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Behind the Machines with Two of the Top Trainers in Memphis

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2011

M E M P H I S P O R T. N E T


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F E B R U A R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 1 VOLUME 4, NUMBER 4

“Being a GM of a major sports franchise is arguably one of my biggest dreams.“

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–Shane Battier 4

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16 The Tiger Twitter Revolution 10 It is a new era for Tiger Basketball. The players can now say anything they want in 140 characters or less.

Behind the Machines 14 Two of the top trainers in Memphis talk about how they made it to the top and why they plan on staying there.

Call of the Wild 16 The new Pepsi Super Fan Section livens up FedExForum at Grizz Games.

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Front Nine 4 Nine questions and nine answers from Shane Battier. Live Debate 6 Who is the Grizzlies MVP, Rudy Gay or Z-Bo? All-Stars 8 Ken Netherland’s long jouney to start all over. Teamwork 9 Futsol comes to the Memphis area. Varsity Spirit 20

All In 29 Why Tunica? It all adds up. Backswing 24 For Brian Corbin, finding the right course to call home in the Memphis area didn’t happen overnight. Picture Puzzle 29 Play. Play. Play. Jack’s Back 30 The legendary broadcaster, Jack Eaton, takes a look at the history of Tiger coaches and their lack of cursing.


1138 N. Germantown Pkwy Ste. 101-176 Cordova, TN 38016

memphisport.net twitter.com/memphisport

Publisher Mike Bullard 901.229.4749

mike@memphisport.net Managing Editor Kevin Cerrito

kevin@memphisport.net Contributing Photographers Chase Gustafson

chase@memphisport.net Contributing Writers Zach Berry Jack Eaton Doug Gillon Brandon Harris Brandi Hunter Marcus Hunter Andre Johnson Rudi Schiffer Contributing Photographers Joe Murphy Contributing Illustrator Andrew Chandler Cover Photo Chase Gustafson

ŠCopyright 2011 Memphis Sport Magazine LLC, All Rights Reserved

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F E B R U A R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 1


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FRONT NINE

Nine questions. Nine Answers.

Shane Battier Written by Andre Johnson

One of the most beloved players to ever wear a Grizzlies uniform, Battier played in Memphis’ for five years before being traded to the Houston Rockets. There was a time when you said you wanted to be an NBA general manager. Do you still? Oh, heck yeah. Being a GM of a major sports franchise is arguably one of my biggest dreams. If you could be the GM of the Grizzlies, what would be the first thing you would do? (Laughing) Man, it’s hard to say, really. Let me get back to you on that one...

“Being a GM off a major sports franchise is arguably one of my biggest dreams.“

So, how is your chess game? You just keep the hard questions coming, I see. Well, my chess game has progressed considerably over, I’d say, the past three or four years. But there’s always room for improvement.

Who in the NBA can you beat at chess? (Laughing) Coach (Rick) Adelman. Does chess in any way prepare you for a game? Well, that’s hard to say, really. You know, maybe that’s something I ought to take time to assess for the rest of this season. Are you still the tech editor for HOOP Magazine? Yeah, I’m still very much active with the magazine and I plan to do a lot more hands-on stuff with it in the offseason. Who do you stay in touch with the most from the Grizzlies 50-win team? Well, I speak with Pau (Gasol) on a regular basis. Of couse, a lot of that comes from playing in the same conference.

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How often do you talk to Coach K? Oh, man, Coach K is like a dad. And children with a tight bond with their dad talk to their dad all the time. Even after years of being in the NBA, I still reach out to Coach K for wisdom and guidance. That’s priceless, man. How long do you anticipate playing professional basketball? As long as the league and teams enjoy having me. Basically, no one knows how long they will play professional ball. Me, on the other hand? I’m just enjoying the ride while the car is still in motion.


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L I V E D E B AT E

Kevin and Marcus go head-to-head.

Who is the MVP of the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay or Z-Bo? Written by Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter, Photos by Chase Gustafson Kevin: This is a tough one, but you have to give the edge to Zach Randolph. The proof is in the team’s record. The season before he got to the Bluff City, the Grizzlies were 24-58. After he got here, they improved to 40-42 and almost made the playoffs. Marcus: Yes, Z-Bo gave the team some much needed inside scoring and people in the city love him. But Gay is the guy that makes the team go and he is the guy fans pay to see.

Marcus Hunter “Gay leads the team in scoring, steals and blocks. He is second in assists and third in rebounds.”

Kevin: In only his second season with the Grizzlies, Randolph has earned a spot on the All-Star team, had more 20-20 games than anyone else in franchise history, and just became the second player ever in a Grizzlies uniform to win Western Conference Player of the Week. If Rudy is as valuable as Z-Bo, where are his records and awards?

Marcus: Rudy hasn’t won Western Conference Player of the Week because of politics. He is not one of the most well known players in the league. Not because of his lack of skill, but because of where he plays. Before Z-Bo got to Memphis, he was already known from his time in Portland. The national press, whether good or bad, has helped Randolph. Don’t get me wrong, Z-Bo’s work on the court has proven he is a great player, but Rudy is the player more teams fear. Kevin: You must be referring to the video of the Raptors fan who went ballistic and screamed out every curse word in the book when Rudy was allowed to take the final shot at the end of the game earlier this season in Toronto. That guy really feared Gay. Marcus: Right. Rudy is clutch. For the first time ever in Grizzlies history, there is no disputing who should take the last shot at the end of a game. And you have to realize that Rudy has really stepped up his play in all aspects of the game. Gay leads the team in scoring, steals and blocks. He is second in assists and third in rebounds. Kevin: Rudy also leads the team in Dos Equis commercial spoofs. Marcus: Yea, he does. I am disappointed that Zach and Rudy rarely pass the ball to each other. I am not sure if that is by design or if the two just don’t like to play off each other. If the Grizzlies played inside-out ball with Z-Bo and Rudy, they would be a more consistent team. If they did that, they could both be All-Stars. Also, I am not sure if you have noticed, but other teams have started game planning for Rudy. Z-Bo is a great player, but teams are willing to let him beat them. They are not going to let Rudy beat them. And sometimes he still does.

