Al Schallau Says I Was Much Too Nice In My 'Scathing' Column About Our Guy Alford, Adding He'd Hold Up Banner At Games Saying, 'PLEASE LEAVE, STEVE!'
My recent column saying Steve Alford is embarrassing the University of Iowa and Hawkeye fans because he refuses to confront the rumors that he'll soon be Indiana's next basketball coach has stirred some emotions.
The first e-mail is from Al Schallau, the Iowan-turned-Californian who is credited with getting then-Hawkeye athletic director Bump Elliott interested in hiring Lute Olson as basketball coach prior to the 1974-75 season.
Schallau, an attorney who always lets you know where he stands, writes:
"I read your scathing article about Coach Steve Alford. I thought you were much too nice to him. If I lived in Iowa City and was attending Hawkeye basketball games, I would hold up a banner reading:
"'PLEASE LEAVE, STEVE.'
"Then we would see if Hawkeye fans would start a chant of, 'Please leave, Steve'"
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It will be interesting to see how the fans react to Alford at tonight's Iowa-Penn State game and Saturday's Iowa-Wisconsin game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. My guess is that the crowd won't respond negatively to the man who is in his seventh season as the Hawkeyes' coach. Even in Alford's poor seasons at Iowa, the fans haven't come down hard on him. On the other hand, the home crowds haven't treated Alford the way they treated Olson, who was Iowa's coach from 1975-83. In those days, fans chanted "Lute! Lute! Lute!" when Olson made his grand entrance onto the court. I haven't yet heard any "Steve! Steve! Steve!" chanting].
* * *
Then there was this e-mail from a knowledgeble central Iowa observer who goes by the handle "On Top Of Things:"
"You are a good reporter, but you blew this one. Your headline should have been:
"'Steve Alford is embarrassing the University of Iowa basketball program AGAIN AND AS USUAL.'
"Bob Bowlsby should ask Indiana what incentives he needs to throw in to get Indiana to agree to take him and pony up. We need this long Iowa nightmare to come to an end!
"What a shame he even figured out a way to rain on these scrappy Iowa kids' parade."
On Top Of Things
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Darn it, my headline writer took the day off to have her taxes figured the day the column appeared about how Alford is embarrassing folks in this state. So I'm glad "On Top Of Things" got to the heart of the matter by saying our guy Steve is embarrassing the Hawkeye basketball program "again and as usual." I agree that this Alford-to-Indiana talk is having a negative effect on the team. As I pointed out in the column, guys such as Greg Brunner, Jeff Horner, Erek Hansen and the others deserve better].
* * *
A man identified as "Reader From the West" sent this e-mail:
"Have any websites or any Iowa news agencies or newspapers done a public opinion survey of Iowa fans to answer these questions [or similar questions]?
"1. Would you prefer to see Steve Alford remain past 2006 as Iowa Hawkeye basketball coach?
"2. Would you prefer to see Steve Alford leave Iowa in 2006 and become head coach at Indiana or some other university?
"I would sure be interested in the Iowa public's answers."
Reader From the West
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: There it is, folks. Tell me what you think].
* * *
I don't understand all the fuss about the guy masquerading as Paula Abdul at the San Francisco Giants' spring training camp. I thought the guy looked just like Barry Bonds [pictured above].
* * *
"Pembroke Hill point guard Kaniesha Agee is next in our recognition of Missouri's best as she is being nominated for a spot on the McDonald's High School all-American team. The 5-7 senior has already committed to Drake University. She says the coaches' honesty and focus on academics were two things that led her to sign with the Lady Bulldogs.
"Last year, Agee helped lead her team to a class 3 state championship, earning second-team all-state honors as well as an all-metro honorable mention selection. She averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3.4 steals in the championship campaign....."
[RON MALY'S COMMENT: It sounds like Drake has a good one already in the fold].
* * *
From Paul Delger of Kanawha:
"Great job with the Drake story, Ron. That was high praise from McCarter about your stories during that magical season. I remember that team, actually. I was probably 12 or 13. It was quite the story back then -- tiny Drake facing those giants."
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Paul is referring to the best Drake basketball team in history -- the 1968-69 squad that went 26-5 and almost upset John Wooden's UCLA squad in the semifinal round of the Final Four at Louisville. Coach Maury John's team lost to UCLA, 85-82, then ripped Dean Smith's North Carolina team, 104-84, in the third-place game].
* * *
It was good to see Walt Shotwell [left] back in the paper the other day.
Shottie wrote about World War II hero Jack McKay, and got eight sizable paragraphs in the paper.
Not bad for a Register Correspondent.
Yep, that's what the paper called Shotwell in the byline -- "Register Correspondent."
Shotwell was a longtime Register columnist and reporter, and that should've been noted in the paper. The story should have said "By Walt Shotwell" at the top, then at the bottom of the story, it should have said this in brackets: ["Walt Shotwell was a longtime Register columnist and reporter.]" Actually, Shotwell's stories and letters-to-the-editor are in the paper more often than some of the stuff written by others who are 50 years younger and work there fulltime].
* * *
A guy asked the other day if John Carlson's columns no longer appear on the Wednesday op-ed pages of the paper.
"His columns haven't appeared on the last couple of Wednesdays," the guy pointed out.
Carlson [right] apparently has been on vacation lately, so I haven't been able to get any answers.
I asked someone who knows the inner workings of the paper, and he said, "I had not noticed [Carlson's absence on Wednesdays]. Maybe it's because of all the 'Black History Month' stuff they have been using, leaving no room for Carlson]."
* * *
"I am a victim of some severe sudden memory loss. Consequently, I have no idea who Mike Gartner is or was."
-- Ron Maly's quote when asked by an Iowa City Press-Citizen reporter to comment on Gartner for an upcoming story the newspaper is planning.