Saturday, April 30, 2005

Cy-Hawk Series a Good Idea, But Why No Track Competition?

Gordy Scoles is a former Iowan who now lives in South Carolina.

He still keeps up as much as possible with the sports happenings in our state, and my mention of the Cy-Hawk Series between Iowa and Iowa State caught his eye recently.

Iowa won the inaugural series, 13-8, in competition that included football, soccer, women's basketball, swimming and diving, wrestling, men's basketball, women's gymnastics, softball and academics.

"The Cy-Hawk Series is a great idea, but why no track meets?" Scoles asks.

Then he added this interesting comment: "We couldn't have a series like that in South Carolina since most of the athletes are in jail for at least part of the year."

After another exchange of e-mails, Scoles added, "I'm not alone in saying that college track and field hurt itself with the public when it went away from scored meets--duals, triangulars, quadrangulars.

"Who wants to watch a non-scored football or basketball game? Same for wrestling, even though I never could understand the scoring."

I went to Bob Bowlsby, Iowa's athletic director, for an answer to Scoles' question.

"The Cy-Hawk Series was put together after many of the schedules were complete and we only included head-to-head dual competition," Bowlsby told me in an e-mail. "Coaches are not required to schedule each other and in some sports we don't compete.

"Also, there are several sports where we offer a sport and ISU doesn't (i.e. baseball, men's gymnastics, men's swimming). There may be some that they have that we don't. It is not very scientific."


Concerning my recent column about the death of Babe Bisignano, old friend Harold Yeglin sent this e-mail:

"Nice tribute to Babe, and reminiscences.

"All of us have our special memories of Babe and Babe's. One of mine goes back to June, 1943, the night my North High class graduated. A few of the guys in my crowd decided it would be a real kick to go to Babe's after the ceremonies (held in Roosevelt High's auditorium; North's was too small). Of course, those were more innocent times for high school kids. None of us had ever been to Babe's or even had a beer. So that night we split from our parents and went to Babe's. Big deal. We ordered food -- and milk! [The war was going full blast, most of us grew up pretty quick soon after graduation --- and learned to laugh about our graduation night "adventure."]

"Later, in the post-war summers of the late 1940s we --- Howard Kluender, George Hanrahan, myself and other young single guys -- would finish up the night's work in the non-air conditioned newsroom and head over to Fidler's Theater Lounge at 6th and Grand for a cool one. We'd all stick around after Dave Fidler locked up the joint for the night. Dave set out a pitcher of beer. Memories of Babe come in here. Many an early morning he'd close up his place, come over to Fidler's, plop down in the booth and regale us with stories of his pro wrestling days, etc.

"Now, with his passing, an era ends.

"All the best -- Harold."


Mark Robinson, a transplanted Iowan who now lives in California, noticed the recent column I wrote about former Drake head coach and former Iowa assistant Rudy Washington. Robinson's e-mail:

"Hi, Ron,

"What is it about CA Highway 99? First Tarkanian (who brought a ton of baggage to Fresno State) and now Rudy, who just couldn't seem to keep track of his checking account was just so fat from selling a home in L.A. he didn't notice. Highway 99 is where he belongs.

"That's a great story he weaves. Emphasis on 'story.'

"Keep writing.

"Mark Robinson,
"Valencia, CA
"Transplanted Iowan who has to spend far too much time in Bakersfield"


Al Schallau, another transplanted Iowan who now lives in California, has some stinging words for Hawkeye basketball coach Steve Alford in this e-mail:

"It is really hard for me to feel any fondness for Steve Alford. Even if the Hawkeyes win 25 games next season, I still hope that he leaves and goes to Indiana or some other school after the 2006 season.

"I thought his handling of Pierre Pierce - Chapter One, was beneath contempt. Even after Pierce had pleaded guilty to reduced charges, Alford was quoted as saying, 'As far as I am concerned my man is innocent.' Alford isn't smart enough to realize that when a man pleads guilty in a courtroom, he is admitting his guilt.

"Equally offensive is the saga of the lady from North Liberty. A couple Decembers ago, she sent Alford a photograph and asked him to autograph it so she could give it to someone as a Christmas present. Alford sent it back to her with a message that she would have to pay $50 for his autograph. The lady wrote a scathing Letter to the Editor that was printed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

"That Letter to the Editor irritated Alford very badly. The lady was a university employee. So Alford called her boss and left a message on his voice-mail expressing his displeasure. That is almost as dumb as persons who leave phone messages on answering machines threatening physical violence -- (and thus subject themselves to criminal charges).

"When I read about the saga of the lady from North Liberty, I called her and talked to her for about 15 minutes. Then I sent her a personally autographed copy of Coach John Wooden's book, 'THEY CALL ME COACH.' I recommend that book very highly. Coach Wooden's methods of doing things have been a God-send to me in the management of my law office.

"I told the lady in North Liberty, 'You aren't going to get Steve Alford's autograph. But you are going to get the autograph of the greatest basketball coach who ever lived.'

"I think that as an appropriate symbolic gesture, someone in Iowa should start a 'Steve Alford Moving Expense Fund.' That way Alford will know that the basketball fans of Iowa are willing to pay his moving expenses to ship him out of Iowa City. He can't leave soon enough to suit me.

"Al Schallau"


The earlier-mentioned Gordy Scoles wrote to say that former Iowa high school and college football coach Frosty Westering "has been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame with over 300 coaching wins, some of them at Parsons College. He's an Iowa native who coached high school teams at Elkader and Fairfield before going to Parsons."

[NOTE: I recall the extraordinary coaching jobs Westering did when he lived in Iowa. I was a kid sportswriter in Cedar Rapids when Frosty was becoming a big winner].


A guy I know e-mailed me with part of a column written by Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel about Nick Saban, the former LSU coach who is now in charge of the Miami Dolphins.

"It sounds like he would be pretty tough to cover for a beat writer," the guy says after reading what Bianchi wrote:

"Like most successful coaches, Saban doesn't know much about anything except the trends and tendencies of a crazy, oblong ball. He is a paranoid, single-minded control freak who has turned Dolphins headquarters into an impregnable enclave. He guards his secrets like the Marines locking down Guantanamo.

"In fact, shortly after taking the Dolphins job, he told a group of writers who covered the Dolphins that if he saw an anonymous source quoted in one of their stories, he would seek out and fire the source. And the writers, he warned, 'would be responsible' for the guy losing his job.

"Who knew Pontius Pilate might just be disguised as a sports writer for the Herald?

Saban's absolute power and autocratic methods will only go over in Miami if he wins -- and, of course, he will. He's too prepared, too committed and too good a coach not to."

[MEMO TO MATT ROTH: Have a good time down there with ol' Nick. Flip him off whenever you feel like it.]


Bob Ward, an assistant football coach at Iowa State from 1958-65 and a College Football Hall of Fame member, died Friday at 77.

Ward was on Clay Stapleton's staff from 1958-65, assisting the famed 1959 "Dirty Thirty" squad. He later went on to be an assistant at Army and was Maryland's head coach in 1967-68.

Ward, who was one of the finest collegiate football players in the 1950s while
playing for Maryland, was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Ward's son, Kelly, was one of the best wrestlers in Iowa State history,
competing for the Cyclones from 1976-79. He was the 158-pound national champion in 1979.


In my continuing efforts to help out news folks who are either pissed off now or have been pissed off all of their lives, I have something that may be of assistance to you.