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Kevin: Can you really blame Rudy and Z-Bo for how this team operates? Shouldn’t that be on the coach? Two years of mediocre performances by an otherwise talented team in a depleted Western Conference should put to rest the idea that Lionel Hollins can be a head coach in the NBA.


Kevin Cerrito “Randolph has had more 20-20 games than anyone else in franchise history... ”

Marcus: It would not surprise me if Hollins is coaching to keep his job next season. Kevin: I hope Dr. Phil gets the first postfiring interview with Hollins, so we can finally get to the bottom of all his anger issues. Marcus: I think you need to let Hollins yell at you at a press conference, and then the two of you would become best friends. Kevin: So you are saying Hollins is best friends with Jarvis Greer? Marcus: No. But they should be. Jarvo is the biggest Grizzlies fan in town. He was here before Hollins and will be here after. More people in this city know who Jarvo is than Hollins. Kevin: Haha. Good point. I bet if Jarvis was the coach of the Grizzlies, they wouldn’t have lost twice this season to New Jersey. Marcus: Not sure about his coaching skills. But I will take your word on it. As far as this debate is concerned, it must be pointed out that Rudy and Z-Bo are both great players with the skills and desire to win. If the Grizzlies miss the playoffs this season, it will not be because of them.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host the award-winning Memphisport Live every Tuesday at 6pm on Sports56 WHBQ. Listen anytime at memphisport.net.

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A L L- S T A R S

The best of the preps.

Same Song, Different Verse Written by Zach Berry

Ken Netherland is no stranger to longevity. After all, the coach has been at it since 1964. Netherland began his career at Westwood High School in the mid-1960s. He then went on to coach eight years at Hillcrest High School before accepting the job at Memphis Preparatory School and eventually moving on to Germantown High School before the 1974 season. After coaching for 29 seasons at Germantown, winning 250 games and a state championship, Netherland decided it was time to hang up the clipboard. Then St. George’s Independent School came calling. Because St. George’s was a brand-new school in the Memphis area, they could only field an eighth grade team.

“We had them play an eighth grade schedule and a J.V. schedule,” said Netherland with a laugh. “Those kids played 15 or 16 ballgames that year.”

“We had them play an eighth grade schedule and a J.V. schedule,” said Netherland with a laugh. “Those kids played 15 or 16 ballgames that year.” That sink or swim mentality was vital to the rapid growth and maturity of the program. With a team of freshmen and sophomores, Netherland guided his young football team to the playoffs in 2005 before losing to eventual state champion Davidson Academy. Two years

later Netherland was hoisting his second state championship trophy as the Gryphons finished the season 11-0. Netherland attributed the players competing at a high level at such an early age as the key factor for early success in a young program. With a state title in the trophy case and an astounding record at the helm, Netherland decided once again it was time to walk away from football. Then, another young and hungry football program came calling. Shortly after Netherland called it quits, Lausanne Collegiate School inquired the coach for a possible job interview. “I liked what I saw,” said Netherland. “They have really good facilities and they have made a commitment to put in the work full-time.” After jumpstarting programs at Westwood, Hillcrest, Germantown and building a program at St. George’s, the all-time winningest coach in Tennessee football history is being asked to do it again. So what is the secret to starting a succesful program? “Weight room,” he said with a grin. “You’re always going to have kids who want to play, but the first thing you have to do is find out how much they want to work.” For Netherland, the most important aspects of coaching are fundamentals and discipline. This also coincides with the message that he strives to deliver off the field as well. When asked how he expects his first few years to go at Lausanne the coach responded quickly and said it will be just like any other coaching job. “There’s always the growing pains with every program.” Now, Netherland looks to embark on another journey in his impressive career when it looked like it was going to be over. As for retirement, he said he has no plans and looks forward to the opportunity. “Once they called and offered me the job I figured what the heck.”

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TEAM WORK

Doing it together is always better.

Futsol: A Competetive Option for Winter Sports Written by Jamie Elkington

Business leader brings new indoor sport to the Memphis area. Winter can prove brutal to the average soccer player. While playing outdoors is not ruled out entirely, frozen fields and bitterly cold temperatures offer little in the way of pick-up games. For those seeking warmth and competition, an internationally popular alternative has reached the United States, providing athletes the opportunity to take the game indoors. Futsol, a variant of soccer, is mostly played indoors on a hard court surface. The name is derived from the Spanish fútbol de salón, or hall football. Futsol teams have fewer players than those of soccer, playing on a field much smaller than a soccer pitch using a harder ball with less bounce. Because of tighter boundaries, futsol players face a fast-paced game with the need for precise ball control. At Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) in Memphis, some of the Mid-South’s finest young soccer players are invited to play futsol twice a week with area club and college coaches, honing in on their footwork and training during soccer’s off-season. The invitational also allows them to compete at a higher level, free of charge. For IPC member and futsol co-manager Randy Wright, offering the church’s gym to the athletes was a natural decision. As a former coach of various youth sports at IPC and a lifelong athlete, Wright sought a way to assist with futsol in the Mid-South. “Since futsol is mostly parent-led in Memphis and not widely offered, hosting it provides an opportunity for me to become very involved,” he said. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment to coach my own children and be involved in something they enjoy. Any part I can have in teaching kids sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork is personally very rewarding.” Along with co-manager Kevin Parker, Wright serves as timekeeper and official for the futsol scrimmages at IPC as well as guardian to the athletes, ensuring clean matches and hydrated, healthy bodies. “The players’ parents trust that they can leave their kids here for a couple of hours and know that we’re going to take care of them, make them take water breaks

“Any part I can have in teaching kids sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork is personally very rewarding.” and play fairly, all while providing elite competition,” Wright said. “And, during soccer season, we take the game outdoors so they can practice year-round.” By day, Wright leads a team of more than 40 employees as Executive Vice President for Intermodal Cartage, a Memphis-based company and home to the largest intermodal terminal in the Southeast. He finds a distinct correlation between the workplace and sports. “Teamwork is just as critical for business as it is in sports,” Wright said. “Behind my desk, I have a photo that depicts a sailing team working shoulder to shoulder to keep its boat upright. As any team works to reach a common goal, they must put differences aside and have trust for and commitment to one another.”

