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Blue Devil Pride • Nashville Pipeline • Buying In • Basketball and Life



STANDING TALL The NHL’s tallest goalie tandem are looking to lead the Predators to new heights









12 Speaking Of History

When speaking to the history of pro football, the biggest news so far for most fans of the NFL in Tennessee and the region came on April 30, 1996.

15 Blue Devil Pride

Thirteen senior teammates are nothing more than regular guys in the halls of White House High School.

17 Nashville Pipeline

Five athletes from Nashville took distinctly different paths but all ended


up in the same place- the NFL.

20 Buying In

ML King coach Stephen Dorris’ cross country program has discovered the right formula for success, winning three straight A-AA team titles.

Flood Relief

Through perseverance, hard work and a successful fundraiser, the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association is finally back in business. Page 28

35 Basketball & Life

Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings learned a lot about the game of basketball from his high school coach Vergil Fletcher but he learned even more about the game of life.

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

Don N. Olea / TSM

Leading Off

Roster OUR

STAFF Jane Hutson…………………………………Publisher Jim Muir……………………………Managing Editor Jim Harwell…………………Contributing Writer Maren Angus………………Contributing Writer Rudy Kalis……………………Contributing Writer Roger Lipe……………………Contributing Writer Dr. James Lohse…………Contributing Writer Larry Woody………………Contributing Writer Greg Sage……………………Contributing Writer Kathy Steakley…………………Guest Columnist Autumn Boaz……………………Guest Columnist Kevin Pieper…………………Contributing Writer Bill Traughber………………Contributing Writer

ADVERTISING Jane Hutson………………Advertising Manager Marianne Van der Voort……Account Executive Randy Sharber………………Account Executive Jon Williams…………………Account Executive

12 NEW IN TOWN The Titans claimed Moss off waivers in November, becoming the third team Moss has played for this season.


Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

9 Pre-game 10 New Products & Innovations 23 Shut Up & Serve 42 Ask The Jock Doc

ART Don N. Olea………Art Director/Photographer Joel Smith……………………………Photographer Kevin Pieper…………………………Photographer Kenn Stilger…………………………Photographer

45 Ask The Athletic Trainer

Tennessee Sports Magazine is published monthly by Mad Kat Publications; 9050 Carother’s Pkwy Suite 104 #73, Franklin, TN 37067 ph: (615) 955-0545.

12 Football In Tennessee

Contents may not be reproduced without consent of the copyright owner. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. Tennessee Sports Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, articles, photographs or artwork.

To submit information, photos or stories or to place advertising please contact Tennessee Sports Magazine at (615) 955-0545 or

46 Looks Between The Lines

Inside 30 The Great Outdoors 34 College Sports



FAST START Belmont men's basketball stormed out of the gates and didn't look back winning the NIT Season Tip-Off South Regional.

Buckskins and Blackpowder

A Tribute to the Past Hunter and historian Clarence Dies steps into the forest and out of the 21st century. See page 30

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010



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The Big Show SUMMER CAMPS, grueling early morning workouts, extra work after practice and long and tedious training sessions all point to one thing for area high school athletes – a chance to compete on ‘The Big Stage’ of post-season competition. Thousands of Tennessee high school athletes begin the year with the goal of competing in state tournament competition and living the dream of every competitor – bringing home a state championship trophy. But, only a few realize that goal. Tennessee Sports Magazine had photojournalists on location at several different venues highlighting competition in cross country, girl’s soccer and volleyball. We’re thrilled to take you along for the ride as we celebrate the achievements of Middle Tennessee athletes. Photographs by

Maggie Allen, center, celebrates big with her Page volleyball team after winning the Class AA championship match against Goodpasture in three games.

David Warren/Actionpix

Ensworth outside hitter ReJean Rouse gets a kill during the the Div II-AA championship game. She was also named MVP for the Div II-AA tournament.

Ravenwood libero Micaela Bailey digs one up from the back row during the championship win over DobynsBennett in Class AAA action.

Ravenwood’s Stephanie Cerino, left, and Kathryn Hutson block a kill during the quarter finals.

Molly Locke, junior outside hitter from Page, gets a kill during the championship match at Murphy Center at MTSU. Locke earned Class AA MVP honors.



Barbara Lee Ball repeated as Region 5-A/AA girls cross country champion in dominating fashion in November, as the David Lipscomb sophomore finished the 5K Steeplechase Course at Percy Warner Park with a time of 19:31.30 – nearly 90 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

An unidentifeid runner represents the University School of Nashville.

Runners from across Tennessee took part in the state cross country championships at the Percy Warner Park Steeplechase course on Nov 6. The team from ML King captured the A-AA state title.

An unidentifeid runner represents Eagleville.

Photographs by

David Warren//Actionpix and Kenn Stilger


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All eyes are skyward as Franklin junior defender Carson Hewitt (25) battles for position against Houston’s Hunter Bogits (19). Franklin’s Lady Rebels won the Class AAA state soccer championship Photographs by

David Warren/Actionpix

Franklin sophomore midfielder Morgan Key (16) beats Houston’s Chanel Thorpe to the ball.

Houston’s Sammy Laplante (3) strikes the ball past Franklin junior midfielder Jessica Hiskey (15).

Franklin’s Jessica Hiskey (15) gains control with a header driving past an unidentified Houston player.


Character Counts by Jane Hutson

coach Bruce Pearl

Wade Payne/AP Photo


just watched the Titan’s game against the Redskins. It was one of those conflicting games to watch with personnel changes from rookies to Randy to third-stringers. Plenty of life lessons from the game we can all learn from. One that stands out to me is that when life gives you an opportunity, do your best. Another is when you aren’t at your best, support and rely on your team (or co-workers or family or friends…) to pick it up and do their best. While it’s easy to see and say from the couch in the family room, apparently it’s not always easy There seems to do. to be a lot of How hard should it be for Vince Young to watch controversy Rusty Smith come into a game as the Titan’s quarterback? How hard should it be to show supsurrounding port for your team while they are playing hard? a few Injuries happen, life happens. It’s how we handle it that shows our character or lack of it. Tennessee At the end of the day, it’s your team. At the end sports these of the day, it’s your family or co-workers or days. friends. At the end of the day, did you do your best? There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding a few Tennessee sports these days. Coach Bruce Pearl is getting a lot of grief for his choices. Deserved grief, in my opinion, but we can’t turn a blind eye to infractions. It’s cheating all the same. I love to watch great high school and college basketball and it tarnishes the program when these choices are made and consequences are given. I certainly hope Coach Bruce Pearl and UT handle the resulting NCAA punishment with character. I hope they swing the pendulum the other way and perform well above board in all areas of UT athletics going forward. That’s the challenge and test of character we need to see. On another topic, something magical happened a few weeks ago when Jim Muir and I visited with Vanderbilt head men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings. We went into his office the morning of a home Tennessee basketball game, sat down after some brief

introductions and got to hear story after story about Coach Stallings’ high school basketball coach from Collinsville, IL, Vergil Fletcher. Jim shares those memories and much more in his story on the great coach’s impact on his star player’s life. Judge for yourself if you think Coach Fletcher built character in his players. I think you’ll truly enjoy learning about this side of Kevin Stallings. We sure did. Character-building is what one local football coach has been doing with his players for many years. White House coach Jeff Porter has a program that develops character in his young players and impacts hundreds of youngsters in the community every year. Seniors from the White House football team visit the elementary schools each Thursday morning during the football season and have assigned classrooms to teach the four rules of the club. You’ll learn what those rules are and how character is being built from an early age. These guys are like rock stars when they walk into a classroom and they get as much or more from it than the kids. It develops character, it develops pride and a sense of community, it develops bonds across generations for years to come. Our cover story this month is on a couple of star NHL hockey players. The irony here is how injuries opened up opportunities for these players. Besides being awesome goalies, the story chronicles how these players handled setbacks and opportunities that make Predators Rinne and Lindback special players in the NHL. Timely story, if you ask me. Wish I could say we planned it that way, but we’re not that good. Maybe another pro player in town could learn some lessons from these guys. Maybe all of us can. One of my favorite bosses, Jim Moreland, once said, “You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle lost luggage.” We need more Coach Fletchers and Coach Porters, more Pekka Rinnes and Anders Lindbacks because at the end of the day, it’s your character that counts. ■

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


New Products & Innovations

Skate Fenders

Might Just Be Bullet Proof By Maren Angus


As the game evolves, products become more high tech. Most sticks used now are composite and they have a flex that snaps the puck harder. “Skates are great but you lose protection and PROTECTION Skate Fenders is a proddurability,” said McClelland. uct made of high grade poly carbonates “Preventing injury is the that are light weight and impact resistfirst priority,” said ant. McClelland. Skate Fenders is made of different grades of poly carbonates and other fessionals for a large size. materials that work together to preAccording to the Skate Fenders vent injury. McClelland also said the website they have been tested new version is holding up well at the numerous times on and off the ice, pro level. and refined to be effective in reducThere are currently 16 NHL ing painful, debilitating impact teams, farm clubs and college teams injuries. They are also convenient using Skate Fenders, “Acceptance for players to put on and take off and has been great,” said McClelland. are affordable for players at all levThere currently aren’t any youth els. sizes but according to McClelland if “We make what we are doing the demand is high enough there affordable,” said McClelland, “We could be some towards mid-season provide additional protection and or at the end of the season. There make it affordable.” ■ has also been an interest among proPARTNERS The folks at Skate Fenders work in close partnership with Lake Superior State University’s Product Development Center ( and have benefited from the engineering expertise and support of both staff and students at LSSU.

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

Photos courtesy of Frank McClelland


n the game of hockey, one may think the foot is protected by a skate but injuries still occur and frequently. One of the common injuries to the foot is a navicular fracture. The navicular bone is located on the top of the foot around the middle, underneath the laces of the skate. So now the question is: How does one prevent this kind of injury? The answer is simple, Skate Fenders. Skate Fenders is a product made of high grade poly carbonates that are light weight and impact resistant. Skate Fenders protect the foot from injuries brought on by pucks and sticks. Polycarbonate is a clear plastic used to make things such as shatterproof windows. Lake Superior State University’s Product Development Center worked closely with Skate Fenders to develop a plastic shield that straps onto the skate, protecting both sides and the front of the foot; the main areas that are impacted. According to LSSU, the force of an NHL slap shot is almost equivalent to a .22-calliber bullet. Skate Fenders is a part of the family owned company, Respond, Inc. out of Michigan. According to, “Respond, Inc. is a small family owned company that has worked in partnership with players, coaches and equipment managers of all ages and abilities, from the highest level professionals to recreational players.” The company started marketing Skate Fenders last January. Frank McClelland, President of Skate Fenders, said the motivation behind creating the product came from being tired of getting hit. “Players are stronger, faster,” said McClelland, “Skates are built for performance which means lightweight.”

