Sunday, November 29, 2015

Holy Toledo! 36-Year-Old Matt Campbell Will Be Paid $2 Million In His First Season As Iowa State's New Football Coach. I Just Hope He's a Better Fit With the Cyclones Than Frank Lauterbur Was When He Came To Iowa In the 1970s After Winning 23 Straight Games At Toledo. Lauterbur's 3-Year Record With the Hawkeyes Was 4-28-1 and the Lousy Defenses Designed for Him By Assistant Coach Ducky Lewis Set Major-College Football Back By At Least a Half-Century


Whenever anything happens in or about Toledo, Ohio, a few people usually want to shout or simply say, "Holy Toledo!"

All right then.

On with business.

Holy Toledo! Matt Campbell is Iowa State's new football coach. 

And Holy Toledo! He's going to be paid $2 million in his first year on the job.

Matt Campbell
“I couldn’t be more excited to receive the opportunity to coach at Iowa State,” said Campbell, who is leaving a successful stint at the University of Toledo to coach the Cyclones.

“Two years ago after we played the Cyclones in Ames, I called my wife [Erica] and said you simply would not believe this place. Their fans, the game-day environment and facilities are all incredible.  

"I could see us living in Ames and me coaching the Cyclones some day. My family and I are truly humbled.”

Campbell is 36 years of age--meaning he is one of the youngest collegiate head football coaches in America.

I'm sure he is an eager young man.

I'm sure he welcomes challenges.

It's good to be 36 and eager.

He'll have plenty of challenges as Iowa State's coach.

He will be paid well to meet those challenges head-on.

Iowa State said Campbell agreed to a six-year contract with a first-year salary of $2 million.

His 36th birthday is today.  Nice birthday gift, that $2 million first-year salary. 

“Matt’s coaching and playing achievements are extraordinary, but we were even more impressed by his character, leadership and commitment to his family,” Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said. 

“I could not be more excited to welcome Matt, Erica and their children to the Cyclone family.  We are truly blessed to have one of the industry’s rising stars leading our football program.”

I refrain from predicting success in the Big 12 Conference for a coach--Campbell or any other coach--from the Mid-American Conference.

But I wish the new man in Ames the best.

He is in a league in which it is very difficult for a football program like Iowa State to succeed-- whether the coach is a young man or a man not-so-young.

In my working years, I closely observed Iowa State coaches such as Clay Stapleton, Johnny Majors, Earle Bruce, Donnie Duncan, Jim Criner, Jim Walden and Dan McCarney.

None had it easy.

Some left the Cyclone job on their own terms.

Some didn't.

Campbell, whose team handed Iowa State one of its nine losses in the just-concluded 2015 season.

Toledo officials were well aware that Campbell would be in high demand by athletic directors elsewhere, and the Mid-American Conference university tried hard to keep him.

But Toledo's efforts failed, the Toledo Blade reported. The newspaper was among the first to report that Campbell agreed to become the successor to the fired Paul Rhoads at Iowa State.

Reports surfaced that Toledo had offered Campbell a contract that would've made him the highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference. He earned $495,000 this year.

"We think very highly of Matt Campbell and have made him a very generous ffer to keep him as our head football coach," news sources quoted Toledo athletic director Mike O'Brien.

On Sept. 19, Campbell's Toledo team defeated Iowa State, 30-23, in double overtime at Toledo, Ohio.

Reports say Iowa State will pay a $200,000 buyout to bring Campbell on board. Campbell had a 35-15 record in four seasons at Toledo after taking over for Tim Beckman in 2011.

Campbell perhaps agreed to terms with Iowa State even before the fired Paul Rhoads finished a 3-9 season at Iowa State with a 30-6 loss Saturday at West Virginia. Rhoads was paid $2.2 million this year at Iowa State.

I hope Campbell fares better at Iowa State than another former Toledo coach--Frank
Frank Lauterbur
Lauterbur--did at Iowa in the 1970s.

