Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sexual Harassment Allegations--Ex-Iowa Journalism Boss Quits at Georgia

Graduates of the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication are buzzing about what has happened to John Soloski, a former director of the school.

Soloski has made the news for all the wrong reasons at the University of Georgia.

The University of Iowa News Services today released the following story. I received it from an Iowa graduate:

Former UI Journalism Director Resigns (Savannah Business Report, June 29)

"The dean of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication resigned Tuesday following allegations that he sexually harassed a female staff member. John Soloski denied allegations leveled by the staffer, but said the toll of the job on his health had become too great. Soloski's resignation will be effective Thursday. He said he had reached an agreement with the university to retain a position as a tenured faculty member in the journalism college. Soloski had been dean of the college for four years, beginning in 2001. He came to UGA from the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, where he was director of that university's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is regarded as an authority on media and libel law, and has co-authored books on those subjects and the newspaper industry."

[NOTE: Soloski received an M.A. in journalism and a Ph. D. in mass communication from the University of Iowa. He was director of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa from 1996-2001. He was editor of Journalism and Communication Monographs from 1994-2002. He is a member of the editorial boards of Newspaper Research Journal, Mass Communication Review, Communication Law and Policy and Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism.]

This story on Soloski was carried by the Associated Press:

UGA Dean Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Complaint
Employee Leveled Accusation

POSTED: 10:17 a.m. EDT June 29, 2005

ATHENS -- The dean of the University of Georgia's journalism school is resigning amid allegations of sexual harassment.

But in his resignation letter, John Soloski said his resignation is not an admission of guilt.

"I want to stress that in no way should this letter be construed to mean that I have violated any University policy or procedure," Soloski wrote in a letter to UGA Provost Arnett Mace dated Monday. "It is simply about me being tired and needing to refocus my life on my own well-being."

The sexual harassment complaint was filed by a former employee at UGA's journalism school. The employee has since transferred to another job at the university.

In his letter to Mace, Soloski, who became a dean in 2001, said he had been thinking about stepping down for some time but that the sexual harassment accusation did play a role in the decision.

"There comes a time when a job demands too much," he wrote. "The complaint I reported to the general counsel's office alleging a violation of University policy by me, a charge which I categorically and emphatically deny, has made me reconsider my decision to stay on as dean through my fifth year."

Soloski's resignation took effect Thursday, but he will remain at the school as a tenured full professor, according to Soloski's letter. Under an agreement negotiated when he came to UGA, Soloski will receive his dean's salary through June 30, 2006.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Here's a story in the Athens Banner-Herald this morning:

Investigation at UGA cites dean's comments
Harassment probe

By Jennifer Moore

The dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication made comments that a reasonable person could have interpreted as sexual advances, in violation of the University of Georgia's non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy, according to an internal investigation.

The investigation, conducted through the university's office of legal affairs, found that Dean John Soloski's comments created "a hostile or offensive working environment," though the findings did not indicate that Soloski intended the comments as sexual.

A female staff member filed a claim in May alleging that Soloski sexually harassed and retaliated against her. The fact that Soloski was the woman's supervisor makes the situation "more significant for the university than if this were peer-to-peer harassment," the investigation findings said.

As a result of the investigation's findings, Soloski must take sexual harassment training from the university by January 1, 2006.

Soloski, who announced Tuesday that he will resign his deanship effective today, denies any wrongdoing and said Wednesday that he will appeal the findings of the investigation.

The investigation did not allow Soloski the rights he would have in a judicial process, he said, denying him the opportunity to "mount any type of defense."

The letter from legal affairs tells Soloski that "it is important to understand that one may violate the policy without having the intent to make a sexual advance."

But, it said, "In this case, the evidence suggests that it was reasonable, given the totality of circumstances, for the complainant to believe that sexual advances were being directed towards her."

Soloski said the report does not take into consideration his intent and relies solely on the accusation, "which is a bit difficult to defend."

The incident in question, Soloski said, happened in Atlanta as he was leaving a black-tie university fund-raising event to meet a woman for a dinner date.

As he was leaving, he said, he saw a woman he had worked with for three years, someone he considers a friend, "wearing a very attractive dress and she is a very attractive woman."

He commented on her dress, but "did not mean it in any sexual way," he said.

Soloski also asked the woman if she was alone because he was concerned for her safety, he said.

At the time, the woman did not act offended or reply, Soloski said.

"I did not mean the comment in any way but as a compliment," he said, and if she had told him she was offended, he would have apologized, explained what he meant and stopped making comments about her appearance.

Soloski said Wednesday he was surprised at the investigation findings and that he knows he has not done anything wrong.

Though Soloski must attend sexual harassment training, he will not face any further disciplinary action because he has already resigned his deanship, Provost Arnett Mace wrote in a formal letter of reprimand.

Soloski announced his resignation Tuesday, telling Mace in his resignation letter that the job "is simply not worth the toll it is exacting from me."

Because of an exit agreement he signed in 2001, Soloski will retain his dean's salary for a year as he takes time to return to research and to the classroom in August 2006 with a salary no less than the highest-paid full professor in the college.

Other colleges have named Soloski as a finalist for their journalism deanships, he said, but he told Mace he would withdraw his name if UGA would renovate the fourth floor of the journalism building for the Grady College and if he received a "modest increase" in his salary. Soloski got his requests, he said, so he withdrew his name
from outside dean searches and intended to stop looking for other jobs.

Soloski said Wednesday he is not sure what courses he will teach, though he has spent much of his career as a professor. He is co-author of two books on libel law and has written articles on media law, media ownership, communications policy and news reporting.

Soloski was the fifth dean in the history of the Grady College.

Mace said he will name an interim dean "very soon" and expects to name members for a national search committee by the end of July.

Though Grady College faculty said they were surprised to hear about the sexual harassment charge against Soloski, not all were happy with his management style.

"I think he has a great vision of what he wants," said David Hazinski, but "I think he is not collaborative. I have heard the word autocratic used."

But because Soloski worked independently to develop and lead the school, his departure will have a profound effect, Hazinski said.

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cyclones Will Play Ohio State Dec. 17 at Wells Fargo Arena in D.M.

The Iowa State men’s basketball team will play Ohio State in the 2005 Mediacom Cyclone Capital Classic on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The game will be televised by ESPN2, and will be Iowa State's first-ever men's contest played in the new arena in downtown Des Moines.

The Cyclone women’s team will play Northern Iowa at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised by Mediacom.

“We are pleased that we are able to schedule a game against a nationally recognized opponent in our first game in the Wells Fargo Arena,” Iowa State athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said.

“We think the matchup against Northern Iowa in the women’s game and the Big 12-Big Ten matchup in the men’s game will provide Cyclone fans and alumni throughout the nation an outstanding night of basketball.”

The games are being promoted by Cyclone Sports Marketing, a partnership between Clear Channel Communciations and ESPN Regional TV.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Great scheduling. I don't know if the fact new Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is a former athletic director at Iowa State, but it likely didn't hurt. Give credit to the Buckeyes for agreeing to a game against an Iowa State team that figures to be pretty good. And Ohio State is certainly going to be a challenging opponent for coach Wayne Morgan's team. I hope more of this type of scheduling takes place in the future].


Iowa’s men’s basketball team will host North Carolina State on Wednesday, Nov. 30 as the Hawkeyes return to the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Game time will be 8:30 p.m. ESPN2 will televise it.

Iowa is 1-3 in the Challenge, defeating Georgia Tech in 2001 in Iowa City. Iowa lost to Maryland in Baltimore in 2000, at Florida State in 2003 and to Duke in Chicago in 2002. North Carolina State defeated Purdue in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge last year to improve to 4-2 in the event.

“It’s exciting to be back in the Challenge and hosting an ACC team in Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” said Iowa Coach Steve Alford. “Playing a team from the ACC, you always know it’s a quality opponent that is well-coached. It’s a real plus for our home schedule to face an ACC opponent and it makes our overall non-conference schedule that much stronger.”

The Wolfpack posted a 21-14 record a year ago and return three starters and eight lettermen. North Carolina State advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2005 NCAA tournament with a victory over Connecticut before falling to Wisconsin.

Coach Herb Sendek has posted a 169-122 overall record in nine seasons, leading his team to four straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Iowa had a 21-12 record last season, making its fifth straight post-season appearance after a fifth straight winning season. The Hawkeyes lost to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA tournament after advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.

Iowa returns 11 lettermen and five starters from a year ago, including senior forward Greg Brunner and senior guard Jeff Horner. Horner and Brunner have each scored over 1,000 career points and Brunner has ranked second in Big Ten rebounding the past two seasons.

North Carolina State holds a 3-2 series advantage over Iowa, but none of the previous five games has been played in Iowa City or Raleigh. The teams last met in 1989, with the Wolfpack winning 102-96 in double overtime in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Providence, RI.

With the realignment of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten/ACC Challenge includes 11 games for the first time as every Big Ten Conference team will participate. Here is the schedule, with all times Central:

Monday, Nov. 28

Virginia Tech at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Minnesota at Maryland, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Wisconsin at Wake Forest, 6 p.m., ESPN
Northwestern at Virginia, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Purdue at Florida State, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Duke at Indiana, 8 p.m., ESPN
Clemson at Penn State, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Illinois at North Carolina, 8 p.m., ESPN

Wednesday, Nov. 30

North Carolina State at Iowa, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2
Georgia Tech at Michigan State, 6 p.m., ESPN

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It's good that Iowa is back in this tournament. Alford has picked up the nickname "Mr. November" because his teams play some of their best basketball early in the season. North Carolina State should be a good test for the Hawkeyes].

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hoiberg's 5-Hour Heart Procedure Successful--'Went Without a Hitch'

The Minnesota Timberwolves said guard Fred Hoiberg underwent successful heart surgery this morning.

Hoiberg, a former Iowa State basketball player from Ames, had surgery to correct an enlarged aortic root.

Dr. Hartzell Schaff, a cardiac surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., performed the aortic root aneurysm repair surgery. The surgery corrected a bulge in the root where the artery meets the heart's aortic valve.

