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