Welcome to a notes and comment column, now in its ninth year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director
Plati-‘Tudes No. 81 ... The most famous Buff to wear 81? Michael Westbrook (class of ’94) ... The athletic season is winding down, but both golf teams made the postseason and it’s also “Jenny Barringer Season” as she continues to assault the record books in whatever event she chooses to run; might be awhile until we see someone like her again, though Mark Wetmore recruits with the best of them ... How about this stat: through 37 rounds, or 666 holes, only three strokes separate CU’s senior golfing studs, Derek Tolan and Pat Grady.
And they’re virtually tied in almost every other stat as well.
The opening four mind teasers:
CU—The women’s golf team is making its first appearance in the NCAA championships in the history of the program. What’s the highest finish by any CU team the first time it competed in an NCAA championship?
Who Am I?— I lettered in two sports. I had great moments in autumn and wrapped the athletic year by having several in May and June. I didn’t touch the football all that often, but when I did, it was like track practice with several 60-yard dashes... or longer. I made my professional bones with perhaps the most hated rival in the state. Who am I?
Music—Barry Manilow wrote many songs and jingles, but one of his biggest hits was written by Bruce Johnston. Name the tune (and think irony). Bonus: What other 70s pop act recorded the song?
Name That Tune—What song is this lyric passage from: “It's the chance of a lifetime ... In a lifetime of chance ... And it's high time you joined ... In the dance.”
Colorado National Golf Club Dedicated
On May 2, the culmination of the dreams of several, most notably CU’s two late golf coaches, Les Fowler and Mark Simpson, were realized with the official dedication of Colorado National Golf Club in Erie. Formerly known as Vista Ridge Golf Club and located in Erie, over 800 people and dozens of CU alumni turned out at CNGC despite temperatures in the 40s and a misty rain at times. No need to go over the details here, but it was pretty darn cool that both of our U.S. Open champions, Hale Irwin and Steve Jones, returned to help celebrate the day. Check out the full story and the photo album from the day at http://www.cubuffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=600&ATCLID=3734808.
Sixth? No Way
Former Buff Chauncey Billups finished sixth the voting for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, done by 121 media members in the U.S. and Canada. Sixth? No one’s going to argue with LeBron James claiming the award, but Billups finishing sixth, with no vote higher than fourth, is a total croc. In this corner, and yes, I am biased, but after he arrived, Denver goes 52-26 and wins the Midwest Division, finishing as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Kobe Bryant was second, with comparable weapons around him, so that’s undeniable. But after that, you had Dwyane Wade finish third (where was he in the first round, trying to figure out how to properly spell Dwayne?); Dwight Howard of Orlando (hard to knock, other than Orlando plays in the easier conference), and the New Orleans’ Chris Paul (who played on the team that was administered the worst home loss in NBA history—regular season or playoffs—by Billups’ Nuggets). Yet Paul, with 192 points, had almost six times the points Chauncey received (33). Oh well, since I don’t work in the NBA I don’t know if there’s that East Coast bias that exists with several awards in several leagues, but this dog doesn’t hunt to me.
The Next Rush?
Well, maybe not at the start, but congrats to former Buff quarterback Joel Klatt, who on May 4 joined the radio sportstalk business on a full-time basis, serving as co-host with Nate Kreckman in the 3-6 p.m. slot on Mile High Sports Radio (KCKK, 1510 AM on the dial). Joel, one of many in attendance at the grand opening of Colorado National, said he was looking forward to joining the radio biz and was hopeful that the duo could put together a popular show. Good luck, guys!
Don’t know if you checked out the numbers in a recent Editor & Publisher story about newspapers, but it was quite interesting. The Audit Bureau of Circulations released spring figures for the six months ending March 31, revealing that the largest metropolitan newspapers continue to have falling circulation numbers (daily and Sunday) at a record rate. Some excerpts from the story:
—According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.
—The percent comparisons are for the same period ending in March 2008. (All daily averages are for Monday through Friday.)
—Daily circulation at the New York Times dropped 3.5% to 1,039,031. The Times' Sunday circ was down 1.7% to 1,451,233.
—The Washington Post lost 1.6% of its daily circ to 665,383 and 2.3% to 868,965.
—USA Today lost 7.4% of its daily circulation to 2,113,725 due to a decline in hotel copies.
