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OCTOBER 2011

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


Back-To-Back Thank you for voting MSL back-to-back Best Sports Radio Show 3rd Place Winners in the 2010 & 2011 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis. Join Kevin Cerrito and Fox 13’s Marcus Hunter for MemphiSport Live, the only show in the world based on MemphiSport magazine. Saturdays at 11am on Sports 56 WHBQ or anytime at memphisport.net.


OCTOBER 2011 VOLUME 6, NUMBER 2

“Absolutely. I have been here long enough to know. It’s like “If we build it, they will come.” If we win, it will turn around.” – R.C. Johnson 14

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Brown Paper Sack Nation 11 The 10 Most Embarrassing Losses in Memphis Tiger Football History.

All Shook Up 14 R.C. Johnson in his own words.

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Front Nine 5 Featuring former Tiger and current Houston Texans lineman, Wade Smith. Nothin’ But Net 6 The pros and cons of Tiger Basketball in the Big East. Live Debate 8 Are we likely to see a crazy name change in the future of Memphis sports? Memphis Made 10 Glenn Rogers Jr. is a Memphis football product, through and through. Get Fit 21 This lifetime runner has a unique goal.

The Rundown 22 True Blue runners unite. Varsity Spirit 24 Lauren from the UofM Pom Squad answers a couple questions. Picture Puzzle 27 The nationally ranked Tiger soccer women get altered. Tailgating 28 Were you there? Jack’s Back 30 A Tiger by any other name...


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memphisport.net twitter.com/memphisport Publisher Mike Bullard 901.229.4749

mike@memphisport.net Publisher’s Representative Jeff Martin 816-289-1372

jeff@memphisport.net Managing Editor Kevin Cerrito

kevin@memphisport.net Director of Photography Chase Gustafson

chase@memphisport.net Contributing Photographers Justin Ford Joe Murphy Contributing Writers Terry Davis Jack Eaton Andre Johnson Michael Jones Marcus Hunter C.J. Hurt Preston McClellan Mike O’Kelly Cover Illustration Mike Bullard

©Copyright 2011 Memphis Sport Magazine LLC, All Rights Reserved


FRONT NINE

Nine questions. Nine Answers.

Wade Smith In the heart of his ninth season with the Houston Texans, this former U of M offensive guard took some time to answer nine questions for MemphiSport. Written by Terry Davis, photo courtesy of the Houston Texans

Why did you choose the University of Memphis coming out of High School?

replaced mid-season, and the philosophy changed, it’s just one of those things.

I had the choice of Memphis, Wisconsin and TCU. It was really my visit to the University of Memphis, the camaraderie there. It felt like a family.

You have been in the National Football League nine years. Did you think that you would be there that long?

Why did you switch from tight end to offensive line when at Memphis? When Coach West took over there was not a tight end in that system so I was asked by Randy Fichtner to choose either the defensive or offensive line. Fichtner also said that if I moved to the offensive line I would be one of the few athletic tackles in the draft and would I would make a lot of money at that position. He was right. As a rookie what was your oddest hazing request from a veteran for you?

“I had the choice of Memphis, Wisconsin and TCU. It was really my visit to the University of Memphis, the camaraderie there. It felt like a family.“

Well I got my head shaved and I looked like a larger version of Blade. You could say it was pretty bad. I still have a picture at home under lock and key and no one will ever see it. What happen your second year with the Dolphins?

That was my goal. The goal was to get me a ten piece and anything after that is just gravy. What defensive lineman have you had the best competition with in your career? Me and Tony Brown. He played with me in Memphis. Halota Ngata with the Ravens and Dwight Freeney are very good players. Who was the best coach you have played for? I really like playing for Gary Kubiak, he has a similar philosophy to Dave Wandstat.

What was the worst weather game you have ever played in? When I was with Kansas City we played the Dolphins. The temperature was six degrees and the wind chill was below zero. Describe playing in your first playoff game with the Jets? It was amazing. I have never been in an atmosphere like that before and that what I am trying to achieve again.

I got injured in the off season, there was a quarterback change, the coach was

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NOTHIN’ BUT NET

A sampling from the online content at memphisport.net.

The Pros and Cons of Tiger Basketball in the Big East Written by Michael Jones, photo by Chase Gustafson

After all the recent speculation about realignment and the formation of super conferences, one really big thing is sure to come. A giant mess. No one knows who will eventually end up where, but you can be certain that soon, whether it be the next few years, months, or even days, the landscape of college football and basketball will be different than it is today. And that can definitely be said about the Big East.

So hopping on board the Big East train is a nobrainer, right? Well, it isn’t that cut and dry really.

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The league’s current fourteen to seventeen basketball playing schools (depending on what day you check) make it a bit of a logistical nightmare, and it’s quite possible that the conference could grow even bigger. With rumors rampant that the University of Memphis could be invited to join the fray and Louisville coach Rick Pitino’s public support, it’s time to examine whether membership in a behemoth Big East would be a good fit for the Tigers. First off let’s be clear. If the U of M football program is asked to become a member of ANY conference holding BCS status, the program will leap at the chance, and it definitely should. No one could possibly question that.

For basketball, however, the situation isn’t quite as simple. Of course the opportunity to compete against the likes of Louisville, Connecticut, Georgetown and West Virginia on a regular basis brings with it an aura of prestige and ensures that Memphis remains relevant in the eyes of the national media. Plus, inclusion in a league with such marquee members is sure to bring in more money for the university. Lucrative television contracts also mean that the school gains greater exposure. Joining the Big East would also serve to revive some old rivalries as well as automatically create new ones. Imagine having Louisville and Cincinnati back as the U of M’s primary antagonists as opposed to UAB and UTEP. It probably wouldn’t be too difficult for the fans to get behind that. Scheduling would get bit easier in some aspects. There would be a great deal less pressure on Josh Pastner to put more big name opponents on the slate, which might help curb some of the complaints that seem to arise from the fans, media and NCAA tournament committee about the Tigers lack of quality wins late in the season. So hopping on board the Big East train is a no-brainer, right? Well, it isn’t that cut and dry really. Over the last several years, Tiger basketball has thrived in an environment where they were the big fish in a small pond. If they suffered a loss or two in conference, it was considered a disappointment, and piling up close to 30 wins a year became a foregone conclusion. Sprinkle a few respected teams throughout the schedule here and there, and the regular season became the perfect tuneup for the NCAA tournament. But if Memphis aligns itself with an overloaded Big East, those occurrences all become part of the past. Freedom of scheduling is gone, along with the automatic conference wins and the confidence that gets built by pounding hapless league foes. Winning the C-USA tournament is something the U of M has accomplished all but one year since 2006. Even when they haven’t been unbeatable in regular season league play, the Tigers have still captured the conference’s automatic bid. That gets quite a bit tougher to pull off in the Big East. Not only would they have to face tougher teams, they would also likely have to play another game, maybe even two. And a late loss might well eliminate them from gaining a 1 or 2 seed in the Big Dance as they also struggle to gain position in the Top 25.


