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Pitching with Pritch...Gift ideas for sports lovers PDF Print E-mail

By Larry Pritchett

Past PCHS Activities Director


I have gotten a late start in watching the ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, but lately I caught a couple of them and have to admit it is a pretty good series. I have only watched two of them completely from start to finish, but those two have been super.

The first one was entitled “The Best There Never Was” and it was the story of Marcus Dupree who played at Oklahoma, but had problems and dropped out and later made it in the pros for a couple of years.

The other was called “Pony Excess” and it covered SMU’s recruitment of players and success right to the “Death Penalty” that the University received from the NCAA in the early 1980s. SMU had Eric Dickinson and Craig James but eventually the school had to drop their football program for a couple of years and the school is just now getting back to some success.

The series is available at book stores and probably would make a nice Christmas gift.

Other gift suggestions are a couple of books that make great reading for sports fans. If you like some pro basketball stories, there is a book called The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy. It is written by Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell. I am not a big pro basketball fan, but just looking at the book and seeing what is in it, I would probably buy it for myself.

The other book is How Lucky Can You Be written by Don Meyer and Buster Olney. Don Meyer is actually a Nebraska guy who grew up in Wayne. He had a great run at Lipscomb College in Nashville before moving to Northern State in North Dakota. I thought he was one of the best teaching coaches I had seen. He had a lot of instructional tapes out and I had most of them.

One of my coaching friends is Ron Vlasin and when he and I would talk basketball once in a while, the things he talked about sounded a lot like the things I had been trying to do while being guided by the Lipscomb influence.

It took me a while to find out that Coach Vlasin and Coach Meyer had gone to college together at Greeley. Then things became a lot clearer about why our philosophies were somewhat close.

Coach Meyer, a couple of years ago, was injured in a very bad car accident and while they were doing surgery on him from the accident, they found terminal cancer. The book is about his life, philosophy etc. The book is a must read.

The last little bit of information this week is the awarding of the Heisman Trophy. Cam Newtion won it and that wasn’t a surprise.

The big surprise is that he was omitted from 105 of the ballots, but the ballots that listed him (93 percent) voted him as the winner.

There is a feeling that the investigation of wrongdoing by Newton’s father might be continuing and the Heisman spot could again be vacated as it was with Reggie Bush. Time will tell.

One of my favorite weekly columns is written by Brad Dickson of the Omaha World Herald, so this is some of his work. He was a former writer for Jay Leno.

My two picks for this week are the following:

“Before another school can speak to a coach they need permission from the chancellor, the athletic director and sometimes the Board of Regents. It’s similar to the process for getting to speak to Taylor Martinez after a game.

“NU offensive coordinator Shawn Watson just had his second interview for the coaching vacancy at Vanderbilt. This is telling. Even though the first interview went well, in the second Watson went completely away from what had been working.”