—Daily circulation at the Wall Street Journal was up a fraction 0.6% to 2,082,189, but this was certainly the exception, not the rule.
—Daily circulation at the Boston Globe skidded 13.6% to 302,638 copies. Sunday decreased 11.2% to 466,665.
—The New York Daily News was off 14%, but rival New York Post lost even more, at minus 20%. The Newark Star-Ledger of shed over 16%. Newsday, by comparison, lost 3%.
—Daily circulation at the Miami Herald fell 15.8% to 202,122. Sunday is down 13.1% to 270,166.
—San Francisco Chronicle shed 15.7% of daily copies to 312,118. Sunday fell 16.5% to 312,118.
—Tribune Co. papers rolled out highly touted redesigns in this period, but lost readers. The Chicago Tribune lost 7.4% of its daily circulation to 501,202 and 4.5% on Sunday to 858,256 copies. Circulation plunged at the Los Angeles Times at 6.5% of its daily circulation (Monday through Friday) to 723,181 copies. Sunday was down 7.4% to 1,019,388.
—The Philadelphia Inquirer lost 13.7% of its daily circulation to 288,298. Sunday was hit just as hard, down 12% to 550,400. Daily circulation at its sister publication the Daily News fell 7.6% to 99,103.
—Daily circulation at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution plummeted almost 20% to 261,828. Sunday decreased 7% to 462,011.
—The Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Chicago Sun-Times took very slim losses -- a victory of sorts.
—The Houston Chronicle was down almost 14% of daily circulation to 425,138. Sunday fell 7.8% to 583,364 copies.
—The Arizona Republic in Phoenix was down 5.7% in daily circulation to 389,701 while the paper gained 0.2% on Sunday with a total of 516,562 copies.
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer lost 11.7% of its average daily circulation to 291,630. Sunday was down 8.15 to 393,352.
—The top 25 newspapers, by circulation:
USA TODAY 2,113,725 – (-7.46%)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 2,082,189 -- 0.61%
THE NEW YORK TIMES 1,039,031 -- (-3.55%)
LOS ANGELES TIMES 723,181 -- (-6.55%)
THE WASHINGTON POST 665,383 -- (-1.16%)
DAILY NEWS (NEW YORK) 602,857 -- (-14.26%)
NEW YORK POST 558,140 -- (-20.55%)
CHICAGO TRIBUNE 501,202 -- (-7.47%)
HOUSTON CHRONICLE 425,138 -- (-13.96%)
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC 389,701 -- (-5.72%)
THE DENVER POST 371,728 -- N/A
NEWSDAY 368,194 -- (-3.01%)
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS 331,907 -- (-9.88%)
STAR-TRIBUNE, MINNEAPOLIS 320,076 -- (-0.71%)
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 312,141 -- (-0.04%)
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - 312,118 -- (-15.72%)
THE BOSTON GLOBE 302,638 -- (-13.68%)
THE PLAIN DEALER, CLEVELAND 291,630 -- (-11.70%)
DETROIT FREE PRESS 290,730 -- (-5.90%)
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER 288,298 -- (-13.72%)
THE STAR-LEDGER, NEWARK, N.J. 287,082 -- (-16.82%)
ST. PETERSBURG (FLA.) TIMES 283,093 -- (-10.42%)
THE OREGONIAN, PORTLAND 268,512 -- (-11.76%)
ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION 261,828 -- (-19.91%)
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE 261,253 -- (-9.53%)
April 28 was a sad day as we lost one of the true gentlemen in sports broadcasting when Rich Bircumshaw passed away from complications due to a stroke; he was just 54. Rich was the play-by-play voice for Colorado State since 2002 and had 10 seasons in all covering the Rams (and several prior covering the University of Wyoming). His low-key style was a rarity nowadays that will be missed: he made the CSU players and coaches out to be the show, not himself as the intermediary between the action and the listener which is sad to say more often the case than not anymore. He was a true friend to our colleagues at CSU, and a true professional to work with for those of us in sports information. Condolences to everyone in Fort Collins, Rich will be missed by many. There is an excellent tribute to Rich on CSURams.com, written by SID Zak Gilbert; here’s the link: http://www.csurams.com/genrel/050409aab.html.