Tiger football and Tiger basketball are in two separate places right now? Would joining the Big East help or hurt the Tigers? Some will argue that recruiting becomes easier when you’re part of a major conference. You gain instant credibility and name recognition just by sporting that affiliation. You get to see your name on the list of five star recruits right next to the names of major programs like a UConn or a Louisville. Something Memphis would just dream to‌ Oh wait, that’s already happening. The fact is that Memphis is already one of the top choices for high school phenoms looking to play their year or two in college before they head to the NBA, so joining a major conference really doesn’t do much for them as far as recruiting is concerned. So what does the U of M basketball program gain if they join they acquire membership in the Big East?Unfortunately, the answer may be that they won’t have much of a choice when it comes down to it. It’s entirely possible that when conference realignment is finished (not that it will ever truly be complete), a school’s football affiliation will control what happens to it in basketball. There are theories that the football superconferences will only play each other as they vie for their own championship. If this happens, college hoops could very well follow suit. And at that point, you’re either in the club or you’re not. It’s that simple. At least as simple as anything in college sports these days.

This article originally appeared at memphisport. net on September 21, 2011.

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

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L I V E D E B AT E

Kevin and Marcus go head-to-head.

Now that Ron Artest has legally changed his name to Metta World Peace, should any Grizzlies players opt for a unique name change? Written by Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter, Photos by Chase Gustafson

Kevin: This is an interesting question. Just a little over ten years ago, people in Memphis were debating whether or not the franchise should change its name when it moved to town. Now actual NBA players are changing their names. Marcus: Ron Artest is a character. Chad Ochocinco is a character. Tony Allen is a character, and he is the only Grizzlies player I could see doing something so outrageous. How about Tony Grindhouse? If he does that, it would be instant media attention and will make the name Gridhouse all his. Kevin: There are countless new name ideas for Tony Allen. How about Salmon And Mashed Potatoes? Grit And Grind? Or what if he changed his name to his Twitter handle? I could see @aa000G9 jerseys selling better than BBQ nachos.

Marcus Hunter “ Tony Allen is a character, and he is the only Grizzlies player I could see doing something so outrageous. How about Tony Grindhouse?”

Marcus: No one would know how to pronounce @ aa000G9, so we would have to call him The Player Formerly Known As Tony Allen. I like the idea though. Sounds like an easy way to get more followers. Kevin: Rudy Gay and Mike Conley both already wear part of their Twitter handles on the back of their jerseys.

Marcus: Every NBA player needs to take a look at all the pros and cons before going through with a name change. Sure it will grab you worldwide headlines and possibility make you a household name, but look at what has happened to the careers of the major stars to already make the leap. Chad Ochocinco changed his name and now he is terrible at football. Ron or Metta World whatever changed his name and just a few days later he was eliminated off Dancing with the Stars. Seems to be bad luck. Kevin: You may have a point, but that still shouldn’t stop Tony Allen from changing his name to Metta World Bourrée Champion. Marcus: Tony Allen should just change his name to MEMPHIS! Kevin: What if he gets traded? Marcus: He would have to change it again, or he could just claim to be a big fan of the Broadway musical by the same name. Kevin: Zach Randolph should go ahead and officially change his name to Z-Bo. Everyone already calls him that and his real name carries too much baggage with it from his past. Marcus: If Pau Gasol was still on the team, he could change his name to Pau GaSoft! I kid of course. Pau is a good guy… just a soft big man. Kevin: Hamed Haddadi should keep his last name but change his first name to Who’s and his middle name to Your.

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Kevin Cerrito “How about Salmon And Mashed Potatoes? Grit And Grind? Or what if he changed his name to his Twitter handle? I could see @aa000G9 jerseys selling better than BBQ nachos.” Marcus: Mike Conley could change his name to MediaHatesMe. Kevin: Rudy Gay could sell his naming rights to the classic snack food Dunkaroo’s. Marcus: Speaking of food, O.J. Mayo is one player on the Grizzlies who already has a cool name and doesn’t need to change it. Kevin: As long as he doesn’t change his last name to Simpson, he will be okay. But I wouldn’t mind if O.J. changed his name to my favorite breakfast drink and condiment. How could Coach Lionel Hollins not start someone named Coffee Lenny’s Hot Pepper Relish? Marcus: I wish Michael Jackson was still alive just so he could advise players on possible name changes. Don’t forget, “The King of Pop” named his own child Blanket. Kevin: That is true. The names of pro athletes are starting to become just as outrageous as the names of celebrity babies. It’s a trend I think we can all get behind.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host the award-winning MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday at 11am on Sports56 WHBQ. Listen anytime at memphisport.net.

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

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MEMPHIS MADE

Started in Memphis. Built in Memphis.

Football for Life

Glenn Rogers Jr. has been in football his whole life. Now he is passing on his knowledge. Written by Ben Hogan Growing up as youth, football was in Glenn Rogers Jr.’s blood. His father, Glenn Rogers Sr. was the first African-American to play football at the University of Memphis, then Memphis State. He has had conversations with his father about some of the things he went through and commented, “For him to go through that, and come out on the other end successful, it’s something that I am very proud of.” He has been involved with football throughout his life, from starting in high school at South Side playing for his dad, all the way through college, CF NFL, CFL(Canadian Football League), WFL(World Footba League), and coaching now at Memphis Football Unive University School. Through all of that, he has kept ffamily a top priority. The are a lot of things that Rogers Jr. There rem remembers during his playing days as a def defensive back at Memphis State; but the on game that sticks out in his mind is the one w over the 14th ranked Florida Gators in win 1 1988. The game was played in Gainesville, a Gators’ running back Emmitt Smith and came in with a string of 100 yard games. Not only, did the Tigers walk out of “The Swamp” with a victory but also snapped Smith’s 100 yard game streak. The National Football League came calling for Rogers Jr. in 1991 as he was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. When Rogers Jr. had his name called as making the final cut, he said that “he never felt a feeling like that before,” and “it takes you back to your childhood dream.” Rogers Jr. played five games for the Bucs during that season. The next year, he went into Dolphins camp hoping to make the team. During camp, Rogers Jr. tore his hamstring and he ended up being cut because he was owed a $100,000 bonus if he made the final roster.

