Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Coaching Search Update

Yesterday I was in contact with four of the potential candidates for Ohio's vacant coaching position.

Scott Duncan, Assistant at UCLA
- Has not been contacted; said it was a great job.

Rob Murphy, Assistant at Syracuse
- Has not been contacted; would have a strong interest in the job

Larry Shyatt, Assistant at Florida
- Has not been contacted

Chris Mack, Assistant at Xavier
- not contacted
- "I am very happy at Xavier and won't be leaving for the coming season."

Still waiting to hear from:
- John Groce, Assistant at Ohio State
- Mark Montgomery, Assistant at Michigan State
- Tony Jones, Assistant at Tennessee
- Mike Rice, Head Coach at Robert Morris

Monday, June 23, 2008

Whittington speaks out

I've been in contact through messages, beginning in May, with former Bobcat Bert Whittington about his decision to leave the program. Initially, he was unable to discuss his departure because the coaching staff asked him not to. But now, Whittington has spoken out about his decision to leave and some of his opinions of playing under O'Shea.

On why he left the program:

"Well I just felt if I was to stay with him as head coach I wouldn't play. Me and him were not on the same page at all and the week that our season ended we had meetings with him and allen had left and he thought that was going to make me leave and he said it would be fine if I left as well and he would pay for my last quarter of I took that as if he was pushing me away so I left."

On the Bobcats' five game winning streak:

"When [we] went on the five game winning streak he really let us play man to man defense and that really helped when mike and I played at the same time. The reason we were winning those games is because he let bacari handle the defense and he had nothing to do with that. I feel like if he would of let bacari rhodes and kuwik handle everything we would have made the tourney because they had a better understanding of the game."

On playing time:

"He didn't know who to play at the right times. If he would have played tommy devaughn and asown more we would have had a better chance to win because of tommy shooting and devaughn and asowns atheltic ability...he doesn't give people the opportunity to show what they can do and asown does so good in practice and he just plays favorites in my opinion."

On his decision to leave and the future:

"I wanna come back now I wish I would have waited a little longer..but I am going to try to talk to the new athletic director and the coach to see if he will let me play for him..but if not then I am going to go [to] this naia school by my house cause its closer to my daughter."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another exits Athens

It's going to be a busy summer for new AD Jim Schaus. In his short time here at Ohio, Schaus has already had to perform one coaching search to fill the vacant women's basketball position. Recently, softball coach Jill Matyuch stepped down, paving the way for another. And now with the news of Tim O'Shea's departure to Bryant University, there will be one more beginning shortly.

First on O'Shea's departure to Bryant. It is shocking to say the least. There had been rumors abound that O'Shea wanted to go back closer to home in the Northeast. O'Shea's name was linked to numerous openings in that area including Providence and Brown, neither of which he got. The possibility of O'Shea moving somewhat laterally to a job like Brown seemed realistic. However, never could I have imagined that he would step down from Ohio to a job at BRYANT UNIVERSITY, a program entering Division I basketball. It is shocking to say the least. After hearing his name rumored in numerous other DI jobs, I didn't think he was ready to give up and take a drastic step down to a comfort zone. I hate to say it but give up are the only words to describe O'Shea's decision to go to Bryant.

To go from Ohio to Bryant University and sign an 8 year deal is a pretty clear indication that for whatever reason (being close to family probably a main one) O'Shea was finished with Athens. This is not Providence, this is not even Brown, this is BRYANT UNIVERSITY. This is not meant to take anything away from Bryant or its program, it is just amazing that O'Shea has made the decision that there is no way he is going to move up from the mid-major ranks in coaching. Who knows, if he would have stuck it out with Ohio and lucked into another NCAA Tournament berth maybe he could have lucked his away into a better job.

Or maybe the other bigger DI programs knew what many at Ohio did: Tim O'Shea is an average coach. By no means is he bad. He racked up solid regular season records. But this team never took that next step. The amount of talent wasted on the 2007-2008 incarnation of the Bobcats is sad. Not everything should be blamed on O'Shea but in game management, allotment of playing time and the transfer of at least one student-athlete every year were big issues. O'Shea was Ohio's version of Herm Edwards with the New York Jets; a decent regular season coach who couldn't take the team to the next level.

