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SV’s Justin Matyi • Marion’s Aaron Adeoye • Remember the Buckner Wildcats • Carterville Trio Volunteer at JALC

Photo by Caesar Maragni



2 l january 2010



january 2010 l 3

Th e L i n e U p Publisher’s Greeting..................6 Publisher/Editor

Around the Horn........................9

Account Executive Cheryl Hughey

Ask the Coach...........................10


JALC Journal...........................12

Jim Muir

Christopher Kays Ceasar Maragni

Contributing Writers Teri Campbell John D. Homan Ceasar Maragni Mario Moccia Jim Muir Mike Murphy Joe Szynkowski Sean Patrick Nathan Wheeler Tom Wheeler Fred Huff

Saluki Notes.............................15 From Where I Sit......................22 Faith on the Field....................28 Murf’s Turf...............................30 Ask the McDocs......................38 Ask the AD..............................39 In Focus...................................45

4 l january 2010


F E ATU R E S Remember the Buckner Wildcats Cover Story: Special Breed



Sesser-Valier’s Justin Matyi


Marion’s Aaron Adeoye


Giving Back


42 KMH. . .KDH l

january 2010 l 5




reetings and welcome to the January issue of Southern Illinois Sports Connection. Let me begin by wishing all our faithful and loyal readers, advertisers and subscribers a Happy New Year. Our hope here at SISC is that 2010 is a healthy and prosperous year for you. While the beginning of a new year always brings excitement and anticipation it almost always includes resolutions. While I certainly have many goals etched out for SISC for 2010 I really don’t have any new resolutions. You see, when I started SISC from nothing 2-1/2 years ago I resolved then to work tirelessly to provide a top-notch magazine that covers all of Southern Illinois sports, period. Secondly, I also resolved back then to put that ‘top-notch magazine’ into the hands and in front of as many eyes as possible. Unlike many resolutions that will be made in the coming days, I truly believe we’ve kept those resolutions. And it’s those resolutions from August 2007 that prompt me to make another announcement concerning distribution for SISC. As you will remember I used this space a few months ago to let readers know that I was changing SISC to a pay-per-issue format. In all honesty, it was a decision that I regretted almost immediately. You see, I made the decision knowing that I would lose some of my best venues for distribution. Some franchises will allow the magazine to be given away but they have a company-wide policy that forbids selling any merchandise that does not carry the corporate logo. And while I picked up numerous other outlets to carry the magazine they didn’t have the foot traffic of those that I lost. I looked at this from a lot of different angles and I realized I had several options. First, I could do nothing, stick my head in the sand and pretend like all was well. Or, I could be stubborn about the decision I made and refuse to give in, while proceeding with the sale of the magazine each month. Or, I could admit that in hindsight (which is always 20/20) it was not a good decision and then take the necessary steps to change things. This publisher’s greeting is that first step. I’m a big believer that when you make a mistake the best remedy is to own up to it, try to correct things and then move on. So, I did and I am and let’s get going. Beginning in January – that’s this month so you can see I’m not wasting any time – SISC will once again be a free publication. All the venues that currently handle the magazine will still be distribution sites and I’m thrilled to announce that 24 Subway stores throughout the region will once again handle SISC. Regarding this decision to change, if I was a politician you might call me a flip-flopper and if I was a coach you could call me Urban Meyers and certainly if I was an athlete you might draw a parallel to Brett Favre. But what I am is a small-town magazine publisher who understands the importance of doing the right thing by advertisers and readers. I know the importance and the impact of the stories within these pages and it is incumbent on me to make sure as many people as possible view these 48 pages each month. So, without further ado let me once again say … Happy New Year … and I hope you enjoy your FREE copy of SISC each month! All the best and God Bless!

Jim Muir Publisher, SISC 6 l january 2010


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january 2010 l 7

8 l january 2010


Around the


By Sean Patrick

starting to heat up. By the time this issue of SISC hits newsstands, the area holiday tournaments will be all over and mid-winter tournament time will be right around the corner for area prep teams. In addition, the conference season will be tipping off just before the New Year for the SIU men and just after the New Year for the SIU women and the area JUCO teams. Day 1 – Athletics can take an individual many places. In my travels with baseball and basketball, I’ve been from coast to coast, and halfway around the world. Today, however, I’m sitting courtside at the Convocation Center on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Honestly, I never thought I’d find myself in this neck of the woods for anything but a duck hunting trip. I guess I should have learned by now to never say never. Tomorrow, I’ll find myself in the baseball capitol of Iowa: Norway. That town also happens to be hometown of my wife and her family and Christmas at the in-laws. I hope Uncle Lewis doesn’t burn down the tree.

Let me remind everyone, though, that February 18th is right around the corner. That is the Spring Training report date for pitchers and catchers. Let me also remind you that the first home college baseball games in the area begin in early March, with SIU playing at home as early as March 2 with a mid-week series against Middle Tennessee, followed immediately by a three-game series with Big Ten opponent Purdue that weekend. Better hope the weather is nice so the hill will be open that week!

I am thankful that I live the state, and not in

Day 2 – Tomorrow has arrived, and I realize now why Northern Iowa dropped the baseball program. Not because of budgets or Title IX, but because it is so cold up here! Again, I am reminded why in the good end of Chicago.

On a side note, “The Convo” at ASU is the first place I’ve even been that has a 3-man band playing live music for the pre-game sounds. I have to say I like the live music much better than the rap noise that usually comes before a college basketball game! I have a feeling that I’m not alone on that one.

Norway calls itself the Baseball Capitol of Iowa because of the 20 state championships that Norway High School won up until 1991, when the school was shut down and merged with the county school. However, that record still stands some 19 years later. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but a movie was released in October, 2007 starring Powers Boothe, Sean Astin, Tom Arnold and James Gammon (Lou Brown in Major League) that told the story of Norway’s 20th and final state championship. Aptly titled “The Final Season” this movie brings the story of this town and its less than 500 residents to life. Oh yeah, and my wife’s four brothers all won state championships for the Norway Tigers. Baseball is a small world.

As we get into the heart of the basketball season, with 2010 right around the corner, things are really

Thanks again for your time, this time, until next time, so long… when we go “Around the Horn.”



january 2010 l 9

Russ Gerlach (Third year as varsity coach at Wayne City High School after being an assistant at Flora (6 years) and Marissa (3 years). “We just had this situation happen to us at the Christopher Turkey Tournament. We were leading Cobden by 10 half way through the fourth quarter. We had a few turnovers and they hit a couple threes. With about eight seconds left we were fouled, up by two. We made the second and called timeout. We have worked on this situation in practice and fouled so they couldn’t shoot the threepointer. I thought we knew what to do. One of my players wrapped up the Cobden player instead of fouling across the arms. The referee called an intentional foul, they hit both free throws and on the in bounds put up a shot, it missed but they got the rebound for a put

10 l january 2010


back bucket at the buzzer” “At the time I felt like it was the right choice. They had some momentum and I didn’t want to go to OT. We didn’t go to OT but we didn’t win either. I was second guessing myself for about a week after it happened. I am still not quite sure what I would do if the situation came up again. I feel that with this team we could try it again and make it work. I do know that next year it is something we will emphasize.”

