In its eighth year, welcome to a notes and comment column penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is wrapping up his 23rd year as the Buffaloes director of sports information:
TRIVIA QUESTIONS... Three to tantalize those who like to ponder the past:
CU—Name the former CU football player who once played a cop in the movie, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
Who Am I?—I wore number 55 and played forward on the men’s basketball team at CU. During my time, we at first wore the blue uniforms but black was being ushered back into the school color scheme by my senior year. My personal trivia answer is that I was the first CU basketball player ever to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, though I wasn’t the featured performer. Who Am I?
Seinfeld—In the “Mimbo” episode where Elaine dates the rock climbing Tony because of his good looks, George prepared sandwiches for their day on the rocks. What did sandwiches did George bring, and what one did he not as he knew Tony did not care for it?
QUICK HITS... Scratch the mention in the last P-‘Tudes about former CU SID Mike Moran relocating to
· And a personal thank you to Jim Saccomano and the Denver Broncos for allowing my journalism class to attend the draft for the seventh straight year. I highly doubt any other team would allow 20-25 outsiders annually to invade on draft weekend; my class says it is one of the highlights of the year, so I want to recognize Sacco publicly (same goes for Eric Sebastian and Tim Gelt with the Nuggets and Jay Alves and Irma Thumim with the Rockies). The pro teams are very accommodating to the local colleges (I’ve seen other college classes at Rockie games), and we in the university ranks appreciate their cooperation.
BURIANEK CELEBRATION... On April 21, over 200 people gathered at the Cattleman’s Club on the National Western grounds in
After an awesome meal dished up by KM Concessions and its patriarch Kevin McNicholas, the program led off with a DVD of recorded tributes, including one by former football coach Rick Neuheisel, who could not attend due to his draft duties with Baltimore Ravens. Jon and Rick were fairly close during their time at CU, and Rick recruited his son to CU.
Featured speakers on the evening included the three former directors, Jim Ginsburg, “Pasta” Jay Elowski, Steve DiTolla, Larry Zimmer and Jason Burianek. Jason, the oldest child of Jon and Nancy, has a future in public speaking as he did a wonderful job despite not knowing he was going to talk until an hour or so before he took the podium. He relayed a great story about how he was deciding between a couple of other schools or to walk on at Colorado, and Jon brought out all his championship rings he earned as a staff member and told him if he wanted to win one of those, he needed to attend CU. Sure enough, Jason did and was a member of the 2001 Big 12 champion team.
Coach Mac, in the style honoring the late Fred “Count’ Casotti, who wrote thousands of poems, odes and limericks, took a crack at doing so and penned the following he entitled An Ode To Jon B:
Jon Burianek and Bill McCartney
None will dispute that this is a fact
Talkin’ bout a guy who gave his all
He thought no assignment was ever too small
He came in early, he left after dark
Fellow workers were often fed by his spark
Always content to labor in the background
While others were honored, he couldn’t be found
That is why we gather here tonight
Time to bring that man to the spotlight
We are here to say thanks and celebrate
Just want you to know we think you’re great!
Not bad, Mac! Maybe songwriting is next on his list, because that was most prose. At the end of the evening, Jon’s friends presented him and Nancy with an Alaskan Cruise among other gifts.
STRAUSS MOVING ON... Former CU student assistant Mike Strauss, the athletic media relations director at
WORTHY TOURNAMENT... ‘Tis the season for charity golf tournaments, but one on Monday, July 2, has been coordinated by the nephew of our former women’s basketball SID (Chris Yuhl, also a close personal friend of moi’s). But this one, slated for the newly renovated Green Gables Country Club in
THANKS DOC!... A personal shout of thanks out to Dr. Eric McCarty, the former Buff linebacker (’87) and director of CU Sports Medicine. After 32 years of torturing my right knee from high school sports maladies to pulling a George Jetson on a treadmill on New Year’s Day, I finally decided to have some surgery. Eric was great, I was virtually pain free (never taking the pills I was prescribed if I needed them), and within two days I was basically up and around as promised.