"Our thoughts and prayers for a complete recovery go out to Fred and his family at this time," said Timberwolves President Chris Wright.

"We are all looking forward to seeing him again at Target Center and will support him in whatever career decision he makes."

In 76 games last season, Hoiberg averaged 5.8 points [.489 field goal percentage], 2.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 16.7 minutes per game. He led the league in three-point accuracy, hitting a career-best and franchise-record 48.3 percent [70-for-145].

The 10-year veteran scored a season-high 15 points on Jan. 22 at Portland; while the Wolves went 24-6 when he netted 8+ points and 21-9 when he logged 20-plus minutes. Hoiberg committed just 20 turnovers last season, which amounted to a league-best ratio of one every 63.6 minutes.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Hey, Fred, from a guy who covered you when you played at Iowa State--thanks to your doctors for a job well done. Everyone knew they wouldn't screw this job up on The Mayor. We all wish you a speedy recovery and hope you'll be back in a Timberwolves uniform soon].

MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE: Surgery went without a hitch

By Kent Youngblood
Star Tribune

At the end of a very long day, Dr. Sheldon Burns had some very good news. Burns, the Timberwolves and Lynx medical director, spent the day in Rochester, where Wolves guard Fred Hoiberg had heart surgery to correct an aortic root aneurysm.

Burns, who had helped Hoiberg from getting tests to diagnosing the problem to picking a surgeon to correct it, said the procedure took about five hours and went without a hitch.

"It went well," said Burns, who made it back to Target Center in time for the Lynx game. "By the time I left, he was still in [intensive care], but he was responding."

The surgery was performed by Dr. Hartzell Schaff, a cardiac surgeon at Mayo Clinic.

Burns and Hoiberg -- who spent a lot of time learning about his condition -- went to great lengths picking a surgeon. They even considered using a doctor in Germany. The biggest question was whether to replace the aortic valve.

Hoiberg was born with an abnormally shaped valve in his heart, a condition he has known about since college. It was the constant follow-up of that condition that ensured detection of the aneurysm.

Much of the preparation for surgery surrounded the decision of whether or not the valve needed to be replaced. Burns said he and Hoiberg read a lot of research published by a Canadian doctor before deciding the valve could be saved.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Drake's 'Home' Football Games May Be Played at Valley, Waukee

There’s a chance that Drake’s football team will do something in the 2005 season that’s never been done before.

If the renovation project currently going on at Drake Stadium isn’t completed—and right now no one knows if it will be--the Bulldogs may not play any of their games in Des Moines.

I hear that plans are being made to play three “home” Bulldog games at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines and one possibly at Waukee High School’s stadium if Drake Stadium isn’t ready.

“It depends on the weather and how much progress is being made with the renovation,” Paul Morrison, the Drake historian who has a high-profile position in the university’s intercollegiate sports tradition, told me.

Drake has only four home games on its schedule—Sept. 24 against Austin Peay State, Oct. 8 against Dayton, Oct. 29 against Butler and Nov. 12 against Waldorf.

The Bulldogs’ first three games are on the road—Sept. 1 at Northern Iowa, Sept. 10 at Illinois State and Sept. 17 at Wisconsin-Platteville.

Although the sites of the “home” football games are indefinite, Drake officials definitely want to have the stadium available for the Drake Relays in April, 2006.

“To my knowledge, we’ve never ever played a ‘home’ football game other than at a Drake facility,” said Morrison, who will celebrate his 88th birthday July 25. “We’ve cancelled some home games for one reason or another, but never played any away from Drake.”

One of the home football games cancelled was on Nov. 23, 1963 when Iowa State was scheduled to play at Drake Stadium. That game was called off because of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It’s been different in basketball. Morrison recalls a time when Drake moved a game against coach Henry Iba’s Oklahoma A&M [now Oklahoma State] team to the Des Moines Armory from Drake Fieldhouse.

Drake Stadium opened in 1925 with a seating capacity of 18,000, and Morrison came to the university as a student in 1935. Ossie Solem was the Bulldogs’ coach when the stadium opened, and Vee Green was in charge when Morrison was attending school.

Indeed, those were different eras in Drake football history. In 1925, the Bulldogs had a 5-3 record that included victories over Kansas State, Kansas and Nebraska, and lost to Oklahoma, Iowa State and Southern Methodist. In 1935, Drake played such teams as Ohio State, Iowa State, Tulsa and the Haskell Indians.

Morrison pointed out that it’s interesting Butler, one of Drake’s opponents in the upcoming season, is also renovating its football stadium.

“There are similarities between Drake and Butler,” Morrison said. “Both are nicknamed the Bulldogs, both had the same strong church affiliation, both schools’ colors are blue and white, and both are neighborhood schools—Butler in Indianapolis, Drake in Des Moines.”


One of the more laughable things in the local paper lately—at least since the equally-laughable Erin Crawford silliness about Johnny Gosch a while back—was the story about the 25 most powerful people in Iowa sports.

I felt very sorry for Randy Peterson, the guy who had to write it. Peterson has been around the place a long time. Heck, I remember when he was doing a bowling column for the old Des Moines Tribune. And, man, that was a while back.

At least he’s one of the few people at the local paper who writes “a crowd announced as 2,200” was at the ballpark when actually there were no more then 1,000 people in the stands.

Peterson must have been the only guy in the office the day the top-25 assignment was handed out. Or maybe it was just his turn to draw the short straw.

I haven’t talked to Peterson about it yet, so I don’t know who assigned him to write the story. Maybe it was publisher Mary Stier, who might have been hoping she’d make the list because she thinks she’s supposed to be on everybody’s list. A better guess is that it was the sports editor, who somehow did get on the list.

Anyway, I have a few observations:

--No newspaper sports editor or sportswriter from a daily or weekly newspaper belongs on the list—especially an editor or writer from a dying paper that no longer has a “voice.” Including people who draw their paychecks from the paper that printed the list immediately destroys the credibility of the project.

--No owner of a local sports team deserves to be on the list.

--Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz should be No. 1 on the list. Nobody is hotter these days than Ferentz.

--Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby should be No. 2. He’s got it rolling.

--Iowa State football coach Dan McCarney should be in the top 5. I don’t agree with his decision on Jason Berryman, either, but McCarney is still a gamer.

--No one with advanced stages of “little man’s disease,” is overbearing and has an identity problem—or all of the above—should be on the list.

--Among several TV and radio announcers who deserved to be considered for the list were Keith Murphy of WHO-TV in Des Moines, John Walters of WOI-TV in West Des Moines, John Campbell of KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids and Iowa football and basketball play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin. Times have changed. Those people carry much more weight now than newspaper editors and writers.

--Mike Hlas, veteran sports columnist at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, deserved a strong look as a member of the list.

--People with Internet jobs—among them Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation and Steve Deace of Cyclone Nation as well as Des Moines sports-talk radio station KXNO—also should have been considered. Sports on the Internet is becoming so big so fast that newspapers are scared to death of it, don’t know what to do about it and, obviously, don’t want to give credit to those who work in it.

Vol. 4, No. 355
June 27, 2005

Saturday, June 25, 2005

'New' Journalism--Being Beaten By 6 Hours, Then Calling It 'Breaking News'

Excuse me.

It took 5 minutes for me to get started with this because I've been laughing so much.

It's pretty funny stuff.

I opened my local paper this morning and saw at the top of Section C [that's the sports section] that there was some "BREAKING NEWS."

I guess that means the people who put out the paper have been watching too much cable TV again.


What the local paper's desperate-for-circulation editors are trying to pass off as BREAKING NEWS was a story about former Iowa State and present Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player Fred Hoiberg being headed to heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic.

I had the BREAKING NEWS about Hoiberg on this web page at least 6 hours before the local paper was on my front porch.

I have nothing against the local paper using the story on Hoiberg. All of us around here are interested in the career of this Iowan who's been called "The Mayor" for many years.

Just don't try to fool people and call it BREAKING NEWS when there's not a damn thing breaking about it.

The only thing breaking these days at the local paper are the the daily and Sunday circulation numbers, which have reached all-time lows.

Meanwhile, what follows is the latest dispatch from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the Hoiberg situation.

Notice that the story was last updated at 11:37 p.m. Friday. If you hear that clowns at the local paper are trying to call it BREAKING NEWS in tomorrow's local paper, just start laughing.

A lot of the rest of us are already laughing.

Last update: June 24, 2005 at 11:37 PM
Heart surgery will sideline Wolves' Hoiberg
Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune
June 25, 2005

On Friday, days away from heart surgery, the Timberwolves' Fred Hoiberg talked about the things he wanted -- no, very much needed -- to do in his life.

Being there for his wife, Carol, is on top of the list. He'd like to walk down the aisle one day with his daughter, Paige, when she gets married. Or coach son Jack's basketball team, and watch twins Sam and Charlie grow up. Just call it Hoiberg's top five things to live for.

"My world has been turned upside down," Hoiberg said. "That's when priorities get set."

Hoiberg, a reserve guard, will be at the Mayo clinic Tuesday for surgery to correct an enlarged aortic root.

He has been told he should be able to play again, but he said he would consider retiring if it would put him in danger.

The technical diagnosis is an aortic root aneurysm. That means there is a bulge -- and presumably weakness -- in the root, which is where the artery meets the heart's aortic valve.

Hoiberg played the entire 2004-05 season with the condition, which put him one hard hit from potential disaster.

"Had I taken a significant blow to that area, it could have caused a rupture," Hoiberg said. "It could have gone ... I remember taking a hard charge from Karl Malone in the [2004] playoffs. I took it right in the ribs. If that had happened last year, that could have caused something. That's something really scary to think about. I think back to last year, how disappointing it was for us not to make the playoffs. But for me personally, it probably was a blessing we didn't make the playoffs."

Dr. Kevin Harris, a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, is not familiar with the specifics of Hoiberg's case, but he is familiar with the condition. He said normally the aneurysm is removed and replaced by a graft made of a synthetic material. Hoiberg said his condition also is affected by an abnormally shaped aortic valve in his heart. He's known about that condition since college and says it might need to be addressed later in life.

