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P-'Tudes Pays Tribute To Ceal Barry
Release: March 14, 2005
By: CUBuffs.com
Ceal Barry strolled the sidelines for 669 games, the most in any sport in CU history.
Photo Courtesy: CUBuffs.com
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A notes column penned by David Plati, who is in his 21st year as Colorado’s Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations.

 

Welcome to Plati-‘Tudes... Lots of good stuff in this one, but then again, there ought to be, since I’ve been collecting tidbits for three months... That, and spring is in the air, which must mean the CU-Stevinson Ranch Invitational in California; so any of your central Cali alums, feel free to traverse Interstate 5 between Modesto and Merced and come watch some golf in grape country March 21-22!

 

 

TRIVIA QUESTIONS...  CU—Georgia Tech, Northern Arizona and Denver were the only schools to do this to a Ceal Barry-coached team in 22 seasons at Colorado.  What was it?  CU Bonus (courtesy Richard Engel)—What CU connection binds the TV shows, Gidget, The Girl from UNCLE, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Columbo and Dan August?  Seinfeld—Over the course of the series, Jerry said he never watched two television shows; but for one, he was exposed to be closet fan.  Name the shows.

 

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FLASHBACK... Let’s turn back the clock to the spring of 1983, April 12 in particular, and see what was going on in the world, in sports, and at CU:

 

Top Song: David Bowie’s Let’s Dance was No. 1, sandwiched in-between runs by Billie Jean and Beat It, both by Michael Jackson on his Thriller album, ranked No. 1 in the United States at the time.  Bowie and Jackson had the top 12” dance single and cassette, respectively at the time.  I don’t think any of my students even know what either of those is... Duran Duran had the No. 1 video on MTV.  I don’t think any of my students even know MTV actually played music videos at one time...

Top TV Show: Dallas and 60 Minutes dueled all spring to be the No. 1 show on television; M*A*S*H’s 11-year run ended six weeks earlier on CBS.  That night, PBS aired For Us, The Living, a dramatization of the life of civil rights activist Medgar Evans, with Irene Cara playing his wife in the movie.  The 86th episode of Hart to Hart aired that evening.

Academy Awards: Gandhi won best picture for 1982, announced the very night before athletic director Eddie Crowder was to announce his new women's basketball coach.

In The News: The U.S. supported Iraq’s development of unconventional weapons in its war against Iran... In recognition of the growing importance of aviation in Army doctrine and operations, on this day, Aviation became a separate branch and a full member of the Army's combined arms team... Harold Washington elected Chicago's first African-American mayor.

Around Sports: The Kansas City Kings defeated the Chicago Bulls, 112-102, in an NBA game... Philadelphia beat the New York Mets 4-3 on a game winning RBI-single in the bottom of the 10th by Pete Rose... A 26-year old Seve Ballesteros was celebrating his win the day before in the rain-plagued 47th Masters, delayed a day due to wet and soggy conditions all over the course.

Around Denver:  The Doug Moe-coached Denver Nuggets fell to 42-37 on the season, losing at Utah that night, 125-116, despite 34 points from Kiki Vandeweghe... The Denver Bears were preparing to play another season in the AAA American Association... The Denver Broncos were 20 days away from trading Chris Hinton and Mark Herrmann to Baltimore for John Elway, who the Colts selected the previous week in the NFL draft... The New Jersey Devils just wrapped up its first season after relocated to the Meadowlands after relocated from Denver as the original Colorado Rockies. 

Around CU: Eddie Crowder was athletic director, working with president Arnold Weber and chancellor Harrison Shull; Bill McCartney was in his first spring practice as head coach of the football team, having not taken over until June 9 the previous year; men’s basketball coach Tom Apke was licking his wounds after a 13-15 season in which CU lost seven of its last eight; Sox Walseth had stepped down at the helm of the women’s hoops team, then called the Lady Buffs; and skiing just completed its first season as a coed program.

Athletic Department Staff Members (Then/And Still Now): Jon Burianek (associate AD & ticket manager/senior associate AD); Alan Cass (assistant events/conference center director/stadium and arena PA); John Krueger (facilities student worker/assistant AD, facilities); David Plati (assistant sports info director/assistant AD, media relations); and Mark Simpson (golf coach & administrative assistant/golf coach).

Birth: Tennis star Jelena Dokic was born in Belgrade, Serbia. 

Death: Carl Morton, former major league baseball player, of a heart attack at 39.

College Sports Transaction: UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO—Named Ceal Barry head women’s basketball coach.    

