Sunday, February 26, 2006

Steve Alford Is Embarrassing the University of Iowa, His Hawkeye Basketball Team and the Fans By Not Confronting the Rumors That He's Going to Indiana

Steve Alford is embarrassing the University of Iowa, his Hawkeye basketball team and the school’s fans by refusing to confront the rumors centering around Indiana’s search for a new coach.

Alford, who is in his seventh season at Iowa, is the No. 1 candidate to replace Mike Davis at Indiana.

That fact is mentioned by broadcasters in the first 30 seconds of every national telecast of a Hawkeye game, and it’s discussed continually these days by Iowa and Indiana fans on the Internet.

Yet reporters from Iowa newspapers and TV and radio stations have been instructed to not ask Alford anything about the Indiana rumors. Those intimidated reporters –- afraid that they will be scolded by Alford and those who work for him –- follow the instructions like little dogs attending obedience school.

The University of Iowa is a proud institution with proud graduates and proud fans. Those graduates and fans should not be forced to wait for answers to whether a guy who has had two winning records in the Big Ten intends to move from one conference school to another.

Until Alford says otherwise, there here is every indication he will be bailing out of Iowa City in a few weeks. What else are we to believe?

It’ll happen whenever the Hawkeyes lose in the NCAA tournament. Right now, that appears to be sooner rather than later.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta has already said he wants no part of the Indiana job and is staying put. Alford says nothing, and thinks that’s enough to satisfy people in Iowa.

It’s not enough for me.

I just want Alford to say something.

Something like, “I appreciate the interest from Indiana, but I’m happy at Iowa.”

Something like, “I know there is talk circulating about me going to Indiana. However, at this time I’m too busy trying to help our Iowa team win a Big Ten championship, so any reaction from me will have to wait until the season is over.”

Instead, Alford says nothing, and Iowa fans expect the worst.

They figure Alford is gone.

Some undoubtedly think he may have already cut a deal with Indiana. They think it will be announced a few days after Iowa’s season is over.

Those fans feel the Iowa coaching job has suddenly become a poor second-cousin to the Indiana job.

Kids, who know nothing of the basketball legacy established at Iowa by coaches such as Sam Barry, Rollie Williams, Pops Harrison, Bucky O’Connor, Ralph Miller, Lute Olson and Tom Davis are suddenly made to believe that some hotshot-in-the-wings coach is supposed to do well in the minor leagues at a place like Iowa City before being ready for the big leagues at Bloomington.

That’s a laugh. The caliber of Indiana basketball began slipping in Bobby Knight’s final seasons there. It has continued that way –- even worse –- under Mike Davis.

What all of this Alford-to-Indiana stuff has done is overshadow a neat story at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It’s a story about a Hawkeye team with a starting lineup made up mostly of players [four out of five] from the state of Iowa that led the Big Ten standings for about six weeks.

In a sport at which black players excel, Alford has started a lineup that includes four white athletes. That’s unheard-of these days.

This could have been a team with a Big Ten regular-season title. It may still happen, but the Hawkeyes have dug a sizable hole now They’ve lost games at places like Northwestern and Minnesota, and they couldn’t win Saturday at Illinois.

If someone says Iowa blew the championship, who can call it an untrue statement?

Northwestern and Minnesota are opponents that teams going after championships need to beat. Illinois is not a great team. Saturday’s game was winnable for Iowa. It didn’t happen.

Now, instead of asking what went wrong at Illinois, Iowa fans are asking their friends if they think Alford is going to Indiana.

Fine way to ruin a season.

Greg Brunner, Jeff Horner, Erek Hansen, Adam Haluska and Mike Henderson deserve better.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Willie McCarter Says He Made Funeral Arrangements After Brain Surgery, But Drake's Basketball Family Helped Save Him From Dying

Willie McCarter says the support he received from the Drake University basketball community –- both past and present –- helped save his life.

McCarter [lower right], a standout on the Bulldogs’ 1968-1969 Final Four team, suffered two serious strokes while awaiting heart surgery late last year.

He had blood clots in his brain and a lung. He underwent surgery on his brain,and part of it was removed.

Although he’s still having a number of problems, and said he may require more surgery, McCarter made it back to Des Moines recently to be honored along with many other former Drake players after the university named its All-Century team.

“When I woke up from my brain surgery, I made funeral arrangements,” elite-team member McCarter told me in a moment of extreme frankness. “I was planning to be buried next to my mother.”

Dolph Pulliam, one of McCarter’s teammates on coach Maury John’s Final Four team, said, “It’s a miracle Willie is still alive.”

“Doctors in Michigan said my brain was too damaged to do anything,” McCarter said. “When I heard that, I cried like a baby. I wanted to give up.”

But Drake wouldn’t let him give up.

“I got many phone calls from Drake people,” McCarter said. “John John [son of the late Maury John] called, Dan Callahan [one of the assistant coaches in the Maury John era] called, Dolph Pulliam came to see me, Tom Davis [Drake’s present coach, who is pictured on the left] and his staff sent a letter every week to tell me how the team was doing.

“Lots and lots of other people called, and that’s what helped pull me through. After being told I had a one-in-500,000 chance that I could survive, I appreciate all the support I received.”

McCarter, one of the guys I most enjoyed watching during the fabulous 1959-1971 Maury John [pictured above McCarter] era, showed that he hasn’t lost his sense of humor while I visited with him.

“The doctors took one-third of my brain out,” he said.

“Dale Teeter made me laugh when he heard that.

“He said, ‘Well, Willie, you only used a third of your brain anyway!’”

Teeter was McCarter’s roommate in John’s golden era of coaching. He also came back for the Bulldogs’ big celebration this season.

* * *

One of the most touching things that happened when Drake’s former players were honored at the Knapp Center came when Lynnrick Rogers –- who played for the Bulldogs from 1993-1997 –- changed direction so he could shake Paul Morrison’s hand at the scorers' table before going to mid-court with the others.

“Wasn’t that nice?” said Morrison, the 88-year-old Drake historian who has been around the university scene in just about every job but president.

Morrison is pictured at the top of this column, wearing the Drake letter jacket he was awarded this season.

“When Lynnrick was playing, he got into the habit of coming over to me at the scorers' table before games,” Morrison explained. “After they introduced him, he’d come over and shake my hand.

“We had a gathering the night before the players were honored this season, and I told him, ‘Lynnrick, I always remember you for doing that. Nobody else has done it.’ He said, ‘I want to keep it up.’ He’s a quality guy.”

Morrison said Rogers now teaches school in California.

"I sit at the scorers' table to try to help the public address announcer and the scorer," said Morrison, who still travels with both the Drake men's and women's basketball teams -- and pays for his own transportation

* * *

The only Drake basketball players whose jersey numbers have been retired are Red Murrell and Lewis Lloyd.

Murrell made it back for the 100-year celebration, Lloyd didn’t.

“We talked to Lewis and encouraged him to come back, but he told us he couldn’t make it,” Morrison said.

* * *

If they ever ask me to vote on whose jersey number should be retired next, I’m putting Willie McCarter No. 1 on my ballot.

All the guy did was make the 1969 All-Final Four team [after Drake’s third-place finish} and become a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Lakers.

While introducing me to some of his friends and family members, McCarter said, “This is Ron Maly, who made me an all-American. Coach John always gave Ron the credit for our success.

“That was a special team, and he posted his newspaper stories where we could read them all the time in my playing days.”

Willie, I’ll give you all the credit. If you, Pulliam and the others on that fabulous 1968-1969 team didn’t go 26-5 and shock the nation, there couldn’t have been all those stories.

* * *

Dan Callahan of Sioux City, the only living member of the 1968-1969 coaching staff, interrupted a vacation in North Carolina to attend the All-Century celebration.

“Jay Cookman [a longtime Drake booster] called and said that McCarter was going to be there,” Callahan told me. “If said, ‘Hey, if Willie McCarter can make it back, so can I.'"

So Callahan flew back to Des Moines so he could attend. Callahan and the late Gus Guydon were John’s only assistant coaches in the golden years.

Callahan’s grandson, D. J., plays for Charlotte [N.C.] Christian and is an outstanding college basketball prospect.

“They have a 29-2 record and are ranked second in the Charlotte area,” Callahan said.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Alford-To-Indiana Rumors Still Flying -- Latest Has It That Our Guy Steve Was Given Permission to Talk to Indiana, And That's Why Mike Davis Got 'Flu'

The Internet chat lines are buzzing about the Steve Alford-to-Indiana coaching rumors, and you can take it to the bank that this won't be the last of them until (a) Alford says he's staying at Iowa or (b) Indiana says it's not interested in him.

Here's the latest nugget:

"Hi, Ron,

"You knew it was bound to happen, so here is a summary from a fellow who is able to post on the 'premium forum' of the busiest Hawkeye forum. In other words, he has to pay for it.

"Some guy who apparently has legitimate connections within the athletic department related a story he heard about Alford. According to this guy, Alford has requested and been granted permission to talk to Indiana. Somehow, this got out to Mike Davis, who in protest, stayed home sick with the 'flu' and followed that with a comment about how Indiana needs to hire one of their own.