Still, Hoiberg has been told a full recovery is expected, that he should be able to return to the game. He said he is confident he can play three or four more years if everything heals correctly.

"But if there is any doubt at all, even a 1 percent chance that anything could happen, I'll walk away [from basketball]," Hoiberg said. "I'll go on with my life. If there is any risk at all, I'll move on."

Hoiberg's return for the 2005-06 season seems like a long shot. He said the recovery could take three months.

"You don't want to put a timetable on it," Hoiberg said. "The surgeon said that maybe even more than the heart healing is the sternum healing. The procedure involves sawing open the chest bone, opening ribs, going to work on the heart. If you try to come back and do anything before the bones are fully healed, you're really looking at a long recovery, as much as a couple years."

All that said, Hoiberg can't help but set at least a vague goal. "I'm determined to play again," he said. "I know I'm not supposed to set a date, but maybe I could look at trying to do some things around the All-Star break [in February]. If I could come back, make a contribution to the team, I'll work my tail off to get back in great shape."

It was in January when Hoiberg started getting hints of a problem. He was trying to get some additional life insurance but kept getting rejected by companies because of his enlarged aortic root. He talked to team medical director Dr. Sheldon Burns, who suggested, to be safe, that Hoiberg have further tests at Mayo Clinic.

That was when the problem was diagnosed. "They start getting worried about the aortic root when it gets to about 42 millimeters for a guy my size," Hoiberg said. "It was 47 in January. When they measured it after the season, it was 56. That rapid progression, it was something to worry about."

Surgery could probably have been put off for up to a year, but Hoiberg said he would not have been cleared to play. "The best thing was to get this thing done, get on the road to recovery," he said.

In the past few weeks, Hoiberg said he has tried to learn more about his condition, hoping that knowledge would help ease his fears. He has told a few friends about his upcoming surgery, and he has tried to prepare himself for it.

"There is no question that basketball plays second fiddle to this," Hoiberg said. "It does make you realize how important family is."

Kent Youngblood is at


I don't know why people would believe anything they hear at the funny farm known as "The-Local-Ballpark-That's-Always-Going-To-Be-Sec-Taylor-Stadium-To-Me."

People who run that "Money-Grabbing, Let's-See-If-We-Can Get-That-Last-Dollar-Out-Of-Your-Pocket" operation say 13,669 people coughed up ticket money to watch Kerry [How Soon Will I Be Traded to the Texas Rangers?] Wood in yet another rehab appearance last night.

It's one of those things that a savvy reporter would call "an announced crowd" or "a make-believe crowd."

Just so you'd know, one of the 13,669 wasn't me.

"Cinderella Man" at the Sierra last night was a much more enjoyable show. And the popcorn was not only cheaper at the Sierra, but better, too.

Friday, June 24, 2005

'World Turned Upside Down'--Hoiberg Will Have Heart Surgery

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg--a former basketball standout at Iowa State--said he will have heart surgery Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic to correct an enlarged aortic root.

Hoiberg told the Minneapolis Star Tribune today that he should be able to play again, but he will consider retiring if his condition is life threatening.

"My world has been turned upside down,'' Hoiberg told the newspaper. "That's when priorities get set.''

Hoiberg has a wife and four children.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: They don't come any better than Hoiberg, a solid individual who was called "The Mayor" when he starred for Iowa State. We all hope everything works out fine for Fred in the operating room and that he can continue his career in the NBA].


Sophomore pitcher Ian Kennedy [Huntington Beach/La Quinta High School]) and junior catcher Jeff Clement [Marshalltown, Ia./Marshalltown High School] earned 2005 Baseball America All-America first team honors, becoming the first pair of Southern California consensus first-team All-Americans since Seth Etherton and Jack Krawczyk in 1998.

The announcement was made by the USC sports information office.

Kennedy went 12-3 this season with a 2.54 earned-run average and currently leads the nation with 158 total strikeouts [the NCAA recognizes strikeouts per nine innings as the standard]. In 117 innings this season, Kennedy allowed 85 hits, allowed 33 earned runs and walked 38 batters. He was named as the 2005 District IX Player of the Year (covering California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai'i, Arizona and Alaska) by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year. Kennedy also earned 2005 All-America first team honors by Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.

Clement, who was selected third overall on June 7 by the Seattle Mariners in the 2005 major league draft, led the Trojans in most offensive categories this season. He batted .348 (80-for-230) with 17 doubles, 15 home runs and 54 RBI. He also led the team in walks (44) while stealing a career-high five bases and throwing out 25 of 68 baserunners (37%).

He was a finalist for the 2005 Golden Spikes Award and is a finalist for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, which will be announced Wednesday in Wichita, Kansas.

For his career, Clement finished second all-time with 46 career home runs behind Mark McGwire (54). Clement also earned 2005 All-America first team honors by Collegiate Baseball and USA Today Sports Weekly, as well as NCBWA third team honors.

USC can now lay claim to 175 All-America selections during its fabled history, along with 91 first team selections. The Trojans finished the 2005 season with a 41-22 record and their fifth NCAA Super Regional appearance in the last seven years.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks to former Iowan and present Californian Mark Robinson for calling my attention to the USC release. I'd like to be Jeff Clement's agent or the neighbor kid who threw him pitches during batting practice at Marshalltown High. [Maybe he'd like to repay his old batting practice pitcher with a few thousand when it's contract time with the Mariners!]

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Good And the Not-So-Good About Iowa's Basketball Attendance

Although Iowa's basketball attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City in the Steve Alford coaching era is far from what it used to be, the university's spin-masters tried to paint a pretty picture today.

This was the the announcement from Iowa:

"The University of Iowa’s men’s basketball program averaged 11,900 fans at 16 home games during the 2004-05 season, a figure that ranked 22nd nationally among NCAA Division I institutions.

"Last season marked the 23rd consecutive season in which Iowa basketball ranked among the nation’s top 25 in home attendance. Iowa and Indiana are the only two Big Ten Conference schools who have ranked among the top 25 in home attendance each year since 1978 The NCAA kept only a top 10 prior to 1978.

"Overall, the Big Ten led the nation for the 29th straight season, averaging 12,530 at 180 home games during the season. Seven Big Ten programs ranked in the top 25 for the 2004-05 season.

"Iowa returns five starters and 10 lettermen from the squad that had a 21-12 overall record in 2004-2005."

However, to see how things have changed at Iowa, consider this information that's on the university's basketball website:

"Carver-Hawkeye Arena, one of the 15 largest university-owned facilities in the nation, serves as Iowa's home basketball arena. Opened in January of 1983, the building seats 15,500 for basketball.

"Capacity crowds have been the rule rather than the exception at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Over 4.8 million fans have viewed games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena the past 20 1/2 seasons.

"Iowa played 60 consecutive home games in front of sellout crowds and more recently had a streak of 41 consecutive sellouts for regular-season games. The single game record of 15,570 was set against Indiana in 1987."

That was then. This is now.

Iowa played in front of sellout crowds of 15,500 only twice last season--against Michigan State and Illinois.

Neither the Iowa-Iowa State nor Iowa-Northern Iowa game sold out. Iowa-Iowa State attracted 15,312 fans, Iowa-UNI drew only 10,349.

Some Big Ten games drew surprisingly-low crowds--10,289 for Michigan, 11,937 for Purdue, 11,157 for Ohio State, 12,057 for Minnesota, 12,424 for Northwestern and 14,364 for Indiana.

Obviously, some work needs to be done. Iowa should be selling out in basketball just as it sells out in football.


Iowa State athletic director Bruce Van De Velde has been named by the NCAA Championships and Competition Cabinet to serve on the NCAA Postseason Football Licensing Subcommittee.

The subcommittee licenses all NCAA Division I-A bowl games and oversees postseason football championships in Division I-AA, II and III. The new responsibilities complement Van De Velde's continuing assignment on the NCAA Football Issues Committee.

Van De Velde's past NCAA duties include serving on the NCAA I-A Athletic Directors Strategic Planning Committee, the NCAA Committee for Financial Aid and on peer review teams for NCAA certification.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Coach-Turned-Author Gordy Scoles Takes a Look at Football in Nashua

This is something different.

It’s got a lot to do with the northeast Iowa community of Nashua, but it’s not about the Little Brown Church in the Vale.

That, my friends, takes some doing.

For the past 150 years, very few people talked about Nashua without mentioning the nearby Little Brown Church, too.

But what this column is about is Gordon “Gordy” Scoles and his book, “Best In the Land—The First Half-Century of Nashua High School Football.”

On Page 231 [the last page] of the book, Scoles writes that he “grew up four blocks from Nashua High School, where he graduated with the class of 1961 and was overshadowed on the gridiron by his dad and uncle…..”

Scoles, a 62-year-old former coach, now lives in Bennettsville, S.C.

“Bennettsville is about 85 miles from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Raleigh, N.C.,” he tells me. “We’re either in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of everywhere. Depends on how you look at it.”

Scoles said he’ll be “signing and, I hope, selling books Saturday at Nashua’s Sesquicentennial Celebration and at the Nashua-Plainfield alumni banquet. The celebration is in the morning and the banquet is in the evening. We plan to be in Iowa from Wednesday through Tuesday, June 28.”

The well-written book is filled with facts and photographs, and will be of interest to anyone who has followed high school football in this state.

This isn’t Scoles’ first book. His others include “Freedom in the Huddle,” “The Creative Edge in Coaching Psychology [With Darrell Mudra],” “Higher and Farther: Complete Guide to Coaching Field Events,” and “Maxing Out: Total Strength Training for Athletes.”

“I have heard from people all over the country who read “Best in the Land,” Scoles said. “Many wrote to thank me for writing about their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers and uncles.

“One person who wrote was a retired 84-year-old University of Iowa graduate and University of Oregon law professor who read about his dad who played football and basketball for Nashua over 85 years ago.

