Friday, October 07, 2005

A Funny Photo, the Wayne-and-Susan Kreklow Volleyball Coaching Team, Plus Other Items to Wrap Up Your Week

Bud Appleby's e-mail, along with an amusing photo, said, "They'll never beat Baylor!"

Someone with lots of time on his or her hands obviously had fun with the picture Appleby, a retired editor and reporter at the local paper, forwarded to me.

My editor, who usually has a pretty good handle on shots like that, commented, "That photo looks like Dan McCarney and his Cy-Clowns."

The "players" pictured behind the Cyclones' coach won't be those who will tee it up [at least I hope not!] at 1 p.m. tomorrow for Iowa State in a Big 12 Conference game against Baylor at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

I'm picking Iowa State [3-1 overall and 0-1 in the Big 12] to win, 35-21. No Cy-Clowning then.


Something else Appleby sent me was an e-mail asking the question, "Remember Wayne Kreklow?"

I sure do. I covered many of his games when he was a basketball standout at Drake from 1975-1979.

Along with Appleby's mention of Kreklow came a story out of the Columbia Missourian about the volleyball program at the University of Missouri.

What makes it interesting around here is that Wayne Kreklow is the Tigers' volleyball coach, and his wife, Susan, is the associate head coach. In other words, it's a husband-wife coaching team.

Susan and Wayne are pictured in this column.

The Kreklows have a nationally-ranked program while raising three children.

Missourian reporter David Buck writes, "Midway through a typical Missouri practice, Ali Kreklow, 10, and her brother Ryan, 8, are running around Hearnes Center, climbing on the referee’s stand, borrowing their mom’s camera phone to take pictures as she is trying to serve a ball, and getting hugs from the No. 7 team in the nation.

"Wayne Kreklow has won a state, college and professional championship. His wife Susan Kreklow has won a college national championship and has earned conference, regional, and national coaching awards.

"Yet their greatest accomplishment could be going on right now: Managing to raise a family while making Missouri volleyball a national championship contender.

"The Kreklows have transformed the Columbia volleyball scene from apathetic into a city with two nationally-ranked teams. Through their passion for the sport and development of a family atmosphere, the Kreklows have managed to improve a winning program into a national champion at Columbia College and turn a perennial sub-.500 team at Missouri into an annual NCAA tournament contender.

"Wayne Kreklow was raised in Neenah, Wis., where he was a standout basketball player in high school, and then attended Drake University. At Drake, he played basketball and is sixth on the career scoring list.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Kreklow was a tremendous player for coach Bob Ortegel's Bulldog teams. On Dec. 16, 1978, the 6-foot 4-inch Kreklow connected on 19 of 22 field goal attempts while scoring 43 points against Memphis State. Drake won that game, 109-91, to start the season with a 6-0 record. One victory was over Iowa, 72-69; another was at Iowa State, 86-77. However, illustrating the inconsistency of the Bulldogs' program in those days, they lost a return game at Iowa by a whopping 112-73 score two weeks after beating the Hawkeyes in Des Moines. Kreklow wound up his Drake career with 1,471 points--a 13.5 average per game. His average in 1978-79 was 19.5. He was a third-round NBA draft choice of the Boston Celtics, and played on a championship team with them].

"Susan Kreklow grew up in Rogersville, Mo., where she played volleyball and continued her career at Central Missouri State for two years," Buck writes. "She then transferred to Southwest Missouri State [now Missouri State] to be closer to her family.

"Their love and passion for volleyball came about in the same way.

"Wayne Kreklow, like Susan Kreklow, started playing in high school and continued to play in college on Drake’s club team once the basketball season was finished.

“'I always really enjoyed playing,” he said. 'In fact, if I would have had the opportunity to play volleyball coming out of high school, I don’t know if I wouldn’t have done that.'

"If Wayne Kreklow had decided to play volleyball in college, he would have missed out on an NBA championship. Kreklow was [chosen] in the third round of the 1979 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, and played on the 1980-81 team when the Celtics won the championship. Kreklow has also played in the Continental Basketball Association and professionally in Australia.

"After finishing his professional career, Kreklow took a job as a social studies teacher at Central Decatur High School in Leon, Ia., where he coached girls’ volleyball and boys’ basketball.

"Susan Kreklow taught physical education at St. Clair High School while working on a masters degree in counseling psychology from SMS and coaching girls’ volleyball, basketball, and track and field. After getting her master’s, Susan Kreklow became a guidance counselor in Washington High School in Washington, Mo., and coached club volleyball.

"Wayne and Susan were introduced to each other in 1988 while playing club volleyball for different teams.

"The two began having a long-distance relationship and eventually both moved to Columbia to coach volleyball. They married on Aug. 5, 1992, and have three children: Rick, 13, Ali, 10, and Ryan 8."


Still on the subject of better days in Drake basketball history, I received a couple of e-mails this week from Bob Ankenbauer of Portage, Mich.

The first:

"Dear Ron,

"I would like to ask you for some advice and guidance. I am working on a book that includes an episode about a basketball game in 1971. I remember listening to this game growing up as a child in rural Iowa.

"I would like to obtain a copy of a film or audio tape of an NCAA Regional basketball game between Drake University and Notre Dame held on March 18, 1971 in Wichita, Kansas. Drake won the game, 79-72, in overtime.

"I thought that you would be the right person to ask about tracking this game down, even if you do not have a copy of the film. Any advice you care to offer would be appreciated.