"According to this guy, this is apparently close to being a done deal. I wouldn't bother passing this along except for the fact that even the moderator [of the Iowa website] is vouching for the guy's sources. He also says he has heard from sources inside Indiana who are reporting the same.

"The poster followed up by writing that he made a mistake -- that it was Indiana who initiated the contact. And, of course, that would make sense. Alford could not make first contact, as per the rules.

"Ron, he was just passing along second-hand information but, in my 10 years on the forums, the fellows who claim to have inside info are about 75 percent correct. Apparently, the guy who is quoted is highly-regarded.

"Alford could crash in the next few weeks. I'm not sure even that would preclude him from becoming the next IU coach. Indiana fans believe he could recruit much better in Indiana.

"As for me, I hope he makes Indiana, that is.

"Best regards,"

Mark Robinson
Valencia, CA

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I immediately wondered about the "flu" that Indiana coach Mike Davis [left] had on the day Iowa played in Bloomington -- and won, 70-67. Surely, I couldn't have been the only guy wondering about Davis' "flu," but it seemed every reporter who was involved with the game or was interested in collegiate basketball --including ESPN's Andy Katz -- swallowed Mike's explanation for his absence from the game. I'm sure ol' Mike was sick -- no doubt sick of hearing about Alford taking his job. In a way, you've almost got to feel sorry for Davis. It was difficult enough to follow Bobby Knight in the Indiana job, and he certainly seems like one of the more insecure, emotional coaches to come down the Big Ten trail in a long time. He has already resigned at Indiana, but will finish the season. In this age of the Internet, there are going to be plenty of rumors pertaining to Alford [right] and whatever team he'll be coaching next season. Some will be outrageous, some not so outrageous. Meanwhile, there's a sizable number of Iowa fans who have the same feelings as Mark Robinson -- they're wishing Indiana officials the best of luck in their pursuit of Alford].

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Alford/Iowa Scenario Isn't Critical Yet, And Won't Be Until Indiana Loses Interest in Our Guy Steve; Good NIT Matchup: Gophers At Iowa State

Regardless of how you might feel, things aren't critical in the Steve Alford /University of Iowa basketball situation.

Not yet anyway.

It could be a lot worse.

A guy I know says the saddest scenario would be this:

Iowa falls out of first place in the Big Ten standings.

The conference's regular-season championship is won by Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois or Wisconsin.

Indiana loses interest in hiring Alford for its coaching job.

Alford returns to Iowa next season.

Now, that's what the guy is calling a very bad ending to the story.

* * *

Ideal first-round matchup in the NIT:

Iowa State [14-11] vs. Minnesota [13-10] at Hilton Coliseum.

Ames is just a bus-ride away for the Gophers.

Everybody saves money, including the tight-fisted NIT.

Just think, last season Iowa State beat Minnesota in the NCAA tournament.

* * *

Speaking of Iowa State, Cyclone fan Travis Simpson of Des Moines writes in an e-mail:

"What a choke job over the weekend, huh? Hope Blalock and Stinson ate some crow after the game for ripping on the big guys earlier in the week. I would have rather had one of the big guys at the free throw line late in the game since three of the four have better free throw percentages than Stinson and Blalock.

"They can call this a lost season, but if everyone is back next year and this happens again, you can bet Morgan is going to feel the heat coming from his seat where he normally spends most of his time during the game. With the game on the line, you’d think the experienced and touted backcourt would seal the deal, but they really haven’t done the job when they’ve been counted on to close the game out."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: No team wins a championship with two guards. Blame Morgan for this -- or maybe Damon Archibald, his No. 1 assistant. They didn't find a way to replace Jared Homan in the front line, and now Iowa State is paying a bigtime price for it. Unless, of course, you're an NIT fan].

* * *

I'm sorry to hear of the death of broadcaster Curt Gowdy, 86, of leukemia.

Gowdy [left] was a class announcer, but made mistakes just like the rest of us.

The guys who played on Drake's 1968-69 basketball team still laugh when recalling how Gowdy kept calling them "Duke" in the big game against UCLA in the Final Four at Louisville.

* * *

Hmmm. You wonder if this is the start of something that's going to spread.

The Southeastern Conference today fined the University of Arkansas $5,000 because Razorback fans stormed the court after a game last week against Florida.

Iowa's student fans, of course, have rushed the court after a number of victories this season. Hawkeye officials have recently attempted to stop the fans from coming onto the floor by having the players run over to the student gathering and celebrate with them after games.

It'll be interesting to see what takes place in the Hawkeyes' final two home games.

* * *

Strange happening tonight at Lubbock, Texas, during the Oklahoma-Texas Tech basketball game.

When some Texas Tech fans began chanting, "Bullshit! Bullshit!" in the last half to protest an officials' ruling, Red Raiders coach Bobby Knight attempted to wave off the shouting.

Knight, of course, is the master of profanity during games, and always has been.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Enough of This Alford-To-Indiana Crap For a While -- It's Time To Take a Look At the Job Bobbi Bergman Is Doing On the Channel 5 Eyewitness News Team

I guess I’ve been so busy writing about Steve Alford and whether he is or he isn’t –-going to Indiana, I mean –- that I’ve been short-changing a big media story.

It’s the one involving Bobbi Bergman, who returned to the Des Moines TV picture a while back.

The WOI-TV website says, “Bobbi Bergman is a reporter for Channel 5 Eyewitness News. She joined the team in December, 2005.

“Bobbi’s decade-long journalism career has taken her to Washington, D.C., Rapid City, S.D., and Minneapolis. She most recently worked for WHO-TV in Des Moines.”

I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law and their two kids the other night when I saw Bobbi reporting something on the 10 o’clock news. I thought she did her usual excellent, professional job.

Oh, I know WOI-TV always ranks dead-last in the local TV ratings. I know people used to joke that KCCI could finish No. 1 in the ratings if they brought Russ Van Dyke back from the dead and propped up his picture in front of the cameras 20 years after his retirement.

But I’m a fan of WOI. One reason is because Chris Flanagan [upper right], the news anchor, came into my home with a photographer a while back while doing an investigative story. He handled himself well, and the series he did turned out well.

I also think John Walters, the WOI sports director, does good work. I've known him for many years.

So I have nothing against any of the folks there. I hope something happens to help their ratings.

But back to Bobbi Bergman…..

Bobbi isn’t your ordinary TV reporter. She not only has reported the news, she’s been in the news.

Tony Leys of the Des Moines Register reported last April that “a prominent Des Moines plastic surgeon violated ethics rules when he dated and subsequently married a television news reporter on whom he’d performed surgery, state regulators say.

Leys continued: “The Iowa Board of Medical Examiners filed formal charges this month against Dr. Ronald Bergman. The board, which oversees physician licenses, said he improperly engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient, whom he later married.

“Bergman, 56, married the former Bobbi Silvernail in 2002, while she was a 28-year-old anchorwoman at WHO-TV. The couple said they met when she went to him for breast-augmentation surgery.

”’It’s almost a cliché. ‘Rich plastic surgeon marries young girl,’” he joked in an interview shortly before the wedding.’

“He wasn’t laughing Tuesday, as he complained about the ‘ridiculous’ allegations brougut against him by regulators.

“He said he didn’t begin dating Silvernail until eight months after she was discharged as his patient….”

Leys said “the board declared that the relationship violated ‘physician-patient boundaries.’”

WOI says Bobbi “took a few years off [after her WHO-TV days] to enjoy stay-at-home motherhood with her young daughter.

“Bobbi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. She also attended American University in Washington, D.C.

“Bobbi is a champion baton twirlter and a former ‘Mrs. Iowa.’

“She is active in our community and serves as president-elect for VSA Arts of Iowa, a non-profit group that promotes the creative power of people with disabilities.

“Bobbi and her husband Ronald [lower left] are parents to a rambunctious toddler, Chloe.

“Bobbi is also a huge college football fan and loves watching the Michigan Wolverines play at ‘The Big House.’”

Well, what the hell. I guess I won’t hold that stuff against Bobbi about being a fan of Michigan and the 100,000-seat-plus Big House the football team there plays in.

Nobody’s perfect.


Bud Appleby sends word that Randy Essex will be the latest newsroom employee to leave the Register.

“The news editor position was vacant for many months –- it may still be vacant –-while Paul Anger was the editor,” Appleby told me. “Now that he is editor of the Detroit Free Press, he hires someone from the Register to be news editor there. I have no doubt that Randy Essex is qualified, but I wonder why he wasn’t given the job in Des Moines.


I hear that Essex was interested in the managing editor job at the paper, but was passed over. For some reason, Randy Brubaker was chosen. That’s probably one reason Essex is leaving town.

I also hear that no one is shedding any tears that he’s quitting. They figure Detroit is a good place for him.

Here’s the newsroom memo about Essex:

“From: Washburn, Carolyn
Sent: Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 2:57 p.m.
To: Des Moines-Newsroom
Cc: Stier, Mary; Wilson, Dee; Bell, Rick; Cooper, Tom; Genalo, Susan; Hollingsworth, Laura; Johnson, Kevin (DSM); Patterson Plank, Susan; Peers, Julie A.; Ray, Joyce; Robertson, Brad
Subject: Randy Essex

“Randy Essex will be leaving us after 20 very strong years of service at The Des Moines Register to become news editor at the Detroit Free Press. We will miss Randy’s deep understanding of this community, his ability to expand a story idea, and his fine word editing.

