Friday, July 27, 2007

HEART ATTACK TAKES WAKE COACH

Wake Forest basketball coach Skip Prosser died Thursday, apparently from a heart attack. He was 56.

Prosser was found slumped on his office couch and unresponsive by director of basketball operations Mike Muse shortly after returning from his noon jog, athletics director Ron Wellman said. Medical personnel performed CPR and used a defibrillator on Prosser, who was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and pronounced dead at 1:41 p.m.

Prosser took over at Wake Forest in 2001 after coaching at Xavier for seven seasons, including five straight NCAA Tournament bids. He coached for one season at Loyola (Md.) in 1993-94. He was the only coach in NCAA Tournament history to lead three different schools to the tournament in his first season at the school.

Prosser's career record was 291-146 (.666). Prosser was 126-68 in six seasons at Wake Forest. He also led Wake Forest to the program's first No. 1 national ranking during the 2004-05 season. While there, he coached future NBA stars Chris Paul and Josh Howard, and was the ACC coach of the year in 2003.


By all accounts, he was a great guy.

NIFONG ADMITS: NO CRIME IN LACROSSE CASE

(Forbes.com) It took three tries for disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong to utter the words that three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape were determined to hear him say.

On Thursday, more than 16 months after beginning a disastrous prosecution of the former players, Nifong offered a complete and unqualified apology. After two rebuffed attempts to express remorse for his mishandling of the case, Nifong acknowledged there is "no credible evidence" to support allegations the men attacked a stripper during a team party last year.

"We all need to heal," Nifong said during a court hearing. "It is my hope that we can start this process today."

Nifong's apology came as a judge began the process of considering whether to hold the former Durham County district attorney in criminal contempt of court for his handling of the discredited case.

DUKE FANTASY IS AN ADULT REALITY

Luciana Chavez – Raleigh News Observer

DURHAM - When Duke touts its annual basketball fantasy camp as a chance to learn what it's like to be a Duke player, the only thing missing is hearing a full volume rant in your ear from Mike Krzyzewski himself.

"The coaches do [get loud]; you'd be shocked. During games there is a lot of competition," Krzyzewski said Wednesday while opening the fifth annual K Academy at the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center.
"Unlike me, guys are yelling at the refs, standing up, getting tech fouls. The behavior is not as good, but it's very intense."

Krzyzewski, joking on his own reputation for colorful behavior during games, doesn't coach a team at the fantasy camp.

He leaves that to former players such as Johnny Dawkins, Jay Bilas, Chris Carrawell and J.J. Redick.
"I'm not coaching, so I'm interacting," he said, adding that a postcamp glass or two of wine keeps him even more relaxed. "It's a lot of fun."

Krzyzewski said the academy raises $700,000 to 750,000 per year, money that funds basketball scholarships and the Emily K Center.

This year, 87 male campers -- minimum age is 35 -- dropped $10,000 each for the right to stay at the Washington Duke; study film, dress in the Duke locker rooms and play in Cameron Indoor Stadium; and get the skinny behind the Duke program from the 60-year-old coach himself.
According to the camp media guide -- yes, you heard that right -- campers come from as far as Switzerland and England.

The camp staff goes all out to make it real. They even "recruited" players a few years ago. Several weeks before the camp, campers received letters from Krzyzewski and Duke saying he was looking forward to seeing them play. The campers arrived to find faxes under their doors.

"Yeah, we say things like, 'I saw you tonight; those two points you got were unbelievable,' " Krzyzewski said. "Then at the end, we had them all sign letters of intent and we framed them."

This year's "senior class" -- anyone with four years at the academy -- will be honored at a senior banquet.

And when the championship team is crowned Sunday, players will go to the podium to receive their trophy as the NCAA Tournament theme song, "One Shining Moment" plays in the background.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

MICHAEL VICK asked for a jury trial and pleaded not guilty to a variety of animal cruelty charges in federal court yesterday in Virginia. In this file photo recently uncovered, Vick was attacked by an angry canine during a Falcon's game last season.

Can't say as we blame him (the dog).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ACC OFFICIALS WANT A HEFTY RAISE

A spokesman for the ACC’s basketball officials has contacted ACC Commissioner John Swofford to announce that they are looking for a “substantial raise” prior to the 2007-2008 hoop season.

At a press conference this morning, Swofford said the letter from the officials was “short and sweet” and that their justification for higher wages were simply that “we don’t gamble on the games and we don’t cheat.” According to Swofford, the letter said, “We run a tight ship. We call them like we see them except when it comes to Duke. We give them some slack because Krzicjvhbdk8ski is a mean S.O.B. and he makes all those weird faces which, quite frankly, are a bit disconcerting. Other than that we never vary off the line.”

During the same annual wide-ranging news conference Tuesday, Swofford also said the ACC has performed background checks for the past year on game officials in three sports in an effort to prevent gambling scandals like the one faced by the NBA. Swofford said the checks were approved by university presidents two years ago and began last year on officials in football and men's and women's basketball.

None of the officials investigated showed any warning signs that might have led to a removal from officiating games.

"There wasn't anything that we saw that concerned us, that stimulated our belief that we should take this route," Swofford said. "But this whole issue of gambling is so prevalent in our society. ... We just simply want to do everything we can proactively to have that kind of integrity in our officials as well as our student-athletes."

He said the ACC wants to avoid the gambling scandal faced by the NBA. Former referee Tim Donaghy is under federal investigation for allegedly betting on games he officiated. Authorities are examining whether Donaghy made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered thousands of dollars over the past two seasons.

