Saturday, April 29, 2006

As Far As I'm Concerned, It's Not An Official Search For An Interim Hawkeye Athletic Director Unless Ex-Governor Bob Ray Is In the Middle of It

Before the search for an interim athletic director at the University of Iowa gets too far along, I want to be the first to suggest one particular name.

It's Bob Ray, a former governor and a man who has been the interim head of just about everything else in our state.

Some would say that he was also an interim governor, too, but you won't catch me making any cheap shot comment like that.

Back in my earlier writing life, I showed up unannounced at Ray's office in the State Capitol one day while researching a story.

I knew Ray [pictured at the lower left] appeared at a lot of sporting events -- accompanied by one or two of Iowa's best State Troopers -- so I wanted to ask him about that part of his life.

He took as much time as I needed, and I'll always be appreciative of the man.

I know Fred Mims -- one of the top aides to outgoing Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby -- is the leader in the clubhouse to be the interim Hawkeye boss.

But I also realize it's not an official search for an interim athletic director unless Bob Ray's name is included.

* * *

Still on the subject of the athletic directorship at Iowa, a friend of George Wine sent him this e-mail:

"George, here is something else that is amazing -- and you would know this, being a smart kid from North English:

"Bob Bowlsby was AD from 1991 - 2006, right?

"Bump Elliott was AD from 1971 - 1991, right?

"Forest Evashevski was AD from 1959 or 1960 to 1971?

"That's just three athletic directors in 46 or 47 years. Is there another successful, big-time university that matches that stability? Heck, since '59 we've had 7 'permanent' UI presidents plus 5 interim UI presidents....."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Iowa should consider itself proud to have the stability it's had in the athletic director's office. It figures that the next man --or woman -- who gets the job permanently will be in it a long time].

* * *

"Igor from Independence", who has had a lot of time on his hands lately, was also thinking about the Hawkeye athletic directorship. He sent this e-mail:

"Ron -- I just had this thought . . . How about Tom Davis as Iowa's next AD? As Johnny Orr might say, 'Wouldn't that be sumpin?' You could have some fun with that on your blog. . . ."

"Igor from Independence"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Yes, Doctor Tom [middle left] running Iowa's athletic department would really be ironic. After all, it was Bob Bowlsby who pulled the plug on The Doctor when he was Iowa's basketball coach. Even though The Doctor had become the Hawkeyes' winningest coach, Bowlsby didn't renew his contract after the 1998-99 season. Bowlsby wanted Iowa to be a consistent challenger for Big Ten championships, and didn't think Davis was going to deliver. [OK, it's time for all those Steve Alford jokes!] Now The Doctor has completed three sub-.500 seasons at Drake. I know one thing. Being the athletic director at Iowa would be convenient for Davis. He still owns a home near Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where the Iowa athletic department offices are located, and Kinnick Stadium].

* * *

"Veryl from Villisca" writes:

"Fred Mims is the logical person to be interim athletic director at Iowa, I believe, unless they can talk Bump Elliott into coming out of retirement for a year. Mims will probably be a finalist for the job, but until I see the other candidates I'm withholding an opinion. Rick Hartztell [of Northern Iowa] would certainly be a strong candidate, I think, but he'd have to hang up his whistle, unless he could ref Iowa games, too."

"Veryl from Villisca"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Bump Elliott [middle right] is one of my favorite people in athletics, but I think he saw enough of the headaches connected with the athletic director job to know that he wouldn't want to come out of retirement for a year, or even a month. As for Hartzell being a candidate for the permanent job at Iowa, the first thing I'd tell him is that his days as a major-college basketball referee are over. He's become an embarrassment at UNI, rushing off to officiate big-time games while trying to run the Panthers' athletic department. Imagine this scenario if Hartzell became Iowa's athletic director: He has a meeting scheduled with football coach Kirk Ferentz, but calls Ferentz to say, "Kirk, can we put off that get-together until next week? I've got games at North Carolina and Duke this weekend, and I don't want to miss them."

* * *

"Sergio from the Suburbs" writes:

"I will be sleeping with Julia Roberts before Fred Mims is the permanent athletic director at Iowa."

"Sergio from the Suburbs"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Better go buy a new suit and some deodorant just in case, Sergio. Underwear is optional. By the way, you can probably pick out Roberts' photo in the collection I posted above].

* * *

"Docile in Des Moines" knows how to put together sentences and paragraphs the correct way. He writes:

"Ron—I think it should have been '. . . urging Buck Turnball and ME to start . . .' instead of “ . . . urging (Buck Turnball and) I to start. . . .' Maybe you should leave the copy editing to Bud; he knows how to do it!

--Cheers, from an old copy editor

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Docile was referring to a sentence I had in an earlier column. I had written "Buck Turnbull and I...." and quickly corrected it to "Buck Turnbull and me...." after hearing from Docile. Thanks, Docile. You deserve another pay raise].