Aaron Mattox (Third year as varsity basketball coach at Marion High School after three seasons as an assistant to Rich Herrin at Marion after starting at Creal Springs Junior High). “To foul or not to foul with a three

point lead late in the game is a very interesting question that I am not sure there is any correct answer. Theoretically if you don’t foul and play good defense the worst thing that could happen is your opponent hits a three and you are forced to play overtime. Consider most teams shoot around 30-35 percent from the three point line and this is a relatively safe option with very few variables. However, if you don’t foul and the other team hits a three pointer you are sure to be faced with the question of “why didn’t you foul.” “On the other hand choosing to foul before your opponent can shoot the ball could eliminate your opponent’s opportunity to tie the game. However, there are several variables that must be considered. First you have to foul before the other player can shoot the ball and you must make sure the foul

is not called intentional. Next you must secure a rebound on the free throw line. Many teams may try to make the first and miss the second in an effort to get the offensive rebound and tie the game. On the offside chance that they tip the ball out and hit a three you could get beat. Also, you must have good free throw shooters, because if your opponent makes both free throws they are going to put full court pressure on and try to foul immediately in an effort to get the ball back.” “In most cases we have chosen not to foul and play straight up trusting our defense to guard the three.” Mark Motsinger (Seventh year as varsity basketball coach at Carrier Mills High School who also coached at Dakar Academy, Da-

kar Senegal West Africa, Southeastern Illinois College(girls for 16 years) after starting at Henderson County High School / girls). “Wow that’s a tough one. If I found myself in that situation that you mentioned, how I might respond would depend upon a couple variables, have they been hard to stop from the three-point previously and the kids I have on the floor at the time. With that said I would probably take a more conservative approach and just play a guard to guard switching defense stressing not to foul on the shot. I think that it is best in a tight situation to do what you know. The only way I would consider fouling is if we have been having a hard time stopping the three previously or if we have a situation where we have kids on the floor who are not accustomed to defending the

perimeter. Whatever you decide, it is a gut feeling at the moment that you have to work with and if it works it was the right thing to do and if it didn’t you blew it. We don’t necessarily practice the exact situation but try to work on the defensive skills that will help us if we find ourselves in that situation.”

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Journal By Teri Campbell

about our team,” said Kyle Smithpeters, assistant coach of the Volunteers. “The games we’ve played so far have shown us what areas we need to work on and where we need to get better.”


hen the calendar turns to January, the John A. Logan College men’s and women’s basketball teams turn their attentions to Great Rivers Athletic Conference play. The nonconference games of November and December are over, and it’s time to concentrate on the league. The Volunteers posted a preconference record of 8-4, averaging more than 86 points a game. “We’ve been up and down this season, but we’ve learned a lot

12 l january 2010


Sophomore forward Jesse Perry from St. Louis, an all-conference and all-region performer last year, leads Logan in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.6 points and 10.5 boards per game. Point guard Lazeric Jones, a sophomore from Chicago, contributes 12.6 points per game, while leading the team in assists and steals with

Logan Basketball Teams Bounce into Conference Play 5.6 and three, respectively. Kenneth Harris, Jr., of St. Louis, also an all-conference and all-region selection last season, averages 11.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists per tilt. Smithpeters expects the GRAC to be a challenge.

“Our conference is always competitive,” Smithpeters said. “Every team in this league is talented and we’ll have to be ready to play every night. I think we’re capable of winning the conference, but the biggest thing that we’re concerned with is consistency. We have work on becoming more consistent with what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively.” On the women’s side, Lady Vol head coach Marty Hawkins believes the conference race is wide open. “Right now Lincoln Trail College is ranked nationally so I’d say it is the early favorite based on pre-conference games,” Hawkins said. “Everybody else has a lot of new faces so we’ll have to see how things sort out.”

leads the team in rebounding with 8.4 per game. “We don’t have a lot of experience on the squad,” Hawkins said. “We have four sophomores who were all injured last year so they didn’t get the chance to play much. DaLita, Jordan, and Tiffany are the only players with significant college basketball experience, and they’ve played well for us. A lot depends on how quickly the others learn and how we progress as a team. We still have a long way to go and many games to play. For more information on Logan’s basketball teams, visit the John A. Logan College athletics Web site at:

The Lady Vols went 4-4 in nonconference action, scoring over 77 points per game. Sophomore guard Jordan James, a transfer from Barton County Community College in Kansas, is leading Logan in scoring with 16.7 points per game. She is also averaging 4.4 rebounds and a team-best three assists per contest. Gallatin County product Tiffany Williams is the squad’s second leading scorer with 12.2 points per game. Forward DaLita Scott of Hammond, Ind., who earned all-conference and all-region honors last year, adds 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds an outing. Cheshi Poston, a freshman from Chicago,


january 2010 l 13

14 l january 2010


saluki By Fred Huff



hether planned or not, it seems Christmas is always the time of year when one remembers friends, some whom are no longer around to share laughs with, as well as those who are perhaps younger and more fortunate. Picking up a recent edition of Jim Muir’s “Southern Illinois Sports Connection” magazine triggered one. On the cover in blaring type was “Merle’s Box” along with a picture of Merle Jones. The accompanying story was priceless as it referred to many clippings of Merle’s columns and stories he wrote while serving as THE sports expert of southern Illinois. We’d be wealthy if we had a $1 for every game, every trip, every experience shared with Merle. They’re endless. Merle had a knack for squeezing an interesting story or column out of a religious monk. And, even though Merle operated without the aid of a modern-day tape recorder, seldom, if ever, were his subjects misquoted. After Merle’s retirement and when he was struggling somewhat with health-related problems, we – SIU’s athletics director Don Boydston, his long-time assistant Bill Brown and I – would head for Herrin on slow afternoons. We’d meet up with Merle about a block from his home in Herrin and at a place of business which specialized in cold refreshments. The stories which followed were priceless. They didn’t even require enhancement. Obviously I’ll always remember my last visit with Merle in the hospital, but my last social visit was the one I prefer. As I was preparing to leave, Merle got down from his bar stool, hugged me and said, “Freddie, as long as we’ve known one another, I don’t believe we ever had a cross word. Thanks for being my friend.” In leaving, I remember tears rolling down my cheeks, just as they are now in writing this column. He was one of a kind – the best kind. And on a somewhat lighter note, we had a phone call a few days ago from another close friend, Gale Sayers. Gale was calling to wish us a Merry Christmas and it was the first time we had talked since he took on a new assignment as part-time fund-raiser for athletics at his alma mater, the University of Kansas. Feeling some allegiance to Kansas as that’s where Sayers first claimed football fame as one of the sport’s all-time finest running backs, Gale accepted the challenge to head up a major expansion project there, much like “Saluki Way” at SIU. Frankly we were surprised when learning of it and said so early on in our conversation. Gale assured us, however, that he was not leaving his quite profitable computer firm in the Chicago area. “It’s no big deal,” Sayers said. “Everything is running smoothly here

and I just spend a couple of days at Kansas and a couple of days here.” Now nearing retirement, however, Sayers and his wife, Ardie, will some day take up permanent residency in Wakarusa, Indiana, an Amish community near South Bend where they built a home many years ago and where they spend most weekends away from the busy life of Chicago. While spending four years as Gale’s assistant at SIU (19771981) didn’t allow us to develop nearly as many memories as with Merle, both individuals are at the top of our list. What a great life it’s been.


january 2010 l 15

Still standing after all these years, Buckner Grade School’s old gym is in poor shape after being abandoned for years.