And To Tim As Well On May 10, we also lost Tim Mimick, a longtime, award-winning sports writer at Colorado Springs Gazette, as he passed away at the age of 55 of complications from cancer. Tim covered the CU football and basketball beats for well over a decade (mid-1980s to late 1990s) and was one of the friendliest people you’d ever want to meet. Here are some excerpts from stories that ran in the Columbus (Neb.) Telegram, where he worked prior to moving to the Springs, and the Denver Post:
"I had the greatest respect in the world for Tim," former Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry told the Post from his home in Isle of Palms, S.C. "He loved doing what he did for a living. To me, he was more than a great sports writer. He was a great friend as well. He was a pleasure to work with. He always looked for the positive in everything he did. I know my players loved being covered by him because they knew Tim had great admiration for them and for the academy. He will be greatly missed."
He was a Gazette sports writer from 1979 to 2003 and covered most of the newspaper's major Front Range beats, including the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the football and basketball teams at the University of Colorado, Air Force and Colorado State, and numerous events at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He retired from journalism after covering the NCAA basketball tournament in 2003 and returned to Columbus, his hometown, to be closer to his family.
"Talent alone didn't make Tim a special sports writer," said DeBerry, the winningest coach in the history of military academy football. "Tim was a special sports writer also because he was a special person. And it showed in his work. Every time Tim walked into my office, I knew my day would be better because of him being there. He was a great man. His family had every reason to be proud of him."
He was born Aug. 3, 1953, in Columbus, and graduated from the University of Nebraska. You would never have known that from the way he covered the CU beat; unlike some, which seem to go out of their way to criticize who they are covering at the expense of their alma mater, Tim never rubbed it in if CU lost to Nebraska and didn’t take it personally when the Buffs won as some will. We used to discuss statistics all the time, and it was his idea for us to track “First Downs Earned,” which we started in 1987 and was soon picked up by the NFL. As Fisher said, Tim will be missed greatly.”
And To Tim As Well
On May 10, we also lost Tim Mimick, a longtime, award-winning sports writer at Colorado Springs Gazette, as he passed away at the age of 55 of complications from cancer. Tim covered the CU football and basketball beats for well over a decade (mid-1980s to late 1990s) and was one of the friendliest people you’d ever want to meet. Here are some excerpts from stories that ran in the Columbus (Neb.) Telegram, where he worked prior to moving to the Springs, and the Denver Post:
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:
Q: Honestly now, did you all inflate the spring game attendance? Looked like 8 or 9,000 people max.
A: There’s no reason to do that, at anytime; the media will write “before an announced crowd,” etc. Obviously with no tickets, it’s educated guess work; just remember basically that each section when full seats 1,500 people, so that’s a good measuring stick to start. And you have to take into consideration how many people took advantage of the tickets to scout out the club seats; that was jammed all first half which would mean about 2,000 people basically out of sight. So our estimate of 11,700 probably wasn’t far off in either direction. Many thought we went low last year at 17,800, our all-time record crowd.
Q: Was the 1-15 record in Big 12 play by the men’s basketball team the worst conference record in school history in any sport?
A: The 1985-86 team went 0-14 in the Big 8, though were competitive most of the time; that team got few breaks. This one might have had even less; the ’08-09 Buffs lost seven conference games by eight points or less, including five-point setbacks at nationally ranked Kansas and Oklahoma, and an eighth at home to Texas by nine in overtime. Essentially out of 15 games, we were only kicked badly twice and two other games drifted out of hand to the 18-point rage late. Jeff Bzdelik has the program on the right track, and the squad is very young. Look for the team to start making some noise this winter and some serious rattling in ’10-11. There’s no quick fix, but there’s the right fix and this staff is doing it. Remember, he turned a 17-65 Nuggets team into a playoff participant at 43-39 the following year.
Q: What gives? No CU players on ESPN’s Top 40 Player list for the Big 12?
A: That’s just the blogger’s (Tim Griffin) opinion, doesn’t mean anything. How one would leave Cha’pelle Brown off the list is beyond me, and Nate Solder is worth serious consideration, among others, but it’s subjective and in the end it’s just a story. It’s not the FOX News Channel, meaning fair and balanced, more like MSNBC being in bed with the Southern schools instead of its favorite politicians. Zing! In fairness to Tim, he did join ESPN.com from San Antonio and just naturally knows those schools better, but I find it hard to believe the South had 29 of the 40 players on the list. (And as far as FNC is concerned, that’s my opinion from working with the networks in my career, so if anyone offended that I like FNC, don’t waste your time e-mailing me to rip me/them, I know what I know from working with people and what I personally watch. And there are heckuva lot of people who agree with me.)