The Los Angeles Times is looking for people who want to spend a few weeks in -- excuse the expression -- Baghdad.

Here's the memo:

From: Wolinsky, Leo
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 2:31 p.m.
To: All
Subject: Travel Opportunity to Faraway Lands


The foreign staff is once again seeking reporters for three- to four-week rotations in Baghdad. The first rotations begin in late May, but the need for volunteers will continue into the summer. If this is an opportunity that interests you, please contact me, Foreign Editor Marjorie Miller or Deputy Foreign Editor Mary Braswell as soon as possible.



[THIS JUST IN: A guy sent me an e-mail within the last 5 minutes that says, "I'd be all over that Baghdad assignment, but the rotations are for only three or four weeks. I'd at least like to stay for a year and enjoy myself."]


Another Los Angeles Times memo has reached my desk--this one from Bill Dwyre, an old friend of mine who used to work at the local paper, then went on to stardom as the sports editor at, first, the Milwaukee Journal, then the L.A. Times.

The memo:

From: Dwyre, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 6:13 p.m.
Subject: travel/expense reports


Just some general observations in the wake of about a month worth of
signing expense reports and noting trends. I see the trends as follows:

--Nobody takes a news source out to dinner anymore. We just take
reporters from other papers. Nice we can help the bottom line of our
competitors. Also, do we ever interview news sources or do we just
gather in little clumps with other reporters at dinner and get our
stories that way? Could this be a new phenomenon called Pack
Journalism with Dinner. I think I might be the first to coin the
phrase. Has a ring to it, doesn't it?

--Also, in the good old days, I used to see an occasional expense
report from a Holiday Inn or Hampton Inn. No longer, by golly. L.A.
Times sportswriters stay at no places that don't have the word "Crown
Royale" or Regency" or "Ritz" or "Marquis" in the

--Same with airfares. When we used to try, I used to see deals. Now, I
amazed to see that you can, with effort, fly to San Francisco for $600
or to Phoenix for $425. You all need to know that I understand and
appreciate that it takes some degree of effort to spend 40% to 50%
more on most flights than is necessary. And I have always been an
advocate of effort and hard work.

--And meals. It is a wonder to me how the $30 dinner started costing
$49.27 the minute that extensity [the espense report software] allowed
anything $50 or under to go unexplained. Of course, I understand there
are coincidences in life.

Anyway, just observations. Keep up the good work.



Oh, yes, and there's personnel news from the local paper. For those of you who've been waiting to find out when Tom Perry would find steady work, here's the memo:

From: Belt, Deb
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 11:59 a.m.
Subject: Zones staffing news


I'm pleased to announce two additions to the Community Publications staff.

First, Tom Perry, most recently a columnist for the Green Bay
Press-Gazette and a temp on the Register sports copy desk, joins the zones
Monday as an assistant editor. (Some of you may also know Tom as the husband
of editorial page editor Carol Hunter.) Tom, a native of Boston, will work
with some of our reporters and news assistants, and wrangle our freelancer

Also joining our staff is Jose de Jesus, a general assignment/police
reporter at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. He will start work May 16 as one of
our two Des Moines zone reporters, filling the void created by Olivia Howe's
move to the Juice staff. Jose, a native of Puerto Rico, graduated from
Clarke College in Dubuque.

Stop by in the coming days/weeks to make them welcome. We'll time the
welcome cookies to Jose's arrival.

Deb Belt
Community Publications Editor
Des Moines Register
P.O. Box 957
Des Moines, Ia. 50304
Phone: 284-8198
Fax: 284-8152

Vol. 4, No. 340
April 30, 2005

Monday, April 25, 2005

Would Alford Coach at Indiana? 'Not a Spot Open There Now,' He Says

Maybe you didn’t know this about Steve Alford:

Alford assigns his student managers at the University of Iowa to videotape every Texas Tech basketball game for him so he can try to learn something else from Bobby Knight, who coached him at Indiana and who now is Tech’s coach.

And maybe you didn’t know this:

Alford, who has been Iowa’s coach for six seasons, visits Knight at least twice a year. During his visits, Alford fills a notebook full of ideas, strategies and information from his former coach.

And maybe you didn’t know this:

On one of the visits, Knight said he was tired of talking about basketball and asked Alford if he wanted to go hunting. But all Alford could think of was the time a few years ago when Knight accidentally shot a man who was described as a “hunting friend.” Alford’s response to the question about hunting was, “Yes, sir!”

[The hunting incident that didn’t involve Alford occurred in October, 1999. Thomas Mikunda, 49, of Exeland, Wis., was treated after being shot in the back and upper shoulder when Knight’s 20-gauge shotgun accidentally discharged as he attempted to aim at a grouse.

[Associated Press accounts said Knight did not accompany Mikunda, who was struck by 16 pellets, to a Wisconsin clinic, and instead returned home to Indiana. Knight failed to report the accident. He also was cited for failure to report a hunting accident and for hunting without a non-resident small game license in 1999 and 1998. The fine for each of the three citations was $165].

Franklin Foshee, assistant sports editor of the Tribune in Jeffersonville, Ind., wrote about Alford and Knight recently. Alford spoke to 400 persons at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Southern Indiana Regional banquet in Clarksville, Ind., and Knight’s name came up often.

Foshee wrote about the “fine dining and fabulous story-telling by Steve Alford” at the sold-out banquet.

Generally, it was another love-in between Indiana fans and Alford, who is thought of much more highly in the Hoosier state than he is in Iowa.

Those Hawkeye fans who have had enough of Alford’s underachieving teams thought they might finally get rid of him late in the 2004-2005 season. That was when Indiana coach Mike Davis appeared ready to be shown the exit sign.

One or two more losses might have gotten him fired and opened the door for Alford, who is Indiana’s all-time leading scorer with 2,438 points.

Alas, Davis survived for another year, and so did Alford at Iowa—even though he had another disappointing team. After a 12-1 start, the Hawkeyes promptly lost their first two Big Ten games, stumbled through the rest of the conference season [including losses to hapless Northwestern and Purdue] and were smothered by Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Frankly, I think there are plenty of Indiana fans who look at Iowa as some sort of minor-league team, where Alford is supposed to be learning the coaching ropes, then he’ll take over for Davis when the time is right.

Many Iowa fans, meanwhile, are saying to Indiana, “Take this arrogant guy. Please take him.”

Naturally, the Alford-to-Indiana subject came up during Stevie-boy’s appearance the Indiana Hall of Fame banquet.

In a question-and-answer session, high school coach Jerry Bomholt said, “Steve, would you ever entertain the idea of coming back to IU as the coach?”

Foshee said Alford’s answer was, “Thanks, Jerry. You know, your coaching style is real deliberate. But your questioning is a whole different spectrum.”

Everyone laughed. Then, Foshee said, Alford “answered the question—sort of.”

He said, “Well you know Jer, there’s just not a spot open there right now.”

In other words, ask Stevie-boy about making that coaching change when Indiana says adios to Davis.

Then the celebrating can start in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Solon, West Des Moines and Waukee.

Vol. 4, No. 339
April 25, 2005

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Pizza Was Great at Babe's--And So Was the Guy Who Ran the Place

The first pizza I ever bought in Des Moines was at Babe’s.

I was in town to interview for a job and, when I asked the people who were interviewing me where I should go to get something to eat, they all said, “Babe’s.”

The pizza I had at Babe’s 46 years ago was delicious then, and the pizzas I had many times afterward at the distinctive downtown restaurant were delicious.

