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Greetings from The Booth!
I will start by saying I hate writing about the non-sports side of sports. The reason I watch sports is to escape the problems of the everyday world. The problem is that the everyday world has found it’s way into sports, and I can’t tell the difference between the two. It’s to the point now that I rarely watch a sporting event unless it involves the Washington professional football team (usually not a pleasant experience) or my beloved WVU Mountaineers.
Speaking of the old Blue and Gold, the Mountaineers’ legendary Hall-Of-Fame basketball coach Bob Huggins is now in hot water for (twice) casually using a homophobic slur during a recent radio interview on Cincinnati’s 700 WLW. In case you don’t know the backstory, Huggins was once the coach of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, who had a fierce rival with Xavier, also located in Cincy. During the WLW interview, Huggins weighed in on the Xavier fans–you can look up what he said exactly–using the anti-gay term. Four hours later, “Huggs” released a statement of apology, and WVU said it was “reviewing the matter”
It now looks like there will be no firing of Huggins by the University. Instead, he will lose $1 million in salary, serve a suspension, and have to complete a sensitivity training course before he is allowed back on the sideline. Reaction on social media fan boards was mixed, with some wanting everyone to “move on,” while some wanted Huggins fired outright. Many thought the punishment amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist.
I love Bob Huggins. He bleeds Blue and Gold. But there is no good excuse for what he said, and Huggins admitted as much. Today’s coaches have to be aware of the day and age in which we live. That being said, I don’t believe in cancel culture. Bob Huggins has done a lot of good for the University and the state of West Virginia. That has to be considered when arriving at a just punishment. It’s easy to come out of the woodwork as so many pundits have done and reach for a rock to throw. The greatest Man to ever walk the Earth once said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Huggins has built enough equity to deserve a chance at redemption.
There are many who think that Huggs is a dinosaur, and that the game has passed him by. Those people now have some fuel for their fire. It does seem at times that Huggins is disinterested and devoid of energy as he sits on his courtside stool on game day, and has complained over and over about navigating the current landscape of college hoop as it applies to NIL and the transfer portal.
Huggins has since found a way, with the help of a wealthy coalition of West Virginians, to embrace the portal, and the Mounties have had one of the best off-seasons in the country. Until this incident, Mountaineer Nation was counting the days until basketball season in Morgantown. Now, we hold our collective breath hoping that the new players don’t jump ship. Time will tell.
It should be an interesting 6 months for Mountaineer fans…
Until the next visit from The Booth, GO EERS!
Sports: Thursday, May 11, 2023
Sports: Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Greetings From The Booth!
A bit late this week, as I spent yesterday agonizing over WVU’s early exit from March Madness. The Mounties’ 67-65 loss to Maryland was no upset, by any stretch (Maryland was actually the higher seed), but kicked off a day of bracket-bustin’ that saw me go 9-7 in yesterday’s games–by far my worst performance in a long, long time. BTW, who had Virginia losing in 2018 UMBC fashion to Furman? Furman?!? I’m hoping to recover somewhat today, although at the time of this writing, the Kennesaw State Owls (who? see what I did there?) are leading perennial tournament team Xavier by 13. Well, at least my Final Four is still intact.
Today is the perfect storm of St. Patrick’s Day and NCAA Basketball, so be responsible and remember to hand those keys to a Designated Leprechaun!
Staying within our b-ball theme this week, were you aware that the Winchester area had a pro basketball team? I have to admit that I did not, until Kenny Gordon, a friend and longtime co-worker at the Shenandoah University basketball scorer’s table, texted me recently to see if I would be interested in doing the public address announcing for the Virginia Valley Vipers.
The expansion Vipers are part of the Indianapolis-based TBL, which stands for “The Basketball League,” and kicked off their season earlier this month. They will play a 24-game schedule in the league’s Eastern Division, against teams from Reading, Syracuse, Atlantic City, York, and the Tri-State. The Vipers’ home games are played at the spacious Wilkins Center at SU.
The team is owned by TMOs (Team Market Owners) Rodney, Tina, and Rze Culbreath. Rze is part of the local flavor of the Vipers, having played some of his basketball at Millbrook High. He is not only an owner, but on the active roster of the Vipers as a guard, and has also played professionally in Europe. Other players include former Hornet Chris Chaney. The team’s Head Coach, Andrew Oates, also has local roots, having served as Assistant Coach at both Clarke County High School and at Shenandoah.
The basketball is high-level, but so is the team’s mission of community outreach. Visit the Vipers’ website https://virginiavalleyvipers.com and you will see their mission statement displayed prominently displayed on the home page: “…to strengthen our community through positive, family-friendly entertainment and provide athletes with the financial opportunity to continue their passion while giving back to the community.” To that end, players are vetted with background checks and social media activity to insure that they represent the team and the community in a positive way. In addition, players will be part of the Top Of Virginia Young Professionals group, and the team will partner with Winchester CCAP.
So, if you can pull yourself away from the NCAA Tournament this weekend, check out a Vipers game over at Wilkins on March 18th against the Reading Rebels and/or March 19th against the Tri-State Admirals. And don’t forget to wear your purple.
Until the next visit from The Booth…enjoy the Madness, and GO VIPERS.
Sports: Thursday, March 16, 2023
Sports: Monday, March 13, 2023
Sports: Monday, March 10, 2023
Panthers Are State Champions, Virginia Advances To ACC Semifinals, Caps Slide Continues
THE RAPPAHANOCK COUNTY GIRLS ARE THE VHSL CLASS 1 BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS. THE PANTHERS BEAT EASTSIDE 70-65 YESTERDAY AT THE SIEGEL CENTER AT VCU. ON SATURDAY, THE CLARKE COUNTY GIRLS GO FOR A CLASS 2 TITLE. THEY’LL PLAY POWERFUL CENTRAL-WISE. THAT GAME WILL TIP OFF AT 4:30…ALSO AT THE SIEGEL CENTER.
IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL… VIRGINIA ADVANCED TO THE ACC TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS WITH A 68-59 WIN OVER NORTH CAROLINA. THE 24-6 CAVALIERS WILL NOW PLAY CLEMSON TONIGHT AT 9:30 IN THE GREENSBORO COLISEUM.
MEANWHILE, WVU WAS MANHANDLED BY KANSAS 78-61 IN THE BIG 12 QUARTERFINALS. THE 19-14 MOUNTIES WILL NOW AWAIT THEIR NCAA SEEDING ON SELECTION SUNDAY.
THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS’ LATE SEASON SLIDE CONTINUED LAST NIGHT WITH A 3-2 SHOOTOUT LOSS TO NEW JERSEY. THE CAPS, WHO DID PICK UP A POINT LAST NIGHT, TAKE ON THE ISLANDERS TOMORROW NIGHT STARTING AT 7:15 ON FOX SPORTS RADIO 1450.