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Written by Brandon Harris

Doneal Mack didn’t understand why so much of what he wrote on Twitter got back to his coach. It was his senior year at the University of Memphis, and though he spent most of his time talking to coach Josh Pastner about defense and three-point shooting, their conversations sometimes deviated from basketball to the definition of Mack’s oft-used, slang Twitter adjective, “trife.” “When I would tweet something, people were going back and telling Pastner or emailing him,��� Mack said. “He’d be on me asking, ‘Why’d you tweet that?’ or ‘Everybody wants to know what the word trife means,’ or something like that.” It wasn’t really that there was a problem with what Mack was saying — one UrbanDictionary.com entry defines “trife” as simply a synonym for “undesirable” — it was the fact that anything he could have tweeted would be completely unfiltered, yet so very pervasive in the Tiger basketball community. It was the dawn of a new age for Tiger basketball — one where thoughts and conversations could be shared over the internet, free of mundane public relations speak and “one-game-at-a-time” sports clichés. This was the start of The Tiger Twitter Revolution.

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tiger tweets twitter gains a following It didn’t take long for the rest of Tiger Nation to catch on to the 140-character phenomenon. On board came veterans Wesley Witherspoon and Will Coleman, and as Pastner signed star recruit after star recruit, future Tigers like Will Barton suddenly found themselves communicating with not just coaches, recruiting gurus and teammates, but the average Tiger fan with an Internet connection or an iPhone. The same went for sophomore DJ Stephens. After he saw all of his teammates were tweeting, he created an account of his own. “My teammates were on it and having fun with it, and it gave them a way to interact with the fans to let them know what we’re doing,” Stephens said. “I thought it’d be kind of cool, so I got a Twitter account, and then I started to like it. As soon as Tiger fans found out I had a Twitter account, I started getting shout-outs from them. The next thing you know, I had 1,400 followers.”

“All the fans and all the season ticket holders — they pay to see us play. So, why not give back?” But unlike when they’re swarmed by reporters or prodded with questions about why they shot a certain percentage from the free throw line, some players legitimately enjoy this new level of exposure and interaction. “For the players, it’s their chance to speak for themselves and not necessarily have their media handlers telling them what to say,” said Carrie Brown-Smith, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Memphis. “I think

initially, that was part of the appeal — that and to interact a bit with the fans to see what they’re talking about. Self expression, regardless of what we’re into, is something that we’re all interested in.” Mack is known for live-tweeting each Tiger game as he watches from overseas. Former Tigers Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson have started to contribute their share on game days. Junior guard Charles Carmouche is beloved by some Tiger fans simply because he sends his followers an @reply when they mention him in a tweet. Coleman doesn’t just enjoy being on Twitter, but he thinks being on it and communicating to the fans is his responsibility as a player. “If somebody @replies me, I’m sure to talk back because I love the fans,” Coleman said. “I do this for the fans. All the fans and all the season ticket holders — they pay to see us play. So, why not give back? That’s why every time I see someone, I make sure to say hi to that person and to the next individual. It’s part of what I owe the fans, and I think Twitter is a part of that, too.”

a fine line To Mack, though, the work he had to put into managing a Twitter account as a player wasn’t worth the trouble. After enduring a repetitive barrage of questions about his tweets, he decided to delete his Twitter account until he finished college. Dealing with it was too “trife,” if you will. This represented an obstacle that would grow along with Twitter’s popularity among the Tigers, both for the players and their coach. Simply put - Is Twitter worth it and when does it become a problem? “I don’t want to micro-manage,” Pastner said. “I like to give guys freedom. As long as there’s nothing on Twitter that is detrimental to the individual, the program or the university, I’m OK with it. If there’s anything detrimental in any of those areas, consequences will happen. And depending on what is said, that’ll determine how severe the consequences will be.”

Preston Laird posted the following the day before a 76-73 overtime win at UAB:

palaird Correct me if I am wrong but there is nothing sweet or homey about Alabama. Let’s go get this win. #getinandgetout #pause Friday, January 21, 2011 6:33:58 PM via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Charles Carmouche tweeted this one after Memphis’ 77-61 victory over UCF on January 26:

carmouche14 Jus looking at my mentions from before, during, n after our game today n we have #CrazyFans lol S/O to #Tigernation about 16 hours ago via web

On a night when the snow was falling in Memphis, Drew Barham posted this one:

dbarham12 Me and @YaDeej30 almost had a meet and greet with his car and a big oak tree!!! #tooscared glad God was watching over us! Sunday, January 09, 2011 8:50:03 PM via Twitter for iPhone

Hippolyte Tsafack proclaimed his opinion of himself to the twiitersphere back in September:

hippolyte9 i am the man Thursday, September 23, 2010 2:54:00 PM via web

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tiger tweets Antonio Barton tweeted this one after a 91-86 win over Tennessee State:

ttbarton2 overall good performance today, the win is the only thing that makes it great tho, we getting better watttup memphis!!! Sunday, January 02, 2011 9:24:25 PM via web

