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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - Page -C2 Wednesday, August 24, 2005 Page 33

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The University Star - Page C3

Surprise start

Davalos leads Men’s basketball to early Southland success By Nathan Brooks The University Star After stumbling out to a 14 start this season, Texas State head basketball coach Doug Davalos felt no need to hit the panic button. It was all part of the process the first-year coach envisioned for his Bobcats to be at their best by the start of Southland Conference play. And it comes as no surprise to Davalos that the Bobcats followed suit, winning their first two conference games, including an 85-81 victory over two-time defending conference champions Northwestern State in the conference opener Jan. 4. The Bobcats followed the emotional Northwestern State win with a 93-80 victory over conference newcomer Central Arkansas Jan 6. “Nobody in that locker room thinks this (conference start) is a surprise,” Davalos said. “I think it just took a while for us to realize if we play the way we are capable of, we can do some really good things.” The 2-0 start is a marked improvement over last year’s team, which lost its first 11 league games. The streak included an 18-point loss to the Demons. “We’re playing awfully well right now,” Davalos said. “We are starting to realize what’s important, and for us it starts on the defensive end.” In their first two games to start the conference season, the Bobcats held their opponents to 40 percent shooting from the field. Texas State also forced the Demons and Bears into an

average of nearly 20 turnovers per game. “We’re still forcing turnovers and good things like that,” Davalos said. “But field goal percentage defense is a big key to how successful we are.” Also important in the Bobcats success is the play of sophomore guard Brandon Bush, who has taken over the offensive load lately. Bush contributed a game-high 21 points in the win over Northwestern State. Texas State has needed Bush’s contributions with the losses of senior forward Charles Dotson and junior forward Brian Hill for the remainder of the season. The two were ruled academically ineligible for the spring semester. Dotson was a pre-season second team all-conference selection, was the team’s secondleading scorer at 11.2 points per game and ranked second in rebounds, averaging 4.5 a contest. Hill was a junior college allAmerican last season at Hamilton College, and averaged 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game this season off the bench while recovering from a shoulder injury. The Bobcats know it is going to be tough to replace what Dotson and Hill gave to the team, but they feel they are up to the challenge. “The whole team needs to step up,” sophomore forward Dylan Moseley said. “It’s definitely a big loss for us, but I think we’ll be just fine.” Moseley stepped into Dotson’s spot Dec. 28 in a game against Texas A&M–Interna-

tional, averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game during his first four starts since Dotson’s departure. Senior point guard Antoine Blanchard, who is playing the best basketball of his collegiate career this season, is also helping replace lost production. Of late, Blanchard has found a way to make an impact in whatever area the Bobcats need. Blanchard provided a much-needed scoring punch with a season-high 16 points in an 82-81 overtime loss to Centenary Dec. 30. Blanchard followed that performance with 14 points, five rebounds, and a season-high five steals in the win against Northwestern State. Then, on a night when his teammates were feeling it from the field, Blanchard stepped back and facilitated the offense, recording a season-high eight assists in addition to four rebounds and four steals against Central Arkansas. “Antoine has been so solid offensively and defensively” Davalos said. “He’s a catalyst and that’s what a point guard in this system is supposed to do.” If the Bobcats hope to continue their success, they need to find a way to win on the road; Texas State went 0-6 away from Strahan Coliseum in this season’s non-conference schedule. “We need to have more fun on the road,” Davalos said. “We just have to take the same attack mentality we have at home on the road. If we play together and in attack mode all game, we’ll be fine.”

Cotton Miller/Star file photo GOING UP: Junior guard Brandon Thomas attempts a shot against Central Arkansas’ Fernando Johnson during the Bobcats’ Jan. 6 win over the Bears.

Women’s Basketball Remaining Regular Season Schedule

Men’s Basketball Remaining Regular Season Schedule









1/18 1/20 1/25 1/27 2/8 2/10 2/15 2/17 2/22 2/24 3/2

A&M–Corpus Christi UTSA SFA SHSU McNeese State Lamar A&M–Corpus Christi UTSA SFA SHSU UTA

San Marcos San Antonio Nacogdoches San Marcos Lake Charles, La. San Marcos Corpus Christi San Marcos San Marcos Huntsville San Marcos

7 p.m. 2 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 7 p.m. 2 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 7 p.m.

1/18 1/20 1/25 1/27 2/3 2/8 2/10 2/15 2/17 2/22 2/24 3/3

A&M–Corpus Christi UTSA SFA SHSU UTA McNeese State Lamar A&M–Corpus Christi UTSA SFA SHSU UTA

Corpus Christi San Antonio San Marcos Huntsville San Marcos Lake Charles, La. Beaumont San Marcos San Antonio Nacogdoches San Marcos Arlington

7 p.m. 6 p.m. 7 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 7 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 6 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 4 p.m.

