Saturday, February 26, 2011

NCAA and ULV


Last Wednesday, I met Mike D'Antuono for lunch at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The reason for our meeting was to take part in the "Town Hall Los Angeles" program.

This program was founded in 1937 with the express purpose of providing "a forum for ideas - a place for conversation and community." Wednesday's topic was "Achieving Student-Athlete Success" with the speaker being Dr. Mark A. Emmert, a University of Washington graduate, the former President of the U. of W. and currently the President of the NCAA.

The food, friendship and discussions all showed great promise and did not disappoint.

The regal, ancient, historic Biltmore Hotel

Built in 1923, it is the lower brown building in the foreground to L.A.'s shiny new skyscrapers.

I got there quite early so I decided to roam about the area to kill some time.

Statue Commemorating
World War I Soldiers

Pershing Square sits across from the Biltmore. In the mid 1960's when I was in high school, we would come down here at night to listen to men standing on their soap boxes, literally, and orate for hours if given the chance on the politics and evils of the day. . . good times indeed.

The Los Angeles Central Public Library

I'd driven by it numerous times but had never gone inside until Wednesday, it was quite nice from an artistic point of view.

One of many murals in the L.A. Library

I wonder if the Indian kneeling in the foreground realizes what is about to happen to his way of life?

O.K., let's be P.C., "the Native American kneeling. . ."

A new modern wing to the L.A. Library
means new modern art themes

It was now time to head across the street to the Biltmore and the Town Hall meeting. As always, it was great to see Mike who is just such a great, down to earth person.

Dr. Emmert did an excellent job with both his talk and in fielding questions.

It was good to see Mike "The Beast" Ryan for the first time in over 40 years at the luncheon. Mike was a Senior starting guard at the U. of W. when I was a sophomore scrub center and struggling in school. He sat me down at gave me some study tips which really turned me around, kept me in school and gave me a chance to graduate. THANKS BEAST!

I also got to meet and sit at the same table with Husky alumni Rob Weller who is now a TV personality but is also widely given the dubious credit for inventing "The Wave" when he was a cheerleader at Washington, nice fellow.

After the luncheon I stopped off at the University of Southern California to try and set up a day to meet with some of their former players to discuss their possible futures playing American football in Europe.

I met with USC's Scott Thompson, who is their Director of Player Personnel, to hopefully set something up in the next few weeks, we'll see.

If you visit USC you have to take a look at their history rich reception area in Heritage Hall which is their athletic office building, lots of great Trojan sports memorabilia.

What ever happened to this guy?

Seriously, what a great American tragedy O.J.'s life story became, so sad. . .

Just kickin' it in L.A.

Friday meant driving in the rain to the University of La Verne to talk to their Seniors about playing EuroBall.

One has to eat

This ristorante in La Verne, about 75 miles east of Camarillo, was highly recommended by our friend Debi Murphy who grew up in this suburban hamlet.

The servings were quite large and reasonably priced, I was now ready to get on my EuroBall soap box and orate up a storm!

The University of La Verne's
Football/Track Complex

Whittier at La Verne

An SCIAC baseball game was in progress despite the rain, La Verne would prevail 5-0. The Leopards were 5-6 overall and 2-2 in the SCIAC after this soggy victory.

Finally, it was showtime. . .

Seven of La Verne's finest players

A big thanks to Brent Baier, ULV's interim head coach, for setting up our meeting and giving me some great insights into his Seniors and the ULV football program. The players were very attentive and asked good questions.

Hopefully you will see some Leopards dotting the rosters of EuroBall teams in the near future.

I have now talked to Seniors at Occidental, California Lutheran and La Verne Univeristies this year while both Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer have declined my offer to speak this Spring because none of their Seniors are interested.

Up next is a EuroBall talk to the Ventura County Football Coaches Association this Wednesday night followed by one at Chapman University on Friday, March 11th.

If the Seniors at Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer only knew what a great opportunity they were missing. . .

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