During Memphis’ 77-61 victory at UAB, Trey Draper posted this:

treydraper3 UAB HAIRCUTS MESSED UP LOL 8:29 PM Jan 22nd via Echofon

The day after Charles Carmouche nailed a gamewinning three-pointer on the road at Southern Miss, DJ Stephens posted this complaint:

yadeej30 My teammate @Carmouche14 got cheated outta #top10 plays. Smh... 1:03 PM Jan 20th via HTC Peep

Will Barton considered his hairstyle while on a winning streak:

thrilliam5 Thinking abt not cutting my hair until we lose & only exception is 4 valentines day. Gotta ask mom dukes abt this. Wat y’all think? 6:35 PM Jan 25th via Twitter for iPhone

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Though Pastner does his best to educate players on being careful with what they post, 18- to 22-year-olds are bound to have a different idea of what’s acceptable. That’s when you get something like what Coleman tweeted on Oct. 24, 2009, in reference to Tulsa’s heralded seven-footer, Jerome Jordan: “Put that on my momma Jerome Jordan get shut down when he see Memphis..Coleman ain’t havin it.” To Coleman’s credit, he backed it up on the court and out-played Jordan both times Tulsa and Memphis met in the 2009-10 season. In November, amid an early-season slump, Coleman took to Twitter again, this time saying, “Bout to hang my sneaks up……real talk!!!!” The post was deleted just minutes later.

“Players need to be smart... if you put it out there, it’s there. There isn’t any taking it back.”

with former East Carolina guard Sam Hinnant when the Tigers and Pirates met earlier this season, agreed. “To me, things like that make it more fun,” Mack said. “It makes Twitter more fun for everybody. What people have to realize is that for players like me, Twitter is mostly entertainment. You get out of it what you put into it. The thing is, though, a lot of people run with it, and you might see your tweets in the Commercial Appeal or something like that.”

going forward If anything, Twitter seems like not just a risk more and more high-profile athletes, teams and coach are willing to take, but one that they have to take. Of the 15 players on the Memphis roster, 12 have Twitter accounts — more than double the number of players who had it during the season a year ago. Melrose senior Adonis Thomas, a highlytouted 2011-12 Tiger commitment, is approaching 3,000 followers, and he hasn’t even graduated high school. Preston Laird, a Memphis walk-on who rarely sees the court, has almost 1,000.

“I was talking to Wesley earlier in the season and he told me Will Coleman had tweeted something, and Pastner made him run for it,” Mack said, referring to Coleman’s post.

With Twitter swirling in popularity and seemingly everyone with access to a computer or a phone with a Twitter client, Pastner and the Tigers aren’t going to fight back. He’ll continue his “be smart with what you say” policy, much to the liking of his players.

Though Coleman was quick to apologize for what he wrote, both instances went to show the power of Twitter. Fans and members of the media had already retweeted him and offered their share of commentary.

“I really like that (Pastner) gives us freedom,” Stephens said. “He says make sure you don’t say anything bad negative or use profanity. It’s really cool to be able to express yourself.”

“Players need to be smart about Twitter,” Brown-Smith said. “They need to realize that this is public, and if you put it out there, it’s there. There isn’t any taking it back.”

And so, here we are — a massive, passionate fan base so obsessed with each win and loss, each statement by the 33-year-old coach, and now, each player’s 140-character tweet.

So players must continue to walk a tightrope, and perhaps fight an urge, of what’s OK to say and what isn’t. Coleman said he thought his tweet about Jordan “made it more fun” as long as he backed it up. Mack, who had a back-and-forth

“It’s just the way it is now,” Pastner said. “It’s just like Facebook. With Twitter and that stuff, you can only do so much as a coach. You can’t control every aspect of it unless you ban it, and I’m not going to do that.”


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Behind the Machines

Two of the top trainers in Memphis talk about how they made it to the top and why they plan on staying there. Written by Brandi Hunter, Photo by Chase Gustafson

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Hours before the news broke of fitness icon Jack LaLanne’s death at the age of 96, I had just watched one of his infomercials on TV. Honestly, those late-night infomercials, a few black and white clips of him exercising, and my parents’ juicer that bears his name were the extent of my knowledge of the man. When I saw a story about his passing, I did what most 20-somethings do when we want to find information about something - I searched for him on Youtube and Wikipedia. That search led me to other, perhaps more reliable sources, and I learned that he practiced and preached healthy living long before getting fit became the new black. He was an innovator at parlaying a lifestyle into a steady, profitable career. “The godfather of fitness” created a brand and marketing model for trainers like Kelvin “York” Brown and Kayla Stentz to emulate. Fitness hasn’t always been Brown’s life. “My undergraduate degree is in business and finance, so I actually did corporate America for the first nine years of life [after college].” As a former college basketball player, he didn’t realize he was unhealthy. “A lot of times people look at a person and perceive that they’re healthy, but if you looked at my medical records back then into now, you could see that I was very unhealthy,” Brown says. “My blood pressure was high. My cholesterol was high because I had the same eating habits, like most people, of their parents.” His 48-year-old mother’s death from a hypertensive stroke was the catalyst for a new lifestyle and career. “I decided I wasn’t going to let anyone else feel the pain that I felt losing my mother. I went and got my master’s in health and fitness science.” Stentz’s commitment to healthy living came from playing sports in high school. “I always knew that I had a passion for fitness and for helping people, and I knew that I was going to do something in the medical field or I wanted to do something more in the sports aspect of it.” Brown and Stentz agree that education is a cornerstone of their trade. In addition to his degrees, Brown is a certified Master Trainer through the National Federation of Professional Trainers, and a Tennessee state representative for the organization. Stentz has been a personal trainer for six years and is required to renew her National Academy of Sports Medicine certification annually. “A good personal trainer is someone who learns more and more, and knows everything about the human body, and everything about metabolism, everything about nutrition,” she says. “It has to go hand-in-hand with being a personal trainer.” Brown’s experience with colleagues who were not certified was what prompted him to go into business for himself. He continued to work as a contracted trainer for a large chain while using his corporate background to form his own business strategy. Armed with homemade business cards and airbrushed shirts he wore for advertising, he started New York’s Personal Training in 2006. “When I started doing

