Thanks to a weekend sweep of Canisius and Niagara in Buffalo, the Fairfield Stags men’s basketball team continued to climb up the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, jumping five spots to No. 18.
Here’s the link to the poll
Thanks to a weekend sweep of Canisius and Niagara in Buffalo, the Fairfield Stags men’s basketball team continued to climb up the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, jumping five spots to No. 18.
Here’s the link to the poll
Former UConn football player Robert Lunn has some harsh words to say about booster Robert Burton on deadspin.com
Check this out:
The backlash at Robert Burton continues after his scathing letter to UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway was made public on Tuesday. Here are two e-mails I received that blast the businessman.
After reading your article I have to fully agree with your assessment of the childishness of Robert Burton’s generosity with strings. I am an assistant football coach here in Stamford with a son in his 3rd year at UConn-Storrs.
It’s my understanding that it is the Athletic Director’s job to interview potential coaches and hire ones that he feels will do the job based on the criteria of the school’s academic and athletic requirements. While the AD may make use of the opinions of his trusted confidants and learned others the actual decision is his and his alone. I’m not ignorant to the fact that politics plays a role in this as well. After all, Washington DC has many lobbyists and the college athletic program has its donors. Yes, I am making a direct comparison between lobbyists and donors because they have just one interest, their own! I would think the last person who would have “valuable” information that would influence the decision of hiring an important head coaching position would be the father of a former player from 20 years earlier! I suppose if the coach didn’t play Robert Burton’s son enough in a game or maybe Pasqualoni made Burton’s kid run an extra lap for being late one day. I suppose that would be a reason not to hire the man.
I’m sure Jeff Hathaway did his homework in a more appropriate way. After checking Pasqualoni’s coaching record he most likely spoke to coaches that have worked with him (past and present), the athletic directors of his past, and possibly consulted the authorities at UConn. I don’t see any reason to speak to a contributor except to make them feel like they’re part of the process; not really but it makes them happy and the money will continue to flow. Jeff did it right this time. Unfortunately for Jeff, Randy Edsall’s rude, sudden, and unprofessional departure is a reflection on his office. We can’t have that kind of unprofessionalism in a head coach or any other. A head coach has to be a leader from day 1 to day last. Randy Edsall did a lot of good for the UConn football team and threw it all away with one ruthless and calculated act, abandoning his team the way he did.
Mr Hathaway should be commended for making his selection based on the process he believes is best for UConn and the football team. He must have known there would be political fallout especially if he knew how childish Robert Burton was going to be. Unless there was some written agreement between UConn and Burton regarding who gets to vote on matters of hiring for coaching positions I can’t see how a lawsuit against the university is going to get Mr Burton’s money or respect back. He’s lost both. The university will continue to enjoy the contribution made by the Burton family without his name on the building or strings attached to it and UConn will be better respected because they put the university’s concerns above the views of a few individuals who think their money is going to buy their influence contrary to the good of all. “Bravo” Jeff Hathaway.
and this one … which was also sent to Hathaway and to incoming president Susan Herbst
According to the Council for Advancement & Support of Education’s guidelines for educational fund-raising, a donor to a university “may not retain any explicit or implicit control over the use of a gift after acceptance by the institution. A donor can suggest a department or area to which the institution should apply the contribution.” You should probably familiarize yourself with this definition. Oh, and IRS guidelines.
You run Cenveo. The company’s net income in 2006 was $118M. In 2008 you lost nearly $300M and in 2009 you lost $31M. The stock was over $25/share at the end of 2006. Now? $5.61. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have lowered their ratings on your company. Between 2007 and 2009, you laid off 3800 employees (about 30% of your workforce). Oh, and yes, you’ve been paid millions and millions for this abysmal performance.
Yep, you are obviously authorized and qualified to make the AD and coaching decisions for the University of Connecticut.
If this wasn’t so hilarious, I would be crying, because you epitomize what is so very wrong within America today. How dare you have the audacity to note a “personal friendship” with Dr. Billy Graham in your self-centered, braggadocios, whining letter to Mr. Hathaway. Here is a quote from Dr. Graham to consider: “Read the Bible. Work hard and honestly. And don’t complain.”