Q & A WITH A BUFF... Plati’-Tudes (well, me) recently caught up with alum Dave Logan (’76) to talk about things ranging from his time as a student at CU to the present day and the hats he wears in radio and as a prep coach. Here’s the conversation:
Q: What is your most memorable moment(s) as a
A: “I remember when we beat
Q: Do you think Folsom is underrated as a tough place for an opponent to play?
A: “I’ve always thought it was a great place to play. I think there have been plenty of times where there has been a distinct home advantage, and forget about the altitude—it’s the crowd. Certainly games I played in and many since I left. It hasn’t been that way every game, but it has had its fair share of great moments. When the crowd is into it there, Folsom Field is as tough as anywhere.”
Q: In 1975, CU is playing even-up with No. 1
A: “I think all players want to go for the win in most cases. We had played the defending national champs toe-to-toe on the road, and to lose like that, was really tough. We played the next week in
Q: Which sport did you enjoy more, football or basketball?
A: “I always just liked whatever I was doing. They were totally different. There was a different mindset between football and basketball. I always loved basketball, and I think it was my favorite sport, but I loved playing football there, too. As the (football) season wore on for me, I always looked at the calendar and figured how many days it would be until I would be out on the basketball court. I’d figure it both ways, if we were going to a bowl or not, but I was always aware of how many days it was until basketball season.”
Q: You’re a trivia answer—one of a handful, if that, of people to be drafted in three sports. What made you pick football?
A: “My standard answer is ‘A moment of insanity.’ You know, I had been hurt playing basketball and had broken an ankle. I had one year of eligibility left in basketball after tearing my knee up my junior year in football. But considering where I was drafted in football, and the fact the (Kansas City) Kings had drafted me and wanted me to play one year of basketball with no football in front of it, I really thought it would be smartest to give the NFL a shot. Baseball-wise, I was drafted out of high school as a shortstop (by Cincinnati), though we actually told teams not to draft me, because if you signed a contract back then, you couldn’t play any sports in college. That was in the midst of the Big Red Machine, and I loved baseball, but I thought that route would have taken a lot longer and was less of a sure thing from my standpoint.”
Q: You starred professionally as a wide receiver with the
A: “In my rookie year, the Browns had reacquired Paul Warfield, a first round draft choice in the 60s, but he had been traded to
Q: Was there ever a time you thought about trying another pro sport? You would have been ahead of Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan in doing so.
A: “Actually, when Larry Brown was head coach of the Denver Nuggets, I had conversations, or my agent did, and I can’t remember the year, but we talked about me being maybe the 12th guy. I remember thinking I could at least sit on the bench for the Nuggets, but my memory tells me that the Kings still held my rights so it couldn’t have panned out. But every Monday morning as my career went on, I contemplated my decision to play football because you were always pretty sore on Mondays.”
Q: You and Joe Williams often joke about me throwing you out of the press box during our 27-21 win over
A: “All I remember is that Joe and I were sitting by each other when Jeff Campbell took the handoff or pitch on the reverse and you could see that the thing really had been sold well and it was going to be a big play. I remember somebody who looked just liked you said, albeit nicely, ‘Out, out and stay out.’ I remember watching from the balcony off to the side of the press box, and thoroughly enjoying the rest of the game. It was worth it, because we were getting into the game on the balcony like you just can’t in the press box. (Editor’s Note: It’s true. I had to bounce them because I had bounced the sports editor of the
Q: You’ve gone from being perhaps the best color analyst in the NFL to one of the best play-by-play men there is; did doing color first and working with one of the all-time greats in Larry Zimmer help you in the transition, which most listeners would say was pretty smooth?
A: “Larry was great with me. He is a first rate broadcaster and is a great person. I think any time you break somebody in, there’s a learning process in what your partner’s style is. Larry was extremely giving to me, and he made me feel very comfortable on the air, and I am forever grateful for that. It also taught me when I switched over to play-by-play, to be the same way with the color analyst. You have to create time for the analyst to make his point, to not make him feel rushed, and to work hard at creating the chemistry needed in giving him that time before you start talking again. We (Larry) worked together six years with him doing the play-by-play, and in a seventh, when he didn’t go on the road anymore with the Broncos and I did the play-by-play for the away games. Now that was kind of tough because I had five different color analysts (KOA was auditioning candidates in that manner), and from that perspective, it was difficult to do.”