Ebony Rowe

Middle Tennessee State University • Basketball Ebony Rowe was named the November 16 Sun Belt Player of the Week, the first weekly honor given out by the conference office this season. She is the first freshman to receive the accolade since Feb. 23, 2009. She is the first since 1997 to accomplish the feat after posting 25 points and 16 rebounds in her first collegiate game against USF. “The passion she brings to the game and to our program, along with her work ethic, is unbelievable,” said Rick Insell, head coach. “She is only going to get better. The sky is the limit. We are very happy to have her here, not only as an athlete, but also as a student. She is just as good in the classroom as she is on the basketball court.”

Ian Clark

Belmont University • Basketball Ian Clark is the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year and a Preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection, Clark scored 18 points in each of Belmont’s first two games of 2010-11 – a narrow loss at nationally-ranked Tennessee Nov. 16 and a convincing victory over Arkansas State Nov. 17. “Last season’s performance was not accidental for Ian,” head coach Rick Byrd. “He is a very talented guard who is very hard to defend because he can shoot it from well outside the arc and drive it to the goal and score or find an open teammate. Ian loves to play the game and his enthusiasm and positive approach makes an impression on our entire team.”

Kyla Kerstetter

Brentwood High School • Basketball Kyla Kerstetter has signed with William and Mary. She was named District MVP at Brentwood High in 2009-10 after averaging 21.4 ppg. She led Brentwood to the region semifinals for the second year in a row and was named to the district and region all-tournament teams in both 2009 and 2010. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, serving as BHS' publicity and communications chairperson. She is also a member of FCA. Coach Ron Seigenthaler said Kerstetter stands out on the court, in the classroom, and in community. “Kyla has been a three-year starter and is our team captain. She scored over 1000 points by her junior year and has the skill set and ability to play point guard, wing and post for our team.”

Hunter Harris

Vol State • Basketball Hunter Harris knows how to work through adversity. Harris went to work straight out of high school after graduating from Hunters Lane in Nashville. He broke his hand during the second half of the Jackson State game and finished the game with 28 points that included 9-10 from two point range, 10-14 free throws, 12 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. “He can do it all,” said head coach Rusty Melvin. “He’s 6-feet-6-inches and weighs 210 pounds. When he plays with his back to the basket he drop-steps and dunks. He takes everything to the rack. He can dribble the ball up the floor. He hits the three. He may be the best athlete I’ve ever coached here. He is a big-time player." Harris is averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds a game. He is married with one daughter.

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Titans Perspective When speaking to the history of pro football, the biggest news so far for most fans of the NFL in Tennessee and the region came on April 30, 1996.

Blue Devil Pride Thirteen senior teammates are nothing more than regular guys in the halls of White House High School.

Nashville Pipeline Five athletes from Nashville took distinctly different paths but all ended up in the same placethe NFL.

Saying Goodbye The The Nashville community lost a dear friend and leader when football official John Coles IV passed away on September 25, 2010. WELCOME ABOARD Tennessee Titans wide receiver Randy Moss (84) is welcomed with open arms by players and fans alike as he is introduced before the start of his first home game between the Titans and the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010. Photograph by Frederick Breedon/AP

Football In Tennessee


Speaking Of History… By John Lee

and perhaps the 'runner-up' to 1996 as the biggest news for local pro football fans, the year when both versions of the Oilers were retired and the team became the Tennessee Titans while earning a trip to Super Bowl XXXIV. The Super Bowl! Most Titans fans to this day will say that was our year to win it all, but it fell one yard short. R egardless, the Titans were our team. They didn’t win the Super Bowl, but they definitely won our hearts. All of those reasons for the team moving here, and all of the bad blood behind them soon became quite insignificant. Speaking of big moves and bad blood – the month of November 2010 brought us our third runner-up historically for big news for the Titans. The future hall of fame receiver Randy Moss, who was passed over in the 1998 draft by the then Tennessee Oilers, makes franchise history by becoming the first 'big' NFL star to become a Tennessee Titan. Moss playing for the Titans is third in line of historical relevance? Yes, because the Titans have never had a star of this caliber at

any position, at least not anyone known of across the state line, and along with him comes the enormous possibilities of where he can help to take this team. As of this writing there is no shortage of hearing why it’s a bad move and it’s falling on deaf ears. I sit in the stands for the games, as

I am a fan and I talk in depth with other fans, and this was an excellent move by head coach Jeff Fisher and the Titans, and personally for Moss, as his alternative opportunities were not looking good. He brings to the team gifted and experienced leadership and a thirteen-year veteran men-

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM Randy Moss tosses a football during practice after the Titans claimed Moss off waivers, becoming the third team Moss has played for this season. Mark Humphrey/AP photo


h e n speaking to the history of pro football, t h e biggest news so far for most fans of the NFL in Tennessee and the region came on April 30, 1996 when the l e a g u e announced that the owners had – however narrowly – approved the embattled Houston Oilers’ move to Nashville. At the time it was difficult to grasp that, on the east bank of the Cumberland River, within a few hundred yards near where as a kid I had worked at a barbeque joint, there would soon stand a brand new NFL stadium, home to our own NFL team. It was nothing short of unbelievable. True, we did hold our breaths’ as there was low-turnout for games the first two seasons and lots of grumblings of ‘see I told you it was a titanic mistake.’ We were warned there was going to be trouble. But, for better or for worse, the team was here and they were now ours. That was big news. Sound familiar? Fast forward to 1999,

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Football In Tennessee matter. Moss has been taken in by a team and an organization that wanted him and he in turn wants to be here, and what matters now, is what happens on the field for the remainder of the season, and if he looks ahead and hopes to finish his career as a Titan. The Titans are a team that has always flown Who cares what has been said in Minnesota somewhat under the radar on the national about Moss’ move here. DO WE CARE what scene. With the new NFL posithey are still saying in Houston about the tion of leaving a division Oilers move here? heavy schedule at the end of the regular season, Moss still gives a hope of possibility for the Titans to fight story and onto the next Sunday. ising receiver Kenny Britt sideupward in the AFC South and There is already something differlined for a still unknown period of help position the team for a playent about seeing the number time, there is room to help right off berth. eighty-four and perhaps because now. Welcome to Tennessee, star it’s on a Titans jersey. The Titans, from owner Bud receiver Randy Moss. At least for True, Moss hasn’t always had a Adams, and from the longest the remainder of this season, rosy relationship with the media, tenured NFL coach Jeff Fisher, to thanks to you that blip on the and this should not be of great the coaching staff and to the playNFL radar isn’t Santa Claus, it’s concern. The reason is simply ers, they’ve all welcomed Moss to the Tennessee Titans. because at this point, it doesn’t the team with open arms. ■ torship for a fairly young group of players. As a seven-time pro bowler, with 949 receptions and the number two receiver in the NFL with 153 career touchdowns, he still has something to bring to the table, and call it timing, but with prom-

Who cares what has been said in Minnesota about Moss’ move here. Do we care what they are still saying in Houston about the Oilers move here? Besides, at this writing, Vikings head coach Childress has been fired and it’s now all NFL back-

Who Would Have Thunk It …

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE now to all of this is that Randy Moss as it turns out isn’t the big concern for the Titans everyone predicted he’d be. No, that spot is now officially held by Titans fifth-year veteran quarterback Vince Young. Young’s post-Redskins game antics are now the talk of the NFL, and has the spotlight temporarily panned off of Randy Moss. This just may be the best thing to happen to Moss so far in his Titans career. This takes the attention and some pressure off of Moss and even third-string quarterback Rusty Smith, who will start against Houston, the third different starting quarterback in as many games. Free agent quarterback Chris Simms was signed to the Titans on Nov. 23 and will most likely be in the number two spot until an injured Kerry Collins returns in a few weeks. Personally, I am excited to know that the quarter14

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

Vince Young waves his hands as fans boo as he leaves the field in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins. Young later left the game with an injured thumb. back question has been put to rest for the remainder of the season. It will be interesting to see how – and if – Fisher and Young resolve this issue.

Frederick Breedon/AP photo

So you thought Randy Moss was going to be trouble?

Football In Tennessee

Blue Devil Pride By Kris Freeman


hirteen senior teammates are nothing more than regular guys in the halls of White House High School. These young men – exemplified by their character and classroom work ethic off the field – complement those efforts with a playoff run to the Class 4A quarterfinals. But to hundreds of kids in White House and Millersville, Ryan O’Neal and his teammates are celebrities. Bigger than stars to elementary school children at H.B. Williams Elementary and Millersville Elementary, their blue and white jerseys represent the best. And perhaps it is justified, as the 2010-11 senior class is worth the pedestal off the field as much as on it, with impeccable character and discipline and an excellent academic record. The program is called Upstart B.D.P., and gets its name from the phrase that has echoed the community in White House since the mid-1980s – Blue Devil Pride. Seniors from the White House football team visit the elementary schools each Thursday morning during the football season and have assigned classrooms to teach the four rules of the club: say no to drugs; be respectful to parents and teachers, study and make good grades; and be a good person. They rotate trips to the two elementary schools during odd and even weeks of the season. If one wonders why the Blue Devils have been to

the playoffs for 19 straight years and had 29 straight winning seasons, there is a foundation laid that gives a great head start before they ever step onto the field for the first time. “I remember being a little kid in elementary school and seeing my player come in and it was the thing we looked forward to all week,” O’Neal said. “From being a kid in Upstart to now teaching a class in it and to see them be a big part of our lives is exciting.” Boxes of pictures, letters and special gifts line the lockers of the field house. Younger kids may not always remember their names, but fourth and fifth graders go so far as to keep up with stats. If there was ever an adopt-a-player mindset, this is it. “I love seeing the kids faces when we go to the classroom and watching their reactions when we come into the building,” said lineman Zack Hughes. “I actually have fourth and fifth graders who watch the games and keep up with the things I do on the field,” said linebacker Cody Hall. “Each week they would tell me what they saw me do and that was pretty cool.” Several of the current seniors remember going through the Upstart B.D.P. program as an elementary school student. Since 1992, it has been a staple of the community minus a twoyear break in the early part of this decade while school districts and buildings were being realigned along Sumner and Robertson County.

Photo courtesy Marliss O'Neal

Ryan O'Neal, a senior for the White House Blue Devils football team, speaks to Leann Lamberth's third grade class at H.B. Williams Elementary School on a Thursday morning as part of the Upstart B.D.P. program.

