Thursday, September 29, 2005

Using "Ball" as a Bridge...

Proving the world is flat, and more importantly, here's for people in the world doing good...Especially, when it comes to ball...

Kenny Blakeney, who is an Assistant Coach at the University of Delaware, is helping bridge the gap between Africa and the U.S. with his part in SEEDS, Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal along with Amadou Gallo Fall, a native of Senegal who is director of scouting for the Dallas Mavericks.

Check it out here...The SEEDS program has won a $350K grant to implement the program, and it will utilize the coaching clinics, internships, and training programs upon Sengalese student athletes.

Through the NBA's international basketball instruction and community relations outreach program, SEEDS, developed by Matthew J. Robinson, associate professor of sport management and program director of UD’s International Basketball Initiative, and David Barlow, associate professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences, who implemented a similar program with Turkey has developed an international exchange program between basketball coaching staffs in Senegal and the University of Delaware.

With the grant, the University of Delaware program also plans to utilize the funds in September, 2006, to help support an educational sports exchange program that will bring six coaches from Senegal to the United States in the fall to participate in a three-week program that will include sessions with UD faculty and the varsity men’s and women’s basketball staffs, visits to the NBA league office in New York, NBA games and team practices.

The trip will culminate with a coaching clinic at the University of North Carolina, where they will meet with legendary college coaches Dean Smith, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.

The program will consist of coaching clinics, training programs, and internships to utilize basketball as a tool to bridge cultures...That's what I'm talking about.




Photo: University of Delaware, "Blakes telling kid he's going left..."

Basketball is Flatter,
IronDog

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sticking fingers in the 'Icing'

Here you go followers of the Tar Heel nation...Between my lunch-hour of NPR and "Howard Cosell at Large" on ESPN Classic in the background, I caught this interview link from my man, Frank Heath, and I thought about throwing a few words around..

My words today stem from a good exchange between A.J. Carr of the Raleigh N&O and UNC Athletic Director, Dick Baddour, who usually is under heavy fire from the Tar Heel nation. Check out the interview here.

After I checked the interview out, I pulled a few questions that I thought were pertinent to subjects other than wins and losses.

Although I agree with the problems that ensue with losses and short-term dismal performances, there are a helluva lot of outstanding issues with athletics today that no one is addressing because they're not as snappy of a topic as 'Did Carolina win, and did Duke and State lose?' Please, one should look deeper when you click on firedickbaddour.com.

My feeling is look at the bigger picture...Long-term son...long-term. So, without further adieu, I put my two-cents in parenthesis after Baddour's answers.

Good job, A.J. Carr from the NandO with "NCAA Title Icing"...Way to get in there.


------------------------------------------
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face now?

A: We need to get the football program stabilized at the highest possible level. I really believe that's going to happen with Coach [John] Bunting.

A major issue is facility renovation and how we are going to address issues in Carmichael and Boshamer for wrestling and sports medicine ... how to get the revenue and also how we can maintain the scholarship level that it has been.

(IronDog: Believe it or not, Bunting is a good choice to run this program. He knows the school, the beauracracy, the education, the Rams Club, which more or less shows he's not an outsider. That's huge at Carolina. It means he knows the school and the administration, which is incredibly bottlenecked and unique at the same time.

Note: Believe me, for those of you who would like a Steve Spurrier type figure in Chapel Hill, you would never have the same feelings for Chapel Hill again. And for those of you who are still pissy over what would have happened if Steve Spurrier would have came to UNC...It would have been the University of Steve Spurrier...

Plus, keep in mind, the athletic department can't afford a guy like that. Do the math, it can't happen. Why? Because we care about funding other sources of education such as sciences, facilities, events for students...That's good, right?

For people who really care about the university and the athletic department as a whole, Bunting is good. And I will argue with anyone who tells me that John Bunting is not one of the three best X and O head coaches in the ACC.

With Carmichael...That's a whole other ball to play with...Although funding for Olympic sports is needed immensely, (especially in terms of facilities), there is absolutely no reason why the interior of Carmichael Auditiorium needs to be renovated.

The Carmichael renovation project is a Title IX abuse gone bad. On a non-Duke game, it's tough to fill the place up. So, why does it need to be renovated?...When UNC Women's Basketball can reach or equal or the average amount of attendance and fervor than UNC Women's Soccer, then renovation should be considered.

Until then, I can't grasp how a renovated interior of Carmichael Auditorium is going to generate revenue. Especially, when you consider the last time that the place got flippy was when Vitale showed up for the first UNC Midnight Madness in '93.

