8:45 PM Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez recalls the time he ran into a photographer during a game at Candlestick Park, and how doctors found a tumor in the photographer's brain that wouldn't have been discovered had Gonzalez not hit him.
8:30 PMShin Dong-hyuk, who was born in & escaped from a North Korean prison camp, writes to Dennis Rodman about his latest visit to see Kim Jong-Un: "No dictatorship lasts forever. Freedom will come to North Korea someday. When it does, my wish is that you will have, in some way, helped bring about change."
Earlier this week Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter was offered the job by Tulsa school President Steadman Upham and athletic director Bubba Cunningham. A Big 12 coaching source told me this week that DeRuyter turned down it down after the TAMU assistant was told the job paid the paltry sum of $500,000 per season. (Fellow Conference USA coach June Jones makes four times that amount at SMU.)
DeRuyter may have just been testing his market value in talking to Tulsa, but likely wouldn’t have even spoken to the school had he known of the embarrassingly low salary. To that end, one hot coaching candidate from an SEC school told me Thursday he didn’t not express interest in Tulsa when contacted just for that reason.
Upham and Cunningham then reportedly targeted Arkansas Offensive Coordinator Garrick McGee as a leading candidate for the job. With some media outlets reporting yesterday that Tulsa had gone so far to offer McGee the job, an SEC coaching source told me late yesterday McGee had not received an offer thanks in part to concerns over off-field issues involving the Razorbacks assistant.
While serving as Northwestern Offensive Coordinator in 2007, McGee was arrested for DUI in … wait for it … Tulsa.
After initially being charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence stemming from a 2007 Christmas eve traffic stop, McGee pleaded guilty on March 21, 2008, to reckless driving according to Tulsa County court documents. McGee’s guilty plea for driving 16 to 20 miles per hour over the speed limit was a $635 fine and 24 hours of community service.
That news was widely reported in the media in 2007, but in mulling McGee’s candidacy Tulsa also noted his brushes with the law during his days as a collegiate football player. Read more…
Jeff Latzke of the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports on behavior from Isiah Thomas during FIU’s 81-49 loss at Tulsa today that was characterized by Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik as “bizarre.”
Midway through the second half of Florida International’s 81-49 loss at Tulsa on Sunday, Thomas motioned toward his counterpart as if to ask when he’d take his starters out. A few minutes later, he got vocal with his request, shouting a few words in the direction of Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik. At that point, FIU (0-3) was down 63-25 with 8:59 to play after being outscored 27-5 to start the second half.
Wojcik was surprised and perplexed at Thomas’ inappropriate actions, to say the least. Read more…
That sound you heard in New York last night were league officials and ABC executives quietly weeping into their gin and tonics while watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Because what they were watching was the one thing they didn’t need: a Los Angeles Lakers blowout. For the casual fan, the 100-75 drubbing of the Orlando Magic just confirmed what they already knew, that this series is a letdown after the hype of Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James, and the Lakers are going to crush the upstart Magic.
Sure, it was close…for a little over a quarter. The Magic did have a five-point lead early in the second quarter, and then the roof collapsed. This is what happens when a team that relies on three-point shooting has a sub-par shooting game (going 8-for-23 from beyond the arc). Without having to fear the Magic from the outside, the Lakers could double and triple-team Dwight Howard, a form of kryptonite that even Superman couldn’t overcome, going 1-for-6 and scoring just 12 points.
So while Howard struggled, Kobe was superb, scoring 40 points while coming close to a triple-double. He had 12 points in the second quarter as the Lakers established their dominance, and was able to create opportunities for Pau Gasol and the rest of his supporting cast. And with Phil Jackson being 43-0 in series where his team wins the opening game, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has to be sweating through his Men’s Wearhouse coat.
But if the Magic need any inspiration, they only need to look to the Stanley Cup (assuming they get Versus in central Florida). Facing a 2-0 deficit against the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins have rallied to tie the series after a 4-2 win in Game 4. Which is especially impressive since they managed to turn an early lead into a 2-1 hole in the second period, which could have easily crippled a lesser team.
And in what can only be seen as a good sign for the Penguins, Sidney Crosby had his first goal of the series, while Evgeni Malkin added a goal and an assist. So now we basically have a best-of-three series starting tomorrow night in Detroit. While the Red Wings are still probably going to win the series, at least the Penguins have made it interesting.
Finally, let’s tip our hat to Randy Johnson, who became the first pitcher since Tom Seaver in 1985 to get his 300th victory in his first attempt thanks to the Giants’ 5-1 victory over the Nationals. Thank you for sparing us of the daily update on the ESPN crawl and live game updates ruining our PBA Tour broadcasts on Wednesday nights on ESPN2. The Giants are planning a pregame celebration before their next home game to congratulate Johnson on his 300 career wins - all four of them with San Francisco.
The French Open women’s singles final is set, with Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova taking each other on in an all-Russian final. In terms of eye candy, this isn’t exactly the Maria Sharapova vs. Ana Ivanovic Australian Open final from last year.
Calvin Borel isn’t just confident that he’s going to win the Belmont Stakes on Mine That Bird to win the jockey Triple Crown, he’s guaranteeing it. (At least that’s what we think he said with molasses-thick drawl.) If he does pull this off, does this mean he gets put out to stud?