“It creates a great level of accountability from our players to our community and to younger students in our school system,” said 24-year head coach Jeff Porter. “It is a tremendous asset to our program and

many of our current players are products of this system from the time they were elementary school students.” Principal Ellen Brown of H.B. Williams Elementary was confident that the

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Photo by Kris Freeman

Football In Tennessee

PEN PALS Now that the regular season has ended, White House seniors Cody Hall, left, and Ryan O'Neal look at pictures and notes of encouragement from elementary school kids in the Upstart B.D.P. program, before heading to Lexington for a quarterfinal playoff game.

2010 group of seniors was one of the best, and that is consistent with their track record off the field. Not a single one of these


players has ever faced discipline issues at WHHS or in the football program. “This was a fantastic

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

group of young men and it certainly is a highlight to our week to see them come to the school,” Mrs. Brown said. “They were always on time, always polite and always represented their school and program well and our kids really look up to them.” Through the years, the program has been coordinated by a number of community and school volunteers, parents and supporters. The success, however, is measured by how much the players put into it, and this year is top-notch in the commitment. “It was a great experience and we get the opportunity to teach kids about the right things – how to act and how to conduct yourself especially off the field,” tight end Andy James said. “I open up my box every day and see a bunch of pictures and it reminds me of what

kind of impact we can make on them.” The football season is now complete, leaving the task of classroom accountability as a primary concern before graduation. Many of these players have completed their careers and put a facemask on for the last time. College is ahead, but that comes in academics and not athletics. Forever to elementary school students, however, they will be like professionals. “The kids look up to what you do and listen to what you say,” split end and defensive end Steven Newton said. “They know your name and the rules by the second week you come in and it’s exciting to see them grow through the year,” lineman Michael Robinson said. “This is definitely the highlight of our year and to see how those kids react to us is incredible.” ■

Football In Tennessee

Nashville Pipeline Music City players make impact on NFL By Jim Harwell


Photo courtesy Bancroft Creative

ive athletes from Nashville took distinctly different paths but all ended up in the same place- the NFL. All fiveTim Dobbins, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Frank Omiyale, Scott Wells and King Dunlap- are making a mark at the highest level of sports and talked about a wide variety of topics with Tennessee Sports Magazine.

CHARGED UP Before joining the Dolphins this season, Tim Dobbins helped the San Diego Chargers make the playoffs four straight seasons.

Tim Dobbins

Nashville’s Tim Dobbins, now in his fifth year in the NFL, is a member of the Miami Dolphins after four years with the San Diego Chargers. A linebacker and special team’s standout, Dobbins helped the Chargers make the playoffs four straight seasons. Dobbins continues to excel, just like his days at Wright Middle and Glencliff High. His past coaches rave

about how he loves to play football and wants to be the best he can be. Dobbins talked about taking a new approach to the current season. “I started doing some things differently in my life so I could get better,” said Dobbins, referring to his goals. “I started eating differently, things like that. I want to be more than that special-teams guy.” Dobbins’ inspiring story started and continues in Nashville, where he grew up and where he and his wife and two daughters live in the offseason. Dobbins and his friends grew up in rough neighborhoods, but football was a positive influence in their lives. Through hard work, dedication and much more, Dobbins has excelled at every level. And he is quick to give credit to his Glencliff coaches’- head Coach Jim Wilson, Greg Abner and Steve Schyck, among others. Dobbins still considers Abner, now head coach at Cane Ridge High, almost like a father-figure. Abner was asked what it’s like to see Dobbins play in the NFL. “It’s really special,” Abner said. “It’s a great story … it took a lot of hard work and pushing and pulling, but he’s really a great young man.” As a young teen, Dobbins was into trouble and not very interested in school. Dobbins has said if it wasn’t for football, he would likely be in jail or dead. Abner and the staff mentored him and set him on the path he is still on. During a recent season, he sent all three coaches gift packages. Wilson’s gift contained Dobbins’ one NFL touchdown ball, specially prepared for Wilson. “I was really honored to receive that gift,” said Wilson, head coach at East Lit. “There are a lot of Tim’s out there but they just don’t make it to the NFL.” Wilson’s Glencliff teams were dominant during those years going 13-2 and finishing as 6A state runner-up in 1999. Dobbins was heavily recruited and advised to attend jun-

DUMB JOCK? Hillenmeyer excels in academics and recently received his MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School at Northwestern.

ior college in Mississippi. After that, he was outstanding at Iowa Stateand the rest is history.

Hunter Hillenmeyer

Hillenmeyer grew up a typical Nashville youngster before his outstanding NFL career. The youngest of five Hillenmeyer boys, he attended Harding Academy and MBA before Vandy. He enjoyed and excelled at just about every major sport, with hockey being one of his favorites. While he and his brothers played many sports, especially golf (two of them were college golfers), Hunter was the only one who pursued football. His toughness likely comes from being the youngest of five brothers. His father Henry jokingly says Hunter “took up football in selfdefense.” Henry and mother Sally had a tremendous impact on Hunter, always encouraging him to do his best in all his activities. “It’s just the way my parents raised all of us. Do your best at everything,” Hunter said. “They always pushed us in the right direction regarding academics as well, and I think that is important to them.” Hunter excels in academics and recently received his MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School at Northwestern and has a strong

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Football In Tennessee future in the business world. Hillenmeyer and one of his best friends have certainly taken Nashville sports to a higher level. He and PGA golf pro Brandt Snedeker were classmates their entire growing up years and are still very close friends. Fans know Hunter’s outstanding achievements in football. Moreover, he’s been outstanding off the field as well. Highly respected in the league, Hunter is on the Commissioner’s Advisory Council (10 players appointed by the Commissioner), the Competition Committee and the NFLPA’s Concussion Committee. He also was the NFLPA

Rep for the Bears from 2006-2009, highly involved in the work of the Players’ Union. Early in the 2010 season, after seven seasons with the Bears, Hunter was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion, an injury that has plagued him during his career. “I have mixed emotions,” Hillenmeyer said about the IR. “I respect the decision of Jerry (GM Jerry Colangelo) and Lovie (Smith) to place me on injured reserve. Concussions by nature are harder to evaluate than other injuries. While this is probably in my best interest and the team’s, it is hard to accept the fact that my season is over in

one game. “As someone who has been in the forefront of player advocacy of concussion awareness, I’m happy to see my team err on the side of caution. But when it is my season that is cut short, it makes the complexity of the issues really hit home.”

Frank Omiyale

Nashville coaches Richard Coure and Dorris Armstrong have impacted generations of studentathletes in Nashville. They helped establish the great athletic tradition at Whites Creek High and in the city. Among the many outstanding young people from their careers, people like Shelton Quarles

Saying Goodbye Community mourns loss of friend


he Nashville community lost a dear friend and leader when football official John Coles IV passed away on September 25, 2010. He was 53. John suffered cardiac arrest while officiating a Nashville high school game. He passed away the next day. John is survived by his wife Lois and their two sons, John H. Coles V and Robby Coles, as well as a multitude of friends, relatives and admirers. The outpouring of love and support for the Coles family and for John is evidence of the great life John lived and continues to live through his family, friends and the community. In addition, the Nashville sports community lost a great friend, as John was a high school and college football official for three decades, including high school and college championship games. He earned tremendous respect as a football umpire and treated coaches, players and everyone he knew with


great respect and compassion. John was a leader in the football official community, often befriending young officials and mentoring them. Coles lived a rich, full life and found joy in everything he did, especially spending time with family and friends, hunting, fishing, spending time at his Center Hill Lake cabin and of course officiating games. John was a senior project manager for HKS Inc. in Franklin. John grew up in Nashville and attended Lipscomb. His father Dr. John Coles III was the Lipscomb team doctor. Some of his dearest friends include John Griswold, Mike Sims, Jeff Irwin, Jay Brown, Jason McArthur and Randy Swinehart. John was a big man whose imposing physique was matched by his irresistible personality and love for life. “He treated coaches and players with the utmost respect,” said John Griswold, one of his best friends and a colleague for over 25 years.

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

stand out. Like so many Cobra student-athletes, they heavily impacted Quarles, who went on to a 10-year NFL career with Tampa Bay. He is now on the Bucs’ personnel staff. In recent years, Quarles established a scholarship at Whites Creek, and the school retired his jersey. The latest Cobra in the NFL is the Chicago Bears’ Frank Omiyale (pronounced O-mi-yale), an offensive lineman now in his sixth year in the league. After Tennessee Tech, Omiyale played two years for the Falcons and two for the Panthers. Omiyale was described by a Chicago writer as “the nicest guy in the Bears’ locker room.” Frank plays three positions on the line.

“And he received the same from coaches. We have more memories than ever should have been allowed in life.” Coles’ crew continues their work, knowing that John is still with them in spirit. Photo courtesy John Griswold

Football In Tennessee

Photo by Jim Harwell/TSM

at SEC schools, Wells at UT and Dunlap at Auburn. Wells moved to Nashville during high school. He played two years at BA and was a standout wrestler as well. Dunlap credits BA coaches Flatt, John Patton and Patrick Abernathy as having a big influence on him. “I started playing football at age five with Coach Patton. I remember we worked hard in practice and worked on form tackling.” King’s big sport was basketballafter all he is 6 feet 9 inches and an outstanding overall athlete. Flatt says Dunlap had to develop the football mentality.

CHEESEHEAD Brentwood Academy grad Scott Wells is in his seventh year as the starting center for the Green Bay Packers. Photo by Jim Biever/Green Bay Packers

“The saying is, ‘The more you can do, the longer you’ll be around,’” Omiyale said. “So hopefully that plays out in the future in my favor … I’ve just got to keep getting better … One of my goals every game is to grade out well.” Coure, now in his 38th year coaching and teaching, is understandably proud of Frank’s success. “He earned it. He worked hard and was dedicated,” said Coure, who spoke highly of Frank’s character and conduct. “Frank was a quiet, soft-spoken kid. In practices he would dominate.” Coure remembers that the young Frank was a model citizen. In those days, Frank lived with his mother and granddad and worked at Kroger, while playing three sports a year in addition to school. He also looked after his younger brother Mike, who has Down’s syndrome. The Cobra players and friends loved Mike and welcomed him as part of the team. Frank was 15 when his

family moved to Nashville from Georgia. Omiyale was an All-American at Tech and led the NCAA I-AA Division in blocking consistency. Today, as a starter for the Bears, Frank maintains the same work ethic and character that helped him make it to the NFL.

Scott Wells and King Dunlap

Wells and Dunlap are two former Brentwood Academy Eagles who are now regulars in the NFL. Wells is in his seventh year as a lineman for Green Bay. Dunlap, a Philadelphia Eagle, is in his third year. Carlton Flatt coached both players at BA. Dunlap and Wells’ career paths have been similar – neither player was heavily recruited out of high school, and virtually no one believed they would become starters in the NFL. Both starred

ONCE AN EAGLE… King Dunlap is in his third season with the Philadelphia Eagles. King was a standout for coach Patton and the Brentwood Academy Eagles.

