Who knew that our old head coach at Fairfield, Ed Cooley, was a TV star? Just check out this video created by the Providence athletic department. The Santa cap looks good on him, don’t you think?
Archive for 2011
On Sunday, I wrote a column on a local guy competiting in the “World’s Toughest Mudder” event in Englishtown. N.J. It’s a 12-mile obstacle course set up by the British Army Rangers with such fun things as climbing a 10-foot wall (and jumping into a lake of water), crawling under barbed wire, running through a wall of fire, sliding down a zip line, you know … everyday stuff. NOT!
Well, the local guy, Brandon Campbell of Stamford completed two trips — that’s 24 miles — around the course before the cold and the wet forced him to end his competiton. Not bad at all.
In case you missed it, here’s the link to the column:
I’m guessing that, in the end, Fairfield University athletic director Gene Doris must have felt discretion was the better part of valor. (Thank you Mr. Shakespeare).
Why? Because the Connecticut 6 tournament lives on and, at least in 2012, will be played at the University of Hartford’s Reich Family Pavilion – a building that only holds 3,508 seats.
At the recent Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference media breakfast in Springfield, Mass., Doris told me that the deal with the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena wouldn’t be renewed because the building is now hosting the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic – set for Nov. 19-20 — that used to take place at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. He also told me that Howard Saffan, the president of the 9,000-seat Webster Bank Arena, had made a “solid offer” to bring the Connecticut 6 back to Bridgeport.
Doris finally said that five of the six schools were in favor of heading back to the Arena.
One wasn’t. Hartford.
It seems that the Hawks athletic director, Pat Meiser, was threatening to pull Hartford out of the Connecticut 6 tournament – something that Doris said he could have worked around with the five remaining schools – but … if each school was given a chance to host the event, then Hartford would likely continue to be a willing participant.
I’m not saying that Doris caved in to Meiser’s demand but it seems rather than lose one school and be forced to make it a four-team (with one team having to sit out each year) field, Doris agreed to see how playing the tournament at Hartford’s site will work.
For next season, anyway.
One would hope that Saffan stays on the hunt and works to get the Connecticut 6 back for 2013. Watching the attendance grow from 3,016 at the Arena in 2010 and then jump to 3,829 last November at the Mohegan Sun, wouldn’t you expect that the attendance figures would keep growing as more fans (and students) become familiar, and excited, with the tournament?
And because of Fairfield’s potential this season (the Stags have nearly their entire team back from a 25-8 record and a NIT tournament berth last year), I would think that Stag Nation – led by the student-run Stags in the Stands – would travel up I-95 en masse to the Mohegan Sun for the team’s opener this Friday.
You would think that the fans of Yale, Sacred Heart, Central Connecticut, Quinnipiac and Hartford, would do the same.
So then, why move the event to the building that only holds 3,500 next year? It doesn’t make any sense to take a step backwards.
And forget about playing this at any of the other venues. Yale’s Lee Amphitheater holds 2,800 while Sacred Heart’s Pitt Center holds 2,062, Central’s Detrick Gym 2,654 and Quinnipiac’s TD Bank Sports Center 3,254.
This tournament deserves to be played on a big stage. Not in a small room.
Maybe it was because Meiser threatened to take her ball and go play someplace else. Or maybe it was because the Doris didn’t want to destroy a good thing and decided to try Hartford’s experiment in 2012. At least the Connecticut 6 will take place in 2012.
And here’s hoping the Reich Family Pavilion is packed to the rafters next year and tickets are sold out. That way, it will be a lot easier for Doris to pitch the WBA for 2013.
By Chris Elsberry
MIDDLETOWN – Before a standing-room only crowd of family, friends and well-wishers, the life of former Sacred Heart University basketball player Chauncey Hardy was celebrated with a memorial service at the Cross Street AME Zion Church.
Hardy, 23, who grew up in Middletown and attended Xavier High School before playing four years of basketball for the Pioneers, was killed in Bucharest, Romania on Oct. 9, just hours after leading his professional CSS Giurgiu to an overtime win. While celebrating the win at a local club, Hardy was punched by an attacker and hit his head on the floor, fracturing his skull.