in-home training, that’s when I really started to take off.” It was through his fitness hustle that he met Steve Smith, a client that would become his business partner at Power Life Fitness. Stentz found her career through fitness competitions. One day when she was working out, a professional body builder approached her about competing, so she trained for a few months and won the 2007 Battle on the Bluff Figure Competition. “Then I signed with a supplement company that signs athletes in the industry and once I did that it became part of my job.” Even though both have successfully turned their health habits into full-time gigs, they are quick to say that getting to where they are now requires patience because of the time it takes to build a clientele and earn a decent salary. “It’s not something you’re going to go into and make a lot of money,” Brown says. “You start out in this industry if you work in a gym somewhere making maybe $10 per hour or session.” Maintaining their businesses and personal lives also requires more effort. Stentz just wrapped a seven-day-a-week shooting schedule with the MTV show, I Used to be Fat. “I’m planning a vacation definitely,” she says. “But it’s not as easy to get burned out when it’s something you love.”

“I always knew that I had a passion for fitness and for helping people, and I knew that I was going to do something in the medical field or I wanted to do something more in the sports aspect of it.”

—Kayla Stentz

As the Vice President and Director of Training Operations at Power Life Fitness, Brown works 12-hour days, but he says his commitment to what he calls a “fitness fraternity” will be lifelong. “It’s such a mission of mine personally to make people realize how important health and fitness is. This is what I’m going to die doing.” Jack LaLanne did. I think he’d be proud.

For more information about York and Power Life Fitness, call 901.454.0003 or visit wwww.powerlifefitness.net. Visit Kayla’s web site, www.kaylastentz.com, or email her at Kayla@kaylastentz.com.

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CALL

WILD

OF THE

NEW PEPSI SUPER FAN SECTION LIVENS UP FEDEXFORUM AT GRIZZ GAMES Written by Doug Gillon, Photos by Chase Gustafson

THE CALL IS COMING FROM SECTION C13.

IT’S ONE PERSON, SCREAMING LOUD ENOUGH TO FILL UP FEDEXFORUM.

THE RESPONSE COMES FROM THE SAME SECTION.

“WHAT DO WE WANT?” “DE–FENSE!” “WHAT DO WE NEED?” “DE-FENSE!”

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The caller is Debby James. She has blonde hair streaked with Beale Street Blue, both arms raised to show off matching O.J. Mayo arm sleeves, and she’s leading a never-ending cheer coming from 25 dedicated fans sitting in FedExForum’s Pepsi Super Fan Section. It’s a new element to the Grizzlies experience this season, a section composed of ‘super fans’ who won the rights to free Grizzlies tickets and a license to be completely and unabashedly loud and ostentatious for their home team. The section is the brainchild of Grizzlies promotions manager Carly Knight, who modeled the idea after seeing similar iterations executed in Milwaukee and Indiana. “It seemed to work there, so we thought we’d try it here,” Knight said. The result is 25 screaming fans who make, at least in their section, an NBA game feel more like a FIFA match. There is rarely a break in the chanting, screaming and sometimes singing. It is an orchestrated ensemble of obsession that starts before tip-off and doesn’t end until the final buzzer, even in the games when the Grizz are getting hammered by their opponents (see: Atlanta and Chicago).

has a Grizzlies memorabilia shrine in his home. “I got the tattoo of the old logo right after they changed to the new one,” he said, “I guess just because I liked the old one better. But it’s all Grizzlies and it’s all good to me.”

STARTING THE CHANTS It’s 6:00 in the evening on a Saturday, and the Grizzlies fans in the Pepsi Super Fan Section know where their children are. Here at the game. At least John Lewis does. He’s wearing a Grizzlies jersey signed by what looks like 3 years’ worth of Grizzlies. His son Julian has the same. They are helping each other put on David Letterman and Jay Leno masks, because, well... why not? Alice White arrives with her husband. He’s one of the more subdued of the group, wearing a yellow Grizzlies hoodie. Alice has already taken up the mardis gras spirit with giant gold beads and a white mask to supplement her custom “Alice” Grizz jersey. She claims she’s filled out over 10,000 NBA All-Star ballots. James shows up and starts inflating thundasticks. In between breaths, she tells me that she’s a grandmother.

It’s also made an impression on the fan base, and that’s the goal for the Grizzlies. “We want [the super fans] to be organized enough for the rest of the arena to follow along in a lot of the chants, and we see some of that already,” Knight said. So at this point, the plan seems to be a success. But it didn’t come overnight.

COLLECTING THE WILD BUNCH It started in the 2010 preseason, when Knight and her boss, Grizzlies director of promotions and event presentation, Jason Potter, held tryouts for more than 150 applicants for the fan section. How is the costume? What kind of cheers can this person bring to the table? Is this a fan who cheers for one quarter and gets tired, or the kind who is still screaming for Rudy in the fourth quarter of a blowout? Eventually the group was narrowed to the 25 that now show up at every game. One of those, Tim Webb, sounds like he is describing a winning lottery ticket when he recounts the experience. “When I heard about this, I said all four of us in the family would go try for it, thinking we might only get two spots,” said Webb, “and then at least two of us could go to every game. But hot dang if all four of us didn’t get it!”

