Giving thanks for:
• Being able to live a life in newsrooms and arenas across America that kept the heart as young as the baby-faced freshmen we deal with now on a daily basis as the body got older.
• Discovering West Virginia, which offered an escape from the streets of New York, the old Yankee Stadium and dealing with George Steinbrenner on a daily basis. If viewing the Empire State Building awes you for what it took to build it, view these green mountains here in West Virginia and understand what a real engineering feat is.
• For being able to see Willie Mays and Ken Griffey patrol the centerfields of the major leagues while in the same lifetime, blending power and grace unlike anyone else.
• For having been born long enough ago to see Jim Brown run like no one before him and no one after him and to see Gayle Sayers move like a gazelle over a mud-covered field and then hanging around long enough to see Bo Jackson and Walter Payton at their best.
• Being granted time to wait for the next generation of Browns and Sayers and Jacksons and Paytons to come along.
• Having the privilege of covering Da’Sean Butler through his college career, for the joy he brought in watching him and for the way he carried himself in each and every situation.
• Being able to repeat the above about Patrick White, and wish he and Butler somehow find ways to bring to the world what they brought to West Virginia through their athletic prowess.
• Being able to watch Joe Alexander soar through the air for at least a short time.
• Watching Bob Huggins operate up close, not because he went to a Final Four, but so the misconceptions we had of him as a person could be corrected. He really cares for the kids he coaches.
• Having a profession in which you could cover such events as Wimbledon, the U.S. Open in golf and tennis, the Masters, the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four.
• Having a profession in which you could deal with Sparky Anderson, Chuck Tanner and Jim Leyland, with Pete Rose and Willie Stargell, with Jerry West and Rod Thorn and Hot Rod Hundley, with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, to say nothing of the hundreds of athletes who have come through West Virginia over the past 15 years and grown from children to adults before our eyes.
• The Backyard Brawl, which renews tomorrow its good, clean competition at the highest level.
• Getting to cover the 2007 Backyard Brawl, an upset like no other upset and a game that brought out into the open more about a football coach than it did about his team.
• Bringing Oliver Luck back to Morgantown.
• The good guy coaches not yet mentioned like Paul Brown and Don Nehlen and John Beilein and Bill Kirelawilch and Steve Dunlap and Jeff Casteel.
• Mya, the black cat that has become a companion, and for Lisa, the tiniest of cats who used up her nine lives far too quickly.
• Being there when Amos Zereoue scored a 60-yard touchdown on his first college carry against Pitt, when West Virginia defeated Louisville in the coming out game for Patrick White and Steve Slaton, when Owen Schmitt broke his first face mask, Da’Sean Butler beat the buzzer (each time), when Bill Stewart debuted as football coach and beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, when Quincy Wilson ran over Miami’s Brandon Meriweather on one the greatest catch-and-runs in college football history, when Kevin Pittsnogle captured the attention of the nation with his 3s while helping the Mountaineers run to the Elite Eight.
• Finding a second home at the Boston Beanery on Patteson Drive here in Morgantown.
• My television’s remote control, without which America might actually be able to sit and watch a program or sporting event from start to finish.
• The NCAA keeping the number of bowl games to fewer than half the number of teams that play football so that some teams don’t have to play in two of them.
• To the NCAA for not putting a championship tournament in for football, not wanting to make the same mistake it made when it started that unpopular, profitless NCAA Basketball Tournament.
• And, of course, we give thanks for brave Robby, Amy and Chris, who awaits a Christmas time baby.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giving thanks for:
- WVU Sports
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
Carey, Bussie headline Big 12 awards
To the victors go the spoils, and West Virginia University’s newly crowned Big 12 women’s basketball regular-season co-champions certainly took down their share of the conference’s post-season awards, headed by coach Mike Carey and senior center Asya Bussie.
FURFARI COLUMN: Women’s finale fitting as all-time Coliseum great
If you weren’t among the thrilled, extremely vocal 5,502 fans at the WVU Coliseum last Tuesday night, you missed one of the most memorable sports events in that 44-year-old arena’s history.
The No. 7 nationally ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team’s capture of the Big 12 Conference regular-season co-championship beating Kansas 67-60 on Senior Night was followed by a wild, wonderful celebration.
Carey named Big 12 Coach of the Year
In only his second season in the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Oklahoma pulls away from WVU, 72-62
Reality hit West Virginia University in the gut Wednesday as No. 23 Oklahoma showed the Mountaineers almost every reason why they are not an NCAA Tournament team this year, pulling away in the second half to a 72-62 victory in Norman.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Lady Mountaineers will always remember their senior season
Taylor Palmer was following a much-traveled path when she packed up her gym shoes four years ago and left Mount Vernon, N.Y., for Morgantown to play basketball.
Lowes Moore and Kevin Jones had both done the same thing and become two of the greatest players West Virginia University had ever produced, each not only playing the game the way it should be played but living life the way it should be lived.
Bradley to give everyone a chance
A day after snubbing the local media by not talking to them on an evening set aside for interviews with assistant coaches, West Virginia University’s latest defensive savior Tom Bradley found 14 minutes to talk to IMG Sports, which possesses the rights to West Virginia sports.
FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-WVU star loves coaching at FSU
Joe Mazzulla, a native of the Providence, R.I., area, now is in his first year as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Fairmont State University.
He had made his coaching debut during a two-year hitch as a member of the staff at Glenville State.
Former WVU player sues NCAA, five conferences
Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston sued the NCAA and five major conferences Wednesday, saying they violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending school.
WVU women clinch share of Big 12 title
West Virginia University’s women’s basketball team had just defeated Kansas, 67-60, to lay claim to a share of the Big 12 championship with Baylor on Tuesday night in the Coliseum, and someone had to sum up the feeling for the five seniors who had made the program grow to championship status.
That someone was Christal Caldwell.
- More WVU Sports Headlines
- HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete