake’s athletic director].”

Blank said today that “I know Tom Gratias has done this with some other institutions in the past, and it’s been very successful. To do something like this for Drake is unbelievable.”


Davis said he and his staff have started work on next season’s schedule.

The Bulldogs will play the first game in the new Events Center in downtown Des Moines, and that will be part of a tournament that will wind up in Las Vegas.

“Our first game will be at the Events Center, the second game will be at the Knapp Center,” Davis said. “Then we’ll go to Vegas. Keno tells me that it looks like we’ll open with Oklahoma State in Vegas, then play either Boston College or Minnesota.

“It’s not like we’re adding a couple of patsies to the schedule, especially when we go on the road.”

Davis’ plans for next season also call for Drake to host a tournament early in the season. Officials are seeking a sponsor for that.


Drake is still trying to recruit a big inside player.

“I’m looking for Ben Wallace’s brother, but I haven’t found him yet,” Davis said with a laugh.

“But not the brother who got arrested in that big brawl.”

David Wallace, 34, was involved in the fight between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers last Nov. 19 in Detroit.

Ben Wallace is a standout player for the Pistons.


Having fun with the boosters, Davis said:

“This is a hard job, you know. If it was easy, it would have been done a long time ago. This isn’t something you do overnight.”

Drake hasn’t had a winning season since 1986-87.


“Mike Mahon is one of the best sports information directors in America.”

--Tom Davis talking about Drake’s veteran facts-and-figures man

Vol. 4, No. 307
Feb. 9, 2004

Monday, February 07, 2005

Pierce Betrayed His Iowa Teammates As Well As Alford

Steve Alford recalls vividly what his first reaction was when he heard that Pierre Pierce was in more trouble.

“I can’t believe that this is happening,”

That was the thought running through the mind of the Iowa coach.

Alford used the words “betrayal of trust” when saying last week that he was kicking Pierre Pierce off the Hawkeye basketball team.

He used the word “betrayal” again today on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference.

“When you’re given a second chance and you have to go through what everybody went through the first time around, I think there’s a sense of trust you build,” Alford said of his fallen star. “That’s what hurts the most.

“It wasn’t so much the betrayal of me. It was the betrayal of the team. He was a captain and he was counted on greatly. We’re having a very good year. We’re off to a very good start, and now we’ve got to revamp and kind of redo everything Feb. 1.”

Alford, who has coached in an atmosphere of controversy throughout much of his time at Iowa, said, “I just try to make the right decisions. Obviously, I don’t always make the right decisions.

“The first time through, whether it’s Pierre Pierce or who it might have been, I think kids deserve second chances. He was awarded that. It wasn’t just my decision. The whole process really was out of my hands. That’s not how it’s always viewed.

“The second chance was as much institutionally as it was me, and law enforcement as much as it was me. I just felt that—this time around—you’re only given so many be part of a team. I love Pierre to death and I hope things work out the best for him. The dismissal was the only option I had this time.”

Iowa will take records of 3-5 in the Big Ten and 13-5 overall into Wednesday night’s game at Wisconsin. Don’t look for anything good to happen there. The Badgers hardly ever lose at home.


Interesting, wasn’t it, that Iowa finally drew a sellout crowd of 15,500 Saturday for the Michigan State game—AFTER Pierce was dismissed from the team?

Of the Hawkeyes’ attendance problems, the Chicago Tribune wrote:

“A once large and vocal Iowa crowd diminished noticeably, particularly a student section that went from approximately 4,000 three years ago to less than 500 this season.

“I was going to stop going,” said Brian McMillen, 20, a sophomore from Johnston, Ia. “But not because of Pierce, because of Alford. None of the students like Alford. They think he’s an arrogant guy and not taking the program in the right direction.”


Whenever Paul Morrison says something, take it to the bank that it’s true.

Morrison is Drake’s 87-year-old athletic department historian, and if you ask him about something that happened at the university, chances are good that he’ll have an answer for you—or know where to go to get the answer.

Morrison maybe wasn’t on the scene when Dr. James Naismith got hold of that peach-basket and invented the game of basketball, but I’ll bet he had coffee with the good doctor a short time later to tell him how much he enjoyed the sport.

I called Morrison this morning, and knew he’d be at work despite the snow that fell overnight. I also knew he’d be in his office despite being a non-driver.

“They sent a car over to pick to me up,” he said. “I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in a half-hour, but what I help you with?”

I told him that Drake sports information director Mike Mahon had written for my pages Saturday night that the Bulldogs’ 76-72 overtime victory at Evansville accounted for the biggest comeback in school history. Tom Davis’ team rallied from a 19-point deficit.