Trivia: What legendary basketball coach was hired five days before Ceal by another Big 12 institution? (Answer below)

 

Now that all of you feel like you’re back in the second week of April 1983 (when I was 22 and still with a reasonable amount of hair, and disco was on a ventilator but not yet dead), I bring you my list of Top 10 Ceal Barry Era Memories now that she has stepped down after 22 seasons as head coach of our women’s team.  So here it goes, in chronological order:

 

Ø       January 15, 1986.  This was Ceal’s first real big conference win; coming in with a 10-3 non-conference record, Oklahoma was first up on the Big Eight schedule.   CU won, 91-84, holding Oklahoma at bay as the Sooners eventually would rise to a near top 10 ranking later that winter.   Erin Carson lit it up in the second half with 18 points, and had 24 in the game.

Ø       March 1, 1986.  CU defeated Missouri to sweep the season series... it was sweet because those were Ceal’s first two wins over a then-prominent Missouri program, as well as some payback for games where the old Tiger coach ran up the score (like 105-63 and 113-51 in Ceal’s first year).  After opening 0-6 against MU, she would then own them by 32-15 the rest of her career.

Ø       The first 14-0 run through the old Big Eight Conference in 1988-89... all we would ever hear was how great the Kansas schools and Missouri were, and here came Colorado to be the first to steamroll everyone home and road.  The average margin of victory was better than 14 points, with the closest call a 73-70 win at Oklahoma.  (The 61-60 win over No. 2 Louisiana Tech preceded the conference slate that year; I missed that one, visiting family in N.Y. after the Freedom Bowl.)

Ø       March 18, 1989.  The first home sellout for a women’s game (11,199)... UNLV spoiled the party with an 84-74 win.

Ø       New Year’s Eve 1991.  It was an afternoon game against New Mexico, and before welcoming in 1992, CU throttled the Lobos, 92-22.  It was 48-10 at the half.  Nothing special other than a major college team was held to 22 points.

Ø       March 25, 1993.  I can’t remember where a lot of the staff gathered to watch, other than I’m sure the place is out of business, but the 80-67 win over No. 5 and defending national champ Stanford was the pearl in a 27-4 season, CU’s first time reaching the Elite Eight.

Ø       The last home game in ‘95... CU advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 78-34 thumping of Southwest Missouri State; the Events Center rocked, and in honor of Shelley Sheetz’ last home game, I wore my tuxedo (which I would have worn for Ceal’s last game had I been able to remotely come close to fitting in it).  That was the icing on the cake following another 14-0 run through the Big Eight.

Ø       Winning the first Big 12 postseason title.  What I remember about that run was it might have been some of the best defense I’ve ever seen: the three opponents scored all of 133 points, or 44.3 per.

Ø       March 2002.  Toppling an extremely athletic LSU team in Boulder to get back to the Sweet 16, and then bumping off No. 5 Stanford (again) on its home court to make it to the final eight.  I remember that one as I was in California with the golf team, and we convinced this “less-than-politically correct bar if you know what I mean” (think Jeff Foxworthy) to put a women’s basketball game on its big screen TV on a Saturday night.

Ø       Senior Night With A Special Tribute to Ceal Barry.  That was memorable on many fronts; first, if there was ever a tough night to deliver a senior speech, this was it, but Veronica Johns-Richardson and Sarah Lini were as eloquent as could be.  And then for Ceal’s ceremony, to see the parade of names from CU past who returned was heartwarming, ranging from former athletic directors Bill Marolt and Dick Tharp to over two dozen of Ceal’s former players, including Sheetz, Tera Bjorklund and Jenny Roulier, who all traveled in from several states away, to Bridget Turner, Kate Fagan, Tracy Tripp and Dr. Deb Jacobson among the locals to return.  It was perhaps as good a farewell as I’ve seen here, considering it was put together in less than a week (Bill McCartney’s, for example, was the following summer, some eight months after he announced his retirement). And CU sent her out with a win over Nebraska.

 

Trivia Answer:  Kansas hired Larry Brown as its men’s coach on April 7, 1983.  On April 12, he told the Associated Press: "The pros are good for certain people but I don't think I was suited to that type of job. I think I can contribute more to the college game than to the pros."

 

A Memory or Two From Former/Current Assistant SID’s Who Served as the Women's Hoop SID

 

Chris Yuhl (1983-84): “Me: ‘Hey Ceal, I convinced John (Clagett, former SID) to increase the budget a bit on your first women’s basketball media guide.  Four pages of color in the center!  Nice eh?’  Ceal: ‘Do I know you?’  Just kidding... I was the women’s SID back then, more or less as a graduate student who was still an undergrad half the year.  She was very easy to work with.”

 

Colleen Miller (1984-85): Colleen was out of the country at the time of publication.

 

Brenda Wesierski-Hull (1985-86):  It's the 1985-86 season, the starting five are Kris Holwerda, Bridget Turner, Crystal Ford, Tracy Tripp and Erin Carson, and my first road trip with the team lasts longer than any of us anticipated!  We drove up to Laramie to face the Wyoming Cowgirls.  The game was delayed because the lights weren't working.  Once restored, the Lady Buffs (ugh, as they were called back then) were victorious.  Upon leaving the building, it became apparent why the lights had acted up - a raging blizzard that shut down 287 and I-25, our paths back to Boulder.

