Ed Thomas on cover of “Sports Illustrated” this week

June 30, 2009

Here’s the cover:

Ed Thomas SI


Ben Brust to make decision ‘maybe tomorrow’

June 29, 2009

Ben Brust took an unofficial visit to the Iowa campus Monday and could decide by Tuesday if Iowa City will be his home for the next four years.

Brust, a 6-foot-2 incoming senior guard in Mundelein, Ill., has narrowed his choices to three schools: Iowa, Northwestern and Butler.

“This is my last visit,” Brust said Monday night while attending the Prime Time League in North Liberty. “I’m going to go home and really think hard.”

He said he plans to make his decision soon.

“Maybe before the start of July,” he said. “Maybe tomorrow, maybe first part of July.”

Brust was averaging 28 points a game for Mundelein High School before breaking his leg in January. He missed the rest of the season.

Brust and incoming Iowa freshman Cully Payne are friends from the Chicagoland area. That could aid Iowa’s chances of landing Brust.

“It’s definitely nice having Cully around because I’ve known him for a while,”  Brust said. “It’s someone I can trust, it’s someone I know is going to tell me the truth and will be around for three years at Iowa, if I choose to come here.

“I just want to check out the guys because I’m going to be with them the next four years,” he said.

Although Brust’s numbers give a scorer vibe, Brust said he’s an all-around player on the court.

“I’m a high-energy type guy,” he said. “I just like to be out there and bring as much energy as possible and play hard. (I try) to create for other guys, score, get out on the break and find guys … whatever, I just want to ball.”


Lickliter names Chris Street Award winner

June 29, 2009

From the University of Iowa:

Incoming junior forward Jarryd Cole was named recipient of the Chris Street Award for the 2008-09 basketball season. 

The Chris Street Award is presented annually to a Hawkeye player, or players, who best exemplify the spirit, enthusiasm and intensity of Chris Street.

“Jarryd was presented this award in the presence of his teammates and coaches before we left for our summer trip,” said Coach Todd Lickliter.  “Jarryd is appreciative of the honor and understands the significance of receiving this very special award.”

Cole (6-7, 250) started nine times and played in all 32 games last year after returning from a season-ending knee injury his rookie campaign.  He led the Black and Gold in rebounding in eight games, while averaging 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds.  Cole shot a team-best .676 (46-68) from the field.

The native of Kansas City, Mo., saw his numbers improve during Big Ten action, averaging 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds, starting eight of the 18 league contests.  Cole, who was a team co-captain, registered his first career double-double in Iowa’s double overtime triumph over Penn State, totaling 14 points and a personal-best 11 rebounds.

Cole was a leader on-and-off the court, serving as a team co-captain last season.  He will again be a co-captain this upcoming year.


First bears, now mountain lions in North Liberty?

June 29, 2009
Is it a coyote or a mountain lion? Drivers along I-380 weren't sure Monday morning. (Hint: the animal is part of the dog family)

Is it a coyote or a mountain lion? Drivers along I-380 weren't sure Monday morning. (Hint: the animal is part of the dog family)

This morning, The Gazette heard there was a report of a dead mountain lion along I-380 just north of the North Liberty exit (exit 4).

My family and I live in North Liberty, about 2 miles from the site where this animal was found this morning. My wife was called by a fellow Gazette employee and asked to check it  out. She did so, but I was much more interested in the dead animal than she was.

She found it, about a quarter-mile north of the North Liberty exit. She thought it was a coyote but told me the animal had tan fur. So just to make sure, I drove there myself to check it out.

I suppose at a quick glance driving 75 m.p.h on I-380 it might look like a cougar, but up close, I can tell you it’s a coyote.

I just hope this incident doesn’t give North Liberty a reputation as the town that cried wolf/mountain lion/bear. After all, we’re still trying to live down (or prove) the bear sighting in town that occurred about 14 months ago. 

Another look at the dead coyote along I-380 north of the North Liberty exit.

Another look at the dead coyote along I-380 north of the North Liberty exit.


San Diego State officials to Ex-Hawk Chuck Long: We can’t quit you (but we’d like to)

June 28, 2009

San Diego State is desperately trying to rid itself of former Iowa great Chuck Long, who was fired as head coach last November. Here’s the story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.


