Welcome to a notes and comment column in its 13th year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is in his 29th year as the Buffaloes' director of sports information
Plati-'Tudes No. 96 ... currently worn by Chidera Uzo-Diribe, the best player to ever don 96 in a CU uniform is All-American Kanavis McGhee (1987-90) ... Hit my 30th anniversary as a full-time CU employee on Jan. 9; didn't remember it until nearly 7 p.m., so I missed out on having someone buy me a post-work libation ... Is it me, or does anyone else seeming get in their inbox "Join My Network On LinkedIn" every freakin' 20 minutes. And you usually don't know them ... And speaking of annoying, anyone else tired of hearing about Joe Theismann's prostate troubles?
The opening four mind teasers:
CU—What anniversary is former Buff Dave Logan celebrating in 2012-13?
Who Am I?—I started out at Southern University in Louisiana as a basketball player. A former Buff spotted me working out on the track and convinced me to attend the University of Colorado. I ran everything from the 100 to the mile, and particularly excelled in the 400. I earned my way into the Olympics in that event, and just missed the bronze medal by less than three-tenths of a second. Who am I?
Music—Can you name a very well-known singer who as a drummer in the CU Marching Band in 1970 and 1971?
Name That Tune—From what song is this lyric passage from: “Cause my bartender, she's from the islands ... Her body's been kissed by the sun ... And coconut replaces the smell of the bar ... And I don't know if it's her or the rum.”
|Former CU Sports Information GA's Patrick Gleason of the Baltimore Ravens PR and Erich Schubert of the Denver Broncos PR
A great story in the National Basketball Association this year is the arrival of former Buff Chris Copeland (’06); after five years of toiling around Europe, playing on teams in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, he finally got his chance in the NBA. He joined the New York Knicks as a free agent, and is now ironically playing less than 10 miles away from where he was born (Orange, N.J.) ... A big battle between former CU SID grad assistants this weekend: Erich Schubert (Broncos) versus Patrick Gleason (Ravens); the only outcome I predict is that they will spend over $50 combined at Qdoba’s ... ESPN’s Mike Patrick during the Chik-fil-A Bowl: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many true freshman starters than what LSU has out there.” Hmmm ... going into the bowl, true freshman had made 31 total starts this year; Colorado led the nation with true frosh making 57 starts; Maryland was next with 39 (those numbers held through the bowl season) ... Anyone catch the Dec. 29 edition of the Boulder Camera? My edition had the front page of the Longmont Times-Call sports section printed with the Camera’s second section (usual local stuff). Kinda funny, except when those of us not in the media do such a thing, they ridicule us, bring it up seemingly forever, even attach what they think are funny nicknames to people who made mistakes or failed even while trying to do their best. I’d like to think no one lost their job and it was just one of those things; just wish it was a two-way street more often ... CU Broadcast News alum David Briggs (’99) will be hosting The Crossover, a new show on the NBC Sports Network; the show will air weekdays at 4 p.m. MT and will be a mix of sports and pop culture. His co-host is Michelle Beadle, formerly of ESPN ... One of if not the oldest living CU lettermen, Clyde Gelwick, recently celebrated his 100th birthday this past January 8; a guard from Dolores, Colo., he lettered in football in 1932 and 1934 ... Former Buff reserve punter Brent Schweigert (’85) recently left KNTV (NBC San Francisco) after a long association with the station, including co-hosting a news program with his wife for the last dozen years (his on-air last name was Cannon; now more of you know who I am referring to) ... Patrick Cone, son of late CU linebacker Ray Cone, was a freshman fullback at Stetson this past fall.
|Top 10 CU Sports Moments of 2012
|CU Men's Basketball wins the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament Championship
The end of a calendar year brings the usual top 10 list of this or that, and it’s no different here in the editorial department at Plati-‘Tudes (okay, that exists just in my head). But here is what I thought were our top 10 most exciting moments of the 2012 calendar year:
- Colorado wins the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament title with a 53-51 win over Arizona
- Emma Coburn and Kipp become just the second pair of active current CU athletes to make a U.S. Olympic team
- Jordan Webb’s fourth down run with 9 seconds left rallies CU from 17 down to win 35-34 at Washington State
- Linda Lappe’s women’s hoopsters defeat No. 8 Louisville, 70-66, and get back into the nation’s Top 25
- Men’s cross country team claims second straight Pac-12 Championship
- Back to men’s basketball: the Buffaloes defeat UNLV in the second round of the NCAA Championships
- Adam Zika wins the giant slalom at the NCAA Skiing Championships
- Shalaya Kipp wins the NCAA Steeplechase title
- And men’s basketball a third time: the Buffaloes defeat Murray State to win Charleston Classic
- CU’s women’s golf team earns first-ever berth in NCAA Championships after fourth place finish in regionals
|Ann Elliott is named CU's first women's lacrosse coach.