Remember the

Buckner Wildcats? By Tom Wheeler


Photos by Ceasar Maragni

here did you play junior high basketball? I can remember my first team was the Tenth Street Trojans in La Porte, Indiana. As a fifth grader I can remember how big our gym seemed, and I wonder what it looks like today. SI Sports Connections top-notch photographer Ceasar Maragni was in Buckner recently and took some pictures of the Wildcats gym, so I went to the ‘garage’ to find a little history on the school. Buckner native Charlie Galayda spent 18 years working at the school which closed in 1968. He remembers such players as Dan Gouge, Robert Semanski, Jo Jo Rolla,

16 l january 2010


What’s left of the old backboard support and scoreboard clock. (Editor’s Note: Notice the names on the scoreboard of the teams that last played in the Buckner Gym? While the final score of that contest wasn’t available at press time the overall opinion of the SISC staff is that the Christians won this one in a rout. JM)

The west side bleachers.


january 2010 l 17

A front view of the old Buckner Grade School.

Whitey Rouviere and Ronnie Hargis who all wore the red and white of the Wildcats. These Wildcats played a full schedule that included Mulkeytown, Whittington, Logan, Rob Town, Thompsonville, Valier, St. Johns of West Frankfort, Coello and Hill City just to name a few. Benton’s Norman Carlile, who

coached more than a few games himself, remembers officiating games at Buckner. “I got $5.00 a night, and I was the only official,” Carlile said. He remembers the coach Frank Furlow was also the track coach. “In the spring Coach Furlow

would have track meets at the school and would make his own ribbons to give to the participants. If you won you got a ribbon, if you got 8th you got a ribbon.” Coach Carlile added that his wife Jean started her teaching career in Buckner. Golfing buddy Bob Furlow re-

Now I really wonder if the Tenth Street Trojans gym is still playable!! The gym floor as it appears today.

18 l january 2010


members getting one of those ribbons at Buckner. “I ran the half mile and always had trouble beating Buckner’s Frank Yering,” he recalled. Bob also played basketball for the Coello Indians, which closed its school gym in 1964. Teammates included John Morhet, Wayne Brown Joe Brean and four ladies. He remembers one night playing at Buckner when one of the young Coello Indians came out in his yellow and green basketball suit with his “long johns” underneath, he recalls “it was something to see.” Bob’s coach in Coello was the late Dick Minor, grandfather of current Christopher High

Debris on the old gym floor.

School varsity coach Jeff Minor. Brother Bob wasn’t sure if Charlie Jacoby was really the best shooter to ever to come out of Coello. Mr. Galayda’s daughter Susan was a Buckner cheerleader who married a Christopher football player. While coaching at Wyanet, in northern Illinois, they would rush home for the Christmas holidays so the coach could play basketball in the Buckner gym. He recalls, “No matter how late we would get home I would call guys and we would play, then during the day we would play all day. Many times there was not any heat, we had some wars in that old gym.” That football coach

remembers calling Lyndall Mydett, Joe Trogolo, Jimmy Morrison, Philip Long, Dr. Jeff Minor, Don Pullian and the late Del Gray to name a few. That Wyanet football coach who loved that old Buckner gym came south for a very successful career, and is still coaching, he is Vienna’s Mike Rude.

So where did you play junior high basketball? And is the gym still standing? If so don’t be surprised if Ceasar comes by and snaps some shots someday.

The west bleachers are bowed and buckled in Buckner’s old gym.


january 2010 l 19

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Game

Matyi goes up against a Johnston City defender.

Sesser-Valier’s Justin Matyi is soft-spoken but his game speaks volumes By Joe Szynkowski Justin Matyi is as soft-spoken as high school athletes come, but opponents wish they could turn down the volume of his play. The 6-foot-5 senior has helped put Sesser-Valier boys basketball back on the radar with his dominant play down low. His jump shot has improved vastly from his freshman year, when he got his first varsity start. If his jumper isn’t falling, Matyi has the strength and physicality to back opponents down into the paint, an act that has repeatedly prompted Southern Illinois game announcers to proclaim, “Matyi for two.” “He is one of those types of kids who gravitate to the ball and does a good job of letting the basketball find him,” said first-year Red Devils coach Chip Basso. “He has a nice little jump shot from 10-15 feet out and is second to none in getting second chances with his rebounding.” Matyi hit the weight room after a successful junior season in which he reached 1,000 career points and was named the Black Diamond Conference’s most valuable player. He added some muscle to his already bulky frame to help him become more of an inside force. “He’s got a little bigger and stronger,” Basso said. “I’ve really kind of seen him develop over the years. His freshman and sophomore years he was getting a lot of playing time but he was more of a complimentary type of player. He’s really stepped up into a leadership role.” The Red Devils jumped out to a quick start this season behind Matyi and plenty of other returning starters. S-V fields seven seniors, including guards T.J. and Dane Eubanks, Myles Tinsley, and big man Kendall Gibson. “We just go out there and play hard,” Matyi said. “That’s about it.” Matyi averages about 20 points and eight rebounds per game for the Red Devils, even though he rarely takes an uncontested shot. “A lot of what we do revolves around him,” Basso said. “Almost every night he is getting double-teamed in the post. So it’s a learning process for him. He’s gotten very good at realizing he is covered and finding the open man outside.”

“Out of all our players he’s probably the quietest kid. He’s a kid that just doesn’t say much. He absolutely leads by example. He steps up for us in important situations and always wants the ball in his hands.” – S-V Coach Chip Basso

Photos by Christopher Kays 20 l january 2010


Matyi said he takes the extra defensive attention as a compliment. It’s something he’s grown accustomed to after almost four seasons of varsity basketball. “You have to just kick it out to the shooters and let them do their thing,” Matyi said. “You just get used to it.” Basso said Matyi has adjusted to double-teams by compensating in other areas, specifically offensive rebounding. “You watch a game and by the time it gets over he’ll have 20 points,” Basso said. “Sometimes you won’t even notice that he’s having that big of a game. He just gets quiet points – a lot of rebounds that lead to a lot of easy stick-backs. It’s something we’ve gotten used to seeing.” Matyi said one of his favorite things about playing for S-V is participating in the long-running holiday tournament, an event that just finished its 29th year of existence. Competing in front of packed houses for four nights during the winter is an emotional rush, he said. “It’s a pretty big deal. It’s exciting to play in.” Teams that only get a chance to see the Red Devils in their holiday tournament have come away impressed with their versatile big man. “He’s tough,” said Goreville coach Todd Tripp. “Not only does he work hard and is a big kid, but when he shoots, he doesn’t miss. He’s a steady player. I wish we had him.” S-V’s head man, conversely, is glad no one else gets to coach Matyi. Basso replaced Dan Kirk as varsity coach in March and had the good fortune of taking over a stacked Red Devils’ team. “He is a kid that is very coach-able,” Basso said. “He just loves the game of basketball. He’s here early before school a lot of mornings just shooting in the gym. He’s got a goal at home so in the summertime he’s shooting at home. He’s just put in a lot of work and it shows.” Matyi is not just a good shot on the hardwood. Get him in the outdoors and that’s where he feels at home. “I love deer hunting, goose hunting and fishing,” he said. “It’s fun just being outside with your buddies.” Matyi is open to playing basketball at the next level, but for now he’s just focused on scoring points and grabbing rebounds for the Red Devils. Basso hopes Matyi will be the key to successful postseason run, even if it is without saying a word. “Out of all our players he’s probably the quietest kid,” Basso said. “He’s a kid that just doesn’t say much. He absolutely leads by example. He steps up for us in important situations and always wants the ball in his hands.” Joe Szynkowski is a freelance writer for SISC. He can be reached at


january 2010 l 21

From where I

SIT By Tom Wheeler


s the varsity basketball coach at Christopher High School one year I got tired of yelling at the officials. So one day I made a sign and hung it in the official’s dressing room. It listed everything I usually yelled each night but each of these “comments” was identified with a number. Thus “get them out of the lane “was number one, and so on and so on. So I told the officials, who I was sure was tired of hearing the same “comments” over and over from me, would now only hear a number. If I yelled ONE, they would know I wanted them to “get them out of the lane”. This list led me to create this BLONDI BINGO. When you attend a game, take the magazine and put an X in each square that you hear yelled. It may come from a fan, or from a coach. I can promise you, there are a lot more “comments” that I could have used. You will be surprised at how quick you can yell BLONDI BINGO.

