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August Plati-'Tudes

Courtesy: David Plati, Associate AD/Sports Information
Release: August 16, 2009
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By Associated Press
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David Plati
Welcome to a notes and comment column, now in its ninth year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is now in his 26th year as the Buffaloes director of sports information.

Plati-'Tudes No. 84 ... The most famous Buff to wear 84?  While I appreciate tight end Bob Niziolek ('80), whom I batted ahead of one year in softball and got to trot home from first something like 21 times after he blasted the ball out of the park over there on 95th Street in Louisville, you have to go with "Soupy."  Jeff Campbell ('89), a one-man wrecking crew against Nebraska in the1986 and 1989 games, was awarded a scholarship after just one practice after walking on to the team back in '86. Can you believe we are less than a month away from college football season?!  It's less than three weeks for the state's RMAC schools Adams State, Colorado Mines, Fort Lewis, CSU-Pueblo, Mesa State and Western State, who all open on August 29.


Trivia Questions
The opening four mind teasers:
CU--On August 8, Jenny Barringer broke a 31-year old record when she set a school mark in the 800-meter run.  What's the oldest record on the books in any CU sport?
Who Am I?--Two of us played at Colorado at the same time with the same name, so our middle initials of S and E had to be used to separate us.  Mine was the E.  One of my records is in danger of falling this season, 27 straight games with at least one reception.  But another might never be broken; my 17 career touchdowns covered 736 total yards, or 43.3 yards per score.  I am one of a handful of college students, much less athletes with more demands on our time, to graduate in three years.  Who am I?
Music--I've been told I don't do enough with 90s music.  Well, for one, I am a child of the 70s/80s (I say that 1975-84 period).  But here you go: this legendary band did not have its first No. 1 song until 1998, and really rode the success of a sci-fi movie to the top of the charts.  Name the band and the song.
Name That Tune--What song is this lyric passage from: "Sing with me, sing for the year ... Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears."


Quick Hits

Photo: Sports Illustrated
Watching with great interest if the Green Bay Packers make a move to acquire Michael Vick; if so, his PR "handler" will be former CU SID grad assistant Adam Woullard ('03), who's gained a great reputation working with the players in his time on the Packer staff ... The Sporting News recently polled 118 coaches nationwide for the top 50 coaches of all-time; it was an interesting list, and there was little CU representation (Hank Iba, who coached basketball in 1933-34 before moving on to Oklahoma State where he gained his fame).  Who could/should have made the list?  How about Bill Marolt, CU's former ski coach who led the Buffs to seven straight titles in the 1970s and then went on to coach the U.S. Ski Team to a record seven medals in the 1984 Olympics ... See where Dale Douglass ('59) says the Senior PGA Championship in Castle Rock at Colorado Golf Club next summer will be his last on the professional tour; he will be 74 then and will be wrapping up a 50-year professional career ... Props to Eric Bieniemy ('90), who made the photo pages in Sports Illustrated's popular section, Leading Off; he's got the old school conditioning harness going (see photo) ... I could say a lot about the disgusting situation that has occurred with Erin Andrews, whom I consider a friend since she broke in with TBS several years ago, but count me in on those who will defend her, her work ethic and her professionalism, especially against the Christine Brennans of the world ... Some of you know I've had some health issues, as I've battled a nagging cough since November 2007; it gets to the point where I'd cough myself into passing out.  Steroids did wonders-made me look more like the late John Candy than ever before.   I went in for a lung scope on July 23 to get to the bottom of things and they think they have finally pinpointed it.  Bad news for those around me is that I'll soon be able to sing an entire song without coughing.