And other top CU stories:
- Change at the top in CU football: head coach Jon Embree dismissed at end of 1-11 season, replaced by Mike MacIntyre who led San Jose State to a 10-2 record
- John Wooten selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame
- Men’s basketball busts into the nation’s top 25 for the first time during the non-conference season since 1970
- Colorado announces the addition of women’s lacrosse in the spring of 2014 as the school’s 17th varsity sport
- Women’s basketball reaches the Elite 8 of the Women’s NIT
- Women’s soccer finishes 8-8-2 under first year head coach Danny Sanchez
- Men’s golf team get snubbed, likely first team on the outside looking in for the NCAA Championship field
- Women’s volleyball starts 11-2; later on, comes back from down 2-0 to defeat Arizona State
Inducted as our sixth member into the College Football Hall of Fame on December, John Wooten (’58) enjoyed every minute of the process since he was informed last spring that he would be entering the Hall. While long overdue, he is in good health at the age of 76 and has given this mountain of a man and his families a new set of great memories at this stage of his life. An All-American guard at CU from 1956-58, and our second African-American player at the time, John went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, nine with Cleveland where he blocked for the great Jim Brown for seven years. We held a private reception for John in New York City on Dec. 3 (at Traffic East on 2nd Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd streets), and among the dozens of visitors were some of the top brass in the National Football League, including Ray Anderson, the league’s vice president for (overall) operations, David Coleman, director of officiating, and Ron Hill, the VP for football operations. At the press conference the next day, John made note that most of the players he was being inducted wit he scouted at one point in his long NFL career in player personnel. One of those inductees was former Denver Bronco running back Otis Armstrong – with another Bronco and Hall of Famer in the room – Floyd Little. For this huge Bronco fan growing up, I had one of those rare moments as a fan that once you work in athletics you don’t often get to experience much anymore. I had giant posters of both in my room growing up. Floyd told me that during his time as a Bronco, he had 27 different quarterbacks.
For those (few) who keep insisting we ran from the Big 12 to an easier conference in the Pac-12, this should quiet them down a bit: in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, athletes from Pac-12 schools won or contributed to 45 medals: 19 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze. If the Pac-12 Conference were a nation and its medals subtracted from their country totals (33 of the 45 were won for the USA), it would have finished fifth in the medal standings behind China (87), Russia (81), the United States (71) and Great Britain (65). Overall, the U.S. led all countries with 104 medals; USC led all colleges with 25 individual medals, with California and Stanford tied for third with 17 (behind Florida). Stanford and USC athletes won the most gold (12), followed by Cal (11) for a 1-2-3 Pac-12 finish in the gold-medal count.
We have student-athletes, coaches and staff members do nice things all the time in the community, often with little publicity; that’s sort of by design, as I took to heart something Bob Kravitz wrote in the Rocky Mountain News back in the early 1990s. Under the heading things he’d like see, he listed, “Athletes visiting a hospital without an accompanying press release.”
This came from Cameron Lewis, Zach Grossnickle’s mother (who attended college with me, well, back in the Carter/Reagan years ;). Zach, of course, was a punter/kicker for the Buffs and will graduate on time this spring and will forego his senior season. In her own words:
“On Senior Day, you may have noticed we had three people on the field. The third person was Ian Weber, a developmentally disabled young man who Zach met when he volunteered at a Special Olympics type camp run by Tyler Polumbus (another former Buff) when the NFL was locked out a couple years back. Zach is wonderful with kids, and these kids especially. He ran the kicking and punting sessions along with the starting punter for the Kansas City Chiefs, and when a kid would run up and say, miss the ball, he'd still heap on the praise and encouragement about their smooth leg movement and how much they had improved, high-five them, and pump his fist, and so on. The kids ate it up.
“After the camp, there was an autograph session, and the other "coaches" were all NFL players: Seahawks, Jets, Chiefs, Broncos, etc.; Zach was the only guy in college. But these kids have a smaller world view, and they know only two football teams: the Buffs and the Broncos. So Tyler and Zach had all these people getting photos and autographs. The Chiefs' punter was good natured about it, grinning, ‘Hey, don't mind me, I just play in the NFL ...’