Lauterbur, who won his final 23 games and had a 48-32-2 record from 1963-1970 at Toledo, was hired as Iowa's 22nd head coach prior to the 1971 season. 

I got to know Lauterbur well, and regarded him as a good friend.

Unfortunately, his success at Toledo didn't follow him to Iowa.

Lauterbur lasted just three seasons in Iowa City.  

His first Hawkeye team had a 1-10 record, his second was 3-7-1, his third was 0-11.

That 1973 season was nightmarish for lots of folks, including me. I was writing plenty about the Hawkeyes in those years [when Iowa went through 19 consecutive seasons of non-winning football].

Wikipedia described Lauterbur's final season at Iowa this way:

"The 1973 season was a disaster. Iowa finished with the worst record in school history. The Hawkeyes lost all 11 games to finish the year 0–11. The only other winless season in Iowa history occurred in 1889, [the university's] inaugural campaign, when the Hawkeyes lost the only game they scheduled that year.
Ducky Lewis
"Despite the 0–11 record, Lauterbur had two years left on a five-year contract, and then-athletic director Bump Elliott considered retaining him. Iowa fans were unhappy with Lauterbur, obviously, but they were more unhappy with defensive coordinator Don "Ducky" Lewis. 

"Lewis' defensive units, so spectacular at Toledo, were horrible at Iowa. In 1973, Iowa yielded 401 points on the season, the most in school history. In addition, Lewis was notoriously profane in public, which embarrassed and appalled several fans. That might be tolerated if Iowa was winning, but not at 0–11.
"Elliott approached Lauterbur about firing Lewis as defensive coordinator. Lauterbur refused, stating that he had to have full control of his staff and that it was his right, not Elliott's, to hire and fire assistant coaches. 

"Elliott agreed, but then reminded Lauterbur that it was his right, as athletic director, to hire and fire head football coaches by relieving him of his duties as Iowa head coach. 

"Lauterbur's loyalty to his assistant backfired, as now Lauterbur and Lewis were both out of a job. Ron Maly, a reporter for the Des Moines Register, wrote, "On the day he was fired, Lauterbur held an umbrella over my head so he could protect the notepad I was using from the rain that was falling near the stadium. He was a good guy, but Iowa clearly was not the right place for him."


Record as Head Coach

2011 Toledo 1-0 Military Bowl Champions
2012 Toledo 9-4 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
2013 Toledo 7-5
2014 Toledo 9-4 GoDaddy Bowl Champions
2015 Toledo 9-2 TBA

Coaching Experience

Bowling Green, Graduate Assistant, 2003-04
Mount Union, Offensive Coordinator, 2005-06
Bowling Green, Assistant Coach, 2007-08
Toledo, Run Game Coordinator, 2009 & Offensive Coordinator, 2010-11
Toledo, Head Coach, 2012-15

Bowl Games As Coach

Bowling Green, 2003 Motor City Bowl
Bowling Green, 2004 GMAC Bowl
Bowling Green, 2007 GMAC Bowl
Toledo, 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Toledo, 2011 Military Bowl
Toledo, 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Toledo, 2015 GoDaddy Bowl (’14 season)

National Championships (Division III)

Mount Union (player), 2000-2001-2002
Mount Union (offensive coordinator), 2005-2006

[Source Iowa State University]

Friday, November 27, 2015

Congratulations, Hawkeyes. You were clearly the better team in the day-after-Thanksgiving football game you played at Nebraska. I'm glad your coach is Kirk Ferentz and not Mike Riley. I'm glad your quarterback is C. J. Beathard and not Tommy Armstrong. I'm glad Jordan Canzeri is your running back instead of What's His Name? from the Cornhuskers.. And I'm glad you'll be taking a historic 12-0 record into the Big Ten championship game at Indianapolis. That's what today's 28-20 victory accomplished. Some people might say it wasn't a classsic, but who cares what other people think? When you're on the brink of getting into the College Football Playoff, you can say stuff like that.