Bobcat women open strong in conference Despite season’s early stumbles, team enters league play with fresh start By Jacob Mustafa The University Star The Texas State women’s basketball team received a mixed bag this holiday break, as they tried to succeed while playing almost exclusively on the road. The team stumbled on the road with a 1-3 record until they entered Southland Conference play, where they opened with two straight wins. The successful start to conference play includes a 90-63 romp over Central Arkansas Jan. 6. “I think our kids were mentally and physically prepared going into league play,” said head coach Suzanne Fox. Fox said the new start offered by their league season invigorated the team after an inconsistent non-conference performance. “In league play, you start over at 0-0,” Fox said. “It is a new beginning for the team.” Before their fresh start, the Bobcats went 3-3 in December, including a road loss to the University of Miami by a score of 92-67 Dec. 16. “I thought we had a good experience, going on the road all the way to Miami,” Fox said. “It helped prepare us for Southland Conference play.” The team then played their only game at home since the break, as they completed a 95-30 trouncing of Texas Lutheran, led by junior Joyce Ekworomadu’s 29 points. Texas State has now won its home opener for five straight seasons.

e had “W a few bumps, but we

are establishing that we are a family, and now we are playing good team ball.”

—Janesha Washington junior guard

“At home, we are just trying to keep our streak going,” said junior Janesha Washington, who scored a career-high 24 points in a 73-69 win Jan. 4 at Northwestern State. Following the win over Texas Lutheran, the Bobcats lost consecutive games in the Battle of the Border tournament, hosted by Texas-Pan American. The Lady Broncs avenged their earlier loss by defeating Texas State 61-51. This was followed by a defeat at the hands of the MaryCotton Miller/Star file photo land-Baltimore County RetrievHARD STOP: Junior guard Ashley Banks takes on UT Pan-Am’s LeKeisha Gray during the Bobcats’ Nov. 24th win at Strahan Coliseum. ers, 66-51. “I think we progressed a lot over the break and in the tourThe new year began with the point effort. its Nov. 12 opener against Loui“We had a few bumps,” Washnament,” said senior Erica Put- victory over the Demons. Texas “We just go in playing the siana-Lafayette. ington said. “But we are establishnam. State has now won the teams’ Texas State game,” Putnam said “I think as far as our team ing that we are a family, and now Putnam was named to the last three meetings, dating back about the team’s perfect start to coming together goes, we have we are playing good team ball.” Battle of the Border All-Tour- to last season. league play. “Regardless if it is a progressed far,” Fox said. “We After their return to San Marnament team after averaging 11 Texas State followed with its conference opponent or not, we are definitely a lot more together cos in contests against Southpoints and four rebounds in her first-ever meeting against Cen- give the game the same amount then we were five months ago.” eastern Louisiana and Nicholls two games in Edinburg. tral Arkansas, a newcomer to of effort and preparation.” The team is now at the midway State, the Bobcat women will The women since opened up the SLC this season. The Bobcats Fox said the team is where point of its season, and the Bob- continue their home stand 7 conference play with back-to- won the inaugural game 90-63. she wants it to be at this point cats do not doubt they have come p.m. Thursday against Texas back wins. Ekworomadu contributed a 19- in the season, two months after a long way. A&M-Corpus Christi.


Page C4 - The University Star

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hogs gone wild prove to be problem in Texas By Ray Sasser The Dallas Morning News DALLAS — Texas is going hog wild. Spread by hunters and landowners who wanted a game animal they could hunt year round, viable populations of feral hogs are thriving in 225 of this state’s 254 counties. Wild pigs have been reported within two miles of the Tarrant County Courthouse. Billy Higginbotham has heard the same sad story at least a hundred times. The Texas A&M Extension Service biologist has unintentionally become the state’s leading authority on feral swine. He denies a rumor that he’s changing his name to Hogginbotham. “Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people wanting to know where they could buy some hogs to stock on their property,” Higginbotham said. “Invariably, they call back two years later asking how they can control the hogs.” Hogs reproduce exponentially. A sow may start breeding when she’s six to eight months old and have a litter of six piglets before she’s a year old. If all the offspring from one sow survived for five years, the total could exceed 1,000 hogs. Higginbotham has a couple of one-liners to describe a feral hog’s reproductive cycle: They have six piglets in a litter and eight of them survive; kill one wild hog and three more show up for the funeral. For farmers and wildlife managers, hogs are no laughing matter. Hogs cause an estimated $52 million a year in Texas agricultural losses. If you manage for white-tailed deer, quail or other native game species, hogs are persona non grata, Higginbotham said. “During the drought, we know that some hog populations have survived by eating cattail roots,” he said. “They’re vegetarians when they need to be, but they’re also predators and scavengers. They’re smarter than a dog and more wary than a deer. Once you’ve got hogs, you can’t get rid of them. The best you can do is control the numbers.” Hawaii’s hog problem is so bad that hogs may be hunted (without firearms) in the city