I have no connection with the University of Connecticut, and in fact, as you can probably surmise from my e-mail address, I am actually a proud graduate of a public university in the west that has a football program with far greater challenges than those facing the Huskies. And I have nowhere near the bank account that you apparently possess. That said, I am copying Mr. Hathaway and Dr. Herbst to offer to begin contributing to their university to chip away at replacing some of the dollars they receive from your ill-gotten gains. Of course, that is contingent on one thing: that they sever any and all relations with you and your family. Which would probably be prudent of them regardless of my commitment, given that you are a PR disaster, as well as a walking billboard for NCAA and IRS violations.
University of Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway refused to formally comment on the story published by the New London Day on Tuesday, saying that Robert Burton, a Greenwich-based businessman, wants the $3 million that he donated to help fund the Burton Family Football Complex, returned to him.
“I do have a comment, I put it in my statement and we’ll go from there,” Hathaway said Wednesday morning at a charity breakfast at Fairfield University to benefit the Wakeman Boys and Girls Clubs.
“All I would say is that we put a statement out yesterday (to the Day). Mr. Burton is a valued contributor to our athletic program, he’s been very generous and we appreciate all he’s done.”
Burton, a major donor to the UConn football program, recently wrote a letter that was obtained by the New London Day, looking to have his donations to the program returned and his name taken off the building, citing “disagreements with the athletic director.”
Here’s part of the Day’s story:
In the letter, Burton expressed his displeasure over Hathaway’s management style and complained about not being consulted during the search for a new football coach.
Burton said in the letter he wants his name taken off the Burton Family Football Complex.
The university said in a statement that it appreciates the Burton’s support of the program and did take his views into account during the coaching search.
The UConn Division of Athletics released a statement to The Day on Monday disputing Burton’s version of events.
“Many people, including Mr. Burton, shared their ideas about potential candidates with us,” it read in part. “UConn’s donors represent a vital aspect of the university and we respect and appreciate their thoughts and views on various issues.
“In keeping with that, Jeffrey Hathaway did receive and acknowledge Mr. Burton’s advice from the beginning of the search and shared with the Burton family the decision making process and the eventual choice. …
“In the end, the decision was appropriately made by the university in the best interests of UConn and our football program. The Burton family has been exceptionally supportive of the University of Connecticut for many years. The University is grateful to the family, especially for the benefits they have provided to many of our students.”
Yankees GM Brian Cashman was his usual giving self Wednesday night at the seventh annual Swim Across the Sound Sports Gala to benefit Connecticut Police, Firefighters, Corrections Officers and EMS personnel and their families battling cancer. Over 500 people attended the Gala at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven, raising an estimated $100,000.
Cashman spoke privately with the media before the dinner and then afterwards, talked about the upcoming season and told some stories of his early days as a Yankee intern.
(Talk about the starting rotation?)
“Three of the guys, obviously, C.C., Phil Hughes and A.J., I think A.J. will come back and be fine, C.C. is always C.C., we’re proud of where Phil Hughes is at in his career now and we’re going to break in another young player, Ivan Nova, to use in the fifth spot, so I am looking for someone to man that fourth spot. We have some other players in our farm system that we may have to rely on early on that could possible handle it or the preference would be to go find somebody. It’s a slim market right now, so I don’t have an answer.
(You’re were publicly outspoken about the Rafael Soriano signing. It is hard not to be upset over the ownership going over your head?)
“I serve at their (Hank and Hal Steinbrenner) discretion. I make recommendations. I was included, and heard, and then they made a call. We all agree on the ability of the player, I disagree on maybe how we allocate certain resources and I was put into a position where I had to explain it, unfortunately, because I had taken such a public stance on where we would be going with the remainder of our winter. When we deviated from that platform, I had a choice, I could either lie and fall in line or I could honestly say, ‘Hey, there was a lot of internal debate, the owners changed their position and their minds, which they had the right to do so and my recommendations still stood and here are the reasons why.’ I had to speak about it. Everyone’s fine with it. We’re a better team in the short run and I recognize that. I don’t dispute the ability of the player, just was that the best way to allocate significant recourses for an eighth inning role? That’s where we disagree.