This Is How It's Supposed To Be. Almost


This is what it's all about. 


This is what the TV people had in mind when they decided to match up the football teams from Iowa and Nebraska on the Friday after Thanksgiving. 

Sort of. 

Today's game in Lincoln is big.


The only thing keeping today's 2:30 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium from being a huge national event is Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers didn't fulfill their side of the bargain. 

They're supposed to have an 11-0 or 10-1 record and be playing for something decent, too. 

Instead, Nebraska has a disappointing 5-6 record, considerably unlike the records many other Husker teams had heading into this type of late-November game. 

Where have you gone, Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne?

And when's the last time Barry Switzer of Oklahoma was heard from?

By the way, I don't use the term Black Friday for anything. 

I don't like it. 

I think it's dumb. 

So you won't read it again in these columns. 

This is the 26th straight time Nebraska has
played in a football game on the day after Thanksgiving. 

The Huskers are 19-6 in those games against Oklahoma, Colorado and Iowa. 

Nebraska can sew up an invitation to a bowl game by winning today, but that's a far cry from what Husker teams of old were shooting for at this time of year. 

National championships were on the minds of Nebraska coaches, players and fans in those days. 

However, the words national championship can certainly be properly on the minds of Iowa coaches, players and fans. 

A victory today would give the Hawkeyes a historic 12-0 regular season record and solidify their place among the four teams in the national playoff picture. 

So the ABC-TV sports scheduling people are finally happy about Iowa-Nebraska. 

No blah matchup this time.

The ratings will be huge. 

I hope the game is as good as the expectation. 

Whatever,  I'm expecting the Hawkeyes to win.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rob Ash Treated Unfairly

Here's another email from the former Drake athlete who expressed strong dissatisfaction in one of my columns yesterday about lousy coverage of Bulldog athletics by the Des Moines Register:
Rob Ash

"Did you see the news this morning that Rob Ash was fired at Montana State? He had been there 9 years with a record of 70 wins and 38 losses. 

"Only 5-6 this year and he only beat Montana twice and lost 7.  I still think they will find it difficult to find a better coach than Rob.

"Thanks for putting the email in your blog. [Register sportswriter] Andrew Logue did call me last night, and basically said they don't cover everything the way they should. He is covering tonight's game with Creighton."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS--I agree with you on Rob Ash, who had been a very successful football coach at Drake before going to Montana State.  He became the winningest coach in Montana State history. Clearly, he was treated unfairly. Sometimes, though, it's not a case of how many games you won, but which teams you beat. Ash obviously didn't didn't defeat  Montana often enough to please his bosses. Ash's teams won three Big Sky Conference titles, but a 54-35 loss last week to Montana sealed his doom].

Forget That Stuff Ol' Ben Wrote


Discard what you've heard in the past.

Totally forget it.
The stuff Benjamin Franklin wrote about death and taxes, I mean.
Benjamin Franklin

"In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes," Franklin wrote in 1789.

Not so fast, Ben old boy.

The real deal is that the only certainties are death, taxes and a high school state championship football trophy sitting in a West Des Moines school.

Dowling made sure of that third certainty last night by absolutely crushing Kennedy of Cedar Rapids, 41-10, at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.

It was the Maroons' third straight class 4-A championship.

And it was the third team from Cedar Rapids that had to pay the price.

Two years ago, Dowling thrashed Xavier of Cedar Rapids,  44-13, for the 4-A title.

Lass year, Dowling ripped Washington of Cedar Rapids, 49-14, for the championship.

Last night's drubbing of Kennedy gave Dowling 134 points, Cedar Rapids teams 37 in the last three 4-A title games.

Clearly, the best football in the state is played in the Central Iowa Metro League.

Specifically in West Des Moines, where the sprawling Valley and Dowling campuses are just a few miles apart.

Gary Swenson has won five 4-A state championships at Valley, Tom Wilson has now won three in a row and four since 2010 at Dowling.