The 10 Wins & No Excuses: What Was Really Said 

Dan Hawkins
Things often gain a life of their own these days thanks to the Internet; combine that with people don't always remember exactly just what they see or hear, and the resulting portrayal can stray a little or a lot from what was really said.   Such is the case with Dan Hawkins and what he conveyed at our 2008 senior banquet that has turned into a prediction that CU would win 10 games this year.  Well, we have the banquet on tape, so I had grad assistant Nick Bernal transcribe Hawk's comments to the team last December once all the awards were handed out.  Here it is, verbatim (minus a couple of lines of real innocuous things like repeated words which happen in a live speech); as Fox News likes to say, "we report, you decide:"

"I've always said in my life, I've always had heroes and people I've admired, and one of the guys I admire the most is Nelson Mandela. For all he stood for and all he went through and what he had to do to change an entire country and century's worth of apartheid and discrimination ... very phenomenal. Very phenomenal that he had to spend 20 years in prison, to get out and become president of South Africa. And I often think to myself, 'Twenty years, twenty years to keep the dream alive." That's a long time. And I know as we undertook this challenge I believe in the potential that Colorado, I believe what we are doing. I believe in my heart 100 percent that we have the right people in place, we are doing the right things; we are emphasizing the right things. I believe that. But sometimes you know it does not come up as many wins as you want and I tell the kids all the time, 'Quit trying to win it, just be a winner.'

"I believe one hundred percent that the kids sitting behind me (on the dais) are going to go out into the world better people for having gone through this program; I believe that. I believe that we have coaches here that care about them, that understand how to win. I tell the recruits that our staff has a winning percentage over 70 percent; you think we just came here right and our brains ran out our feet and forgot how to coach? No, No.

"David mentioned that we had some recruits over my house last night we were watching the Heisman Trophy.  As they popped up all the finalists there, I was pumping my chest pretty good and I was like,'Pat White, we beat him! Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree, we beat them twice! Sam Bradford, we beat him!' Right down the line. I told our guys at recruiting, 'How many teams can say that they have played the top two, three teams in the country.'  We should have beat Alabama, we did beat Oklahoma, we played Texas. But sometimes you are up against it men. Sometimes you're up against it. I always say this you know, 'Life demands your best.' Hey we're in a country right now that's stock markets in the crapper, housing markets in the crapper, we're at war, the nation in turmoil; it ain't easy.  It's not easy for anybody; it's not, but that's when you've got to bear down. That's when you've got to ground yourself to some beliefs and some principles that you know and you believe that will get you through it; even though it does happen tomorrow, the next day, or the next day.

"[I] played American Legion baseball once when I was in high school, and I struck out my first seventeen at bats. Struck out. Now that wasn't in a few games because you could imagine the coach spacing that out, 'I'm going to give you a game, maybe next game then I'm going to wait a few more games.' And I kept thinking, 'seventeen times, that's unbelievable.' But you know my dad was always awesome. He was like 'Keep swinging man, keep swinging, you'll never going to hit if you quit swinging,' and eventually it comes around.

"We have great people. This is a great institution. I'm fired up to see the regents here. We can't get it done if the regents aren't here. What does football mean to a university? It's your branding, it's your standard, it's your enthusiasm, it's your passion, and it's your ingenuity.  Take a lot of pride in the fact that the applications have gone up, the standards have done up, that's awesome; that's huge. The administration, Mike, have been nothing but absolutely supportive. He can tell you, he walks into Dal Ward sometimes and I'm about two inches tall.  I'm about two inches tall, but I am firmly committed to what we got going here.

"Talked about the tough schedules that everybody played and who they were playing, and who we were playing and not to get down on themselves. I look at that Kansas State win, and I'll be honest with you, that might be one of the greatest wins in the history of my career because what our guys had to go through. Because of what they had to battle or what guys had to give up; what guys had to sacrifice. Those things will bode well for us in the future.

"For all our staff and that's everybody, for Coach Pitman and the guys in the weight room, our players will tell them they love them. He sets a standard for the blue collar work effort; the toughness, the accountability the no excuses mentality. For our trainers and doctors, they got more business then they needed this year to put those guys together. Our academic people, Kris  and everybody that slugs it out, we are so far ahead academically then we were a few years ago.

"Bud Peterson has been awesome to me; nothing but supportive.  All the equipment guys, the video people, all the volunteers.  All the ops guys: Tom, Mark, Jay, Zack, and Zack. All the guys that do the work behind the scenes, everybody taking care of the field. The list goes on and on and on; all the people that have helped us out so much.