Q: Do you have any network aspirations? Have they ever courted you?
A: “I’ve had a couple of opportunities, but it was years ago. I had one where I would have had to move to
Q: You started out in the radio business doing sports talk; your show, while still centering on sports, really has no topic that is off limits. What do you see as the future for sports talk and do you like what your show has morphed into?
A: “I’m a huge sports fan, but I think anybody who’s been in this business knows that it’s such a small niche for people to talk about sports all the time. Frankly, I could talk sports for the entire show because I love sports so much. But the audience and the numbers show that it is difficult to generate listeners and consistent ratings, so most of the shows have moved at least a bit in a different direction since we have started. My hope for it is that there will always be people who want to listen to sports talk. It started out being nothing more than talking sports, strategies, trades, etc., and then it moved from talking sports to the negative, to the acrimonious. We went through that stage, and now it’s back to more civilized dialogue in most cases.”
Q: While some probably coach little league, you are likely the only sports broadcaster on a major level who is coaching a high school football team. What was the lure of getting into coaching?
A: “I love that part of my life. I got into it initially because my dad had coached me for a number of years growing up, and both he and my Mom both told me that if I ever had the chance to give back to the community and work with kids, that I needed to do that. When my dad was very ill, and I was in position professionally where I was working nights, I developed a natural interest in coaching and thought I could have the time for it. I talked to him a great deal about it and the intricacies, the nuances of coaching. I applied for the Golden (High School) football job in ’92, but didn’t get it, and my dad passed in January of ’93. The Arvada West job then opened in June of ’93, and Jim Temple, my middle school football coach, told me I should apply for it. When I took the A-West job, he was my running backs coach for six years until he retired.”
Q: What have been your greatest pleasures as a high school coach?
A: “I think just seeing the development of young men, not only as players, but also as watching them grow up as ninth graders until the time they leave as seniors. You spend a lot of time with those kids and seeing how hard they work. You build great relationships, and I am still in contact with a great number of them. We often talk, they drop by, I get invited to their weddings. It’s such a great pleasure to be able to forge those kinds of relationships that you know will be able to last a lifetime.”
Q: There have been rumors, always anonymous, that you don’t steer your players to CU. Having known you for over 20 years, I have always believed otherwise. And it’s disputed by the fact that you have had players attend here, but let’s dispel this myth now. What do you tell your kids and how do you approach CU and recruiting.
A: “I take an active role in terms of telling a player and his family that they need to think about four things in making their decision. One, what you want to study and does the school you are considering offer what you have an interest in. Two, is it a place you can envision yourself living for the next five years. Three, what kind of program do they have, and how has your interaction been with the coaches of that program. Can you see yourself playing for that particular coach for at least the early portion of your career. And the last thing is, go to a place that really wants you, that is really excited to have ‘John Doe’ become the next and fill in the blank. Don’t go to a place that is lukewarm on you because you’re not in the forefront of their consciousness. You want to go to a place that when you sign on that dotted line on National Letter-of-Intent Day, those coaches are excited to have you come to their school and are saying, ‘We got ourselves a great player and a great kid, and it’s a big, big day for us.’ That’s what I tell all my kids.
“As far as any rumors of me steering kids away from CU, nothing could be further from the truth. That has to come from somebody who absolutely does not know me in the least. I would welcome any opportunity to have a face to face chat with anybody who has attacked my character in forwarding such an opinion. The reality of it is, and you know this because we’re always talking CU football at Bronco games, is that I root for CU every single week of the football season. Or basketball season. Or any sport, as I take pride in what my university accomplishes. I always want them to be successful. That has never changed from the time I went up there as a freshman to talking to you right now. Want to dispel it? Go back and talk to any of my kids and see if I ever tried to steer them away from CU. It’s an interesting dynamic for me, because frankly there have been some kids over the years that I really wanted CU to recruit, and they didn’t. For me, I had to fight not taking it personally and not being able to convince a particular head or assistant coach that I had a player I truly believed could help the program.
