Blog Archives

Tuesday morning in Topeka

I did not turn on the TV when I got back to my hotel room last night. I didn’t turn in on when I got up. I was too wiped out to worry about it. 

I woke up in plenty of time, although at first I didn’t think I had any hot water to take a shower or shave. I waited five minutes for the water to warm up, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I yelped when the cold water hit me. I was going to have to go to the lobby and complain.


Turns out I turned the handle in the wrong direction. Sure enough, when I rotated about 145 degrees, it warmed right up. Same thing with the water in the sink. When you haven’t stayed in a hotel for three years like this one, you sometimes forget. That isn’t a problem at the Overland Park Marriott, since there are separate controls for hot and cold. 

Back to Topeka this morning. I was doing my best NASCAR imitation by attempting to drive the last 30 miles with the gas tank on empty, but I made it. Needed 17.15 gallons today. That’s a lot. 

Two big names today, K-State volleyball coach Susie Fritz from 10-noon, and Missouri State women’s basketball coach Kellie Jolly Harper from 11-1.  Then it’s back to KC. 

I felt kind of out of sorts at Buffalo Wild Wings last night. Other than Lauren and Tori behind the bar, I didn’t feel a lot of love. I can understand with what happened last month. 

School’s almost out (for today)

I’m over three hours in to the first day of the KSHSAA coaching school, and for me at least, the end is in sight. 

Joe Ehrmann has been tremendous. He has conducted two sessions and is about to start a third. His message has been so powerful, especially during his most recent presentation, when he talked about American society’s ideals for boys and girls growing up, that they have to “be a man” or “be a woman”. 

Lon Krueger spoke in two 50-minute sessions, both of which were packed. One session on defense, one on offense. 

I alos had to get the presentation by Logan volleyball coach Robin Van Laeys, since Logan is in Phillips County and part of the coverage area for the Phillips County Review. I’ll also send some of this to the Norton Telegram and my good friend Dick Boyd, since a lot of Logan kids come from Edmond, a small town along K-9 in southeastern Norton County. 

I’m recording each of the sessions in order to get the key points for the stories I right. I’ll also have them for posterity in case I want to go back and listen. I think I might listen to Mr. Ehrmann’s again and again. 

After I’m done here, it’s on to Overland Park. Right now, I’m tempted to just go to the room and crash. I have to be back in Topeka by 9 a.m. tomorrow. The big names are Missouri State women’s basketball coach Kellie Jolly Harper and K-State volleyball coach Susie Fritz. 

On the other hand, I don’t have work to do. Brittany isn’t working at Buffalo Wild Wings. Maybe….

Clinical day

I got up way too early for a Monday morning, especially a Monday morning where I don’t have a ton of stuff to write for my newspapers. Those Mondays will be returning soon enough.

I was out of the house well before sunrise and on Interstate 70 east. I have migrated to Topeka for the annual Kansas State HIgh School Activities Associaiton coaching clinic. 

I began covering the event in 2008, simply because it was something to do and would be a lot better than anything else I could get prior to the start of practice later in the month. I skipped last year’s clinic, but I have returned this year.

This is the first time the clinic is running Monday-Wednesday. In past years, it has been Wednesday-Friday. This is much better, as it allows people who have to be in school meetings later in the week to attend. I still wish it were in July, as it would allow bigger names to attend. 

The keynote speaker is former Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Joe Ehrmann, who was a member of Baltimore’s “Sack Pack” of the mid-1970s. The four-man front of Ehrmann, Fred Cook, Mike Barnes and John Dutton helped the Colts win three consecutive AFC East championships from 1975 through 1977. That Colts team is best known for quarterback Bert Jones, running back Lydell Mitchell and receiver Roger Carr. Unfortunately, those Colts teams ran headlong into the Steelers twice and the Raiders once in the playoffs;. 

The 1977 divisional playoff on Christmas Eve vs. Oakland is considered one of the best games in NFL history. The Raiders trailed 31-28 with less than a minute left, but Kenny “Snake” Stabler hit tight end Dave Casper with a 42-yard pass to set up the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation. Casper made an over-the-shoulder catch which is now referred to as the “Ghost to the Post”. Ghost, of course, was Casper’s nickname, being the name of a children’s tale.

Casper caught a 10-yard touchdown from Stabler early in the second overtime to give Oakland the victory. It is one of just five NFL games to go into a second ovrtime. The longest was the Dolphins-Chiefs divisional playoff on Christmas Day 1971 which wasn’t decided until just past the midway point of the sixth period. 

The other big name speaker is Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Krueger. Krueger played at Kansas State for Tex Winter and later succeeded Jakc Hartman as coach of his alma mater. In 1988, Krueger led K-State to the Elite Eight, where they lost to Larry Brown’s Kansas Jayhawks, the eventual national champions.

Krueger left the Wildcats in 1990 to rebuild a Florida program decimated by probation, a result of recruiting violations by former coach Norm Sloan. Krueger got the Gators to the 1994 Final Four, but realized he would never be top dog in Gainesville–that was Steve Spurrier’s undisputed post then–and he left for Illinois. He had a brief stint in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks before returning to college with UNLV, then moving back into the Big 8/Big 12 fraternity in Norman. 

I don’t have to stay the whole day. When I’m done I’ll go to Overland Park to stay overnight and return tomorrow.