"But I believe one hundred percent, I put it on our team, I am going to tell you right here publically, I expect to win 10 games next year; I expect to win 10. You might say, "Geez, coach. Isn't that kind of steep?"  No, it's not.

"I've had some talks with Coach Mac in the offseason, we kind of exchanged messages and finally one day when he got me live, the first comment I said was, "Hello."

"You're close Hawk! You're on the verge! You're on the edge! You're closer than people think."

"Like I've said many times, no one wants to be close to have a good marriage, or close to graduating. No one wants to be close. I thank all the staff, my coaches for their hard work, dedication and their families and wives, and certainly to my wife. Everybody says, 'Where do you get your inspiration?'  Right there (pointing to his left, at his wife Misti), right there.

"For all your hard work and dedication, I know great things lie ahead. I know we didn't win as many games for the seniors as we wanted.

"But for the seniors, men, I appreciated you guys a lot. I respect you guys. You've been through a lot. I appreciate how you've been raised and how we do things. Your loyalty has been undying. For all the young guys, no excuses.  No excuses now guys.  We know how to do it off the field, we know how to do it in the classroom, we know how to do it on the field. I expect my best, the staff's best, the players' bests, the regents' best, the administration's best, everybody is associated with the program because I know great things are in store for us.  But much like Nelson Mandela, we are not just going to sit there in jail and groove. We got to get up, you got to work, you got to act and you got to move.

"For all the parents here, I want to thank you truly for letting us work with your sons. It is the greatest love of my life; I love working with kids. I know it's not easy, trust me I live with a player's mom. I know that we don't appreciate all the little things that you think we should know about your son, I know that. I know sometimes he's hurting. I know sometimes he's does not play as much as he should. I know sometimes he's got better hands than the other kid; I know that. We all know that. But that's the beauty of it all.

"I think about some of the kids that have sacrificed on this team, things they've gone through, that's pure genius. That's what it's about. It's not all rosy. It's not all great. It's not all perfect, it's not all fair. But you hang in there, you slug it out and you know what I am going to get up to bat again. You going to strike me out, I'm going to get up to bat again. To me that's awesome. I am very proud to be the coach here. I know get things are in front of us. I know that we are doing get things in this program. I know we are doing the right things, we are emphasizing the right things that all the great people in history have done to be great people and to graduate and to win the Big 12. No excuses in '09 guys. None by Coach Hawk. None by the Buff Club. None by the faculty. None done by the regents. None by the fans. Let's fill it up. Let's do it right. God bless you, thank you very much and Go Buffs."

You make the call, but "10 wins" and "no excuses" were nowhere close to each other.


Jenny Barringer

Derek Tolan
We thought we had a solid candidate for the Big 12's Female Athlete of the Year in Jenny Barringer; after all, she set six NCAA records over the course of the indoor and outdoor seasons (SIX!).  But alas, those who vote on such honors (media panel) once again passed over the Buffaloes.  It's quite frustrating; dating back to the when the Big Eight started the honor, if  memory serves, in the mid-1970s, CU has had just one winner: Shelley Sheetz in 1994-95 for women's basketball.  Derek Tolan (golf) was this year's male nominee, but when the conference has the Heisman Trophy winner (OU's Sam Bradford), one would have to do an awful lot to top that achievement.  We thought Jenny could lose to Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, which certainly would not have been an injustice considering what that young lady accomplished at OU (not to mention her willingness to repay her scholarship since they fell short of the national title); she didn't win either, Texas had the recipient (eighth time in 13 years).  We just feel really bad for Jenny, and if we ever had a candidate worthy of the honor, it was Barringer.  The intention of these things is always good, but sometimes I wonder if it would be better just to honor a group or all the nominees from each school, or even doing away with it altogether.  For the record, selecting the winners of similar awards at CU annually is painstaking and it's no easy chore for any committee.  But one total out of nearly 70 winners over the last 35 years?  As for Jenny, she keeps on winning, breaking a 31-year old school record for the 800 on August 8 in Germany. 