“With 
the interstate closed, motel rooms were at a premium. The trainers managed to find a few, though, so we crammed into them for the night, got up early and drove back in time for the players to go to class (a Ceal edict) and me to go to work (a Dave edict)!  I've been in the business world for 20 years since my days as an SID (yikes!). In that time, I have encountered few people with as much class and integrity as Ceal Barry, and none with more. CU is fortunate to have her remain in a capacity where she can positively affect young people's lives!”

 

Becky Yahn Bloom (1986-1990): One of my most vivid memories of covering CU women's basketball and working with Ceal Barry was the Big Eight Women's Basketball Tournament.  The tournament moved to Salina, Kansas during those years I was at CU and the people of Salina were thrilled.  I remember that first year and how we were treated like visiting royalty.  Ceal was always so classy and always had time to talk with media and fans, whether it be a reporter from a major media market or the bus driver showing us the sites of Salina!  I think Colorado always left Salina with a lot of new fans, much to Ceal's credit.”

 

Doug Strauss (1990-1992): “In the 1991-92 season, we got down to eight scholarship players in the middle of the year (thanks to some transfers and injuries) and the Lady Buffs did not even have enough to have a practice.  Ceal asked me if I wanted to practice with them, which was great - you really get to appreciate the fundamentals and talent that they have.  I was always on the scout team, so my favorite was when we played Oklahoma and I was Carin Stites, who set a record for most three-pointers.  So Ceal tells me to jack it up every chance I get.  That was just not my style (yeah, right), but I had to play the role given to me!  Following that Ceal started using male managers to practice against the team.


“In the Big Eight tournament, we were playing lackluster against Nebraska, a team we had just beat by 20 in the regular season finale.  I am keeping the book and Ceal comes over and says we look uninspired and aren't playing well, and I nod in agreement.  She says she needs to get a technical to get them fired up, so she starts in on a ref.  I think she had to work on him awhile before he "T'd" her up, but it must have worked because CU went on to win the championship.  It was great to see Ceal cut down the nets in what was just her second tournament title.”

 

Colleen Reilly Krueger (1992-2000): “December 27-28, 2004 at the Seattle Times Husky Classic at the University of Washington. Ceal sent me to Nordstrom's to do some "personal shopping" for her while the team was watching video and scouting in the hotel. It was fun to play a completely different role and have no-limit spending account!”

 

Lindsay Anhold (2000-2004):  “CU vs. Stanford in Boise, 2002.   Stanford was the fifth-ranked team in the country and a No. 2 seed.  Colorado was the forgotten team there with Stanford, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.  The teams traded leads the entire game, and with CU leading 60-59 with not much time left, a freshman from Stanford put the ball on the floor underneath the basket.  Sophomore Randie Wirt basically ripped it away from her and was fouled.  Stanford called two timeouts to try and ice Randie, who had not shot a free throw in an actual game in a month and was a 68 percent free throw shooter on the season.  She made them both, and desperation three by Lindsey Yamasaki was short.  CU won the game 62-59 and was in the Elite Eight for the third time in Ceal Barry's tenure.  If Linda Lappe had not reinjured (badly) her surgically-repaired ankle late in the first half, Colorado would have been in the game all the way with Oklahoma.  She could guard Stacey Dales better than anyone in the country, but without Lappe, the Buffs couldn't stop the Sooners in the second half and lost.  It was too bad, because that was a great team... and that was the last game of the Fab Five class of 1998 of Mandy Nightingale, Jenny Roulier, Britt Hartshorn, Eisha Bohman with their former classmate Lappe.”

 

Troy Andre (2004-05): “My first memory of Coach Barry was actually during the 1991-92 season when I was a student newspaper reporter at the University of Missouri.  The Buffs were in town for their annual Big 8 contest against the Tigers, and I was so excited
because growing up in Colorado, I knew two names in CU Athletics: Bill McCartney and Ceal Barry.  So then all these years later that I had the chance to work directly with her is something I'll always remember.

“What stands out the most about this past season is how incredibly accommodating she was.  Through all of the ups and downs of the year, she always had time for me and made me feel like I was part of the team.  It would have been really easy to start dumping interview requests when things were down this year, but she knew it was something that had to be done.  Once she announced her retirement, it was unreal the amount of requests that came in for her and she answered every single one.

“I’m glad she will still be in our department as an assistant athletic director, but I and thousands of others will miss seeing her on the sideline next season.”

 

P-‘Tudes Reader Memories:

Mark Lewis: “Actually, I met her once at DIA when I was picking someone up on level 4, there she was, I went up to her, introduced myself, I remember it was around the time we had Shelly Sheetz and the team was really great.  Ceal was so gracious, it was a nice moment, nothing big but in hindsight I guess it was special to meet her off the court and the beaten path.”