“Randy’s last day will be March 2, and we will have the appropriate going-away festivities then.

“I’ll keep you posted on next steps for MI.”


They were telling me at lunch that the local paper will soon have advertising on the front page.

I guess that's called desperation.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What a Grade School Student Is Telling His Classmates, Plus Other Thoughts About This Very Interesting Collegiate Basketball Season

Steve Alford continues to be the talk of folks on the Internet, and not because his Iowa basketball team leads the Big Ten standings.

Alford's name is hot because just about everybody figures he'll soon become Indiana's new coach.

Here's a sample of some of the e-mails being dispatched to basketball followers [including me] in and around the Big Ten area:

"I understand that representatives of Indiana [boosters or friends of the university] have been talking with Alford's representatives for the last two weeks about the parameters that each party might desire

"In addition, Craig Neal's son has been telling other students in his grade school, that his father is the next head basketball coach at Iowa.

"A guy I talked to last night had lunch with [a man who at times has been close to the Hawkeye scene] on Thursday. [The guy] told him that Alford going to Indiana is 'a done deal.'"

Informed Source

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Craig Neal [upper right] is Alford's associate head coach at Iowa, and a man who has been receiving lots of credit for what's been going on with the Hawkeyes this season and last season. He'd be someone who will get a strong look if Alford should bolt for Indiana. Read more on Neal in the next e-mail from Al Schallau, an Iowa fan who now lives in California].


Writes Schallau:

"Craig Neal's son would get my vote as my favorite grade school student in Iowa City. I have always liked a youthful, knowledgeable lad who has a good, healthy big mouth. I just hope the lad's information is accurate."


[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: If Neal should wind up with the Iowa job, the folks who dislike Alford -- and there still are a number of them -- would have the best of both worlds. They'd be rid of Alford and have have their guy Neal in the coaching office].


More from Al Schallau:


"I read your Alford-to-Indiana article [yesterday], and it is excellent. I have wanted for several years to see Steve Alford put Iowa City into his rear-view mirror for several reasons:

"(1) His mishandling of Pierre Pierce, Chapter One, was so bad that it caused thousands of Iowa fans to stay away from Carver Hawkeye Arena.

"(2) He managed to make himself so disliked among Iowa fans, that even a winning team still left thousands of empty seats at the arena. I tell my friends that if you don't like a musician, you are not going to venture out into winter weather and pay good money to attend his or her concerts. The same holds true for head coaches in college basketball.

"(3) I don't think Alford became a good coach until he hired Craig Neal as his chief assistant coach. If Alford leaves, I think Neal would be an excellent choice as the Hawkeyes' next head coach, and I think Coach Neal would beat Indiana Coach Alford quite regularly.


Al Schallau

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I, too, was disappointed with Iowa's home attendance during the non-conference season, but there have been a number of sellouts since the Big Ten season began. The Hawkeyes should always be selling out in basketball].


From "South of the Border:"


"Great piece on Alford and the Indiana situation. I think he'll get the offer and take it. Then the story will naturally leak, screwing up another Iowa basketball season. I hope I'm wrong about the latter. These kids deserve a title. They've really played their asses off....

"P.S.-- Tell Greg McDermott [of UNI] to not take the Missouri job until this is settled."

South of the Border

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: "South of the Border" is correct when he says the Iowa players have played their asses off this season. It's been a wonderful season so far, and it would be a shame if Alford's personal situation turned into a distraction late in the year.]


More from "South of the Border:"

"If the Register's website reflects what you see in today's paper, it really dropped the ball on the Alford and Indiana story. I should be getting used to how the Register does things, but it's lack of follow on this story is still shocking.

"The Iowa City Press-Citizen, on the other hand, had a major story and two columns on its website. Other than calling Craig Neal by the name Bill Neal, good stuff.

"Here's my suggestion today -- send Alford to Indiana and let Al Schallau select his successor. He was right about Lute Olson 32 years ago."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I can't figure out why anyone would find fault with today's Register. Heck, there was a column on the Newton race track. What could be more timely the day after Steve Alford's name was all over the Internet and TV?]


From Gordy Scoles of Bennettsville, S.C.:


"Sorry about the Iowa weather. I read a quote that said Pat Knight would be the next Indiana coach. But like you, I thought he was all set at Texas Tech. And I agree about coaches appointing their sons to follow them, but you know how ADs are. I thought sons following the fathers as kings [or coaches] only happened in a monarchy. I'm glad I didn't have to follow my dad in his job of shoveling coal and stacking lumber in a lumberyard for $75 a week. North Carolina has a freshman player from Poplar Bluff, Mo. Roy Williams sure knows how to find 'em.

Gordy Scoles

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: If Pat Knight, who is an assistant on his dad Bobby's basketball staff at Texas Tech, is hired at Indiana, the Indiana athletic director should be demoted to night janitor].


It's been a tough basketball season for Travis Simpson of Des Moines and lots of other Iowa State fans. Here's Simpson's e-mail:

"Every season I find myself teetering on the fence about Wayne Morgan and have usually leaned in the direction of giving him the benefit of the doubt. After what is turning into a highly disappointing season, where the Cyclones have lost seven games at home [six regular season, one exhibition] and are being outplayed and out-coached by teams they should beat, I’m about to lean the other way again. In fact, between 2000 and 2004 I’m not sure that the Cyclones even lost seven games combined at Hilton! The theme early in the season was 'patience' as in we have four inexperienced post players that have not played at this level of competition before. Well, all four have shown great strides so that is becoming less of an excuse as the season has gone on. We always hear what a great player Curtis Stinson is and how ISU supposedly has one of the best backcourts in the country, but now with the young post players contributing more and the battle-tested backcourt the Cyclones are in a tailspin down the last stretch of the season.

"Talent-wise and potential most would probably take the Cyclone team on paper over the Big Ten-leading Hawkeyes simply because they are more athletic and a better team offensively. That’s what brings me to my next point -- DEFENSE. That is the reason why ISU has struggled and Iowa is leading the Big Ten because Iowa plays great defense despite being one of the worst in offense in the Big Ten. Iowa leads the Big Ten in rebounding and is fourth in scoring defense but is eighth in points scored and dead-last in FG percentage at a sad 42 percent while ISU is third in the Big 12 in scoring offense, fourth in field goal percentage, but 10th in scoring defense. Who says defense doesn’t win games?

"Some friends and I were commenting while watching one of the many poor performances at Hilton how the zone defense is always 'scrambling' and is out of position and the other team has no problems finding wide open 3-pointers and layups, which is exactly what the zone is designed to prevent. Teams have figured out if they pass quickly out of the initial trap to the open man in the corner they either have a wide open 3 or the defender in the post that comes running out to guard that player now just left someone open for an easy lay-up on the baseline. With that much talent and athleticism, the fundamentals of the game seem to be lacking and you’d think being as quick as ISU is that they’d be able to play a tough man defense more often.

"There is no doubt that Wayne Morgan has recruited some talent to ISU that they have not had in the past. However, whether he will ever be able to coach it successfully is still to be seen. If Stinson and Blalock come back for their senior season, the post players put on some needed weight, with the good recruiting class coming in for next season to add more depth, and the only graduation loss being John Neal this ISU team will have a lot of expectations to be a top team in the Big 12. Anything less and coach Morgan is going to be in the hot seat with the fans who have already given him the benefit of the doubt more than once."

Travis Simpson

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: Travis, have you ordered your NIT tickets yet?]


Here's a "Question About Dr. Tom:"


"Do you think that Dr. Tom will stay around as head coach at Drake after this year?

"Have you read or heard any rumblings to indicate that Dr. Tom might go back into retirement after this year?"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: As I wrote a week or so ago, it won't surprise me if Tom Davis goes back into retirement after coaching Drake's basketball team for three seasons. Dave Blank, the athletic director who brought him out of retirement in Iowa City to try to resurrect the Drake program, is leaving in April for Elon University. I'm not sure Davis wants to get accustomed to another boss. But we'll see].


A reader from one time zone away has a complaint in this e-mail:

"Hello, Mr. Maly,

"writing to grouse about what appears to be a permanent state of writer's block at Picture after picture is captioned with some fairly meaningless statement such as: 'Workers continue to make progress on the east concourse of Kinnick Stadium.' We used to have descriptions such as: 'A view from the steel that is the skeleton of the new press box', 'Workers conduct a test on the pressure with the new air duct system', and 'of the speaker cluster in scoreboard.' Not great, but at least there is modicum of descriptive value in those captions.

"I've submitted a site comments...yet the amorphous descriptions continue. It reminds me of a TV series that starts out great and then the writers run out of material. With all the things happening at Kinnick Stadium and all the wannabe writers in Iowa City, I'm certain we could come up captions which are descriptive and engaging.

"Great websites don't die suddenly...they just become irrelevant...

"Best regards"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I guess the Kinnick renovation has taken second place to the outstanding Hawkeye basketball season. Once Iowa winds things up in the NCAA tournament, there'll be more talk of football. After all, spring practice isn't that far away].