Blondi Bingo























BINGO 22 l january 2010





january 2010 l 23

Special Breed

Southern Illinois Roller Girls, the region’s first and only all-women flat track roller derby team is not for the timid or the faint of heart

Photos by Ceasar Maragni 24 l january 2010


Evilyn A. Heathen gets handshakes from her opponents during introductions.

By Jim Muir If you’re timid and shy there’s no place for you here. If you’re afraid of physical contact you need not apply. And if you’re faint of heart just keep on walking. In short, it takes a special breed to be a ‘Southern Illinois Roller Girl.’ Certified through the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, Southern Illinois’ first and only all-woman flat track roller derby team is quickly gaining popularity and fans throughout the region. Katy Rogers helped put the Southern Illinois team together after getting a taste of roller derby action in North Carolina. “We moved back here in May and I had been playing roller derby for about a year and half and there was no team here,” said Rogers. “So, I went on Face Book and My Space and just sort of spread the word through the Internet and word of mouth and we had our first practice at the Williamson County Pavilion on June 2 and we had 22 girls show up. I was just thrilled with the initial turn out.” “The jammers are trying to make their way through the pack of blockers, their teammates are trying to help them and the other team is trying to knock them on their tail. They can push other blockers out of the way and they can ‘whip’ you through the other blockers.” – Katy Rogers, SIRG co-president

Competition skating on a concrete floor can result of lots of bumps and bruises.

Rogers, who serves as co-president of the Southern Illinois Roller Girls, said first time skaters, are almost always gripped with the thrill of competition and the fast-paced excitement. “I just love it and almost everybody that gets involved loves it,” said Rogers. Many people remember the old bank track style of roller derby that featured skaters such as Joan Weston and Ann Cavello. Like everything else Rogers says the game has been modernized. “It is 100 percent real, nothing is staged and if


january 2010 l 25

The crowd cheers for their favorites.

somebody actually gets in a fight it’s because they’re mad or upset,” said Rogers. “There is no elbowing, punching or kicking, there’s a very long list of rules, and it’s like 34 pages of rules listed by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. There’s a lot more rules and it’s a lot more real than what it used to be.” During actual match competition there are five skaters per team with four blockers and one jammer. “It’s like a race, the blockers start out in front – four from each team – and the ref blows a whistle and the blockers take off,” said Rogers. “After the last blocker gets past what is called a pivot line the

ref blows another whistle and the jammers take off.” According to Rogers, “this is where the fun begins.” “The jammers are trying to make their way through the pack of blockers, their teammates are trying to help them and the other team is trying to knock them on their tail,” said Rogers. “They can push other blockers out of the way; they can ‘whip’ you through the other blockers.” Each ‘jam’ lasts for two minutes and the match is 60 minutes long divided into two 30-minute halves. Rogers said that “just being a good skater” does not automatically mean success as a roller girl. “You have to have a passion

Girls are required to have their uniform numbers on their shoulders.

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to do this,” said Rogers. “Being a good skater is a plus but passion, drive and teamwork are also requirements.” Elizabeth Cook, who skates by the name of “Dread Pirate Robyn,” is from Harrisburg and started skating in June when she joined SIRG. “I had roller bladed a little bit but never skated, period,” said Cook. Cook, who is also co-president, said roller derby is the first competitive venture she’s ever undertaken. Cook is 28, married and works at Ferrell Hospital, in Eldorado. “This is the only thing I’ve ever done that’s sports-related,” said Cook. “I really like the physical part of the game. We don’t get paid to do this, it’s all-volunteer and all expenses are covered by the skaters themselves.” Jamie Robinson, also of Harrisburg, is vice-president of SIRG. Robinson, who is 29, works at the SIU Foundation. “I absolutely love it,” said Robinson. “I have to work on endurance, because I was never into sports. I think it’s a great way to try and stay in shape. I heard about the league starting and decided to give it a try. The SIRG recently held a scrim-

Left: Gatha Moore and her teammates rest during halftime. Below: Competitive roller derby is kind of like bumper cars without the cars.

mage at Williamson County Pavilion, an event that was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd. Shannon Johnson, executive director of the Williamson County Tourism Bureau, said she was “thrilled” with the crowd and with the opportunity to host the event. “We’re constantly looking for ways to bring events to the Pavilion and when we were approached by officials from SIRG about hosting a scrimmage we thought it was a great idea because we have the perfect facility and the perfect amenities,” said Johnson. “Before the match they pre-sold 250 tickets. That’s a great turnout for a firsttime event.” The SIRG season will begin in April and the local team will be competing against teams from Paducah, Evansville and various other locations throughout the Midwest. All the home matches for the SIRG will be held at Williamson County Pavilion. “We’d encourage folks to come out and see what this is all about,” said Johnson. “The enthusiasm among members of SIRG and at these matches is really contagious.” Anybody wanting more information about SIRG can contact Elizabeth Cook at 926-7598. Left: Tess LaCoil, aka Abbygale Bierk, and her Hell’s Elves teammates anxiously await the start of the competition at the Williamson County Pavilion in Marion.


january 2010 l 27

Faith on the


By Roger Lipe

Over-coached? “I wonder what would happen if I just threw a basketball onto the gym floor in my P.E. class and gave them no instructions. How long would it take before someone organized a game or came to me to ask for directions?” An area high school head basketball coach posed that question as we discussed the lack of leadership among his players. Leadership seems to be one of the elements of sport which is most sorely lacking at this moment. I speak with hundreds of coaches each year and I hear their complaints about the lack of leadership, on and off the field of competition, among the players of their teams. Of late, some of those conversations have turned toward how early and how intensely children are coached in their sports. For earlier generations, like mine, we were never coached until we entered junior

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high or later. We grew up playing sports and adapting sports with no adult supervision, let alone professional coaching. My friends and I would play baseball with two or three players per team. We had ‘ghost runners’ and we established special boundaries, a ball hit onto the roof is a double, if you hit it across the street it’s an automatic out and Johnny has to bat left-handed. We played basketball on the playground and chose teams based on shooting free throws, by ‘do-or-die’ shots for first pick or by who brought the ball. Leadership grew in these environments because we had to choose our teams, establish the rules, agree on boundaries and settle our own disagreements. That often looked like heated arguments and occasionally even fights, but our leadership grew in the process. Our present world of youth sport has short circuited this process for young players. They now show up at practice and every moment is scripted by the adults and they don’t have to think about anything. They learn to defer all the decision making to the coaches in their first years of playing and when they become college players we’re puzzled at why they don’t lead well. They don’t play pick-up basketball games, ‘scrub’ or ‘500’ on hot, sunny, summer afternoons. (For those under forty years of age, scrub and 500 were adaptations of baseball.) They sit in the house and play MLB ’09, or Madden video games. Let’s give some thought to how we develop our young athletes. Let’s consider that they may by overcoached. We may be, in our strong desire to help them achieve and to enjoy sports, diminishing their experience by removing the problem solving, leadership development and character building elements from competition. Let’s give them a little more room to be creative and to solve their own problems. Let’s hold our desires to control and to organize in check. Let’s watch as they recover these essential elements of the sport experience and we’ll see a new generation of effective leaders emerging.