* * *

Travis Simpson of Des Moines writes that he thinks he saw Dusty Baker's Chicago Cubs do something strange the other night:

"Was that a squeeze play I saw during the Cubs game last night? Did someone finally wake up Dusty Baker this season because not only did he shock me last night, but I’ve also seen the squeeze used in at least one other game this season that I watched on TV. I’m not sure I ever saw Dusty call for the squeeze in his first three seasons as manager. Could it be that he’s actually trying this year so he gets a contract extension? Players usually play better in contract years; I guess the same may happen with managers, too.

"When Derek Lee went down, I thought the season was over (and it’s still early to tell if these past few games could be a fluke), but for the first time in a while the Cubs are actually playing the hand of cards dealt to them and not making excuses about the injuries holding them back. When a big-time slugger goes down they revert to playing small ball and letting the young guys play like Cedeno and Murton.

"Instead of using the excuse of Prior and Wood being hurt yet again, they are going to their talented farm system and giving the prospects like Sean Marshall and Angel Guzman a chance. And, they haven’t settled with mediocrity with the pitching staff (minus Rusch and Ohman) sending Williams and Wuertz to the minors after poor performances and relying on their best relievers when the situation calls for it.

"Maybe I’m just sipping the Cub fan Kool-aid too much, but there is just something about how this team is playing right now that I think they’ll be able to hold the fort down without Lee and be able to make a run once the roster gradually gets healthy again."

Travis Simpson

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Travis, that was not a mirage you were seeing. Baker actually used a squeeze bunt to score a run. At least I think it was Baker. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Dick Pole, the mannequin who is propped up against the dugout wall wearing a hand-written sign on his chest that says "Bench Coach." But don't get excited about Baker yet. It's a long season and there's still plenty of time for him to screw up things].

* * *

Speaking of the Cubs, it appears Des Moines won't have to put up with yet another Kerry Wood rehab assignment.

Wood, the Cubs' broken-down pitcher, is usually assigned to pitch a few innings for the Iowa Cubs when he's coming off one of his countless injuries.

I think he has been sent here 193 times while rehabbing.

But Wood's tentative first rehab assignment this time is May 7, and the I-Cubs will be on the road. So Chicago reporters are guessing that Wood will be sent to Class A Peoria to pitch.

Nomar Garciaparra was sent to Peoria last year, and attracted a sellout crowd.

You can see what that got him.

Garciaparra wasn't re-signed by the Cubs and is now with the Dodgers.

I hope the same thing happens to Wood.

* * *

It looks like Chief Illiniwek is history at the University of Illinois.

The NCAA and others have been trying to get the Chief terminated for a number of years, and this time they may have succeeded.

The Chief has been Illinois' athletic mascot since 1926. He's a student dressed in Native American attire.

He's been confined to the Illinois campus in recent years. Hard telling what might have happened to him if he'd be allowed inside Kinnick Stadium or Michigan Stadium.

I know it wouldn't have been pretty.

By the way, the photo at the top of this column is Chief Illiniwek, not a prospect to be Iowa's interim athletic director.

* * *

Corey McIntosh, the 2006 California junior college player of the year who led his team to a 37-0 record last season at Fullerton, has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Iowa State next season.

“Corey provides point guard experience and a winning mentality,” new coach Greg McDermott said. “We like the fact that Corey knows how to win and does it in a way that involves all of his teammates. He provides point guard skills along with the ability to make open shots.”

The 5-11, 175-pound McIntosh was the point guard for the best team in the California junior college system last season. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 assists and made 46.2 percent from 3-point range.

McIntosh, who will have two seasons of eligibility, and Wesley Johnson are two of the latest recruits Iowa State has signed. The recruits:

Cory Johnson, F, 6-7, 215, Freshman, Duluth, Minn. (East)

Dodie Dunson, G, 6-3, 185, Freshman, Bloomington, Ill. (Bloomington/Brewster Academy {N.H.})

Michael Taylor, G, 6-2, 175, Junior, Milwaukee, Wis. (Marshall/Chipola {Fla.} JC)

Corey McIntosch, G, 5-11, 175, Junior, West Covina, Calif. (West Covina/Pasadena CC/Fullerton College)

Wesley Johnson, F, 6-7, 190, Freshman, Corsicana, Texas (Corsicana/Patterson School {N.C.}/Eldon Academy)

Alex Thompson, F, 6-9, 215, Junior, Ames, Iowa (Ames/Iowa)

* * *

Drake will host the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional outdoor track and field meet, president David Maxwell said today during the rededication ceremony of Drake Stadium.

The championship, which draws as many as 1,100 athletes, is scheduled for May 25-26, 2007.

"It's coming," Maxwell told fans during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "Drake and Des Moines are truly the midwest capital of track and field."