“I also reconnected with Doug Pinkham, who coached at Nashua from 1953-1960, and then went on to be selected to the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame after a successful career at West Marshall of State Center. In writing about Nashua football, I ran across Kent Taylor [Louis Weiss], who was probably the most well-known Nashuan of that period.

“I could never find that Taylor/Weiss ever played football for Nashua, or that he ever graduated [as he claimed] from Nashua High School, but he did go on to star in several movies in the 1930s and 1940s, and then starred in ‘Boston Blackie,’ an early-1950s TV show.”

Scoles said it took him about 3 ½ years to write the book.

“I started in late-June, 2001, and finished around Thanksgiving, 2004,” he said. “I think I’ve sold a little over 200 of these self-published books. I’ve printed 325 books and I think if I sell another 40, I’ll financially break even.

“’Best in the Land’ hasn’t sold quite as well as your book [“Tales from the Iowa Sidelines”] or “The Bridges of Madison County,” but I have really felt good about the comments I have received from the people who have read it.”

Scoles said his interest in writing track and field coaching articles began at “almost the minute I started coaching and teaching at Columbus High School in Waterloo in 1967. I had several articles published in coaching journals, then took off for Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University [where they dropped track] and Iowa State [his years there were 1976-1980].”

Among Scoles’ other coaching stops were St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, N.C., where he was the track and cross-country coach from 1986-1989, and Minnesota State in Moorhead, where he was the track coach in 1990-1991.

Scoles said he “was the first assistant coach Iowa State’s Bill Bergan hired when he took over for Jerry Barland in 1976. I coached the field events, which included shot-putter John Scheetz and Scott Crowell, the discus thrower. I left coaching at ISU in 1980 because my first wife had died suddenly during the 1978 track season and I couldn’t juggle NCAA Division I coaching and two little kids.

“When I coached with Bill, I wrote those track and field and weight training books, along with several coaching articles. After I left coaching for several years, my writing stopped, and it took me a few years and lots of reading to shift gears and genres, if that’s the word I should use. I ended up teaching high school history in South Carolina seven years ago, and kept trying to figure out how to get the kids interested in history of the kind that also interested me.”

Scoles said, “The next thing I knew, I got this idea to write about Doug Pinkham, my high school coach at Nashua from 1957-1959. As you can see, I expanded on that topic, and I’m now working on a football novel aimed at middle school-high school kids that is based on one of the stories I uncovered in ‘Best In the Land.’

“My daughter, who helped with the photos and printing of the book, suggested I get an editor for the next one.”

Scoles said his intention was to write about Nashua High School’s undefeated, untied 1959 football team that was ranked No. 1 among small schools in the state.

“The story grew on me,” he pointed out. “Before I knew it, I was back to 1896 and writing about the first half-century of Nashua High School football and all the different people, facts and figures of the town during this period. My original plan was to print 50 books and give them as gifts to family, friends and people who donated photographs and stories.

“Instead, I ended up printing 100 copies the first time around, which was good because word spread after people began reading it. Soon others wanted to buy it. I dedicated the book to my dad, Don Wesley Scoles, who died in 1962 and was a great player for Nashua High School during the 1921, 1922 and 1923 seasons.”

Scoles said he and his wife, Pat, who is from Waverly, have three grown daughters and four grandchildren.

There’s more writing from Scoles on the way. He said he’s “about 80 percent finished with the book ‘Onward To Victory: The First Half-Century of Greene High School Football.’

“Greene is about 12 miles from Nashua, and before the schools were consolidated with other schools, the two were fierce rivals.

“Clare Grendler was a great athlete at Greene from 1956-1960. I sent him a copy of the [Nashua] book to rub it in on how badly we beat them in 1958 and 1959, Instead of getting mad, he suggested I write something similar about Greene’s past football teams.”

Vol. 4, No. 353
June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

Erwin Prasse, Who Captained Kinnick's 1939 Iowa Ironmen, Dies at 87

And now there are three.

Erwin Prasse, captain of the famous 1939 University of Iowa Ironmen football team, is dead at the age of 87.

Prasse died Saturday in Naperville, Ill., where he had lived for the last 52 years.

He had been one of only four members of the Ironmen who were still living.

George "Red" Frye of Albia, Ia., a Hawkeye teammate of Prasse, told me today the death was apparently the result of a fall.

"Erwin fell and his hit head last Friday," the 86-year-old Frye explained. "I had called him to see if he was interested in going with me to Iowa's first game [against Ball State] next season. We went to the 2004 season opener together."

Frye said not many people realized that Prasse's nickname in the 1930s was "Bisquits."

"He got the name because his father worked in a bakery and would bring bisquits and other things home from there," Frye explained. "Not many people knew about that nickname."

Although Nile Kinnick won the 1939 Heisman Trophy when he played halfback for Iowa, Prasse was the team's captain.

Visitation will take place Tuesday from 3 to 9 p.m. at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home [44 South Mill Street] in Naperville. Services will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home, followed by a church service at the SS Peter and Paul Church [36 North Ellsworth Street].

Prasse was Iowa’s second nine-time letter-winner Aubrey Devine was the first. Prasse lettered three times in football, basketball and baseball.

The Ironmen, coached by Dr. Eddie Anderson, had a 6-1-1 record that included back-to-back victories over Notre Dame and Minnesota.

Prasse was an all-American end his senior year [1939] in football after having been named all-Big Ten as a junior and senior. He was also a prominent starter at second base for two Iowa Big Ten title baseball teams.

He was taken in the ninth round of the 1940 National Football League draft by the Detroit Lions, and was drafted by major league baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals. He even played professional basketball for a few years.

He was a veteran of World War II, and was wounded in action. He worked for an insurance company most of his life.

Prasse and his wife, Norma, had 10 children.

Prasse was featured in my book, "Tales from the Iowa Sidelines," which was published in 2003, and is now in its second printing.

In a segment in the book, titled "Heisman Trophy Winner, But Not Captain," Maly wrote:

"The Main Main of the 1939 Iowa Ironmen was was Nile Kinnick, the do-everything halfback who went on to become Iowa's only Heisman Trophy winner.

"Kinnick, whose grandfahter--George W. Clarke--had been governor of the State of Iowa from 1913-1917, was an extremely intelligent young man who appeared destined for big things after his days as a Hawkeye star.

"Could he had been elected governor? A Senator? To an even higher office?

"Unfortunately, we'll never know.

"Tragically, Kinnick's life ended on June 2, 1943. As a Navy ensign, he died when his plane crashed on a training flight in Caribbean Sea. He was only 24.

"Kinnick grew up in Adel, Ia., a town just west of Des Moines, but spent his senior year in high school in Omaha, Neb. He and his teawmmates had been part of just two victories and one tie in 16 Iowa games under Coach Irl Tubbs in 1937 and 1938.

"Kinnick wasn't elected captain of the 1939 team. Instead, Prasse was.

"'Kinnick had counted on being captain, and I thought he certainly would be,"
said Prasse, who earned nine letters in football basketball and baseball at Iowa. 'But he had a bad ankle in 1938, and I was named our most valuable player.

"'Looking back now, what the hell difference did it make that I was the captain in 1939? The captain decides what you're going to do when the officials flip the coin, and that's it.'"

The surviving members of the Ironmen are Frye, Dick Evans and Henry Vollenweider.

"Evans and Prasse were the ends," Frye said. "Vollenweider was a fullback. He wasn't a regular, but he lettered. I played center and linebacker."

Frye said he is in excellent health.

"I've been doing some lawn-mowing and trimming today. I'm ready go to into the game," he joked. "Send me in."


Damon Archibald, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant on the Iowa State men’s basketball staff, today was promoted to associate head coach.

“I think Damon has done an excellent job for us,” coach Wayne Morgan said. “He has demonstrated that he has the maturity and acumen to be a successful head coach. We are extremely pleased he will be continuing his coaching career at Iowa State.”

When such appointments are made, one reason is so the coach who is being promoted can receive a pay raise.

“I am flattered and humbled to have this opportunity,” Archibald said. “However, I am more excited about being associated with one of the rising programs and hottest coaches in the country. This was a perfect Father’s Day gift.”

Archibald is entering his third season with the Cyclones after being an assistant at Southern California from 2000-03. The Cyclones made back-to-back postseason appearances in Archibald’s two seasons, advancing to the NIT seminfinals in 2004 and the NCAA second round in 2005.

Vol. 4, No. 354
June 20, 2005

Friday, June 17, 2005

Pierce Wants State to Pay Lawyer Fees; Maly Tells Him to Shove It

This is one of those, "How-Stupid-Do-You-Think-These-Hard-Working-Iowans Are?, You've-Got-To-Be-Kidding!" stories, written by the Associated Press and carried today by

Former University of Iowa basketball player Pierre Pierce wants the state to pick up part of his defense costs against charges that he assaulted his former girlfriend last winter.

According to a financial affidavit filed in Dallas County District Court, Pierce claims he is living on $170 a month. Pierce, 22, who is unemployed, said he is paying $10 monthly in rent for his Iowa City apartment and does not have any money in checking or savings accounts.

The affidavit is part of a request to have the state pay a portion of his legal bills.

Pierce claimed he spends about $50 for food each month and pays about $60 in utilities, while spending about $50 on transportation expenses, the document shows.

Defense attorney Alfredo Parrish has asked that the state pay for costs associated with defense depositions, subpoenas and expert witnesses in Pierce's criminal case, even though Pierce's family has retained Parrish privately.

Pierce, of Westmont, Ill., is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 16 on two counts of burglary, criminal mischief and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse stemming from a Jan. 27 incident involving his former girlfriend in West Des Moines.

The former Hawkeye guard, who was kicked off the team midseason, has been preparing for the June 28 NBA draft.

In the affidavit, Pierce left several lines blank, answering "No" when asked whether he or anyone else had employed an attorney for him in the case. He didn't provide answers about who has paid for legal services, how much has been paid or about the $30,000 surety bond posted so he could travel to Chicago earlier this month.

Additional documentation was provided to the judge privately spelling out details of Pierce's financial standing, Parrish said Thursday.