Certainly the pizza we enjoyed there the night before our first child was born was one I’ll always remember.

But the sausage-and-mushroom or cheese-and-green-onion pizzas weren’t what made Babe’s restaurant what it was back in those golden years.

The real reason for going into Babe’s was Babe himself.

Babe Bisignano.

Restauranteur. Businessman. Funny guy. Sports fan. Teller of tall stories.

He was one of a kind.

I mean, it’s not every night that a guy can walk into a restaurant with his young son a couple of hours before a basketball game, eat some great food, reach into his pockets, find no money, no checkbook, no credit cards and walk out of the place without having to pay for the food.

The guy, of course, was me.

When Drake was still playing its home basketball games at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, I thought it would be a good idea to take the youngest of my three sons to Babe’s for a pregame meal at Babe’s one night.

Kevin was 7 or 8 at the time. I knew he’d enjoy the food, but the real reason for taking him there was to have him meet Babe.

Babe hung around our table – talking sports, talking nonsense – during the 45 minutes we ate.

Then, when it was time to go, I fumbled around for some money or a credit card to pay the bill.

All of my pockets were empty.

I went up to Babe and explained my predicament.

“Don’t worry, your meal is on me!” Babe roared.

“No, it’s not!” I countered. “Thanks for understanding tonight, but I’ll bring you a check tomorrow.”

And that’s what I did.

Babe and I laughed about that incident many times afterward.

The second floor of Babe’s restaurant was where my oldest son, Lonn, and his bride-to-be, Julie, held their rehearsal dinner the night before their wedding.

I don’t know who enjoyed it more—Lonn and Julie or Babe.

Lonn was the son who was born on Sept. 11 -- yes, 9/11 -- in 1959, the day after his mother and I dined on a couple of Babe's fine pizzas.

On the night of the wedding rehearsal dinner, Babe seemed to spend every minute hanging around the kids, making sure everything was just the way it was supposed to be.

He made it a thoroughly enjoyable evening for everyone.

From the day I arrived in Des Moines, Babe’s was always a hangout for people from the newspaper.

At 11:30 a.m. every day, groups from the office walked to Babe’s for lunch.

In the fall, there would occasionally be a sports information director from Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Missouri or some other place in town to “advance” a game.

They were always popular guys. The groups going to Babe’s were bigger when the publicity folks were there because they knew the cost of the meals would wind up on the sports information directors’ expense accounts.

But later, the sports information directors quit traveling and Babe’s quit making pizzas.

The restaurant closed in 1991, and Babe died Sunday at 92.

I’ve been missing his pizza for years. Now I’ll miss him.

Vol. 4, No. 338
April 20, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Washington Wasn't 'The Black Maury John,' But Good Luck to Him Now

First of all, let me say that I’m very happy Rudy Washington is getting another chance as a basketball coach at Bakersfield College.

In the right situation, he might be a winner.

Drake proved it wasn’t the right situation for Washington, and it didn’t take him long to find that out. He had a 63-102 record record in six seasons with the Bulldogs—without winning more games than he lost in any year- and left in 1996 without fulfilling his dream.

“When he came here, he thought he was going to be a black Maury John,” Drake historian Paul Morrison told me today.

John was a huge winner at Drake, taking his 1968-69 team to the NCAA Final Four and coaching three straight teams to the Big Dance.

“I got a long with Rudy very well, but he turned a lot of people off," Morrison said. "From comments I would get, some fans couldn’t tolerate him because it looked like he wasn’t doing anything on the bench.”

Well, I hope Washington has learned a few things over the years. I hope Bakersfield, Calif., is the right place for the man who once had a very high-profile job in collegiate basketball as executive director of the Black Coaches Association.

Now, out of administrative work,Washington – tainted past and all — has been hired as the head coach at Bakersfield, a two-year school.

Washington, 53, will be a fulltime instructor at Bakersfield in addition to his coaching responsibilities. His most previous coaching job was at Compton (Calif.) College in 1998.

In his new job, he has an opportunity to rebuild a career that took a severe hit when he was fired as commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2001 for allegedly mismanaging funds.

The Associated Press reported that Washington allegedly overpaid himself $78,750 and failed to document more than $99,000 in expenses.

However, Washington told the Bakersfield Rip that his associate commissioner, DeLane Rosemond, an attorney, was in charge of payroll.

“I had absolutely nothing to do with payroll,” Washington told the newspaper.

Washington said there was “never any wrongdoing proven” and that he paid back the money. “In fact, I paid so much money, I overpaid $25,000,” he told the paper.”

Washington’s first season at Drake was 1990=91, when the university badly needed someone to right the ship.

The coach who preceded him was Tom Abatemarco, whose players turned against him and caused his firing during a 13-18 season in 1989-90.

Washington came from the University of Iowa, where he had been an assistant under George Raveling and Tom Davis [who now is the Bulldogs’ coach]. Bulldog fans hoped he’d be the school’s basketball savior.

But things never worked out for Rudy, a barrel of a man who resembled a Sumo wreslter. His Drake teams were the first to play in the 7,002-seat Knapp Center, but even that didn’t provide any motivation to his program.

His records were 8-21, 6-21, 14-14, 11-16, 12-15 and 12-15. His best player was Curt Smith, who was named the Missouri Valley Conference’s newcomer of the year in 1992-93—the only year he lettered before running into academic trouble.

Although Washington was listed as executive director of the Black Coaches Association, a number of people in athletics thought John Thompson, then the coach of powerful teams at Georgetown, was actually running the show. Washington was thought to be a Thompson puppet.

Drake’s difficult academic standards ended up frustrating Washington. Finally, he quit.

I was tipped off that he was going to announce his resignation at his regularly-scheduled press conference—to be held in the morning--a day prior to the start of the Valley postseason tournament March 1, 1996.

The guy who told me that Rudy was going to quit joked that he chose St. Louis to announce his resignation because he thought no Des Moines reporters would be on hand for the press conference.

I surprised him. And he was cordial to me afterward.

But he and I weren’t always cordial. I didn't play the game the way Rudy wanted it played.

During his first season with the Bulldogs, I visited with him in his office about how things were going.

He was already frustrated. He said he had been the target of racial slurs in a few arenas around the Valley. Then, following Drake’s 104-81 loss Feb. 14 at Southwest Missouri State, Washington told a local reporter that “a black coach can’t win in this league.”

That gave me plenty of work to do the rest of the week. Drake’s next game was at Illinois State two nights later, and I knew I had a job ahead of me trying to put together Washington’s concerns for more stories.

From a hotel room in Normal, Ill., I got hold of Nolan Richardson, who then coached at Tulsa and later had outstanding teams at Arkansas. Richardson, who is black, told me that Washington would have to get accustomed to racial slurs, even though it was wrong for fans to use them. Richardson said he, too, had been the victim of racial slurs.

I doubt that Washington liked what I finally wrote about the situation, and he and I had some other coach-sportswriter run-ins during the next few seasons.

I think he did the right thing in leaving Drake. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wish him well at Bakersfield.

Vol. 4, No. 336
April 15. 2005.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

All On the Same Huge Day: 'Juice' on the Web, 'Cityview' on the Rack

This is a whopper of a day in the news business.

Not just big.

It's H-U-G-E.

I mean, how many times in a guy’s lifetime does he see “Juice” launched on the local paper’s website and an all-new "Cityview" made available to him free of charge on a rack at his Hy-Vee store, very close to the restrooms, on the same day?