Now with Boshamer...Boshamer Stadium is a renovation revenue vehicle that is dying to bloom. Tap it UNC...Tap it.

With the surroundings of dorms, hills, trees, and Carolina weather, you could have a crown jewel college baseball stadium to run NCAA tourney regionals, state high-school tournaments, and spring NCAA tournaments to generate reveune.

Lastly, in terms of sports medicine, great call...There's no excuse with the level of talent and high -level athletic performances that come through Chapel Hill year-in and year-out, why UNC Chapel Hill should not have the premier sports medicine program in the country...Yes, that would mean topping Stanford, Duke, Michigan, Cal...It's not at that level.

It's good to see that revenue will be pumped into advancing the program.

Q: How much will these projects cost?

A: If we include what we want to do in Kenan [Stadium], we are talking in excess of $30 million.

(IronDog: Believe me, $30M is needed. Especially, when you consider college athletics is really just a marketing tool veiled under academics.

Now, with Kenan...Don't let bad planning go rampant...You should have to win year in and year out to warrant more expansion...(Also, the memory of the 3/4 filled Springsteen concert should be etched into expansion funding plans.)...Let's address the issues that are needed that will benefit both men and women non-revenue sports programs first. Look at the facilities that students can utilize during off-seasons, a.k.a. Belk Track, practice facilities, natatorium improvements, and sports medicine programs as mentioned above.

Q: What are the plans in Kenan?

A: Completing the stadium on the other end. We are looking at the possibility of adding boxes on the south side, as well as in the end zone, and doing a major renovation there for things like academic support.

(IronDog: Tough one here, but I have to agree that the choice that a knockout is going to have to happen....Due to the most obstructive addition to the UNC campus in the past five years, the Alamo (The Western stucco-style building that rests in the South End Zone) is out of place...And yes, an academic support facility with a new athletic weight room would be very, very, hip.

However, if they're going to do it. Please take taste into consideration...What made Kenan incredible were the incredible surroundings of North Carolina cedar pines...Don't knock out the last sections that are in the corners.

Note: The exterior expansion that was driven by Mack Brown is cool. But if you're going to do it, please hire architects or urban designers who actually went to UNC, and they'll understand this important facet when rendering new expansion plans.

Find a way to design an enclosure that will incorporate the last of the original forest ring surrounding the stadium...Believe me, it's cool and innovative...And that's OK.

Football stadiums and gameday atmospheres can be unique. They don't have to look and be like everyone else, which Tar Heel Sports Marketing seems to have a struggle with in terms of identifying cool things to do on gamedays...That's a whole other post though.

Q: Is it fair to increase the student fee?

A: The student fee was significantly lower than everybody else's in the conference except for N.C. State and significantly lower within the UNC system -- way off the mark, in some cases $400 off the mark. The fee is still low. It's still next-to-the-lowest fee in the UNC system.

The students did not object to the fee increase. The student leadership objected to the fact that it was a last-minute request and had not gone through the normal process.

(IronDog: The fee is more than reasonable...And Baddour is correct. The only backlash was that it was pushed down students' throats in a sly way. The fee is also more than reasonable when it applies to renovation of facilities that students and the community can use during off-seasons such as the resurfacing of Belk Track, the turfed Hooker soccer fields, the renovated outdoor Naval pool behind Woollen Gym, and the Indoor Track.)

Note: All of the mentioned above were renovated facilites have either been renovated during Baddour's time...That's a huge plus.

Quick request: Can we get a restroom/public changing room at Belk Track?

Q: Was consideration given to dropping any of the 28 sports?

A: Not now. There was. But our people have responded, with increased fund-raising from the [Educational] Foundation [the booster club]. We will be asking for another student-fee increase, $50 next year.

The third thing was what the legislature did for us, making out-of-state, full grants being considered in-state [costing the same amount].

(IronDog: The tangible disappointment is when you watch programs like UNC Wrestling struggle because of athletic funding...It's an absolute tragedy...It's even worse when you watch programs like Women's Tennis or the Track program not attracting athletes because of facility or staffing issues.

Here's a plea. If you're an UNC Alumni, give to non-revenue sports. Olympic sport athletes are the truly special ones that bring an intense amount of flavor to the school.

Yes, the big-four revenue programs such as basketball, football, baseball, and soccer are sexy donations, but your Educational Foundation dollars mean a lot more to the non-revenue sports. Steer your gifts toward those sports. You're helping in a big way, and bringing a lot more flavor to the school.