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Turf By Mike Murphy

Gearing up for 2010


ere we go head first into another year and I’m not sure if I am ready. I know there will be plenty of scandal, who saw that Tiger Woods thing coming? I know many are sick of hearing about it but just the sheer scope of the indiscretions was something to think about. I mean, really, how did the guy ever have the energy to even swing a club let alone dominate his sport? The economics of sports will continue to confound. There seems to be some sort of slow down in the high salaries being tossed about but the rich still get whomever they want. I will be interested to see how the Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals contract negotiations play out. At some point there has to be some acrimony between the principal players. One thing that is missing in the New Year that I hope isn’t gone forever is the John A. Logan Baseball Card and Sports Memorabilia Show. After a 23 year run at JALC in Carterville it is a dark venue this January. JALC Athletic Director and Baseball Coach Jerry Halstead said a combination of things made the college scrap the event this year. “The Cardinals have changed some policies regarding players

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appearing in the region,” Halstead said. “The Card’s Winter Warm-Up and Cardinal Caravans demand time from the players and they are discouraged to attend other events.” The JALC Show had always tried to land a Cardinal such as Vince Coleman, Tom Pagnozzi, Joe Torre, Jack Clark or Whitey Herzog. Ironically, Whitey being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame might have been the final nail in the show’s coffin. “Whitey had to clear his January schedule so he wasn’t able to help us out,” said Halstead. “The fees for the special guests also continue to climb.” Halstead said he hopes the cancellation is a one year thing and the card show, now named after its creator, Jerome “Mimi” Alongi, can return to the line-up at JALC in 2011. Basketball will get us through the long winter, it always does. If you get a chance to catch a game, look for a Herrin Tiger game that features big-man Alex Brown. He doesn’t dominate every night, yet, but he has come a long way

since the young man a few years ago that struggled in almost every phase of the game. When he is on, a triple-double usually occurs and he has already signed a D-I offer sheet to attend SIU-Edwardsville next season. You might also want to check out a John A. Logan basketball game. Watch the point guard Lazeric Jones or the high-flying antics of swing man Jesse Perry. Jones most likely will be the starting point for UCLA next year and Perry is being courted by Arizona State but hasn’t ruled out SIU. I used to grab the sports page from the newspaper to get away from the ‘bad news’ on the front page. In this techno-age I now hit the sports websites but it gets increasingly harder to steer clear. Let’s hope the coming year is something to remember because of all the good happenings. Let’s Meet Here Next Month

Photos by Ceasar Maragni


Marion’s Aaron Adeoye was good last year, better this year but his best days on the hard court are still ahead of him have jumped off a trampoline. He twists and switches the ball to his right hand. The ball seems tiny and weightless as he rolls it off his fingers into the basket. Marion takes the lead. The fans get their reason to cheer. “Aaron has been huge for us all season,” said Marion coach Aaron Mattox. “He’s had tremendous games. He’s going to get better and better. His work ethic over the summer was tremendous. He has improved exponentially over the summer and that’s because he’s worked so hard.” The Wildcats lost that game to the Comanches, who trapped and doubled Adeoye all game. Marion’s do-it-all junior came away with only six points. “He’s such a big kid that you just have to get a body on him,” said Cahokia coach Darian Nash. “We were able to keep him pretty locked down.”

By Joe Szynkowski


aron Adeoye is sprinting down the court. He just forced a turnover under the basket during a physical game against Marion’s South Seven rival Cahokia. It’s a back-and-forth contest early in the second quarter and Wildcat fans are still looking for a reason to get out of their seats. Adeoye (pronounced Ah-dayaway) gets the up-court pass from teammate Troy Stuckey and has one man between him and the basket. He glides to his left, dribbles twice and takes to the air. This is when time stands still. The 6-foot-6 forward appears to

as his post moves. I think he’ll do those things and he can work on those things during the summer. He can work on getting better with his back to the basket and get better at shooting from the face-up position.” Adeoye worked on just that during a busy offseason. He played on a stacked AAU team and competed overseas in a European tournament. Facing tough competition has helped Adeoye identify the parts of his game that need honing. “I’ve just worked on being more of an offensive player,” he said. “Last year I wasn’t that big of a scorer. I was just kind of the big body on the court that played de-

“I’ve just worked on being more of an offensive player. Last year I wasn’t that big of a scorer. I was just kind of the big body on the court that played defense. So I worked on my post game and just being more of an authority in the post once I got the ball. Now I’m looking to score.” – Aaron Adeoye Improving his awareness under the basket when defenses tighten up is one of the things Adeoye needs to work on, according to Mattox. “He’s got to get used to doubleteams,” Mattox said. “At the next level he’s got to get better as far

Photos by Christopher Kays


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fense. So I worked on my post game and just being more of an authority in the post once I got the ball. Now I’m looking to score.” Playing in Europe is an experience unique to most Southern Illinois high school basketball players. Mattox got Adeoye in contact with a mutual coach who was looking for a high school junior from the Midwest to fill out his roster. Adeoye fit the bill and before he knew it he was taking his game across the Atlantic Ocean. “I played with a kid who was being recruited by Michigan State,” Adeoye said. “Another player from Columbus, Ohio was being recruited from a bunch of places. We had three kids from California. I learned a “Aaron has been huge for us all season. He’s had tremendous games. He’s going to get better and better. His work ethic over the summer was tremendous. He has improved exponentially over the summer and that’s because he’s worked so hard.” – Marion Coach Aaron Mattox – lot from those guys. They were all good players.” The team played in gyms from Rome to Florence to Milan on their trip. Traveling so far from home was nothing new for Adeoye, who once visited his father’s home country of Nigeria. “I was definitely excited about traveling,” Adeoye said. “I would consider it again for sure. My parents were really supportive, too. They always do the most for me. Whenever I’m doing bad they’ll be the first to tell me. But they always support me and are right there for me.” Adeoye didn’t start playing competitive basketball until junior high. It was just “something to do” for the teenager. “I didn’t have a real good feel for it but all my friends were doing it so I stuck with it. It wasn’t anything I was really

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passionate about until freshman year.” Flash forward a few years and Adeoye is a terror on the court. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game in the early goings of this season. “He’s got a lot of athleticism,” Mattox said. “And he’s a young 16. He just turned 16 in August. He’s going to be a great player at the next level and continue to get better for us. “He’s a very good student academically. He’s an easy kid to work with. He always has a positive attitude and he deserves the success he’s having.” Adeoye says he want to play college ball if someone wants him. Mattox doesn’t think a potential suitor will be too hard to find. “He’s worked hard in the weight room,” Mattox said. “He was here for us every time the gym doors were open. He went and played in Europe playing with some of the best players in the Midwest. Basketball has been good to him. He’s had some good opportunities and he’s shown he appreciates it by the way he’s playing.” Joe Szynkowski is a freelance writer for SISC. He can be reached at joeszynkowski@hotmail. com.