“King is such a nice guy and a mild-mannered person,” said Flatt, “so he’s had to develop the toughness to be a good football player.” King comes from an athletic family. His parents were athletes at TSU, and his sister Victoria was SEC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year last year at Kentucky. ■

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


The Martin Luther King’s boys cross country program has earned three straight A-AA state titles after having previously finished no higher than fourth place. Photographs by

David Warren

BuyingIn ML King coach Stephen Dorris’ cross country program has discovered the right formula for success, winning three straight A-AA team titles.

Kenn Stilger/TSM Photo

COACHES EVERYWHERE will tell you that team chemistry is everything. Gather a group of players; get them believing in the program and in each other and together they can accomplish far more than they could apart from each other. That axiom works in every team sport, but what about in an individual sport masquerading as a team sport? That’s what cross country is, after all - there are no passes to complete, no screens to set, no blocks to throw, no double plays to turn. It’s an individual sport that’s scored as a team. Right. Try telling that to the runners of Martin Luther King’s boys’ cross country program. Under the tutelage of coach Stephen Dorris, they’ve discovered that a team is much stronger than its individuals, and have turned that discovery into three straight A-AA state titles.

Turning the Corner

“It really began about four year ago, with a group of boys from the class of 2008,” Dorris began to explain in a quiet, reserved manner. “They were a special group who

saw a real opportunity and decided, ‘hey, we should go ahead and work hard to top all our local rivals’ – Lipscomb, FRA, Hume Fogg. Before then, we had never finished higher than fourth.” “Nick Wynn and Stephen Wathen were the leaders of that group,” Dorris remembered, recounting the leaders who motivated the younger runners. That team actually finished as runnersup in 2007, the team’s highest finish ever, but falling just short actually proved to be the catalyst that galvanized the program, fusing a high work ethic with evolving expectations. The team now wants to win, and isn’t afraid of the hard work needed to achieve success. In 2008, a combination of experienced leaders and talented youngsters brought MLK its first CC team title. In 2009 and 2010, the

Royals dominated, placing all five of their scoring runners in the top 30 – no mean feat with over 180 runners competing in the state meets. Ryan Graves, John Gilpin, and Micah Wasserman, all 2010 graduates, carried the torch forward from that 2007 second place finish, with Graves finishing second place individually his senior year. The newest ‘young gun’ is sophomore Sam Klockenkemper, who gave MLK its highest finish (sixth) in this year’s championship. “The mentality has changed,” Dorris said. “In the past, we would have one or two guys who had bought into the principle, but we never arrived at the point where we had a whole core group of guys who would say, ‘okay, it’s June 8, and I’m starting my six and eight mile runs.’ That 2008 group sparked the change. Now we can have a pack, a group of runners pushing each other in training and influencing the pace of a race.”

The All-In Attitude

So what turns a runner into a racer? What separates the best from the rest of the pack? And why do so many of them seem to be emerging from this Metro magnet school for Health Sciences and Engineering? “Distance running is hard work, and it takes discipline, just like in the classroom,” Dorris said, adding that it’s no surprise that most of his best runners are also exceptional students. “It means running when no one’s watching, anywhere from 25 to 40 miles a week. Once a runner develops that ‘all-in’ attitude, that desire to get up on the podium at races, then they begin to separate themselves from the weekend warriors.”

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Photo courtesy David Warren/Actionpix

CHAMPIONS MLK coach Stephen Dorris, far right, poses with members of his cross country team after they captured first place in the state championships at the Percy Warner Park Steeplechase course on November 6.

Dorris then pointed out that this championship team was a little different - they were driven. “They willed themselves to win - they weren’t kids who had arrived with success in middle school running and other events. They maximized their ability and did the work.” Senior David Gilmore - the ‘rudder’ of the team, according to Dorris - exemplifies both this group and the program. “He started running as a freshman, in the back of the pack,” Dorris said, “but grew into a good runner and a great student.” “When guys like him, who are


maybe one notch lower in the talent department, gain success like this (Gilmore finished tenth overall in the title meet) … there’s nothing better.”

The Secret Formula

Coach Dorris began his coaching career after graduating from Tennessee Tech’s engineering program. A high school graduate of Franklin Road Academy, he leapt at the opportunity to return to FRA to teach and coach with his mentor, local track legend David Tucker. “Coach Tucker probably believed in me more than anyone not relat-

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

ed to me,” Dorris remembered. “He taught me so much … be good to the kids … teach them to be good people, not just good runners … kids are more important than winning. His accomplishments set the standards, but I’ve always tried to remember his example more than anything else.” His approach to coaching reflects those values. “I try to make it fun, which is easy with this group of kids. They really enjoy being together as friends, and that makes the training sessions easier, but if it’s not fun then why would they want to give their all?” “This group is naturally motivated – when I come to practice and say, ‘this is going to be a hard day,’ their eyes light up. They know that the hard work will pay off when they run against the better runners,” Dorris said, revealing that his main job is to support the boys and make sure that they are mentally and emotionally prepared. Quiet-spoken and humble, Dorris maintained that the success his programs have enjoyed (he also coaches the boys’ track team, who have won three straight A-AA team titles as well) stems from the people around him. “Our parents are great. They provide lots of support for the team - hosting dinners, helping with transportation, and creating a positive atmosphere,” Dorris said. “The administration here at MLK has always been supportive, and that makes it easy as well.” ■

Shut Up & Serve

Boyz VB in ‘The Ville’

by Dave and Mandy DeRocher

Photo courtesy Dave DeRocher


just got back from an amazing time at the annual volleyball alumni game in Southern California visiting my alma mater USC. It was a blast to get back on the court and try to hang with the ‘young bucks.’ The players today are so much bigger, stronger, and faster. For example one star player, Murphy Troy, is 6 feet 8 inches tall and 245 pounds and can touch an amazing 11 feet 8 inches on his vertical leap. We pretty much got killed until they put in their third string, but we We pretty made it fun. All of us left with huge smiles, great much got memories, and ice bags killed until taped to all our joints. they put in As I flew home, I asked their third myself what it would take to get boys volleystring, but we ball rocking in the city of made it fun. Nashville. All of us left I know most people see it as a girl’s sport and for with huge the most part they are smiles… right. But, I also know if enough boys get exposed to it, volleyball will be a Scott Rhein, one of huge blessing to this city. the top outside hitIn the past, boy’s volleyball was predominantly ters in the country, based in Southern California. But today, boy’s recently played on volleyball has spread all over the country to the USA Junior places like New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, National Team. Florida, New Jersey, and even Wisconsin. Also, I

want to mention on the 2008 Olympic men’s gold medal team, several of the players grew up in places outside of sunny Southern Cal. That brings me to our beloved Music City. I have a dream of seeing boys volleyball thriving in our town! Already, we have some amazing players being trained right here in our city. Home school standout Scott Rhein has become one of the top outside hitters in the country. He recently played on the USA Junior National Team and is getting a scholarship to Pepperdine University. NCAA coaches get a kick out of hearing that a player this good is from Tennessee. Tyler Golsteyn from Father Ryan and Grant Cornay from Page are two seniors also on the radar for a lot of college coaches. We even have a big brain valedictorian from Wilson Central named John Cook who is a rising star (his cousins Danny and Caleb are phenomenal beach volleyball players here in town). So I invite you, young men, to learn a game that is intense, fastpaced and exciting. We are starting weekly clinics here in the city at AGame Sportsplex in Cool Springs. There will be NO cost to learn the game! If you are in elementary school, or junior high, all you need to do is email and we will begin after the Christmas holiday. I look forward to seeing you on the court. Let’s shut up and serve! ■

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Cover Story

StandingTall The NHL’s tallest goalie tandem are looking to lead the Predators to new heights By Paul McCann Photographs by Don N. Olea


TALL ORDER Nashville Predators goalie Anders Lindback rose to the top of a deep pool of talented goalies during training camp emerging as the Predators No. 2 netminder.


December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

efore this year’s training camp started, the Nashville Predators were unsure of who would be their backup goaltender … Dan Ellis had already been signed by Tampa Bay, Pekka Rinne was the confirmed starter after signing a contract extension during the Olympic break and the backup job was up for grabs. Scanning the available free agents showed several affordable, experienced and capable backups, but Predator’s General Manager David Poile decided to give the younger goaltenders already in his organization a shot. While deep in talent, the pool of Mark Dekanich, Chet Pickard and Anders Lindback were very light in NHL experience. In his first season of North American hockey, Swedish goaltender Anders Lindback made the most of this opportunity, seizing the role in a very competitive training camp, resulting in the Predators adding two Nordic goaltenders to the roster – two goaltenders that took two very different paths to the National Hockey League. Twenty-eight year old Pekka Rinne fol-

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS Pekka Rinne made the most of his 2008-09 rookie season finishing in the top five in Calder Trophy voting for Rookie of the Year.

lowed the traditional path for a Nashville Predator to get to the big club. Rinne played three seasons in the Finnish Elite League before he came over to North America in 2005. He spent the 2005-2006 season with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, save for one short call up, spent all of 2006-2007 and most of the 2007-2008 season with the Admirals as well. He posted outstanding numbers with the Admirals before winning the number one job in Nashville. Pekka’s talent, persistence and dedication to improvement could not be denied but in most circles he was known as the goalie that was scheduled to start a Sunday game in Music City when Chris Mason was injured and Dan Ellis was struggling during the 2007-2008 season. However, fate got in his way, as his equipment did not make it to the rink in time due to a large

snowstorm that blanketed the Midwest. Ellis had a shutout in that game and proceeded to go on a hot streak solidifying his position as the number one goaltender in Nashville. Rinne was eventually sent back to Milwaukee without getting into a game. When asked about that experience Rinne found a silver lining in the dark cloud. “I was very disappointed in the bad luck,” he said. “But looking back, things have turned out great. Milwaukee was a great learning experience for me.” Pekka Rinne learned his lessons well and finally won a spot on the big club for the 2008-2009 season as Ellis’ backup. Typically, he made the most of his opportunity finishing in the top five in Calder Trophy voting for the Rookie of the Year honor. Since then Rinne has never looked back while grabbing the

starter’s role and becoming the first to clearly maintain that role in two consecutive seasons since Tomas Vokoun. When asked if he prepared differently this off-season now that he is the number one, you get a simple answer, “I prepared to play a lot of games, I tried not to change too much, just focus on my foundation.” Anders Lindback, the Predators seventh round pick in the 2008 draft, took a less traditional path at least for this franchise, jumping from Timra in the Swedish Elite league directly to the NHL. The preseason scouting report on Lindback described him as a good stick handler with excellent mobility and reflexes. It is often said that European prospects struggle with the transition from the larger “Olympic” size rink to the smaller NHL size. While Lindback’s experience in the 2010 Olympics with the Swedish

FINALLY Rinne’s talent, persistence and dedication earned him a spot on the roster for the 2008-09 season as Dan Ellis’ backup.