Now it is time to move on and for Jim Schaus to do as good of a job replacing O'Shea as he did Sylvia Crawley. Will Schaus stay in house and hire assistant coach John Rhodes? Or will he use his rich basketball ties to bring in a fresh face? Possible outside candidates include associate head coaches from Michigan State Mark Montgomery, who has MAC ties, and Tennessee's Tony Jones, who has coached in the midwest, Rob Murphy of Syracuse, who has MAC connections, Xavier's Chris Mack and Florida's Larry Shyatt.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's Official! Randall named new coach

As reported on Ohio Sports Zone last night, Semeka Randall was officialy announced as the Bobcats' new head coach at a press conference this afternoon. Some thoughts on the hire and from the press conference:

- "I feel like we just won a national championship or we just hit that half court shot at the buzzer," said AD Jim Schaus on the hire. He called Randall the "right person at the right time for this program."

- Randall has been to the tournament multiple times as an assistant and went to a national championship game at Michigan State. She was on the 39-0 1998 Tennessee women's team, so she knows a thing or two about winning.

- She said she still keeps in touch with Pat Summit, who was her coach and mentor. Summit stressed surrounding yourself with good people.

- Randall had good things to say about Athens calling it "the ultimate college town." Randall played at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights.

- She emphasized defense and rebounding as key philosophies. Those are pretty fundamental aspects of good basketball but it's nice to see that the coach makes a point of these in her opening press conference.

- After meeting with the team, Randall and the ladies are on the same page. She spoke of how important it is to relate to the players. Randall is young and spoke often about how she knows what it's like to be in their shoes. She said it was her job to show them the way and help improve them as human beings.

- A lot of interesting connections with this hire:
- Jim Schaus taps into his West Virginia ties. Jim earned a master's at the university and his dad Fred was the AD there. Randall had previously been an assistant there.
- Schaus' last hire, at Wichita State, was also a Tennessee guard with Ohio connections. Jody Adams played for the Volunteers and coached Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference.
- Randall was teammates with former coach Sylvia Crawley. She said she spoke to her about the job.

- I think this hire is an excellent first move for Jim Schaus. Randall has large shoes to fill after what Sylvia Crawley has done. But Randall has the demeanor and the pedigree to be very successful here. The current roster has a lot of talent and with her Ohio background and experience, you'd have to figure Randall will be able to recruit well. In terms of replacing Crawley, I couldn't think of a better scenario.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Randall could be Crawley's successor

I learned from an unnamed source this morning that the next Bobcats coach is a former Tennessee player and has played in the WNBA. After finding this out and doing some research, Semeka Randall, West Virginia assistant coach, fit this profile. New Athletic Director Jim Schaus also has ties to West Virginia University. This afternoon I got in touch with Randall who seemed caught off guard when asked to confirm or deny rumors about the Ohio coaching position and said she couldn't talk about it.

While it is not confirmed or official, it appears that Randall will be the choice. She is an Ohio native, from Cleveland, and was even a teammate of former coach Sylvia Crawley's with San Antonio Silver Stars.

More details soon to come...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crawley soars away to the Eagles

Sylvia Crawley will be announced as the new women's basketball coach at Boston College at a press conference later this afternoon, according to the Boston Herald. She will replace Cathy Inglese, who retired after this season.

Crawley's time at Ohio was impressive. In just two years, she turned around the program, and led the Bobcats to 20 wins, the most in 13 years, and a berth in the MAC Tournament Championship game this season.

Perhaps the greatest testament to Crawley's coaching is the semifinal game of this year's MAC Tournament against Bowling Green. After losing to the Falcons, the MAC regular season champions, by 15 points in two contests during the season it seemed improbable that the Bobcats would be able to avenge those losses. But they did exactly that, defeating the Falcons in a compelling 68-66, double-overtime win.

The performance in the MAC Tournament showed where this Bobcats program was heading under Crawley's leadership. The heart and guts that the ladies showed in the Bowling Green game and the effort, despite having played an extra game, in the Championship game against Miami are an indictment of Crawley. I think this team was on the precipice of going somewhere really special in the next few years with Crawley at the helm. It was more than evident that she knows how to build a program and the team had already made vast strides in just two years. The energy and charisma that Crawley brought, evidenced by her dancing at a men's game to generate attention for the following women's game, will be hard to replace.

It was inevitable that Crawley would be snatched away at some point. She's a big name in women's college basketball and has done a good job here at Ohio. I just didn't think it would be so soon. She goes to a school in the ACC, the conference in which she played, and you can't really blame her for leaving. Boston College won 20 games last season and the opportunity is a great one, as their coach retired and the job was open. I expect her to be immensely successful and get Boston College very deep in the tournament in the future.