“BOTH ME AND KEN HAVE DIFFERENT CHANTS FROM SCHOOL, AND WE JUST KIND OF MORPHED SOME OF THOSE CHANTS INTO GRIZZLIES CHANTS.” —JOHN BRAND

Webb sports a tattoo of the original Grizzlies logo on his leg, wears a Grizzlies earring to games, and

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22-year-old Clay Geller rocks out in a corner. He’s strumming a blue drugstore toy guitar, complete with signatires of Grizzlies players, of course. Geller matches the look with a Z-bo headband. Then John Brand and Ken Piper arrive, blue sunglasses and Grizzlies jerseys hanging over their khakis pants and Wallabees. The duo attends Memphis University School and Christian Brothers High School, respectively, as simple students, but here they are the preppy blues brothers of Grizz Country. It’s all warm-up until Knight comes to start the meeting. She has a sheet of recommended cheers for every major moment in the game. The group and Knight have a discussion for about 15 minutes. “Maybe we should save that for Monday,” Geller says of one cheer. “Oh that’ll be really good for tonight,” James says of another. This Saturday meeting has become a part of the ritual for the fan section, a way for them to expand their cheers beyond the standard “DE-FENSE!” and the extreme staple of “LET’S GO GRIZZLIES!” followed by a series of claps. Brand brought over a cheer from CBHS, a fourth quarter get-up cheer of “WE BELIEVE.”

“Both me and Ken have different chants from school, and we just kind of morphed some of those chants into Grizzlies chants.” Mario Latilleon had the idea to incorporate back-up point guard Grievis Vasquez’s name into a section of “Duel of the Fates” from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. “We had to go with a Star Wars song because his name was so similar to [Star Wars prequel character] General Grevious,” Latilleon said. Tonight though, the Grizzlies are playing the Dallas Mavericks, who have former Grizzly Brian Cardinal on the roster. He’s a target of the section. Thanks to the planning, Cardinal is greeted with jeers of “WORST GRIZZLY EVER!” and “O-VERPAID!” the few times he went to the free throw line. Once the planning is done, it’s on to the promenade, where the now assembled 25 super fans take their traditional march around the plaza level of FedExForum, while cheering as loudly as they would from their seats. The cheering continues all the way up to the seats, stops for the national anthem, and then resumes until the final buzzer. “Win or lose, the super fans support our team,” Latilleon said, “and when we’re there, it’s our job to keep everyone else fired up and let the opposition know they can’t take over.”

ALICE WHITE IS TRANSFORMED INTO A ROARING , MARDI GRAS BEADWEARING GRIZZLIES SUPER FAN.

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WITH AMENITIES LIKE THESE, > BOREDOM IS NOT AN OPTION. From its inception in 1990, Germantown Athletic Club has served

> 40-meter indoor pool and hot tub area

as the community’s focal point for health and fitness by providing

> Outdoor pool and splash park

individuals and families in the Mid-South an environment that

> Three-court gymnasium and three racquetball courts

fosters fitness and fellowship. The Club offers its members

> Pilates studio

numerous fitness and aquatic facilities, specialized classes and

> Cycling room equipped with 25 bikes

expert staff under the leadership of the City of Germantown.

> Nutritional counseling > Massage therapy

Amenities include:

> Club Cafe with smoothies, wraps, salads and more Indoor, three-lane, 1/12-mile walking track

> Certified and professional personal trainers available to assist in fitness programming > Fitness area, measuring more than 8,500 square feet with top-of-the-line aerobic and weight-training machines > New locker rooms and sauna > More than 75 group fitness classes offered each week – included in membership

www.GermantownAthleticClub.org


VA R S I T Y S P I R I T

Go. Fight. Win.

Marina Written by Brandi Hunter, Photo by Chase Gustafson

Squad: University of Memphis Pom Age: 22 Hometown: Highlands Ranch, CO Classification: Senior, Graduating May 2011 Major: Sport and Leisure Management On dancing: I starting dancing when I was five years old and haven’t stopped. On going to school REALLY far away from home: I came out here just to be on Memphis Pom squad. I completely fell in love with the team and the University.

I completely fell in love with the team and the University.

On being one of the team captains: I have to put the team interests before my own. All my decisions need to benefit 16 girls. On the competition:

The University of Cincinnati is one of our biggest competitors and with Louisiana State University taking home the title last year, that was also another huge competitor that we knew we were going up against. On plans after graduation: I am applying for graduate school in sport management at the University of Memphis.

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MPDT

They call themselves the Memphis Pom Dream Team – even if no one else is listening.

Written by Brandi Hunter, Photo by Joe Murphy Photography

Regardless of the heated debates going on in the city of Memphis, the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team can count on unanimous support from Memphians at the FedExForum on game days. UofM fans have come to expect a certain Memphis basketball experience: loyal chants and slurs from tip-off to the very last tenth of a second, Neely’s barbeque nachos, and the spirit squad support system entertaining (or at least amusing) the crowds until the city’s nationally known team comes back on the court. Many of those fans don’t realize that the Tigers support system is group of nationally ranked competitors in their own right. The University of Memphis Pom squad brought home its 13th national title after competing in the Universal Dance Association 2011 College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Fla., in January. The squad competed in the Hip Hop category against teams from across the country in two rounds of competition, eventually beating the last 10 teams in the final round for Division 1A schools. They placed 3rd in the Pom category. Marina Barrett, a senior on the squad, says the team’s motivation to win had just as much to do with Memphis pride as it did with the skills of the other teams. “We know this team has a legacy, some people call it a dynasty, and that reputation that Memphis has, we think about that a lot and we pride

ourselves on representing that legacy, even at games, on campus, and at competition.” Barrett says Carol Lloyd, their coach who was a member of the teams that helped to establish the winning legacy in the early 1990’s, requires an intense practice schedule, especially leading up to the competition. “During winter break we practice everyday. We get four days off for Christmas.”

“We know this team has a legacy, some people call it a dynasty...”