December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

National team gave him some experience on the smaller rink he says that the biggest difference he has noticed is the impact rink size has on the game. “The small rink makes the game very different. It’s more dangerous with pucks keep coming into my feet from every angle.”

with Rinne at 6 feet 5 inches and Lindback 6 feet 6 inches … giving the Predators almost 13 feet of goaltender on one team! They share similar hybrid goaltending styles as well. Coach Korn says that their size is “both a blessing and a curse.” “The blessing is it is still a game

some shuffling of defensive pairings and Nashville found itself on a five game losing streak that dropped the team to the bottom of the division. While you cannot lay it all at the feet of goaltending, it is fair to say that it was a factor. To their credit, neither goaltender shied away from responsibility or pan-

LISTEN UP Goalie coach Mitch Korn, center, has tutored Predators goalies for 13 seasons and is in his 20th in the NHL having also worked with Dominik Hasek, Grant Furh and Olaf Kolzig.

… It is still a game of SQUARE FOOTAGE, the bigger you are, the more square footage you cover … Lindback did not have long to adjust to the North American game as he was called to action in the third period of the Predator’s season opener, filling in for an injured Rinne. Oddly enough he said his biggest concern that night was finding his gear and getting on the ice, a common thread given his predecessor’s experience. Nashville goaltending coach Mitch Korn believes it was a good thing to get Lindback into the game with little time for him to get nervous. He has been very impressed with the “cool, calm and collected nature of Anders.” Lindback followed up his solid performance opening night with wins over divisional rivals Chicago and St. Louis and an overtime loss to Eastern Conference power Washington. He stopped 93 of 101 shots over those three games and solidified his hold on the backup job. Not bad for a 22year-old’s first foray into NHL hockey. Given their physical similarities, sometimes it can be hard to tell the two apart. Both goalies are tall,

of square footage, the bigger you are, the more square footage you cover, you have more range, you have more reach,” Korn said. “But, it’s a long way down because you have to make most saves off your feet so it might take a bigger goalie more time to get down. The bigger you are, the more holes there are. Bigger five hole and under the arms. Bigger goalies tend not to be, in general, as athletic or as quick as smaller guys. Fortunately that is not the case here.” The record bears that out. So far this season both goaltenders have generated solid stats, their save percentages are in excess of 91 percent and goals against averages are below three. It is also obvious that goaltending will be one of the keys for the Predators if this team hopes to make the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. The tall tandem was outstanding over the first eight games of the season resulting in the team going 5-0-3 and placing them at the top of the Central Division. Then a stretch of injuries and

icked. By staying steady and resolute, the situation eventually turned. Large expectations have been placed on this young tandem’s shoulders and because of that consistency will be their watchword. The roller coaster ride of the first two months of this season has given each of these players valuable experience that will be drawn on as the marathon NHL season progresses. The calm nature of these towering goaltenders has been on full display so far. Korn, who has seen his share of goalies who exhibit some rather interesting tendencies, puts it this way. “Both guys here really didn’t take on the classic goalie persona as being weird,” Korn said. “These guys are as grounded and as down to earth as they get, and as a result, they are able to approach each day like its own day.” Considering both of these goaltenders’ talent, demeanor and relative youth, the Predators future between the pipes is very ‘big’ indeed. ■

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Through perseverance, hard work and a successful fundraiser, the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association is finally back in business. By Maren Angus Photograph by

Don N. Olea


was sitting in my dorm room in Phoenix, Arizona, reading The Tennessean when I realized just how bad the weather was. My mom and dad had described the weather on the phone to me every day and I just kept wondering why I hadn’t seen anything on CNN or any of the news stations in Phoenix. Sure, they could show the same short clip of oil gushing into the Gulf but they couldn’t take a couple minutes to announce the heart of country music was underwater. It wasn’t until my mom sent me pictures of the inline hockey rinks in Hendersonville that the tears started to fall. I felt helpless. I was across the country at school while my hometown and favorite city were underwater. I went home for spring break just two weeks after the flood waters receded. I saw the damage that was done and how much work was needed to take place for Middle Tennessee to recover. Obviously, I

FUNDRAISER Silent auction coordinator Maren Angus poses outside the Sicilian Pizza House prior to the night’s festivities.

Tate of the Seattle Seahawks and his younger brother Wesley, a running back at Vanderbilt, showed up to sign autographs and take pictures with all the kids. The fundraiser was incredible and raised $5,200 for the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association. The league was given $440,000 from its insurance carrier and used some of that to fix the damages to the concession stand and replace the boards. The HIHA was able to resurface the two inline rinks with a sport court

from SportSystems Unlimited and start the fall season only one month late. The event was a group effort, there was no way I could have done it all on my own. Thank you to all the people who donated, all the people who bought, the people who came out to support and the people who helped put it all together. Without everyone’s help, there wouldn’t have been a fall season. Congratulations to all the teams that won their division in the fall league tournament. ■

HELPING HAND Mike McCrea, Installation Supervisor, with SportSystems Unlimited/Athletica, center, gets help from members of the Hendersonville Parks & Recreation Dept. as they install a state-of-the-art sport court. Don N. Olea/TSM

couldn’t be of any immediate help so I decided to help over the summer with a fundraiser. I started organizing a fundraiser to help rebuild the inline hockey rinks – which were completely devastated – in June. I wanted to have the event at a restaurant with live music and a silent auction. I found the perfect venue that was willing to donate a percentage of food and drink sales, the Sicilian Pizza House, and just started emailing everyone I knew for silent auction items. I went to the community relations department of the Nashville Predators first. The Predators sponsor the league and their logo is placed along the boards of both rinks. The organization donated a jersey autographed by Pekka Rinne, a Ryan Suter signed stick, Denver Nuggets basketball and a Montreal Canadiens jersey, both signed by their respective teams. Tennessee Sports Magazine's Don Olea donated a Washington Capitals jersey signed by the 200607 team, including Olaf Kolzig and Alexander Ovechkin. Tom Callahan, the Predators’ radio play-by-play announcer, agreed to host the event. Carl Black Chevrolet donated jeans signed by CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton and another pair signed by Trace Adkins along with autographed guitars. One of the biggest surprises of the night occurred when Golden

Photo courtesy Wendie Angus

Photo courtesy HIHA

1000 YEAR FLOOD Davis Creek Park, which is home to the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Assoc., on May 2, 2010.

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010



The Great Outdoors with Larry Woody

A Tribute To The Past

Don N. Olea /TSM

Buckskins & Black Powder

TAKE AIM, FIRE! Lebanon, TN resident Clarence Dies is a historian and a stickler for authenticity as shown in his handmade authentic 18th-century long-barreled flintlock which shoots hand-molded lead ‘punkin’ balls, propelled by a charge of black powder measured from a dried cow horn. He makes his own buckskins from deer he kills, sews his own moccasins, even fashioned a beaver-skin hat.


earing a fringed buckskin jacket and hand-stitched moccasins, powder horn at his side and trusty flintlock in hand, Clarence Dies steps into the forest and out of the 21st century. “It takes me back,” says Dies, who hunts deer on his Wilson County farm the same way the first Middle Tennessee pathfinders did three centuries ago. “I don’t bag as much game as I could with modern firepower,” Dies admits, “but killing a lot of animals is not what’s it’s all about. It’s about the challenge, the enjoyment, the satisfaction of the experience.” Is Dies a historian who likes to hunt or a hunter who likes history?


“Both,” he says. “I grew up loving to hunt and I’ve always been fascinated by history, particularly Middle Tennessee history. I enjoy reading about the early settlers and longhunters that used to prowl these woods.” Dies is a stickler for authenticity and his bookcases bulge with works about such legends as Boone and Crockett and other famous frontiersmen. He is a student of their modes and methods, which he mimics as closely as possible. Take his rifle for example: At a time when most modern-day muzzleloader hunters carry in-line rifles that fire Sabots propelled by clean-burning Pyrodex pellets ignited by caps or primers, Dies’ rifle is

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

authentic 18th-century. His long-barreled flintlock shoots hand-molded lead “punkin’” balls, propelled by a charge of black powder measured from a dried cow horn. The musket is cumbersome to load, smelly and messy when fired, and tends to misfire in wet weather – a potentially fatal flaw for wilderness adventurers when their life might depend on getting off a quick shot. “It makes me appreciate the challenges frontier hunters faced,” Dies says. “We’ve gotten spoiled over the years with our reliable modern guns, waterproof ammo and easy-to-use equipment. I think it’s good to be reminded about how hard hunting used to be.” Dies’ gun is a replica of a “trade

The Great Outdoors with an array of colored beads and scrollwork. “It doesn’t serve any particular function,” Dies says. “It just makes the gear look fancier. Frontiersmen appreciated artwork.” Dies has not totally forsaken modern technology. He uses a shotgun for turkey hunting (bagging gobblers throughout the U.S., in Mexico and the Yucatan) and he carried a modern in-line muzzleloader on a successful Western elk hunt.

But as he explains, buckskins and black powder are not merely the means to an end -- the taking of an animal. Primitive hunting is a tribute to the skills, hardships and determination of our forefathers. It is a link to our pioneer past. “It was such different era back in those days,” Dies says. “I realize – and

appreciate – how good we modern hunters have it, but there’s a part of me down deep that longs for what we’ve lost.” It’s that longing that each autumn inspires Dies to pull on his moccasins and buckskins, prime his flintlock, and venture forth in search of a bygone era. ■

While blowing hot air seems to come natural for some folks, it’s not that easy when you’re sitting in an ice-covered duck blind turning patriotic hues (red nose, white ears, blue fingers.) On most wintertime duck hunts I’ve been on there wasn’t a lot of hot air available, and for duck-calling contestants

that can be a problem. One of the Daffy impersonators explained that if you blow cold air into a duck call it produces a sound called a "throat cutter.” Sounds like a mallard with a head cold. If you’re trying to entice a flock of circling ducks to come in to your raft of decoys, you don’t

Don N. Olea /TSM

rifle” that was common on the early frontier. “The Indians often traded furs for rifles,” he says. “The standard rate of exchange was a stack of pelts the height of the rifle. The longer the barrel, the taller the stack. That’s why sly frontier traders preferred a rifle with a long barrel.” Dies makes his buckskin clothes from whitetails he killed. As did many frontiersmen, he decorates his beaver-skin hat, bullet pouch and powder horn

Trade Value IT APPEARS THAT the Hudson's Bay Company upon hiring one Thomas Green as the Gun Viewer in 1717 began to build the North West gun in a standard pattern with features fancied by the local Indians. The barrels of these particular guns ranged in length from 40 to 48 inches long. The big bow for the trigger guard was introduced to allow for the mittens the indians wore. Additional features the Indians required as a condition of purchase or trade included the dragon side plate, the sheet brass butt plate with square headed nails, the very thin brass ramrod thimbles and a front sight in the shape of a turtle. They were full stock and smooth bore. Barrels back then did not have any choking in them as they didn't know how to do that. Flint locks were standard until the 1860's. Cap locks were used mostly thereafter until they stopped trading them sometime in the 1870's. Other gunmakers built these guns by the hundreds for the American fur companies of which Barnett and Ketland were two of the better known builders. Clarence Dies' gun – shown in the photo at right – is a replica of the Barnett that he hand-built himself.

