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