Wow, now that was what we call a busy news day. Sweet buckets of newspaper ink, we could do a 10 at 5 today, with the possible wrinkle that we'd have to get up ENTIRELY too early.
From the "Shapiro Stinks Studios," here we go...
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt talks with players on the bench during a college basketball game March 7, 2008, in Nashville, Tenn. Summitt will be leading one of her youngest teams ever as they defend their national championship. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Unless you live under a rock that is under a rock on the planet "Pullyourheadoutofthesand" you know that legendary UT Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. Our UT TFP ace — the only local reporter that is based in Knoxville, by the way — Patrick Brown filed this report here. TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer had this to say about it, you can read it here.
It's tragic news, no doubt. Summitt is a legend — even though that word is tossed around too much and has lost some luster from that overuse. That said, Summitt is an icon.
She started coaching the Lady Vols almost four decades ago for $250 a month and at her first game there were 53 people in the stands.
Now, women's college basketball specifically and women's sports in general are better — miles better; light years better — because of Pat Summitt and the rest of the pioneers of their fields. She is an inspiration and was courageous in the video-taped announcement of her.
"There's not going to be any pity party," she said, "and I'll make sure of that."
Amen, Pat. In fact, if we're going to feel pity here, we better pity early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, because if anyone's going to whip it, it's Pat Summitt.
Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl directs his team against Ohio State during the first half of Friday's college basketball game in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Pearl and UT
A few hours after the news started to leak about Pat Summitt's medical condition, news started to swirl about UT's NCAA fate and specifically the future for former Vols coach Bruce Pearl.
The Vols basketball and football programs reportedly will suffer no more penalties, the 12 combined allegations of wrong doing by the programs were deemed secondary and the self-imposed and previously administered punishments will suffice. That's good news, Johnny Vols Fan. Good news indeed.
And whether you think he was great or goofy, a lot of today's expected UT clearance has to do with how former UT AD Mike Hamilton departed. He fired Pearl. He fired Todd Raleigh. And Hamilton announced his resignation before UT appeared before NCAA Wapner. That had to have helped in at least showing the NCAA that UT was turning a new page and going in a new direction. Former UT football coach Lane Kiffin was not hit with any more NCAA penalties, either.
Pearl, however, did not come out as cleanly. Reportedly, Pearl will receive a hefty three-year show cause penalty, which means any NCAA member institution who wants to hire Pearl in the next three years will have to present a case — or show cause — to the NCAA why Pearl deserves another chance. His staff each received a one-year show cause penalty.
Hey, we all knew the NCAA was not going to take kindly to Pearl's out-right lies. We knew it; he knew it; the NCAA knew it. We knew a show-cause penalty was coming, and here's saying a one- or even two-year show cause may have been in order. Three years seems high, and anyone who knows the 5-at-10 knows we are far from a Pearl fan.
Plus, if Pearl gets a three-year show cause, Jim Tressell better get no fewer than five years (and could be a candidate for the first-ever, show-cause lifetime ban). Sidenote: What should we call the show-cause lifetime ban? The show-cause death penalty? The Tressell Trump Card? The show-and-tell-us-about-it? The show-must-go-home penalty? The show-cause-and-effectively NO penalty?
It's been a crazy week for crazy stories, huh
It started with Cardinals' slugger Matt Holliday needing medical attention for a moth flying into his ear and getting stuck there.
It continued with reports that sprinter Justin Gatlin is getting ready to run a world championship race on his frostbitten feet. Yes, you read that right.
It moved along to include how the police settled the starting quarterback battle at Ole Miss. Yes, Barry Brunetti will be the Rebels starter after Randall Mackey was arrested early Tuesday morning. "It's kind of exciting, but at the same time it's kind of sad, because Mackey's like my best friend here," Brunetti told the Associated Press. "I've just got to prepare, take each day one step at a time." Mackey — nor his bail bondsman — were available to discuss the decisions.
And now maybe the most bizarre of them all. After being caught speeding — and when we say speeding, we mean SPEEDING, as in 128 mph in a 45 — NASCAR points leader Kyle Busch had his driver's license suspended. So now Busch has to get a ride to the track so he can get behind the wheel and go 200 mph. Crazy indeed huh?
Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward prepares to take the field prior to the bottom of the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, July 28, 2010, in Washington.(AP Photo/Drew Angerer)
This and that
— Wow, we ask one simple question on Tuesday about why Braves outfielder Jason Heyward's struggling and dude gets three hits including the difference-making grand slam in a 5-4 win over the Cubs. OK, if that's how it works, let's ask this "Why has the 5-at-10 been struggling picking the winning numbers in the Powerball lottery?"
— Chris Johnson tweeted that he was headed to Nashville to meet with the Titans on Tuesday night. We discussed earlier this week about the risks of paying a speed back elite-player money. Here are two more tidbits that make Johnson's likelihood of getting a big-time deal seem unlikely. Titans owner Bud Adams told TitanInsider: "I'm not gonna make any offer with the way he's acting. Life's too short." Ouch. And in Johnson's absence, the Titans had 198 yards rushing in their most recent preseason game. Jamie Harper, a fourth-round steal from Clemson last April, had 83 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
— Our college football crazy prediction of the day: Wisconsin is going to be a player in the BCS race. Yes, that's crazy talk down here in the South. A solid nucleus returns and the addition of play-making quarterback Russell Wilson, who transfered from ACC's N.C. State via Single A's Asheville Tourists will be a real difference maker in a Big Ten that will be far from great this fall.
Fans hold up signs for the No. 1,000. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt earned her 1,000th career win in Tennessee's 73-43 victory. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
We're talking coaches today, so let's throw it out there: Pat Summitt is on the short list of the greatest coaches of all-time — regardless of sport or gender.
Does she make the all-time Mount Rushmore of coaches? Who are the best five coaches of all time?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...