Brian Vosika: “Beating Stanford in the NCAA tournament.”

Gordon Dady: “Senior Night events following the final regular season home game where over the years, without exception, each of the seniors expressed their sincere respect, admiration and appreciation for having learned from Ceal how to play winning basketball AND how better to handle life outside of basketball.”  

Greg Markham:When I saw the then “Lady Buffs” barely survive some home cooking here in Hawaii at the Wahine basketball tourney and Ceal told me after she would never come back and she didn’t.”

Erik Rebich: “Showing support for Dick Tharp when it was an unpopular position to take.”

Scott Husband: “The Elite Eight Appearance (2002).”

Todd Benson: “The 61-60 over No. 2 Louisiana Tech in 1989.”

Brent Vaughan: “No specific memories.  She is just very classy and does things the right way.”

Jim Depatie: “I don’t have a specific memory, but just that she always was humble in victory and gracious in defeat – an all-around class act.”

John Grund: “All of them; just having her and her character and personality around -- she'll be missed more than any others in my lifetime (I’m 54).”

Lyndon Hanson: “Her long-term commitment to CU athletics.”

James Deal:No particular memory, just a great coach and a class act all the time.”

Andrew Green (Men’s BB SID): “While preparing press row for a men’s game, and the women were practicing, I heard Ceal firmly say to a player: ‘Quit bouncing around like your in some Nike commercial and play some defense!’”

Justin Couvillion:When she spoke to my management class in college.  If you're looking for something you can put on a poll, I'd say winning the first Big 12 crown.”

David Roberts:None in particular, just glad to have had her at CU running a great program.”

Ron Ward: “I have to admit I have only been to a handful of women's games, but I heard Ceal speak at the Folsom Expansion Groundbreaking and she made me laugh.”

Rick Phelps: “No particular favorite, just a great coach!!”

Lee Christian:Her overall demeanor and sense of class.”

Steve Midzor: “Just her overall classy presence; a real stand up person.”

Jason Maggard: “When she was named the (1994) national coach of the year.”

Woody Gruenler: “All the times she took her teams deep into the NCAA’s.”

Steve Rawlings: “The win over Stanford in 1993.”

Rich Engel: “Her lunches and breakfasts in Denver.  Ceal is a great person just to hang out with and talk.”

Dale Bain: “Just getting to meet the lady, however briefly...”

Rick Kearney: “No favorite memory, just her class and competitiveness.”

Grant VanEvery: “1993 Elite 8 season, 1996 Olympic gold medal winning assistant coach, and/or Eckman award winner.  Too great a career to pick one.”

 

And from Fox Sports' Keith Fletcher, who produces the Big1 2 Showcase among many projects he is involved with the Big 12:

"It was a few years ago, at the Big 12 Spring Meetings, usually held at the Broadmoor.  Ceal got paired up with Bill Land in the big annual golf scramble. After the round I caught up with them both in a little pre-dinner happy hour on the terrace.  They talked about the other two A and B players on their team (not sure who), who were both big hitters and played really well.  In a scramble game, Ceal and Bill were mostly just watching their partners play really well for their team, while Ceal and Bill themselves just tagged along and hacked their shots just for their own amusement. Then, Ceal drained a long putt for an eagle on one of the holes.  She and Bill were chuckling about their meager contributions - consisting of about 3 or 4 shots apiece. Ceal at least had one great shot to brag about.


And you could see Ceal's mind start to churn. She was saying that she had fun playing and being part of the team, even though she knew she wouldn't contribute much - since two of the players were obviously better. But she finally said, "I think I know how players at the end of my bench feel sometimes." It wasn't just the feeling of dominating a performance or another opponent - it was just contributing, and feeling like she gave something to the team that day. She explained her thoughts in such a way that I felt like I already knew the speech in the locker room that would soon come - either months or years from then. She knew she had players who could not start or play at an All-Conference level, but now had a better idea of how they felt, of just wanting to contribute something to the team.

What it taught me was that even when relaxing, playing golf and having a cocktail, square in the middle of the off-season ... a good coach's mind never stops learning how to coach better."

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PLATI-‘TUDES SURVEY... I seized this opportunity to poll P-‘Tudes Nation (okay, I promise to never use that again) as to who their top five all-time Colorado coaches are.  I collected 102 responses (many by phone as I started asking people who called the office as well), and there was one unanimous choice: Bill McCartney.  But Ceal was second, with 85 votes, edging one of her mentors, Sox Walseth.  Former coaches and athletic directors Eddie Crowder and Bill Marolt completed the top five.  Here’s a look at the results of the poll, keeping in mind a survey like this does tend to get skewed to more recent coaches and those of yesteryear don’t always get their due:

 

102—Bill McCartney (football)                                            

  85—Ceal Barry (basketball)                                       

  81—Sox Walseth (basketball)                                       

  44—Eddie Crowder (football)                                            

