The Times West Virginian

Sports

April 12, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

MORGANTOWN — Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:

• Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

According to Jack Brautigan of the Morgantown Health Works, Blaney led all 40 laps while driving a brand new car for the first time. Blaney had become Sprint racing’s all-time winningest driver in history when getting his 99th triumph.

Incidentally, the WVU Sports Hall of Famer for basketball is proud that his daughter, Leah Blaney, has decided to enroll at WVU as a freshman student this fall.

• Ken Kendrick, the widely known owner of Major Leagues Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, is reported to be among West Virginia University’s most prominent and generous donors to the sports program. So I phoned his office recently and left word that I’d like to interview him. He politely responded via voice mail while I was out and I appreciated that. However, Mr. Kendrick said, “I am not interested in talking about WVU sports at this time.”

• Did you ever wonder how many former WVU baseball players have reached the Major League level in the program’s history? Well, Grant Dovey, assistant sports information director, has come up with the answer. The number up to date is 23 in the program’s history.

The most recent first baseman, Vince Belnone, was called up for just one day as a replacement with the Tampa Bay Rays before heading back to the minors.

This leaves just two ex-Mountaineers in the Biggies: Jedd Gyorko of Morgantown, in his second year with San Diego, and pitcher David Carpenter, of Fairmont, with the Atlanta Braves.

• In case anyone is interested, my columns no longer will appear in the Martinsburg Journal and the Elkins Inter-Mountain. I have enjoyed the many years of being a part of both Ogden newspapers, with headquarters in Wheeling.

However, my columns continue to appear in The Register-Herald, the Times West Virginian and the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

All three are owned by Community Newspapers Holdings Inc.

All are fine newspapers in which my columns have appeared for a long time.

• More than 10,000 fans are expected for today’s annual Blue-Gold football scrimmage in Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. It starts at 1 p.m. Matt Wells, assistant athletic director for marketing and sales, said net proceeds after expenses will go to WVU Children’s Hospital. More than $170,000 has been donated over the past 29 years. Tickets cost $10.

This obviously is a most worthwhile charity event.

• The WVU Board of Governors’ passage of Oliver Luck’s projected $106 million bonding expenditures for athletic facility updates has raised some questions that have yet to be answered about its advisability. Some think it’s wise, while many think it most certainly is not smart business on the part of the institution of higher learning, which this one is supposed to be. It’s not surprising, though. The BOG seemingly has put its unanimous stamp of approval on record spending athletically during the past three years or so.

 Keep in mind, coincidentally or otherwise, Luck was a member of the BOG from 2008-10 before being named A.D. by former WVU president Jim Clements, who is now at Clemson.

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Sports
  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers Camp Footbal_time2.jpg Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.
    Sometimes, one would appear. Sometimes it wouldn’t, mainly because whatever sliver of daylight existed had already been swallowed by darkness while Bell was still trying to read the blocks in front of him.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dungy0725 (1).jpg Rice, Dungy sideshows stain NFL

    The National Football League guards its reputation as aggressively as lineman are paid to protect a quarterback.
    So, as training camp opens around the country, how odd is it to see Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 32-team NFL empire battling bad headlines and stinging criticism from all quarters?
    Anyone want to talk to the new quarterback for his early assessment of playing with the best and biggest players in the land? That would be business as usual. Nothing has been routine about the early days of camp this season.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.
    Sure, you may get some Andrew McCutchens or some Derek Jeters as replies. But if you want to find out the real answer, just look into the dugout.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

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