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Now That Mike Davis' Days Are Numbered At Indiana, It's Time For the Hoosier Brass To Go After Alford -- And the Iowa Coach Should Take the Job

Mike Davis has made his bosses’ job a lot easier at Indiana University.

He is now known as a coaching dummy, and his days of running the Hoosiers' basketball program are numbered.

So I have the answer to what should happen next.

Indiana should offer the coaching job to Steve Alford of Iowa, and Alford should accept it.

I am convinced that will solve a number of problems.

Alford [right] and his Iowa players are on their way to winning a Big Ten Conference championship this season. The Hawkeyes are in first place all by themselves, and anything short of an outright title will now be extremely disappointing to Iowa’s fans and Alford’s bosses.

Alford is as clean-cut a guy as you can find. There is never a hair out of place on his head, his ties always match the expensive suits he wears, and it appears a team of Hollywood makeup artists and Armani designers prepare him for each game.

He is a man mothers absolutely love. Alford can come into their living rooms in small-town –- and, occasionally, big-city -- America to recruit anytime. They want their sons to play for him. They know their kid will be in good hands when they are in his high-caliber, squeaky-clean program.

They know the kid won’t ever beat Alford in a game of H-O-R-S-E after practice, but he'll always go to class and get a good job when his collegiate career is finished.

Maybe not in the NBA, but at IBM.

Fathers are starting to like Alford, too. For a while, some of them maybe wondered if he could coach. Now they know he can coach. The guy is going to win a championship in the strongest collegiate conference in America with a starting lineup that includes four white players. Heck, four of the regulars are Iowans. It's pretty hard to beat that kind of stuff in little ol' Iowa City.

Everybody knows basketball is a black man’s game. At Iowa, it doesn’t matter. Alford has proved he can match game plans with the best minds in the Big Ten and win with players whose names are never mentioned in the same sentence with the much-overused word “athleticism.”

Alford’s superior coaching would be a perfect fit at Indiana, whose basketball library hasn’t been blessed with a strong playbook since Bobby Knight had black hair and wore those funny red plaid sportcoats.

Davis [pictured at the top of this column] couldn’t win at Indiana if he had an entire roster of McDonald’s all-Americans who could shoot like Alford when he starred for Knight’s teams, and could jump through the roof at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Alford also has the perfect family for the Hoosiers’ job. I mean, it’s the all-American family. The TV cameras show us that all the time during games. His dad, who was one of his assistants at three coaching jobs [including Iowa], is now retired, and looks like the perfect proud parent while sitting with his wife, Steve’s wife and Steve’s kids.

Ozzie and Harriet all over again, that’s what it is.

It’s about as neat a thing as anyone could imagine here in America’s heartland.

Crowd roaring. Students dressed in gold [or is it yellow?] shirts and painted faces. Dance girls and cheerleaders doing endless backflips. People from Tiffin, Solon, Cedar Rapids and Lone Tree hanging from the rafters, breathlessly waiting for another victory over Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and, yes, Indiana.

Oh, sure, Alford couldn’t beat Northern Iowa and Iowa State in early-December, but nobody remembers that now.

Besides, after the train-wreck that happened at Ames last night against Nebraska, Hawkeye fans are wondering if basketball is still an intercollegiate sport at Iowa State. They’re shipping a coaching manual to Wayne Morgan and sending the Cyclones get-well cards and best wishes in the NIT.

The Alford-to-Indiana timing would be perfect. Ever since his first day on the Iowa campus, Hawkeye fans figured he’d be waiting for The Call from Bloomington. When Knight was sent packing to Lubbock, Texas, people thought The Call would be coming to Alford’s office.

Maybe it did. But if it did, Alford was smart to say no. He knew following Knight at Indiana was a dumb thing to do. It’s known as coaching suicide.

Following Davis, though, will be simple. Davis not only can’t coach. He’s also a man nobody likes in Indiana.

Alford is a guy everybody in Indiana likes.

Pity the poor guy on the Indiana search committee who doesn’t call Alford and offer him a multi-million-dollar, lifetime contract. That guy’s next address also will be Lubbock.

So what does Iowa get from all of this? Well, people around here will finally be able to relax.

We’ve all been waiting for the time when Indiana would make The Call. Now, when Alford says yes to The Call, Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby can hire Greg McDermott away from Northern Iowa, or simply turn the job over to present Hawkeye assistant Craig Neal [left] -- who’s getting a lot of credit these days and might look all right in an Armani suit himself -- or one of the other 500 coaching hotshots who will line up outside Bowlsby's door.

I know there probably are a number of readers who wonder why I’m being so nice to Indiana and to Alford. You’re probably asking why I say the two deserve each other.

I know there are a few Hawkeye fans who claim Alford is arrogant, but I find that awfully hard to believe. He’s never been arrogant to me. Then, again, I’ve never gone beyond a one-question, one-answer experience with him at a press conference.

I know a guy who used to have a high-profile job at Iowa doesn’t like it when Alford always calls him “Old-Timer.”

But that’s probably just because Steve can’t remember the guy’s name.

I also know there are still some people who maintain that the fans in this state haven’t warmed up to Alford.

[I’m not talking about the Cyclone fans].

Whatever, Alford has proved to me that he has matured as a coach, and is ready to take on the coaching challenge at his alma mater. If Indiana does the right thing and hires him, I predict he’ll be a big winner.

I hesitate to mess up this column by bringing up Lute Olson’s name, but I’d hate to see a repeat of what happened when “Mr. Wonderful With All That White Hair”--a man who was a coaching legend in his own mind -- sat in the Iowa coaching office.

Mr. Wonderful was the Hawkeyes’ coach for nine seasons. That was two or three years too long. In my earlier writing life, I’d several times have to wrap up Olson’s seasons by saying his arrogance was becoming a distraction to the entire program.

I never believed in sugar-coating anything, especially when it came to reviewing a season when I thought a thin-skinned coach found a way to blow what should have been a Big Ten championship year.

Mr. Wonderful finally did us all a favor by leaving for Arizona.

Alford can avoid all of this by taking the Indiana job. This is his seventh –- and, by far, his best –- season at Iowa.

It’s time for him to go back home. The man is ready.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Reader Praises Randle-El, Says Eric Crouch's 'Career In the NFL Was About As Long As the Wait-Time In the Drive-Up Lane At Starbucks'

Barry Crist of West Des Moines writes about the recent Super Bowl in this e-mail:


"One of the most egregious errors in Heisman Trophy voting was rectified at the Super Bowl. Antwaan Randle-El passed for a touchdown and now proudly has a ring symbolic of being a world champion Pittsburgh Steeler. Eric Crouch was the Heisman winner as he played for a great team at Nebraska, while Randle-El was a one-man show at Indiana.

"Ironically, Antwaan had decided to attend Indiana over Nebraska because he wanted to double-sport and play for Bobby Knight. He certainly would have led Nebraska to an even greater record, while forcing Crouch to play wide receiver or safety.

"Crouch's career in the NFL was about as long as the wait-time in the drive-up lane at Starbucks. He now sells playground equipment."

Barry Crist

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Randle-El [right] was a load of talent when he played for Indiana teams that generally were piss-poor. Crouch certainly was an outstanding Nebraska player, but that ability didn't transfer to any of the several NFL teams with which he tired out. In the end, a Heisman Trophy is a nice thing, but doesn't earn a guy a nickel in the pro league].


The Ames paper says there's a chance Iowa State could bring baseball back from the dead in the university's athletic program in the next 10 years.

Maybe men's tennis and men's swimming, too.

Dumb idea.

About baseball, I mean.

Iowa State hasn't had a baseball team since 2001, and there's no sense bringing it back now or in the future.

Because of weather in the midwest, the collegiate baseball season lasts about two weeks in Iowa.

Nobody showed up to watch baseball games when Cap Timm coached the Cyclones -- and took one of his teams to the College World Series -- a number of years ago, even when they were letting fans in free. And nobody would show up now or 10 years from now for a game.

Keep baseball where it is at Iowa State -- in the history books.

Hell, if the University of Iowa wanted to save money, one of the first things that should happen is to drop the baseball program.

It's already half-dead.


"Midwest Fan" has several things on his mind in this e-mail:


"It was an interesting January, I must say. I would comment on [fellow Wartburg alum] Brubaker being named managing editor, but Bud Appleby did it for me. Thanks Bud!

"Your blog on Jan. 30 about the makeup of the Iowa team may seem surprising to some. Well, even before the Ohio State game, a website that is dominated by mostly journalists talked about the fact that Iowa had four white regulars in the lineup against Illinois.

"The link to the post:,21310.0.html

"For what it's worth, it's not surprising to me at all. Being an East Waterloo grad, I take it for granted that current coach Steve McGraw and former coach Murray Wier would have five black regulars in the lineup in a state like Iowa.

"Going back to your post a while back about the travails of Valley High boys basketball, there is a good story I wanted to share. There is a young man by the name of Cashes Mason, who transferred from Kansas City and played for Valley last season. He now is playing for Wartburg College, which is currently 18-4 overall, 11-3 in Iowa Conference play and is ranked 23rd in the latest Division III polls.