EVERYBODY HATES SPORTS

Sally Jenkins in today's Washington Post:

"Everyone has their own level of tolerance, the tipping point at which they abandon ingenuousness. It's hard to find any plain honesty on playing fields this week; suspicion is everywhere: Barry Bonds, the slug who passes for a slugger in baseball, keeps hitting home runs. NFL quarterback Michael Vick is indicted for tormenting dogs, and at the moment banned from training camp. Steroids have supposedly shown up in golf, and another Tour de France leader is accused of doping. If games reflect a society's values, then welcome to Rome just before the fall."

OUCH! Well said. Interesting reading, here's the link.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/23/AR2007072301724.html

BEAMER AMBASSADOR FOR TECH FOLLOWING APRIL TRAGEDY

By Adam Kilgore, Washington Post, Tuesday, July 24, 2007
PINEHURST, N.C., July 23 -- As Virginia Tech's football program has grown over the past 20 years, Coach Frank Beamer's role has expanded, too. The Hokies have gone from a regional obsession to a top 25 fixture, and Beamer has become a spokesman of sorts for the engineering school tucked in the mountains of southwest Virginia.

So Beamer understands as well as anyone what the coming season portends in the wake of the campus shootings in April. "There's never been more people in the country paying attention to what Virginia Tech does," he said.

On Monday, Beamer addressed the media for the first time since the day following the tragedy, in which a student killed 32 students and faculty members before committing suicide. A swarm of reporters, more than twice the size any other coach faced at ACC media day, huddled around Beamer, a certain preview of what's to come.

Beamer understands that the spotlight is on him -- "I deal in reality," he said -- and he accepts his role, a football coach turned campus ambassador.

"He takes it on," tackle Duane Brown said. "He's been there for a long time [20 years]. When people think of Virginia Tech, they think about Coach Beamer. I don't think he minds it at all."

On Monday, Beamer talked about how close the campus and the team has become, how Blacksburg is still the safest place he knows and one "very sick individual" won't change that. He stayed on message like a politician, every answer returning to how strong the Virginia Tech community is.

The video clip of Beamer dabbing at a tear in his eye after the shootings on April 16 has been shown hundreds of times. In the hours after the shootings, Beamer frantically tried to contact his players while his wife, Cheryl, watched the news "too much," she said. For Beamer now, the sadness mixes with anger.

"With me, it's painful," he said. "The kids that were shot, the victim's families. The hurt and the pain were there. I told those people we're never going to forget you. But after that, it kind of upsets me."

"I think it's affected Frank," said Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen, a close friend of Beamer's. "We haven't talked a lot about it, just some. What do you do? How will your life ever be the same?"

Beamer on Monday also fielded questions about his program's most famous product -- Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons. Vick, who quarterbacked the Hokies to the 1999 national championship game, was indicted last week on federal conspiracy charges related to alleged involvement in a dogfighting operation.

Beamer said he last spoke with Vick at the NFL draft in New York in April. On Monday, Beamer said he was unaware of any involvement Vick might have had in dogfighting while he was at Virginia Tech.

"I know Michael Vick as a very caring, a very concerned, a very good person," Beamer said. "I'm going to wait until this is all said and done to change any of my thoughts or to make any other observations. Because I know how I feel about Michael."

Beamer glad-handed and hugged old friends as he walked through the Pinehurst Resort. During the news conference, a reporter asked what a national championship would mean for his coaching résumé. "I think there's a good bonus in my contract," he said, slowly cracking a wide smile. "My wife is pulling for it."

Players will report for preseason camp on Aug. 1 and start practice the next day, another deluge of reporters waiting. Because spring practice was canceled in the aftermath of the shootings, Aug. 1 will be the first time the team meets since the tragedy. Beamer's first message, he said, will be stressing "how many people want to see what Virginia Tech does."

"He tries not to talk too much about the incident," Brown said. "But it's hard to ignore it."

"You had 32 people shot on your campus, and that's what people are going to remember," Beamer said. "But I say, people are going to remember that we had a terrible, terrible tragedy on our campus, but I think we're going to be remembered about how we reacted to the situation. And I could not be more proud of Virginia Tech right now."

PICTURE OF THE DAY

IN A DESPERATE ATTEMPT to get somebody -- ANYBODY -- to pay attention to the Pan Am Games, the organizors once again try the old "Crazy Looking Ball Trick." Soeli Zakrze3ski (R) of Brazil fights for the ball with Marissa Coleman of USA during the women basketball gold medal match in the XV Pan American Games Rio 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. No one knows who actually won the game.

Although it appears that Zakrze6ski (a distant cousin of Duke's Mike Krzyvbhkdjgfl9ski) has fouled Coleman, the official, some chap named Donaghy on leave from the NBA, did not make the call.




(Photo by Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THE EVIDENCE IS UNDER MONSIEUR'S HAT...A French gendarme enters the Palmeraie Hotel, 24 July 2007 in Pau after it was revealed that Kazakhstan’s Alexandre Vinokourov had tested positive for blood doping after the individual time-trial in Albi. Astana team subsequently announced after his test failure they were quitting the race because if "they didn't cheat, they didn't have a chance. Just ask Borat."

(Photo by Franck Fife/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

"IT IS NOT MY DOG..." What does a French gendarme say to a paparazzi who has just stepped in dog poop outside the Palmeraie Hotel in Pau, after it was revealed that Kazakhstan’s Alexandre Vinokourov was just another "cheating bicycle bastard?"

(Photo by Frankck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

A GROUP OF NBA LEGENDS, including Len Elmore, seen here wearing a 1980's costume at a 2005 retrospective, called for the league to impose lie-detector tests and more frequent and tougher background checks on referees in the wake of a gambling scandal.

Commissioner David Stern said he'd take Elmore more "seriously" if he "lost the wig."


(Photo by AFP/Getty Images)

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