Things That Make You Go Hmmm....
Why is the abbreviation for the San Francisco Giants on espn.com SFO? Isn’t that the bag tag for airlines? What’s the matter with just SF? Same goes for ballparks that list the Chicago teams as ChA and ChN? How about ChW and ChC? The New York teams go by NYY and NYM? Why the difference? Okay, this might have been the lamest “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” ever, but I figured I’d lay off NBA officiating since the Nuggets advanced.
Golf Tourney Season
On Monday, May 11, former Buff Blake Anderson (“the ‘tipper”) has his Bold Youth Epic 2 golf tournament, a 54-hole marathon of sorts at the Omni International Resort; for more info, visit www.boldyouth.org, or e-mail Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, May 15, the annual Colorado Coaches for Charity inner will take place at Invesco Field At Mile High; Dan Hawkins will be in attendance along with several other head coaches from around the state. There are all kinds of sponsorship levels; for more information, visit http://www.coloradocoachesforcharity.com/.
On June 13, the fourth annual Gary Barnett Celebrity Golf Classic will be played at Legacy Ridge in Westminster, with the proceeds going to suicide prevention causes. Former head coaches Bill McCartney and Barnett along with former players like Jeremy Bloom and Bobby Pesavento will be playing. There’s also the pre-tournament party the night before to draft teams. For more information, go to garybarnettfoundation.org.
And don’t forget the Buff Club tournaments throughout the state, checkout the special events page here at CUBuffs.com for more on all of those!
Battle Of The Stuffed Ballot Box
So far, CSU fans have the edge over CU fans in “stuffing the ballot box” for the best looking uniforms in state history, according to an informal poll by the Denver Post. On April 26, Jim Armstrong did a great review of jerseys down through the years of several teams and schools in the state. For a poll, it was pared to four: the current CU and CSU football jerseys, the 1980s/90s Denver Nuggets jersey with the city skyline, and the old Colorado Rockies hockey jersey (1976-82) with the mountain and a large C reminiscent of the state flag. Between school emails and fan site postings, over 7,200 votes had been cast, with the lead swapping back-and-forth between the two football jerseys. Last time I checked, CSU had 4,343 of the 7,263 ballots cast (59.8 percent) and CU had 2,809, or 38.7 percent; the Rockies had 61 votes while the Nuggets had the other 50 votes, both less than 1 percent. One person really can’t stuff the box, the poll only excepts one vote from each computer or IP address, so someone would have to really bounce around to vote more than twice (work and home). Why do I think it was “stuffed?” Well, the Post never made the poll prominent, you had to click on the story, and the odds of both the Nuggets and Rockies jerseys, two very popular looks, getting such a low vote tally indicates that the two schools competed big-time and no one was out there pushing the pro threads. To vote or see the latest results, visit http://www.denverpost.com/sportsheadlines/ci_12228394 (not sure when the poll will close). Regardless, as I said in the story, when you throw in Air Force’s football jerseys, I don’t think there’s a state out there that can say they have better looking football unis than Colorado.
Website(s) of the ‘Tude
Not really a website, but a link to a cool picture featuring a Ralphie runner alum, Kenny Rogers (’04). We’ll have to find out from him which was scarier, the first time he ran with Ralphie, or the first time he did what you’ll see in the attached photo: https://www.cualum.org/2009/04/22/ralphie-wranglers-in-the-sky/. Also, former Buff Daniel Graham (’01) has a foundation he started with his wife, Marilyn, in 2006. The Daniel Graham Foundation was created to support families with an influence of youth from challenge to triumph by focusing on the areas of health, education, financial management and community service. Check it out at www.danielgrahamfoundation.org. And long-time Buff Clubber Larry Muse sent a link to a real cool composite audio by street performers of the song Stand By Me; check it out here: http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2539741.
Line of the Week
ESPN’s Jason Smith, on the potential that London will host a Super Bowl, perhaps as soon as 2014: “Look, I'm all for globalization of the greatest sport in the world, but there's plenty of reasons why this idea is only slightly better than the "Jump to Conclusions" mat from Office Space.” Now that’s funny!