"Thanks for your help.


Robert Ankenbauer
Portage, Michigan
Phone: 269-833-9718

"P.S. I have spoken with Paul Morrison at the Drake athletic office and he is also searching, but he was not optimistic about the existence of the tape in Drake archives."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I e-mailed Ankenbauer, saying that I covered the Drake-Notre Dame game, and suggested he contact NBC Sports--the network doing much of the television coverage of the NCAA tournament in those days. I added that I, too, wish I had game film or videotape of that game because it was one of the best ever played by one of coach Maury John's teams. A standout for the Bulldogs that night was Al Sakys, a guard from the Chicago area, who is now deceased. The Notre Dame game turned out to be the next-to-last coached by John for Drake. The Bulldogs lost to Kansas, 73-71, in the Regional two days later, then John headed to Iowa State. Drake basketball hasn't been the same since].

Ankenbauer answered my e-mail with this one:


"Great to hear from you. Thanks for posting a question about this on your website.

"Let me bounce a few more ideas off you about finding a film or tape. I'd appreciate your comments on each.

"NBC Sports -- Are you referring to the national NBC network or a local Des Moines station?

"Des Moines stations -- Do you think one of the Des Moines stations that broadcast the game may have a copy? Which station(s) should I contact?

"Maury John family - What would be the likelihood that one of Maury John's family members might have these materials? Didn't Maury have a son, John John, who played for him at Iowa State? Any idea on reaching the family?

"Former Drake players -- Would some of the players in that Notre Dame game have tapes of their own? Paul Morrison informed me that Al Sakys died in 1992, but I think that Jeff Haliburton and Bobby Jones were also stars of that team.

"South Bend stations -- How about TV stations in South Bend, Ind.? I did contact Notre Dame and they said that it wasn't in their archives. Paul Morrison [of Drake] said that he [or someone in his office] had contacted Notre Dame about some material on Austin Carr, and Notre Dame said they didn't have anything. Nothing on Austin Carr? Amazing. They have films going back to Knute Rockne and the Four Horsemen, but nothing of Austin Carr? Something doesn't sound right to me.

"I also have requests into [1] Wichita State, where the game was played, [2] NCAA basketball film archives, but they may only have film from the finals tournament, [3] Austin Carr, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers [he may not necessarily like hearing from me, since I think this Drake game was the final of his career].

"Any other advice you might have would be appreciated. I'm starting to doubt a film or tape still exists, but it is an interesting quest to see how many rocks one might have to turn over to confirm it.


Bob Ankenbauer

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I would think that NBC Sports would have videotape going back as far as the 1970s, and it's difficult for me to believe that Notre Dame can't come up with a film of the 1971 game against Drake. We'll keep looking. I talked to Morrison this morning, and he said he has mailed Ankenbauer the newspaper account of the game that I wrote. Hopefully, we'll make more progress. If anyone else knows who might have a tape of the game, let me know].


It was interesting, and amusing, to see how newspapers first tried to ignore the recent Kyle Orton drinking binge in an Iowa City bar--then scrambled to play catch-up.

I'll tell you, none of those papers--certainly including the one in Des Moines--look good in this situation.

Photos began circulating on the Internet early this week of Orton, the Chicago Bears' rookie quarterback from Altoona. I first saw the pictures--one of Orton holding a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey, the other of him "flipping the bird" to someone holding a camera in the bar--on the website

Soon the photos spread to websites everywhere, including this one. It appears to me that newspaper editors--even in Chicago and other NFL cities, who should be accustomed to everything--were stunned when they saw the pictures.

Newspapers are being beaten to death by websites on stories like this these days.

Obviously, newspapers didn't know what to do with the Orton stuff. Earlier, the Chicago papers and the Des Moines paper were trying to make Orton out to be some sort of golden boy rookie, and didn't want to admit now that there was suddenly a huge chip in the gold. Heck, the local paper even spent money [well, as little money as possible] to send Nancy Clark to cover golden boy's season opener against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md.

The Chicago papers ignored the Orton photos until reporters who cover the Cleveland Browns [the Bears' opponent Sunday] questioned the quarterback in a midweek conference call about his drinking in Iowa City, and wrote stories about it.

The Chicago Tribune didn't write anything about Orton's drinking until today's editions. Then beat writer K.C. Johnson admitted "the issue won't go away." The Chicago Sun-Times still hasn't addressed the mess, writing only that if Orton is going to continue starting for the Bears he can't throw five interceptions like he did in his most recent game.

The local paper used a version of the Tribune's story today--headlined "Bears downplay Orton photos" but, for some reason, edited out the fact that Orton commented on the situation--saying, "Obviously, I regret that the pictures came out"--to Cleveland reporters.

The Orton drinking situation, and the photos that went with it, provided an ideal test for the local paper's new emphasis on blogs. Instead, the paper and the guy in charge of the blogs--demoted former sports editor Randy Brubaker--failed miserably.

Instead of getting its teeth into the Orton stuff, the local paper ignored it in its computer operation--instead continuing to ask silly questions of Iowa and Iowa State football fans merely to get reader "hits."

Then there are the movie, music and books blogs that are hopeless cases. Evidently, nobody is reading them. At least they're not responding to them.

The most repeated two words on the local paper's blog page are "No Response."

The bosses aren't going to be putting up with that crap for very long.