Some days you would get there at 6 am and not leave until 10 pm

He got a call from the Orlando Thunder in the WFL to try out and ended making the squad in 1992. This team made it to the World Bowl, but ended up losing. Unfortunantely, this was the last year that the Orlando franchise was around as the team folded following that season.

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There was still an itch that Rogers Jr. had to play professional football, so he went across the border to join the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. The CFL was described by Rogers Jr. as a “fast break football game” and having a “college like atmosphere.” The rule changes, such as the 120-yard field, 20-second play clock, and the defensive lineman having to stay one yard from the line of scrimmage, made it hard for some of the NFL players to adjust. Even though he was making less money, Rogers Jr. enjoyed his time in the CFL more than his time in the NFL. He spent seven years in the league and ended up being a three-time CFL AllStar and won the Grey Cup with the Eskimos in 1993. He has been with MUS for close to ten years, but went to coach in the CFL in 2002 for the Montreal Alouettes under Head Coach Don Matthews. The Alouettes won the Grey Cup while Rogers Jr. was an assistant there, but the hours were just not for him. “Some days you would get there at 6 am and not leave until 10 pm,” commented Rogers Jr. He prefers the family friendly atmosphere of coaching at MUS because they realize that there is more to it than football. Rogers Jr. wanted to spend more time with his family, so he returned to Memphis. Currently, Rogers is an assistant coach at Memphis University School (MUS). He coaches the defense with Mark Chub. Rogers Jr. is also the Assistant Director of Admissions for MUS and shows prospective students and their families around the campus. Rogers Jr. has two brothers, who are both in coaching, Courtney is the Defensive Coordinator at Wooddale High School, and his other brother, Marcus is the Offensive Coordinator at Merrill High School in Jackson, MS. A third generation of Rogers’ family is at the University of Memphis right now as his son, Kendrick is the equipment manager for the football team. Rogers Jr. also has a daughter, Mya, and has been married to his wife Tonette for 13 years. Glenn Rogers Jr. is a name that is recognizable throughout the Memphis athletic community, throughout his playing days and now his coaching days. To him, though he is not only proud of his accomplishments, but also proud of his family.


Brown Paper Sack Nation

The 10 Most Embarrassing Losses in Memphis Tiger Football History

The University of Memphis has been playing football for almost one hundred years. In that time, the Tigers have given fans some great moments to celebrate and many more terrible moments to shake their heads at in disgust.

After

coming off a 1-11 campaign in 2010 and starting this season with multiple blowout losses, it has become almost impossible for Tiger football fans to not be embarrassed. This isn’t the first time Memphis fans have wanted to cover their heads with brown paper sacks and it won’t be the last. To compare where Tiger football’s current situation stacks up historically, MemphiSport has assembled the list of the Top 10 Most Embarrassing Losses in Tiger football history.

List by MemphiSport, Descriptions by C.J. Hurt

MEMPHISPORT T.. N E T

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#10

October 24, 1987 Southern Miss 17, Memphis 14 Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

This is the first of two appearances on this list by the Golden Eagles. This game featured freshman quarterback and future Hall of Fame member Brett Favre. The 1987 matchup was the closest game Memphis played against Favre in the quarterback’s four-year career in Hattiesburg, MS. Favre threw for 280 yards and a touchdown in a thrilling three-point victory over Memphis. This particular game in the “Black and Blue” rivalry lived up to its nickname with big hits (and fumbles) all night long. Appearing out of sync the entire game, Memphis turned the ball over on their first three possessions courtesy of sloppy weather and careless play. Even with all of the Tiger miscues, Southern Miss only had a touchdown lead going into half. Memphis managed to tie the game at 14 late and appeared to be on track. Then it all fell apart for the Tigers. Southern Miss kicked a field goal to take a three-point lead with 5:22 on the clock, more than enough time for Memphis to get a score and finish on top. However, an ineffective offensive series for the Tigers saw the ball right back in Brett Favre’s hand with a chance to ice the game. Then the unimaginable happened. After Memphis forced a three and out, the Tigers got a roughing the kicker penalty on the punt return, thus giving the Golden Eagles a first down and allowing them to end the game for good. Brett Favre’s Southern Miss teams went on to outscore Memphis 105-55.

#8

September 25, 1999 Tennessee 17, Memphis 16 Neyland Stadium, Knoxville TN

Sometimes choking away a win can be just as embarrassing as losing by 40 points. On this September day in 1999, Memphis missed an opportunity to pull off one of the greatest upsets in school history by knocking off then No. 7 and defending national champions Tennessee in Knoxville. Tennessee was still fuming over an embarrassing loss to Memphis in 1996 with star quarterback Peyton Manning at the helm and wanted to avenge that loss. Memphis waltzed into Knoxville as a 31point underdog. However, odds makers and experts did not take into account the complex defensive scheme orchestrated by head coach Rip Scherer and defensive coordinator John Thompson. The Tiger defense was able to put pressure on the Vols by executing complicated and confusing blitz packages and it worked for the first three quarters as Memphis held Tennessee to just 82 yards. Even with multiple miscues, Memphis lead 16-10 with 1:31 left in the game. Then heartbreak happened for the Tigers as Tee Martin threw a 53 yard bomb to Bobby Graham to put the Vols on the six yard line of Memphis. Two short plays later, Tennessee scored a touchdown and a successful extra point gave them the lead with almost no time left on the clock.