  43—Bill Marolt (skiing)                                                                               

  23—Mark Wetmore (track)                                

  14—Dal Ward (football)            

  12—Gary Barnett (football)

  11—Bob Beattie (skiing) 

  11—Mark Simpson (golf)                                  

  10—Fred Folsom (football)

  10—H.B. Lee (basketball)        

    7—Richard Rokos (skiing)                                  

    6—Frank Potts (track)                                                 

    6—Irv Brown (baseball)                                           

    5—Les Fowler (golf)                                                   

    4—Bill Hempen (soccer)                               

    3—Bill Blair (basketball)                                                                       

    3—Jerry Quiller (track)    

    3—Don Meyers (track)                                   

    2—Harry Carlson (baseball)                                           

    2—Rick Neuheisel (football)            

    2—Ricardo Patton (basketball)        

    1—Pi’i Aiu (volleyball)                                       

    1—Roland “Doc” Balch (swimming)                                       

    1—Walter Franklin (assorted)           

    1—Sonny Grandelius (football)                                            

    1—Dick Gray (tennis)                                              

    1—Shawn Karns (Ultimate Frisbee Club Team)                                                 

    1—Jeff Moore (tennis)                                               

    1—Bunnie Oakes (football)                                

    1—Ralph Patterson (basketball asst.)

    1—Rene Portland (basketball)        

    1—Mike Sager (wrestling)                                         

    1—Ron Smarr (tennis)                                               

    1—Brad Saindon (volleyball)        

    1—Charles Vavra (gymnastics)                                      

    1—Myron Witham (football)                                            

(Note: six votes missing because some ballots did not list up to five coaches)

 

The most famous CU coach to not receive a vote?  That would be Hank Iba, who coached men’s basketball here for one season (1933-34) before moving on to become a legend at Oklahoma State.  Few probably even know he logged time in Boulder.  CU was 9-8 that year.

  

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GREAT RUN BY THE CU MEN... Perceived as all but dead as the No. 11 seed in the Big 12 Conference tournament, the Buffs had a nice run in almost reaching the semifinals.  In becoming the first No. 11 seed to win in the nine-year history of the tournament, CU ran its first round record to 5-2... that’s tied for the second most wins in the round.  Missouri is 8-0, CU 5-2, Kansas State 5-4, Oklahoma State 3-0, Iowa State 3-3, Texas Tech 3-4 and Baylor 3-5 of the teams that have won three or more games in the round (Oklahoma at 2-0 and Kansas at 1-0 are the only other undefeated teams in the round).  CU is now 5-9 all-time in the Big 12 postseason, or one more win that it had in the 20 year history of the Big Eight postseason event (4-20).

Æ      Colorado scored 80 or more points in back-to-back Big 12 tournament games, just the seventh time that has happened in tournament history as it defeated Texas 81-69 and lost 87-85 to Oklahoma State.  No team has done it three games in a row; Missouri accomplished it in 1997 and 2000, Kansas State in 1999, Oklahoma in 2000, Kansas in 2002 and Oklahoma State in 2003.  The two-point loss to OSU was just the fifth Big 12 quarterfinal decided by two points or less in 36 tournament games.

 

12TH GAME VOTE COMING UP... The NCAA will vote in April as to whether or not to approve schools scheduling a 12th regular season game in football.  The same P-‘Tudes survey above also asked that question, with 103 respondents; it found that 77, or 74.8 percent, were in favor of adding the 12th game, with 25 not wanting the another (24.3%); one person was undecided.  Many made mention that they didn’t want a 12th game so college football could go to a playoff, while others felt there would never be a playoff so go ahead an add the game.

 

BOWL GIFTS SURVEY... A Denver newspaper recently did a spotlight article on what Colorado spent on its bowl gifts for the Houston Bowl.  It documented, correctly, that CU spent $34,923 on gifts (a Dell hand held computer) for 100 players; schools are allowed to spend up to $350 per player on its bowl gifts per NCAA rules, funds that come solely from the proceeds the schools are allotted from the bowl via their conference offices.

 

What the article didn’t include was a comprehensive survey of what other schools spent, so our crack Plati-‘Tudes survey team (me) sent an e-mail out soliciting what other schools did.  It took some time to compile, and while only 18 schools responded, the information provided a decent sampling of not only what was spent, but also what the gifts generally are.

 

Many schools gave full gift packages to not only the players, but to the student support staff as well; we have done that in the past, but this year that was greatly scaled down due to budget constraints.  West Virginia, for example, provided 160 gift packages, featuring a portable DVD player and case, three shirts a sweat suit and shaving kit, at a cost of $345, or $55,200 total.  Boise State also went the DVD player route, with shoes, a sweatshirt and a commemorative plaque for 120 players at $349.50, or $41,940; its Liberty Bowl opponent, Louisville, did close to the same for $31,921.  Southern Miss spent $346.56 on 107 players ($37,082), treating them to both NIKE and Under Armour packages, sandals and a plaque; USM had a separate package for 31 student support staff at $150.83 each, an additional $4,676.