Assistant Attorney General A. Patricia Houlihan has said she wants Judge Gregory Hulse to review carefully Pierce's claim of indigence.

"It is obvious that the defendant does have a source of money since he is able to retain private counsel to defend him and presumably to post his bond," Houlihan wrote in a previously filed resistance to the request.

Houlihan's resistance cited what she called an ``unreasonable'' expenditure of funds to retain Parrish and asked that Parrish privately disclose fees paid by Pierce and his family.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Hey, Pierre. Shove this request into an area where it might be physically uncomfortable. I don't know who's dumber--you or your lawyers. You should have thought of the costs involved when you were making all those roundtrips from Iowa City to West Des Moines during the basketball season, and when you were using other peoples' cell phones to make those idiotic calls. You don't deserve a nickel for anything. Welcome to the real world. And, oh, yes, why don't you do us all a favor and get a job? A regular reader and frequent contributor to these columns has already weighed in with some strong opinions on the latest bit of Pierce ridiculousness, going so far as to label him a lazy bum: "You're not kidding when you say this is a 'you've-got-to-be-kidding' story. This goes beyond unbelievable. How could he or his attorney even think of making such an asinine request? Send the creep out to California and I'm sure all charges will be dropped. Of course, he'd want us to pay for his transportation. If the lazy bum is unemployed, where does he get the $170 he's living on?"]

Vol. 4, No. 352
June 17, 2005

Thursday, June 16, 2005

'Every Iowa Football Game Will Be Televised, Without Question'

Iowa’s football games against Ball State and Northern Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City will be televised this fall, the Big Ten Conference said today.

The Hawkeyes' season opener Sept. 3 against Ball State will be televised by ESPN-plus to a regional audience. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. [CDT]. The Sept. 17 game against Northern Iowa will begin at 2:30 p.m. [CDT] and will be shown regionally on ESPN-plus and nationally on the ESPNU Network.

Stations carrying the games will be KDSM in Des Moines; KGAN in Cedar Rapids; KWQC in the Quad Cities; Cox Cable in Omaha and KYOU in Ottumwa.

"We are still working on [the] Sioux City and Mason City/Austin/Rochester [markets]," said a man who is heavily involved in the TV negotations.

That same man said, "Every Iowa football game will be televised this year, without question."

The announcement brings to four the number of Iowa games already slated for the 2005 TV schedule. Iowa games at Iowa State on Sept. 10 [2:30 p.m., ABC] and at Purdue on Oct. 8 [3:30 p.m., ESPN] were announced for TV earlier.

The Hawkeyes have had their last 40 games televised. The last Iowa game not televised was against Minnesota on Nov. 17, 2001.


A guy never knows what he'll find in "Bucknuts," a website tightly connected to Ohio State athletics.

Here's one thing someone found:

Kurt Coleman Update!

By Chris Pool
Midwest Recruiting Analyst
Date: June 15, 2005

Clayton (Ohio) Northmont cornerback Kurt Coleman had a surprisingly good visit to Kansas State a few weeks ago, but according to the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder, it was Iowa that blew him away. Could Coleman be headed to Iowa City to play his college football?

"Iowa was incredible," Kurt Coleman said. "I had a great time. The facilities are excellent. The stadium is being renovated and I felt very comfortable there.

"I didn't commit. I'm going to Ohio State tomorrow and I'm going to Tennessee next week. I'd also like to check out West Virginia and Cincinnati.

"I still can't stop talking about Iowa. Coach Ferentz is one of the most down to earth guys I've met.

"Iowa isn't a program that is up and coming. They've arrived. They are beating teams like Florida and LSU in bowl games and Iowa is always in the hunt for the Big Ten championship."

Word around the campfire is that these unofficial visits are nothing more than a vacation for Coleman. Many feel that Kurt will commit to Ohio State very soon.

We asked the man himself what he thought about the rumors that he will be giving the Buckeys his verbal commitment before the end of the month.

"I'm going to commit by the end of the month, but Ohio State isn't a lock," Coleman explained.

"I'm going to spend the day at Ohio State tomorrow, check out the facilities, the campus, the whole nine yards. I'm going to make the best decision for myself.

"Iowa is way up there now and I still wnat to visit Tennessee before I make a decision."

As a junior, Coleman had 92 tackles and 10 interceptions.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: The kid might merely be enjoying his "vacation" recruiting visits, but it's nice to know that he thinks very highly of Kirk Ferentz and Iowa].



I enjoyed your article on the Cardinals. We don't get anything but Atlanta Braves out here [in South Carolina]. I couldn't stand the Braves when they were in Milwaukee, so I hate them twice as much out here. I completely agree with you on the Bucks as announcers. They make me so I don't like anything named Buck: Milwaukee Bucks, Buck Rogers. I wasn't much of a Harry Caray fan, either, except he made a good cartoon character. I listened to him and Gus Mancuso when they announced Cardinal games from Sportsmans Park in St. Louis. Doesn't Harry have sons that are also announcers? Skip Caray? I may be spelling their name wrong, but maybe we need some new blood behind the microphone.

--Gordy Scoles

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Scoles' e-mail was in response to an item I had in one of my recent columns. I said I disliked it that Joe Buck, a nationally-prominent Fox Sports announcer, comes across as a St. Louis Cardinals cheerleader on telecasts of that team's games. Buck also appears in commercials during the games, which adds to the ridiculousness of the entire situation. Scoles asked about the late Harry Caray and his family. Harry broadcast games for the Cardinals, Oakland and Chicago White Sox before winding it up with the Cubs. His son, Skip, and his grandson, Chip, are Atlanta Braves announcers. Chip spent some time as the Cubs' TV announcer, but joined analyst Steve Stone in quitting after the 2004 season because of critcism from manager Dusty Baker and some of his players].


2 ex-employees sue The Star

Former editorial writers allege racial, age and religious discrimination.

By J.K. Wall

Two editorial writers formerly employed at The Indianapolis Star sued the newspaper and its owner, Gannett Co. Inc., on Monday, alleging religious, racial and age discrimination.

James L. Patterson, 51, and Lisa M. Coffey, 46, filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. They seek to be reinstated to their former positions at The Star, to be paid wages and benefits lost since they left the paper, and to receive damages for pain and suffering, among other costs.

"It appears that people at The Star, at a fairly high level, decided . . . that their views couldn't be tolerated," said John R. Price, attorney for Patterson and Coffey. Price frequently has represented conservative and Christian causes.

Ali Zoibi, vice president of human resources at The Star, said it is the paper's policy not to discuss personnel matters. But he noted that the Indianapolis office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated charges made by both Patterson, who is black, and Coffey and dismissed them.

"We do not discriminate," Zoibi added, declining further comment.

Patterson and Coffey claim, in the lawsuit, that Editor and Vice President Dennis Ryerson and Publisher Barbara Henry were hostile toward Christianity and Christian employees at The Star. They also assert that Henry and Ryerson strongly disagreed "with anyone who had a biblical view of homosexuality."

Henry's assistant and Ryerson referred requests for comment to Zoibi.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Ryerson and Henry formerly worked in Des Moines. Needless to say, they weren't well-liked here, either. There was lots of cheering when they left town].


Barry Crist must have just had some fantastic Mexican food before sending me this e-mail:

Three women go down to Mexico one night, get drunk, and wake up in jail, only to find that they are to be executed in the morning, though noneof them can remember what they did the night before.

The first one, a redhead, is strapped in the electric chair, and is asked if she has any last words. She says, "I am from Grace University, and believe in the almighty power of God to intervene on the behalf of the innocent." They throw the switch and nothing happens. They all immediately prostrate themselves; beg for her forgiveness, and release her.

The second one, a brunette, is strapped in and gives her last words, "I have a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Iowa Law College and I believe in the power of justice to intervene on the part of the innocent." They throw the switch and, again, nothing happens. Again, they all immediately prostrate themselves; beg for her forgiveness, and release her.

The last one, a blonde, is strapped in and says, "Well, I'm from Iowa State University in Ames, and just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I'll tell you right now, you ain't gonna electrocute nobody if you don't plug this thing in."

Vol. 4, No. 351
June 16, 2005

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kerry Wood a Possible Solution to Cub Misery, Also a Major Problem

Kerry Wood is at the local ballpark tonight on a rehab assignment, so hopefully he brought his laptop as well as his fastball.

If he packed his computer, Wood will be able to read when I’m going to say about him.

It’s some stuff that’s been bothering me about Wood for a while now.

I think the right-handed flame-thrower is much more than a significant potential solution to the Chicago Cubs’ longtime miseries.

He’s also one of the major problems.

Until he grows up—and by that I mean grows into the mature person someone who will turn 28 on Thursday should be by now—he’ll be another example of the kind of pitcher in which the Cubs specialize.

He’ll continue losing far more big games than he wins.

He’ll be throwing the ball all over the place.

He’ll be forever regarded as The Guy Who Could Have Been Known as the Big Winner, but finished as the Sore-Armed, Sore-Shouldered or Sore-Headed Fast-Ball Artist Who Never Got Where He Was Going.

Former Cub pitcher and TV analyst Steve Stone said on his radio show earlier this season that Wood has shown he’s unable to adapt and wants to remain someone who can throw the ball through a stone wall rather than becoming a pitcher.

Unless he changes, Stony said in borrowing a line from Hayden Fry, Wood can go sell cars.

Wood, who is earning $9.5 million this season, struck out 20 Houston Astros in one game during his rookie season. But he’s never become the big winner everyone expected.

Maybe he never will.

Maybe general manager Jim Hendry should trade him while he can still get something for him.

If I were Hendry and a major league ballclub offered me a proven starter and a prospect for Wood, I’d say, “How soon do you want to do this?”


Not so fast on trading centerfielder Cory Patterson, though.

He frustrates me, too. But I’m old enough to remember Lou Brock and that idiotic midseason deal the Cubs pulled off with St. Louis.

For Brock, the Cubs got a garbage bag named Ernie Broglio.

Never ever trade Patterson to the Cardinals. Do that and the guy will turn into a Hall of Famer.