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Giving Back By John D. Homan

From left, John “Tex” Calvert, LaVonne Norris and Ed Smith, all of Carterville, have a combined 55 years of experience keeping the scorebook and announcing at men’s and women’s basketball games at John A. Logan College. They have also worked for decades at Carterville High School games. (Logan Media Services photo)

The Carterville trio of John “Tex” Calvert, LaVonne Norris and Ed Smith has more than 75 years combined along with countless memories volunteering at JALC and Carterville sporting events CARTERVILLE – John “Tex” Calvert has such a fondness for the game of basketball and service to community that he can’t walk away from a job tailor-made for him – not even after 50 years of work. “I get in free to the games, get a good seat and all the soda and popcorn I want,” Calvert said. “What more is there?” Now 64, Calvert is the official scorer at both John A. Logan College and Carterville High School basketball games. He got his start with basketball when he was a freshman in high school in 1960. “By the time I was a senior, I had pretty much done it all at Carterville – scorer, trainer, manager,” he said. That service to school and community continued through college and for several decades to come. Calvert began his work at Logan in 1978, making this season his 31st with the Volunteers. He has been Ed Smith of Carterville is pictured at the microphone for the John A. Logan College Volunteers. He has worked 12 years in that capacity. (Logan Media Services photo)

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with the Lions for 50 years. “When Bobby Brown was hired as men’s basketball coach at Logan, I called him and asked if he needed a scorer. He called me back and said he did. I have been here ever since,” Calvert said. “And have made a number of road trips with the team, too.” Inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001 as a “friend” of the association for his work as a scorer, Calvert said his best memory at Logan was a reception held at the college for him, along with fellow Logan Hall of Famers Tom

window with a rag. We made it to soda all over new Logan employthe college about 10 minutes be- ee Matt Yusko, who was filling in fore game time. as public address announcer. “We got back home about 2:30 “There was Mountain Dew evin the morning. Just a few hours erywhere,” Calvert said. “It’s a later, I was at work (Calvert taught wonder poor old Matt wasn’t elecfifth and sixth grades for 30 years trocuted.” at first Carterville and then HerCalvert and his wife, Brenda, rin schools) and then back on the have been married for 34 years. road that afternoon to Mattoon to The couple has two sons, Wesley, play Lake Land. a math professor at Murray State “By this time, the rain the night University, and Winston, a lawyer before had turned to snow,” Cal- with a St. Louis firm. vert said. “Again, we got there Calvert said he has no immediright before the start of the game, ate plans to retire from his sports got home late again and then back gig, although health concerns at work. I didn’t get much sleep have made it more difficult for him that week.” to move around. Calvert also “I have too much fun to rerecalls a home tire,” he said. “It’s the association “I get in free to the games, get a good seat and all game with Kas- with the kids that helps keep me the soda and popcorn I want. What more is there?” kaskia in which young.” colorful head Calvert is but one of three Cart– John “Tex” Calvert, longtime official scorer coach Jeff Car- erville residents who have teamed at JALC and Carterville – ling grabbed at up to perform key duties at home his chest and basketball games at Logan and Ashman and Gary Barton. flopped around on the floor “like Carterville High. “I’ve been fortunate enough he was graveyard dead” over a LaVonne Norris and Ed Smith to be around a lot of great play- call that went against his ballclub. are familiar faces, as well. ers and coaches over the years “He had to be revived before Norris keeps the score at all and have also gotten to know a he could get back to the bench,” the women’s games and assists number of the officials who have laughed Calvert. Calvert as a spotter at the men’s worked the games here. I’ve made Carling later pounded the scor- games. She also keeps the book many friends.” er’s table, Calvert said, spilling at volleyball and softball games at Calvert said there have been many memorable moments over the years at Logan. “I remember a big fight breaking out back in the late eighties when we played Fort Campbell, Kentucky,” he said. “We fought with these guys who are trained to jump out of parachutes and kill the enemy with their bare hands. “I also remember a couple of road trips in bad weather,” Calvert said. “It was pouring down rain on our way to Blytheville, Arkansas one night and the defroster on our old bus kept going out and the windshield wipers weren’t working well either. The driver was con- John “Tex” Calvert shakes hands with an official prior to the start of a recent John A. Logan College home basketball game. A Carterville resident, Calvert has kept the official scorestantly reaching up to wipe off the book at Logan since 1978. (Logan Media Services photo)


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Logan and frequently travels with the team. “I guess you could kind of call me the team mom for the girls,” said the 59-year-old Norris, who is a West Frankfort native, having graduated high school there in 1968. “I have always been a big fan of basketball. I grew up watching Bobby Brown and Tim Ricci play at West Frankfort,” Norris said. After marrying Charles “Birdie” Norris in 1974, the couple moved to Carterville. When the Norrises’ daughter, Dawn, became active in athletics in high school in 1990, LaVonne volunteered her time. “I started keeping the scorebook her freshman year and then began helping out with the boys’ games, too,” she said. “And then when Marty

“I guess you could kind of call me the team mom for the girls,” – LaVonne Norris, scorekeeper for Lady Vols Hawkins became head basketball coach for the girls here at Logan 12 years ago, I asked if he needed any help. And he did.” Norris also became the scorekeeper for the Lady Vols’ softball team coached by Bruce and Angie Jilek in 2004. She also finds time to keep score at the home volleyball matches. “When you get used to watching the games, you don’t want to give it up,” she said. “I enjoy being around the kids. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing them grow from kids into young adults. You have to remember that when these young men and women get to Logan, it’s the first time for most of them away from their moms and dads. Some get homesick and need someone to talk to once in a while. I would like to think I have helped.” Saying that she wasn’t ever gifted enough to play sports when a youngster, working with the athletic departments at both schools is the next best thing. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Norris said. “The athletic departments have been very good to me over the years.” A former cook at SIUC, Norris is noted for the treats she brings with her for the players to share at the games. “I go by the store and pick up gum and candy. I put it on top of the scorer’s table for anyone who wants it. I did it just for the girls at first, but now the boys are into it, too,” she said. “It kind of became a tradition with me. And then during the softball sea-

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son, I bring sunflower seeds for the girls. To me, it’s just part of my job – whatever I can do for the kids.” Ed Smith has been the public address announcer at Logan for the last 12 years or since Hawkins took over the reins of the Lady Vols. “I used to run the clock at the high school games in Carterville, but eventually became the PA guy at both schools,” said Smith, who by day is project manager for EMC Construction in Carbondale. The Downer’s Grove native moved to Carterville in 1966. He and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 38 years and have two children, Chris, an electrician for Burke Electric in Murphysboro, and Cathy (Blythe), a manager with Southern Illinois Healthcare. Both reside in Carterville with their families. “I never played basketball, but my son did,” said Smith when asked of his keen interest in the sport. “When Chris was in junior high (mid 1980s), the team needed somebody to keep score, so I volunteered. And when he wrestled in high school, I kept the clock. Eventually, I replaced Gale Dawson as the announcer at ballgames. “What I try to do is get the crowd enthused,” Smith said. “I try to keep the pace as up-tempo as possible.” Smith said he has enjoyed getting to know the players, coaches and officials over the years. “It’s been a lot of fun. If I didn’t like it so much, I wouldn’t do it,” he said. “Announcing definitely keeps me busy during the winter and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” Hawkins is pleased to have the Carterville trio working his games. “You can’t say enough about folks who dedicate so much of their time to your program,” he said. “Tex, LaVonne and Ed have been around for a long time now and have meant a lot to the college. We can’t thank them enough for their hard work and love for John A. Logan College athletics.” Carterville High School Athletic Director Todd Rogers said he is relieved not to have to worry about finding quality workers at his games. “Like clockwork, those three can always be depended on,” he said. “They’re dependable and reliable. I’m very much appreciative of what they do for us and can’t thank them enough for the work that they do. All are a big part of Carterville athletics.”


