Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Drake's Davis Turning the Corner--His Recruiting Class Is No. 1 In Valley

Now this is more like it.

The people at Drake tell me that Tom Davis and the assistants on his basketball coaching staff there are making some recruiting noise.

I understand that the Bulldogs’ 2005-2006 class has been ranked the best in the Missouri Valley Conference by Hoop Scoop, a national recruiting service based in Louisville, Ky.

Drake’s class was ranked higher than such schools as Gonzaga and Kentucky [which tied for No. 97]; Iowa [No. 128] and Illinois (No. 180].

Hoop Scoop’s Missouri Valley Conference rankings went like this:

83. Drake
93. Southern Illinois
100. Illinois State
120. Creighton
149. Evansville
200. Bradley and Northern Iowa
221. Southwest Missouri State
240. Wichita State
240. Indiana State

Drake’s recruits include 6-7 junior forward A. J. Calvin, a transfer from Butler (Kan.) Community College; 6-8 forward-center Armel Traore dit Nignan, a transfer from Tompkins Cortland [N.Y.] Community College; 6-7 freshman forward Bill Eaddy from Massanutten [Va.] Military Academy; 5-11 junior guard Al Stewart from Des Moines Area Community College, and 6-foot freshman guard Jacob Baryenbruch from River Valley [Wis.] High School.

I hope good things are on the way at Drake.

Davis appears poised to give the university its first winning season since Gary Garner’s 1986-87 team went 17-14.

Davis, the winningest coach in University of Iowa basketball history, has had records of 12-16 and 13-16 at Drake after coming out of retirement. Davis’ contract wasn’t renewed at Iowa, then he stayed out of coaching for four years before being hired at Drake on April 23, 2003.


Gordy Scoles, a coach-turned-author who formerly lived in Iowa and now is in South Carolina, sent me this e-mail:

“Ron, I just read some stuff on the Internet about Ohio State's new athletic director, but this part I really enjoyed: "Lastly, let me say, in my years of coaching at Notre Dame [1977-1981], I never lost to Michigan."

“Besides getting his story wrong, I somehow missed him being the head coach at Notre Dame. Since when do assistants count wins and losses?

“What was Jerry Burns' record at Iowa when he was an assistant? I don't remember reading that he was the guy who got credit for the wins and losses when he was Evy's assistant.”

Scoles was referring to Gene Smith, who was recently named the athletic director in Ohio State’s troubled program. He was the athletic director at Iowa State from 1993-2000, and went to Arizona State in the same capacity after that.

I never had any problems with Smith when he was at Iowa State, but others did. He took a hit for hiring a volleyball coach whose resume said she had a college degree. Actually, she had no degree and was eventually fired.

Besides not doing background checks on his coaches, people said Smith embellished stories and had trouble separating fact from fiction.

Evidently, nothing has changed. Even though he told people at Columbus, Ohio that…..”in my years of coaching at Notre Dame, I never lost to Michigan,” he was totally wrong.

In the years when he was on the Fighting Irish staff, Michigan’s record against Notre Dame was 2-2. Michigan beat Notre Dame, 28-14, in 1978 and won again, 25-7, in 1981. Notre Dame beat Michigan, 12-10, in 1979 and 29-27 in 1980.

Scoles’ mention of Jerry Burns had to do with the fact he was one of Forest Evashevski’s assistants before taking over as Iowa’s head coach in 1961. He was fired after going 1-9 in 1965.


Darryl Sharp, who was on Wayne Morgan’s basketball coaching staff at Iowa State, has resigned.

“I have decided to move back to Minnesota and spend time with my family,” Sharp said. “I have been struggling with this decision for over two years and I felt the time is right to go back home. I really enjoyed my experience at Iowa State and have the utmost respect for Coach Morgan. This decision was even more difficult to me because of the great relationship I have with the players and the coaching staff.”

Sharp came to Iowa State in the summer of 2003 after directing the Minneapolis-area AAU club Howard Pulley. Iowa State went 39-25 and qualified for the postseason in each of Sharp’s two seasons with the Cyclones.

“The basketball family at Iowa State will miss Coach Sharp very much,” Morgan said. “He worked extremely hard to move our program forward. Any success we have had and the success we will have in the future, he will always be a part of. We wish him the very best.”


Both Barry Crist and George Wine have sent me this story:

A business owner in Iowa City was confused about paying an invoice minus the early payment discount, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help.

He called her into his office and said, “You graduated from Iowa State University, and I need some good help. If I were to give you $21,375 minus 12.75%, how much would you take off?”

The secretary thought for a moment, then replied, “Everything but my earrings.”

Vol. 4, No. 347
May 25, 2005