"Mason, from the games I have watched him played this year, has found a great fit in the role of coming off the bench and helping the Knights and their wide-open game, which is giving conference foes fits. When I saw him at Valley, it appeared that he was having difficulty getting adjusted to how Valley ran the court and played defense. That is not the case up in Waverly. I think he will do well at Wartburg.

"The Knights are coached by Dick Peth, a former Hawk under Lute Olson and was a member of the 1979-80 Final Four team. He came to Wartburg in 1997 after coaching the University of Denver [where Terry Carroll is currently the head coach]. Peth has been nothing short but great for the program and the school.

"Finally to end with Wartburg, next weekend is the final time Knights Gym will host an athletic contest as the Knights and Cornell will play the final women/men doubleheader in the facility. Knights Gym and the Physical Education Center will be razed later this spring to make way for a new $30 million Wartburg-Waverly Wellness Center/Gym. Since 1949, Knights Gym has been an important part of the Wartburg campus, including my graduation ceremonies. There is no doubt that legendary hoops coach Buzz Levick will be there to close the place down. He has attended nearly every single game in Knights Gym since his retirement in 1993, not counting his career on the bench.

"I will heading up there to visit with former classmates and alums and watch the final two games, then a program to honor the gym, then a campus-wide dinner in the PEC fieldhouse afterwards. It should be a great time in Waverly!"

Midwest Fan

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks for the update on what's going on at Wartburg. The Brubaker mentioned by "Midwest Fan" is Randy Brubaker [left], the new managing editor at the Des Moines Register].


Former Iowan Max Thomson sent this e-mail about Joe McGuff, the former Kansas City Star sports columnist and editor who recently died:

"I used to attend Missouri football games and write occasional columns for a small Missouri daily.

"In 1984, Warren Powers had just ended yet another frustrating season with yet another humiliating loss to Kansas. At Missouri, a poor season is one thing; losing three times to KU is quite another. [Gary Pinkel be forewarned: You have lost two in a row.]

"The postgame press conference was held underneath the east stands near the Missouri locker room, but it could have been held in a Columbia funeral home. To his credit, Powers answered every question -- knowing, but never admitting, the grim reaper would soon visit.

"It had come full circle for Powers. The same Missouri alums who contributed money five years before to ransom him away from Washington State would soon contribute money to buy out the last years of his contract at Mizzou. And completion of that circle would also be the end of the line. I barely knew Joe, but he and I were two of the last to leave the press conference.

"As Joe walked out, Powers said, 'I'll talk to you tomorrow, Joe.' Joe knew the only reason he would have to talk with Powers on Sunday was if the coach had been canned. Joe stopped in his tracks, turned and went back to shake Powers' hand.

"I walked back to the press box with Joe. 'He might not be a very good coach,' Joe said. 'But I've never seen a coach handle that situation any better. So what's your lead?'

"I told him what I thought I was going to use. He asked some questions aimed at sharpening the focus of what I was going to write. Then, remarkably, he told me what he was going to lead with and asked me to critique him.

"Wow, what an experience. What a gentleman and what a class act. He would later become editor of the Kansas City Star, but he remained a key player in keeping Kansas City a 'major league' town.

"The newspaper racket and the world need more guys like Joe McGuff. I was sad to read of his death."

Max Thomson
New Castle, PA

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: McGuff made numerous visits to Des Moines and other cities in Iowa while covering the Drake Relays, football games and basketball games. Indeed, he was a class act].


"South of the Border" writes:

"Bruce Pearl's ejection did not make the news down here, but neither do a lot of other things. I never liked the guy at Iowa, but he's turned into a good coach. Don't know if I'd recommend him to Bowlsby, though."

South of the Border

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Pearl is the former Iowa assistant basketball coach who was ejected from a recent game played by his son in Knoxville, Tenn. Pearl's Tennessee team is one of the best in the nation, and he could be a candidate for national coach of the year. "South of the Border's" comment about not recommending Pearl to Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby means he doesn't think "Bruce With the Yellow Suspenders" would be good fit for the Hawkeyes if Steve Alford should leave].


"Davenport Dave," who knows his journalism, noticed that the Des Moines Register was recently named Iowa's newspaper of the year. But he's wondering. Here's his e-mail:

"Hey, Ron,

"My question is how the Register was picked Newspaper of the Year when it didn't win any of the major section categories? From the awards, it looks like the Gazette had the best year."

Davenport Dave

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: The Gazette referred to by "Davenport Dave" is the Cedar Rapids [and Iowa City] Gazette, which does a consistently good job covering the news].


Paul Delger of Kanawha has been following and writing about sports for many years. Among his favorite teams are North Carolina State in basketball and the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball. Here's his latest e-mail:


"A followup on your comments regarding Herb Sendek. Herb's an intelligent guy who graduated from Carngie Mellon. According to my Wolfpack source, he's a private guy and not too excitable. I've probably been really following the Pack for 10 years or so and he'sprobably got his best team since I joined the fan base. I thought
they might really miss Julius Hodge [like Phil Rivers in football], but they have a veteran team. I think Herb runs a tough ship. It will be interesting to see how their do in the NCAA tournament. Last year they were on the bubble and made it to the Sweet 16."

"One thing I enjoy doing is going to midwest sporting goods stores and asking them about Wolfpack gear. You'll find an occasional hat. I usually ask the clerk why they have so much North Carolina stuff. The response: Because it sells."

Paul Delger
Kanawha, Ia.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I've always thought it would be difficult coaching basketball in the same state where Duke and North Carolina rule the roost, but North Carolina State hangs in there pretty well against the dynamic duo. Thanks for writing, Paul].


Friday, February 10, 2006

Lewis Lloyd, Willie McCarter, Red Murrell, Chuck Orebaugh, Walt O'Connor Headline Elite Drake Team As the University Celebrates 100 Basketball Seasons

Five all-Americans headline the all-time Drake men's basketball team which was disclosed tonight at a banquet commemorating 100 years of basketball at the school.

The team will be recognized during halftime of Saturday's Drake-Evansville game at 7:05 p.m. at the Knapp Center.

The range of former players starts with Ted Payseur, who lettered four years from 1918-22, and concludes with former standout guard Lynnrick Rogers who played from 1993-97.

Lewis Lloyd [left], Willie McCarter, Red Murrell [right], Chuck Orebaugh and Walt O'Connor head the elite team. Murrell, who owns nine Drake records including career points (1,657) was a third team all-American as a senior in 1957-58 after finishing fifth in the nation in scoring with a 26.7 average.

Orebaugh, a native of Des Moines, was Drake's first all-American in 1936-37 and led the Bulldogs to their first two Missouri Valley Conference championships in basketball in 1935 and 1936. O'Connor led the Valley in scoring as a senior guard en route to earning all-American honors in 1940-41.

McCarter, named to the Helms Athletic Foundation first-team All-American squad as a senior in 1969, was the leading scorer (20.4-point average) on the Drake team which went 26-5, finishing third in the 1969 NCAA Final Four. He was named to the 1969 All-NCAA Final Four Tournament team and also named the most valuable player in the 1969 NCAA Midwest Regional.

A two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Lloyd was selected to The Associated Press All-American third team in 1979-80 and 1980-81. He ranked second in the nation in scoring (30.2 avg.) and rebounding (15.0 avg.) as a junior, becoming the first college player in 29 years to finish second or higher in both categories. He averaged 26.3 points as a senior, leading Drake to the National Invitation Tournament. He set the Drake record for most career 30-point games at 22.

Here's a capsule on each all-time team honoree:

Ted Payseur (1918-22), Forward

The first Drake basketball star ever, Payseur brought the Bulldogs out of the Missouri Valley Conference cellar for the first time with the team posting a 36-25 record in three years after winning only 33 of 154 previous games in history. He was a first-team all-state selection twice and started as a third-team all-MVC player player as a sophomore. He was named second team All-MVC as a junior and first-team all-Valley as a senior in 1922, pacing Drake to a third-place finish in the league. Payseur would go on to become athletic director and golf coach at Northwestern University.

Bill Boelter (1921-24), Forward

Boelter was the second Bulldog to ever earn a spot on the first-team all-Valley basketball team. A three-sport star at Drake, Boelter finished second in scoring one season from a guard position. He later coached Drake's basketball team for seven seasons from 1925-32 and was also an assistant football coach for all of those years under Ossie Solem.

Chuck Everett (1923-27), Forward

Everett was one of the most decorated players in Drake history, winning 10 letters in basketball, football and tennis. He was twice a first-team all-state selection in his four-year career at Drake. He also was a first-team All-MVC selection in 1926 and a second-team choice as a senior. He led the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring in 1926.

Chuck Orebaugh (1933-37), Guard

The Des Moines native was the first three-time all-Missouri Valley Conference performer and was Drake's first All-American in basketball as selected by the Helms Athletic Foundation. He led the Bulldogs to their first two league championships in basketball in 1935 and 1936. He also was captain of the Drake football team. His brother, Sam, was quarterback on Drake's only undefeated football team in 1922. His father, Claude, also was a Drake track letterman, graduating in 1902.

Bill Evans (1942-43, '46-49) Forward

The 6-foot 3-inch forward played before keeping rebounding statistics was fashionable, but he is one of the best rebounders to play for the Bulldogs. He was a first-team All-MVC performer in 1948 and 1949 and a second team selection the two previous years. He scored 629 points in his career and was heralded as one of the school's top all-around players. He also lettered three times in baseball.