''I'm not going to bad mouth another program to get one of my players to go ANYWHERE. If that’s what a few people are looking for, they've got the wrong guy. But as far as me steering my kids away from
Q: I personally know of your diehard love for your alma mater. Are there any bigger CU fans that yourself in your mind?
A: “Absolutely not. I want that program to be successful, and I want it to return to where it was. I played for Coach Crowder and Coach Mallory, and we didn’t win a national championship, but we had some times and some years where we had top five and top 10 caliber teams. My senior year, we were 9-2, and we had twelve guys drafted. Twelve. There’s no reason, as long as people will be patient that CU won’t return to that point. I’ll be sitting back watching the progress, and when we get there, I am going revel in it. I remember one year, 1990, the Broncos were traveling to
Q: As far as football is concerned, is it still wait-and-see or is it time to jump on the bandwagon because this thing is going to be rockin’ and rollin’ sooner rather than later?
A: “I’m a glass half-full guy and always have been. I think Dan will get this thing turned around. This upcoming season will be a year that when it is done, people will be able to see where this program is headed. If feel strongly that he’s got this thing steered in the right direction. I can’t prove it right now, he can’t, and you can’t, and I haven’t spent a great deal of time with him, but I have a pretty good feel for people. I’m just excited about the year. Look back to last year, they’re 2-10, but look at how they lost games. CSU, Georgia on the road, Baylor in triple OT, all games we probably should have won; they’re in it with Oklahoma on the road, Nebraska they’re tied in the third quarter and the punt to the 2 and the safety, things went down hill from there. So yes, they were 2-10, but they were in every game and it wasn’t a 2-10 team in my mind.”
Q: Last question: What are your thoughts on CU securing Jeff Bzdelik as its men’s basketball coach?
A: “I think Jeff will bring a passion and mindset that will be a plus to the program. In talking to him, he seems like a guy who loves basketball. I think most loyal Buffs are excited about his arrival.”
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: Any luck on an opponent to fill out the 2008 football schedule yet?
A: Nothing final yet. Here’s what is happening; schools with the bigger stadiums (70-75,000 plus) are going after schedules with seven home games (as a matter of fact, Nebraska has eight home games coming up one year; Notre Dame is going the six home, five road, one neutral route). They can pay considerably more than those of us in the 45-60,000 range to attract an opponent without having to guarantee a return game (in the $800,000-$1 million range, but we top out well below that; schools with 30,000-seat stadiums must really be struggling). That has taken many potential teams off the market. This is part of the reason that we are filling our schedules out to 2017 and beyond, to guarantee good non-conference slates. We have confirmed home-and-home series over the next decade with
It’s no secret I serve as the bird-dogger for football scheduling, and I’ve stated before that our preference isn’t to play outside our division (formerly I-A, now the FBS), but as I have also pointed out, as long as we have a neutral game on a 12-game schedule, with eight league games, that leaves three games a year to arrange. We are adamant on playing six games at Folsom Field (four of which will be Big 12 games); over five seasons, if each included a neutral game, that’s 15 games to fill, 10 to be scheduled in
Q: The Broncos did not draft a CU Buff again. Is there a reason you know of what they avoid our players?
A: Believe me, the organization has no issues with CU or our players; the draft is need based, and sometimes the stars don’t align. When Dan Reeves was the coach, we had heard rumors on why he didn’t select our players, but we generally dismissed them; a coach isn’t going to pass on a player from anywhere if he thinks that’s the right guy to help his team. True, the last
Selecting a local is common with some, and not so with others. Dallas and SMU are in the same city, yet it’s been 33 years since the Cowboys plucked a Mustang in the draft.
Q: I thought the spring game attendance was more than 5,800 you announced. How did you arrive at that figure?