Q: Is there any change you would like to see that would be beneficial to UNC and college athletics?

A: I think the NCAA could allow [full-scholarship] students additional benefits without paying them or making them professional athletes. I would like to see an allowance.

(IronDog: Agreed, and let it be known that this blogga is in favor of 7K/year.)

Q: How much allowance?

A. A couple of thousand dollars [per year for each athlete].

(IronDog: Well, that's fine. But that's if you allow student-athletes to work more freely during the summer...A nice two-part question may be: 'Do you think that allowances will ever happen, and with tuition, fees, and living expenses, do you think allowances could be over 5K?')

That's it for me until next time on TarheelDaily...Believe me, I'll hit these issues up again. Now, let Dick Baddour do his job. He's doing a good one. Leave him alone.

Off to Belk Track,
IronDog

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Eyejammie punches into "The Dirty South"

Here's to hanging in Caprice Classics at Krispy Kreme parking lots...

In New York City, tomorrow night, my main man, Bill Adler has a reception set at his Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery for the "Adventures in the Dirty South" photo exhibit. Adler's receptions at his Eyejammie Gallery are not only noted for great conversations, but also you never know who you'll be able to put your eye on...Here are the details.

The FADER Magazine and Asylum Records present:

The Opening Reception for ADVENTURES IN THE DIRTY SOUTH

The reception will occur at the Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery, 516 W.25thStreet #306, between 10th and 11th Avenues, on Thursday, September 15from 6 until 9p.m.

A celebration of southern hip-hop, the show will include photos by Janette Beckman, Julia Beverly, Peter Beste, Lauren Fleishman, Greg Gates, Marcus Hanschen, Jonathan Mannion, Joseph Rodriguez, Jack Thompson, Barry Underhill and others.

Artists in the photos include: David Banner, Cash Money Millionaires,Geto Boys, Goodie Mob, Mike Jones, Lil Boosie, Lil Jon, Master P,Outkast, Three Six Mafia, T.I., Trick Daddy, Trina, 2 Live Crew, Paul Wall,Webbie, Ying Yang Twins, and many others.The exhibit has been curated by Tamara Palmer, author of "Country-FriedSoul: Adventures in Dirty South Hip-Hop" (Backbeat Books 2005).

"Dayaaamnn...",
IronDog

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Circle the Date

My Saturday was intermingled with a lot of football, and I walked away with this...

Circle October 15 @ 2:30PM on your calendar...For college footballers both old and new school, the Notre Dame v. USC game will be for you.

After Notre Dame jetted out to a 2-0 record after Saturday's win at Michigan, any observer who has watched the first eight quarters of the young Notre Dame season will say this is an entirely different teams than the teams of the past decade. This Notre Dame program has that special something driving it into the future...Anyone who has followed the program can feel it, and there's no doubt why...It's due to the arrival of Charlie Weis.

The intangible that is emerging is that this team is playing with confidence. With four Super Bowl rings, Weis has been a part of something that has won at the highest level. That experience from winning is not only showing with his rants for perfection on the sidelines, but it also shows with the style of play...These guys are hitting.

But the reason why I'm circling the Oct. 15th date is because of the showdown with USC. Although there have been a number of failed transitions for pro coaches into the college football world, Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis are a little different...Their personalities seem to fit a college program a little better than most.

From the day Carroll was hired at USC, I always thought the Trojans had met the perfect fit for it's program. Carroll with his rah-rah style and young-minded personality is suited a lot better to the 18-23 age group than the land of guaranteed contracts and Escalade love. When you look at Weis, you have the same feeling. He fits the tough-ass, team-or-die, cast-iron Catholic work ethic that fits Notre Dame.

From early recruiting projections, it's easy to see that a major shift has occurred on the recruiting trail with Weis on the road. With Weis's Super Bowl rings and his staff's experience, there are few programs who are going to match his innovative offensive game plans and his pro experiences...One of those programs will be USC and Carroll.

That's why I have the feeling that we are seeing the emerging battle of an elite rivalry coming back into play come Oct. 15th. Weis has been planning for this date for a while. He moved last week's Pittsburgh game to the beginnning of the season to allow for a week to prepare for USC, and he knows that USC is the current gold standard of excellence.

So, believe me, this game is going to bigger than you think...But that's also if ND doesn't overlook Michigan State and Purdue.