No wonder the Valley-Dowling game is always the most anticipated one in the state every season.

So congratulations to Dowling and its coaches again.

I'm glad one of the key plays in the Maroons' victory last night involved some trickery.

It was a fake field goal that resulted in a touchdown.

Wilson always has a huge bag of tricks in big games, and I've kidded about them in the past.

Fake field goals, fake punts, you name it.

A few years ago, his team was able to practice its fake punt play when Dowling was ahead of Valley by 30 or so points in a game at Valley Stadium.

Looking ahead to the 2016 season, I'm predicting more bigtime success at Valley and Dowling. 

I can't wait.

Monday, November 23, 2015

'Poor Excuse for a Newspaper'

An e-mail from a Drake graduate, who is a former athlete at the university and is a longtime fan of the Bulldogs:

"Did you read the game story of the Drake
women's victory over North Dakota in today's Des Moines Register?

"There wasn't one.

"You might have seen the box score on the next-to- last page of the sports section. 

"Really great coverage of a local women's team that is 3-0, with wins over ISU, Wisconsin and North Dakota. 

"Fun team to watch with all 10 players getting minutes. 

"Bench scoring against ISU--32 points, Wisconsin--36 points off the bench.

"I called the editor and Andrew Logue, but no response. 

''They had stories covered on high school football by some out-of-town sportswriter and coverage of Iowa-UNI was a writer from the  Waterloo Courier or some newspaper up there.

"Poor excuse for a newspaper. Come and watch the Bulldog women sometime. I believe you will enjoy them."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS--The present  coverage of Drake athletics is the worst in the  long [more than 100 years] history of the newspaper. It's a total embarrassment. And don't expect the situation to get any better. If anything, it'll get worse].

Sunday, November 22, 2015

There's More To Beathard Than C. J.


A friend of mine asked today if C. J. Beathard is the Iowa quarterback's real name.  

Casey Jarrett Beathard
It took me a a few minutes to find out.
And, yes, there's more to Beathard's name than C. J.  

His full name is Casey Jarrett Beathard. 

C. J. can do whatever he wants with his name, and I'm sure he'll answer to whatever you call him. 

Well, most things.

But if it were me, I'd want to be called Casey Jarrett Beathard.  

Similar, in a way, to Ronald Wesley Maly. 

By the way, Casey Jarrett Beathard's dad is country music songwriter Casey Michael Beathard.  
Casey Michael Beathard

So the kid, who happens to be the best quarterback in the Big Ten Conference and one of the best in collegiate football, can't exactly be called Junior. 

He's probably happy about that.

And another by the way....C. J.'s mother is named Susan.
Photo of C. J. Beathard courtesy of Iowa Sports Information. Photo of Casey Michael Beathard courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sad news today for you folks in Des Moines, Ames, Iowa City, Norman, Stillwater, Lubbock, Manhattan, Strawberry Point, Osceola and other football-savvy places in the midlands who were hoping Paul Rhoads would somehow keep his job as Iowa State's coach. Rhoads has been fired. Something tells me his 32-54 record [3-8 so far this season] had something to do with it. Rhoads will coach the Cyclones in their season finale Saturday at West Virginia. After that, all of Rhoads' critics will need to find someone else to kick around.

Photo of Paul Rhoads courttesy of USA Today

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I'm Picking Iowa To Win the Big Ten Championship


I'm well aware that the East Division of the Big Ten Conference is considered stronger than the West Division by those who pay considerable

attention to major-college football. 

Indeed, Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan of the East Division play outstanding football. 

But I firmly believe that Iowa, the best team in the West Division, has an excellent chance of beating Michigan State in the conference title game Dec. 5 in Indianapolis.

The Spartans will be in the title game if they defeat Penn State in their regular-season finale next week.

I know Michigan State is a very good, well-coached team. 

I watched the Spartans on TV today when they upset Ohio State at Ohio Stadium, 17-14.