October 26, 2004 Cincinnati 49, Memphis 10 Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati OH

#9

This game was supposed to be a blowout, but it was supposed to be Memphis that was running up the score not Cincinnati. To make matters worse, this game was the last time the two schools would meet as conference rivals. The Bearcats limped into this game after a terrible loss against Army. Memphis on the other hand was in the middle of one of their most successful seasons ever, riding high with a 5-1 record and one of the most potent offenses in the nation (ranked 8th in total offense, 5th in scoring, and 10th in passing). A stingy defense lead the way for the Bearcats as they were able to hold standout tailback DeAngelo Williams to just 57 yards on 16 carries and no touchdowns. The Tigers managed only two first downs in the first half and went an astonishing 1 for 12 on third down conversions. Cincinnati’s offense looked unstoppable gaining 420 total yards.

#7

November 4, 2004 Louisville 56, Memphis 49 Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

This Thursday night game had it all: It was the last time these two teams would meet as members of Conference USA, over 1,202 yards of total offense combined, and ten lead changes. The two teams gave up a combined total of 15 big plays. The game culminated in a heartbreaking one-yard touchdown run by Louisville’s Eric Shelton with 37 seconds left to give the Cardinals a one-touchdown lead. The heartbreaking nature of this defeat is what makes this game so embarrassing. In the middle of what was supposed to be the Tiger football’s best season ever, the boys in blue and grey lost to one of their biggest rivals in the final seconds of a game. Add to it the fact that Louisville went on to win C-USA, something Memphis has still never done. Memphis went on to finish second in the conference right behind the Cardinals.


#6

November 14, 1998 Southern Miss 45. Memphis 3 M.M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg MS

Any loss in the aptly named “Black and Blue” game is devastating, but this one is especially difficult because it holds the distinction as the most lopsided loss in this historic rivalry and the eighth worse road loss by margin of victory in Tiger football history. Southern Miss dominated this rivalry coming into the game, winning 11 of the previous 13 contests. Quarterback Lee Roberts came into this contest having broken the Golden Eagle’s single season touchdown mark (a record previously held by Favre) a week prior. Roberts added two more touchdowns to his total during this shellacking. Memphis could only muster 149 total yards and was held to just 51 total passing yards. Thankfully for Tiger fans, Southern Miss let up some towards the end of the game, otherwise they might have put up 70 points on the board.

#4

#5

When asked what the turning point of the game was, Tigers head coach Spook Murphy said, “I guess the turning point was when the referee blew the opening whistle.” Indeed it was, as the Vols dominated the Tigers all game making this contest one of the program’s five biggest home losses ever by margin of points. Memphis forced five turnovers and still managed to find a way to get absolutely hammered from start to finish. However, what really makes this defeat so embarrassing is the fact that Tennessee played their second string players for almost the entire second half.

#3

Nov. 6, 1954 Ole Miss 51, Memphis 0 Crump Stadium

This game was the worst home loss by margin of victory in Memphis football history and it was ugly. Thanks to a strong passing attack led by quarterbacks Houston Patton, Eagle Day, and John Wallace Blalack, Ole Miss was able to dominate the offensive side of the ball. The Rebels gashed the Memphis defense for 517 total yards and scored at will on the hapless Tiger defense. Memphis only completed two passes for 14 yards and threw two more passes to players in Ole Miss uniforms. It’s too bad for Ole Miss that they can’t play every game against Memphis.

September 10, 2011 Arkansas State 47, Memphis 3 ASU Stadium, Jonesboro, AR

#2

While the Larry Porter era has seen its fair share of blowout losses, this one game has become the signature moment of embarrassment for the program, triggering outrage from local media, Jerry “The King” Lawler and fans alike. While Memphis holds the lead in this local rivalry (28-22-5), this recent blowout featured the largest margin of victory by Arkansas State in the history of the series. Arkansas State dominated the game from start to finish. The Red Wolves had over 600 yards of total offense thanks to quarterback Ryan Aplin’s 274 yards and three-touchdown performance. Memphis could only muster 169 total yards and one field goal. If you look up embarrassment in the dictionary “losing by 44 points to a Sun Belt Conference team led by a former Memphis high school coach who you could have hired the year before” might be the definition.

October 4, 1969 Tennessee 55, Memphis 16 Memphis Memorial Stadium

#1

September 30, 1978 Texas A&M 58, Memphis 0 Kyle Field, College Station, TX

This 58-point beat down is the largest margin of defeat for Memphis in the modern era (after 1950). Memphis was in trouble from the very first play after Aggies tailback Curtis Dickey broke a big run for 65 yards and a touchdown. In fact, Dickey’s first four carriers went for 104 yards and he finished with 167 rushing yards on 11 carries. Memphis simply had no answer for the A&M wishbone as the Aggies gained a staggering 615 total yards. Texas A&M dominated the Tiger offense just as easily as they dominated the Tiger defense. Mempis could only muster one rushing yard and 52 yards thru the air. To make matters worse, this game was televised.

September 28, 1935 Ole Miss 92, Memphis 0 Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS

Yes, that was the final score. The then Memphis Teachers lost by 92 points to the Rebels, making this game the largest margin of defeat in University of Memphis football history and the most points ever given up by Memphis to a single opponent. Ole Miss, led by head coach Ed Walker, scored often and whenever they wanted thanks to their innovative offense. The use of the lateral allowed the Rebels to gain 471 yards from scrimmage. The stingy Rebels D held Memphis scoreless and allowed Memphis to score only 11 yards from scrimmage. No matter what “era” this game was played in or what Memphis was known as at the time, no team is ever suppose to lose a football game by almost 100 points.

CJ Hurt covers Tiger football for MemphiSport. Follow him on Twitter @churtj09 for live tweets during the Tiger games.


All Shook Up

RC JOHNSON IN HIS OWN WORDS Written by Kevin Cerrito, Photos by Chase Gustafson

Much to the chagrin of Geoff Calkins, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and a growing portion of Tiger Nation, R.C. Johnson is still the athletic director at the University of Memphis. He is still the guy who will control the Tigers’ fate in the next round of conference shakeups. He is still guy who thinks he can turn Tiger football into a winning program. He is still the guy that big money boosters support. He is still the guy who hired John Calipari and Josh Pastner. He is still the guy who hired Tic Price and Larry Porter. He is still a huge Elvis fan. And most importantly, he is still in charge. In the mist of the most scrutiny he has received since arriving in the Bluff City in 1995, R.C. Johnson talked with MemphiSport about Tiger football, the BCS, his legacy, pro wrestling and more.