Dominique Douglas’ letter from the Johnson County Jail

June 26, 2009
Former University of Iowa football player Dominique Douglas listens as his attorney speaks during his sentencing Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City. Douglas received a deferred judgment and two years probation after pleading guilty to credit card fraud for an incident when he and former teammate Anthony Bowman purchased merchandise using stolen credit cards at two University of Iowa buildings on May 8, 2007. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Former University of Iowa football player Dominique Douglas listens as his attorney speaks during his sentencing Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City. Douglas received a deferred judgment and two years probation after pleading guilty to credit card fraud for an incident when he and former teammate Anthony Bowman purchased merchandise using stolen credit cards at two University of Iowa buildings on May 8, 2007. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Yep, that’s right. Dominique Douglas was back in Iowa City after violating his probation. He was extradited from the Wayne County Jail in Detroit because he failed to send monthly reports, provide proof that he is enrolled in college or pay his fines.

Douglas was released from the Johnson County Jail on Thursday. He was fined $625 plus costs and given credit for time served. He was a rising star at Iowa following a 49-catch freshman season in 2006. He then was arrested for unauthorized use of a credit card, a felony. He pleaded guilty to credit card fraud, an aggravated misdemeanor. He was booted from the football team following an arrest for shoplifting DVDs at Wal-Mart.

Douglas was in the Wayne County Jail in Detroit on armed robbery charges. The outcome of that case is undetermined.

On June 3, Douglas wrote a letter to 6th Judicial District Judge Douglas Russell while he sat in the Johnson County Jail. The letter is public record, and I left in all grammatical errors but added paragraph breaks for easier reading. Here is a copy of it:

Dear Judge Russell,

I’m writing you today concerning the nature of my case. I take full responsibilities for my actions and understand all of the consequences. I’ve ask God to accept my challenges and guide me through life everyday. I knew that I am allowed to live my life as I please, to make mistakes and to learn from them. Doing so I’ve eliminated conflict and confrontation, because I have found out it is unnecessary to prove myself to anyone. Understand that everything I have done is done, regardless of my opinion about it. My past is over, and everything I have done has gotten me to the point I’m at this moment. Time has lost its importance in the linear sense, and I don’t feel compelled to keep track of when, where, and how fast I live my life.

Your honor this has happen to me without goals or objectives. I basically just stop referring to time and scheduling my life, and I’ve found that I’m more efficient as a result. During this time I’ve had an opportunity to think about where I see myself 5 years from now and how I plan to get there. I wanna give back to the communities and children who are unable to do certain things because of their disabilities. I really believe giving is why I am here. I’ve been working on detaching myself from the need to get something and instead focus on reaching out to others. Alot of deputies in Johnson County have pulled me to the side and told me it’s not over, it’s all about how you fight back. That meant alot to me because for a year now I’ve held a grudge with certain people because of my mistakes. Which hasn’t made sense at all.

But all this has help my progress of my growing into a man and understanding no one owes me anything. You have to work hard to get what you want in life. That’s why giving is the answer because I’m not concerned about what I get back, it’ll come in blessings. May 6, 2009, I was offered another full-ride scholarship to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, another blessing in the sky for me. I finally have that second opportunity to get a fine education again, something I have been missing for two years now. Having been through all these situations in such a short amount of time, I’ve never been more ready. I also know that I have to get alot of things straighting out before I can move forward and I’m prepared for it. I only have two and a half years left of school before I earn my bachelors degree and one full-time semester to earn my associate’s.

It’s all about sacrifice now, leaving friends and family behind so that I can be a successful black african-american male. I’ll have three kids by November of this year, and I wanna be the best father I can be to them. It starts by me setting better examples, graduating from college, working for my family, being a real man. Your honor I thank you and the state of Iowa for all that you have done for me, you’ve helped me realize never to take anything for granted no matter what you’ve achieved or succeeded at! It could all be gone just like that, no matter how long you’ve worked for it.