“What’s the next-biggest comeback?” I asked Morrison.

Now remember, Morrison once answered a question for me on a night when he was lying in a hospital bed a few years ago. So I knew he’d have the answer today.

“We were down by 16 points, 54-38, against Northern Iowa on Jan. 24, 1999,” Morrison said. “We ended up winning, 78-72.

“There were two better comebacks, but we lost both of those games. We were down by 20 points to Colorado State, but lost by 7, and we were down by 17 to UNI and lost by 6.”

Thanks, Paul.

You’re the greatest.

Vol. 4, No. 306
Feb. 7, 2005

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Alford Did What He Had to Do In Dismissing Pierce

The way I’ve got it figured, people at the University of Iowa were looking over my shoulder when I was putting this column together.

I had just written that there was a circus performing at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, and Pierre Pierce was the main act under the big top.

I also wrote that there was no way I’d want Pierce playing in Saturday’s Big Ten game against Michigan State, and—for that matter—it’s time for officials at the school to say that travelin’ man Pierre has played his last game for the Hawkeyes.

Then a couple of hours later, coach Steve Alford stepped up and showed that he agreed with me.

He kicked Pierce off the team.

For good.

At least I hope it's for good.

“Effective immediately, Pierre Pierce has been dismissed from the University of Iowa men’s basketball team,” Alford said in a statement sent to me by Iowa’s sports information office.

“I regret this step has become necessary, but Pierre has betrayed the trust we placed in him when he was given a second chance two years ago. Pierre is an excellent basketball player who will be missed by our team. But, given the circumstances, I feel this is the only appropriate response.”

The 6-foot 4-inch, 195-pound Pierce, a junior guard from Westmont, Ill., was Iowa’s leading scorer with a 17.8-point average. He had started in 80 of 84 games during his career.

Alford did what he had to do. I don’t know if he made the decision to dismiss Pierce by himself or if someone in a higher office told him to do it.

All I know is that Pierce obviously made one too many trips to West Des Moines.

And, from what I hear, he wasn’t going to the new mall out there.

It’s a sad ending to a sad period in Hawkeye basketball history.

Here’s the column I had just finished before Alford took action and wiped Pierce’s name from Iowa’s basketball future:

IT LOOKS like there’s a new setup at Iowa City.

When people want to get in touch with Pierre Pierce—you know, maybe to get his autograph or to see if he wants to speak at a YMCA kids’ camp in the summer--they call the basketball office at the University of Iowa and talk to a secretary.

“Can you please give me Pierre’s phone number?” you ask.

“Do you want his Iowa City number or his West Des Moines number?” the secretary says.


That leads me to this comment:

Pierce appears to be spending more time in West Des Moines than me, and I’ve owned a home here for 38 years.

Kind of makes me wonder how Pierce manages to find time to practice with Jeff Horner, Greg Brunner and the rest of the boys.


No way do I think Pierce should play in Saturday’s game against Michigan State.

He has become the main circus act under the big top that is otherwise known as Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It’s the kind of circus the University of Iowa doesn’t need.

Indeed, I’m to the point where I think it’s time for officials at the school to say that Pierce has played his last game as a Hawkeye.

There’s a limit to the embarrassment that people in this state should have to put up with.


They’re saying that Pierce was in West Des Moines last Thursday. Maybe Friday, too.

Let’s see, it was Wednesday night that he committed 10 turnovers in Iowa’s ridiculous loss at Northwestern.

The final error came when his in-bounds pass in the final seconds of overtime went directly to a Northwestern player.

The last time I could recall something like that happening was a quarter-century or so ago when a Drake player threw the ball into the hands of an opposing player, who proceeded to easily make the game-winning layup.

In those days, that got people laughing.

“Did the Drake guy have money on the game?” they joked.

Well, at least I thought they were joking.


Shame on Pierce for pulling such a shenanigan when he did. It screwed up attorney Alfredo Parrish’s skiing vacation in Colorado.

By the way, who’s paying Parrish for the work he’s been doing for Pierce? Or is he getting paid?


Drake loses to Illinois State, 59-58, with 4 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs’ records sink to 3-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 7-12 overall. That’s after going 7-11 and 12-16 last season.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Tom Davis had in mind when he came out of retirement after becoming the University of Iowa’s winningest coach.


Two of the things you can count on following an Iowa State basketball victory:

[1] Coach Wayne Morgan’s answers to announcer John Walters’ questions on the postgame radio show will consist of three words instead of one or two; [2] Morgan’s postgame show will last three minutes instead of two minutes.


E-mail from an Iowan who is spending the winter in Florida:

“I didn’t get to see the Northwestern-Iowa game. But I heard about the awful ending. Tom Davis lost to Northwestern twice in 13 seasons. Alford has lost three straight to the Cats.”