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What Elvis Presley song best describes the current state of Tiger football? All Shook Up. Not Heartbreak Hotel? Not right now. What about It’s Now or Never? Naw, I don’t think so. I think All Shook Up because of changes we have made with the staff recently. Football is so important. It’s going to take some time and we are going to keep working on it. The bottom line is - we need to win games. What about A Mess of Blues? You don’t like All Shook Up? [Laughs] They all apply. Do you think Memphis can be a football town? Absolutely. I have been here long enough to know. It’s like “If we build it, they will come.” If we win, it will turn around. This is football country. We have a huge Tiger Nation for basketball, bigger than any besides Kentucky. But this is football country. Why is Memphis not already in a BCS conference? I think that is a great question. The only missing piece to the puzzle is probably if we were where TCU is in football right now, we would probably be in one. The most important things are football and the TV market. What is holding Memphis football back from being on the level of a school like TCU or Boise State? I don’t think anything is holding us back. It is a matter of getting out there and doing it. I know where other budgets are, and I know what our budget is. We are in good stead there. I don’t know if there is anything Larry (Porter) wanted us to do that we haven’t been able to do outside the lines. Same with staffing. He asked for more money for weight coaches. We have two full timers and three graduate assistants just for football weight lifting. In many cases we are ahead of other schools. I think the things are in place now and it is a matter of executing them. So you are saying Tiger football is ready right now to start competing for the Conference USA championship? I think now more than ever. The reason I say that is what we’ve been able to do with staff salaries, the money we have been able to put into recruiting and operations, the improvements we have been able to make, the number of times we are on television. All of these things are better than they used to be. And now it is just a matter of getting the recruits in here and we will have a run at it. What are the three most important parts of your current plan to improve Tiger football? First is always recruiting. You’ve got to get the recruits in. That would be number one. Number two is probably getting the coaching staff where they are comfortable with one another. And then go from there. You can always put more money into a program. It doesn’t matter if you are Texas or UCLA or Michigan. But we are limited on scholarships. We are at the full amount scholarships, the full amount of staff. We continue to work on improvements for facilities. We are working on a $10 million campaign right now to build a new indoor practice facility. If a booster called you tomorrow and offered you $100

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million for Tiger football, how would you allocate it? I think we would take a look at the on campus stadium. People don’t believe it, but I would love to have an on campus stadium. If a guy came around and gave us $100 million, we certainly would take a good, hard look at it. But the fact is there are schools that have on campus stadiums that still aren’t winning. Wouldn’t an on campus stadium help with recruiting? You have to admit, the U of M campus is much nicer than the fairgrounds. Oh yea, Yea. Absolutely. That’s true. But when we bring in recruits, they think the Liberty Bowl is a pretty neat place. There are a lot of stadiums that aren’t 62,000 seats. We have a new locker room. And with Tiger Lane now, there is a lot of ambiance. Though you never get close to filling up that 62,000seat stadium. No, but the atmosphere is pretty good. I’ve talked to our players, they like it. Now an on campus stadium, I have nothing against it. I’d rather have it. If a guy came with $100 million, that would solve that issue. But that still doesn’t guarantee us to win. No one in any of our BCS talks has ever been critical or concerned about the Liberty Bowl Stadium. Are you embarrassed that some local high schools have a better video screen than the one at the Liberty Bowl? I don’t know if embarrassed is the word. We thought we were going to get new JumboTrons this year. That was the plan in place. Then the city had their school system issues. The plan was to get a JumboTron on the south end, a JumboTron on the north end, and a JumboTron at Tiger Lane. But now it has moved from the front burner to the back burner. That again isn’t the cure-all. If things don’t work out with Coach Porter is there enough money to go hire a big time coach? Well, I don’t know what kind of money we are talking about. We have never been without all the money we’ve needed to do what we want with coaches. That’s because of the private sector. When basketball was struggling, you followed up the disaster hire that was Tic Price with the flashy big time hire of John Calipari. Would something like that work for football? Not necessarily. Other schools have done it and it hasn’t always worked out. I get a lot of that on emails now saying, “We need to get a big name coach.” Again that is not the cure-all. We need to find someone that makes the right fit. I get people who say, “Don’t hire any coaches that have anything to do with the North. Hire only people who are South oriented.” Money is not the issue. It is the fit, and hopefully Larry will get this thing going. Explain why getting paid to travel and lose to major college football programs is not part of your plan to raise money and rebuild Tiger football? First of all, the teams that we are playing, we get to play here at home, which generates money for us. Tennessee and Mississippi State both will play us homeand-home. I did contact Notre Dame and asked them about playing a game with them where they would pay us. I’m working on schedules for 2022 and 2023. You have to work that far in advance. Notre Dame has an opening probably in 2030, but no one schedules that far in advance. I tried that because I thought


it would be great for exposure. Our budget is $38 million, If a school pays us $500,000, it will probably cost $150,000 to go after we charter the airplane and everything else. $350,000 is not a whole heck of a lot of money. If we couldn’t ever get anyone to come here, the situation would be different. But wouldn’t losing to Ohio State for money still be better than losing to Arkansas State for free? Yea, but we want to play some of those schools we think we are going to beat. And we should be able to beat those schools. You look around the country... Tennessee opened up with Montana. Alabama plays North Texas and Kent State. Now East Carolina plays three big money games and they have been kind of successful, but they don’t use all of that money for football. We have been able to raise more money than anyone in conference. But while the team is losing on a consistent basis, what is wrong with one game a year where you get a big check and national exposure? There is a camp that wants to do that. There is a camp that wants to play all SEC teams in our nonconference. Another camp wants us to do what we are trying to do which is playing two name teams a year and two smaller conference schools. What is something that you just started doing recently that looking back you should have started doing sooner to help Tiger football? We have continued to build facilities. People forget the Billy Murphy complex, where the football offices and complex is, that was all new. We did that when we first got here. Recently we hired a group named Inspire, a marketing firm that worked at Georgia Tech last year. There are nine of them that are here. Their full time job is selling season tickets, primarily football. but. Tennessee did the same thing. That’s probably something we should have done earlier. What has been your proudest moment as athletic director? Well the standard answer is to say, “I haven’t had it yet.” That’s always the cute answer I read in Parade magazine. I would say the engagement we have had in the community over a period of time. Also we are graduating better now, and we have zero teams not qualifying by NCAA APR rates. Our GPA is 3.0. And that is good stuff. I think we have the whole community. My two charges when I got here were to get the community involved and raise money. What has been your biggest regret as athletic director? One thing is football not being where we want it. I will always regret how the Larry Finch thing was handled. I didn’t know all of the players, and I didn’t know all the ins and out of the community. If I could do that over again, I would make it better. We had to make a change... I’m just not happy with the way it all went down. How much do you regret not leaking the letter of inquire from the NCAA when Calipari was interviewing for the Kentucky job? We talked to schools on probation and about 75% of them said if you are really going to do an investigation, you have to keep it as quite as you can because the media will call you every-other-day wanting to know what’s going on. People will clam up because they think their name will be in the paper. We just thought it would be more efficient if we didn’t.

