Loose Change 3/7/08

Odds & ends you may have missed over the past week:

  • Spring football practice is beginning around the country, and ESPN.com has three sentences on Navy. You may not have heard, but we have a new head coach!
  • Sadly, Tom Marryott will not be returning next year as the women’s basketball coach. Given the decline of the program since its mid-’90s heyday, this news isn’t much of a surprise. But the inevitablility doesn’t make it any less depressing. The son of a former superintendent, Marryott has been a part of the Navy family his entire life. Marryott was an assistant with the men’s program when he took over the women’s team on an interim basis following the sudden resignation of Joe Sanchez five years ago. After showing some promise in that interim season, Chet awarded Marryott the permanent gig. But the team never seemed to gather much momentum, even in a conference that, frankly, isn’t very good. The rise of the Army program probably didn’t help matters. It’s a shame that things didn’t work out. I think Navy fans everywhere wish Coach Marryott all the best in the future. His staff remains in place for now. We anxiously await word on a new coach!
  • This has been making the rounds in the national news, but since schools selling their souls for athletic success has been a hot topic on this blog, I thought I’d mention it here. Harvard is now under the microscope.
  • In the “no-brainer” category, David Robinson has been nominated for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
  • Bad news keeps pouring in for the Air Force basketball program as freshman Mark Summerfield has left the Academy. Nothing sinister about this one, though. The kid just decided the military wasn’t for him. It happens.
  • Remember the Patriot Bowl? The game that was supposed to be between a service academy and a MAC school, held in Cleveland each year as part of a festival of military demonstrations and whatnot? Well, it’s still happening. Just without a service academy.
  • Remember the AAFL? The new professional football league centered around major college football hubs? There were reports of that league’s demise yesterday, although those appear to have been a little premature. But the league is facing some problems right now, and may have to postpone their inaugural season until 2009.
  • Army’s home opener against Temple has been moved to Friday night. I don’t care any more than you do, but there was a line in the press release that I found interesting:

    It will mark the only non-Saturday football game of the year for the Black Knights, home or away. Each of the Army’s remaining 11 contests, including all five home games, will remain on Saturday. Kickoff times for all of those games will be announced later in the year.

    I thought that part of Army’s ESPN contract was that they would play 1-2 games per year on either ESPN or ESPN2. That means Thursday or Friday night, since ESPN usually leaves their Saturdays free for BCS-conference games. Does this mean that Army could be geting a game on the Mothership on an actual Saturday? OK, so maybe that wasn’t really interesting either.

  • The women’s lacrosse team won again. This time they pitched a shutout, beating St. Francis (PA) 24-0 in a game that was originally supposed to be the season opener. Maybe the right baseball analogy would be a perfect game, since the Mids prevented the hapless Red Flash from even taking a shot. OK, now this is getting ridiculous. Navy’s newest varsity team has a slightly more interesting matchup tomorrow with fellow Division I newcomer Cincinnati, followed by what will probably be another snoozer on Sunday against St. Mary’s. Fortunately, Patriot League play starts next weekend, with Holy Cross coming to town.
  • Not sports related, but now mids can do part of their summer cruise at a U.S. Embassy? Really? How cool is that?
  • Hold your nose before you read this love-fest for Air Force coaches. It’s nothing that you’d otherwise care about, but it includes a Paul Johnson quote.
  • ESPN.com says, “Bucknell senior John Griffin tapped into all his experience to hit a 40-footer to beat Navy.” Experience? Do they practice that shot at Bucknell or something? I guess “John Griffin gets lucky” isn’t as good of a read. Anyway, our friend Gary Lambrecht weighs in on Navy basketball, too.
  • And finally… The first one was so massive, it changed my life forever. And now it’s happening again! I’m talking, of course, about the Sale of the Century, the greatest idea in the history of human thought. Last time, there were all kinds of jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, duffel bags, ballcaps, and enough equipment to outfit a small lacrosse league. This time, if the retired Under Armour lax jerseys are on sale, there may have to be contests of strength and skill just to determine who gets the chance to buy them. The SOTC will be held before the Hopkins game. The weekend’s fun actually begins the night before with the annual Blue & Gold spring football game. GoMids.com is sponsoring a tailgater before the game, sponsored by Red Hot & Blue. David Ausiello is coordinating the event, and has announced that any proceeds will go to the Fallyn Zembiec Educational Fund:


    All Proceeds to Benefit Education Fund for Daughter of Former Navy Wrestler

    (Annapolis, MD) – GOMIDS.COM will be hosting its first-ever tailgate party on Friday, April 18th prior to Navy football’s annual Blue & Gold spring game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.  The party will begin at 5 p.m. and food will be available until 8 p.m. – one hour after the game begins.