I ran into a guy, who was wearing a blue-and-white Drake cap, at Sam’s Club on 8th Street in West Des Moines who said he still can’t figure out something.

He wondered why Lewis Lloyd’s jersey is retired at Drake, and Willie McCarter’s isn’t.


E-mail from an eastern Iowa reader:

I was watching the usual TV rehash of Iowa basketball with Gary Dolphin. Coach Steve Alford is so smug and proud of himself for benching his captains for a whole 2 minutes 28 seconds. Why is it so hard to like that guy?”


Cheer up, Hawkeye fans.

At least you’ve still got Kirk Ferentz.

And Ferentz is showing some discipline, too.

Hawkeye football player Antwan Allen was involved in an altercation with authorities before the end of the first semester.

“I became aware of Antwan Allen’s situation prior to the semester break,” Ferentz said. “At that time, I prescribed disciplinary measures that are to be completed prior to spring break. Also, I informed him that if charges and a conviction followed, more measures will be taken, including suspension of playing time.”

The best thing about the recent sale of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which had been a Pulitzer newspaper: The Gannett Co.—publisher of USA Today and the local paper-- wasn’t able to buy it.

The worst thing about the sale: Lee Enterprises was the buyer.


And finally……

In the You’ve-Got-to-Be-Kidding Dept.:

Why did the local paper have a copyright on the Pierre Pierce story it carried yesterday?

That’s like putting a copyright on a story that’s a day old.

Surely the editors knew that every every website, every TV station and every radio station that cared had the story before the local paper had it—and provided more news in their stories.

The local paper has been playing catch-up all week The only people they’re kidding are themselves.

Vol. 4, No. 303
Feb. 2, 2005

Brubaker Demoted In Sports Staff Shakeup at Local Paper

The Des Moines Register sports department, which has badly needed some new ideas and new blood, is finally getting a transfusion.

A shakeup at the top is coming.

Effective next week, Randy Brubaker will no longer be handling the day-to-day responsibilities in the department. Brubaker will be replaced by Bryce Miller, who has been an assistant sports editor.

It sounds like a demotion for Brubaker, who has been called an assistant managing editor but basically has been the sports editor in recent years.

Brubaker replaced Dave Witke as sports editor about seven years ago, and it was regarded as an unpopular move by people in the department and the newsroom.

Few people outside the paper knew who Brubaker was, and still don't know who he is. During his working hours, Brubaker rarely left the newsroom, and he attended very few games.

He preferred to edit copy rather than write stories or columns.

There are many in the news business [and I'm one of them] who think a sports editor should be a high-profile person who is not only seen at games, but also writes about them.

He, or she, needs to like people and enjoy talking to people.

Hell, the sports editor should cover a game once in a while to find out what it's like out there.

That's especially the case with newspaper circulation numbers in a freefall nationwide.

Brubaker's new job will be working with the newspaper's website. It's not often that an editor in the newsroom would leave those types of duties to handle web responsibilities.

The local paper's web operation has been among the worst in the nation for papers its size.

"It sounds like a demotion to me, but you never know," a veteran newspaperman who has been both an editor and a writer said of Brubaker's job change. "They may be more interested in having a good website than a good sports department.

"Maybe it will be an improvement for both."

Here's the announcement that was distributed to newsroom employees today:


"It is our pleasure to announce the following:

"Assistant Managing Editor Randy Brubaker will leave his day-to-day
management role in our Sports Department and will assume a hands-on role
with the news content of our Web site and our use of multimedia. Randy has
already been supervising our online news efforts. His new assignment will
include responsibility for (1) increasing the number of newsroom staffers
involved in online, (2) increasing traffic to the web site and making sure
we become the premier news site for Iowans, and (3) ensuring that breaks news in a timely and meaningful way. He will
act as the newsroom's lead person in media convergence projects and
will help oversee the development of our company-wide, database-driven calendar system.

"Randy will work closely with Online Editor Tim Sharp, and this will give
us the strongest possible combination as we seek to greatly enhance our Web
report. While Randy will have full responsibility for online content, Tim
will continue to provide editing power, technical savvy and ideas as we move forward.

"Assistant Sports Editor Bryce Miller will become executive sports editor
and will take over day-to-day management of the Sports Department. Bryce
has excelled as both reporter and editor and has had impact across the room
on special projects. We're fortunate to have him stepping into this new
role. Bryce will report to Randy.

"These changes are effective Monday, Feb. 7.

"--Paul Anger, Susan Patterson Plank"

Vol. 4, No. 304
Feb. 2, 2005