Strong words from coaches and A.D.s

| November 10, 2011

When I cover a sports event, I try to stay neutral, but when Transylvania is involved, I admit I have a hard time.

There are several reasons:

  1. During my senior year in high school, our class spent a day on the Transylvania campus for career  guidance. I went to a session about journalism. The speaker was Edwards Templin of The Lexington Herald-Leader. He really did an excellent job of telling us about the many good things about working for a daily newspaper.
  2. I worked nine different jobs when I was  at UK, most of them for The Herald-Leader. One of them was covering Transy basketball and baseball. Harry Stephenson coached both sports and we have had a great relationship through the years. He was the man who later hired C.M. Newton to coach Pioneers’ basketball.During a baseball game, the Transy catcher failed to throw to second base when an opponent was stealing.“Why didn’t you throw down?” the coach asked.

    The catcher answered, “Coach, I was afraid I would hit our pitcher in the head.”

    Shouted Stephenson: “That is exactly what you are supposed to be throwing at!”

  3. When I broke my shoulder, the anesthesiologist was preparing to put me under. The last thing I remember him saying, “Do you remember me?  I played basketball for Transy and you wrote about me.”

The last thought I had was, Lordy, I hope I wrote nice things about you!

St. Louis Again
Lady Luck finally told the St. Louis Cardinals that enough is enough – and she put a stop to it when  Manager Tony La Russa announced his retirement.

That was a stunner to all but his players; he told them in August that this would be his last season as their leader.

Maybe that’s why the Cards put on such a stunning stretch drive to come from so far back that no one expected  that they would end with another World Series championship, the team’s 11th and La Russa’s third.

Think about what happened for the Cardinals:
They got hot at the right time and survived a rough late drive to the National League championship, sweeping aside Philadelphia’s vaunted pitching staff.

There has been many laughs about the league that wins the All-Star game getting the home field advantage for its league in the World Series. No more.

That definitely helped the Cardinals win the seventh and decisive game in the World Series.

Don’t try telling La Russa and his Cardinals that the Man Upstairs doesn’t care who wins mere games.

Hah!

If the sixth game hadn’t been rained out, the Cardinals would not have had ace pitcher Chris Carpenter available for the seventh. But with his usual day of rest, he shut down the Rangers in Game 7.

Woman’s Club
Jim Ramsey, the president of the University of Louisville, knew how to get a laugh out of his audience at a recent Woman’s Club of Louisville meeting.

The women,  like most other people in Louisville, wanted  Dr. Ramsey to bring them up to date on what conference his Cardinals will be in next year.

I had a spy in the audience.

She said Dr. Ramsey was a “tremendous speaker, almost as good as the previous week’s speaker,” Louisville attorney Scott C. Cox. OK, my spy was my wife, Carolyn, who is Scott’s mother.

Jurich praised
Ramsey drew laughter when he said, “I know one thing. Don’t believe anything you read in your newspaper about the conferences.”

And he added: “As long as we have Tom Jurich as our athletic director we will be in good shape.”

I didn’t think the University of Texas would approve West Virginia for the Big 12 because Texas would be scared to take its mascot, Bevo the Longhorn steer, to Morgantown with that West Virginia student pioneer wandering around with  his rifle.

When U of L was host to Texas at the Fairgrounds Stadium on Sept. 25, 1993, it was a hot, humid day and Bevo was not happy. People on the northeast side of the stadium kept their distance, even the three students in charge of him. Howard Schnellenberger’s Cardinals blitzed the Longhorns 41-10.

Hard hitter
Think about the meanest, strongest, hardest-hitting players you have ever seen on a football field.

My first candidate would be Doug Atkins, who was the scourge of the Southeastern Conference when he played for Tennessee.

I just happened to be talking with Harry Jones last week when I told him that the hardest hit I ever saw in a football game was when Atkins unloaded on one of the Jones twins – Harry or Larry – in a UK-UT game in Lexington. It was right in front of the UK bench at old Stoll Field.

Harry said it could have been either of the twins: “He got both of us, and thanks for reminding me.”

The other toughest player in my memory was Lou Michaels, a Kentucky tackle.

Tennessee’s All-American tailback and fomer Vols’ coach, Johnny Majors, wrote in his book: “Lou Michaels was the only player we were actually afraid of.”

Now I have seen a player to top both Michaels and Atkins. He is Ndamukong Suh, a defensive end for the Detroit Lions.

Is Suh too strong?
How strong and fearsome is Suh? Well, I saw him almost destroy a running back this season.

In high school, his coaches didn’t let him practice in any drill that called for blocking and tackling. He was disabling too many of his own teammates!

It was the same at the University of Nebraska.

Now he is in trouble with the National Football League officials. He hits so hard and has drawn so many penalties that he asked for a meeting with NFL headquarters in New York to better understand the rules he’s been breaking.

He asked for the meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The only time I’ve heard of something like this is when Bubba McCollum, a Louisvillian who played for UK in the early 1970s, left for Lexington. His mother told him, “Now, son, don’t you go up there and hurt any of those boys!”

True story!

Category: Earl Cox on Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
502.897.8910

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

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