Let him keep swinging at bad pitches. Let him keep telling Manager Dusty Baker he doesn’t want to be the leadoff batter. Let him keep missing the cut-off man on his throws from centerfield.

Just don’t let Tony LaRussa get hold of him. He’d make him a star.


Speaking of the Cardinals, it drives me nuts to have to listen to Joe Buck on the TV play-by-play of their games.

Buck is the Fox national baseball and NFL announcer. To hear him come across as the Cardinals’ home-town announcer, which he is, sickens me.

If that’s not bad enough, he also appears on several of the commercials during the Cardinals’ telecasts.

Enough already.

Having to listen to Buck’s dad, Jack--another Cardinals cheerleader--was tough enough.


Any leftfielders out there who can hit .315 and smack about 20 home runs the rest of the season?

The Cubs are looking for you.


Sometimes I wonder if they’re running an old-age home at the local ballpark.

I mean, what good does it do to have 38-year-old outfielder Trenidad Hubbard on the same team that has 37-year-old Pat Listach as its hitting coach?

Vol. 4, No. 350
June 13, 2005

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Jeff Clement Picked Higher Than Projected--Seattle Drafts Him No. 3

Let’s hear it for Jeff Clement.

The kid from Marshalltown has gone west and struck gold.

Clement, a junior at Southern California, was the third pick in today's major league baseball draft. The left-handed hitting catcher was chosen by the Seattle Mariners.

Obviously, first-round picks have the chance to make a lot of money. Let's hope he hires the right agent. The way baseball teams throw their dollars and cents around these days to bums, has-beens and never-weres, an Iowa kid deserves his share of the wealth.

Clement, who set a national high school home run record with 75 in his career at Marshalltown, leads USC [40-20] in batting average at .347, home runs with 13 and runs batted in with 50 heading into this weekend's NCAA super-regional best-of-three series against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.

Baseball America expected Clement to be selected in the middle of the first round in the draft, but he did much better than that.

"Clement's power is a separator," an American League scouting director told Baseball America.

Seattle's website said this is the first time the Mariners had a first-round draft choice since 1999, when they selected high school catcher Ryan Christianson, currently with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. But he doesn't have the power potential of Clement, a 6-foot 1-inch, 210-pounder.

"We think Jeff is a player we not only feel deserved to be in the top part of the draft, but fortunately for us, also could fill needs within the organization," Mariners scouting director Bob Fontaine said. "Catching is very hard to find, and a left-handed hitting catcher at that."

Jason Upton, a shortstop at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Va., was the No. 1 choice in the draft. He went to the Arizona Diamondbacks. His brother, B.J., was the second pick in 2002 by Tampa Bay, and the Uptons are the highest-drafted siblings in draft history.

Scott Zilmer, an contributor, projected Clement to be the No. 6 pick in the first round by the Toronto Blue Jays.

"Clement has been on the prospect radar ever since he shattered the national high school home run record as an Iowa prep," Zilmer wrote. "Scouts love his left-handed power and the fact that he has worked hard to improve his catching while at USC.

"And even if he doesn't cut it as a professional catcher, Clement's bat will get him to the big leagues in a hurry as a [designated hitter]."

Clement led Marshalltown to the 2002 Class 4-A state high school championship.

He has been named one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award. The award goes to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

Arizona’s Nick Hundley and Texas’ Taylor Teagarden are the other finalists. A final vote will take place during the College World Series, with the winner to be announced June 29 in Wichita, Kan. Bench, a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds and now a Hall of Famer, will present the award.

USC also said Clement is also one of five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the nation’s top amateur player by USA Baseball. He is on the 2005 USA Today Sports Weekly all-America first team, and he also earned his third consecutive all-Pac-10 Conference honor.

“One of his compadres, Mike Mogard, is playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes, said Mark Robinson, a former Iowan now living in California, told me in an e-mail. "Those boys played together on the Marshalltown team that went to the Little League World Series.”

Clement made his second straight appearance for the U.S. National team last year, batting .275 with three homers and 15 ruins batted in. His team won the gold medal at the FISU II World University Baseball Championships in Taiwan, helping Team USA to the championship after hitting a grand-slam in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 5-2 victory over Chinese Taipei.

USC got only four hits, but advanced to the NCAA super-regional Monday night by beating Pepperdine, 5-2, in the championship game of the NCAA Long Beach Regional.

The 18th-ranked Trojans play Oregon State in a best-of-three super-regional series at Corvallis, Ore., starting Friday.

Vol. 4, No. 348
June 7, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hurry Up, Jerome--Lose Some Weight So You Can Replace Mitre

At some point in the previous century, a talented, young writer was ready to get her degree from the University of Iowa.

Her name was Melissa Isaacson, and she already was an outstanding sportswriter. She had covered the Hawkeyes for the Daily Iowan, the student paper at Iowa.

She also was well aware of the Des Moines Register, which then was more influential than it is now, sold a lot more papers than it does now and sent its reporters and photographers to many more places than it does now.

She applied for a job at the Register, and got an interview. Rumor has it that she was offered a job, but it wasn't anything that interested her. My guess is that the editors wanted her to write more 35-heads [in those days, 35-heads were short headlines that ran above short stories] while sitting on the sports copy desk than author stories on the Hawkeyes or Cyclones for the Big Peach [well, the then-Big Peach] in Sunday's paper.

So Isaacson did the smart thing. She forgot about the local paper and went someplace where she could write.

And write she did.

And she's still writing--now for the Chicago Tribune, where she's been a reporter and columnist.

The reason I brought up Isaacson's name is because she had a story in her paper the other day about Jerome Williams, an overweight pitcher who was traded recently to the Chicago Cubs from the San Francisco Giants.

Williams now toils for the Iowa Cubs, with Sec Taylor Stadium [it's always going to be Sec Taylor Stadium to me] as his headquarters when the team is at home.

It costs too much to park at Sec Taylor Stadium, and the hot dogs and everything else at the concessions stands are atrociously expensive. But at least guys like Jerome Williams can pitch there until they're ready for prime-time.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who doesn't know much about pitching and probably knows nothing about Des Moines but likes Jerome Williams, can't wait for the 23-year-old to get to Wrigley Field. I can't, either.

As far as I'm concerned, he can replace Sergio Mitre in the rotation any day now.

Anyway, here's Isaacson's nicely-written story on Williams as it appeared on

He's no island

New Cubs farmhand Jerome Williams plays for his family back in Hawaii—and his mother's memory

By Melissa Isaacson
Tribune staff reporter

June 4, 2005, 8:58 p.m. CDT

DES MOINES -- He is a mature 23, an established 23 and a very weary 23.

The Hawaiian lilt in his voice and a genuinely warm demeanor prop up the Cubs' new acquisition, even as his body, slumping in the Iowa Cubs' clubhouse, does not.

Jerome Williams has pitched six innings in his first game for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate after arriving in Des Moines the day before, and he is asked to recount his life story. Again.

He does so willingly, generously, although it is clear the ache does not recede with each telling. Growing up poor on the outskirts of Honolulu, seeing his oldest brother sent to prison, losing his mother to breast cancer at 47, watching his father go through a liver and two kidney transplants.

And, oh, yes, feeling as though his family's very survival, not to mention the hopes of the eight main islands of Hawaii, rests squarely on his shoulders.

"It is a lot of pressure," Williams says. "But you know what? That's life. As a young kid growing up and seeing what happened with my family, I've had to choose to make a better life for myself, and right now this is a good life for me and the only way I can support my family.

"Even though I'm only 23, I'm the backbone of the family now."

Once, that was his mother's role, and Deborah Williams was going to make sure her youngest son knew it. When he came home hurt and angry from the frequent taunting that came with looking more like his African-American father than his native Hawaiian mother, she told him to embrace who he was, to be proud of a heritage that also includes eight other ethnic groups.

When she lay dying in the final days of her long struggle with breast cancer, she told her eldest son, Elliott, 10 years older than Jerome, to take special care of his baby brother.

"I'd always been protective of him, but my mom asked me to do her a favor and just let him be," Elliott Mathias says by phone from the home he shares with their father Glenn in Waipahu, Hawaii. "She told me, 'Say things when they need to be said, but let him take his own route. Let him be his own man.'"

The call may come tomorrow for Williams to join the Cubs, or it may come in a few weeks, or, depending on some things he can control and others he cannot, it may take a little longer.

He already is a gifted young pitcher, a big-leaguer at 21 and the youngest San Francisco Giant to pitch a shutout in 28 years when he blanked the A's in June, 2003. As a 22-year-old in 2004, he won 10 games for the Giants before elbow surgery caused him to miss the final two months of the season.

This year spring training was interrupted by rehab and a return home to Hawaii to attend to his father. Williams started 0-2, rang up a 6.48 ERA as the Giants' fifth starter and found himself back in Triple A before April was over.

On May 28 he was dealt to the Cubs with fellow pitcher David Aardsma for reliever LaTroy Hawkins.

If baseball is Williams' dream—and clearly it is—it is also a lifeline that dangles a little too tenuously for comfort.

Asked what he would be doing if not for baseball, Williams doesn't hesitate.

"I know exactly what I would be doing," he says. "I would be at home doing the same thing my brothers are doing—working at a Home Depot or a convenience store. For sure that's what I would be doing. When I got drafted (39th overall in 1999), I didn't have any college offers. My grades were pretty good, but I didn't have the requirements to get to college. So it was either work or go to the Army.

"If baseball wasn't here, I would be nothing right now."

No paradise

Deborah Mathias played softball and volleyball in high school in her native Hawaii and was a hula dancer when she met Glenn Williams, an African-American from New York and a Vietnam veteran who decided to settle in Hawaii after being stationed at Pearl Harbor.

"Hawaii was a dream for me—once I got here I was staying," Glenn Williams says. "I said, 'I'm going to get married and raise me a family.' When I got three boys I told my wife, 'I'm going to train them to play some sport to keep them out of trouble.'"