Ø To Matt Russell, who was named the Director of College Scouting for the Denver Broncos on April 30. The CU All-American and ’96 Butkus Award winner got to know Bronco head coach Josh McDaniel when both were at New England. Matt joins the Broncos from the Philadelphia Eagles where he most recently had set up shop. Welcome home, Matt!
Ø To Pasta Jay’s Jay Elowski, who was inducted into the Boulder Country Business Hall of Fame on April 30, mainly due to all the charity work he has done since opening his Boulder restaurant in the late 1980s. Jay is an unofficial sponsor of Plati-‘Tudes and the defunct Plati Report on team charter flights (Frontier rocks, but the TVs on board killed my scoreboard show). He routinely names dishes at his restaurants after several us, including Brian Cabral, Jon Embree, myself, and perhaps the clever one of the bunch, the “Alfredo” Williams. Jay’s good friend, Andy Macdonald, a legal advisor for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, recently purchased one of the largest buffalo sculptures in town as you can see by the picture (right), and has it proudly displayed in front of his house on Pine Street.
Ø To the Boulder Camera’s Ryan Thorburn, who just completed his first book, Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football. The book is expected out by mid-June; those interested in ordering a copy can contact Ryan at email@example.com, or order one direct from the publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $20 and eventually will be offered on Amazon.com.
Where They Are Now
Recently caught up with former Buff hoopster Tony Pruitt (’85), who is now working in a position in the Chicago government. He is working in the Asset Forfeiture Unit, which deals with gangs, narcotics and money laundering, among other challenges. He is married (“I have a lovely wife”) and is the father of two boys. After his CU basketball career, he turned down a contract offer to play in Israel to pursue a pro career in Europe, but suffered a torn Achilles heel before that could amount to anything, sending him into coaching. He coached at Denver East High school as an assistant coach for the legendary Rudy Carey and also coached some AAU select teams in Denver in the late 90s and also in the Chicago high school ranks earlier this decade. Pruitt’s younger brother, Mickey (’87 football) is the director of high school football operations for Chicago public schools. Any former teammates or friends interested in contacting Tony, he can be reached at email@example.com.
Former Buff Jonathan Kaye (’93) has now played in seven tournaments in his bid to regain full-fledged status on the PGA Tour. He has made four cuts to date; He needs to win $743,805 in 13 tournaments on his medical waiver to reclaim his Tour card. We’re charting his progress and keep wishing him luck!
Tournaments Played: 7
Earnings: $ 107,145
To Go: $636,660
Kane Webber (’04) is playing on the Asian Tour, where he finished 15th on the money list for 2008. He also played well enough for category 12 in Europe for 2009. When not spanning the globe, Kane resides with his wife, Dawn, in Castle Rock.
Blake Moore (’07) missed the cut in Southern Pines by one stroke (on March 20), his initial prep for an April/May grind that saw him play in two Nationwide Qualifiers and four Hooters/Tarheel events. On March 30, he shot a 69 to qualify for the Tarheel Tour event in Savannah, Ga., and finished 68th in the event (70-74—144, E). He tied for 39th the following week with a scorecard 75-69-71-72—287, and tied for 22nd in his last April outing. You can follow Blake at Hooterstour.com. Another former Buff, Kenny Coakley ('06), finished third in one of the very Hooters events.
Bobby Kalinowski, Tom Kalinowski and Michael Baird are all playing the Gateway Tour (Arizona), and Scott Petersen, a long-time Nationwide Tour vet, is participating on the Adams Tour in the south.
This Tudes’ Number: 65
That is the number of times a final margin of three points has occurred in a
CU—In 1954, the CU skiers grabbed the bronze spot; men’s basketball came close, finishing third in the 1942 tournament, but the Buffaloes made the field two years earlier but lost in the first round (which were technically quarterfinals with only eight teams).
Who Am I?—Cliff Branch. He lettered twice in both football and track after transferring to Colorado from Wharton County (Texas) Junior College. He returned eight kicks for touchdowns in his career, was on the end of several 50-plus yard receptions, and to this day still holds some of CU’s sprint records on the track.
Music—While Manilow wrote many a song and Pepsi, Jack-In-The Box and McDonald’s jingles, his 1976 hit I Write The Songs was written by Johnston. Bonus: David Cassidy actually recorded it first.
Name That Tune—Run For the Roses, by the late great Dan Fogelberg, the Peoria, Ill., native who relocated and spent many years right here in Boulder.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and the subject may appear in the next Plati-‘Tudes.