Peaces and Blessings

Dominique M. Douglas


Vikings QB Sage Rosenfels addresses Brett Favre speculation

June 25, 2009
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels works with young football players at Tim Dwight Football Camp at Iowa City High on Thursday, June 25, 2009, in Iowa City.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels works with young football players at Tim Dwight Football Camp at Iowa City High on Thursday, June 25, 2009, in Iowa City.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels almost seems resigned that his team eventually will sign longtime quarterback Brett Favre.

“Well, it hasn’t happened yet, so I don’t know how I’m going to feel at the time,” Rosenfels said Thursday morning at the annual Tim Dwight Football Camp at Iowa City High.

There’s nothing I can do about it. (The Favre speculation is) not helping me get better for the season, so it’s something I try not to pay attention to. It’s not going to help me throw any touchdown passes this year, by me reading the paper every day or being on the Internet every day. I’m just focused on getting myself ready the best I can for the season.”

Minnesota traded a fourth-round pick to Houston this year for Rosenfels, who was expected to compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the Vikings’ starting quarterback position. Speculation has swirled this offseason that Minnesota will sign Favre, which would shift Rosenfels back to reserve status.

 “Tavaris and I — as of right now — are competing for the starting job, and I’m excited for that,” Rosenfels said. “Obviously, I feel like I’m capable of meeting that challenge.”

Rosenfels, a Maquoketa native and former Iowa State quarterback, said Vikings coaches briefly addressed the Favre rumors with the team’s quarterbacks this offseason.

“Just a small discussion that Coach (Brad) Childress discussed with all four quarterbacks,” Rosenfels said. ” But it lasted about a minute and nothing significant.

“There’s only so many things I can control, and I can’t control what coaches and GMs are always doing. All I can really control is how I perform when I’m out there, and how the group around me performs when they’re out there. So that’s my focus is and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Rosenfels, who’s entering his ninth NFL season, has started five games in each of the last two seasons for Houston. Last year he threw for 1,431 yards, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He lost two fumbles as well. In 2007, he played in nine games throwing for 1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has started 12 games in his career and thrown for 4,156 yards, 30 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. The Vikings are his fourth NFL team.

Rosenfels often travels between Minneapolis and Houston, where he’s selling his home, and Iowa. It’s kept him busy this offsesason.

“I’ve been back and forth to Iowa a lot and flying back to Houston to see my family a lot,” he said. “It doesn’t give you much time to sit around and mess around online all afternoon. That’s actually a good thing. Keeping busy has been a good thing for me.”

 


Ed Thomas helped save Parkersburg

June 24, 2009

When a tornado virtually destroyed Parkersburg last year, Ed Thomas stood tall and fought for the town’s survival.

Where would that town be today without Ed Thomas? Certainly the school district moves all home football games to Aplington. Maybe the school district decides to build a new high school at another location. It’s not that far-fetched that the school district would have considered combining with another nearby district.

Maybe many in the town decide to move away to other communities, possibly the Cedar Falls-Waterloo area. Instead, Thomas demanded the high school remain in Parkersburg. He picked up debris and glass shrapnel on the football field and demanded the school play its first game following the tornado at the “Sacred Acre.”

Ed Thomas won nearly 300 football games and two state titles in his lifetime. But he may have saved Parkersburg with his strong character and leadership last year. That’s a memory that will outlast any of his victories.


On the scene in Parkersburg

June 24, 2009

Ed Thomas was the symbol for hope last year after a tornado ravaged half of Parkersburg and killed six people.

The former Aplington-Parkersburg football coach was gunned down today allegedly by former player Mark Becker in front of his players and other student athletes. He was 58.

People are shocked around town. I broke the news to an elderly couple who were driving around town. The man wept within seconds.

Thomas represented the hard-nosed, mentally tough approach that dignify rural Iowans. He was a man’s man, a leader and more than a coach to these people.

Hundreds of people have set flowers near the football field that bears his name. A press conference with Thomas’ family is set for 4 p.m. I will update following this emotional scene.

If any community can overcome this, it’s Parkersburg. But the real question is, why should anyone have to overcome something like?


Greatest shot in basketball history? Here’s the video

June 23, 2009

No, this didn’t happen at the Prime Time League. But it’s definitely worth looking at for yourself:


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