Glenn Williams is all of 5 feet 8 inches, but he played every sport at nearly every position and wreaked havoc on the playgrounds of Hawaii playing his New York brand of ball. They would look at him like he was from another world, which he was.

"They called me names I'd never heard of," Glenn Williams recalls. "I'd come home and tell my wife and she'd say, 'Baby, those guys are going to fight you.'"

He worked for the Navy for 13 years until a neck injury landed him on disability. The family settled in Waipahu on the western outskirts of Honolulu, not what most people would imagine when they think of Hawaii.

"I grew up in a rough neighborhood—shootings, killings," Jerome Williams says. "Everybody thinks of Hawaii as a paradise, but I grew up basically in a ghetto. It was pretty tough just walking across the street."

Williams' older brothers Elliott and Glenn Jr. turned away from sports, Elliott finding acceptance in a world of drugs and alcohol, which precipitated a downward spiral that led to a six-year prison sentence for burglary in 1996.

"When Jerome was little," Glenn Sr. says, "I told my wife, 'Debbie, this one really wants to play baseball. This one is not going to get away.'"

His parents were strict with their youngest son, keeping him away from any event where alcohol beckoned, even school dances. But he had a stutter and a temper, a dangerous combination when he began running into the same type of racism his father faced.

"It was tough," Williams recalls. "Everybody thought I was just black because I look just black. I was getting called every name in the book. In elementary school I got called into the office all the time because I was punching somebody who called me a black so-and-so."

Glenn Williams talked to his son. "I said, 'Jerome, you see that rock over there? That rock can hurt you. You see that bat? That bat can hurt you. But what those guys say, that can never hurt you unless you let it.'"

Williams listened. "I finally told myself those are just words and I'm not that," he says. "And every time I went on the mound, that's when my frustration poured out and nobody could really hit me when I was frustrated and [angry]. That fueled my fire and really, I think, made me what I am right now."

As a senior at Waipahu High School, Williams struck out 116 batters in 65 innings, compiled a 0.30 ERA and became Hawaii's highest-drafted player. He made his first trip to the mainland when he and his mother flew to San Francisco to sign his Giants contract.

If professional baseball was an adjustment for Williams, the homesickness was worse.

"Hawaii is slow—we're real behind in a lot of stuff and when you come to the mainland, you have to grow up quick," he says. "At 17, 18, 19, I had to grow up. I didn't want to be a kid anymore, I wanted to be a man."

Deborah Williams' breast cancer had been in remission, but it returned with a vengeance shortly before Jerome was to leave for spring training in 2001.

"I didn't want to play," he recalls. "I was going to quit playing baseball."

His father helped change his mind. "I always told him, 'What do you know in life?' And he'd say, 'Dad, all I know is baseball.'

"'So you tell me,' I said. 'Why would you want to quit?'"

Ultimately, he returned to the Giants for his mother.

"It was tough because it was my mom, and I wanted to stay with her," he says. "But my mom's No. 1 thing was for me to play baseball, so that's what I was going to do. I went back up, and a week or two later she passed away."

Mom close to heart

Clawing the pitcher's mound at U.S. Cellular Field two years ago, Williams felt more than dirt slipping through his fingers.

He felt his very identity might be lost.

So he scooped up what he could of his broken puka shell necklace into his Giants cap, and after the game he called his brother Glenn.

The necklace had been a gift from his mother shortly before she died. It had belonged to her since she was a child and she told her son it should always remind him of his Hawaiian heritage. He would bury a handful of shells in a shallow grave next to his mother's and the rest he would keep close to his heart.

"My first year in the big leagues I wore it all the time," Williams says. "Every time I pitch, I know that if I have it around my neck, she's there watching me."

Williams was shocked when the necklace broke. "I called Glenn and asked him to dig up the other shells and send them to me," he says.

His father restrung the necklace and Williams threw his first career shutout the night he got it back. He then went on a roll that included six victories and the distinction of being the first Giants rookie to start a postseason game since 1937.

The Giants began selling replicas of the necklace at SBC Park, raising more than $60,000 for cancer research. But these days the puka shells are tucked discreetly inside his T-shirt for fear that an opposing team will protest that they are costume jewelry.

"That really hurt Jerome," his father says. "Other guys wear gold and silver and no one makes them take that off. No one knows what it takes to make one of those, and here was Lou Piniella calling it costume jewelry.

"No one knows how much it meant to him. Jerome gets his feelings hurt easily, just like his mother did."

Jerome Williams says he gets strength from his mother, and he needed all of it when his brothers called this past spring to tell him his father's body was rejecting the kidney he had received in transplant surgery last fall and that his liver was failing as well.

"Two days before I went home, they were talking about him dying," Jerome says. "It was tough … but that's when you have to be strong. That's how I take after my mother."

Apparently that applies to his father as well. Glenn Sr. came through the double transplant well, gaining back 60 pounds from a frighteningly frail 114 pounds before surgery and says he will get on the first flight he can to see his son.

"That would brighten the spirits of both of them so much," says Elliott, who is back on his feet with a wife and a son. Elliott would like to come, too, and see his brother play in person for the first time since Jerome was 8 years old.

"It would make this all so great," he says.

Williams married his wife, Sarah, in February, 2004, and she gave birth to the couple's first child, Alana, in August. He also has a 4-year-old son, Tre-Jordan.

Williams knows he carries the pride and enormous expectations of a state that both embraces and smothers its heroes. But the immediate goal is in front of him: drop down from his present 242 pounds to about 225 and work on locating his 95-m.p.h. fastball to complement his sweet changeup and serviceable curve. He believes he'll be more effective with less weight.

"When I was younger I used to eat," Williams says. "Hawaii is a starchy place—rice, noodles. When I was young I had high metabolism. I thought I was OK, until I reached 21, 22 and it caught up to me. Plus I wasn't really working hard. I was basically living the life, trying to be a big-leaguer.

"I was 17 the first time I left the island, and going through all that trouble with my family and everything, I feel like I'm an old guy. But I'm still just 23. Some guys my age would probably have broken down and wouldn't be playing baseball … but I take after my mother and I just want to be strong and come out and pitch and not really think about that stuff, even though it's always in the back of my head."

"Everybody says the easiest thing is to get to the big leagues, but the hardest thing is to stay, and that's so true. I don't want to be that guy who eats his way out of baseball, especially at 23. If I'm going to have the talent to be up there, then I should be up there.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Don't Want to Pay $65 for Iowa-ISU Ticket? Game Will Be On ABC-TV

ABC-TV announced today that it will televise the Sept. 10 Iowa-Iowa State football game to a regional audience. The game, which will be played at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, will begin at 2:30 p.m.(CDT).

"That means Iowa at Iowa State is the 'sandwich' game in the ABC tripleheader that day," a reader points out. "Notre Dame at Michigan will lead it off, then Texas at Ohio State will be the night game.

"What a day to be in front of a high-definition TV!"

Both the Cyclones and Hawkeyes are expected to have strong teams. Iowa is already ranked among the nation's top 10 and likely will be favored to win the Big Ten Conference championship. Iowa State is picked by some to win the Big 12 North.

All 12 of Iowa's games were televised last year and most, if not all, figure to be on the tube this year. The Hawkeyes' Oct. 8 game at Purdue will also be carried by ABC-TV. Forty straight Iowa games have been televised.

Iowa State's Sept. 23 game at Army will be televised by ESPN2.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It certainly doesn't surprise me that another Iowa-Iowa State game is being televised. It's a classic series. Count on it that this season's game will be be sold out, so those who don't want to pay the stiff [$65] ticket price will now have a chance to watch it on the tube. Some people may be impressed that ABC-TV is doing the game but, frankly, I'd just as soon have it be on ESPN or ESPN2. That way, it would be called a national telecast and more people would see it. The ABC telecast will be shown only regionally--which, in this case, will be the midwest. Of course, people without cable TV or satellite dishes can now relax. They'll be able to watch the Cylones and Hawkeyes play without going to their Uncle Charlie's house 100 miles away, or to the corner bar].


It didn't take long for some nerves to start sizzling after yesterday's column hit the Internet.

"Eastern Iowa Reader" got a jolt by reading what someone who goes by the handle "Basketball Junkie" wrote about Drake basketball coach Tom Davis.

I printed "Basketball Junkie's" e-mail yesterday. Here's "Eastern Iowa Reader's" e-mail:

"I thought 'Basketball Junkie's' comments about Tom Davis were rude and uncalled for. I think his handle would more appropriately be 'Basketball Jerk.' Everyone is entitled to their opinion. He expressed his, and I did likewise."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: "Basketball Junkie" wrote that people could forget about Drake's basketball program excelling under Davis, who is heading into his third season at the school after becoming Iowa's winningest coach. Davis' recruiting class has been billed as the best in the Missouri Valley Conference, and the upcoming team should be Davis' strongest. Hopefully, he'll give the Bulldogs their first winning season since 1986-87. The university desperately needs a turnaround].


In yesterday's column, George Wine of Coralville wondered if Tom Davis would still be coaching at Iowa if Gary Close, then one of his assistants, had recruited Iowa high school standout Raef LaFrentz.

A central Iowa reader sheds more light on that topic with this e-mail:

"Gary Close did recruit Raef LaFentz. However, he spent most of his time
with Mike Street in Indanola, mourning Chris. That was told to me by an Iowa
basketball staff member at the time of the recruitment. In other words,
Close dropped the ball."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Iowa fans were extremely disappointed when Davis and his staff didn't land LaFrentz, a sensational high school player from Monona who went on to stardom at Kansas and is now in the NBA. Chris Street was the Hawkeye who was killed when his car collided with a snowplow. He lettered in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Close is now an assistant coach at Wisconsin].


In response to the e-mail I received regarding castration, coach-turned-author Gordy Scoles gave me some assistance.

Here's his e-mail:


"I did some research for you that might help you with the questions you got from
a recent reader. Castration prolongs life in castrated male rats. The article
didn't say anything about what the procedure does for humans, but you don't see
human males lined up at hospitals to get the job done so they will live longer.
Maybe it proves there is something worse than jogging to live longer.

