Thursday, December 15, 2005

Reader Says Iowa State Fans' 'Venomous Response' To Haluska Was Because the Hawkeye Player Had Told Morgan He'd Remain With the Cyclones

A man identified as "Northwest Iowa Reader" noticed with strong interest something "Central Iowa Woman" wrote to the Ronald Wesley Maly column a few days ago.

"Northwest Iowa Reader" says he has a rebuttal to this comment by "Central Iowa Woman:"

"If Haluska wasn't happy at Iowa State, then he should be able to choose to go where he wants without people condemning him. Fans at Iowa State did the same thing to[Iowans] Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich [of Kansas] when they came to Ames."

Here's "Northwest Iowa Reader's" e-mail:


"The one point that 'Central Iowa Woman' failed to address was the portion of the Haluska saga that included Adam telling Wayne Morgan that he was going to stay at Iowa State. Haluska was also quoted in newspapers that he was going to stay at Iowa State. Then, a week later, he announced his plans to transfer to Iowa.

"That's where Iowa State fans felt [and some still feel] betrayed. Not only was Haluska going to transfer to Iowa, he did it after publicly saying that he wasn't going anywhere. [Some sports historians will note that similar circumstances surrounded Tim Floyd and his on-again-off-again rumors with the Chicago Bulls.] This was not the Baltimore Colts slinking to Indianapolis in the dark of night.

"I believe that had the transfer been to a school other than the State University of Iowa, the Iowa State faithful would not have had nearly the venomous response. Imagine, if you will, a Duke basketball player transferring to North Carolina. Or, perhaps, a Syracuse player transferring to Georgetown [in the heyday of the Boeheim-Thompson rivalry]. It is one thing to transfer. It is a wholly different thing to transfer to your biggest rival, and is compounded by misleading the public all the while.

"Mentioning Hinrich and Collison [pictured above on the right] in the same breath as Haluska [left] holds no water, in my opinion. Those players never wore an ISU uniform. While it was widely speculated that Kirk Hinrich would play for ISU, those rumblings disappeared with the disappearance of Floyd to Chicago. I firmly believe that Iowa State had no real shot to land Nick Collison in the first place. ISU fans' responses to those two players were primarily because those kids were from the state of Iowa, and were playing for Iowa State's biggest CONFERENCE rival.

"Applauding opposing players just because they came from Iowa is not what makes Hilton Coliseum one of the nation's most imposing venues for the road team. Polite clapping and subdued whispers are for golf and tennis [and recently, Carver-Hawkeye Arena). I suppose Iowa State fans will be saddled with mean-spirited labels as long as they fill Hilton Coliseum to the rafters and make it an intimidating environment for the visiting team. I guess that's why road teams are now referred to as 'visitors' instead of 'guests.'"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: As we all know, emotions are going to be sky-high whenever coaches, players and certainly fans are involved from Iowa State and Iowa. The fact that Haluska went from being a Cyclone to being a Hawkeye made this situation even more unbearable to Iowa State fans. "Northwest Iowa Reader" certainly tossed some interesting facts and opinions into the mix. I guess a neutral observer -- if there is such a thing when it comes to athletics -- would say it's a good thing Haluska at least remained in the state to play the rest of his collegiate basketball career].


A man from central Iowa took note of the e-mail sent to me by Gordy Scoles of Bennettsville, S.C., and dispatched this message:


"My oh my(!), how Gordy still remember Tom Lind! After his teaching career, Tom went on to become a state senator from Waterloo. It is eerily ironic that this coming New Year's Day, 2006, which is my birthday, will mark the 20th anniversary of Tom's death. He died at home that day and the big talk was who was going to finish out his term.

"Tom's son, Jim, made the decision to run in a special election and he won the election...on Jan. 28. The same day that Challenger exploded that morning. A week earlier, the first observance of Martin Luther King Day took place. It was an eventful January for this fourth-grader at that time.

"Jim ran for a full term and went on to serve several more years until deciding to leave the legislature. He continues to run Jim Lind's Standard Amoco gas station and shop on Ridgeway Avenue in Waterloo, across the street from West Waterloo High. It's still the most well-known station in town, because of Jim and the Lind Family.

"As a native of Waterloo and Cedar Falls, I could not be more proud of UNI. I am pulling for the hometown team to win on Friday in Chattanooga [in the Division I-AA championship football game]. It's a special time at UNI right now. Football, men's and women's basketball, wrestling, volleyball, and everyone else are doing well. It's a great time to be in the Cedar Valley!!!

"UNI Fight! UNI Fight!"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Scoles wrote earlier about Lind, who had been the athletic director at Columbus High School in Waterloo. The central Iowa man provided some interesting historical perspective to the Lind family, and I appreciate what he said. I share his views on the success Northern Iowa is enjoying in its athletic program].


By the way, Gordy Scoles says he's planning to attend Northern Iowa's game Friday night. Here's his latest e-mail:


"Thanks for using my 'Pops Harrison' comments. I enjoy reading about Wayne Morgan and the good job he seems to be doing at Iowa State. Out here in ACC and SEC country, it's a breath of fresh air to read about coaches other than Roy Williams and the two at Clemson and South Carolina. I'm going to Chattanooga on Friday to the UNI game. I'll let you know how it goes over there."

Gordy Scoles .

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS--Indeed, Wayne Morgan is doing well at Iowa State -- better than a lot of people expected].