Walt O'Connor (1938-41) Guard

O'Connor led the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring (10.8 avg.) as a senior while earning first-team All-American honors by the Helms Athletic Foundation. He earned all-Valley honors in 1939, while helping lead Drake to a share of the league title. He also was a first-team All-MVC choice in 1941, being selected to play in the College All-Star Basketball Classic in Chicago, Ill., He also lettered in football and baseball, playing with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League.

Gus Ollrich (1946-48, 1951-54) Guard

His basketball career was interrupted by military service, but he returned after a four-year absence with strength and maturity. Gus was the youngest of three brothers to star in basketball at Drake. He graduated from Drake ranked third on the school career scoring list with 932 points and owned the school single-season free throw percentage mark at .836 set in 1952-53. He led the Bulldogs in scoring in 1951-52 (12.1 avg.) and in 1952-53 (16.9).

Red Murrell (1955-58) Forward

He is the all-time career-scoring leader in Drake with 1,657 points. He was a two-time first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference player and was selected third team All-American by the Helms Foundation as a senior. He ranked fifth in the nation in scoring in 1958 with a 26.7 average and was 13th in the nation in scoring as a junior in 1957. He enjoyed 18, 30-plus scoring games in his career.He also became the first player ever to collect 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same game by tallying 24 points and 20 rebounds in a 1956 home game against Los Angeles State. But he saved the best for last, setting Drake's single-game scoring record with 51 points in his last collegiate game as a Bulldog against Houston. He set six other school records and was the first Drake player ever to have his number retired.

Gus Guydon (1958-61) Guard

Guydon was a two-time first-team All-MVC selection as well as Bulldog co-captain. He led the Bulldogs in scoring as a junior and senior with an 18.5 scoring average. Guydon's basket at the buzzer allowed Drake to beat Iowa State, 83-81 in a 1961 game at Vets Auditorium. One week later he scored 35 points as Drake upset No. 3 ranked Bradley, 86-76, while snapping the Braves' 46-game home winning streak. He would later serve as an assistant coach under Maury John's great NCAA Tournament teams.

Gene West (1962-65) Guard

He was instrumental in leading Drake to its first ever post-season tournament - a trip to Madison Square Garden in New York and the prestigious National Invitation Tournament in 1964. He was one of the standouts on the Bulldogs' 1963-64 Missouri Valley Conference championship, helping lead a team that had finished last in the league the year before. He graduated from Drake, ranking eighth on the school career-scoring list with 877 points. He led Drake in scoring in 1964-65 with a 16.8 average, while earning first-team all-Valley honors. He played with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1966-67.

Willie Wise (1967-69) Forward

Willie was a standout performer for Drake's 1968-69 Final Four team and would go on to achieve stardom in the American Basketball Association. Despite his 6-foot 5-inch frame, the forward shot 52 percent from the floor and grabbed a then school single-season record 343 rebounds in 1968-69 for a 11.4 rebounding average. Despite playing only two years, he also ranked fourth on the school career rebounding list with 626 boards. Willie, along with former Drake standout Bob Netolicky, was named to a 30-member all-time American Basketball Association team in 1997. Wise spent most of his ABA career with the Utah Jazz and joined players such as Julius Erving, Artis Gilmore and George Gervin on the ABA all-time team.

Willie McCarter (1966-69) Guard

He was the leading scorer with a 20.4 average on the Drake team, which went 26-5, finishing third in the 1969 NCAA Final Four behind UCLA. He was named to the 1969 all-NCAA Final Four Tournament team and also named the most valuable player in the 1969 NCAA Midwest Regional. Earning first-team all-American honors by the Helms Foundation as a senior, McCarter was a two-time first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference performer and set three school records. He departed Drake ranked second on the school career scoring charts with 1,626 points for a 21.1 average in his three-year career. Willie also led Drake in scoring as a junior with a 23.2 average in 1967-68. He played perhaps his best all around game in his final contest in a Drake uniform, collecting 28 points and 10 assists as Drake roared past North Carolina, 104-84, in the third place game of the 1969 NCAA Tournament. He was a 1969 first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers and he also played with the Portland Trailblazers

Dolph Pulliam (1966-69) Forward

He ranked as one of Drake's best all-around performers, renown as a defensive star in addition to his scoring and rebounding abilities. The vocal leader on the 1968-69 NCAA Final Four team, he left Drake ranked No. 11 on the career scoring list and No. 9 on the career rebounding charts.After a 118-99 loss at North Texas State on Jan. 30, 1969, Pulliam gathered his teammates for a "no holds barred" meeting which resulted in 12 straight victories, an MVC title and the historic battle with UCLA in the NCAA Final Four. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics and also turned down an opportunity to play with the Dallas Cowboys. After a successful television career in Des Moines, HE has worked at his alma mater for the last 17 years.

Jeff Halliburton (1969-71) Forward

He was the first Drake player ever to be named the Valley Player of the Year when he earned the honor in 1970-71 as a senior. He led Drake in scoring as a junior and senior and led the team to its only undisputed MVC championship in 1969-70. The two-time first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection led the Bulldogs to the championship game of the 1970 NCAA Midwest Regional as well as the 1971 NCAA Midwest Regional. Halliburton owned the highest two=season scoring total at Drake with 993 points until All-American Lewis Lloyd surpassed it. Halliburton was a 1971 NBA draft choice of Atlanta and played with the Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wayne Kreklow (1975-79) Guard

He played in 109 straight games and finished his career as the No. 3 all-time scorer at Drake with 1,471 points. He was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection as a senior in 1978-79 and also earned Associated Press honorable mention All-American honors. He connected on an amazing 19 of 22 shots while scoring 43 points in a 1978 victory at Memphis State, which is the fourth best single-game scoring effort in Drake history. He set the Drake single-season free throw percentage record of .857. Kreklow also was a member of the Boston Celtics 1980-81 NBA championship team.

Ken Harris (1973-77) Forward

A two-time first-team all-Valley performer, Harris holds the school single-game rebounding mark at 26 in a home win against Tulsa. He ranks 6th on the school career rebounding (702) and 8th in career scoring (1,310) charts. He averaged 19.5 points as a senior. He was a key member in guiding the Bulldogs to a 19-10 record in 1974-75 climaxed by winning the National Commissioners Invitational Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky as Drake whipped Southern Cal, Bowling Green and Arizona.

Lewis Lloyd (1979-81) Forward

Lloyd made an immediate impact upon his arrival at Drake, being named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in his first season in 1979-80. He also earned third-team all-American honors by the Associated Press as a junior and senior. He holds the Drake single-season scoring record with a 30.2 average, while finishing second in the nation in scoring as a junior. He also ranked second in the country in rebounding with a 15.0 average to become the first player in 29 years to finish in second or higher in both categories in the same season. Black Magic averaged 26.3 points as a senior, while repeating as the MVC Player of the Year and also leading Drake to the 1981 National Invitation Tournament. Lloyd, who scored 30 or more points in 22 games during his career, had his number - 30 - retired following his senior season. Lloyd played in the NBA for five years and was a member of the Houston Rockets who played in the 1986 NBA Finals.

Melvin Mathis (1982-86) Forward

He was one of the greatest combination scorers and rebounders in Bulldog history. A three-time first-team All-MVC choice, Mathis is the only player in Drake history to rank in the top five in both the school's career rebounding and scoring charts. He is Drake's all-time rebounding leader (854) and ranks second in career scoring (1,651). He led Drake in rebounding all four years in his career and led the team in scoring in 1982-83 (11.8) and 1983-84 (19.1).

Sam Roark (1986-90) Forward

Considered undersized at 6-6 playing in the frontline, Roark played both forward and center for the Bulldogs, earning All-Missouri Valley Conference honors three straight years. He led the led the league in rebounding in 1988 and in field goal percentage in 1990. He ranks second in school career rebounding (792) and 11th in scoring (1,257) lists. He had 28 points and 22 rebounds at Southern Illinois and is the only player in Drake history to record a triple-double by collecting 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists against Iowa State. He posted 21 double-doubles in his last two years at Drake.

Lynnrick Rogers (1993-97) Guard

A three-time all-Valley guard, he is the only player in Drake history to score more than 1,500 points and collect 180 steals. And when he graduated he also set the Drake school career three-point baskets with 151. He wasted little time as a freshman, asserting himself as one of the top newcomers in the Missouri Valley Conference In his sophomore season he was named to the Valley's most improved and all-underrated teams. He ranks fifth in school career scoring (1,546) and third in steals (180) lists. He established an MVC Tournament record in games played in St. Louis by scoring 38 points in a 1997 upset win against Wichita State.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The 10-Year-Old Kid Asked His Teacher, 'What's a Phi Beta Kappa?' The Answer Is Chuck Darling, Whose Number Should Be Retired At Iowa

I’m pretty sure we were the last family on our block to have a TV in our home.

I’m talking about when I was a kid.

I grew up on 18th Avenue in southwest Cedar Rapids, with Linwood cemetery to the east, Lincoln Elementary School to the west, Alex Stechcon’s place with pigs and pigeons to the south and the two gas stations to the north.