A: First and foremost, it’s an estimation; since there are no actual hard tickets that we collect, and no turnstiles to provide an actual count, that’s all it has ever been for the spring game—an educated guess. Our ticket office staff supplies the number to us around halftime, allowing for some who may have left. One thing is that people tend to really spread out and not sit anywhere near as tight as they do for a regular season game. It’s rather simple how they do it: each lower section on the sidelines, when filled to capacity, holds about 1,500 people, so they work off that. I was in the press box most of the game doing stats, but the couple of times I stepped out, it looked in the 6,000 range. And it’s also hard to account for any come-and-go factor. By the way, over-estimating is dangerous, as it leads to credibility issues when some in the media include one of their favorite lines, “before an announced crowd of...”
ANIMAL HOUSE... It’s kind of amusing to see some in the media rip Denver Nuggets coach George Karl for publicly criticizing player J.R. Smith (Charles Barkley, now a full-fledged media rep, leading the way). Regardless of how you feel about Karl’s statement, I couldn’t help but think of the line from Animal House, “Hey, he can’t do that to our pledges! Only we can do that to our pledges!” I was pointing this out the other day when someone asked me what some of the biggest changes were I’ve seen in the business. Obviously, technology is the number one answer, but next on the list is how critical columnists are—every single day. In the 1970s and 1980s, even into the early ‘90s, when renowned columnists like the late Dick Connor chose to be critical, people noticed because it was the exception rather than the norm. There just aren’t many positives columns anymore, not only in
THE BCS IS BETTER THAN MOST THINK... Put aside those who are constantly whining for a playoff in football, and realize these facts: The nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams met only eight times in bowl games in the 57 seasons between 1936 and 1992, when the "bowl coalition" (the predecessor to the BCS) was created. No. 1 and No. 2 have met eight times in the 15 years since 1992; in the nine-year history of the BCS, the AP's No. 1 and No. 2 have met six times. I personally don’t see a playoff in the near future, and at most, a plus-one game if even that.
INTERESTING COMMENT... Did you see former presidential candidate Howard Dean’s comment on the national broadcast media last month? Here’s what he said about why the press should be locked out of debates to prevent candidates from speaking in sound bites: "The media has been reduced to info-tainment," Dean said. "Info-tainment sells, the problem is they reach the lowest common denominator instead of forcing a little education down our throats, which we are probably in need of from time to time." Mr. Dean, you are right on the money. For example, watching the media defend themselves for printing and broadcasting the photo of the Virginia Tech killer was downright pathetic (that, and I along with many felt NBC simply should have turned over the evidence to the police; they played right into the killer’s wishes and went for the ratings; anything else is a lie). Many went on the defensive, but most of the local members I’ve talked with agree with me on the above statements (I’d list their names, but they’re mostly in sports so you can probably figure many out; but I don’t want to out them for not towing company lines with some of their news-siders).
CONGRATS II... are in order for CU alum and P-‘Tudes fan Jeff Tahler, who recently left Miramax and
ALLIE AND THE GOOSE... No, not the latest nursery rhyme, but our own senior SID student, Allie Musso, met Rich “Goose” Gossage on a recent trip to California. (Gossage is actually a full-time Colorado resident, as he resides in the Springs.) So, accordingly, I needed to include the accompanying photo of her with hopefully a future Hall of Famer if the voters ever wake up and include him.
WEBSITE(S) OF THE ‘TUDE... For those who may have missed it, CU made the list of top road trips by Sports Illustrated on Campus. They have profiled several schools, and the information could be quite handy for places the Buffs are visiting. CU’s was written by Campus Press sportswriter Wade Stirling; check it out at:
THIS WEEK’S NUMBER... 54. Arrived at by the accomplishments of a senior and a freshman, it’s the number of combined records set or tied in the CU careers of football placekicker Mason Crosby and soccer forward Nikki Marshall. Crosby, a senior, set 33 single game, season or career marks, while
CU—Fred Lima. The Chilean native was a barefoot placekicker for CU in 1972-73.
Who Am I?—Donnie Yowell. A forward from
Seinfeld—Tuna and Salmon Salad. Tony did not like peanut butter so George did not bring any PB&J’s along.