Duck Callers Blow Hot Air


he state’s duckcalling championship was held awhile back and I was surprised there weren’t more politicians entered, since one

contestant said the key to success is blowing hot air. In fairness to our elected representatives, I suppose certain sports writers also could be included among the windy-gifted.

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


The Great Outdoors place in a wet, frigid environment that mimics authentic duck-hunting conditions: Turn the thermostat down to 3 degrees. Require each contestant to plunge into ice water over his hip waders at the start of the competition. (The finalists also must tumble out of their duckboat and into icy slush at least once before the final round.) In the midst of his calling, each contestant has to tip over a thermos of scalding coffee into his lap. Also in the midst of each rendition the contestant receives a cell phone call from his wife reminding him to pick up a loaf of bread on his way home. His faithful retriever, Ol’ Stinker, has an

want them to think they’re flying into a pneumonia ward. If you accidentally toot a “throat cutter” it probably sounds like this to the ducks: “Hey (hack!) up there!. How about (wheeze!) dropping by? The (cough!) water’s fine!” Ducks, among all creatures, are especially weary of becoming ill because most of their doctors are, well, quacks. I find it odd that duck-calling contests are always held indoors, in comfy confines where it’s easy to keep your air warm and your powder dry. Seems to me the competition should take Illustration by Don N. Olea /TSM


December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

The Great Outdoors untimely accident in the duck blind. A hunting buddy named Vern keeps making odd, distracting noises in the background, and at least once during each competition Vern takes an unexpected sky-buster shot a few inches from the caller’s ear. And during all of this – wet, frozen, scalded, deaf and miserable -- he has to keep his air warm and concentrate on quacking

sweet come-hithers. As in all competitions there can be only one winner, one master mallardmocker who successfully toots his own horn. Everyone else packs up and flies South, vowing to practice harder and do better next year. They know that in the highly competitive arena of duck calling there’s no margin for error. One sour note can cook a duck caller’s goose. — L.W. ■

Mark Your Calendar RIGHT TO HUNT Tennessee voters sent a resounding message by overwhelmingly supporting a "Right to Hunt and Fish" amendment to the state constitution in November’s state-wide election. There were 1,284,405 votes for it and 147,078 against it. The Tennessee Wildlife Federation drafted the amendment and worked for its passage. TWF spokesman Mike Butler said securing constitutional protection will make it harder for PETA and other animal-rights extremists to mount challenges in the future. Tennessee is one of 12 states to adopt such legislative protection. PETA reportedly spent $500,000 trying to defeat the measures. An estimated 750,000 Tennesseans hunt and/or fish, and the outdoors industry has a billion-dollar economic impact on the state. ■ ■ ■ ELK HUNT Unlike last year’s inaugural elk hunt when all five hunters bagged bulls, only three of five were successful in this fall’ second hunt. Among the three who filled their tags during the late-October hunt on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area was Clarksville’s Gregory Joseph Burns. He took the biggest bull which had 5X5 antlers (five points on each side) and field-dressed 562 pounds. One of the two who struck out was a Californian who bid $11,000 for a permit that was auctioned by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Except for that permit, all other funds generated by the hunt go into the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s 11-year-old elk-restoration program. The TWRA has not determined what, if any, changes will be made in the 2011 hunt. ■ ■ ■ HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY Hunters are encouraged to donate a portion of their venison this season to the Hunters for the Hungry program. Donated deer must be commercially processed and at some places the hunter has to pay the fee, although it is usually discounted for donated venison. The highly nutritious venison is collected and distributed to the needy by Second Harvest Foot Bank and other charitable organizations. Any group interested in participating can contact the Nashville-based Tennessee Wildlife Federation which oversees the program. ■ ■ ■ SMALL GAME HUNTING Quail and rabbit seasons opened Nov. 13 and run through Feb. 28. Squirrel and grouse seasons also run through Feb. 28.For a complete list of hunting seasons, bag limits and other regulations visit or consult the 2010 Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide, available at most outdoors outlets. — L.W.

Life Lessons Kevin Stallings and basketball success have been synonymous for more than three decades.

Fast Start Belmont men's basketball stormed out of the gates and didn't look back in defeating Arkansas State 93-60 in the NIT Season Tip-Off South Regional.

Top ’Dogs Cumberland University is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 2011 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll released in November.

Kevin Stallings, who has reinvigorated the Vanderbilt University men’s basketball program during the past decade, has coached alongside a ‘who’s who’ of college coaches. Photograph by Joe Howell

College Sports


Basketball and Life Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings learned a lot about the game of basketball from his high school coach Vergil Fletcher but he learned even more about the game of life By Jim Muir


evin Stallings and basketball success have been synonymous for more than three decades. Stallings, who has reinvigorated the Vanderbilt University men’s basketball program during the past decade, has coached alongside a ‘who’s who’ of college coaches. After a stellar career as a player at Purdue, Stallings was hired by legendary coach Gene Keady as an assistant – a position he held from 1982 to 1988. During that stretch, Purdue experienced great success overall, compiling a record of 140-44. Purdue also won three Big 10 titles during that period, and reached six consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including a “Sweet Sixteen” appearance in 1988. From there Stallings went to the University of Kansas where he served as an assistant under another legendary coach – Roy Williams. While at Kansas, Stallings played a part in helping the Jayhawks compile an outstanding record of 132-38 and four NCAA Tournament appearances. Among those NCAA Tournament

LEGENDARY Coach Vergil Fletcher had only two losing seasons in his 32 years at Collinsville where he compiled a won-loss record of 747-170 while winning state championships in 1961 and 1965.

appearances were two Final Fours, in 1991 and 1993. Stallings acknowledges that his coaching style has been influenced by Keady and Williams and the experience he gained at Purdue and Kansas was invaluable to him at both Illinois State and Vandy. But, the real foundation that provides Stallings with many of the beliefs and philosophies he uses daily at Vanderbilt was built in Collinsville, Illinois – a community of 24,000 located in southwest Illinois only 12 miles from St. Louis. And it was in Collinsville in the mid-1970s where Stallings, a high school basketball AllAmerican, first met Vergil Fletcher, a legendary and revered coach and a

stern disciplinarian. During a recent emotion-filled interview in his spacious office at Vanderbilt, Stallings talked candidly about his success at Collinsville, about the times he butted heads with Fletcher and about the many lessons – focusing on basketball and life – he learned from his high school coach. “There’s not a practice or a game that goes by that I don’t think of something that Coach Fletcher said or the way he handled a particular situation,” said Stallings as he fought back tears. “Impact? I can’t put into words the impact he has had on my life.” Long before Stallings donned the purple and white of Collinsville basketball Fletcher was churning out one winning season after another. And by any standard Fletcher’s record is nothing short of remarkable. During 32 seasons at Collinsville, where businesses shut down on Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. because everybody in town wanted to see the Kahoks play, Fletcher compiled a won-loss record of 747-170. Those numbers translate to an average of 23 wins per season and only five losses. Fletcher also garnered more state tournament victories (21) and more state tournament games (34) than any coach in Illinois history. His Kahok teams won state championships in 1961 and 1965. Fletcher had only two losing seasons in his 32 years at Collinsville. A stern tactician, a tough-minded disciplinarian and a fierce competitor are only a few of the terms used to describe Fletcher’s coaching style in Collinsville where he was revered in the community and particularly by parents. The Collinsville High School gymnasium was named after him – while he was still coaching. Recognized in 2007 as one of the “100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament,” Coach Fletcher died in April 2009 at age 94.

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010



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Becoming a Kahok

Stallings moved to Collinsville when he was in the eighth grade but was aware of Coach Fletcher and the Kahoks’ tradition. “I immediately started doing everything I needed to do to be a basketball player in Collinsville,” Stallings said. “It didn’t take long before Coach Fletcher and I struck up a relationship. I think he recognized that I was serious about basketball and I was pretty good at that time.” While Stallings commented that he was serious about basketball he realized when he entered high school as a freshman that Collinsville was serious about basketball also. “We had a really good team when I was a freshman, we only lost one game, but about mid-year I got moved up to the junior varsity so I was playing freshmen ball, JV ball

Stallings said Fletcher had a standard line aimed at him that always got results. “With me he used to say, ‘Kevin, you’ve been sleeping with your press clippings again,’ and when he said that I would get so mad when I heard that,” said Stallings. “That would just send me into a frenzy of playing … which is exactly what he wanted. In a good way he could manipulate you to get the results he wanted.” A game against rival Belleville East stands out in Stallings mind about Fletcher’s ability to push the right button at the right time. “We were in foul trouble and Coach pulled me aside between the third and fourth quarter and he took two fistfuls of my jersey, not in an abusive way, and pulled me toward him and said, ‘I think it’s about time you took this game over,’” Stallings recalled. “I scored 18 points in John Russell/Vanderbilt University


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One weekend he made me play NOTHING BUT JV BALL and I thought that was the biggest insult ever in my life. and practicing against the varsity,” Stallings said. “There was a stretch where I played freshmen games on Monday and Wednesday, sophomore games on Tuesday and Thursday and then varsity on Friday and Saturday. That went on for a few weeks until we got into an issue over the amount of quarters I played. Everything revolved around basketball in Collinsville.”

Coaching Instinct

Stallings said Fletcher had coaching instincts far ahead of his time. “I’ve laughed about it since then with other former players but Coach Fletcher knew just exactly what to say or do to get you to do exactly what he wanted you to do,” said Stallings. “I still marvel at his instincts, he knew how to handle every situation.”

the fourth quarter and we won the game. He could flip the switch on, flip the switch off, flip the switch on and flip it off. He always knew how to do it and when to do it.”

Unilateral Support

Stallings recalled an incident his sophomore year when Fletcher established his ground that he was in charge. “I was a sophomore and starting on the varsity and I remember one time early in the season I had gotten a little bit big for my britches and he took care of that,” said Stallings. “One weekend he made me play nothing but JV ball and I thought that was the biggest insult ever in my life. I couldn’t imagine how he could do something like that to somebody like me.”