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Ask the

McDocs By Dennis McGuire & John McConnaughy

Is there balance in your life?


ver and over you hear people talking about having “balance” in their lives. This can mean appropriate amounts of work, recreation, and rest. Or it can be a physical, mental, emotional balance. These are all important however this topic is about your physical ability to resist gravity effectively. Our bodies are designed to be upright, with equal weight bearing on both feet. If you stood on two scales in front of a plumb line, it should show equal weight on both sides, without rotation or lateral bending. With a line down the side, it should show the ear in line with the shoulder, hip, and ankle. Alterations in these positions, typically means improper weight bearing, and possible premature degeneration. We should have a forward curve of the neck (lordosis), a backward curve in the upper back (kyphosis), forward lumbar curve, and backward sacral curve. Too much or too little curvature can cause improper load bearing and friction at the spinal joints. This is when the body’s response is to increase calcium to the area for extra support. In the spine it’s called osteoarthritis, which is comparable to having rust in a hinge. Avoiding premature wear and tear starts at childhood. While

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children are more pliable then adults, they fall and become injured through sports, vehicle accidents, and more. When their spinal balance is shifted they grow in a compensated manner. Start supporting children’s feet with shoes that give their ankles the control they need. Make sure that their longest toe (not always the big toe) has one thumb width of space inside the shoe. Make sure the shoe is wide enough to allow all the toes to move freely. Your toes are extremely important in sending messages to the brain to control sway and motion. Remember how you felt after playing outside in the cold, and your toes seemed to be frozen stiff? Do you recall how hard it was to walk? That was due to diminished neurological information to and from the toes. B a l ance also has to do with flexibility and agility. If your toes, feet, and ankles are stiffer than normal, it can predispose you to losing your balance on uneven terrain. If you can control those joints, you can enjoy a more active and injury reduced lifestyle. Inner ear disorders are a separate concern and will be addressed in a later article. I’m going to leave you with a simple but effective tool for improving your balance. This has many variations but we’ll keep it short. It should only take 1-2 minutes to do this, but it can be challenging! Stand in a doorway for 30 seconds with your eyes closed, and arms slightly out to the sides to catch yourself if needed. When you can do 30 seconds without swaying, go for 60 seconds. Stand on one leg for 30 seconds, with the other thigh held at 90 degree’s in front of you, and the knee bent. When this becomes easier, try it with eyes closed for 30 seconds, and then up to 60 seconds. Stand on a pillow, rolled up towel, swim noodle, etc., and stand with eyes closed. Then work your way up to one minute, using one leg at a time. The better your balance, the better you compete and feel, so help bring some “balance” into your life!

Ask the

AD By Mario Moccia

five coalition conferences (Mountain West, WAC, SunBelt, Conference USA and the MAC). So you can see, the NCAA has no say, and the BCS has no motivation to do so.


There’s a photo of you at the UNI game wearing an Under Armour jacket. Where can I buy one? The team and administration’s allotment of gear comes directly from Under Armour, and then it is embroidered locally through our equipment room. Some items made available to the team and staff is available only through the sideline program and are not available through retail distribution channels. We are working with both UA and our local retailers to try to find ways to provide these items, but given our market size, that is a difficult task. Typically, local retailers must purchase large minimum orders, and it becomes a risky venture for them if the items don’t sell. In my opinion, the best selection of team-related gear is from 710 Book Store. I would check with them at or at their location in Carbondale at 710 South Illinois Ave. I would also recommend checking with the University Bookstore. The Department of Athletics is going to be putting our on-line store out to bid very soon, and I guarantee it will contain the most Saluki gear to date with whatever company gets the bid, as this will be one of the stipulations in the contract.


Has there been any discussion that the NCAA would mandate that BCS teams must play away games against mid-major conference teams? There has been no discussion on this, as the NCAA doesn’t control the BCS. The BCS is controlled by the conference commissioners, so mandating that BCS teams would play away from home and reduce the amount of revenue that they would receive would realistically never happen. I was just reading an article in Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal where 81 percent of the BCS’s total payout went to the Big Six conferences and 18 percent went to the other

I am a proud member of the Class of 1964 and served three years as a student manager to the Salukis teams (1962-64). I was wondering if the school would consider naming the new football stadium “Alumni Stadium” if we could get many of the classes and members to donate? The naming of facilities associated with Saluki Way is assigned as follows: First the value of the room, stadium, area, etc. is ascertained by multiplying the square footage of the area and by the cost per square foot. Then that value is divided in half (if the space is new) or by one-third (if the space is renovated), and that figure is what needs to be donated to associate a name with a specific space. Furthermore, the University reserves the right of final say regarding this process. Now, there is some flexibility to alter some of the numbers, if all parties (Athletics, Foundation, main campus, etc.) agree that a certain amount is the maximum that can be received for a specific area. Finally, the Board of Trustees reserves the right to bestow an honorary name to any facility. If there is no name selected to a specific area, such as the stadium or arena, then the Department of Athletics, in conjunction with the campus, will assign a placeholder name (such as Saluki Stadium) until a donor of an adequate amount can be solicited and approved. In theory, the stadium could be named Alumni Stadium, but it would be difficult to ascertain that each alumnus who donated gave to the specific purpose of naming the football stadium, since current alumni are now donating for all different reasons.


Are there any plans to incorporate any of the old stadium facades into the new stadium? Also, will the words Southern Illinois University be printed along the interior walls, along with the words Salukis? The McAndrew Stadium facade will not be incorporated into the new stadium, but the main recognition piece for William McAndrew will be removed and incorporated, as well as the pyramid marker for the resting place of King Tut, the original mascot. In addition, several photos will be placed in and around the press box to honor the history of the stadium. The graphics team from 360 Architecture is working as we speak with Jason King, our Associate AD for Facilities and the lead athletic person on this project, for all the graphics in and around the new football stadium. What I have seen to date is going to look very sharp.


If the school is forced to take the drastic measure of closing in the spring, how will that affect athletic programs? Recently, Chancellor Dr. Sam Goldman and President Dr. Glenn Poshard have been very clear that SIU is not closing, so this is something we will not have to worry about. To answer your question in general terms, if any University had to close, then I would assume that athletic programs, just like all the academic programs, would cease to exist or be suspended until the University re-opened.


What are plans for the area where McAndrew Stadium is currently located after it’s gone? The site will be used to construct a Student Services facility, develop a campus courtyard and an Alumni/Foundation facility. There will also be additional parking. A timeline is yet to be determined, and the west side of McAndrew Stadium will stay up at least until the new football stadium is completed. The track and the east side stands will remain in place for the foreseeable future.


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When the occasion calls for a gift. . . Give a Southern Illinois Sports Connection subscription. Just $34.95 per year Send Check or Money Order to: SISC, PO Box 174, Sesser, IL 62884 NEVER TIRE OF TALKING ABOUT YOUR SALUKIS? LOG IN & DISCUSS EVERYTHING SALUKI!


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KMH‌ KDH Six small letters provide a (wrist) band of love and a bond of friendship for two Saluki families 42 l january 2010


By Joe Szynkowski Doug and Krystal Hexamer’s twin boys never got to watch an SIU football game, but they will forever be linked to the Salukis. Their tragic deaths shortly after birth two years ago shattered the hopes and dreams of two parents who had looked so forward to raising them. The grief is agonizing and unrelenting, especially around the suddenly hard-to-handle holidays. But one Saluki football player is dedicated to helping heal some of that hurt. John Goode’s wristbands say it all. The initials “KMH” and “KDH” are etched into the bands of SIU’s allconference fullback. He never got to meet Kai Martin and Kaden Douglas, but he feels like he knows them through his budding relationship with the Hexamers. “It’s an honor to be able to do that for them,” Goode said. “I know when they see the wristbands it might make them think of the situation they’ve been through, but it also reminds them of the great relationship that has happened with my family. I’m going to need a new pair next season; mine are getting a little ragged. But I will wear them forever.”