"--Gordy Scoles"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: You're right, Gordy. I made a fast check at all Des Moines-area hospitals this morning and found no men holding their insurance cards while eagerly waiting to be castrated. I guess they were all at Hy-Vee, buying soy milk].


These are not the best of times for Ruth Crowe.

She's out.

In an announcement sent to reporters today, Iowa State said it "will not retain softball coach Ruth Crowe for the 2006 season."

Athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said, "We appreciate the work Ruth has done at Iowa State, but we are ready to make a change in our softball program."

Crowe's team had an 18-32 record this spring, 3-15 in the Big 12 Conference. She has a 166-244 (.377) record in nine seasons.

"We will start an immediate search to find the best person to take over our softball program," Iowa State senior associate athletic director Calli Sanders said. "We want the right individual to lead this group of student-athletes and we will move as swiftly as possible to name a successor."

Vol. 4, No. 349
June 2, 2005

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

'Big Victories Against the Girl Scouts and School for the Blind'

Not everyone is enchanted with Tom Davis and the basketball program he’s building at Drake.

That became evident when I received an e-mail from a reader who goes by the handle “Basketball Junkie."

I wrote a recent column that said Hoop Scoop, a national recruiting service based in Louisville, Ky., rated Davis’ recruiting class the best in the Missouri Valley Conference and the 83rd-best in the nation.

Here’s the e-mail from "Basketball Junkie:"

“Forget about Drake excelling under Tom Davis. Yes, he does seem like a nice guy and, granted, Drake’s program, plays at a level at which he is less-likely to drown, but Davis could successfuly recruit Jesus Christ himself and still find a way to piss the season down his legs.

“Just wait for Davis’ new-and-improved powder-puff schedule at Drake. History will repeat itself: Big victories against the Girl Scouts and School for the Blind, but come conference play…..WHAM!—sub-.500 season once more.

“Hiring Tom Davis: A half-baked publicity stunt by Drake to simply put bodies into the Knapp Center?”

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: Hiring Davis, the winningest coach in University of Iowa basketball history, was an interesting experiment by the folks at Drake. Sure, his contract wasn’t renewed by Iowa and, sure, he hadn’t coached for four years. I thought Davis would be able to win some games at Drake, which hasn’t had a winning season since Gary Garner’s team went 17-14 in 1986-87. I guess I was among those surprised by how far Drake’s program had fallen during the Tom Abatemarco, Rudy Washington and Kurt Kanaskie eras. After all, I had covered the Bulldogs in the glory years when Maury John’s teams went 26-5, 22-7 and 21-8, going to the NCAA tournament all three seasons [1968-69, 1969-70 and 1970-71]. Drake’s faulty hiring practices started immediately after John left to take the Iowa State job. Howard Stacey, who was John’s replacement at Drake, went 7-19 in his first season. There hasn’t been much Bulldog basketball excitement since].


George Wine of Coralville, a former sports information director at Iowa and now an author, has more input into the Tom Davis situation:


“Did Tom ever have the No. 1 recruiting class in the Big Ten? It’s ironic that Gary Close is getting credit for out-recruiting Iowa for Jason Bohannon. If Gary had recruited Raef LaFrentz, Tom Davis would probably still be at Iowa.


[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: I don’t recall Davis ever having the No. 1-rated recruiting class at Iowa, and there were plenty of raised eyebrows among Hawkeye fans when Hawkeye coaches lost Iowa high school recruits LaFrentz, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison to Kansas. Gary Close is a former Davis assistant at Iowa who now is on the Wisconsin staff. Close is getting credit for locking up Bohannon, the Linn-Mar of Marion standout who is the son of former Hawkeye quarterback Gordy Bohannon].


Old friend Harold Yeglin went a long way to hear someone shout, “Go, Hawks!” recently.

Here’s his e-mail:

“Milka and I attended an evening concert on May 8 by the Pilsen Philharmonic, the closing event in the city’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of liberation at the end of World War II. It was a program of all-American music and the guest conductor was an American named Arthur Prannor from Central Florida University. From the program notes [in Czech], I gleaned the fact that this fellow had studied at the University of Iowa. Great!

“After the concert in this grand hall, I spotted him in the foyer. Hey, I had to talk to this guy! So I introduced myself, noting that I, too, had attended the U. of I., considerably before, as it turned out, than he did. He’d graduated in 1982. We talked music, his career, etc., then shook hands and went our ways. He went off to a private reception on the same floor. I started down the marbled steps to street level. I took about two steps down and heard a voice from above boom out: ‘Go, Hawks!’

“I turned around. He was gone. Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye…..even in far-away Pilsen.


[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: I’ll bet Harold and his wife, Milka, would have been able to strike up quite a conversation with Prannor at their meeting in the Czech Republic about Hawkeye quarterback Drew Tate and the miraculous touchdown pass he threw on the final play of the Capital One Bowl game last Jan. 1. It’s obvious that Hawkeye fans are all over the world].


Bud Appleby, another friend from my newspaper days, ran into some interesting TV recently.

His e-mail:


“I was surfing through the TV channels over the weekend trying to find something good and ended up watching a barbeque contest on the Food Channel. Seems these barbeque cooks travel around the country entering contests for prize money.

“The announcer said the judges -- who have to be certified after some training -- also travel to many of the contests. He had a brief interview with one of the judges. It was Johnny Majors of football fame.

“That must be a much different lifestyle for him. I know I'd rather eat some good barbeque than coach football any time.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: Johnny Majors is the guy who made watching football fun again at Iowa State from 1968-1972. He had a 24-30-1 record and took the Cyclones to the first two bowl games in school history. He later coached at Pittsburgh, where he won a national championship, and Tennessee. I’m glad he’s finding some barbeque that tastes good at this stage in his life. I’ll look for him on the tube].


Bobby Knight, the former Indiana basketball coach who now is at Texas Tech, continues to fascinate people—even young people.

I know because I received this e-mail recently:

“Hello, my name is Nick Nuttle and I’m a student in 10th grade at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, N.Y. I am doing a research paper on Bobby Knight, and I was wondering you could answer a few questions regarding his life.

“1. Do you feel that Bobby Knight’s actions and outrages were appropriate for the NCAA? Why or why not?

“2. Do you consider Bobby Knight to be one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all-time?

“3. Do you know any personal information about Bobby Knight or have you ever met him?

“4. Was the NCAA correct in punishing Bobby Knight for his actions?

“5. Do you think the coaches Bobby Knight had during his time as a player have had any influence on the way he coaches now?

“If you could send me your responses to these questions, that would be great. I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say about Bobby Knight. Thank you for your time.

“—Nicholas T. Nuttle

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: I was glad to help out the 10th-grader. This was how I answered him:


Here are my responses to your questions about Bobby Knight:

1. Bobby Knight is, and has been, an outstanding collegiate basketball coach. He has been involved in a few things over the years that I'm sure he would do differently if given the choice. All in all, however, he has been good for the sport of basketball, and it has been good to him.

2. I consider Knight to be one of the greatest basketball coaches ever. He has won Big Ten and NCAA championships--things that other coaches can only dream of doing.

3. I have been with Knight both socially and in business situations. He has been very kind to me, and I appreciate his friendship. He once offered to write a guest column for me when I was a newspaper sportswriter. I agreed to let him write the column, and he wrote it about Johnny Orr, who he had coached against when both were in the Big Ten. At the time, Orr had just taken the Iowa State coaching job.

4. Knight had more problems with his bosses at Indiana than he did with the NCAA. I could take issue with some of the things Indiana did to him.

5. I think the way Knight coaches has more to do with his personality rather than the way he has been influenced by other coaches.


Ron Maly].


Barry Crist e-mailed this information to me:

“Van Coleman, in a special to, writes that ‘Steve Alford and his Iowa Hawkeyes have received a commitment from one of the top young talents in the class of 2008 in 6-4, 195-pound Matt Gatens from City High of Iowa City.”

Coleman wrote that Gatens “really exploded this past winter at City High. He had a high game of 39 points and averaged 18 points and 5.5 boards along with 3.3 assists an outing versus 4-A competition. Gatens hit 77 percent from the line and 45 percent from the field, including 38 three-pointers.

“The Hawkeyes had already offered him after a stellar spring last year. So why was this the right time? Matt Gatens and his dad, former Hawkeye Mike Gatens [class of 1976] explained why.

“’Well, my dad and I sat down a couple weeks ago and decided to get serous about my recruiting,’ Matt Gatens told ‘We started to look at which schools I might consider, but I knew that was dumb because I knew that I wanted to be an Iowa Hawkeye! It’s what I’ve dreamed about most of my life, and I felt it was the right decision for me, so why go any further, it was time to commit to Coach Alford.’

Matt Gatens said he also considered Wisconsin “and took an unofficial visit to Madison…..But I guess it’s always been Iowa…..”

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: I guess you know you’ve been around a while when the sons of guys you watched play are getting ready to become Hawkeyes. I remember Mike Gatens when he lettered as an Iowa player in 1974, 1975 and 1976 under coaches Dick Schultz and Lute Olson].


I don’t know if an e-mail--titled “Strange Question,” I received from “Midwest Woman”--had anything to do with the recent column I wrote about the marriage of Mary Kay Letourneau, 43, and her former student Vili Fualaau.

But here it is anyway. The e-mail, I mean:

“Ron, [your web page triggered this question]

“I wonder why we don’t use castration, either surgical or chemical on sexual predators. I can understand it is very extreme, but it does not seem very extreme for a man who commits more than once, sometimes committing murder, or at the very least changing a child’s life forever. Especially since we know they cannot be cured.

“Apparently they used to do that, because a man in my hometown was a predator and my mother told me about him. She seemed to feel he was harmless, but he always wanted me to ride to school with him. I walked about a mile. It was a different time!

“I always wanted to ask someone, but no one ever discusses this. I told you it was strange.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: Castration is among the subjects I have not researched. Until I do the research that’s necessary, I can’t come forward with any intelligent comments on this topic].

Vol. 4, No. 348
June 1, 2005