College Sports Stallings said Fletcher had the unquestionable support of all parents. “Parents were different then than they are now,” said Stallings. “I complained to my dad and he told me I should consider it a privilege to play on the JV because I was only a sophomore, which made me mad at him too. But, Coach Fletcher had unilateral support from the Stallings family and it was that way with all his players. I realized pretty early that I was just screwed as far as getting my parents to take my side against Coach Fletcher.” When asked about a much-reported incident when Fletcher ‘allegedly’ threw a basketball at him, Stallings flashed a sheepish grin and noted that the incident was not alleged nor was it part of Kahoks legend and lore. “Yeah, that really happened,” he said. Stallings also prefaced the story by saying that Fletcher was not a fiery, inyour-face type coach, so the incident was really out of character for the longtime coach. “I don’t know that I ever really heard him raise his voice,” Stalling said. “But, when Coach Fletcher talked, you listened …period.” Stallings said the day of the ball-throwing incident is still vivid in his memory. “It was a rule when Coach Fletcher blew the whistle and we were spread out across the gym, that meant he wanted you where he was – immediately,” said Stallings. “On this day we were scattered out around the gym shooting free throws and he blew the whistle. Instead of grabbing the basketball and running to where Coach was at, I reached down and tried to palm the ball and dropped

it and then tried to palm it again and so I came trotting to the huddle a few seconds after everybody else was already there.” When Stallings joined the huddle with the rest of the team forming a semicircle around the coach, Fletcher told him to throw him the basketball he was holding. “We were eight or 10 feet apart and he wound up and threw the ball right at my head,” said Stallings. “Looking back he knew I’d get out of the way when he threw it. Being late to the huddle was not why he threw the ball, being a 17year-old moron who probably had a ‘what’s the big deal’ expression on my face when I did get to the huddle is why he threw the ball. I wasn’t very smart back then and I was even less mature and that’s a dangerous combination.” After throwing the ball Fletcher told Stallings to go get it but a teammate had already run to retrieve it. When the teammate returned and handed the ball to Fletcher he wound up and threw it at Stallings a second time. “I had never seen him do anything like that before so I’m just totally shocked, a little scared and a little angry,” said Stallings. Stallings said he told his dad at the dinner table that night about the incident beginning his story by saying “Coach Fletcher has lost his mind, he’s gone crazy.” “My dad listened to the entire story and never once raised his head up, he just kept eating,” said Stallings. “When I finished he never raised his eyes off his plate and said, ‘well, suggest you figure out what you’re doing wrong and get it fixed.’ I was absolutely appalled that he would take his side and I said,

‘you’ve got to be kidding me?’ He interrupted me and simply said, ‘fix it.’” Stallings said there was a great lesson in the incident and particularly in his dad’s reaction. “My dad knew that Coach Fletcher didn’t just wake up that morning and decided he was going to throw a ball at me,” said Stallings. “Coach Fletcher shaped my life more than anybody other than my family. I was greatly influenced by my college coach, greatly influenced by Roy Williams and by Gene Keady but that pales in comparison to the influence of Coach Fletcher.”

Basketball Coach … Life Coach

During Stallings junior season at Collinsville the Kahoks went 30-1 and it was a breakout year for the 6-feet-5-inch guard. “That spring following basketball I was feeling pretty good and I decided one day that I’d go to lunch and just skip school that afternoon,” said Stallings. “That night I think everything is all right and the phone rings and my dad answered it and I hear him say, ‘hi Coach … is that right … yes sir I see … I will … yes, I’ll tell him to be in your office first thing tomorrow morning.’ He


hangs up the phone and looks at me and says, ‘did you have trouble finding your way back to school this afternoon?’ My first thought was ‘I’ll be damned’ – the first time in my life I skip school and I get caught before dark the same day.” Stallings said he later learned that Fletcher had found out he skipped school and that the phone call was a request to his dad to let him handle the situation, which his dad agreed to do. Stallings said he was literally ‘scared to death’ to walk into Fletcher’s office the following morning. But, he left the office that day with some pearls of wisdom that he has used with every single team he’s coached. “Coach began by saying, ‘you know I’ve been doing this for a lot of years and players go along during the season with people paying attention to them and people writing about them and talking about them and then the season ends and they’re not getting that attention anymore and they do something stupid to get attention,’” Stallings said. “Then he finished by saying, ‘that was stupid and don’t you never, ever let that happen again.’ Well, first of all it never

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy Vanderbilt University

College Sports

PEARLS OF WISDOM Stallings continually reminds his current and former players of life lessons he learned under coach Fletcher.

happened again, but every year I’ve coached when the season ends I tell our team the same thing Coach Fletcher told me that day.”

Priceless and Timeless

Stallings said he visited with Fletcher in his Collinsville home prior to his death and had what he described as a “good visit.” He also invited Fletcher and his wife Violet to attend an NCAA Tournament game when Illinois State made the field of 64 teams. Stallings fought through tears telling about the pre-game talk that he asked his former coach to deliver. “He was hesitant to do it, saying that he had been out of coaching for so long he wouldn’t know what to say,” Stallings said. “But, he did it and he told that Illinois State team the same thing he always told us, ‘you either play to win or you play to lose – there’s no in between. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve

said that exact same thing to my teams. At Collinsville you played to win, there was an expectation to win, the guys before you had won and that motivated you to win. That was as valuable as any lesson I’ve ever learned. The message within the message is you work hard and then you expect a good result.” Experiences in sports and life are often intertwined and Fletcher was far ahead of his time in tying the two together, Stallings said. “The lessons I learned from him are priceless and they’re timeless for sure,” Stallings said. “He forgot more about this game than the rest of us will ever know. “He had the ability to shape you and communicate with you in his way. He will always be remembered as a great basketball coach but he was also a great life coach. He was the idol of my life and it was an awesome experience to play for him.” ■

College Sports

Fast Start Bruins win NIT Season Tip-Off


e l m o n t men's bask e t b a l l stormed out of the gates and didn't look back in defeating Arkansas State 93-60 in the NIT Season Tip-Off South Regional. The Bruins, which had two chances in the final 35 seconds to tie No. 23 Tennessee a day earlier, took command right from the opening tip against the talented Red Wolves. Two three-pointers from sophomore Brandon Baker (Milford, Ohio) and a three-pointer from sophomore Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) propelled Belmont to a quick 9-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. After Martavius Adams got Arkansas State on the board, a straight-on three-pointer from sophomore Trevor Noack (Keller, Texas) and two free throws from junior Scott Saunders (New Orleans, La.) increased the lead to 17-4 seven minutes in. Belmont used relentless team defense to force turnovers and contested Red Wolves' shot attempts. And that defense clearly fueled a balanced offensive attack. Six straight points from Clark and a lay-in from junior Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) pushed the lead to 28-8 with 8:17 left in the half. Solid interior play from Hedgepeth and Saunders, coupled with

aggressive offensive rebounding from senior Jon House (Guelph, Ont., Canada) and freshman Blake Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) led to severe foul trouble for Arkansas State's frontcourt. Adams, Brandon Peterson and Malcolm Kirkland all had three first half personal fouls. Despite steady scoring from Adams, Belmont continued to attack for scores from all angles. Consecutive three-pointers late in the half from Clark, senior Jordan Campbell (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman J.J. Mann (Smyrna, Ga.) increased the lead to 5223 with 41 seconds left in the half. Hedgepeth appeared to send the Bruins to the locker room up a seemingly inconceivable 31 points, but his left-handed hook was ruled after the first half horn by official video review. When the dust settled, Belmont shot 53 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes – including 9-for-15 from three-point distance. Arkansas State shot 34 percent and missed all 10 three-point attempts tried in the first half. Belmont forced 10 first half turnovers. Clark led the way with 18 first half points. Belmont kept the pressure on throughout the second half, never allowing the Red Wolves to gain a comfort level on the offensive end. Saunders scored five straight points early in

Photo courtesy Belmont University

ON THE BALL Sophomore Ian Clark led the way with 18 first half points and Belmont shot 53 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes – including 9-for-15 from three-point distance.

the second half, as the Bruins continued to bring players in off the bench in waves. All 12 Bruins who played scored, as Belmont accomplished its mini goal of winning the second half. A Jenkins basket provided the largest margin, 35, with 1:24 left. Belmont head coach Rick Byrd was impressed with how his team performed, hours after the narrow setback to Tennessee.

“I'd lost a little adrenaline from last night myself. I was concerned. These guys responded great. The last four minutes, the guys played just as hard on defense as they did starting the game. It's a good start. It's a good two days for us. It's a very good opportunity for us to play two good teams. It's going to help our confidence to know we beat a team that was picked No. 2 in the Sun Belt Conference West Division.” ■

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


College Sports Photo courtesy AYSPN

Top ’Dogs Cumberland University ranked No. 1 in preseason baseball poll


umberland University is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 2011 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll released in November. The defending national champions garnered 16 of the 20 first-place votes and totaled 556 points in the poll of head coaches representing each of the 25 conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. Cumberland is ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time since March 30, 2005 and the fourth


time overall dating to 1998. The Bulldogs were No. 2 in the 2005 Preseason Poll after claiming the 2004 national title. The Bulldogs return three position starters and seven pitchers from last year’s 58-9 national championship club, including Preseason All-American hurler Aaron Wilkerson. He posted a 14-1 record with a 2.13 earned-run-average and 125 strikeouts in 101.1 innings last season. The Waco, Texas, native appeared in 17 contests with 15 starts, tossing 11 complete games with three shutouts.

December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

RANKINGS CU catcher David Fanshawe and the Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the 2011 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll released in November.