“One of the moms came over to me and complimented me on what a great kid Zach is, and how much her son had enjoyed the camp. Her son, Ian, is and was a huge Buffs’ fan: he was wearing a No. 7 Colorado jersey that day because he also loved Cody Hawkins. The mom said, ‘If you ever get a chance that Ian can help by picking up the kicking tee, or being an honorary water boy, whatever, it would mean the world to him.’ I said we'd look into it, but it never happened. Right afterward, Zach was benched, so since he wasn't kicking or punting, it seemed all too awkward to get Ian to be the kick-tee returner, and the months went by.
|Zach and his parents await Ian to join them on senior day.
“When Senior Day was approaching, and we realized that Zach's brother Max couldn't come back (he's doing his graduate work in Physics at UC-Riverside), the idea came up that this would be something we controlled, and that Ian could do. I called his mom, Jane, and asked if Ian was interested in standing up for Zach on senior day on the field, and if he could be there at 11:30. She said Ian replied he'd be there at 10 a.m.!
“On Thanksgiving evening, Zach texted me and asked for me to bring some extra Sharpie markers down to the team hotel. He doesn't ask for much, and sometimes when we get an odd request, it really means, ‘There's something I need to tell you’ or that he there's some problem. But it was only 12 minutes from our home, so we said, ‘Heck Sharpie markers, easy request.’
“When we met Zach in the lobby of the Westin, I asked what he needed Sharpies for, and he said since all the guys were hanging out in the hotel, he decided it would be a great time to get a football signed for Ian. He brought two Sharpies, but so many guys had signed the ball, so far, the pens were running out of ink.
“So on Friday, before the last game, Ian became Zach's stand-in brother on the field, and was bouncing off and on the field in joy. When Zach ran out through the other players and handed Ian the signed ball, I thought he would explode with happiness. It was such a big deal for Ian, and such an easy task for us, overall. We had a blast, and Ian's enthusiasm was contagious. (He must come to a lot of practices, because he knew guys by name who all high-fived him.)
“I think it was wonderful that Zach had this whole other thing to think about on Thanksgiving and on Friday, and we all felt fortunate that it worked out the way it did.”
Our former coaching staff was severely criticized for running a quarterback sneak on a first down play at Arizona last Nov. 10; but here’s what happened. The officials originally spotted the ball short of a first down and told our coaches it was third and less than a yard. They then started the 25-second clock. But after re-spotting the ball, we were awarded a first down; the clock was still ticking and the play, a sneak, had been sent in. An official came over and told our coaches we did indeed pick up the first down, but when asked if they would restart the clock, they could not do it. There were about eight seconds on the clock at the time, not enough time to send in another play; the only options were to either stick with the play called or burn a timeout. The same thing almost happened in the Pac-12 Championship game if you recall. So in this instance, the criticism wasn’t warranted for the coaches and should be aimed at the rule book.
While I’m on the subject, coaching changes are never easy; I think many people forget those of us in the department work day-in and day-out with the coaches and many close friendships are developed. That’s why it was great to see that Eric Bieniemy and Greg Brown quickly landed new jobs, Bieniemy as the running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs and Brown as the new secondary coach for Alabama.
Jon Embree is a good man; there is no doubt about that in my mind. He’ll land on his feet, and he’s already proclaimed that his love for his alma mater will not waiver. And yes, Bill McCartney was passionate in his defense of Embo, though the dismissal had nothing to do with race, Mac’s defense of one of his own was admirable but likely went over the top at times; that’s okay, in the end no damage was done. He’s still welcome on our campus, and we’ll likely see more of him now that his grandson, Derek, has reported for the spring semester (Derek has bulked up to 6-4, 240, and Mike MacIntyre commented to me that he liked what he saw when he met him. Not to mention throws coach Casey Malone, who wants him to throw the discus after spring ball concludes).
The spring game is set for Saturday, April 13, with a Noon starting time. The Pac-12 Network will televise all 12 spring games from around the conference between April 13 and May 3.
Q: Any idea how many ex-Buffs made the NFL playoffs?