✯Gone hog wild States with feral hogs: 39 Texas counties with feral hogs: 225 of the state’s 254 counties Estimated Texas hog population: 1.5 million to 2 million (national population estimated at 4 million) Estimated annual agricultural damage from hogs: $52 million in Texas Landowner annual expense to control hogs: $7 million Life expectancy for hogs: about seven years Average size of mature feral hog: 100 to 150 pounds Reproduction capability: Sows are capable of breeding when six to eight months old. In theory, the offspring from one mature sow could produce more than 1,000 hogs in five years. Source:

limits of Honolulu. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking deer hunters in that state to shoot every hog they see. Trapping hogs is the most effective way to control them. In the open spaces of South and West Texas, shotgunning from a helicopter is effective, though costly. Texas sport hunters kill thousands of hogs annually, but the animals quickly learn to avoid hunters. Wild pork is very good to eat. In fact, some people like the lean meat better than the fatter domestic pork. Higginbotham cautions hunters to handle dead hogs with great care. Use latex gloves when field dressing and skinning the carcasses. Hogs may carry a variety of diseases. The news lately has been dominated by giant boars, animals that weigh 500 pounds and more. Higginbotham said a 200-pounder is a very big feral hog and a 300-pounder is huge. Any hog bigger than 300 pounds is not far removed from a feed pen, he said.

Bob Riepenhoff/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel HUNTING JAVELINAS: A javelina, or collared pecary, crosses the road on the Palmert Ranch near Cotulla. Unlike wild hogs, javelinas are native to Texas, where the largest population in the U.S. resides.

Hunters attracted to uniqueness of javelinas in Texas By Bob Riepenhoff Milwaukee Journal Sentinel COTULLA — The first wild critter I laid eyes on during my five-day hunting trip at the Palmert Ranch was a javelina. It was my first day at the ranch and my guide and brother-inlaw, John Palmert, and I were riding in his four-wheeler, heading out for an afternoon deer hunt. We had just turned onto a narrow dirt road, called a sendero, when three dark little piglike animals emerged from the brush and quickly trotted across the sendero. “Javelinas,” Palmert said, hitting the brakes. We got out of the vehicle and walked up to the spot where the javelinas had crossed and looked into the brush. I heard a snort and saw one of the dark forms scurrying deeper into the prickly pear thicket where the others had already disappeared. “It was probably a sow with her young,” Palmert speculated. We decided to head for our deer stand and leave the javelina hunting for later.

Unlike wild hogs, javelinas are native to Texas. They can be found from New Mexico and Arizona south all the way to Argentina, but the largest population in the U.S. is in Texas. Their average size is only about 30 to 50 pounds. They have large heads with small eyes. Their eyesight is poor, but their hearing and sense of smell are both keen. For hunting, it’s best to stalk them by working slowly into the wind. “Hunters like them because they’re unique,” Palmert said. “Some travel to this area specifically to hunt javelinas.” From a distance, javelinas — also called collared peccaries or musk hogs — appear to be black. But up close their coarse coats are a grizzled, peppery gray with a distinctive white ring, or collar, around their necks. They have a musk gland on their back that emits a foul, skunk-like odor when they become agitated. When you shoot one, the gland should be skinned and discarded quickly to avoid tainting the meat. Javelinas prefer a mesquitetree habitat with an abundance

of prickly pear cactus, which is a good description of the Palmert Ranch. The females and young tend to travel in bands — I counted 15 in one band one afternoon. But the mature boars are often solitary. “They travel from band to band looking for females to breed,” Palmert said. “The sow breeds once a year and has two offspring, one of which typically survives.” In LaSalle County, where I was hunting, the javelina season is open all year, with a season bag limit of two. They are called javelina, which is Spanish for javelin or spear, because they have long, razorsharp teeth. “If they’re agitated, they click their teeth and the hair on their back stands up and they emit a musky odor from a gland on their back,” said Palmert’s son, J.J., who also guides on the ranch. “Javelinas will chase a hunter if they feel threatened. One will click and they’ll all band together to chase the threat off.” For my hunt, one afternoon we scattered some corn along