Tolan, by the way, is up for the David Toms Award, which will be announced next month; it's presented to the golfer who has overcome the most adversity in his collegiate career.  As most of you know, he turned pro and has fared very well, with two wins in his first six tournaments playing the regional Open circuit, including a win in the Colorado Open, one of the most prestigious state events in the nation.

Who Are CU's All-Time Top Five Women's Athletes?

Shelley Sheetz
We're getting asked this a lot lately with Jenny Barringer's mounting accomplishments.  Is she the top women's athlete all-time at CU?  Comparing performers across different sports is apples to oranges as the saying goes, and you can certainly make a case for her.  Basketball's Lisa Van Goor and Shelley Sheetz are often mentioned, as is cross country/track sensation Kara Grgas-Wheeler Goucher, the three current female members of CU's 11-year old Athletic Hall of Fame.  Tera Bjorklund and Bridget Turner (basketball) are likely future inductees, along with skiers Lucie Zikova and Maria Grevsgaard, volleyball players Kelly Campbell and Nicole Vranesh and golfer Erin Kerr.  Other names from track who could surface would include Donna Waller, and possibly Mary Decker, though she transferred following her sophomore year.  Soccer is a relative newbie compared to the other sports, but Fran Munnelly and Nikki Marshall will be candidates.

So while it is hard to make comparisons, Barringer's accomplishments not only in the NCAA but on the world stage have her pulling ahead of the others in my estimation.  But that's a good situation to be in.  You make the call.

I will say our Hall of Fame class for 2014 could very well include Barringer, Grevsgaard, Marshall and Zikova, all of whom will be the minimum five years removed from finishing their collegiate careers.  By then it will be our 10th class to be inducted, with the 2010 (eighth) and 2012 (ninth) ahead of it.

Praise Is Good 
Spoke with my good friend and former CU head coach Rick Neuheisel recently, and we got around to the Elite 11 Quarterback camp that was in California in July.  He was there to watch his son Jerry (that toe-head is now 6-foot-1), and he also spied a look at the veterans that returned to work with the younger kids.  Rick, now head man at UCLA, knows something about quarterbacks and reported that Cody Hawkins more than held his own against the likes of Chase Daniel and Colt McCoy, among others, and said he appeared to be the most competitive of the lot.  Always good to hear about your junior quarterback!


The P-'Tudes Mailbag
The usual grab-bag of questions fired my way by P-'Tudes readers and others that I thought others would be interested in:

CU defeated West Virginia 17-14 in overtime in last season's 'blackout' game.
Q: When's this year's blackout game?
A: It has yet to be determined; we're hoping for a home night game, since the last two times it gave the stadium a unique look (Florida State in '07, West Virginia last year).   Won't happen in September this time around, but it could happen for either the Kansas or Missouri games in October if one is selected for an evening (5 p.m. or later) start.  You need that combination of dusk/night with it warm enough since most black items people own tend to be t-shirts, though I spotted a couple of tuxedos worn by students last year.

Q: What happened to Ben Burney's blog?                             
A: Ben blogged the first day of camp, but we didn't get the okay of the coaching staff in advance and they'd simply prefer that it be done by a group of guys (we also had phone calls to register complaints about some inappropriate content).  We don't want to get into the censorship game, but we certainly reserve the right to edit what goes on the school's official website.  Ben's a talented writer and he'll blog again down the road. 

Q: What is the deal with school records in track being set in international, non-collegiate competition, whereas in other sports that's not the case?
A: I'm not sure where it originated, but that's the way it's always been in track.  As long as someone has eligibility remaining, their non-collegiate results counted and count as school records.  Probably because there are so many meets where only the best receive invitations, and the track teams often have split and have had athletes go to as many as four places in one weekend.  Don't know if the same applies to sports CU doesn't sponsor (swimming comes to mind), but if someone shoots a 59 in golf in the Colorado Open while they're a sophomore, it's not a school mark.