The Echos Are Back,
IronDog

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Good Run-In @ Southpoint...

Great sighting that I think will lighten your day up a bit....

I saw Branford Marsalis at Southpoint Mall today. He was on the cell phone coming down the escalator, and I yelled "Are your people all right down there (New Orleans)." He looked at me in a sly way. Said "Yeah...Damn...Yeah, everybody's all right. Everybody's good...I'm going down there (New Orleans) in the next few days to check to see what's going on."

I then told him that I saw his brother Wynton on Charlie Rose last night talking about what has to be done in New Orleans, New Orleans culture, the people, how the media portrays people working together, and the flood. He said "Really, I missed it, but I'm talking to him in a bit. He was cool?...That's good."

Then, I gave him the geeked-out statements... 'You're a big influence...' And I'm a big fan'...But I least twisted it with the explanation that the reason why I'm into jazz is due to his appearances on Roy Firestone's UpClose.

With that said, I've now added another reason why I think Branford is so 'down'. And it's not just because he jams with the Dead. What's really cool about him is...

He was wearing a UNC National Champs shirt.

'Without a Net',
IronDog

Chapel Hill Bloggers Meet-UP

If you're in Chapel Hill this week...

And if you would like to learn how to start a blog, improve your blog, talk about blogs, or just blog, please stop by 3 CUPS Coffee Bar in the West End Courtyard off West Franklin St. in Chapel Hill on Thursday night.

The Chapel Hill Bloggers Meetup has a new schedule and new location. Starting this Thursday, September 8, we meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m. at 3 CUPS coffee bar in the West End Courtyard off West Franklin St. in Chapel Hill. Please join us for an open discussion about blogging, podcasting and building online communities. More details are at BlogTogether.org.

Keep Typing,
IronDog

Monday, September 05, 2005

Run, Read, Rock & Radiate.

Maybe it's just that I'm hyped up because you don't have to hear the excuses that surround the season of summer anymore...Ya' know...No one's around town..Times are slow during the summer...Everyone's on va-ca...It's too hot out...Geezus, get off it. Let's get readin'!

***Here's a great story from Slate this past week. Click on the link here. Neal Pollack's essay on society's fascination about sports management and GM moves in baseball, football, and basketball.

With the fanaticism surrounding fantasy leagues and the following of post-season moves and strategies booming each post-season, it's good to see that someone is getting their hands around the phenomeonon that little Johnny doesn't want to be Edgar Renteria but Theo Epstein.

Pollack is former Chicagoan, and I never knew he's from Austin, Texas. Hit up Pollack's website for some of his reads...Dude, has mad game. I've also placed the article in the del.ici.ous account to your right. Hit it up.

***More New Orleans Tid-bits.

* T-Mobile steps up huge, and here's to all of the wi-fi renegades who stepped up to make a lot of makeshift wireless services available to the community for information. Let's get people connected down there. Some amazing stories are coming out of there right now.

* Here's an incredible story through WiredNews about Zipa
, a web-hosting service and co-location center in downntown New Orleans, that is providing service for over 10,000 customers from the 27th story of a damaged center city building. They're providing server space for thousands of websites, and they're promising to hang on for a few more days...Huge respect....Keep it up Zipa.

* Not even close in importance, but it shows how huge this storm was. There's bad news for the Superdome...

I'm watching the Miami/Florida State game, and Ted Koppel reports from Jackson Square that the founded rumor that the Superdome will be destroyed is highly likely.

Damn, the country's "big-game" venue is coming down...I am stunned.

* FEMA, Bush, Homeland Security, local forces were absolutely horrendous in this ordeal. However, I'm not so sure about the nation jumping behind hyping of Ray Nagin...The guy was in Baton Rouge throughout the ordeal. Yes, he set up an example by evacuating, but he should have returned.

Why didn't he assemble a command control center for local officials to set up in case of emergency? The Wiki tells of his climb...For some reason, I have a feeling that this is going to go a lot deeper than you think in terms of finger-pointing.

*Good reasoning by Freakonomics author, Stephen Levitt, about the email plea that states "Please do not buy Gas." Read Levitt's blog post about why we should rephrase the plea to "Please do not use Gas."

***(Light Stuff) Run, Read, Rock and Radiate - My boy, Sam, who is a teacher in Berkeley is ripping it up on Craigslist....Ladies in the Bay Area get your hustle on, and email my boy. Hit up his personal ad on Craigslist.org.

The dude has game.

The Mix,
IronDog