a stretch of sendero, hoping to draw some javelinas out of the brush. Unlike the wild hogs which are mostly active at night and in low light conditions, javelinas can be active at mid-day. I was hoping to get a mature boar, but a young one, because I’d heard that the younger ones are the best for eating. A few hours after we baited, J.J. Palmert and I returned to the area in a pick-up truck. We turned onto a long sendero and way off in the distance at the top of a hill we spotted a dark solitary creature. When I slowly got out of the truck, I could feel that the wind was in my face. That was perfect. The wind would hide our scent. As the javelina fed, we studied it through binoculars. It was as big as any I’d seen and it was alone, so I figured it had to be a boar. It would be a long shot, so I knelt down, held my rifle steady and squeezed off a shot. The javelina went down and it didn’t get up. There would be no need to track it into the prickly pear thicket.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The University Star - Page C5

Musgrove earns academic award Nine student athletes receive Bobcat Athletic Foundation rings By Carl Harper The University Star The Southland Conference’s Football Student Athlete of the Year was among the nine Texas State athletes honored Dec. 16 with academic rings. Walter Musgrove, the conference’s student athlete of the year, joined three teammates and five Texas State athletes representing four other sports in achieving the honor sponsored by the Bobcat Athletic Foundation. Since 1986, the athletic department has awarded 724 Bobcat Athletic Foundation Rings to student-athletes who have achieved greatness in their collegiate career. “Any time you can receive an award like this, it really helps your confidence in life,” Musgrove said. “Texas State is a great place and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here.” Senior offensive lineman Buck Koalenz, along with ju-

nior defensive ends Nick Clark and Nate Langford, joined Musgrove in earning the ring and were named to the 2006 Capital One All-Academic Team for the second straight year. Quarterback Bradley George, fullback Blake Burton and wide receiver Chase Wasson were also named to the team. In addition to the four football players earning academic rings were five players in different sports. Baseball players Ryan Bennett and Cassidy Dresch, soccer’s Amy Benton, softball’s Kristin Gunter and tennis’s Margaret Potyrala rounded out the nine honorees. The Foundation Academic Ring symbolizes superiority on the playing field as well as in the classroom. “The program was started by the athletic department and the rings are purchased by the Bobcat Athletic Foundation,” Athletics Director Larry Teis said. “When Walter spoke at the ceremony, I was thinking


ny time you can receive an award like this, it really helps your confidence in life.”

-Walter Musgrove Bobcat Athletic Foundation ring recipient

to myself, ‘this is why athletics are so important in the lives of student athletes at Texas State.’ As (Musgrove) said, without an athletic scholarship, he could not afford an education.” Musgrove not only received an education, but has been an academic All-American the past two seasons. However, Musgrove had to hurdle health obstacles while earning his education. The Duncanville native has had a roller-coaster ride in his football career, playing cornerback and safety until he was a junior. Musgrove missed the 2005 playoffs after breaking his collarbone, and then was diag-

nosed with Hodgkin’s Disease in December. He was limited in practice time over the summer, but was able to overcome the illness in time to play corner back in 2006. “To see him fight the obstacles in his life and then watch him strive to compete at the level he was at, it just makes you feel good all over for him,” Coach David Bailiff said. “He is good at corner, and we thought that we would have to take some physical hits out of him by just keeping him at the corner position. But in all reality, he’s just a good corner for us.” Musgrove was voted the top defensive back to the team after leading the conference with five interceptions this season. He finished his collegiate career with 259 total tackles and eight interceptions. “It is great that he has achieved these awards, because he has worked extremely hard the past year and is very deserving,” sophomore defensive back Chase Pulliam said. “Walt provided great leadership to our football team and he helped show many people how not to give up.” To receive the ring, one must achieve a “T” Letter from the Texas State Department of Athletics, complete NCAA eligibility with Texas State and earn an undergraduate degree from the school within one year after NCAA eligibility has been completed. The student-athlete of the year is presented annually to the individual in each conference sport excelled in academics and athletics. The nominees must have at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average to go along with excellence in athletic competition. Any athlete in the conference who was recently named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI or postseason

Cotton Miller/Star file photo WELL-ROUNDED: Defensive back Walter Musgrove received a Bobcat Athletic Foundation Ring during the break, in recognition of his performance both on the field and in the classroom.

all-conference is automatically placed on the SLC All-Academic Team. The remaining spots on the team are then voted on by the head coaches, sports information directors and academic administrators. These students must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution and competed in at least 50 percent of the team’s schedule. Musgrove graduated in May 2006 with a degree in English and a minor in Spanish. He finished his undergraduate program during the fall and plans on attending law school in fall 2007. He said he has been accepted to Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., but is waiting for further notice from other schools before he makes a final decision.