Frankly, I couldn't believe how poorly Ohio State played in its 2015 home finale. 

Or how poorly Michigan State made the Buckeyes play.

But I also saw the Spartans lose at Nebraska earlier in the season, and I think Iowa can beat them in the Big Ten championship game, advance to the national playoffs and perform well there. 

This is an outstanding Hawkeye team. 

It's a group that plays well on both sides of the ball, it is a team with wonderful chemistry, and it is the best team Kirk Ferentz [the dean of Big Ten coaches] has had. 

Anyone who overlooks Iowa in the Big Ten championship game is foolish. 

The Hawkeyes are for real, and they improve every week.

 I'm picking them to win Dec. 5.

11-0 and [Still] Counting: Marvelous Quarterback C. J. Beathard engineer Iowa's 40-20 Victory Over Purdue]. And Forget About Ohio State Being the Hawkeyes' Opponent In the Dec. 5 Big Ten Conference championship Game. Michigan State and Smiley, Their Coach [Just Kidding, Mark Dantonio], Took Care Of That With a 17-14 Victory At the Horseshoe In Columbus. I'd Take My Chances Against Smiley Anytime Over the Buckeyes' Urban [You've Got To Be Ashamed Of Yourself Over That No-Show Performance In Your 11th Game Of the Season] Meyer.

Coach Smiley Of Michigan State

Nice going, UNI Panthers! You not only made it an unhappy homecoming for Marcus Paige of Marion, you also made sure Paige's North Carolina team wouldn't be ranked No. 1 in next week's collegiate basketball polls with a stunning 71-67 victory today. UNI's Ben Jacobson offered further proof that he's one of the nation's best [though underrated] coaches.

The Grim Reaper is lurking. I realize the pressure is mounting on Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads--especially after the Cyclones blew a 35-14 halftime lead, then lost, 38-35, today at Kansas State. But I know there are folks in places like Norman and Stillwater, OK, Lubbock and Waco, TX, Manhattan, KS, and Iowa City who hope the powers-that-be in Ames find some way to bring back Rhoads for the 2016 season.

Grim Reaper

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Remembering Las Cruces & Other Stuff


I've been writing a lot lately about Bob
Ortegel, a former Drake basketball coach.
Now Ortegel, whose 1974-1975 Bulldogs
had a 19-10 record and won the 
National Commissioners Invitational 
Tournament in Louisville, is writing
to me and about me.
Here's the copy if an email, written in upper-case type no less,  I received from Ortegel:
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Great hearing from
you, Bob, and congratulations to you and
your new bride. The best to both of you. 
This was supposed to be the week you and
the players from that wonderful 1974-75
Drake team that won the National 
Commissioners Invitational Tournament
title [the only national basketball 
championship the Bulldogs have ever won] 
were hoping to have a reunion in Des  
Moines. Too bad it didn't work out. I still think Drake should bring you back to town one of these days to again be recognized for winning that championship. And, hey, Bob, I certainly do remember those wonderful margaritas at the Double Eagle Restaurant in Las Cruces, N.M., on the nights before Drake-New Mexico State games when that university was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. Bob, I owe you one. A margarita, I mean].

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Media critic Jim Romenesko passes along a tale that says Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch] publisher Brad Harmon instructed people at his paper to wear Ohio State crimson-and-gray clothing Friday--the day before the Buckeyes' football game against Michigan State "Let’s support our Ohio State Buckeyes," Harmon told the employees in an email. "Wear your OSU gear to work on Friday, November 20th in support of the game with Michigan State on Saturday. If you have appointments with clients then accompany your OSU shirt with business casual attire. Let’s have some fun! --Brad Harmon." That shocked a lot of folks, but not me. Hell, I remember sitting in the press box at Ohio Stadium during a game a number of years ago, and the sportswriter covering the game for the Columbus paper was wearing gray pants and a scarlet sports coat. I think the guy's name was Glenn Miller, and I'm fairly certain he's now residing in the big press box in the sky. I was told that Miller was a personal friend of Woody Hayes, the controversial Ohio State football coach, and certainly was not impartial the way sportswriters were supposed to be then [but certainly aren't now]. For all I know, Woody bought Miller's outfit. Anyway, Miller certainly wasn't the only sportswriter who wore school colors in the press box. Al Grady, the late Iowa City Press Citizen sports columnist, usually wore Hawkeye jackets, shirts and caps to Iowa athletic events and press conferences.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