If we wanted to watch something on TV, my dad would either take me to the Duck Inn, a place known as a “beer joint” on 6th Street, or to my Uncle George’s house.

For some reason, Uncle George had a TV and we didn't. Nobody ever told me why.

Those were the days when they’d say it was “snowing” on TV. I think “snow” meant that the signal was so weak that the picture on the tube was virtually non-existent. That happened at the Duck Inn a lot.

In those days, I don’t think there were any TV stations in Cedar Rapids. Anything the "Bohemies," as they called us, wanted to watch had to come from Davenport or Moline.

My dad and I were at the Duck Inn one Saturday afternoon, thinking we were going to watch a college football game on TV.

“Damn it, it’s snowing!” said a guy who was drinking a Hamms.

I don’t think that guy realized the weather wasn’t causing the problem. It was the poor TV signal.

Anyway, one winter night my dad took me to Uncle George’s place because an Iowa basketball game was on TV.

That, of course, was a big deal. There weren’t many games of any kind on the tube then –- certainly very few played by Iowa.

That night, a player named Chuck Darling [right] would be in uniform for the Hawkeyes. For a kid my age, watching the 6-8 Chuck Darling play for Iowa was a very extraordinary thing.

I’ve forgotten which team won the game that my dad and I saw at my Uncle George’s home on Williams Boulevard. Darling lettered in 1950, 1951 and 1952 at Iowa, and I can’t even recall which season it was that we saw the big guy play on TV.

Anyway, after all those years, my friend Al Schallau brought Chuck Darling’s name up to to me the other day.

Al, who grew up in Iowa and now is an attorney in California, thinks it’s time the University of Iowa retired Darling’s jersey number.

“I really would like to have your support in an effort to get Chuck’s No. 27 officially retired,” Schallau told me. “When anyone asks me, ‘Who was the greatest Hawkeye basketball player you ever saw?’ – my answer is always Chuck Darling."

Al, you've got my support.

“His number should have been officially retired many years ago," Schallau said. "The Rules Committee has already retired his number because, in college basketball, a player cannot wear a digit on his back that is higher than 5.

“But he should be accorded that honor by the University of Iowa, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa, a first-team all-American and later won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the 1956 U.S. basketball team [left].”

[In the Olympic photo, Schallau says Darling is "the tall dude with glasses in the back row. He's standing between No. 4 and Bill Russell]."

Schallau says Darling “is the embodiment of everything that is great about the University of Iowa.”

Because Darling, who now lives in Centennial, Colo., was ahead of my time at Iowa [I enrolled at the university the year after Chuck graduated], I asked Schallau for more information on him.

“I remember Chuck most for his senior year in 1952 when he was a first-team all-American,” Schallau said. “He averaged 25.5 points per game and he had the most beautiful hook shot [with either hand] that I have ever seen.

“In 1973, Bill Russell told me that Darling, Clyde Lovellette and Cliff Hagan were the three greatest hook shooters he ever played against. But Darling was the only one who could shoot hook shots equally well with either hand.”

Schallau said the game he recalls the most was against Illinois in Darling’s senior season.

“The game was in Iowa City,” Schallau said. “Johnny Kerr played center for Illinois, and he was very good. Chuck got tagged with four personal fouls during the first 10 minutes. But coach Bucky O’Connor left him in the game, and Chuck played the full 40 minutes in Iowa’s 73-68 victory.

“Chuck was tough as nails in the pivot and was an exceptional rebounder. But he was also an excellent free throw shooter. He shot his free throws underhanded – Rick Barry style – and he made over 80 percent of them.

“Where Darling inspired me the most was by his academic achievement as a Phi Beta Kappa. I was 10 years old and living in Williamsburg, Ia., in 1952. I went to my teacher and asked her, ‘What is a Phi Beta Kappa, and how does one get to be a Phi Beta Kappa?’

“She told me, and her words motivated me more to want to excel in academic efforts. I didn’t make Phi Beta Kappa at Iowa, but I did well enough to be accepted by the University of Southern California School of Law.”

Darliing was named the Big Ten’s most valuable player in 1952. He holds the Iowa record, at 30, for the most rebounds in a game. He’s a member of Iowa’s All-Century Team and the All-Time All-Big Ten Team.

After his Hawkeye career, he was a standout for the Phillips Oilers' amateur basketball team.

Players whose numbers have been retired at Iowa include B. J. Armstrong, Ronnie Lester, Carl Cain, Bill Seaberg, Bill Logan, Bill Schoof, Sharm Scheuerman, Christ Steet and Greg Stokes.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lloyd, McCarter, Murrell, Orebaugh, O'Connor Headline List of 80 Players On Drake's All-Decade Basketball Teams

Eighty former Drake basketball players have been selected to eight all-decade teams named in conjunction with the Bulldogs celebrating their 100th year of intercollegiate basketball.

The lists are headed by Lewis Lloyd, Willie McCarter, Red Murrell [pictured on the right], Chuck Orebaugh and Walt O'Connor. Murrell, who owns eight Drake records including career points (1,657), headlines the 1950s all-decade team.

Orebaugh, a native of Des Moines, was Drake's first all-American in 1936-37 and led the Bulldogs to their first two Missouri Valley Conference championships in basketball in 1935 and 1936.

O'Connor, named to the 1940s all-decade team, led the Valley in scoring as a senior en route to earning All-American honors in 1940-41.

McCarter, named to the Helms Athletic Foundation first-team All-American squad as a senior in 1969, was the leading scorer (20.4-point average) on the Drake team which went 26-5, finishing third in the 1969 NCAA Final Four. He was named to the 1969 All-NCAA Final Four Tournament team and also named the most valuable player in the 1969 NCAA Midwest Regional.

A two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Lloyd was selected to The Associated Press all-America third team in 1979-80 and 1980-81. He ranked second in the nation in scoring (30.2 average) and rebounding (15) as a junior, becoming the first college player in 29 years to finish second or higher in both categories. He averaged 26.3 points as a senior, leading Drake to the National Invitation Tournament. He set the Drake record for most career 30-point games at 22.

A 20-man all-time Drake basketball team will be disclosed Friday during a banquet at the Olmsted Center. Tickets are available by calling 271-1946. The celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social followed by dinner and a ceremony in Parents Hall. The cost for the dinner is $25. Reservations need to be made by Tuesday by calling 271-1946 or emailing

The all-century team will be presented to the public on this Saturday, Feb. 11, during a special ceremony at halftime of the men's basketball game against Evansville. Tip-off will be at 7:05 p.m. Fans can enjoy the dinner and receive a game ticket to the men's game on Feb. 11 for only $35. For more information call 271-1946.


(Current residence listed in parenthesis)


Center - *Chauncey McKinley
Forwards - *Harold Ebert *Robert Hawley, * Ralph Warnock, *Harley Wilhelm *Chuck Everett; *Bill Boeltler; *Ted Payseur


Centers - *Forrest Swan; *Ned Swan
Forwards - *Paul Griffith; *Lynn King; *Billy McCloud; *Frank Smith
Guards - *Nick Miletich, *John Monahan, *Chuck Orebaugh, *Wayne Xanders


Center - John Pritchard (Florence, Ariz.)
Forwards - *Toky Ahrenkiel; Gordon Flick (Oceanside, Calif.), Art Ollrich (Mankato, Minn.); Gene Ollrich (Arroyo Grande, Calif.); John Rennicke (Baxter, Minn.)
Guards - *Walt O'Connor; Bill Evans (Avondale, Ariz.)


Center - *Willie Cerf
Forwards - Ben Bumbry (Quincy, Ill.); Red Murrell (Bartlesville, Okla.); Bob Tealer (Richmond, Calif.)
Guards - Dan Callahan (Sioux City, Iowa); Jim Carey (Garden City, Kan.); Dan DeRuyter (Sioux Center, Iowa); George Funk (Marshalltown, Iowa); *Gus Guydon, Tom Hyland (Clive, Iowa); *Gus Ollrich; Dean Showers (San Rafael, Calif.)


Centers - Dave Hansen (Earlham, Iowa); Bob Netolicky (Carmel, Ind.); Dave Terre (The Colony, Texas); *Marv Torrence
Forwards - Gene Bogash (Mingo, Iowa); McCoy McLemore (Houston, Texas); Dolph Pulliam (Des Moines, Iowa), Willie Wise (Seattle, Wash.)
Guards - Don Draper (West Des Moines, Iowa); Billy Foster (Des Moines, Iowa); Billy Hahn (Muncie, Ind.); Willie McCarter (Jackson, Mich.), Gene West (Ankeny, Iowa)


Centers - Tom Bush (Evanston, Ill.); Andy Graham (Paris, France); Rick Wanamaker (Clive, Iowa)
Forwards - Dennis Bell (Kentwood, Mich.); Lawrence Haralson (Jonesboro, Ga.); Ken Harris (Cincinnati, Ohio); Jeff Halliburton (Streamwood, Ill.)); Leon Huff (Finland); Wayne Kreklow (Columbia, Mo.); Terry McKissick (Milwaukee, Wis.); Al Williams (Doralville, Ga.)
Guards - Terry Benka (Milwaukee, Wis.); Bobby Jones (Louisville, Ky.); *Gary Zeller


Center - Bart Friedrick (Sioux City, Iowa)
Forwards - Lewis Lloyd (Philadelphia, Pa.); Melvin Mathis (Baltimore, Md.); Michael Morgan (Marietta, Ga.); Sam Roark (Kansas City, Kan.)
Guards - Glenn Martin (Shoreline, Wash.); David Miller (Des Moines, Iowa); Pop Wright (West Des Moines, Iowa); Terry Youngbauer (Muscatine, Iowa)


Forwards - William Celestine (Los Angeles, Calif.); Kevin Sams (Williamsburg, Iowa);
BJ Windhorst (West Des Moines, Iowa)
Guards - Jeff Allen (Allen, Texas); Lynnrick Rogers (Walnut Creek, Calif.); Matt Woodley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

NOTE: To be selected to all-decade teams, athletes must have played at least two years of basketball.