I’m more than excited.

I'm absolutely ecstatic.

Let me get to “Juice” first.

"Juice" was spelled "juice" [small "j"] on the website, but my teachers at Lincoln Elementary School in Cedar Rapids always told me to use a big "J" when writing about something as important as "Juice."

I don’t think Mark McGwire was in town to break a bottle of steroids over Mary Stier’s computer to get the celebration started, but I’ve been told that “Juice” is going to be a big deal in our town.

Even though it’s just a website now, it’s going to be a weekly newspaper later this year.

The words "alternative paper" are tossed around these days, so maybe "Juice" will even be one of those once it gets into type.

Hell, maybe my favorite Chinese restaurant will even have it on the rack.

It’s aimed at the 25-to-34-year-old crowd, and it’s going to have everything that’ll keep ‘em happy.

The with-it folks who run "Juice" are going to tell those bored, restless 25-to-34's where they can get a date and a drink, and where they can go dancing and to an R-rated movie.

It’ll also – and this is important – let 'em know that there’s something called The Local Paper in central Iowa. Evidently, a lot of 25-to-34's have been getting their news from TV and the Internet, and didn't know there was a paper here.

I checked out “Juice” on my computer early this afternoon.

It just about knocked me over.

There it was -- “Juice” in big letters -- greeting me on the 17-inch screen. In smaller type, it said, “Squeezed fresh daily.”

Pretty snappy, huh?

I’ll bet they borrowed one of Jerry Perkins’ folks from the farm department to put that idea together.

Maybe ol' Perk himself wrote it.

They like the word “stuff” a lot at “Juice.” It said, “Stuff to do today” one place and it said,”Get stuff” in another place.

There are a number of things called “blogs,” too. I’m waiting for someone to tell me what a “blog” is.

Maybe Perkins knows. Jerry, if you do, e-mail me at

The lead story in “Juice” was headlined “The Val Air Snags Snoop.”

I can’t wait to read it.

And I plan to do just that when I finish mowing my backyard.

I called my friend, "Alive in Clive, Not His Real Name," to see what he thought of “Juice’s” maiden voyage.

“Alive’s” wife said he was taking his nap.

“He won’t be getting to the Internet until sometime tomorrow,” she said. “Call him then. I’m sure he’ll be excited.

"But let me know what 'Juice' is so I can tell him about it before you call. The only 'Juice' he's aware of so far comes with vodka in it when he has his Sunday brunch at Mondo's."

Then there’s the new “Cityview.” I kept hearing that it was going to be the new and improved “Cityview,” and if I hear that enough times I’ll believe it.

The new and improved “Cityview” might look like the old “Pointblank,” but looks can be deceiving.

Some of the same people who owned and worked for “Pointblank” own and work for “Cityview.”

But evidently not Tim Schmitt, who was the managing editor at "Pointblank."

I don’t see him listed anywhere in “Cityview.” The Internet has been full of rumors that Schmitt, who wrote the lead story in the last issue of “Pointblank,” was fired.

I guess they were right.

Tough break for Tim, a good guy who interviewed me a couple of years ago when he was doing a story for "Pointblank" on why the local paper's circulation kept nosediving.

Obviously, that was before some sort of focus group down at 8th and Locust met for a year or so to come with the catchy "Juice" name for the website and weekly paper that no doubt will bring back thousands of readers who left to go to the Internet and the Omaha World-Herald.

With or without Schmitt, I'm pretty excited about "Cityview" and, as Mark McGwire says, I'm jacked-up about "Juice."

I just can't wait until "Juice" becomes a newspaper--"alternative" or not--and fights for space on the rack at "House of Hunan," where I get my hot-and-sour soup, vegetable deluxe and hot tea every Wednesday with Raff, Buck and the gang.

Vol. 4, No. 333
April 14, 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005

'A Nameless Working Stiff in the TV Biz' Explains NCAA Timeouts

My recent columns, plus e-mail from savvy readers, have opened up plenty of interesting discussion on this rainy Monday.

Here’s some of it:


“The gentleman is kind of right about the extra timeouts. The way CBS
does things with the tournament is like this: They don't get to call
extra timeouts, but they get to USE more, and they are longer than in the
regular season. They use more by always plugging a commercial in on
every 30- and 60-second timeout. Those are rarely used for commercial
content during the season [except maybe for billboards], but CBS has
gotten so good at managing their commercial rotation they use ‘em all.

“Normally, those timeouts would be used to deliver information to the
viewer--something that CBS gets a little light on when Billy “P ACC ker”
starts giving coaching opinion instead of true analysis.

“It should also be noted that the NCAA rulebook calls for 15-minute
halftimes [look it is in the rules] during the
tournament.....they are 20. It is good to be The King

--“A Nameless Working Stiff in the TV Biz”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT--“Nameless Working Stiff” is actually a well-known, highly-regarded and hard-working executive who knows his way around the biggest football stadiums and basketball arenas in the nation. “Nameless Working Stiff’s” comments were in response to an e-mail I received from the Rev. David Mumm of Des Moines, who wrote about the large amount of timeouts—TV and otherwise—during the NCAA tournament. Did you notice how “Nameless Working Stiff” spelled Billy Packer’s last name in his e-mail? Packer, of course, is regularly criticized for being partial to the Atlantic Coast Conference].


I know a guy with the nickname "I'm Glad It's Not My Nickel."

The guy knows newspapers, and tells me in an e-mail that the local paper is assembling a staff to put out a giveaway tabloid called "Juice."

"The weekly will be aimed at the 18-to-30 age group, the same as City View and Pointblank. gartner [of Pointblank] heard about it and told Connie Wimer [of City View] that, 'Two is a crowd and three is impossible.' So gartner said, 'I'll buy City View and here's my offer.' And she took it."

"Juice" as the name of a weekly newspaper? You've got to be kidding!

Juice is the term linked to steroid use. The word comes up all the time these days in connection with baseball players, present and past. A couple of major leaguers, and a whole bunch of minor leaguers [even from the Iowa Cubs], have already been suspended.

Just the thing you'd want your kid reading, right--something called "Juice?"

Today's local paper says "Juice" will be aimed at the 25-to-34 age group, not 18-to-30. The idea, of course, is to get people that age interested in newspapers because circulation has been nosediving for the last 25 years, and there's no end in sight.

But I've got news for "Juice" and the local paper. The 25-to-34 age group around here isn't interested in reading a weekly paper that's getting old while sitting on a rack in a Chinese restaurant.

All those folks want to read is a map that'll get 'em out of town.


“That the editors of the Register hired Erin Crawford after having had a chance to read her stuff for some time in City View totally escapes me. Frankly, it shows what a bunch of nitwits are running that place. I can assure you that she wouldn’t have made it through the swinging gates in the old days. I really wonder if she would be able to land a job on the Valley High School paper. Her sophomore English teacher must be embarrassed to death to see that his star pupil has not advanced one whit since 10th grade.


[RON MALY’S COMMENT: ‘Embarrassed’ is referring to the reporter at the local paper who made herself and her editors look silly with the latest story on Johnny Gosch. Once the Poynter Online journalism website got a look at it, news people and bloggers from around the nation were trashing it].


More on Diane Graham, who left, or was told to leave, her job as managing editor/staff development at the local paper:

“My best source indicates she really wanted to spend time with her daughter, who starts school in the fall. Also, her pension was actually going to start going down if she didn't quit now. All that has to do with how they figure pensions, something to do with the highest salary of the last five years or something like that. Since she has only been working four days a week, her compensation has been reduced.

--“‘Pension Expert’”


“Most news in my edition of the Register is two days old.. Is that also true of this e-mail?

“George Wine

“Coralville IA”

Here’s the memo Wine said he received after an earlier letter to the local paper didn’t appear:

"From: Letters
"To: George Wine
"Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 12:12 p.m.
"Subject: Re: Terri Schiavo

"Thank you for your letter to the Des Moines Register. Due to the volume of mail, we are unable to acknowledge receipt of submissions, other than by this automated reply.

"The space available allows us to publish roughly one in three of the letters we receive. Short letters (fewer than 150 words) and letters that refer to a recent article in the Register stand the best chance of being selected for publication.

"Letters must include the writer's street address and daytime phone number for verification purposes (not for publication). If a letter is selected for publication, it normally will appear in the newspaper about a week after it is received.

"All letters are subject to editing for length, accuracy and clarity. Letters and guest opinions submitted to the Register may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.

"Best wishes,

"The Des Moines Register

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: I guess I should have alerted Wine about the “Meet the Editorial Board” stuff that took up most of the front page in the Opinion section Sunday. Had he read that, Wine would have been thoroughly confused about why he couldn’t get his letter in the paper].


E-mail from Eddie of Eddyville"--not his real name, not his real hometown: "I noticed that The Newspaper Iowa Depends On thinks the Northeast Iowa town of Shell Rock is spelled Shellrock."

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: You're not surprised, are you?]


"From: Perkins, Jerry
"Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 9:52 a.m.
"Subject: Muhm to rehab

"Don Muhm has been moved to room 477 in Iowa Methodist Hospital's Powell Rehabilitation Center, his wife Joann reports. "He's doing well and is out of the woods but it will be a while,” she said. Jo said to thank everyone for all the thoughts, get-well cards and messages Don has received."

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: The ailing Muhm is the local paper’s retired farm editor. Perkins is the present farm editor and one of the two best writers at the local paper].

Vol. 4, No. 332
April 11, 2005

Friday, April 08, 2005

'I Was Watching the Final Four on TV, Then I Saw a Negligee' in the Room

Catching up with the e-mail while “The Best of Gannett” and I impatiently await more from Bryce Miller on high school wrestler Montell Marion and the start of the local paper’s four-part series on racial problems at Valley High School:


“A quick note about that 1976 NCAA title game. Our high school band was doing a cross-state tour of Florida. We arrived in Tampa the night of the 1976 title game We slept four to a room, with a room captain having a key. I got our key and dashed upstairs to our room [my roommates couldn't figure out why I would want to watch TV when we were spending this free night away from our parents!] and rushed in and turned on the TV. I watched intensely until the next commercial break, then I noticed the sound of a shower running. I looked around the room and saw a negligee laid out on the bedspread. It then occurred to me that there was someone already in this room who would be very surprised if I stuck around for the rest of the game. I flew out of there and got a new room. I still wonder what the woman thought when she came out of the bathroom and the TV was turned to the NCAA title game [she had to think....I didn't turn this on, did I?]

“Tom Kroeschell”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: Kroeschell is associate athletic director for media relations at Iowa State. His amusing e-mail was in response to my recent column on NCAA Final Four tournaments. One of the games I zeroed in on was the 1976 all-Big Ten championship game between Johnny Orr’s Michigan team and Bobby Knight’s Indiana team. Indiana won, 86-68, and Orr later went on to coach at Iowa State. He’s still a good friend of Knight [yes, ol’ Bobby does have a few friends], who now is at Texas Tech].



”You may recall that Sports Illustrated labeled the Hawkeye basketball team the ‘Iowa Windsuckers’ in Lute Olson’s last season here, when he let several close games get away, costing Iowa a Big Ten championship.

“I wonder what the magazine will call Arizona after it blew a 15-point lead in the final 4 minutes. The loss to Illinois has got to be the greatest meltdown in the history of the NCAA tournament.

“George Wine”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: Wine is a former Iowa sports information director, has written books about retired football coach Hayden Fry and other Hawkeye subjects and keeps a close watch on developments at the university. He was in the athletic department when Olson coached at Iowa. Although Olson was generally successful with the Hawkeyes, his teams were occasionally so tightly wound that they let leads slip away and lost games they shouldn’t have lost. Hence the “Iowa Windsuckers” label].


"Hi, Ron,

"As I watched some of the games in round one of the tournament, I found myself thinking, "wouldn't it be nice if the tournament were played with the same rules as the season?" During the season each coach is allowed a certain number of timeouts per half, no more, no less. In the tournament, in addition to those time outs, there are TV timeouts. If I am seeing things correctly, those come every 4 minutes. What difference does this make?

"For the top teams it means they are not allowed to go on a run and take control of the game. The coaches of the weaker teams know, they are safe to take time-outs early in the half because they can count on four or five TV timeouts in addition to the ones they are assigned. It also gives the weaker teams another advantage, you can talk with your players every 2-3 minutes, set up plays and defenses, and they rarely have to do any more than follow your plan. Thinking on their feet, adjusting to changes brought on by the other team that is lost when the clock stops every two-three minutes. I look at the first round, and I wonder, if the rules were the same as in the season, would a Bucknell handle Kansas? Would the top teams win by relatively close margins? Probably not. Would I have to see the same commercials ad-nausium? Definitely not.

"Maybe I don't watch enough college ball during the season, but it sure seems to me like CBS is adding a lot of extra timeouts to the game.

"By the way, I picked 26 of 32 correct in the first round. ESPN's tournament challenge said that put me in the 95th percentile. That's the best I've ever done on a first round. Second round is not starting off so well. But, that's the fun of March Madness.

"David P. Mumm
"Senior Pastor
"The Ministries of Mount Olive
"[Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School, Open Arms Child Development and Worship Center]"

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: I know one thing. The next time I get into an NCAA tournament pool, I’m going to call Rev. Mumm and ask his advice first].


"Hey, Maly,

"Say what you will about Iowa teams in the Dance, I think Iowa was at the bottom. UNI played a great game against Wisconsin. Iowa State pushed the Big Ten Goffers off the floor, and Iowa didn't come to play. Paper said Bowlsby was mum on Alford's future. We both know he will be back. Let's think about getting rid on both of them...

"Sorry for the fans in the office pools all over the country who are cutting their wrists over Kansas and Syracuse tumbles.

"Alive in Clive"

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: Even though Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby—chairman of the NCAA tournament selection committee--received rave reviews for his work, Alive in Clive remains unimpressed. Maybe he’d feel better about Bowlsby if Iowa would pull the plug on Alford. I know a lot of other people would go for that].


Another e-mail from George Wine was in response to my column on how former Hawkeye and NBA basketball player Matt Bullard was robbed in his attempt to win the “Dream Job” announcing position at ESPN:


“I thought Matt did a pretty good job until he stumbled around on the quick quiz, or whatever they called it. I admired him for not punching the two columnists in the mouth. What jerks.”

Also on the subject of Bullard and the “Dream Job” situation, a West Des Moines reader sent this e-mail:

“I agree that Matt was robbed…..I sure wish Matt would have been selected. I thought the judge were entirely too critical.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: The two “jerk” columnists that Wine mentioned were Stephen A. Smith and Woody Paige, who were brutal in their criticism of Bullard on the show. Let’s hope they wind up working for the paper in Indianapolis].


Note from the newsroom:

“Diane Graham’s retirement gift will be an ICE SCULPTURE…..promised never to melt.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: Graham is the former newsroom employee at the local paper who had the mysterious title of “managing editor/staff development.” Yesterday was her last day on the job, and people were invited to be in the newsroom to send her off into the sunset. “Ice sculpture…..promised never to melt?” Something tells me there’s a hidden meaning there. By the way, in the event you couldn’t make it to the newsroom gathering for Graham, editor Paul Anger is hosting a party for her in his home at 710 36th Street in West Des Moines from 7-11 p.m. April 16. That is, unless Anger is still too busy responding to complaints about Erin Crawford’s ridiculous Johnny Gosch story, which was published this week and made her and the paper’s editors look silly].


The Poynter Online journalism website has been busy this week fielding complaints from readers about the fiction written by Crawford as well as Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom.

Crawford wrote about Gosch, Rush Limbaugh and other people in her confusing story. Albom wrote about two former Michigan State basketball players who he said were at the NCAA Final Four, but actually weren’t.

Before the e-mailers began ripping Albom – who is a best-selling author when he’s not writing fiction for his newspaper – they trashed Crawford and her editors with these messages to Poynter Online:

From BONNIE BRITT: “What is the point of the Des Moines Register story about James Guckert? Why did this newspaper not require the repoter to pick up the telephone to ask Guckert about his family of origin?

“Rehashing bloggers is not journalism. Repeating 2,200 words of Web gossip in a broadsheet is not journalism.

“How does the Des Moines Register advance this story even one inch? Why is the Register not interested in asking the mom whose child has been missing for 23 years whether she bothered to pick up the telephone to find out whether Guckert is her long-list boy?

“Where’s the reporting. Where’s the journalism?”

Then there was this e-mail to Poynter:

From DENNIS PERSICA: “To pile on to what Bonnie Britt has said, the other strange thing I found is that DMR Gannon/Guckert story was the mention of Rush Limbaugh in the lede. Limbaugh’s only connection to the story was that Gannon’s famous ‘soup lines’ question during a presidential news conference was based on something Rush Limbaugh said that turned out not to be true.

“Hardly a case of long-lost Johnny Gosch possibly being found ‘thanks to Rush Limbaugh,’ as the story says.”

Then this one:

From MICHAEL DAVID SMITH: “Looking at the Gannon/Guckert/Gosch story again, it comes across as though the writer is making fun of a grieving woman for trying to hold onto some hope that her son is still alive. I can’t imagine that that was the intention behind the article, but I do have to question why the Des Moines Register printed something like that.”

And finally this e-mail, headlined: “Let the paperboys rest in peace”

From JEFF JOHNSON, editor, Minnesota Monthly: “The Des Moines Register story suffers from a bad headline and a bad, Limbaugh-name-dropping lede. But it isn’t a story about whether Gannon/Guckert is Johnny Gosch. That’s why the reporter didn’t call Guckert to ask about his family of origin. It’s a story about blogger-fueled nuttiness that happens to center on the Gosch case. It’s underlying assumption is ‘Duh, of course G/G isn’t Gosch’—but then, on a couple of occasions, in what appears to be an attempt at even-handedness, it seems to float the possibility that G/G is Gosch. Maybe. Kinda-sorta-well-who-knows? Perhaps it’s tough to write about group insanity without having it affect your copy.

“Whether it was a good idea even to do the story is a topic well worth debating. Certainly a better headline could have helped. ‘Is he Johnny Gosch?’ seems to set us up for an investigative piece, when what we’re really getting is a social-analysis feature. But the story itself does not purport to be hard news.

“I was a grad student in Iowa when Johnny Gosch disappeared. That was in the days when the tabloid press was full of Elvis sightings. For some people, apparently, real life is not dramatic enough. We must have CIA-engineered sex conspiracies and mystical resurrections and, of course, whacked-out freemasons. At least Elvis was a public figure. Now we’ve got Johnny Gosch sightings and, here in Minnesota, at least one ‘sighting’ of Jacob Wetterling [another young boy who was abducted and ever found]. As a guy who used to deliver the old Minneapolis Star, I say to conspiracy-loving bloggers: Bring back the King. Let the paperboys rest in peace.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: The Gosch/Limbaugh/Gannon/Guckert tale obviously belonged in the local free weeklies that can be found blowing around in parking lots all over town. To see it in the local daily paper shows you the state of the newspaper business these days].

Vol. 4, No. 331
April 8, 2005

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

2 Iowa Cubs Nabbed, Suspended in Minor Leagues' Steroids Crackdown

While clowns in the front office of the Iowa Cubs were wasting their time dreaming up phony stories on April Fool’s Day and no doubt again raising prices at the concession stands at “No-Name Ballpark,” two of the players listed on their roster were learning the harsh realities of minor league baseball’s drug prevention and treatment program.

The players – relief pitcher David Cash and second baseman Jesus Medrano – were among 38 minor leaguers suspended for testing positive for steroids.

Seven of the 38 were from the Cubs’ organization. No wonder the parent ballclub wins a World Series just once every century.

Both Cash and Medrano were suspended for 15 days—the mandatory penalty for first-time violators. Medrano, who was labeled by scouts as a “borderline prospect with great speed and light hitting,” has already been released by the Cubs.

The Modesto (Calif.) Bee said Cash was informed of his suspension Sunday. He told the newspaper that he had yet to be told the identity of the substance that showed up in his urine and denied knowingly taking anything that could have resulted in a positive test.

Cash, 25, formerly played at Modesto Junior College and the University of California. His suspension will begin when he’s physically able to play. He’s rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery last May.

The right-hander’s last full season was in 2003 at Class AA West Tennessee, where he worked out of the bullpen. He’s not considered much of a major league prospect.

In the minor leagues, all players are randomly tested at least once a season for amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, opiates, PCP, Ecstacy, alcohol, steroids, ephedra and androstenedione.

“The only thing I’ve done differently this year, since I was coming off Tommy John surgery, was to take two supplements supposed to strengthen ligaments and tendons,” Cash told the Bee. “I bought one at a local GNC-type store and another thing off the Internet that was suggested to me, but nothing illegal.”

He now suspects one of the supplements contained an ingredient that could have metabolized into a steroid, and if that’s the case he’s ready to take the blame.

“They tell us every spring to not take anything we’re not completely sure about,” Cash said. “They have guys test positive each year just from taking some over-the-counter stuff.”


Well, I guess Roy Williams and his North Carolina basketball team showed ‘em.

They won the NCAA Final Four championship, the Big Ten championship and just about every other kind of championship with last night’s 75-70 victory over Illinois.

Although I was hoping Illinois would win the title, it didn’t surprise me at all that North Carolina did.

I watched on TV when the Tar Heels raced past Iowa, 106-92, in November at the Maui Invitational. And that was the Hawkeyes’ fourth game of the season—when they were at their best. Don’t forget, November is when Steve Alford’s teams peak.

I watched on TV when North Carolina thrashed Iowa State, 92-65, in the NCAA tournament. After that game, I wrote, “The North Carolina team that steamrolled Iowa State, 92-65, in Charlotte is obviously the best in the NCAA tournament. Heck, maybe even the NBA. If the Tar Heels don’t win the collegiate championship, blame coach Roy Williams. That’s why they pay him all those millions of dollars, isn’t it?”

Before beating Illinois for the title, North Carolina stopped Wisconsin (88-82) and Michigan State (87-71) of the Big Ten in the NCAA tournament, and won at Indiana, 70-63, in a regular-season game.