And while the attacker is in custody in Bucharest awaiting trial and questions abound over whether a fair trail will take place, in Hardy’s hometown, they stood as one and applauded the life of someone who touched every person he met.
“It’s not the quantity of the years, it’s the quality,” said the Rev. Kim L. Cotten, co-pastor of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. “We’re here to celebrate these 23 years. Celebrate Chauncey’s life.”
Hardy played for coach Dave Bike from 2006-10, scoring 1,247 points in his career. Twice, the Pioneers won 18 games and reached the Northeast Conference championship game.
“He was such a great kid. Never had a problem. Always smiling and ready with a joke,” said former teammate and current SHU assistant coach Drew Shubik. “We didn’t really hang out a lot together off the court, but on the court, we were the starting backcourt for two seasons and we won 36 games. We had such a good connection on the court. That’s something I’ll always remember.”
After taking a year off from the game after graduating, Hardy got himself signed by CSS Giurgiu and started to rediscover his love foe the game. He scored 10 points in Giurgiu’s 73-62 season-opening win over Czriova on Oct. 2 and then netted a team-high 22 (along with 9 assists and 6 rebounds) in a 91-86 overtime win over Dinamo Bucharest on Oct. 8, just before the attack took place.
The man who punched Hardy, Ionut Adrian Tanasoaia, surrendered to police on Oct. 10. He is being held for 29 days as he awaits trial. Local news authorities have written that Tanasoaia belong to a local gang in Giurgiu that has alleged criminal ties and is connected with the city’s mayor.
“He touched all of our lives in one way or another,” said former Xavier High principal Bill Garrity.
“Chauncey was Xavier, Chauncey was Middletown, Chauncey was ours,” said Yvette Highsmith Francis, who read the obituary. “Chauncey was all of ours.”
Chauncey Hardy’s funeral will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Cross Street A.M.E. Church, 440 West St., Middletown, according to the Biega Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the Pine Grove Cemetary.
UConn cornerback Byron Jones was just named as the Big East Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week.
Jones, from New Britain, picked up a fumble midway in the third quarter and scored the g-ahead touchdown in what would be a 16-10 Huskies win. Jones also had seven tackles as part of a defensive effort that held the Bulls’ offense, which had averaged better than 500 yards per game, to 339 yards and four turnovers.
Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in a 25-16 win against Louisville in the Bearcats’ Big East opener to earn the league’s Offensive Player of the Week award. Pead keyed Cincinnati’s comeback from a 16-7 halftime deficit by breaking free for a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that gave the Bearcats the lead for good. Pead has rushed for 624 yards and eight touchdowns this season and ranks second in the Big East in rushing at 104.0 yards per game.
Rutgers’ CB Brandon Jones was named the Special Teams Player of the Week. Jones helped seal Rutgers’ 21-20 win against Navy when he blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt with 4:43 left in the fourth quarter that would have given the Midshipmen the lead. It was the first blocked kick of the season for Jones and the fourth for Rutgers. Jones also had two tackles and an interception as the Scarlet Knights held Navy to season lows of 20 points and 303 yards.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
Derek Wolfe • Sr. • DT • Cincinnati
Had a career-high 11 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries in a 25-16 win against Louisville.
Lyle McCombs • Fr. • RB • Connecticut
Rushed for 130 yards on 32 carries in a 16-10 win against USF.
Khaseem Greene • Jr. • LB • Rutgers
Had a career-high 14 tackles in a 21-20 win against Navy. Helped hold the nation’s leading rushing offense to 204 yards below its average.
Mohamed Sanu • Jr. • WR • Rutgers
Had 10 receptions for 100 yards in a 21-20 win against Navy. Moved into sixth place on the school’s career receptions chart (150).
Ryne Giddins • So. • DE • USF
Had career highs of 11 tackles, two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss with a forced fumble and a pass breakup in a 16-10 loss at Connecticut.