I have been here long enough to know. It’s like “If we build it, they will come.” If we win, it will turn around. This is football country. We have a huge Tiger Nation for basketball, bigger than any besides Kentucky. But this is football country.

What do you say to people who claim you lucked into the hiring of Josh Pastner? Josh was always on my list because Calipairi sat here and said, “I want $200,000 to hire an assistant coach.” I almost fell out of my chair. He told me it was Josh Pastner. I didn’t know Josh Pastner anymore than I knew Rick Ross. Once Josh got here, I could see he was high energy and had a bright future. He was the prime candidate to replace John internally, but because of the level of our program I felt I needed to talk to Tim Floyd and people all over. When it got down to it, I didn’t know Josh was packed up ready to go to Kentucky at the time I called him to meet me at my house. How often do you still talk to Calipari? Probably weekly. Does he call you? Yea or I call him. One or the other. We were together here for nine years. We had lots of interaction. How much of the conversation is sports related? About half of it. The other half is probably things he talks about or things I talk about. It’s a different relationship. It’s not

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I will always regret how the Larry Finch thing was handled. I didn’t know all of the players, and I didn’t know all the ins and out of the community. If I could do that over again, I would make it better. We had to make a change... I’m just not happy with the way it all went down. the athletic director and the basketball coach. It is two guys who went through some struggles together. How often to you talk with U of M president Shirley Raines about issues related to the athletic department? Three or four times a week. I meet with her every Monday morning from 9:00 am to noon. I am on what they call the President’s Council. We have a regular scheduled meeting every two weeks, and talk by phone almost daily. Does she ever suggest any big ideas or does she just let you do your thing? We are in this together. She is the boss. We talk about things. She really doesn’t micromanage. How often to you talk to people connected to BCS conferences and realignment? Regularly. I have set times I call commissioners and other athletic directors. Some I have known as friends for a long time and others that I think will help us as a program down the road. We also have a committee of people from the private sector who are helping us and making contact with various individuals. What do the BCS people you talk to think about Tiger football’s recent trend of blowout losses? They don’t look at it game-by-game. It’s more of a bigger picture type thing. What do you have to say about Jerry “The King” Lawler speaking out against you and Coach Porter? I’m taking my complaints straight to Vince McMahon. [Laughs] I’m a WWE guy. I saw Jerry Lawler the other night on TV. He was in the ring with Triple H. You watch Monday night wrestling? Oh yeah, RAW.

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Who is your favorite wrestler of all time? Ric Flair, ‘The Nature Boy.” I think he has been national champion like 462 times. On the other channel, TNT or whatever it is, Hulk and Flair have their own thing going on. It’s s bunch of old guys that used to be with McMahon. Can you do the Ric Flair “Woo”? No I can’t. [Laughs] Would you face your No. 1 critic/Commercial Appeal columnist Geoff Calkins in a wrestling match for charity? Naw. Have you have been fired from a job? When I was an assistant football coach at the University of Iowa in 1962 or 63. Do you have plans to retire before the end of your contract? I haven’t thought about that. My contract ends June 1, 2013. I still enjoy the job. Do think Brett Favre should have retired earlier? [Laughs] Where did that one come from? No. He was still productive and he wanted to do it. Is there something you are trying to accomplish before you leave? All sorts of things. I want to get football going. I want to keep the fundraising going, and keep building facilities. What do you want your legacy to be? That’s a great question. I haven’t thought about that because I haven’t thought about the retirement aspect. And I think when you know you are getting close to hanging it up, you start think about that stuff. I just think we have come a long way and we have a way to go. I want to keep going. I just don’t think we are done yet, so I haven’t thought about that.


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It’s like your life depended on it.

GET FIT

Running a Marathon of Marathons This Lifetime Runner has a Unique Goal Written by Andre Johnson

Anntriniece Napper had her grandmother in mind. Ten years ago, Napper, a teacher at Cromwell Elementary School, raised $3,000 for the American Stroke Association to run a marathon in Hawaii in honor of her grandmother, who suffered a mild stroke. Four years later, Napper’s grandmother passed away from conditions unrelated to a stroke. Still, Napper never lost her passion for running. In fact, she first began running marathons regularly in 2003, but the way Napper puts it, “I’ve been a runner my whole life.” Nowadays, the 37-year-old Napper has become a fixture among marathon runners across the United States. So much, in fact, that for the past five years, she has appeared in long distances races throughout various states throughout the country. She doesn’t plan to stop until she runs at least one marathon in each of the fifty states, an ambition she set out to pursue seven years ago. So far, it seems the former Whitehaven High track and field standout is on pace to accomplish the rare and monumental feat. As of September, Napper has run 35 marathons in 34 states. By year’s end, she would have completed twelve races, the most she has ran in a calendar year since she fully embraced the sport seven years ago. She is expected to complete her final ten marathons some time in 2012, with her last run likely to take place in New York. While Napper describes traveling to different cities virtually every other week as “adventurous,” the St. Louis native said running a variety of marathons, by and large, is an ideal way to view the country. “I feel like people live in the United State their whole lives and they don’t get out to see where they live,” Napper said. “I figured if I go to every state, I get to see where I live as a citizen of the United States.” As she draws closer to her mission, Napper has already appeared in marathons in every southern states, many to which she actually drove. The furthest she has driven to run a marathon is to Appleton, Wisconsin, or 727 miles.

among others, Napper is using an array of frequent flyer miles nowadays. Given a majority of her leisure time is spent traveling to compete in races, Napper conditions sparingly, running anywhere between 12 to 15 miles per week. Her casual training sessions also include swimming and biking. Additionally, Napper is a vegetarian who rarely alters her eating habits, particularly days leading to a race. Among her favorite food selections are fruits and vegetables, pancakes, pasta, and rice. “I mean, you don’t have to overeat,” Napper said. “Just eat enough for your body. I usually eat and the night before a marathon. Most of the time, I’m not starving after a marathon.” Besides competing in long distance races across the country, there are always occasional memories about which Napper cherishes.