(What does this do to the rest of the bullpen?)
“Everyone gets pushed into the sixth and seventh inning role. We have (Pedro) Feliciano from the left side, Boone Logan from the left side and (David) Robertson and (Joba) Chamberlain from the right side, so it’s a pretty significant bullpen.
(You’ve brought in Russell Martin to be the everyday catcher…)
“One of the ways to improve the pitching is to improve the defense and over the past couple of years we’ve upgraded from Bobby Abreu defensively to Nick Swisher in right, we upgraded from Bernie (Williams) and Johnny Damon to Curtis Granderson in center, Brett Gardner in left ahead of when Damon switched over to left field and I think we’ve done the same thing with Russell Martin for Posada. We continue to upgrade our defense and that’s means Posada will be the DH for the year and Russell Martin and the kid (Francisco Cervelli) will take take of the catching duties.
(What other moves are you still looking to make?)
“I need a right-handed hitting outfielder, I need a fourth outfielder. We have all those left-handed hitters in the outfield between Granderson and Gardner, we have the switch-hitter in Swisher, we really could use a right-handed hitting outfielder that hits left-handed pitching and can play well defensively and I think that (Andruw) Jones is one of those type guys that can handle that situation. So we’re having those discussions.
(Teams to beat?)
“First and foremost, the Red Sox have made some significant additions and they’re going to get health back and they look like they always are, a team to beat. Obviously, Texas, who represented the American League in the World Series and Oakland, Detroit have made some moves. I don’t think Tampa is going away, they lost a lot but they still have such a strong rotation … Toronto … there are a lot of teams that are going to be trouble and hopefully, teams look at us as troublesome. We do have an area in the rotation that we have to deal with and over time, we will, but the remaining aspect of the club is very strong.
(Early days as a Yankee intern)
“I started with the Yankees back in ’86, so I had a chance to see the (Lou) Piniella’s managing before he went to Cincinnati, and Billy Martin, come and go from the broadcast booth when he was bad-mouthing Piniella on the air to get back down to that dugout.
“The worst job I ever had was driving George Steinbrenner around … that was a nightmare. As an intern, I got pulled into driving the Boss somewhere because all of his drivers were doing something else and I said, ‘OK, no problem, I’ll take the Boss.’ And sure enough, I was asked to take him to the Regency Hotel. It was a nightmare. Someone … now I’m from Kentucky, remember, I don’t know the New York streets too well …and one of the people in the front office says, ‘How you going to take him?’ so I say, ‘I’m going to take him down the Deegan, to the FDR and up the East Side to the Regency.’ This guy goes, ‘I have a quicker way … take him down the Deegan to the Willis Avenue Bridge … you need to get him out of the car as fast as possible.’ So I was like, ‘Great, I appreciate it.’ So, I followed his directions and sure enough, I go down the Deegan, take the Willis Avenue Bridge … and it’s closed. It’s a parking lot.
“And I remember the Boss as I’m turning off the Deegan, saying, “What are you doing?’ and I’m like, ‘I’ve got a quicker way,’ and he’s in the backseat, going, ‘OK, buddy, we’ll see,’ with that clenched jaw. And there’s the bridge all closed and he starts going ballistic. And the Boss could go ballistic. You have no idea. He’s starts ripping and roaring and telling me to get him to the Subway, ‘I’ll take the (blanking) subway.’ And I just tuned him out, got back toward the FDR and I hit a pothole on the FDR and he’s cussing me the whole way, ‘This isn’t a (blanking) tank,’ so it was a no-win situation but I got him there and somehow, he must have gotten some respect for me with just putting up with him. So I wound up putting up with a lot more.
“A lot of great opportunities came my way. It’s a great organization to work for, I learned a lot from the Boss and having a tough boss, people either quit or got fired so positions were opening left and right above me all the time. It was a great opportunity for advancement. That’s the truth, I kid you not. There’s a lot of turnover going on and when it wasn’t in the dugout with the manager, it was in the front office.”
Just got a text from a co-worker that he heard on WFAN today that Bob Huessler’s wife passed away. Bob is the long-time radio play-by-play voice of Fairfield University men’s basketball and has also been an update person on WFAN for many years.