 

UCLA had an Adidas apparel package of five items, boots and a watch, spending $340 for 130 students ($44,200).  North Texas went with a SONY camcorder for 100 players at $329 ($32,900); Apple I-Pods were the choice of Georgia ($34,650 spent), Hawaii ($26,000) and Wisconsin ($32,912).  Ohio State opted for a digital camera, warm-up suit and commemorative jersey, spending $300 on 102 players ($30,600).  Alabama-Birmingham ($31,930), Memphis ($38,610) and Navy ($42,645) awarded rings as their feature gifts.  Toledo went with a Handy Cam for 105 players, costing $32,550.

 

Thus, what CU allotted is very much in line with its colleagues for bowl gift spending.  And it should be noted that no school even knows if it has that money to spend until invited to a bowl, so it would not be practical to earmark it to spend on a shortfall somewhere else since there is no guarantee those monies would be there the following year, a key point in the budgeting process.

 

It’s hard for some to fathom the work that goes into earning these much appreciated gifts.  CU trainer Steve Willard may have coined it best during a two-a-days session taking place in a windy, freezing downpour a few years ago: “This is a ring day.”  Meaning anyone required to work or practice in those kinds of conditions makes the gift list.

 

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'SPOON UPDATE... An update on former CU fullback Anthony Weatherspoon, who was diagnosed with MDS last fall (for details, click here: http://www.cubuffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=3843&SPID=255&DB_OEM_ID=600&ATCLID=85991).

Anthony has relocated to Houston, where he has been admitted to MD Anderson, a medical facility that specializes in several cancers.  They have taken Anthony because he is a special case and one of his brothers was also treated there.  Anthony’s health is about the same from a few months ago, and he began chemotherapy the last week in January.  Former Buffs Kanavis McGhee and Greg Thomas both live and Houston and have helped transporting Spoon back and forth from the hospital.  Jim Smith and Jon Embree plan on hosting a golf tournament fundraiser for Spoon in early spring.  Jim has been the point man in the communications between Anthony’s family and his former teammates.  Many others have stepped up to the plate as well, but the family is still in need of financial help.  A huge thanks to America West’s Angel Flight program, which assists those with illnesses to meet some of the costs of traveling during tough times; they arranged for some tickets between Houston and Orange County to assist the Weatherspoons.

In early February, Brad Robinson spearheaded an e-mail campaign to raise $2,500 the family needed in moving expenses to move Anthony’s family from California to Houston.  The campaign was a phenomenal success, with around 75 members of the CU athletic and football families contributing $10,000 for the cause, the first six grand of which was raised in about 36 hours! 

 

Two successful blood and bone marrow drives were held in Spoon’s name, the first in Boulder on March 2 at the Dal Ward Center, and the second at the Pepsi Center in Denver on March 8.

 

CU’s Justina Boyd coordinated the one on campus, with the help of the sports medicine staff.  A total of 51 people came to donate either blood and/or to register with the marrow donor program; 21 were current student-athletes; five others were alumni letterwinners; 11 were athletic department staff members; and the other 13 came from campus or the general public, students and adults alike.   Eighteen registered with the marrow donor program, including 17 people of color.  “Overall, the Bonfils staff considered it a successful day, especially in the area of donor registration for people of color,” Boyd said.   

 

The Denver event had a similar good turnout, and also included some making financial donations to help out the family. 

 

Now, work will begin to see if there is a bone marrow match between one of the donors and Spoon.

 

Those who wish to help out the Weatherspoons can send a donation straight to the family, or can do so anonymously at any Wells Fargo bank.  The name is the Jackie Weatherspoon Fund, account number 2679018396; simply walk into or wire any Wells Fargo branch and donate to that account number.

 

Those wishing to send donations straight to the family, along with a note of encouragement, can send to: Anthony Weatherspoon
8181 Fannin Street, #1311, Houston, TX 77054.

 

ANDY PEEKE ON BRANDON SOUTHWARD... Football suffered another tragedy on February 23 when former Buff linebacker Brandon Southward (1995-98) drowned in a swimming pool in New Smyrna Beach, a coastal Florida city.  An autopsy revealed he had a rare heart condition, and after swimming that afternoon, he suffered some kind of seizure after getting out of the pool, apparently collapsing off to the side and falling back in.  A memorial service will be held on April 4 at 10:00 a.m. at the Woodmen Valley Chapel, which is in north Colorado Springs (250 E. Woodmen Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80919; 719/599-8652).