Bruce Pearl 'Sorry and Embarrassed' for Being Kicked Out Of His Son's High School Game -- But He's Getting No Sympathy From Me

Maybe you haven't heard the latest story about Bruce Pearl.

You remember Pearl [lower right]. He's the former assistant basketball coach at Iowa who was....well, pretty damn controversial.

He was in the middle of the Deon Thomas mess at Illinois, and you always got the feeling he wasn't welcome back to the Big Ten Conference in any kind of coaching capacity.

Pearl had a good team at Wisconsin-Milwaukee last season, and has a better team this season at Tennessee.

He also still can't keep his mouth shut.

Pearl was even kicked out of a high school his son was playing in last week. reported that Pearl's "passion for basketball obviously isn't confined to his own Tennessee team. A referee ordered that Pearl be ejected from the gym after the Vols' coach criticized the referee while watching his son, Steven, play.

"Pearl left his seat in the bleachers before security personnel could get to him and watched the final minutes of the game from the lobby, as Steven scored 28 points to lead West to a 72-63 victory over Campbell County.

"'I'm sorry and embarrassed about it,' Pearl said. 'I have no margin for error, but I said nothing that would remotely rise to that level of attention.

"'I did not stand. I did not yell. I did not use any profanity. I suggested that since the official was having a rough time at that end, that maybe he and his partner should switch ends. I didn't do anything to deserve it, but I am a role model.'

"The referee that ordered Pearl's ejection, Shane Mynatt, had called a technical foul on Steven Pearl earlier in the season, Pearl said.

"Pearl said after he chided Mynatt about missing some calls Mynatt put the whistle in his mouth and stared at him for a few seconds.

"'I put my hands up and said, 'What are you going to do? Throw me out?' " Pearl recounted.

"That's when Pearl said Mynatt stopped play and hurried over to get security.

"Dave Sanderson, a security officer at West High, said Mynatt came over to him and a Knoxville City Police Department officer, pointed to Pearl and said, 'I want him gone right now.'

"Sanderson said he and the police officer then walked over to eject Pearl, but that he had already left his seat in the bleachers and was heading for the exit.

"Sanderson said he and the KPD officer met Pearl at the exit and walked with him to the concession stand area in the lobby without incident."

"He was very nice about it and shook our hands," Sanderson said. "He knew what was happening and said, 'Everything's all right fellows.'

"It didn't take a rocket scientist to know that he was getting ready to be kicked out."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Another way of looking at this is that maybe Pearl -- now supposedly a bigtime university coach and a legend in own mind and home -- was trying to intimidate the high school referee, especially after the ref called a technical on Bruce's son earlier this season. Old man Pearl obviously was out of control. If he can't handle himself better than that, he stay stay away from high school games].


Speaking of coaches, I received this e-mail from "South of the Border:"

"Ron -- You are right. Alford should forget Digger and focus on winning at Northwestern, which he has only done once in six years at Iowa. My guess is that Stevie Wonder is fairly intolerable to be around right not. He's got many tough games to win before he can claim a championship. I wish someone would remind him of that.

"I hope you don't get in trouble with the Muslim extremists for putting the drawing of Mohammad with a bomb on his head on your blog. Better have someone start your car for a few weeks."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: "South of the Border's" comments are in reference to a couple of my recent columns. I wrote that Iowa basketball coach Steve Alford should probably ignore anything ESPN analyst Digger Phelps says about the Hawkeyes. Phelps has proven plenty of times that he knows little, or nothing, about basketball. Iowa can win Wednesday night at Northwestern, but it won't be easy. As for cartoons, I hope Duffy at the Register is paying attention to all this crap going on around the world about newsroom folks who draw them. Cartoonists are becoming few and far between in newspaper offices these days -- just like good editors. By the way, it was good to see that the Register finally caught up with the cartoon story two or three days after the rest of it had it].


Just when all you Joe Six-Packs out there who are my friends think they've heard it all, read this ridiculous story from

"When the NFL unveiled its most valuable players from the previous 39 Super Bowls, only three living members skipped the ceremony.

"Former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw decided to stay home, while former Dolphins MVP Jake Scott was traveling in Australia.

"Montana, the league's only three-time Super Bowl MVP, turned down the invitation over money, Newsday and the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"Montana, however, told ESPN2's Cold Pizza last week that he wasn't going to be at the game because his son had an important basketball game he wanted to attend.

"Bradshaw, who told league officials that he wanted to be with his family, also took issue with the fees, the Chronicle reported. Bradshaw, through a representative, denied the Chronicle's report that there was a dispute over money.

"Former MVPs were given $1,000 for incidental expenses while in Detroit, along with other amenities such as plane tickets, car rental and game tickets.

"Sources told each paper that Montana asked for a guarantee of at least $100,000 in appearance money.

"When the league balked at Montana's demands, the quarterback declined to be in attendance."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I'm checking my grandkids' sports schedules right now. Who needs clowns like Bradshaw [upper right] and Montana? Not me].


As usual, the Super Bowl commercials [lower left] were better than the football game.

I particularly liked the Budweiser ad showing the little Clydesdale [above left] dreaming of pulling the beer wagon.

The little guy didn't know that the big horse was giving him some help in the back.

Then the man who's watching all this says to the Dalmatian, "I won't tell if you won't."

Great stuff.


I long ago quit watching Monday Night Football.

I didn't know how bad and out of touch John Madden is until watching part of Sunday's game.

I fell asleep for 20 minutes in the first half and didn't feel like I missed a thing.


Joe McGuff, former sportswriter and editor of the Kansas City Star, has died at 79.

McGuff was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1999.

He started at the paper in 1948 as a sports reporter and became a columnist in 1966, covering the Kansas City sports scene for 38 years.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Iowa Alone In First Place, Alford Says He Hopes 28-Point Victory 'Sent a Message to Digger, Who Hasn't Been On Our Side for a Long, Long Time'

Bobby Hansen wanted to know if Steve Alford thought Iowa’s 94-66 victory today over Michigan sent any sort of message to the rest of the Big Ten Conference.

“I don’t know if it sent a message to the league, but I hope it sent a message to Digger,” Alford said of the biggest Hawkeye victory in history over Michigan, and one that helped put Iowa in first place in the conference all by itself.

I assume Alford [right], who is in his seventh season as Iowa’s coach, was talking about ESPN basketball analyst Digger Phelps [left].

“Digger hasn’t been on our side for a long, long time,” Alford said of the former Notre Dame coach. “I hope he keeps picking the visitors who come in here [to Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City] because we’ve had a lot of success with that.”

Iowa has won 15 consecutive home games, going back to last season.

My advice to Alford is this:

Don’t worry about anything Phelps says. He was all show and no go when he coached for 20 seasons at Notre Dame. He was more interested in what kind of flower he was wearing in his lapel than in a game plan that might pull off an upset.

Fans –- and certainly coaches –- shouldn’t pay any attention to what Phelps and other has-been coaches say on ESPN.

Alford made his comments about Phelps and a victory that sent Iowa’s records to 7-2 in the Big Ten and 18-5 overall on the Hawkeye radio network.

Iowa's victory, plus Illinois' shocking 66-65 loss tonight to lowly Penn State, left the Hawkeyes alone in first place.

Alford’s team hammered a Michigan team that was clearly overmatched. The Hawkeyes made Wolverines coach Tommy Amaker look a lot like Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr – helpless.

I mean, with his Wolverines losing by more than 20 points late in the game, Amaker kept them in a zone defense that looked like it couldn’t stop anyone in a noon league at the YMCA.

“This is our sixth win over a top-25 team,” Alford said. “I think we’ve secured some things now, and it’s time for this team to focus on the journey they’ve really wanted to get to –- and that’s battling for a championship.


One of the nice things that's happening at games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena is when the Hawkeye players go over to the boisterous student crowd to thank them for their support after a victory.

When it happens, it gives the student fans even more reason to make noise.

The players are doing that because university officials don't want fans rushing the court like they've done in some earlier Big Ten games.

Hawkeye fans have gotten accustomed to going onto the Kinnick Stadium field after big victories, but I share the belief of others that too much of that fans-rushing-the-field [and court] can be a bad thing.

It would be pretty ugly if the fans got tangled up with unhappy players from the opposing team at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The players going to the fans makes more sense.