A quick check of the Stags message board also has the terrible news on Bob’s wife’s passing.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Bob and his family.
This Saturday, the University of Bridgeport men’s and women’s basketball teams will host a “Donate Life” day at the Harvery Hubbell gym when the two teams face off against NYIT.
Here’s the release from SID Chuck Sadowski:
On Saturday, January 22, 2011, the University of Bridgeport women’s and men’s basketball teams will be hosting an East Coast Conference doubleheader in UB’s Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium with the New York Institute of Technology. Those two contests have been designated as “Donate Life” games, as all proceeds from the day (all tickets sales and a variety of raffles) will be donated to the Donate Life New England organization. Donate Life New England is a joint project of two federally designated organ procurement organizations that serve New England – LifeChoice Donor Services and New England Organ Bank and the Connecticut Eye Bank. These non-profit organizations have come together to create a fast and easy way for citizens of New England to register as organ and tissue donors in a secure and confidential manner.
This event is the first of its kind connected with University of Bridgeport basketball, and it is the brainchild of first-year UB head women’s basketball coach Stephanie Del Preore to honor her late father who passed away in 2002 after a courageous battle with liver and kidney disease.
Said coach Del Preore: “January 22nd will be a very special day for me, as it is our first ever ‘Donate Life New England’ Saturday. In 2002, I lost my father to a battle with liver and kidney disease. In 1996, he received a double liver/kidney transplant which prolonged his life six more years. I was fortunate to have him at every basketball game I played from middle school to high school, and then my freshman and sophomore year at Marist College. Losing him was the worst thing I’ve ever went through, and basketball was my outlet. I always said that when I became a head coach I was going to do something to honor my father, my hero and my inspiration.”
Action will get underway with the women’s game at 1 p.m. followed by the men’s game at approximately 3 p.m. Tickets, which are available at the door, are $5 for adults and $2 for senior and children. All tickets sales from the afternoon will benefit Donate Life New England.
Representatives from Donate Life New England will be at the game to answer any questions fans have about their organization and about how to become and organ and tissue donor. Also, anyone who signs up to become an organ and tissue donor that day will be entered into special drawings for Visa and American Express gift cards.
Throughout the day, fans will also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets with all monies raised going to Donate Life New England. Prizes, which will be drawn at both the women’s and men’s game, include two sets of New York Yankees tickets, New Jersey Nets and Bridgeport Bluefish tickets, gym memberships, a variety of gift cards, including Dick’s Sporting and Stella & Dot Jewelry, plus fabulous gift baskets from donors like the New Jersey Devils and several high-end make up companies.
For more information on the University of Bridgeport basketball “Donate Life” games, please contact head coach Stephanie Del Preore at 203-576-4728.
For more information on the Donate Life New England organization, please visit their website at www.DonateLifeNewEngland.org
On Saturday morning, I called Greg Nero’s father, Joe, at his home in Red Hook, N.Y. to talk to him about Greg’s decision to stop playing basketball for the Fairfield Stags. He was nice enough to answer my questions and also give me Greg’s phone number to talk to him directly about the decision. Here’s a transcript of my conversations with Joe and Greg.
I’m sure you were 100 percent behind the decision (to stop playing). Can you talk about how proud you are of the fact that he even came back at all.
“Absolutely. It goes beyond that. I’m astonished that he got to that point. If you had seen him … well, you did, what month did you see us? (August) At that point in time I was extremely skeptical. I didn’t think he could do it (come back and play) to be perfectly honest with you. However, my wife and I said the decision was his. He pushed himself to get back into playing shape. So, physically, when he got there (back to school), he was in pretty good shape. He assured me that it would only take him a month. I was skeptical about that, however, he did it. He pushed himself.
“What we noticed out on the floor was that … and for a lack of better words, he couldn’t process the information quick enough. His cognitive thought had been affected by whatever it is that he had. He would say to us that everyone was going around him at like 100 miles an hour. I noticed it early, OK. Not a lot of people did. I noticed it, especially on defensive assignments, he’d get lost a few times. And it was extremely noticeable at the foul line. He could not concentrate on the hoop.