Former Iowan Richard Hayman sent this e-mail

"Hello, Mr. Maly,

"I read this today at 'I know from our standpoint, picking up two more Big Ten games and keeping our current schedule makes it very difficult on us because the legislature makes us play all the in-state schools,' Alford said.

"I didn't realize the legislature was involved in 'encouraging' our Division I schools to play one another in basketball. And so, kudos to the legislature! Hopefully, some state legislators read your blog and will now weigh in on an Iowa D-I tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

"My other comment is that Coach Alford needs to soften up his rough edges. I thought D-I basketball was a hot enough crucible to drive off the dross of whining and finger-pointing. He positions himself as though he has no interest in playing the in-state schools, and it is only because the legislature forces his hand that he complies. If he thinks playing the in-state schools is a good idea, he doesn't have to defer to the compulsion of the legislature. If he doesn't like it, then stand up and say so.

"I've done the senior management thing in both higher education and the high-tech private sector and I have never cared for senior execs who thinly veil their contempt for something by saying someone else is forcing their hand. Character counts. Words have precise meanings. Senior management is part of the team. Coach Alford needs to express opinions from the perspective of being part of the team, rather than being a loose cannon who positions himself outside of the team.

"Words are a window to hidden depths and I believe Coach Alford revealed more of his character in that one little snippet than he knows. Like lock tumblers falling into place, I now see our on-court challenges being only symptomatic of a much more serious issue. If the head coach doesn't model team-work, discipline, and yes, even falling on his sword on occasion, how can he expect players to do so? It would be a shock to most adults to recognize the extent to which young people emulate our behavior.

"Obviously, just a few words have struck a chord in me. I could write for many pages on this topic. Suffice it to say, a fresh water well doesn't yield brackish. And, you can't water plants [or people] with salt water and expect them to be healthy.

"Best regards,"

Richard Hayman

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It's news to me that the state legislature forces Alford and Iowa to play the other Division I schools -- at least "state schools" Iowa State and Northern Iowa. Drake, of course is a private university. I know the legislature threatened to get involved when there was considerable sentiment around the state 40 or so years ago for Iowa and Iowa State to renew their football rivalry, which had been suspended since the 1934 game. Forest Evashevski, then the Iowa athletic director, finally agreed to put Iowa State on future schedules -- starting in 1977 -- and the teams have been playing ever since. The schools now play in most, if not all, men's and women's sports. Iowa has been playing Drake and Northern Iowa regularly in a number of sports, but I don't think it's because of any action by the legislature. However, I'm glad Iowa, Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa are competing against one another, and I hope it continues forever. And, hey, anytime they want to schedule that "Big Four" basketball doubleheader at Wells Fargo Arena is fine with me].


Rev. David Mumm, pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School in Des Moines, sent this e-mail:

"Hi Ron,

"I find it interesting how sports parallels life, and how the values of society are often shown [both good and bad] in the world of sports. [The other day] was a prime example. Ron Artest of the Indianapolis Pacers asked to be traded. Why? Because he wants a change of scenery. Listening to KXNO, one of the commentators made an excellent point -- wasn't a year of suspension enough of a change of scenery? Selfishness has always been part of society. But it seems a few athletes are taking it to a new level. I suggest Artest, T.O. and a few others be sent to spend 1-2 years working in a third-world country. Perhaps a lesson in humility and thankfulness, experienced by truly working in a society where people live on next to nothing would benefit these people.

"The opposite side of the picture is in the resignation of Stan Van Gundy as coach of the Miami Heat. The reason given, his daughter is 14 years old, and he decided he needs to spend more time with his family. He commented that his schedule as a coach allows him to be home less than 1/3 of the days during the season, and he did not feel that was enough. Of course, the media doesn't buy such a reason. I hope this was not an excuse on his part, but an honest time of soul searching which led to a very important decision. If so, my respect for Coach Van Gundy has increased. Doing the right thing for the right reasons is refreshing.

"On another subject, my son, B.J., and I were talking yesterday about the Iowa Stars. B.J., is studying marketing at DMACC. I think his observation is worth consideration. He suggested that until the Des Moines media adopts the Stars and treats them the same way they treat the Iowa Cubs, the Stars don't have much of a chance to succeed. I was raised in the Milwaukee TV market, where major league and minor league sports are important. Milwaukee is the home to the Bucks and the Brewers, and, of course the Packers are the state's team. They are also home to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League [same division as the Iowa Stars] and in soccar the Milwaukee Wave. All of these teams are treated by the major media outlets in the same way. Check the websites of WISN-TV [] or WTMJ-TV [], go to their sports link and you will find that all are given daily coverage. Statistics and information are readily available. They are an important part of the fabric of Milwaukee society, and they all are successful franchises. Until Des Moines TV stations decide that the Stars are worthy of 30-60 seconds of coverage every night, the team has little chance of success, and that is sad. TV, Radio, and newsprint are critical to the success of the Stars. With them, this could be a very successful team. Without them, no one really knows much about the Stars, and that leads to very few caring about the team."

David P. Mumm
Senior Pastor
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School
Phone: 515-277-8349
Fax: 515-274-2723

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Des Moines' TV and radio stations still haven't figured out how to cover the Iowa Stars. This, of course, is an extremely busy time for sports -- with Iowa, Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa playing basketball, NBA games being played, the Hawkeyes and Cyclones preparing for football bowl games and assorted other activities taking place. Trying to jam everything into a 2 1/2-minute sports segment on the 10 o'clock news is ridiculously difficult. And what about the Des Moines Bucs, another local hockey team? They're a forgotten franchise].