Now it's time for new athletic director Jim Schaus to make his first big move. The program is moving in the right direction but it is essential that a quality head coach is brought in to continue the ascendence in the MAC. There are quality players on this team; now it's up to Schaus to find a coach who can take what Crawley has put in place and build on it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cohen Drafted

Landon Cohen, former Ohio University DT, has been selected by the Detroit Lions with the 216th overall pick in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. Cohen had met with the Lions on April 11th. One Bobcat has been drafted but will Kalvin McRae see his name read in New York City?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shaus brings impressive resume, promise for the future

"Today marks a new and exciting era for Bobcats athletics," said Jim Schaus, who was named Ohio's Director of Athletics at a press conference on Monday.

Optimism and hope rang through Schaus' voice as he spoke about the vision of excellence he hopes to achieve at Ohio University.

Schaus outlined a 5 year strategic plan in which he emphasized the importance of good facilities and the role that people play in bringing to fruition a vision of excellence. He believes Ohio can become a premier program in the MAC, with teams competing for MAC Championships each year and growing a national reputation.

The concept of all-around success is nothing new to Schaus. Wichita State has won four consecutive all-sports trophies in the Missouri Valley Conference. Last season, Schaus was honored as the NCAA Division I Central Region AD of the Year.

Success was not only seen on the field but also in the classroom. The collective GPA of WSU student athletes was above 3.0 in each semester during Schaus' nine year stint in Wichita. The graduation rate for student athletes was 25% better than that of WSU students on campus.

A vast turnaround also came in the financial realm. Schaus turned a large deficit into a $1.4 million surplus. With Ohio's budgetary issues, President Roderick McDavis called that fact "music to my ears."

For Schaus, accepting the position marks a return to his roots.

"This is coming home for me," Schaus said.

Schaus is a native of Morgantown, West Virgina, where his parents still live today. The move to Athens allows him to be closer to them. His dad, Fred Schaus, was an all-state player and led Newark High School to an Ohio State Championship. The elder Schaus also went on to collegiate success and a playoff-laden run as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After Kirby Hocutt's departure to power conference school Miami (FL), some may see the Ohio position as a stepping stone to a larger job. Schaus put that notion to bed.

"I'm definitely here for the long haul," he said.

With rumors swirling about men's basketball coach Tim O'Shea's long term prospects at Ohio and with only two years left on his contract, Schaus may have to address the position within his first year on the job. If O'Shea were to leave, the new Athletic Director is not lacking for experience in mounting coaching searches. Schaus went through the process just last year, hiring a new men's basketball coach at WSU.

The overarching idea that Schaus stressed on Monday was enthusiasm for the future of the Bobcats' program. He asserted that anything less than excellence will not be acceptable. While he will face challenges and obstacles at Ohio, Schaus has the mindset to tackle them.

"If you can dream it, you can do it," he said.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Schaus to be named new Athletic Director

Jim Schaus will be announced as Ohio University's new Director of Athletics later today. Schaus will come to Ohio from Wichita State, where he served as Director of Athletics since 1999. More details to come soon...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ohio to Play in Inaugural CBI

The Bobcats' men's basketball team had their hopes of going to the Big Dance squashed after a loss to Miami in the MAC Tournament. However, that doesn't mean the Bobcats won't still be going dancing, albeit at the less cool soiree with the not so popular kids.

It was announced today that Ohio has been selected as one of 16 teams to play in the first ever College Basketball Invitational (CBI). It will host Brown at the Convocation Center Tuesday night in first round play.

The CBI gives teams who otherwise would not have had a shot at postseason play a chance to continue their seasons. The field, consisting mostly of mid-majors who did not make the cut for the NIT, is broken into four regions. Washington, Virginia, UTEP and Bradley are the top seeds in their respective sections.

Ohio is not the only MAC team in the CBI, as Miami also joins the tournament. This opens up the possibility of a fourth matchup between the two teams this season alone. One would have to guess the Bobcats would love the chance to avenge their season-ending loss to the Redhawks. However, the two teams could not meet until the semifinals and the CBI reseeds at the final four, so circumstances will have to fall in place for the two to face off again.

If able to defeat Brown, the Bobcats will face the winner of Bradley/Cincinnati in the Quarterfinals on March 24th.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Breaking News: Florida Assistant to Take Over Ohio Volleyball Program

Several sources are reporting that Ryan Theis, previously an assistant coach for the Florida Gators, is the new Ohio Bobcats volleyball coach. Theis has earned the reputation as one of the best recruiters in the nation, and will undoubtedly keep the Bobcats in the national spotlight. More on this story as information becomes available...