“As parents, our hearts were aching. We saw that and we knew how hard the kid had worked to get back. We knew how much he wanted to play. His goal was to play in Europe … we don’t know if that’s been diminished or completely gone. However, we always said we were more concerned about his health. The decision was his. We didn’t know if he could do (both) the school work and the basketball. He had a 3.58 cumulative but he had to work twice as hard as anyone else.
“All the changes in nutrition were designed to help his immune system after playing with the mono and being on prednisone. Playing in that Manhattan game (in the 2009 MAAC tournament) was the thing that pushed him over the edge. He didn’t even know that he played and his heart was racing out of his chest, we had to have an EKG. My wife and I were like, ‘What is going on here?’ He tried to (play the next day) he didn’t even know he was there. He was just playing on instinct.
“It’s depressing for all of us, He is … I don’t know if he’s going to go to the games or not. You have to understand, he was on top of the world, now he’s on the bottom. He’s seeing everyone out there and he wants to be out there so bad. I don’t know if that would depress him even further.
“It’s been a really difficult decision. It wasn’t something that just came up overnight he just said ‘I have to be concerned about my health.’ We’re all just so devastated and it’s been taken away from him. We’re trying to get him healthy. We’re not trying to drag him down any further.”
It had to be hard decision. Are you feeling good about it right now?
“To be honest, when I first kind of came to the reality of it, I was pretty down for a while because I was back in school, I was playing on the team but I was struggling big time. I never really told anybody but it was very, very tough to be there. I didn’t think anybody noticed but the coaches approached my dad, so did the athletic director (Gene Doris), and they basically said, ‘Hey, were concerned about your son’s health. (Head coach, Ed) Cooley basically told my dad, ‘I’m trying to talk to your son in the huddle and he’s not even there.’ That kind of confirmed everything I was feeling. I was like, ‘This probably isn’t worth it’ because Cooley even said my health looked like it was declining rapidly over those last three weeks I was playing. So, physically and mentally, I was out of it big time, I could barely focus. My energy level wasn’t that high. And another thing, it was just very frustrating because I just couldn’t play like myself. I couldn’t concentrate and that was one of the most difficult things for me because I knew I could have played better but I just wasn’t ready yet.”
But just the fact that you got yourself back on the court, you have to be incredibly proud of that. I can’t imagine anyone else doing what you did in the time frame.
“To be honest, if people saw me in the beginning of the summer they would have been like, ‘Wow, it’s a completely different person’ because at the beginning of the summer, before I switched up my nutrition and everything like that, I was still in bed. I couldn’t do much of anything. I’d get winded and dizzy just taking a walk. And I still was, I was dizzy all the time, playing basketball, working out with the guys. I felt like I was there but not really there. I felt like I was on Jupiter. I was able to get through it at least and I thought eventually I’d be able to break through but that didn’t happen. It got tougher and tougher. And then I started to realize, ‘Well, I have to be smart here, I don’t want to what initially got me sick happen again.”
So how’s it been these last couple of weeks? Do you feel a little more rested, a little more focused?
“I’ve lowered my medication and I think that’s helped a little bit. I’m not as foggy all the time and yeah, I’ve been doing some very light exercises, you know? Nothing too strenuous and that’s kind of helped me. It’s been kind of like a medium load for me and it’s been doing me wonders. I think. The toughest part wasn’t basketball, it was having to concentrate in school. When I was playing I was still very limited. All I did was … I had a very limited day. I would go to practice then straight to class, do whatever I had to do and go right back home. I did everything I needed to do but even then, it was just tough.
I know the decision to step away from basketball had to be tough but are you going to hang around on the sidelines? Stay with the guys?
“Coach and I spoke for a while and I did hang around for a little bit but I kind of went through a little basketball withdrawal … depression, whatever you want to call it and I told Cooley that I needed a break from the game because it was just very hard, being on the sidelines watching and not playing. Doing something that you were once able to do and now you can do it anymore, it was kind of … I don’t know, it wasn’t good on my psyche. So I took a step back. But yeah, I’ll definitely be hanging around. I even wish, it would be a miracle if they gave me another medical redshirt. That would be great but that’s way down the road.”