“I’m the first in my family to go to college and get my undergrad - and now going to law school just makes it even more exciting,” Musgrove said. “I hope I can help my family members in all of this.” Texas State led the way with seven placements on the allacademic team, as all seven Southland universities were represented. McNeese State placed five players on the team. Sam Houston State had four, while Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana each had three. Accompanying Musgrove with three-time selections to the SLC’s all-academic team are offensive lineman Lance Hancock and defensive lineman Aaron Ivey of Sam Houston State and offensive tackle Brent Pousson of McNeese State.


Page C6 - The University Star

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cowboys, Texans fail to surpass expectations Romo needs to pick it up, Carr should pack it up

I can’t decide who should feel lower right now – Texans fans after another bad season, another top-10 draft pick, but still massive improvement from last WILLIAM WARD year’s team, or Cow- Star Columnist boys fans after seeing Tony Romo drop the snap over and over in their minds. Sure, Dallas made the playoffs, but that was the expectation this year. Both teams met expectations, yet failed to really exceed them. All Houston really needed to show this season is that it could actually compete in the National Football League, something they’ve never been able to claim before now. They finally beat Indianapolis for the first time in their history, and the Colts are a playoff team in the powerhouse AFC. For a team that had the worst record in the league last year, 6-10 smells pretty good. First-year head coach Gary Kubiak proved he was the right pick for this

team, while David Carr proved he is the wrong pick at quarterback. Kubiak took an embarrassing defense and an offense that couldn’t function and made huge improvements. They play a lot like a poor man’s Denver Broncos, where Kubiak was the offensive coordinator. Somehow Houston’s much-maligned offensive line made Ron Dayne look like Steven Jackson, and that’s a credit to coaching. The biggest problem down in the Bayou City is that David Carr isn’t the man. He isn’t a franchise quarterback now, or ever. And the rule is if you don’t have a franchise guy, you don’t pass on taking one. So if vastly overrated Brady Quinn or vastly underrated Jamarcus Russell somehow falls to Houston in the draft, they’d be foolish not to take him. All Dallas had to do was not explode under the intense pressure from having Bill Parcells, Jerry Jones, Terrell Owens and the hours of unnecessary ESPN coverage. Often overlooked in the circus was that Dallas had a decent team assembled, despite finishing 9-7 in the watered down NFC. The offense had great

weapons, and suffered only from lack of great quarterback play. The defense is finally what the Tuna has been building since he arrived in Big D, although there are clearly problems at safety. Fun fact: No NFC team had a better record versus the AFC than Dallas. Despite a rocket ride to stardom and being linked to Jessica Simpson and Carrie Underwood in the same season, Tony Romo still has a lot left to prove on the field. You don’t stay the quarterback of America’s Team without being scrutinized. He has an entire off-season to contemplate just how badly he blew it. Not just the snap either, he played badly under center against Seattle as well. Dallas really faces a good-news, badnews kind of situation. The good news is the team can’t get much better. The very bad news is the team can’t get much better. The offensive line hasn’t been decent since the Super Bowl teams, and not much effort has been made to change that. That is really the last place the Cowboys can look to improve, after finding a true replacement for safety Keith Davis.

Dallas’ rookies were a huge disappointment. First round pick Bobby Carpenter didn’t enter the linebacker rotation seriously until the final few games of the season, but showed a lot of promise in the playoff finale in Seattle. Pat Watkins was really the biggest contributor from the rookie class and may be the future at free safety. Wide receiver Miles Austin wasn’t even drafted, but all he did was return a kickoff for a touchdown against Seattle, something that has never happened in a playoff game in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. Houston came under fire for drafting Mario Williams over supernova Reggie Bush and hometown hero Vince Young. What is often overlooked is that Houston had a damn good draft. Second-round pick Demeco Ryans was voted Defensive Rookie of the Year. Fourth-rounder Owen Daniels looks to be the future at tight end, and should have garnered a lot more attention than he received. A great tight end is a must in the new NFL, and the Texans appear to have found one at a huge value.