I’d say that’s Big Ten domination.

It was just a matter of time before Williams won the Final Four title. The guy can recruit [remember when he came into Iowa and went back with Raef LaFrentz, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison?] and he can coach. I saw too many of his teams at Kansas win big-time.

More often than not, North Carolina outran, outshot and outjumped its opponents. The only time the Tar Heels had any kind of problem was when they got lazy. That happens occasionally to all basketball players. But a lazy Tar Heel was much better than a lazy Fighting Illini last night.

That’s why North Carolina is No. 1.


By the way, Dick Vitale has Iowa picked as the No. 12 team -- that’s nationally, not in the Big Ten – on for the 2005-2006 preseason.

But you and I know it won’t take Steve Alford long to screw that up.


Mike Krzyzewski is saying he did nothing wrong in appearing in that Duke University promotional video/recruiting tool that masquerades as an American Express TV commercial.

Well, what did you expect him to say—that his appearance in a video that is shot at Cameron Indoor Stadium and talks about his strong values should get him suspended for three years by the NCAA?

I fully expect Coach K to next appear in a Burger King commercial while wearing a Duke letter jacket, saying, “I’m not a basketball coach flipping burgers. The purpose of my appearance is so I can donate the proceeds from this ad to the Duke medical school, which is pitting Burger King against McDonald’s to see whose hamburger causes coronary heart disease quicker.”

Vol. 4, No. 330
April 5, 2005

Monday, April 04, 2005

Close, But No Pulitzer Cigar for Kauffman of the Local Paper

Same old story.

No Pulitzer Prize today for the local paper.

Clark Kauffman of the local paper was a finalist in investigative reporting for his exposure of glaring injustice in the handling of traffic tickets by public officials.

But this ain't horseshoes, folks. It's competition for journalism's top prizes.

People in newsrooms around the country take this stuff pretty seriously.

At least most of 'em do.

But I know one guy--a grizzled veteran who did plenty of excellent writing at the local paper--who made sure he took a day of vacation when the Pulitzers were announced.

He didn't want to be in the office to view the disappointment or the occasional excitement.

The local paper has won 15 Pulitzers over the years. Lauren Soth, James Risser and Clark Mollenhoff were among the winners.

But lots of babies have grown into big men and women since the local paper won its last Pulitzer.

Nigel Jaquiss of the Willamette Week of Portland, Ore., beat out the local paper's Kauffman to win the $10,000 prize for investigative reporting for revealing a former governor's sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.

Hopefully, there will be a consolation prize for Kauffman. You'd think his bosses would see fit to give him a bump in pay.

Actually, they'll probably have to raise his pay to keep him from going to the Chicago Tribune.

"I'm really surprised — it's just a tremendous honor. I never thought it would happen to me," Jaquiss tearfully told his colleagues at the weekly.

The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal each won two Pulitzers, Elizabeth LeSure of the Associated Press reported.

The award for fiction went to Marilynne Robinson for her book "Gilead." Robinson teaches at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.

The Times won the public service award for exposing deadly medical problems and racial injustice at an inner-city hospital.

One of the two Pulitzers to the Journal was for stories about the plight of cancer survivors.

The AP won for a series of photographs of bloody year-long combat inside Iraqi cities.

The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., won for breaking news reporting for its coverage of the resignation of New Jersey's governor after he announced he was gay and confessed to adultery with a male lover.

Nigel Jaquiss of the Willamette Week of Portland, Ore., won for investigative reporting for revealing a former governor's sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.

"I'm really surprised — it's just a tremendous honor. I never thought it would happen to me," Jaquiss tearfully told his colleagues at the weekly.

The Boston Globe's Gareth Cook won for explanatory journalism for detailing the complex scientific and ethical dimensions of stem-cell research.

The Journal's Amy Dockser Marcus won for her "masterful" stories about patients, families and physicians that illuminated the often unseen world of cancer survivors," the judges said. The paper's other award went to Joe Morgenstern for movie reviews.

Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times won for national reporting for stories about the corporate coverup of responsibility for fatal accidents at railroad crossings.

Two prizes were awarded for international reporting--Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times for her reporting from Russia and Newsday's Dele Olojede for his look at Rwanda a decade after its genocidal civil war.

In awarding the public service citation, the judges praised the Times for "its courageous, exhaustively researched series exposing deadly medical problems and racial injustice at a major public hospital."

Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune won for feature writing for her reconstruction of a deadly tornado.

Connie Schultz of The Cleveland Plain Dealer was cited for what the judges called her "pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged."

Tom Philp of The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee won for editorials on reclaiming California's flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Nick Anderson of The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., won for editorial cartooning for his unusual graphic style that produced "thoughtful and powerful messages," the judges said.

Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle won for feature photography for what the judges said was her "sensitive photo essay" on an Oakland hospital's effort to mend an Iraqi boy nearly killed by an explosion.

Each prize is worth $10,000, except for public service, which is recognized with a gold medal.

The awards are given by Columbia University on the recommendation of the 18-member Pulitzer board, which considers nominations from jurors in each category.



Los Angeles Times


Staff of The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.


Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week, Portland, Ore.


Gareth Cook of The Boston Globe


Amy Dockser Marcus of The Wall Street Journal


Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times


Two Prizes: Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times and

Dele Olojede of Newsday, Long Island, N.Y.


Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune


Connie Schultz of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland


Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal


Tom Philp of The Sacramento Bee


Nick Anderson of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.


Associated Press Staff


Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronical


Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


Doubt, a parable by John Patrick Shanley


Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press)

BIOGRAPHY de Kooning:

An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (Alfred A. Knopf)


Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press)


Ghost Wars by Steve Coll (The Penguin Press)


Second Concerto for Orchestra by Steven Stucky (Theodore Presser Company)

10 Things I'd Like to Say About the 2004-2005 Basketball Season

Before the 2004-2005 collegiate basketball season is forgotten and the 2005-2006 season starts, I’d like to say 10 things:

1. If Wayne Morgan was the fourth or fifth choice to get the Iowa State coaching job after Larry Eustachy was told to take his act elsewhere, I wonder if any of the guys who said “no” to athletic director Bruce Van De Velde’s offers could have done any better. Morgan came to Iowa State with the reputation of being a coaching lightweight, but he has proven his critics wrong by taking the Cyclones to the semifinal round of the NIT last season and to the second round of the NCAA tournament this season.

2. It’s amazing how Steve Alford went from being a “can’t-miss” young coach when he was at Southwest Missouri State to a guy who always seems in over his head at Iowa. Is it just me or do other people think it’s a shame that Hawkeyes such as Jeff Bruner, Greg Brunner and Adam Haluska are going to have their collegiate careers expire without getting the coaching that could make them the winners they deserve to be?

3. I wonder how long it’s going to take for Iowa State’s Curtis Stinson to develop a three-point shot to go with the rest of his game. Don’t waste my time talking about how you’re worried that Stinson might declare for the NBA draft until he can consistently hit the 15-footer. Stinson is smarter than that.

4. I like Greg McDermott’s style and his coaching ability at Northern Iowa. He’s taken the Panthers to the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s time for McDermott and the Panthers to not be satisfied with just getting to the tournament. They need to win a game or two.

5. If the Indiana job should open up, I think Alford would take it in a heartbeat, if asked. I know one thing. That would make the Alford-haters in the state of Iowa very happy.