“I figured if I go to every state, I get to see where I live as a citizen of the United States.”

“Last year, I met some friends in Connecticut,” Napper recalls. “They said they were going to do back-to-back marathons. These people were in their 50s and 60s. I said, ‘If they can do it, why can’t I, right?’ “So one day, I drove to Indiana and did a marathon on Saturday and then drove to West Virginia and ran a marathon Sunday, Napper added, chuckling. There’s a good chance that even in Indiana and West Virginia, she had her grandmother in mind.

Now with scheduled races in North and South Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska, Rhode Island, Oregon, and New Hampshire,

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THE RUNDOWN

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Tiger Pride on Display for Fifth Annual True Blue 5K

Runners clad with enthusiasm and Tiger blue will glide through and around the University of Memphis campus Friday, November 4, at 7 p.m. for the 5th annual True Blue 5K. The race, which is organized by the U of M Young Alumni Committee, is an opportunity for alumni, students, Tiger supporters and Memphians to experience the campus from a different perspective. Throngs of True Blue supporters light the way with encouragement along the 3.1-mile route, which begins westbound on Walker Avenue, features a mid-race trot down Central Avenue and Zach Curlin before concluding in the middle of campus amid a celebration of Tiger pride. After the race, runners and their supporters can enjoy food, music and the awards ceremony inside the warm confines of the new University Center. Awards will be presented to the top finishers in each age group and the Tiger Spirit Award will be given to the runner who displays the most Tiger spirit

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Every step you take lights more

A world with less breast cancer is a world with more birthdays. Join us to make strides and create more birthdays. Together, we’ll stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back.

The True Blue 5K is a rare chance for alumni or Tiger fans to return or visit the university for the first time to discover many of the recent on-campus changes.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Memphis Saturday, October 15, 2011 Registration begins at 7 a.m. | Walk starts at 8 a.m. Laurelwood Shopping Center, Poplar at Perkins Extended Rd. For more information, call (901) 278-2091 or visit makingstridesmemphis.org.

at the race. Recognition will be given to a business or community organization with the most participation. In addition, the University of Memphis student, alumni or faculty group with the most participation will receive $250. The True Blue 5K is a rare chance for alumni or Tiger fans to return or visit the university for the first time to discover many of the recent on-campus changes. It’s also an opportunity for prospective students to visit the University of Memphis to discover the Tiger spirit.

All proceeds from the race benefit the Young Alumni Committee and the recently established Young Alumni Legacy Scholarship. For more information on the True Blue 5K, visit www. trueblue5k.racesonline.com.

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

Go. Fight. Win.

Lauren

Memphis POM Squad Written by Preston McClellan

Age: 20 Hometown: Wartburg, TN How long have you been dancing? I started studio dancing when I was three. But, my high school didn’t have an actual dance team, so I did cheerleading instead through middle and high school. I also did a lot of competitive dancing outside of school, so I decided to try out for the POM squad here at Memphis. How did you get into dancing and cheering? All the older girls, when they were junior and seniors in high school would try out for a collegiate dance team. We had always watched Memphis on television and thought the team was so good at the UDA Nationals and knew that I wanted to try out. I ended up getting an academic scholarship to Memphis and tried out for the dance team once I got here. After that, everything just kind of fell into place. Have you ever worked with Varsity? I’m a staff member with the Universal Dance Association (UDA), which is an extension of Varsity. Varsity is a big brand, and it has several different associations including the National Cheerleading Association (NCA), University Cheerleading Association (UCA) and others. I’ve been doing staff work for UDA by working as an instructor as dance camps in the summer. I’ve been working with UDA since I graduated from high school. How many hours per week to you put into dance? It’s a big commitment. We practice from 1:15-4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays,

I used to say I wanted to be a Rockette, but I’m way too short for that (laughs). It would be really cool to be able to dance professionally in Los Angeles or New York in a big market. I’ve always had big dreams and big hopes.

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and Fridays and 10-2 on Sundays. That doesn’t include actually dancing at sports events like the football games, so it ends up being at least 20 hours a week. Is cheerleading a sport? Absolutely. Obviously, we don’t compete in sporting events like other athletes and we do cheer on the sidelines for other sports. However, just the number of hours and amount of preparation we put in makes it a sport. We prepare for our big national competition, which is in Orlando, Fla., which we won last year. What does it feel like to be a national champion? It feels great. I knew Memphis had won nationals in the past and had watched them growing up, but I never really pictured myself actually winning a national championship. It’s truly a great feeling. I don’t want to lose this year either, so we have to make sure we keep the bar set high. What’s the biggest difference between high school and college dancing? I guess it would just be who’s watching you. Yes, in high school, you’re at the games cheering on your teams. But, in college, you’re really into all the games. We are with athletics sometimes, so there are just so many people watching you. It’s a very different audience. We’re asked to do a lot of appearances and charity events, so there’s a lot more work outside of cheering at games in college. Do you plan on continuing with cheering and dancing after college? Well, I’ve definitely thought about it, maybe with the NBA or NFL. I used to say I wanted to be a Rockette, but I’m way too short for that (laughs). It would be really cool to be able to dance professionally in Los Angeles or New York in a big market. I’ve always had big dreams and big hopes.


The Intelligence Team Varsity’s It Girls get a leg ip in the workplace Written by Preston McClellan When it comes to cheerleading, someone has to be the ring leader, and that’s exactly why Varsity Brand, Inc. introduced its “It” Girl concept. “This program is very special to us at Varsity. The Intelligence Team, or It Girls, have given us a chance to have an even closer relationship with the girls who wear our uniforms and attend our camps and competitions. They’re more than just a focus group - they’re an important part of Varsity’s product and program development team,” Nicole Lauchaire, Vice President of Corporate Marketing & Communications said. Lauchaire explained the team is geared toward junior and seniors in high school with a background in cheerleading and a desire to start earning experience in a marketing-related field. 150 interns from Orlando, FL, Memphis, TN, Dallas, TX, Bridgewater, NJ and Anaheim, CA will be selected from a pool of 1,200 applicants. Intelligence Team members will be required to meet once a month in cities across the United States to share their thoughts on new programs, products and ideas.