Q: Do you all in the Big 12 tire of the SEC bragging the way it does, the best at everything?
A: Well, that certainly didn't apply to men's basketball last year.  I have never believed the SEC is head and shoulders above the rest of us in football, better on occasion, sure, but not by light years. I've always found it comical how some coaches in that conference are brash about bashing other conferences, touting theirs as the best, and yet their only non-league BCS game is usually in the postseason because most schools in that league traditionally play cupcake non-conference schedules.  Ah, scheduling of the past.  Florida's last non-conference game out of state was during George H.W. Bush's term in office, in 1991 at Syracuse; before that, it played at Memphis in '89 and Rutgers in '86 (granted, they play Florida State every year, but log some airline miles to another part of the country every now and then).  How cool would a CU-Florida home-and-home be?

Look at what CU has accomplished historically with some of our schedules.   Road wins over LSU and Ohio State in 1971; wins over Texas, Illinois, Washington, Nebraska, Oklahoma in 1989; those same four minus Illinois but plus Notre Dame a year later; then that three-week run in '94 with wins over Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas and later on Oklahoma and Kansas State in Big 8 play, and then the Golden Domers again in the bowl.  And Wisconsin, Texas A&M as a non-conference foe and Oklahoma in a five-week September span in '95.  True fact: CU is the only school that has ever beaten Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas in the same year-and we did it twice (1989, 1990).


Things That Make You Go Hmmm... 
This whole "vacate" victories penalty that has all of a sudden become a popular punishment by the NCAA.  Many are saying leave the results on the field alone and stick with fines, scholarship penalties, etc.  When games were forfeited, the NCAA's own statistics service did not recognize them, and thus most schools followed suit; at Colorado, we've won and lost games by forfeit throughout our history, but all records reflect what happened on the field because that's how the NCAA stats people, and rightfully so, treated them.  KU beat us, 34-6, in 1960 and later forfeited because of something that would not have altered thing one about that game; most recently for CU was the '97 forfeit of five wins because a player who transferred here four years earlier didn't put down that he was at another junior college for one week.  Like that affected those games.  Vacating a title or finish is one thing (Villanova's runner-up finish in '71 basketball is the most famous), but doing so to games creates headaches and asterisk city.

The ESPN "40"
Over 303,000 people voted in a recent ESPN poll to create a new Division I, selecting what they thought were the 40 football-playing schools belong.  There appeared to be some shenanigans, like North Carolina State finishing fifth after jumping to that spot from 75th or so (likely a massive alumni e-mail to tens of thousands) and perhaps the same with Akron, which placed 34th; I admit I forwarded the link to two lists that might have reached 1,000 people.  Penn State, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Florida were the top four; Colorado came in 37th on 17.6 percent of the ballots; Utah was the last in at 16.5%, Illinois was the first one out at 16.2%.  Eight Big 12 teams made the so-called cut, with Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor on the outside looking in.  Here's the link to the results as of August 9: http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/ballot/_/id/3874/120-40. (303,000? Now that's a poll ... pretty much dwarfs all those newspaper website polls that have around 150-200 people voting; so once again, advertisers beware, especially if they list percentages and not vote counts!  Kind of like the same 10 people arguing in reader comment boxes back and forth and they'll account for 200 page hits.  Doubt they're looking at the ads.)

CU Fares Well In PayScale.com Survey
Colorado tops all conference schools when it comes to a recent survey by payscale.com, which did a comprehensive and mid-career study of salaries based upon where employees graduated from.  CU was at the top with a mid-career average of $94,300 (average starting salary of $47,100); Texas was second ($91,300/$50,000), followed by Baylor ($90,800/$47,700), Iowa State ($85,300/$46,500) and Texas Tech ($82,900/$45,700).   This is so apples and oranges that it can't be taken all that seriously, but it's nice to be at the top of the list, which you can find here: http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/college-graduate-salary-statistics-by-location.asp.

Where Are They Now

Patrick Williams

For those wondering what became of Bobby Purify ('04), he's alive and well in his native Colorado Springs.  The Gazette recently did a story on a local semipro football team that he plays for; here's the link:

And most know that Patrick Williams ('08) is in camp with Green Bay, and he recently took part in the Packers' tradition of riding bikes with young ones from the team complex to the practice fields.  The kids get to carry the helmet while the player rides his or her bike over.  Very cool! 