The squad was recognized at the men’s basketball game against UCF for their win, but Barrett says their consistent success gets lost in the shuffle of jerseys and helmets. “We feel like we don’t get as much recognition as we deserve. We didn’t even get on the front page of our school newspaper.” Apparently, the MPDT doesn’t need the recognition to stay on top—just each other, and (to borrow a word from the former basketball coach who shall remain nameless) swag. “We were just ready to go out there and show them the Memphis style, the Memphis attitude.”

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ALL IN

You can’t win if you don’t play.

Why Tunica? It All Adds Up. Written by Rudi Schiffer All the flash and glitz of larger casino jurisdictions, like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, can often blind the visitor as to underlying value that may be absent, such as generous comps, best odds, and copious cash back. But if you are a value buyer, who appreciates what your hard-earned dollars should be return, save them up for a trip to Tunica, Mississippi, where nine casinos and local amenities combine to offer the very best and affordable gambling trip in the country.

In a county that was once called “America’s Ethiopia” in the 1980’s, there is now the “Tunica Miracle” with more than $4 billion invested...

Sure, Vegas can tempt with overpriced five-star restaurants, big-stage shows that flash skin while you wait to be skinned, golf courses that only oil-rich sheiks and high-rollers from the inscrutable Orient can afford to play on, and unsmiling dealers who would rather be in Tunica, or so their grim countenances seem to convey. Atlantic City has the ocean and lots of folks coming off buses with brown bags and is really only easily accessible for East Coasters. And then there is Tunica, still a baby at only 19 years of age but like most of a new generation, smarter than its predecessors and growing up ambitious and feeling its strength with growing confidence in this Mid-South region where cotton is now the second cash crop.

In a county that was once called “America’s Ethiopia in the 1980’s, there is now the “Tunica Miracle” with more than $4 billion invested by the casino industry and state and county governments to create the “South’s Casino Capital.” The first tourist was

Spanish explorer Hernando Desoto in 1541. If he and his soldiers had stuck around for a few more centuries, they would have discovered the gold they vainly sought. Not buried in the rich Delta soil, but in the casinos of today. We did an informal survey recently of gaming executives and staffers to come up with ten reasons to visit Tunica and it stands up well in comparison with the larger venues. 1. Best comps overall in a very competitive market 2. Best odds, how about crap games with 100 times odds. 3. Generous cash back or free slot play. 4. Loosest slots in the region. 5. Five star restaurants with gourmet cuisine. 6. Entertainment featuring top acts. 7. First class hotel and salon facilities, modest rates. 8. Affordable championship golf courses. 9. Great accessible location by car, bus or air. 10. Elvis’ spirit still lives nearby, and local amenities abound. Comps are always at the top of a player’s mind, whether they play on the whale level or prefer penny slots. Tunica, over the years, has developed a national reputation for its consistently generous level of comps for action on the slots and tables because it is a highly competitive cluster of casinos tucked among cotton fields in the northwest corner of the state overlooking the Mississippi River. “The competition here works for the players,” said Webster Franklin, the young and aggressive President and CEO of the Tunica Convention & Visitor’s Bureau that greets travelers from its Visitor Center as they enter the county location on US Highway 16 from the north. The Center is a couple of miles from the new I-69 highway, that when fully completed from Mexico to Canada, will make Tunica even more accessible. In addition to the attractions of nine world class casinos connected with free shuttles, the area’s amenities also include the Tunica RiverPark Museum and Tunica Queen riverboat that are located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi and provide the opportunity to get up and close on this awesome, historical river. It is but one of three museums, what one might expect from an area as history- rich as the Mississippi Delta. The Tunica Museum focuses on the history and culture of the area and at Hollywood Casino, visitors can view the largest collection of movie-land memorabilia east of the Mississippi. Golfers should bring their clubs as three challenging and beautiful championship course are all near any casino you visit. When you add it all up, Tunica is a real value for visitors looking to maximize their gaming experience.

Rudi Schiffer, the “Voice of Tunica” has been a fixture in Mississippi since the Splash Casino first opened in 1992. He is also the producer and co-host of the Goodtimes Radio show, the casino gambling show heard weekly on 730 Fox Sports and Gambling.

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BACKSWING

Putting the ball in the hole.

Why Preferred Player Golf Programs Are a Good Bet in Tunica Written by Brandi Hunter, Main Photo by Jay Johnson

For Brian Corbin, finding the right course to call home in the Memphis area didn’t happen overnight. “I’d played other courses often, but when Tunica National Golf & Tennis opened, it was by far the best deal around, so I gave it a try,” he said. “What I found was the preferred player program at a top notch facility. The player program makes each round of golf one third the cost of a public course in Memphis for golfers who like to play often.”

“ It feels like a private club, but it’s public, so anyone can be a preferred player.”

Corbin lives in Hernando and often drives to Tunica National from Memphis, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

“It’s such an easy drive on I-55 and then I-69,” he explained. “The practice facilities, staff, and course are worth the drive. It feels like a private club, but it’s public, so anyone can be a preferred player. Also, as a preferred player, one of the misconceptions is it’s too busy, but the pro shop really blocks off tee times for preferred players. There wasn’t a day all summer that was too busy for us to play a great round.” Corbin also enjoys working on his game in the off-season. Two PGA certified golf pros and former PGA Tour golfer, Bob Wolcott, offer instruction at the Golf Training Academy. “We have indoor heated bays to hit on our 360 degree indoor/outdoor driving range and six par three practice holes to improve your game year-round,” Matt Brunetz, head golf professional, said. “Our course was designed by Mark McCumber, known for building courses that are challenging and enjoyable for all skill levels.” For Corbin, it’s not only about golf now. “My six-year-old daughter got a tennis racquet for Christmas, so my wife and I are going to start bringing her with us to learn to play on Tunica National’s four indoor clay courts,” he said. “They have excellent pros for golf and tennis here.” Brian Corbin and his wife, Michelle, and daughter, Peyton, have been preferred players at Tunica National since 2004.