6. Surely there must be a couple of 6-8 guys with quickness and shooting ability who would be willing to come to Drake and finally give the school an above-.500 record. Players still wore short pants the last time the Bulldogs had a winning season.

7. I’ve been waiting for a long time to hear the real story on why Adam Haluska and Shane Power left Iowa State. I’m still waiting.

8. I don’t remember many of my dreams, but I woke up the other morning and recalled dreaming that I was sitting in Carver-Hawkeye Arena at Iowa City, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the place during a Big Ten game. Then reality set in. I was dreaming about 1988.

9. Speaking of dreaming, quite a few Drake women’s fans wonder how long they’ll have to wait for a year when no Bulldog players quit the team.

10. Gary Thompson keeps saying he’s retiring as a TV commentator for basketball games, but I hope he’s kidding us. The ol’ Roland Rocket is as good as there is on the tube. Guys like Jay Bilas and Billy Packer can’t hold a candle to him. Heck, Packer is wrong more often than he’s right. So maybe they’ll be able to talk Thompson into coming back for more games next season.

[This column originally appeared in the April issue of "Iowa Sports Connection"]

Friday, April 01, 2005

From St. Louis to Philly to Salt Lake [And Even to Veterans Auditorium!]

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about as the NCAA Final Four gets closer:

1. If Illinois ends up playing Michigan State in an all-Big Ten championship game Monday night, I think commissioner Jim Delany should toss up the basketball on the opening center jump—right after telling the fans in the arena and the TV audience on a microphone, “Not bad for a league that’s having a ‘down’ year, right?” And Iowa coach Steve Alford, who has been talking all week about what it was like to play Illinois, Michigan State, Louisville and North Carolina this season, should be the ballboy during the title game. Coach K, who has nothing to do this weekend, can do the commercials. He's been getting some good practice on the tube. At doing commercials, I mean.

2. This was a few years ago. Bruce Weber and I were both at a place we didn’t especially want to be. Weber was then coaching at Southern Illinois, and the Salukis had a game that Saturday afternoon against Northern Iowa in the old West Gym on the campus at Cedar Falls. The West Gym wasn’t much bigger than a telephone booth. Crawling up to the press box was about as much fun as changing a tire on I-80 at 2 o’clock in the morning. Weber was as nice a guy then as he seems to be now. In fact, he was so nice I thought he’d be the gym teacher by now in a place like Grundy Center, Ia., instead of being in charge of an Illinois basketball team with a 36-1 record.

3. I’ve got to admit it. I never thought Tom Izzo, who was Jud Heathcote’s assistant at Michigan State for so long, would ever amount to much as the Spartans’ head coach. But here he is, in his fourth Final Four in seven seasons.

4. St. Louis is an excellent place to host a Final Four. The first Final Four I was on hand for in person was in 1973 at the St. Louis Arena. I’d never seen anything like it. In UCLA’s 87-66 victory over Memphis State in the championship game before a crowd approaching 20,000, Bill Walton made 21 field goals in 22 shots and scored 44 points for the Bruins. It was the seventh straight NCAA title for John Wooden’s team, and he did a masterful job of coaching and handling the emotions of Walton, who was just as interested in talking about the “Peace Movement” as he was playing center in Division I basketball.

5. The best Final Four game I wasn’t on hand for personally was between Drake and UCLA on March 20, 1969 at Louisville’s Freedom Hall. That was the game won by Wooden’s Bruins over Maury John’s Bulldogs, 85-82, in the semifinal round. I had covered the last dozen or so regular-season games played by Drake that year, but then Maury White somehow discovered that the Bulldogs had a basketball team. So he was assigned to the NCAA games, or assigned himself, and I got to cover the state high school girls’ tournament at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. I guess my boss, Leighton Housh—one of the three best sports editors I worked with at the local paper—was impressed with my work at the girls’ tournament the year before. So he thought I should cover the ’69 title game, too. The 1968 six-girl championship game was the masterpiece in which Union-Whitten outscored Everly, 113-107, in overtime. That titanic struggle was the one that saw Jeanette Olson score 76 points and Denise Long score 64. In the 1969 title game, Montezuma beat Allison-Bristow, 66-60. I don’t remember anything about that game. I think it’s because I was trying to keep track on the radio of how many points Willie McCarter was scoring against UCLA. Shame on you, Leighton.

6. The best Final Four championship game I’ve seen in person was when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team defeated Larry Bird’s Indiana State team, 75-64, in Salt Lake City in 1979. Johnson [24 points, seven rebounds and five assists] and Greg Kelser [19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists] were too much for Bird, who fell victim to a double-team defense that kept the ball away from him. Bird went 7-for-21 from the field and scored 19 points. He also had 13 rebounds, two assists and six turnovers. I wanted Indiana State to win because Bird and his team had played in Des Moines during the Missouri Valley Conference season, and people from the Big Ten were in the habit of looking down their noses at Bird, who had a hillbilly reputation, and his teammates from sleepy little Terre Haute, Ind.

7. Speaking of all-Big Ten title games, how about Johnny Orr’s Michigan team against Bobby Knight’s Indiana team in the 1976 title game at the Spectrum in Philadelphia? I was there for that one, too. That was so long ago that Knight was still wearing those goofy red plaid sportcoats and neckties when he sat on the bench. Now, of course, he wears those goofy black sweaters that have an O’Reilly Auto Parts logo on the front. Orr’s Wolverines held a 35-29 halftime lead, but Indiana—led by Scott May, the father of present North Carolina standout Sean May—was too much for ol’ Johnny. Indiana won, 86-68, to finish a 32-0 season in the shadow of the Liberty Bell.

8. The most emotional title game I was on hand for was in 1977, when Marquette stopped North Carolina, 67-59, at Atlanta. The game was McGuire’s swan song as a collegiate coach, but fortunately he became a TV commentator and continued to share his wisdom with all of us. Where is Al when we need him now? I’ve had more of Billy Packer already this season than I can stand.

9. I wonder if Drake will ever get back? To a .500 record, I mean.

10. Well, here’s how it will go this weekend, boys and girls: On Saturday, Illinois 85, Louisville 81, and Michigan State 73, North Carolina 65. In Monday night’s championship game: Illinois 88, Michigan State 77. Remember, you saw it here first.

Vol. 4, No. 329
April 1, 2005

An April Fool's Day Memo--2 Chances to Say Goodbye to Diane Graham

This memo was sent April 1.

I assume it's not an April Fool's joke.

Then, never know these days.

It turns out I have conflicts on both days and can't attend. So I've assigned my staff--in a proper tribute to Diane Graham, of course--to grab some of those big yellow notepads from the fourth floor and take plenty of notes.

A guy I know--a retired editor and reporter at the local paper--said he also can't make it to the gatherings.

He does have a good excuse, though.

"I know it is hard to imagine anyone having something better to do than go to a party for Diane Graham, but that is the day I plan to ride to Omaha on a bicycle without a seat," he pointed out.

The memo:

From: Anger, Paul
Sent: Friday, April 1, 2005 6:57 p.m.
Subject: Diane Graham Fetes


Two dates to put on your calendar:

At 4:45 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the newsroom, there will be cowbell-ringing, cake-cutting, ice-cream-scooping and speech-making in honor of Diane.

Then from 7-11 p.m. (OK, or longer) on Saturday, April 16, there will be a party at my home to wish Diane well in, ah, a more casual atmosphere. (That's 710 36 St., West Des Moines.) Bring a spouse or guest.

-- Paul