A: Colorado has several former players and coaches that made the 2012 NFL playoffs. Players include Justin Bannan (Denver), Mason Crosby and Brad Jones (Green Bay), Tyler Polumbus (Washington), Jimmy Smith (Baltimore) and Nate Solder (New England). Former coaches are Tom Cable (Seattle), Moses Cabrera (New England), Jim Caldwell (Baltimore), Karl Dorrell and Vance Joseph (Houston), Chris Morgan (Washington) and Bert Watts (Denver). And don’t forget Matt Russell (the former linebacker is the Broncos director of player personnel) and Jim Ryan (former color analyst for KOA; he’s on the Houston staff).
|Things That Make You Go Hmmm...
Ever stop and think: media vote for the pro sports hall of fames. Recently, no one made it into the baseball hall, much to do with perceived use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Fine, but why not elect someone not associated with them? Boggles the imagination... but back to the point I wanted to make: media vote in the people in the sports halls, but who votes media into the media halls? The media. (By the way, the CU Athletic Hall of Fame is done by selection committee, comprised solely of letterwinners and current athletic staff members. All nominations come from past letterwinners, so teammates do the bulk of the nominating.)
New football head coach Mike MacIntyre has met his share of celebrities and VIP's in his short tenure as head coach, but none likely as memorable as meeting Ralphie for the first time!
|Website(s) & Links of the 'Tude
If you have never stumbled across this page on Facebook, it was assembled to remember fallen teammates as well as link to stories about CU players from the past. Entitled “Old Buffaloes Never Fade Away,” you can find it here:
There was an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal recently on the net worth of college football programs. Colorado came in at No. 32, valued at $202.9 million; that was third in the Pac-12 behind Oregon (roughly $265 mil) and Washington ($260). Texas was first ($762), followed by Michigan ($732), Florida ($600), Notre Dame ($597) and Ohio State ($587). Read it here:
The NCAA recently did an in-depth story on San Jose State, where we hired our new football coach Mike MacIntyre from. It centered around how the Spartans excelled both in academics and on the field; click here for that link.
And StadiumJourney.com was very kind to us in reviewing Folsom Field and the Coors Events Center, which you can find here http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/folsom-field-s412
and here http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/coors-event-center-s535.
This appeared on the ESPN companion site, Grantland.com. A well done, thoroughly researched story on Jo Jo Hunter, who played two years for the Buffaloes back from 1979-81 and has had many ups and downs since:
And a great story on former Buff Chris Copeland here: http://www.nj.com/knicks/index.ssf/2013/01/chris_copeland_newark_native_a.html.
|Congrats Shouts & Sympathies
- How about a shout out to Hale Irwin, who at age 66, shot better than his age for the first time in his career; he wrapped up the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn., on
August 5 with a 7-under 65. A couple of weeks later, he made his 1,054th combined career start (PGA & Champions tours) in the Boeing Classic; that passed Arnold Palmer for fourth all-time. Entering 2013, he has 1,058 career starts (399 on the Champions Tour); he trails Miller Barber (1,293), Dave Eichelberger (1,250) and Charles Coody (1,070).
- Congrats to another Buff linkster, Steve Jones (’81) for earning back his provisional card for the Champions Tour. I saw Steve when I was working the Fiesta Bowl and he said he hopes to play in 18-20 tournaments and finish in the top 30 of the money list so he won’t have to go to qualifying again. He of course won the ’96 U.S. Open, following in the footsteps of Irwin, who captured it three times (1974, 1979, 1990).
- Sympathy from the entire CU family as former athletic trainer Monte Smith (‘53) passed away in December at the age of 82. He was CU’s trainer from 1967-73 after having graduated from CU in 1962 with a degree in physical education; he was also a ’49 graduate of Englewood High School and lettered in gymnastics while attending CU. Athletes from his day rave how important Monte was to them.
- And the same to family of Bart Roth (football ’77), who passed away in his sleep on December 20 in Omaha; a fierce hitting linebacker for Bill Mallory’s Buffaloes in the mid-1970s, he earned the nickname “Hit Man.” He was 57. Caught this on Facebook from one of Bart’s teammates, Chuck McCarter. Words coming from a teammate are often the perfect medicine in times of grief:
“In college I had the privilege to play football with some amazing guys, and we lost a great one two days ago, Bart "Hitman" Roth. Pound for pound, Bart is the toughest person I've ever known. He was fearless! It's times like these that I reflect back to all the thousands of hours that I spent with my Buff Brothers. No matter what race, Black, White, Samoan, Hispanic, we were, and still are, a "Band of Brothers." We lived together, sweated together, bled together, partied together, fought together and today we cry together, all for each other! Each and every one of my Brothers were not only great football players, but great individuals, and we lost a great one in Bart. My deepest sympathies go out to his family, and all of us, "His Brothers." Today, our hearts are saddened, but as always, we will stand "Shoulder to Shoulder." Rest in peace Bart, and thank you for your enthusiasm for life, your leadership, and most of all for you amazing character.”