'This Is a Big Win for Us,' Drake Women's Basketball Coach Jennie Baranczyk Says After the Bulldogs Open Their Season With a 74-70 Victory Over Iowa State In Front Of 4,251 Fans At the Knapp Center. It's the First Time They've Beaten the Cyclones Since 2009

Some people spent this November afternoon raking leaves.

Others didn't.

Indeed, 4,251 folks [I wasn't one of them, and I didn't rake leaves either] went inside the Knapp Center on the Drake campus to watch a women's basketball game.

Take your pick on who got the best deal.

Following exhibition victories over Grand View and Simpson, Drake opened its season for real with a 74-70 victory over Iowa State.

Drake Communications emailed me the box score of the game. told me all I needed to know.

The website said: "Drake  led by 10 points with 2 minutes 42 seconds to go after  Caitlin Ingle of Runnells , IA, made a layup. 

"But the Bulldogs had to fight off a late charge from Iowa State to earn their first victory over the in-state rival since 2009.  

“'This is a big win for us,” said Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk. 'Everyone stepped up, did their part and played together. I’m so proud of our team today.'” 

"The Cyclones pulled  within two points with 6 seconds left, but Drake freshman Nicole Miller of Walker, IA, made a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 74-70."

In the event you were wondering, one of my sons mulched my leaves and mowed my lawn this afternoon. 

Iowa State 70 - 1-1




FG %1st Half:14-3441.2%2nd Half:12-4427.3%Game:26-7833.3%Deadball
3FG %1st Half:5-1338.5%2nd Half:3-2015.0%Game:8-3324.2%Rebounds
FT %1st Half:2-2100.0%2nd Half:8-988.9%Game:10-1190.9%1,0
Drake 74 - 1-0




FG %1st Half:14-3540.0%2nd Half:14-3342.4%Game:28-6841.2%Deadball
3FG %1st Half:6-1735.3%2nd Half:5-1827.8%Game:11-3531.4%Rebounds
FT %1st Half:2-2100.0%2nd Half:5-683.3%Game:7-887.5%1,1

Officials: Ann Schroeder, Jon Garrow, Ty Bills
Technical Fouls: Iowa State- None. Drake- None.
Attendance: 4,251

Score by periods1st2nd3rd4thTotal
Iowa State2114132270

Last FG - ISU 4th-01:36, DU 4th-02:42.
Largest lead - Iowa State by 5 3rd-07:34; Drake by 12 3rd-00:28
ISU led for 5:12. DU led for 33:09. Game was tied for 1:39.

PointsPaintOff T/O2nd ChanceFast BreakBench

Score tied - 0 times
Lead changed - 8 times

Saturday, November 14, 2015

West Des Moines, the capital city of high school football in the state of Iowa, sent thousands of fans to Cedar Falls for a semifinal round game Friday night in the class 4-A division of the state high school playoffs in the UNI-Dome. Dowling Catholic and Valley, whose campuses are just a few miles apart in West Des Moines, have dominated large-school football in Iowa for longer than a lot of people in other parts of the state care to remember. Dowling, the state 4-A champion the past two seasons, and Valley, which has won five state championships under coach Gary Swenson, teed it up again last night. Dowling was clearly the better team this time, winning 24-6 and advancing to the championship game next Friday night against Kennedy of Cedar Rapids. Unbeaten Dowling is on a tremendous run under coach Tom Wilson, and I'm picking the Maroons to bring home the 4-A trophy again next week. Valley finished the 2015 season with a 10-3 record, which would be superb at most places. But when a team like Valley loses twice in the same year to its city rival [the Tigers were beaten by Dowling 38-21 during the regular season], fans who were smiling before the game made the trip home discussing what went wrong and what might have been. But, looking at the big picture, it was great entertainment for a family, being among all of those other West Des Moines folks for another Valley-Dowling playoff game in November. It doesn't get any better than that. Congratulations to the Maroons, and good luck to them next week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No Reunion At Drake for Bob Ortegel and His 1975 NCIT Champions