Those that are selected will be responsible for a variety of tasks including product testing, viral marketing contribution, Varsity TV content generation, and merchandise design and development. IT Girls will also receive training and mentoring that will be helpful for their future professional lives. By the end of the program, Lauchaire says the interns will have a better understanding of the workplace. Founded in 1948, Varsity is an institution when it comes to all things cheerleading. Varsity sponsors education camps, clinics and competition as well as uniforms for many squads around the country. Varsity’s online video system provides access to cheerleading video of all kind which has become popular among fans and coaches alike. The company is based in Memphis and employs over 5,000 workers nationally.

For more information about Varsity or the It Girls program visit varsity. com or contact Ashley Cowan, the It Girl Director, acowan@varsityspirit.com.

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Play. Play. Play.

Do these two photos of the nationally ranked Memphis Soccer team look the same to you? Look again. We made seven changes to the photo on the bottom. Time yourself to see how long it takes you to find all seven.

PICTURE PUZZLE

Kick Ball Corrections Photo by Joe Murphy

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TA I L G AT I N G

Sports was happening and you were there.

Memphis Airshow Millington Regional Jetport September 17-18 Photos by Chase Gustafson 1. The Blue Angels 2. Freddie and Arlene LoBianca

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3. Aimee, Nancy and John Kohne 4. David & Kim Clapp 5. Renata Cobb, Joshua and Curtis Fleming 6. Garrett Mac 7. Darlene and Leon Foster, Jr. 8. Randy Forbus, Richard Hitchcock and Marty Meyer

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Memphis vs. SMU Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium September 24 Photos by Chase Gustafson 9. H.M. Harris, Melinda White, Kenneth Harris, Wynston Harris and Vivian Harris 10. Cheryl and Lane Dean

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11. Jimmy McBryde 12. Brittany Tinney 13. Jennifer Freeman and LaRee Reeves 14. Scott Veneklase, Kylen Anthony, Lyndsey Browning and Keith Browning 15. Don and Doey Barrar

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JACK’S BACK

A Memphis legend takes a look back.

A Tiger By Any Other Name... Written by Jack Eaton, Illustrated by Andrew Chandler

The bard once wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I can’t top that, so I’ll say, “A Tiger by any other name would be as tough.” All of which leads up to an essay on nicknames..... I love nicknames and in my years as the tigers playby-play guy I came up with quite a few. The first one came about in Oklahoma City at the All-College Basketball Tournament in the early 60’s. The Tigers reached the finals, but without our leading scorer, Bob Neumann. He tore up his achilles tendon in the semi-finals. We were playing, as I recall, Loyola of Chicago and without Neumann, we were a huge underdog. They had a pair of 6-7 forwards from Nashville who were super. But we had George Kirk. Boy, oh boy, did we ever. Kirk, a 6-2 guard took over. He scored in the upper 20’s, rebounded like Dennis Rodman, passed to his teammates, and was all over the place. I was stunned and began shouting his praises like a wild man. The fans turned to look at me like I had gone bonkers. I had and suddenly I blurted out, “We are witnessing ‘King’ George the First of Memphis State.” We lost the game but ‘King’ George had been born and my nickname career began with a bang. My best nick name was really a double play. Back in the 60’s we got a Siamese cat and I named him Tricky Ricky after the Tigers quarterback Ricky Thurow. Ok, so one summer afternoon there in the back yard was Tricky Ricky (the cat) all of a sudden he leapt to the top of our 6-foot fence after a bird. He missed the bird, but Ronnie Robinson got his nickname, ‘The Big Cat,’ because I remarked, “Great Scott, that looks like Ronnie going up for a rebound.” Ronnie was ‘The Big Cat’ after that. A

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plaque in his coffin even identified him as such. May he rest in the bosom of the Lord forever. I loved that kid. I never planned nicknames. They just happened. Like ‘Lucky’ Lloyd Patterson. He was one of our better quarterbacks and during one game I remarked that we were lucky to have him and I started calling him ‘Lucky’ Lloyd. On the next road trip he asked me about it. I explained that we were the lucky ones. He thought a minute and said, “OK. Use it.” He was followed by another kid from Hamilton, Darrel Martin. I called him, ‘Dartin’ Darrel Martin. He was all that and more. The strangest nickname was ‘Pretty Boy’ Steve Meacham. He was a 6-8 banger from Philadelphia and one day I got a letter from a co-ed at Memphis State suggesting that I call him ‘Pretty Boy.’ I read the letter on the air and made fun of such a dumb idea. Meachum heard about it and liked the idea. He was and always wlll be ‘Pretty Boy’ to me. It pained me that I never had a nickname for Larry Finch but I was never so inspired — a pity but I drew a blank. For some reason I started calling Vincent Askew, ‘Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie.’ Don’t ask me how or why, it just happened. So one day I get a call at the station from a lady who said she was ‘Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie’s’ mother and would I stop calling her boy ‘Vinnie, Vinnie Vinnie.’ Ok I said I don’t want to upset anyones mother. I told ‘Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie’ about the call and he said, “That’s funny. My mother is in Chicago.” I don’t know who the lady was but ‘Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie’ was made permanent right there. Bobby Parks was called ‘Beautiful’ Bobby. Bill Laurie was ‘Little’ Bill. Larry Kenon was ‘The King Cobra.’ I never had one for Keith Lee, William Bedford or Mike Butler. Hunter Beckmann could shoot lights out, but never got a nickname. I’m sure that I have forgotten some along the way, but you get the idea. “A Tiger by any other name would be as tough.” I have heard from fans who like the nicknames and some who don’t, but overall I think nicknames are good idea. Hey, they call me ‘Big’ Jack and I like it fine... “Big“ Jack Eaton can be heard every Friday at 8am on

KWAM 990 alongside former County Commissioner John Willingham. In February, Jack was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.


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MemphiSport October 2011