Houston is going to continue to get better. There’s almost no chance they have another 16 guys on injured reserve next season, and you better believe those returning are going to make an impact. This team is to be respected, as Indianapolis found that out the hard way. An 8-8 season is not out of the question for this team, assuming David Carr can start racking up touchdowns in other than just junk time like he did this year. Last year the Texans played 10 games versus a quality opponent, tied for most in the league. You can bet that also won’t repeat. For next season to be considered a success in Dallas, playoffs are required. A first round bye would be nice, but that might be getting greedy. Some big mysteries remain including whether or not Bill Parcells or Terrell Owens will be back with the team. Also America will find out if Romo is who we thought he was. I don’t think this team will be very successful if Parcells won’t return. This team has been built in his image, and I don’t think he’s ready to leave it.

Parcells, Giants have always been a good match By Ian O’Connor The Record In Cowboys’ colors, Bill Parcells often looks as lost as Eli Manning. It does not matter that he named his daughter Dallas, or that he embraced the franchise’s storied past eagerly enough to work for a carnival barker like Jerry Jones. Parcells agrees with Texas like the Hackensack River agrees with the Rio Grande. That’s why he spent too much of 2006 with slumped shoulders and glazed eyes, doing a convincing impression of a beaten man in search of an exit strategy. Parcells is adrift the way the Giants are adrift, and with both parties deliberating their futures, this question begs to be asked: If the Giants need a new coach, why wouldn’t they check on the availability of the old coach, the only one who’s given them a Super Bowl title, never mind two? Duane Charles “Bill” Parcells of Oradell is still the best man for the job. Always has been, always will be. Tom Coughlin is a cheap imitation, a protégé who can’t play on the mentor’s grass. He should’ve been fired Monday, and there’s a legion of interested observers hoping the Giants don’t decide to keep him. If the team does the right thing and votes for change, Parcells’ should be the first number called. Is this going to happen? No, probably not. The Giants will either retain Coughlin or go with a fresh start. They’ll consider Parcells a been-there, done-that proposition, not to mention a coach still scheduled to work again in Dallas. But in a perfect world, Parcells would finish his career where he started it. He hasn’t been the same since he left, nor

looked like a little boy tracking Santa and his sleigh. He looked like the Giants’ coach who had just watched Scott Norwood go wide right. All these years later, if you asked Giants fans to pick one man, any man, as their next head coach, Parcells still would win the poll. Those who would hold Parcells’ temporary allegiance to the Jets against him should know one thing: He never wanted to coach the Jets. He took that job because the one he wanted, the only one he ever wanted, wasn’t available to him. Parcells had sent word to Wellington Mara that he burned for a second chance with the Giants. Mara was all for it, but George Young, the general manager who had feuded with Parcells the first time around, wanted no part of a sequel. Young called his preferred candidate, Jim Fassel, and told him to root hard for Parcells’ Patriots to go deep into the playoffs. “If they make it to the Super Bowl,” Young told Fassel, “we’re not going to wait for him.” Parcells made it to the Super Bowl and left with the consolation prize: The Jets. After Parcells emerged from semi-retirement to negotiate with the Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys, the Giants suspected he was TENURED TUNA: Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells leaves the field after using the Dallas talks to inspire Mara losing the NFC Wild Card game to the Seattle Seahawks, 21-20, at Qwest Field in to dump the endangered Fassel in favor of Big Bill. Seattle Jan. 6. Parcells’ future with the Cowboys is up in the air after the loss. “Everyone in the organization knew that,” one Giants’ official told me. Fassel rallied his team into the posthas his hometown team. able regular-season records. season tournament, and Parcells went Parcells and the Giants made it back It’s no coincidence that the one time south in more ways than one. He hasn’t to the Super Bowl without each other, Parcells looked alive — really alive — won a playoff game in four years with and neither claimed the Vince Lom- all season was the time his Dallas kicker the Cowboys. Long before Terrell Owbardi Trophy they won together. Now sent a winner through the Giants Sta- ens showed up, Parcells’ heart wasn’t look at the coach and the team, both dium uprights. As Parcells watched the quite in it. first-round flameouts with barely pass- flight of that ball, his eyes all aglow, he He’s still under contract in Dallas,