He posted 14 straight victories after losing his first start of the year. Wilkerson was especially dominant in the postseason, tossing a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts against Bethel

College Sports University in the TranSouth Championships in Paducah, Ky., and then striking out 17 in another complete game shutout versus Campbellsville University in the NAIA Championships Opening Round in Joliet, Ill. He recorded a pair of victories in the NAIA World Series, striking out 13 and giving up just one run in eight innings versus EmbryRiddle in the opener for CU. Then in the championship game, Wilkerson tossed eight innings of four-hit ball before running into trouble in the ninth but still escaping, starting a gameending doubleplay in the Bulldogs 4-3 triumph against Lee University. Catcher David Fanshawe, first baseman Greg Appleton and second baseman T.J. Murphy are the Bulldogs three returning position players. Fanshawe batted .342 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 49 RBIs while catching more than 90

percent of the innings last season. He was one of the biggest reasons for the Bulldogs great pitching staff in 2010, which posted a 3.76 team ERA, struck out 464 and walked just 150. He threw out 34 percent of potential base stealers and also drove in all four runs in championship game. Appleton played mostly first base but also saw action at second and third last season. He batted .361 with 13 doubles, 17 homers and 58 RBIs, part of the Bulldogs potent offense that belted a school-record 141 home runs. Murphy played in 48 games with 36 starts last year, batting .315 with three doubles and 10 RBIs. He scored 23 runs, walked 16 times and was also hit six times. He started everyday during the last month of the season, as the Bulldogs won 29 of their last 30 games to end the year. Cumberland's No. 1 ranking dethrones Lewis-Clark State's seven-poll hold on the top ranking

dating to the first 2010 regularseason poll. The first-regular season poll of the 2011 season will be announced on March 29. ■

The Rankings No. School – Points (1st Place Votes)

1. Cumberland Univ. – 80 (8) 2. Union Univ. – 73 (1) 3. Trevecca Nazarene – 52 4. Bethel Univ. – 45 t5. Freed-Hardeman – 43 t5. Martin Methodist – 43 7. Lyon College – 42 8. Mid-Continent – 17 9. Blue Mountain – 10

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Ask The Joc Doc

Mononucleosis Return to Play Guidelines

b y D r. J a m e s L o h s e Recognizing Infectious Mononucleosis in Athletes What is Mononucleosis? Infectious mononucleosis is a virus presenting during adolescence and young adulthood peaking between the ages of 15-24. IM occurs during the height of athletic participation in a person’s lifetime. What causes infectious mononucleosis? IM is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV is spread with the passage of saliva by close or intimate contact between susceptible athletes and EBV shedders (anyone previously infected). EBV can persist in the throat of athletes with IM for up to 18 months following full clinical recovery. This may explain why only a small number of athletes with IM recall previous contact with an infected individual. What are the symptoms and signs of IM? IM is characterized by a triad of classic signs and symptoms of fever (usually less than 101 degrees), tonsillar pharyngitis (red throat with enlarged tonsils and pus), and lymphadenopathy (lymph node swelling in the neck). However, athletes will also complain of fatigue, feeling tired, or being run-down.

EBV can persist in the throat of athletes with IM for up to 18 months following full clinical recovery.

What should I do if my child presents with fever, pharyngitis, and lymph node swelling? Athletes who present with these symptoms should be evaluated by their primary care physician, especially in the face of concurrent fatigue, to diagnose IM and to rule out other causes such as mimicking viral illnesses or strep throat. What can I expect when I see my physician? Your primary care physician (PCP) will start with a detailed history and physical and may complete some rapid screening tests. For example, swabbing your throat for a rapid strep test and obtaining a small sample of blood from your finger for a Monospot test. These are quick tests to diagnosis streptococcal pharyngitis and IM, respectively. Are there any complications associated with IM and sports? IM may cause an enlargement of your spleen, called splenomegaly. During the physical exam with your PCP, your physician will palpate the spleen. Your PCP may consider obtaining an ultrasound of your spleen to evaluate its size and guide their decision to have you return to play. The worst complication would be splenic rupture if an athlete returns to contact sports before the spleen is allowed enough time to return to a normal size. Splenetic rupture is a serious complication with can lead to emergency surgery and even though rare, can cause death. How much time can I expect to miss from playing sports with mono? Athletes diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis can expect to miss


December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

between 3-4 weeks from the onset of symptoms and up to 6-8 weeks with any complication. An athlete should be held from contact and noncontact exertional activities for a minimum of three weeks, due to the risk of a ruptured spleen. Why did my daughter receive an ultrasound when diagnosed and my son did not? Each athlete is different and each athlete presents to their physician at different intervals during the development of IM. Differences also depend upon where in the particular sports season your athlete has completed and the urgency to return your child to play under the safest guidelines without complication. Therefore, routine ultrasonography is not needed in most patients; the decision to obtain imaging should be influenced by whether the athlete is returning to contact sports. After being cleared by our PCP, can my child return to sports the same day? For athletes planning to resume non-contact sports, training can be gradually restarted starting three weeks from symptom onset. This recommendation assumes that participants avoid any activities capable of causing chest or abdominal trauma. As for strenuous contact sports or activities associated with increased intraabdominal pressure (such as weightlifting) that may carry a higher risk of splenic injury, we recommend waiting a minimum of four weeks after illness onset. The mere presence of complete rest for 3-4 weeks and fatigue alone will quickly decondition the athlete and cause them to restart activities gradually in order to build up their exercise tolerance. What types of preventative measures can be taken to avoid IM? Hand washing and practicing good hygiene are always at the forefront of preventing transmission of any virus. Most common way to spread EBV in athletes is the sharing of water bottles and sports drinks. I recommend that each athlete bring their own bottle clearly marked with their name. ■

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Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010



December 2010 • Tennessee Sports Magazine

Ask The Athletic Trainer

What Is An Athletic Trainer? by Craig A. Critchfield, MA, ATC,L The singular title ‘trainer’ is commonly used in multiple settings such as corporate, manufacturing, personal fitness, and most recently in the strength and conditioning environment. However, the term ‘trainer’ is a title that is also frequently misused to reference my profession; often leading to confusion with those who promote the use of the title such as with the respected Personal Fitness Professional (PFP) magazine’s annual search for the, “Trainer of the Year.” My chosen profession is athletic training. Athletic trainers differ from trainers in both education and function. The Athletic Trainer Certified The term (ATC) or Athletic Trainer, is a highly specialized, board-certified, healthcare professional recognized by ‘trainer’ is a the American Medical Association (2). title that is Approximately 70 percent of the 32,962 ATC’s (Stacy also frequently Arrington, BOC Credentialing Services Manager, personal communication, November 16, 2010) hold a misused to Master’s or Doctorate degree (3). All Athletic reference my Trainers (ATC) have earned a minimum of a profession Baccalaureate Degree. The extensive educational requirements enable athletic trainers to provide comprehensive medical care in these major domains (5): Injury prevention Evaluation and diagnosis of injuries Immediate and emergency care Treatment, rehabilitation, and reconditioning of injury One additional differentiating fact – athletic training is currently a regulated/licensed profession in 46 states with ongoing efforts to add legislation in the remaining states (1). The ATC has traditionally provided healthcare services to athletic participants since before their formal organization in 1950. Today, we offer healthcare services in a variety of settings. Today’s athletic trainers have become an integral component of the healthcare system in: hospitals, urgent/ambulatory care centers, physician’s offices, manufacturing plants, physical rehabilitation clinics, the performing arts, the military, law enforcement, youth organizations, public/private school systems, colleges/universities, and professional sports(4). My position as an athletic trainer has culminated into a multi-faceted role over the years. As an athletic trainer, I provide preventative, diagnostic, and rehabilitative services from time of incident to the return of play/work with high school, industrial, semi-professional athletes and other active populations. I am also privileged to work alongside some extremely talented physical therapists and physical therapy assistants in providing outpatient physical rehabilitative services. Most people recognize the athletic trainer’s role at various sporting events. However, the athletic training skill set in kinesiology, biomechanics, and physics also enables athletic trainers to provide job-related physical exams (evaluating a person’s ability to safely perform a job task), developing work conditioning programs (increasing an employee’s physical and cardiovascular capacity to safely stay in or return to the workforce), and to provide performance evaluations of a person’s functional capacity (assess possible limitations of a person’s capacity to perform job-specific tasks).

Many people inquire as to why I became an athletic trainer. It is a vital and rewarding job. While working in the college setting, an athlete under my care fractured her fibula (outside ankle bone). As an athletic trainer, emergency response, stabilization, and transport fell to me. In a manner of speaking, I was 911. The team physician, team orthopedic surgeon, the athlete, and myself worked together to provide pain and symptom management, pre-surgical physical rehabilitation, surgical fixation, and provided daily comprehensive post-surgery physical rehabilitation. To see her return to her sport ahead of predicted time frames was incredibly rewarding. If what you need to call upon is a ‘trainer,’ please reference the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, IDEA, or one of the many, many, other organizations for a (personal) trainer of varying specializations near you. However, if a healthcare professional trained in the recognition, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of injury is what you seek, please reference our single professional organization, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) to call upon your athletic trainer.

Craig has worked in athletic training since 1998 and earned his master’s level degree in exercise physiology from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL in 2000. Craig has been a middle Tennessee resident for almost three years and provides Industrial and Outreach Athletic Training services for STAR Physical Therapy. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association – The National Athletic Trainers’ Association Education Council – The Board of Certification – The Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Programs –" For a list of Accredited College and University Programs – HYPERLINK ""

Tennessee Sports Magazine • December 2010


Looks Between The Lines

Too Confused To Judge by Rudy Kalis WHEN RANDY MOSS was signed by the Titans this city went into a tizzy. He was a future Hall of Famer, no doubt, but with him came years of controversy that included a bad attitude on and off the field, multiple fines by the NFL, and charges that he had a disruptive personality. You'll remember the Titans had a chance to draft him in 1998, but passed because of his reputation and selected wide receiver Kevin Dyson instead. Now all these years later, and on his third NFL team in a month, he was claimed by the Titans after 21 other teams passed. I form opinI'm way too judgmental of people. I form opinions too ions too quickly and have a hard time changing them. I shouldn't be that way. So I couldn't wait to be around Randy Moss quickly and and to form my own opinion. have a hard He certainly had a commanding presence and in his time changing first interview with those of us in the Nashville media. He dictated the tone and tempo of the entire conversathem. I tion. shouldn't be It only lasted three minutes, because he said he wasn't that way. going to say much, but in that time he was both direct and actually pleasant, but then also abruptly combative when he didn't like the question. And after exactly three minutes and one second he just walked away. Casually talking to head Coach Jeff Fisher after practice a few days later he told me that Moss has been nothing but a positive addition to the locker room – joking with teammates, attentive and supportive on the field and in many ways misunderstood. But here's the rub for me. It's hard to separate the two worlds. It's hard to be two people in one. To be a good guy and a bad guy at the flip of a switch and not

be confusing and misunderstood. He apparently has little use or respect for the media. His teammates are different at least for the time being, unless of course things don't go his way and he doesn't get the ball enough, and then he may very well start complaining. He's done it in the past. It reminds me of that television commercial where the guy gets up in a bad mood. Walks down the street with people saying hello and he grumbles, “Not until I get my coffee.” When he gets it, he's all smiles and walks away saying hello to everybody. So is that the way it is. Do we all get to pick and choose if and when we feel like being pleasant, when we don't necessarily feel like it? I put myself in that category. I don't have the right to be overly judgmental of Randy Moss as a person, but I am confused by his mixed actions and actions speak louder than words. So what do we do? I can't do much. Certainly not about other people, but I can decide my OWN attitude each day, knowing that my attitude affects people all around me. I don't live in a selfish vacuum. There's a Proverb that says "A man that has friends, must himself be friendly". I've realized that I cover up my confusion by becoming judgmental, and when I become too judgmental I become an insecure opinionated knowit-all that nobody wants to be around.

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December 2010  

Volume 1, No. 8