 

His teammate, fellow linebacker Andy Peeke, e-mailed me his thoughts of his friend and wanted me to share with everyone I could.  This is a privilege to be able to do; here they are:

 

“Brandon subscribed to a different set of rules; he made you think when others just went with the flow.  He transcended the manner in which a mundane task would be performed.  That is why he was, in life as in death, an enigma.  I am not saying that Brandon Southward was perfect, or that he even made all the right choices, anyone that knows him could tell you that, but there was something about him that made you realize how different he was from you and from everyone else.  I would often hear stories about South; they were ludicrous, eccentric, but never innocuous. From going into the mountains and climbing trees wearing the same amount of clothing as the minute he was born; to taking a good book into an ice bath and an hour later having to be treated for hypothermia because he was so enthralled by the literature that he forgot about the frigid waters his body rest in.  Sleeping in attics, saving a teammate in a bar fight, a weeklong business trip to Brazil that turns into three months; whatever it was, he was not just going through the motions, he was living.  I don’t think he ever knew what the next adventure would be, maybe that is why he was such a mystery, but whatever it was, he was not afraid.  I went on a trip with him in the mountains once: South, myself, and one other teammate tunneled into a snowdrift, made a cave and slept inside. It was hard work, but it was also one of the most fun and adventurous trips I have ever taken.  It has always stood out in my mind, even before his death, how much he cared about our safety and well-being.  He went so far as to have an escape plan where we would follow him and his shovel if the cave collapsed.  Never a cruel word was spoken or an iniquitous action taken, he was a leader, a gentleman and a friend.  He had a spirit and a passion that burned from within; I hope someday that to have a son with similar qualities.  I do not know how many peoples lives he has touched, but he has touched mine, and I will continue to live with the spirit of Brandon Southward inside of me and only hope to affect another as he has affected me.” —Andy Peeke

 

I bet the same word popped into your head at the end of that: Wow. 

 

FORMER HOOPSTER HODGES A TV STAR... On February 16, former Buff basketballer Poncho Hodges will star as the “principle character” in that evening’s episode of the long running NBC television series "Law and Order.”  The episode will be titled "The Sixth Man," and Poncho's character name is Silas Inwood, a professional basketball player accused of murdering an over zealous fan.   After Poncho left the University of Colorado, he was in camp with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 1993-94 preseason but was one of the final players cut.  Afterwards he played professional basketball for six years, in several of the top ranking European and Asian leagues.  Poncho retired from professional basketball in 2000, and afterwards he began pursuing a career in acting. Since then Poncho has appeared in several independent films, a documentary, several short films, in an interactive military training film, the latter designed to instruct soldiers deployed to hot zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan in the art of urban and dessert warfare.  Recently, Poncho wrapped production on a science fiction action adventure feature film "The Other Side", which is scheduled for release in 2005 (visit the official "The Other Side" website; http://www.entertheotherside.com/; Poncho’s character name is “OZ”).  Poncho is also expected to be in Colorado for the NBA All-Star game on February 20.

 

WHERE THEY ARE NOW... Ryan Black (Football ‘98) is partner to a fast-growing company called Sambazon (http://www.sambazon.com), which produces health conscious products. A ‘Tudes reader gives it great reviews, so check out the website.   Scott Nemeth, a former teammate of Black, is involved in the venture, as was the late Brandon Southward.

 

ANOTHER FORMER BUFF IN THE FINAL FOUR... Not the NCAA tournament, but in the final four for ESPN’s Dream Job, the winner of which will become a color analyst for ESPN’s NBA telecasts.  Matt Bullard, who played for the Buffaloes between 1984-86 before transferring to Iowa, is still in the running.  I’ve stayed in touch with Matt through the years, and he cherished his years in Boulder, and left only because he didn’t hit it off with Tom Miller, who replaced Tom Apke, who had recruited Bullard to CU.  For more information to help vote for Matt, please go to: http://www.dreamjobseason3.com/.

 

NAVIES BECOMES A DAD... Former CU linebacker Hannibal Navies recently became a father when he and Theresa Garrison became the parents of a baby daughter, Nylah.  She came into the world on January 8 of this year, weighing 7 pounds and 7 ounces and 20½ inches long.  Sounds like an athlete already!  Hannibal has spent the last two seasons with the Green Bay Packers as a starting linebacker, after spending his first four years in the league with the Carolina Panthers.  Congratulations, Hannibal!

 

FORMER BUFF A WOLVERINE... Well, sort of.  Walker Fletcher (’03) was a walk-on quarterback in the ’98 freshman class.  He now works for Host Communications in Ann Arbor representing the University of Michigan Athletics as an account executive for the Michigan Sports Network.  “Living and working here in Ann Arbor, I get no slack regarding that game,” he wrote about CU’s 27-26 win in 1994 (something called “The Catch” I believe), “Especially being a former CU athlete.  But it's all in good taste, UM has a great fan base and loves its tradition.”  Former friends and teammates wanting to get in touch with walker can do at walker.fletcher@hostcommunications.com.