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Doug Hexamer went to bed early on Christmas night, 2007, but he didn’t sleep long. He was awoken by the screams of his wife, pregnant with twins. Krystal’s water had broken even though she was only a little more than halfway through the pregnancy. The couple rushed to hospital. “They sent us home and told us to just keep an eye on things,” “It’s an honor to be able to do that for them. I know when they see the wristbands it might make them think of the situation they’ve been through, but it also reminds them of the great relationship that has happened with my family.” – John Goode – Doug said. “We’d be back in and

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out three times over the next two or three weeks.” Kai and Kaden died shortly after birth on Jan. 7 and 8, respectively. The twins had contracted Group B streptococcus (GBS), a type of bacterial infection that is found in 15 to 40 percent of all healthy women. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 in every 2,000 babies in the United States will contract the infection. “There had been no red flags during the whole pregnancy,” Doug said. “That’s what made it so tough. The doctors said it’s so rare, it’s like a roll of the dice.”

The Saluki Connection

Doug attended SIU in the mid1990s and graduated with a radio/ television degree. Now a general assignments photojournalist for WMC-TV, NBC’s affiliate out of Memphis , Hexamer still bleeds

Saluki Maroon. He and Krystal attend every home game and even make it to some away contests. It was Doug’s passion for the Salukis that helped him meet Goode. Hexamer remembers scanning the Saluki roster early in the 2008 season, looking for an angle to land his alma mater an on-air feature. “I’m always looking for ways to get the Salukis on my station,” Hexamer laughed. He came across the name John Goode, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Olive Branch, Miss. , which is about 20 miles from Memphis. Hexamer brought his camera with him up to Carbondale and approached Goode for a story on the field after SIU’s homecoming win over Indiana State halfway through the ’08 season. continued on page 46


Focus By Ceasar Maragni


eing a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan I rarely rooted for other National League players, but there were a couple of exceptions. To a younger generation of baseball fans the names Dale Murphy and Tony Gwynn may not mean much, but to me and many others these two represented everything that is best about the game at the Major League level. Murphy made his major league debut in 1976 and for 18 seasons played the game he loved, winning

two National League MVP awards, appearing in seven All-Star games, slugging 398 home runs, with 1,299 RBI’s and over 2,000 hits before retiring in 1993. But it was also the way the father of eight lived his life off the field that so many fans came to respect him for. A deeply religious man, Murphy donated 10 percent of his annual salary to his church. In addition he spent much of salary and his free time helping numerous charities with their fund raising activities. Dale Murphy spent most of his splendid career in a Braves uniform where he won three MVP awards. He was the epitome of class both on and off the field. Former Braves manager Joe Torre once said of Murphy, “If you’re a coach, you want him as a player. If you’re a father, you want him as a son. If you’re a woman, you want him as a husband. If you’re a kid, you want him as a father. What else can you say about the guy?” While Murphy was more of a power hitter, Tony Gwynn was a hitter, period. The personable Padre was among the finest hitters in Major League Baseball history. He closed out his 20-year major league career with a .338 lifetime batting average, had 3,141 hits and 1,138 RBI’s. He won 8 batting titles and played in 16 All Star games. And, not unlike Murphy he too was considered a first class pro both on and off the field. Gwynn was one of the first players to utilize video tape to analyze his own swing, studying his own performance for hours in order to improve his hitting. It sure seemed to work. Those eight batting titles are evidence. The man many consider the greatest hitter who ever lived, Ted Williams once said of Gwynn, “Tony Gwynn is the Picasso of modern-day hitters, nobody studies the game harder, pays more attention to detail and goes to the plate with a better idea of what he wants to do.” Gwynn like Murphy has been active in charity work outside of baseball. Gwynn too was an excellent outfielder and in fact each won five Gold Gloves for their fielding prowess. The similarities don’t end there either. Both men married their childhood sweethearts and are still married to them. Both men have sons who play professional sports. Murphy’s son Shawn plays in the NFL as a guard on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gwynn’s son Tony Jr. is an outfielder for the San Diego Padres. Both men were always polite and professional in their dealings with teammates, opponents, managers, umpires, fans and the media. Try finding anyone would will say an unkind word about either of them - lots of luck on that one. Rumors involving steroids and performance enhancing drugs? Are you kidding me? Both were as clean as new fallen snow. Yes, I’m a Cardinals fan, but I’ll still always be a Dale Murphy and Tony Gwynn fan. They were among the game’s finest players and better yet, among the game’s finest men.


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Pictured left to right, John Goode, Sr., Doug Hexamer, Krystal Hexamer, John Goode, Jr., Jessica Kruse and Debra Goode.

“This guy just came up to me while I was talking to some friends after the game,” Goode recalled. “He just said ‘My name is Doug and I want to in“John (Goode) is all business when he’s playing and trying to separate people’s heads from their shoulders. Off the field he’s such a caring young man. And that’s how his whole family is. We couldn’t ask for better friends than the Goodes.” – Doug Hexamer – terview you for my TV station.’ I thought that was pretty cool and we just kind of hit it off from there.” The Hexamers exchanged phone numbers with John and his parents, and the families grew closer and closer. John Goode had two new fans. “The type of person he is away from the field is completely different than who he is on the field,” Doug said. “John is all business when he’s playing and trying to separate people’s heads from their shoulders. Off the field he’s such a caring young man. And that’s how his whole family is. We couldn’t ask for better friends than the Goodes.” As their relationship progressed, the Goodes found out about the deaths of Kai and Kaden. The

46 l january 2010


Hexamers approached Goode about the possibility of honoring the twins in some way. That’s where the wristbands, custom-made by Krystal, came into play. “He asked if I could remember the twins when I was playing and I was honored to even be asked to do something like that,” Goode said.

A Strong Bond

The friendship between the Goodes and Hexamers goes deeper than an occasional post-game dinner or phone chat. Doug and Krystal actually spent their 2008 Christmas with the Goodes. And when the Hexamers were involved in a lawsuit with Krystal’s former employer, Goode’s mother and grandmother were in court every day to show their support. “We are extremely blessed for the relationship we have with them,” Doug said. “They are just terrific people. The whole situation with the twins has been extremely difficult, especially for my wife. Having the Goodes for support has really helped us get through it.” Goode endured a tragedy of his own when he was a junior in high school. One of his best friends and fellow linebackers on the team died in a car accident. The experience has made Goode appreci-

ate the success he’s had with the Salukis. He caught seven passes for 35 yards and four touchdowns this season as a sophomore. He added another score on the ground and was named First-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference. “I think about that every day,” Goode said about his friend’s death. “He was going to go to Kentucky to play linebacker. Football has allowed me to come to a great school, get a great education and meet great people I would have never met without football.” Two of those people are Doug and Krystal Hexamer. “Hearing stories like Doug and Krystal’s really put things into perspective,” he said. “As a football player, you like to think you’re going out there and beating up your body for more of a reason than just going out and playing. You like to represent your family and that’s what I get to do. I’m representing great people. That’s what it’s all about.” Joe Szynkowski is a freelance writer for Southern Illinois Sports Connection.. He can be reached at

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