LeBron, here’s your slap on the wrist: the NBA fines King James $25,000 for bailing on the post-game press conference after the Cavs’ Game 6 loss to the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals. Plus, you made David Stern cry. How does that feel, LeBron.
You want Dontrelle Willis to succeed in his comeback with the Tigers, but then something like this happens: in 2-1/3 innings against the Red Sox yesterday, Willis gave up five runs without allowing a hit, walking five and hitting a batter.
Just when you thought that it couldn’t get worse for the New York Mets than getting swept by the Pirates, it also turns out that Jose Reyeshas a torn hamstring.
John Raines, a substitute teacher and athletic trainer at Sussex Central High in Delaware, has been arrested and charged with “inappropriately touching a student-athlete while treating her injury and threatening to prevent her from playing her sport when she tried to stop his advances.” Which is bad enough, but even worse when considering he’s the second faculty member arrested on sex crimes in the past two days and the third within a year.
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has selected ESPN’s Chris Berman to introduce him before his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and PRO FOOTBALL TALK wonders if that’s such a great idea. (Seriously, was Jim Kelly busy?)
Former Tulsa football player Neal Sweeney apparently got into a business dispute with the wrong person, as it ended up with him being shot dead at his fuel sales company. Police have arrested the person they believe is the triggerman, and hope this leads to further breaks in the case.
Maurice Neal, a linebacker for the Utah Utes, has been arrested in connection with a bar fight where he took out two men. Shouldn’t Utah be the last place that a bar fight should be happening?
Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Celtics were going to challenge the ‘96 Bulls for the best record ever? Yeah, you can pretty much put that possibility to rest. The C’s continued their strange descent on Tuesday night, dropping a game to the lowly Bobcats, 114-106 in overtime. Boston has lost five out of seven games following a 27-2 start, and now faces the real possibility of not winding up with the best record in the East at the end of the season. Orlando is 27-8 after beating Washington last night, and the idle Cavs sit at 27-6.
There was a huge bowl game last night too. I mean, all the best games happen after January 1st, right? Oh, it was just the GMAC Bowl. And what better company to be bringing us a bowl game this year? It actually wasn’t a terrible matchup, as both Tulsa and Ball State took undefeated records deep into the season before faltering late. In wet, sloppy conditions in Mobile, the Golden Hurricane rocked the Cardinals 45-13. BSU was once ranked 12th, but will probably not end the season in the rankings. It’s a shame former Cards coach Brady Hoke, who left for San Diego State, couldn’t have stuck around for this one since he needs some experience in losing games by that margin for his new job.
His name is Corky Simpson, and he might be the only member of the Baseball Writers Association who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson to be in the Hall of Fame. Henderson, who is among the all-time leaders in a number of categories and considered by many to be one of the 10 greatest players ever, is up for election for the first time this year. HOME RUN DERBY has tracked down the ballots of 31 writers so far, and all but Simpson’s contain Henderson’s name. And it’s not like Simpson was being stingy with his votes. He voted for eight players, including Tommy John, Tim Raines (the poor man’s Henderson), and — get this – Matt Williams! HOME RUN DERBY further analyzes Simpson’s insanity.
• The whole dating hockey players thing has worked out well for Elisha Cuthbert and Hilary Duff, so Carrie Underwood has apparently jumped on that train as well. REALITY TV MAGAZINE reports that Underwood is dating Ottawa’s Mike Fisher, as she was seen watching the game from a suite with Fisher’s parents this past weekend.
• Somebody dressed as a security guard took a hockey stick from a teenage fan that was given to the kid by Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg during the New Year’s Day game at Wrigley Field. The “guard” said that the stick would be available to be picked up at the customer relations booth. There was no stick at customer relations. The kid is crushed, and nobody knows who the guy is that took the stick nor where the stick went. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Jon Yates has the odd story.
• A San Francisco couple with too much time on their hands are in the process of suing the 49ers for patting them down before entering Candlestick Park, saying that it’s an invasion of privacy. The SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE has the arguments from both sides.
• In a stroke of genius roster management that would make Isiah Thomas proud, Tottenham Hotspur sold striker Jermain Defoe to Portsmouth last January for £9.0 million, and now have decided they want him back. The price? £15 million. Well played, Spurs.
TULSA FUMING OVER RICE’S HELL OF A HALFTIME SHOW: Tulsa wasn’t so entertained by the Rice University band’s halftime show “honoring” their football coach.
The HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports that the school has filed a complaint with Conference USA over last Saturday’s performance by the Marching Owl Band.The MOB paid tribute to the Golden Hurricane coach in a halftime skit called “Todd Graham’s Inferno“. As this handy script explains, the band chronicles their journey into Hell, where they find Graham on the last level, next to the words, “Welcome to Tulsa”.
But the biggest complaint was about the show’s finale, when the narrator ended the story by calling Graham a “douchebag”.Why all the terrible tirades toward Todd and Tulsa? Last year, Graham was on the sidelines as Rice’s head coach. But he bolted for northeast Oklahoma in the off-season - a flight that ruffled the feathers of many Owls fans.
Saturday’s show isn’t the first time the band has mocked their opponents. Back in September, the MOB made fun of Texas players’ criminal issues - during halftime on the Longhorns’ own field.But before being battered by angry Austin attendees, the MOB made a crack at rival Texas A&M and their mascot’s memorable munching episode, announcing that Reveille’s training “would no longer be outsourced to Michael Vick.”