    All proceeds from the tailgate will be donated to the Fallyn Zembiec Educational Fund established to honor the memory of her father, Doug, who was killed on May 11, 2007 in combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq.

    Zembiec, 34, a career Marine who held the rank of Major, graduated in 1995 from the United States Naval Academy where he was a two-time All-American wrestler.

    The Annapolis eatery, Red, Hot & Blue is catering the event, and the cost (which includes drinks) is $25 for adults and $10 for children, 12 and under.   Tickets must be purchased by April 4th.  Click here to buy your tickets today.

    Most of you probably already know the story of former Navy All-American and “Lion of Fallujah” Doug Zembiec. If not, you should. You can start here.

Loose Change 2/29/08

Odds & ends you may have missed over the past week:

  • There’s some speculation about Kyle Eckel’s future in Foxboro. Here’s one guy’s take on the state of the Patriots’ backfield, guessing that they may add a running back in the draft.
  • Navy basketball’s rise to the top of the Patriot League has meant added coverage from local papers, including this great writeup in the Times on Greg Sprink.
  • To the dismay of Maryland and Georgetown fans, one local hoops blogger thinks that David Robinson is the area’s all-time greatest basketball player.
  • Things are so bad at the Air Force Academy prep school that they’ve cancelled the rest of their basketball season.
  • The University of South Alabama is starting up a football team, with the goal of eventually moving into I-A in a few years. Once they do, they’re looking into lining up “quality opponents like Tennessee and Navy.”
  • The University of North Alabama already has a football team. A very good team, actually– one of the annual poll-toppers in Division II. They’re coached by former Navy offensive coordinator Mark Hudspeth, and one of the local papers published a story on him here.
  • A couple of lacrosse tidbits: first, the Tewaaraton watch list is out, and it includes Navy’s Jordan DiNola. In other news, a Big East lacrosse conference is in the works.
  • Former Navy baseball coach Bob MacDonald had a stint with the Mariners as a volunteer batting practice pitcher, among other things.
  • Former Navy football player turned cagefighter Brian Stann will be fighting for the WEC light heavyweight title on March 26th. I’ve seen a couple of his earlier fights, and they didn’t exactly last long. One guy took one punch from Stann, got an “oh God what did I get myself into” look on his face, then went down with the second punch. Still, there’s more to this stuff than just punching. We’ll see if Stann’s skills have developed beyond striking.
  • And finally, read this.

Loose Change 2/8/08

As it would be expected the week of signing day, this is going to be a recruit-heavy list of links. There are more stories on Navy recruits out there, too, which I might not get around to posting. Seriously, there are a lot of ’em. Those of you who pitched in with links, thanks! In case you didn’t know where the name of this blog came from, scouting for Navy recruits is what “Birddogs” are all about. Anyway, on to the news:

No Ring For Kyle

I wrote a few months ago after having given up on the Norv Turner-led Chargers that the only wish I had for this NFL season was for Kyle Eckel to get a Super Bowl ring. I certainly felt like an idiot after the Chargers advanced to the AFC Championship Game to face Kyle’s Patriots (I’m sorry, Norv!). While I was disappointed in the outcome of that game, I still felt good knowing that Kyle would get to go to the big one. Can you imagine? Kyle went from an 0-10 Navy team his plebe year to an 18-0 Super Bowl-bound juggernaut now. Talk about two different ends of the spectrum. And #38 was all over TV last night too, taking the field on special teams. It was great to see. Unfortunately, not only did Rodney Harrison not separate Eli Manning’s head from his neck, but the Patriots lost. Kyle didn’t get his ring. Fortunately, after his recent contract extension, we know he’ll get another shot next year.

On a tangential subject, watching the Giants win the Super Bowl made me glad that we don’t have a playoff for I-A football. How pointless is the regular season when a 10-6 division runner-up is crowned your champion? Not to take anything away from the Giants– they did what the NFL says they had to do. I’m just glad that college football is more do-or-die each week. There’s nothing like it.