Website(s) of the 'Tude
Here's a good one many of us sports info types utilize for research: http://football.stassen.com.  Loaded with good info; another decent one to check school scores through the years is http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com, though they do have several errors in our all-time log, and changes records for forfeits.

Congrats Shouts


    Alonzo Barrett
    To good friend and long-time Bronco PR man Jim Saccomano, who recently authored his latest book, Denver Broncos: The Complete Illustrated History. There will be a book signing with Jim at the Bronco Team Store at Invesco Field on August 29 (time TBA).
  • To Alonzo Barrett ('07), who played defensive end for the Raiffeisen Vikings (Vienna) this past summer and was a member of its Austrian Bowl champion team. I'd love to tell you more, but the website's in Austrian (raiffeisenvikings.com)!



Golfer Updates
Jonathan Kaye ('93) has made the cut in seven of 15 tournaments in his bid to regain full-fledged status on the PGA Tour.  He needs to win $743,805 on his medical waiver to reclaim his Tour card; he has won $252,408 to date.  We've charting his progress and keep wishing him luck!

Derek Tolan ('09) won two of his first five times out as a pro, claiming the San Juan Open and the Colorado Open, becoming the second youngest professional to ever win the latter.  He's already cashed checks over $45,000, which he no doubt will spend wisely on his way to Q-School later this fall.  If he can keep playing the way he has (20 professional rounds, 15 in the 60s), he might be playing in his second "major" within a year of his graduation (trick note: he's already played in one, the 2002 U.S. Open as a 16-year old).

Blake Moore ('07) was chosen to compete on Big Break XII, a Golf Channel competition show.  "It was the most amazing experience of my young life so far.  I can't say much about it, but I can tell you that I made it pretty entertaining and it should be fun to watch," he said.  The show is scheduled to air this fall (likely in October), with previews beginning at the end of August.  

This Tudes' Number: 44
Football practice is often closed off to fans at some point, but of the 120 FBS schools, only 44 are open to the media during the season without some kind of time limitation (there are 24 with time constraints, like first 15 minutes, last 30, etc.), meaning 52 are closed to the media in-season (50 BCS members).  CU is the only Big 12 school that is open to the media in-season (they can attend the full sessions Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday); Missouri is open for 30 minutes once per week and Texas A&M for 30 minutes daily, but the rest are closed, other than short windows for video needs.  There are 17 other BCS schools open to the media in CU's fashion include Arizona State, Boston College, California, Cincinnati, Indiana, Northwestern, Oregon, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Washington and Washington State; locally, Air Force and Colorado State are open as well.  (Research by Navy Sports Information.)

Trivia Answers

CU--This mark has been in the record books since Oct. 19, 1935-average gain per rushing play, minimum five carries: Kayo Lam had seven attempts against Colorado Mines for 226 yards, or 32.3 yards per rush.  Next oldest: Byron White's longest punt in school history, one he booted 83 yards against Missouri in Boulder on Oct. 2, 1937 (which carried a side note for the longest time of: "without roll.").
Who Am I?--Charles E. Johnson.  He lettered four times under Bill McCartney between 1990-93, and his record for the most consecutive games with at least one catch is being threatened by current Buff junior Scotty McKnight, who has caught at least one in 24 in a row (25 counting bowl games, which we don't; including bowls, Johnson's number jumps to 29.  The way the NCAA keeps it stats with bowl numbers counting since 2002, Johnson's record would be 27 without the postseason, McKnight's would be at 25, counting it.  Ugh.).
Music--Believe it or not, Aerosmith, with the soundtrack smash from Armageddon, I Don't Want To Miss A Thing.
Name That Tune--Aerosmith again, with Dream On.  Not the hardest of questions in the world, but the words are often hard to understand.  The chorus is completed by, "Sing with me, if it's just for today ... Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away."

"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 david.plati@colorado.edu, and the subject may appear in the next Plati-'Tudes.