THEN AND NOW
In hopes of sweeping out of your midseason doldrums, I decided to entertain us all. I emailed a staff member at the alma maters of each of the top four West Virginia assistant coaches -- Dana Holgorsen, Joe DeForest, Shannon Dawson and Keith Patterson.
It seemed like proper blackmail for making us all sit through a three-game losing streak the last month. On Tuesday, I showed these photos to the assistants to get a few thoughts.
Mt. Pleasant (IA) High School Class of 1989
Long before Holgorsen coached at West Virginia or Oklahoma State or Houston or Texas Tech or Wingate or Mississippi College or Valdosta State, he played at Iowa Wesleyan. Before that, he was a 1989 graduate from Mt. Pleasant High School in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
The Daily Mail's Mike Casazza had a great profile on Holgorsen and his hometown upbringing earlier this year.
Scot Lamm was the one who was able to find the yearbook for me. Here's his little message: "I was a couple years younger than Dana in school. His younger brother and I were classmates. He was always the third-best athlete in his family. I ran hurdles with him in high school and went to Iowa Wesleyan College with him for a year in football, so it's okay if you throw me under the bus for giving you these pictures. I am sure I owe him a few embarrassing moments. Hope this is what you were looking for."
And it was.
So, I asked the obvious question:
Would you recruit that kid?
DAWSON: [laughs] [pauses] [laughs again] "Probably not."
-“I want to score, but, if the team wins, it’s fine." - Evgeni Malkin (above).
-Playing as a forward has given an extra dimension to Deryk Engelland's game.
-The Metropolitan Division stinks.
-Matt Niskanen speaks:
-Ray Shero will represent his father, former Flyers/Rangers coach Fred Shero, when the latter is posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday.
-"He's done a nice job of adapting to how we want to play systematically and he's done a good job, for a young guy, showing strength and the ability to compete down low in the corners and around the net." coach John Hynes said. "That's been a nice addition to his game." - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes on defenseman Scott Harrington.
-Former Penguins defensive prospect Andy Sertich has joined Székesfehérvár of Austria's EBEL.
-Happy 68th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Darryl Edestrand (right). Acquired in the 1970 offseason along with Larry McKillop in a deal which sent Barry Ashbee to the Flyers, Edestrand spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. After spending all of 1970-71 with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Hershey, Edestrand appeared in 77 games with the Penguins during 1971-72 and scored 33 points. In that spring's postseason, he saw action in four games and recorded two assists. He followed that up in 1972-73 by setting career highs in games (78), goals (15) and points (39). After three games and no points in 1973-74, Edestrand was traded to the Bruins in exchange for Nick Beverly. In 158 regular season games with the Penguins, Edestrand scored 72 points.
-After the Jump: The Staals are brothers... and they beat the Flyers.
About seven months after being fired at Rutgers, former Robert Morris coach Mike Rice has found employment, as he is listed as the director of facilities and program services for the Hoop Group, a company which organizes youth basketball camps, high school exposure camps and grassroots tournaments.
The hiring presents something of a bookend for Rice's well-documented, self-induced saga that saw him lose his job as the Scarlet Knights' head coach after video surfaced of him verbally and physically abusing players.
In an interview with SNY's Adam Zagoria, Hoop Group president Rob Kennedy said Rice will both work with kids and perform certain administrative duties as he works his way back up the proverbial ladder:
"Mike has acknowledged his mistakes and worked hard to make positive changes," Kennedy said. "He has more passion and love of the game than any coach I have ever been around. I'm happy Mike is able to share that energy with our Hoop Group participants."
Though his actions at Rutgers were not found to be emblematic of his behavior while at Robert Morris, a former player told the Post-Gazette last April that Rice used homophobic slurs against players, a claim which was later confirmed by an internal university investigation.
Rice went 73-31 in his three years in Moon Township, taking the Colonials to the NCAA tournament twice. However, he struggled at Rutgers, well before the controversy came to light, going 44-51 and never leading the program past 11th place in the Big East.
An interesting angle to the story is the continued ties the Robert Morris program has to the Hoop Group. Andy Toole worked for it for a couple of years after college and assistant coach Joe Gallo is also a former employee. Rice was previously associated with the Neptune, N.J.-based group, serving as the director of its Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp from 2001 to 2004.