but you don’t have to know Nick Saban or Bobby Petrino to understand how contracts work in the big leagues. When you want out of one, there’s always a way to get out. Parcells proved that when he left the Patriots for the Jets. Now he’s 34-32 — including 0-2 in the playoffs — with the Cowboys, and Jones already is on record saying that Owens and his loose lips and slippery fingers will return. If Parcells chooses to work somewhere else, Jones would take a draft pick or two and move on. Know this: Parcells wants to hang around long enough to win one more title, to do what Pat Riley did last year in Miami. He sure could work with Jerry Reese, the leading candidate to be the next general manager, given that Parcells was willing to work again with Young. “If I were ever to coach again,” Parcells told Mara after he left the Jets, “I’d want someone like George Young there to help find players for me and run the franchise.” Before his death, Mara said that improbable concession meant the world to him. “It was a vindication of George, their relationship and the way we do things here,” Mara said, “and it made me feel good to hear Bill say that.” Mara’s son, John, likely will take a pass, anyway. He might stick with the humorless Coughlin, who doesn’t have Parcells’ talent for pushing the right human buttons. Mara might wait a year and then pick from a free agent class led by Bill Belichick and Bill Cowher. In a perfect world, he’d go for the other Bill right now. Parcells needs the Giants as much as the Giants need him. A million-to-one shot? Maybe. But just because it won’t happen doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The University Star - Page C7

Premise of ‘Rocky Balboa’ based Sonics may be dull, but NBA on success of middle-aged athletes better keep them in Seattle By Michael Hirsley Chicago Tribune CHICAGO — Sylvester Stallone acknowledges taking the idea for his Academy Awardwinning Rocky movie from the Muhammad Ali-Chuck Wepner fight in 1975. Actor-director Stallone’s Rocky was modeled after Wepner, a brawling, ham-and-egger club fighter who gets one big chance in the limelight against prancing, preening champion Apollo Creed, an obvious Ali knockoff. Rocky does well enough to Handout/MCT merit a rematch, and, of course, a sequel, and in a case of reel life OLD BUT NOT OUT: Mason Dixon (left) and Sylvester Stallone batnot imitating real life, he wins. tle in the ring in Rocky Balboa, from MGM. The film’s story shares So it’s on to Rocky III, and Rocky some similarities with real-life tales of veteran athletes. IV and Rocky the Series. Now, with Rocky Balboa, Stal- what happens when “it becomes who appears briefly in the film. lone’s sixth installment in the a real fight,” Stallone said. “But didn’t we also do that in the Rocky double-trilogy, moviegoHe and Tarver said they pulled first Rocky movie?” ers are asked to suspend disbelief their punches only slightly in Movies stretch the truth, someonce again. their cinematic brawl and Stal- times to the shredding point. This time we have to believe lone attested to various aches But the world of sports is often Rocky, on the plus side of 50, and pains as a result. He is, after the stuff of dreams and exaggeracould step into the ring and all, 60 years old. tion, especially in the recounting compete against a 30-something “I don’t think it would be of past glories. champion named Mason Dixon. fair in real life,” the 38-year-old Sometimes the truth is gloriSo where did Stallone get that Tarver said. “A 60-year-old guy ous enough. There have been idea? George Foreman vs. Mi- wouldn’t be able to fight a guy in moments on the playing field chael Moorer? his 30s.” where age and experience have, Nope. In a recent conference Boxing historian Bert Sugar incredibly, triumphed over youth call, Stallone said it was from the recalled the fight game’s version and strength. DVD of a “fantasy fight” between of the Senior Tour. Bob FitzsimIn boxing, one of those moAli and Rocky Marciano. Dur- mons, who held light-heavy- ments saw Foreman, at 45, knock ing Ali’s mid-career exile from weight and heavyweight titles in out 27-year-old Moorer to beboxing, the two ex-champions the early 20th Century, was 50 come the oldest fighter to win a sparred together for dozens of when he fought his last bout, and heavyweight title. exhibition rounds that were ed- Mexican welterweight Luis VilEvander Holyfield, who later ited into a projected outcome in lanueva Paramo, better known as beat Foreman, is still fighting 1970. The computer-determined Kid Azteca, fought the last of his at 44 and seeking a fifth heavyresult had Marciano winning by 200 bouts when he was 48. weight crown. 13th-round knockout. Jack Johnson fought when he In baseball, former White Sox Ali fans were outraged. Stal- was 50 — like Ali he had been star Minnie Minoso was 57 when lone, however, saw the fantasy effectively exiled and needed the he played his last major league as grist for a film in which an money — and Jack Dempsey game in 1980, brought in by the uninspired and largely untested was 45 when he knocked out a Sox for a couple of pinch-hitting champion — Dixon, played by wrestler-turned-boxer named appearances. real life ex-champ Antonio Tarv- Cowboy Lutrell. How about Julio Franco, at er — faces reel life ex-champ Bal“Of course, we suspend disbe- 48, still playing for the Mets last boa in an exhibition bout … and lief in Rocky Balboa,” said Sugar, season and still able to turn on fastballs thrown by pitchers in their 20s? So the premise of Rocky Balboa might not be that far-fetched after all. Actually, it may not stray much further from reality than those fistfuls of films “based on” or “inspired by” true stories.