The 2011-12 Fairfield men’s and women’s basketball teams officially kicked off their respective campaigns to try and win the MAAC regular season and tournament titles Friday night with “Red Sea Madness” an event sponsored by the student-run “Stags in the Stands” group. Both sides of Alumni Hall were packed (the back bleachers were not pulled out) as Sydney’s Johnson’s men and Joe Frager’s women ran through some easy drills for about an hour or so.
Here’s some quotes that didn’t make the paper.
(Ready to go?)
“I’m excited … new coach, ready to see what all our players can do together. Italy trip, A-plus for that, I think, now we got the regular season coming up and we’ve been working hard, ready to go.”
(Talk about the Italy trip)
“That was the perfect chemistry trip for us. 10 days, a different country, it was real good for us. Even now, we still talk about the Italy trip and everything we did over there. It was just so much fun and we’ve carried it over here to America.
(How’s Desmond Wade going to help you?)
“He’s like my best friend almost now. He’s going to help me a lot. Handling the ball, he’s another ball-handler, getting me off the ball, get my mind off of always having the ball in my hand, he’s going to help me out 100 percent this year.”
(Looking to be more aggressive?)
“I’m definitely going to the rim a lot more this year. Freshman year I went to the rim a lot and had good production and I want to get back to that. I’m ready to do that.”
(What’s Rakim going to bring to the team?)
“Toughness. When Rakim’s on the court, everyone believes in him 100 percent. We’re going to have a new toughness and he’s going to be another guy we can rely on.
“Keith (Matthews) … he’s out playing on the wing more. He’s not a post player, so he’s out of the post and out on the wing. I think he’ll be a big surprise to everybody.
(How’s the chemistry?)
“We’re tight. A lot of the same guys are back from last year, the new guys are fitting in real well with us, the chemistry is still there. Coach came in and there wasn’t much of a change there, he fit in with us too, it was an easy process.
(How to not get caught up in the hype?)
“It’s exciting but we know that we were picked to win last year too and we were disappointed at the end of the year, so whatever the predictions, we still have to play the games.
“The easy answer is Rakim, he’s a big-time player but I think that Desmond Wade, if he plays well, we’re going to be hard to beat. He’s really versatile at the guard position, he can dribble, shoot, score, pass. If he’s facilitating our offense at a high level, it’s going to be hard to beat us.
(That should really help Derek)
“It will definitely help him, take some pressure off, definitely get him some breaks so he doesn’t have to handle the ball all the time. Any time you can have two guards that handle the ball and are capable of playing both guard positions it makes you very dangerous offensively.
“I’m ready to go. It was a long summer, working with these guys, getting ready and I’m excited to get going.
(You have to be excited)
“It’s tremendous. As you know, we went to Italy and we had fun with that. But we prepared and approached that as pretty much the start of our season and we’re tried to do well there and this is almost a re-start. Obviously, everyone in the country is on the same timeline and there’s just a buzz across the country in preparing for that first practice.
(How did the Italy trip help?)
“I think that those 10 practices, those four games, using the down time to hang out with each other. This group likes each other, but what we have to do is face some adversity, face some really good competition which we’ll see plenty of before we get into league play and just see how we deal with that. But right now, guys are feeling good about the season and hopefully we can carry that all the way to March.
(What kind of team are we going to see?)
“What you should expect is defensively, we’re going to get after people. We want to play full-court defense aggressively, we want to play half-court defense aggressively. I think that we have the personnel where we can share the ball a lot on offense. We feel we have a number of people that can make people pay. And we want people to see us play five-on-five, really sharing the ball and getting good shots. We definitely want to get out in transition if our defense can help us do that and get some stops.
(Who’s going to lead?)
“You have to mention Derek Needham. Derek’s leadership is phenomenal. Obviously, he’s a skill player, he can score, he can drive to the basket. He has to cut down on his turnovers, everyone knows that and he does too, but he’s a natural born leader and a really good player.”
Follow staff writers Chris Elsberry at Fairfield, Rich Elliott and Kevin Duffy at UConn as they provide live updates from Midnight Madness in Connecticut.