In my newspaper years, I wrote a lot about Bob Ortegel.

Ortegel was a good guy, a fun-loving guy and a hard worker.
Bob Ortegel

I enjoyed being around him.

He was Drake's basketball coach from 1975 through 1981. He was in charge of the university's only national championship men's basketball team.

In Ortegel's 1974-75 break-in season, he coached his Bulldogs to a 19-10 record and won something called the National Commissioners Invitational Tournament at Louisville, Ky.

I covered many of the Bulldogs' games that season, including the victories over Southern California [80-70]; Bowling Green [78-65] and Arizona [83-76] in the NCIT,  an event put together by the NCAA in an attempt to kill the National Invitation Tournament in New York City.

The NCIT lasted only a few seasons, and the NIT is still going, and now it's run by the NCAA.  Go figure.

Anyway, I've written about Ortegel a number of times recently, wondering what it was going to take to get him back to the Drake campus so university officials and the city could honor him after 40-plus seasons.

I then heard that Ortegel and the players from the 1974-75 Drake championship team would be coming back to Des Moines for a reunion this month. 

The idea was to introduce them to the crowd at the Knapp Center during the Nov. 21 game against Missouri-Kansas City at the Knapp Center.

Now I find out it's not happening.

No reunion. 

Ortegel isn't coming back, and neither are the players from the team that won the NCIT championship.

Evidently, not enough players could make arrangements to make it back for a reunion. Hopefully, Ortegel and the players were receiving cooperation in the planning of the event from Drake's present administration.

Sad, that's what it is.

I was looking forward to seeing and talking with Ortegel and players such as Terry Benka, Ken Harris, Larry Haralson, Terry McKissick and Andy Graham 40 years after they brought back the NCIT trophy.

I've still got one of the tournament wristwatches Ortegel gave me after the victory over Arizona.

Thanks again, Bob.  Nice watch. 

It still keeps time, too.

Oh, well.  Maybe they can arrange a reunion next season.

If they do, I'll be there.

Monday, November 2, 2015

My Neighbor Al, the Health Nut came over for a cup of Italian Dark Roast an hour ago. "While reading the paper at Hy-Vee, I noticed that Rekha Basu wrote that she's about to turn 60," Al said. "That shocked me. I thought she had her 60th birthday 15 years ago."

I guess 99 cents doesn't go as far as it once did. Des Moines-area newspaper readers found that out this morning when this message was at the top of the top of page 1 in the sports section: "Kansas City stormed back from 2-0 down in the ninth inning to force extra innings Sunday in Game 5 of the World Series. The game was not complete when the Register went to press...." Hell, it was only about 11 p.m. when the Kansas City-New York Mets game went into the 10th inning. The game was over a minute or two past midnight. In the old days [there's that term again!], things were just starting to roll in the sports department at 11 p.m. and midnight. Now the understaffed place closes up shop at 11 p.m., and everybody apparently heads to his or her favorite watering hole. The paper has been advertising that a family [evidently folks without a cell phone, an iPad or a TV that can't get Fox Sports] can get a 3-month subscription for 99 cents a week for three months. I'd call that desperation. I'd also call it a piss-poor investment. For your 99 cents, you can't even get a score on the final game of the 2015 World Series [K.C. won the game, 7-2, and the series, 4 games to 1]. Horrible deal and horrible newspapering.