By Frank Hughes McClatchy Newspapers TACOMA, Wash. — As the NBA approaches the midpoint of the season, and now that I have for the most part done a lap around the league’s arenas, I can definitively come to one conclusion: Commissioner David Stern would be a lunatic to allow the Sonics to leave the Seattle area, regardless of the outcome of the state Legislature’s decision to provide a public subsidy for a new arena. I would not go so far as to say it would be financial suicide for the NBA, but I would suggest that it is taking a very sharp object and applying a deep incision to the wrist area of the league’s increasingly shaky arm. The folks in Olympia probably don’t know this, and Stern certainly would not like it revealed to them, but all the politicians need is visual verification and anecdotal evidence to know that Seattle is one of the league’s better markets in the country. In early November, the Sonics traveled to Charlotte for a game against the Bobcats, a team placed in Charlotte specifically because George Shinn had robbed the town of the Hornets a few years earlier. Brand-new downtown arena. New team. And the entire building was empty. Catcalls from the upper reaches were clearly audible. The next night, the Sonics played a game in Atlanta. Again, new arena, perhaps one of the best in the league. The place was only half full and that was inflated because a popular rap group was performing after the game. On every other occasion, one wonders why an upper deck was built at all. There are similar anecdotes in other cities. Milwaukee’s Bradley Center was embarrassingly empty when the Sonics visited and it was not because Ray Allen was not playing. Even in Houston on Wednesday, a 20-12 team that featured Tracy McGrady, one of the most popular and exciting players in the league, had a brand-new arena that was filled to perhaps 60

percent of capacity. Meanwhile, I travel time and again to KeyArena to watch an uninspiring Sonics team that acts as if losing doesn’t matter, living a fantasy that it’s only a matter of time before things turn around. And you know what I see? People. Fans. Against New York on Friday night, almost 17,000 showed up – legitimately. They weren’t happy when they left, but they showed up nonetheless. This Sonics team has made the playoffs only two times in the past eight seasons, and I rarely see KeyArena look like the Bradley Center or Philips Arena or Toyota Center. The league’s attendance figures say the Sonics rank 25th, averaging 15,632 fans, ahead of only Charlotte, Memphis, Philadelphia and Portland. But I can tell you right now those statistics are inflated by giveaways or donations or whatever. I can guarantee that Atlanta never sees 17,066 people at Philips Arena and that the Bucks rarely realize 16,488. Sure, people who do not have the opportunity to travel to other NBA cities and arenas may make comments about the great swaths of empty red seats at KeyArena, but they in no way compare to the vast seas of vacant chairs in competing markets. I’m no business major, but this fact seems obvious: You make more money with an old arena that is 75 percent filled than a new arena that is 30 percent filled. And so I wonder how Stern can possibly justify threatening to move the Sonics out of the market if the state does not yield to his bully tactics. Where will he move them? To Oklahoma City? Fine, then where will he move the Hornets, who currently reside there? Back to New Orleans? Hardly. Regardless of what spin you may hear, that is not a viable market. It no longer has the population or the infrastructure to support an NBA team and many think it never

did even before Hurricane Katrina, the reason the Hornets were artificially inflating attendance figures. Kansas City? That was attempted before, wasn’t it? And the franchise departed for Sacramento in 1985. What makes it suddenly so attractive as an NBA market? Besides, it is on the verge of getting an NHL team, and it seems unlikely it can support two winter sports. Oh, and where will Memphis go when its owners realize they are losing too much money to compete? How about the Bucks? Or Charlotte? Or Orlando? Or Sacramento? This is not mainstream news, but there is an undercurrent of discontent among NBA owners right now, too many of whom are losing too much money. A contingent of small-market teams recently sent Stern a letter saying they need revenue sharing with large-market teams to stay viable. Stern attempted to keep the letter secret, and was outraged when it came to light. For good reason: He doesn’t want people to know that the NBA may be experiencing financial difficulties. He certainly doesn’t want politicians in the state of Washington to know. Or, perhaps he doesn’t care. It is possible that for whatever reasons the Sonics have become Stern’s Abu Ghraib, and he will make an example of the situation regardless of the circumstances. As much as anything, the Sonics could be used as a message to politicians throughout the country: Mess with me and you will lose your franchise. But where does that leave him? With Portland as his only Pacific Northwest franchise, the Rose City serving as the gateway to China, his prized market of the future? With another smallmarket team whose owners will become disenchanted once the luster of the NBA wears off in a few years? He could, but it doesn’t seem very wise. David Stern is playing a dangerous game right now.

Page C8 - The University Star


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

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