For more information about Tunica National and its’ preferred player golf programs, call Tunica National Golf & Tennis at 1-866-TEEOFF1 or visit them online at tunicanational.com.

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Why do we play sports? Why do we exhaust ourselves endlessly chasing

Our sports medicine staff specializes in getting athletes off the training table and

one another within fence enclosed grassy meadows or

back on the field as quickly as possible. But

frustrate ourselves by attempting to thwart the laws

we’re not just experts in sports medicine,

of physics that dictate an object at rest will remain at rest

we’re also the leader in general orthopaedics.

or punish ourselves with the unnatural pursuit of

So is it any wonder that the most serious of

conquering environments we have no business

athletes, those from the professional and

wading into?

college ranks, choose Campbell Clinic?

Why? Because it is there. Because the human

And if people whose careers are dependent

spirit won’t take no for an answer. Because adrenaline is

upon healthy bodies think we’re the best, then

a drug that feeds the soul. And because for those lucky

odds are we’re a pretty good choice for weekend

few able to run faster, jump higher, throw farther and

warriors, long-time couch potatoes, or anyone

dive deeper, glory awaits.

who turns an ankle, wrenches a back or twists a wrist.

So we play. But not all of us are built for speed. Fewer still are built to absorb the punishment sports inflict. And none of us are eternally sixteen years old.

So we get hurt. But we don’t mind. Even the biggest, strongest, and fastest of us get hurt. We accept that as part of sport. What we

Because even if you’re tough enough to play with pain, there’s no reason you should have to.

#43

campbell clinic is proud to be the official sports medicine providers for the memphis grizzlies, the memphis redbirds, university of memphis athletics, rhodes college athletics, christian brothers university athletics, the memphis river kings, the kroger st. jude tennis tournament, and ballet memphis.

#43

don’t like, what we detest, is not being able to play.

That’s where Campbell Clinic

CAMPBELL CLINIC Ortho p ae dic s w w w. ca m p b e l lc l i n i c . co m

comes in.

M E M P H I S P O R T. N E T

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Play. Play. Play.

Do these two photos the Grizzlies rookie Greivis Vasquez look the same to you? Look again. We made seven changes to the bottom photo. Time yourself to see how long it takes you to find all seven.

PICTURE PUZZLE

Greivis Errors Photo by Chase Gustafson

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JACK’S BACK

A Memphis legend takes a look back.

Coaching and Cursing Written by Jack Eaton, Illustrated by Andrew Chandler

Josh Pastner has gotten a lot of publicity recently for his lack of using swear words. I have been around quite a few of the Tiger basketball coaches over the past few decades and although they would occasionally let loose a cuss word, nearly all of them avoided the use of off-color language. The first coach I worked with was Bob Vanatta and I don’t recall him ever cussing anyone. He was a cool customer. He may have been not only the smartest coach I ever knew, but the smartest guy, period. I remember a game in the NIT when we lost a heartbreaker to Providence College. I thought we lost the game on a couple of horrible calls by those thieves with the striped shirts, but Bob was having none of it. I called the worst zebra on the court an SOB. Coach V. was quick to say, “Now, Jack, these guys do the best possible job and while we don’t agree with everything they do, they have a to job to do and they try hard.” Phooey. So count Bob Vanatta as a non-swearer.

I have recently started using, “confound it,” when I feel the need for strong language. Anyone listening knows what I am trying to do — be emphatic without cussing. I like it and confound it if you don’t.

(Side Note: Coach Pastner also does not drink. Not only alcohol, but Great Scott, he won’t even drink a CocaCola. I never knew any of our coaches that I worked with to booze it up, but all of them would drink a Coke.)

Our next coach, Gene Bartow wasn’t called “Clean” Gene for nothing. I never heard Coach Bartow use a cuss word. He didn’t make a big deal of it and no one even noticed it. When Bartow left for Illinois he was replaced by Wayne Yates. I have heard that Yates was not averse to cussing in practice, but he certainly did not use foul language in public. I can’t recall a time when he said anything off-color.

Moe Iba wasn’t a swearer but the fans sure were and after four long, long years he was sent packing.

Dean Ehlers followed Vanatta as head coach and the word on Dean was that he wouldn’t say garbage if he had a mouthful. He was as straight an arrow as the Good Lord ever put on the planet and a real pleasure to work with. Likewise, his assistants, Al Brown and Bob Stephenson, always watched their language. I have tried to remember an occasion where a bad word might have been used, but I swear (pardon the pun), I can’t think of one. Dean was a good guy and he learned how to coach from the master, Bob V. Nuff said.

Moe Iba was my next coach. Moe’s record and coaching style had the fans swearing. Moe style of play was to slow down and take time off the clock, or what Buckaroo Patton called ‘The Mom and Dad Waltz.’ It’s what I call boring. No, Moe Iba wasn’t a swearer but the fans sure were. And after four long, long years he was sent packing.

Dana Kirk and Larry Finch were the last coaches I had the good fortune to work with. Like the rest, they didn’t use a modicum of bad language. Just two more in a long line of coaches who watched what they said. I hope that Coach Pastner keeps up the good work. I have only met him once, but I like him and I hope he sticks around a long time, wins a ton of games and never, never has the occasion to use anything more offensive than, “confound it!”

“Big “ Jack Eaton can be heard every Friday at 8am on KWAM 990 alongside former County

Commissioner John Willingham. In February, Jack will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

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M E M P H I S P O R T. N E T

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CHALLENGING every aspect of your game 18-hole golf course designed by Mark McCumber featuring Champion Bermuda greens s Offers the only Hydro-Grid HAR-TRU速 clay tennis courts in the South s Just minutes away from nine world-class casinos s Perfect for group outings and special events s

Book your tee time today, either by phone or online.

Call 1.866.TEE.OFF1 or visit tunicanational.com /tunicanational

@tunicanational


MemphiSport Issue 28