- And two weeks later (Jan. 4), we lost Bryan Stoltenberg (’95), CU’s All-American and two-time All-Big 8 center to a suspected blood clot less than month after surviving a near-fatal car crash. He is survived by his wife, Laura, and three sons between the ages of 11 and 16 (a college fund for the boys has been established at Chase Bank in Sugarland). Derek West played on the same offensive line with Stoli for three years; here’s what he said:
"Bryan was a dear friend, loyal father, husband and an amazing teammate," West said. "While we mourn the loss of this great man, we're comforted knowing that Bryan is in a better place. I will always remember Bryan's infectious laugh and smile. He had this bigger than life aura about him and this consumed all those around him. He constantly had an upbeat attitude and outlook at everything life threw at him. I will greatly miss my dear friend and cherish all the memories we had on and off the field."
Rashaan Salaam, CU's 1994 Heisman Trophy running back who ran for 2,055 yards, many thanks to Stoltenberg’s crushing blocks, recalled how important "Stoli" was to him. "I was the one who won all those awards, but without my offensive line, that never would have happened. I always believed that those awards were honoring all of us, and Stoli being the center was the heart of that great offensive line. They all went on to play in the NFL, that's how good that group is, and to learn that one of them is now gone is just devastating to me, to all of us."
|This Tudes' Number: 71,851
Colorado, in its first seven men’s basketball home games this year, has drawn 71,852 fans to the Coors Events Center (an average of 10,264). CU set its season record for average per game just last year (7,804), and in the 35-year history of the Events Center, there were 14 occasions where the Buffs did not exceed 70,000 fans for an entire season. Now in 2008-09, the Buffs averaged 4,637 fans per game, and the 68.3 percent increase to the 7,804 number for 2011-12 led all 344 Division I schools in the nation (St. John’s was next at 45 percent). So the Buffs are now at a 32 percent increase over just last year when they set the school mark, and over the last four years, a whopping 122 percent increase.
Runner-Up: Some have said CU was cheap when it hired Jon Embree as head coach, forgetting that he deferred potentially half a million dollars in salary to the pool for his assistants; that pool, in excess of $2.3 million in 2012, ranked 21st in the NCAA. The figure under new coach Mike MacIntyre will be $2.6 million this coming season.
CU—Those who answered his freshman year at CU would be correct, but what I was really looking for was the start of the last true multi-sport career by a Buff. Logan played football and basketball for four seasons. Some of combined football and track, but seldom for more than two seasons; no one has played football and basketball for more than one since “Logan’s run” from 1972-76. (No pun intended on the science fiction movie reference!).
Who Am I?—Ambassador David Bolen. CU’s first Olympian and its fourth African-American in any sport, he lettered three years in track (1946-48) and was fourth in the 400-meters at the London Olympics in a 47.2 time (Jamaica’s Arthur Wint won in 46.2, and the USA’s Mal Whitfield won the bronze in 46.9, just ahead of Bolen). He is known as “The Ambassador,” bestowed that title he worked hard to earn as then-President Jimmy Carter made him the first black ambassador in U.S. History. Now residing in Scottsdale, Ariz., he recently celebrated his 89th birthday in December. The former Buff who spotted him at Southern? All-American and CU Athletic HOF member Gil Cruter.
Music—The drummer in our marching band was none other than co-founder and lead singer of Earth Wind & Fire, Philip Bailey. The Denver East High School graduate attended Metro State briefly before transferring to CU for two years before his musical career took off.
Name That Tune—From 2009, the former warm-up band for Jimmy Buffett, the Zac Brown Band, and their hit, Toes. It’s quite catchy, most like it the first time they hear it; I did. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiL_beZtiQc.
“Plati-‘Tudes” features notes and stories that may not get much play from the mainstream media; offers CU’s take on issues raised by those who have an interest in the program; answers questions and concerns; and provides CU’s point of view if we should disagree with what may have been written or broadcast. Have a question or want to know CU’s take on something? E-mail Dave at email@example.com, and the subject may appear in the next Plati-‘Tudes.