 

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BARNETT FOUNDATION... Head football coach Gary Barnett and his wife, Mary, announced on signing day (February 2) the formation of The Gary Barnett Foundation.  A tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to the support of educational programs for economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth, it will provide assistance for after-school initiatives, alcohol and drug education, suicide prevention, leadership development and mentoring.

 

 “Mary and I had been discussing the possibility of creating a foundation for years,” said the CU head coach.  “After the passing of Gabe Oderberg, we decided that the time was now to make this happen.”

 

The Gary Barnett Foundation has established a grant in honor of former Buffalo football player Gabe Oderberg that will be awarded annually.  The board of directors will be comprised of Gary Barnett, Mary Barnett, Boston (MA) television anchor Paul Burton, Denver talk show host Charles Johnson and Boulder physician Dr. John Meyer.  A 15-member Advisory Committee will also be established to assist the Foundation in its mission.

 

 “The Foundation will allow us to directly impact those issues that we feel most strongly about. We are committed to making a positive difference,” said Mary Barnett, who will serve as the Foundation Chair.

 

Several activities are planned for The Gary Barnett Foundation in 2005 including a spring kick-off event and a summer time 5K Fun Run & Walk.  For more information please go to www.GaryBarnettFoundation.org.  Tax-deductible donations may be contributed through this web site.

 

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THE P-‘TUDES MAILBAG... Here are some recent questions or comments I’ve received that could have some interest to all, so here we go:

 

Q: Settle this argument: was Chuck Fairbanks responsible or not for CU’s blue uniforms?

A: This is one of the most misunderstood beliefs in our athletic history.  Chuck had nothing to do with the switch from black to blue; it in fact came out of a Board of Regents suggestion/mandate that our uniforms, for all our sport programs, reflect “Colorado sky blue at 9,000 feet.”  It unfairly got pinned as a Fairbanks decision, but if people recall, all our teams switched in the 1980-81 school year to feature blue as the prominent color.  Bill McCartney broke out black jerseys for a couple of games in 1984, and it was so well-received, that he switched back to a black jersey the following year—with some blue trim on the sleeve.  In 1986, COLORADO was first emblazoned across the football jersey front; by 1988, blue had disappeared completely from all uniforms.

 

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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM... You know what’s always bugged me?  When you press the info button on your remote when watching a movie, and something like this comes up: “Caddyshack. Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield. (1980) *** “Slob” humor and high jinks on the links at a posh country club.  Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield.”  For practically every single movie, they list the same headlining starts twice.  Why do that do that!  Ugh!

 

Speaking of movies, which character is more annoying?  Eric Roberts as Paulie in The Pope Of Greenwich Village or Jaimz Woolvett as the Schofield kid who hooked up with Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman in Unforgiven?  I for one, can’t think of ay characters more annoying than that pair...

 

CONGRATS TO CU CLUB HOCKEY... The CU club hockey team won the ACHA Division III National Hockey Championship last week in California, Pa., capping a 24-0-2 season with a remarkable come-from-behind victory to win the title.  Trailing Florida Gulf Coast University by a 6-2 score early in the third period, the Buffs came back with four goals in the rest of regulation, including three in a 1:43 span, to send the game into overtime.  There, Shawn Sullivan scored 3:07 into the first extra session to give Colorado a 7-6 win and the national Division III club crown.  The team, 30 strong, was ranked No. 2 going into the tournament (the No. 1 seed in the west), and won three of the four playoff games in overtime.  CU beat Pittsburgh-Johnstown 10-1 in the first round, topped host California 5-4 in the quarterfinals, and beat Penn State-Berks 7-6 in the semis to reach the championship game.

 

Though club sports teams rarely get any significant publicity, many programs compete on the national level and have represented CU proud through the years.  So congrats to our Buffalo brethren who call the CU Rec Center just up the hill from Dal Ward home!  

 

THIS WEEK’S NUMBER... +10.  That was Colorado’s point differential in what may have been the most closely contested Big 12 men’s postseason tournament in the nine years of the conference’s existence.  Oklahoma State was the champion, and had a plus-9 differential, with its 87-85 win over CU its closest call (not that the others weren’t nail-biters as well—they were).  Iowa State had the best at plus-12, but also posted the only decision by 13 or more points (a 77-57 win over Baylor).  Only three games were decided by double figures.  Texas Tech was at plus-11 and Kansas was also at plus-10.  Those five were the only schools to outscore their foes for the weekend. 

 

TRIVIA ANSWERS: CU—Those were the only three teams to defeat CU in the season opener in her tenure; Georgia Tech (1984), NAUI (1986) and DU (2000) did it, all away from Boulder.  Colorado was 19-3 in season openers under Barry, with the most wins (3) coming over BYU.  CU Bonus—All the shows featured theme music composed and/or arranged by young CU graduate Dave Grusin.  Seinfeld—Melrose Place, which he failed the lie detector test for, and I Love Lucy.

 

“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.  

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