Friday, March 7, 2008

NFL Pro Day in Athens

Yesterday Ohio held its Pro Day, where NFL scouts come to view a school's juniors and seniors who will be entering the draft.

Ohio's main prospect, RB Kalvin McRae, was feeling under the weather and didn't participate in all drills. The week prior, at the Combine in Indianapolis, McRae struggled to gain much traction, running a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash. Despite that, McRae said he enjoyed every minute of it and even joked around about running the 40 between two of the top backs in this year's draft class, Darren McFadden and Rashard Mendenhall. He described himself as a team player who would not get an organization into trouble. He also called himself a complete back but knows he stilll has things to work on and is willing to put in the time to get better.

7 scouts in different colored NFL garb were present at Peden Stadium. I spoke to some of the scouts and they had interesting insight on the scouting process. A Detroit Lions scout liked Kalvin's run strength and said a RB with speed is nothing without vision. As the 40 not being the sole measure of a player's worth, he alluded to Jerry Rice, one of the greatest receivers of all-time, who only ran a 4.7. Another scout I spoke to, from the Cleveland Browns, also emphasized the importance of play during the season.

"We don't want to get into a situation where you change the grade. Everything that counts happens between the lines," he said.

Although the scouts do use the Combine and Pro Day Workouts to verify what they see on tape, it is not the most prominent factor, which is probably a good thing for McRae, who ran for 1434 yards and 19 TDs in his senior season.

Teams with representatives at the event were the Bills, Broncos, Browns, 49ers, Jets, Lions and Texans.

I predict that Kalvin will get drafted but his 40 time will cause him to fall to the 7th round. Since Kalvin will be drafted most likely as a RB to provide depth, he would fit in well with most of the teams that were represented. The starting RBs for the Bills, Broncos, 49ers, and Texans all missed time last season, allowing backups to start in games. Just look at the New York Giants last season to see that you don't have to be drafted in the early rounds to be successful. Their starter Brandon Jacobs got hurt and two former 7th round draft picks Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw were solid starters. If McRae is drafted to a team with a good offensive line and gets a couple of breaks, he could become the next late round RB to reap success on Sundays.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ohio Hockey Seeks Title

Ohio Hockey has had a disappointing year for their standards, but finished the season on a hot, six-game, home winning streak. Good stuff. They leave today for Rochester, New York to compete for their first ACHA National Title since 2004.
I'll be honest with you, this team has surprised me so many times this year that they'll probably end up winning the whole thing.
Basically, going into the weekend, people close to the team were optimistic.
I talked to Head Coach Dan Morris and Captain Jim Roach this week.
Coach Morris said that he was most impressed by how his team was able to shut it down defensively. They were giving up gift goals off of rebounds early in the season, leaving their goaltenders save percentages high, but their goals against were also too high. He said that the team collectively has improved their defensive zone coverage and teams are having to shoot from the less "prime real estate" as he called it. "Marshall is able to see the shots coming from far out and having to make only one save, rather than 2 or more," Morris said.
A lot of the Bobcats' success late in the season has come from goaltender Paul Marshall's outstanding play. This past weekend against Central Oklahoma, Marshall recorded his sixth shutout of the season, tying an Ohio record.
Team Captain Jim Roach is also working on getting his team in gear for the playoffs. When I asked him about getting the guys motivated he said they didn't need any extra motivation because everyone was working on it on their own.
The entire time I was interviewing Roach, other guys on the team were banging sticks around getting themselves jacked up. It was kind of intense...
The team will play against some tough competition in the tournament this week, but if they continue to play to their strengths (physical in all three zones, stout defensive hockey) they will have a great shot in the ACHAs. And, since the game is being played at a neutral site, the Bobcats won't be at a disadvantage if they have to play against skilled teams like Lindenwood and undefeated Illinois.
It's playoff hockey season, baby, and I'm pumped.
More importantly, so are the Bobcats.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bobcat Women Capture Another Crown

The Swimming and Diving team clinched the MAC Championship this past Saturday in Buffalo to continue a trend of strong performing women's athletics teams.

Two strong performers for the Bobcats were freshmen Stacy Huber and Amanda Cecere. Huber was victorious in the 1,650-yard freestyle and Cecere took home the win in the 200-yard butterfly. Coach Greg Werner saw talent in the two newcomers right away but watched them progress as the season went on.

When I spoke to Coach Greg Werner this week he also noted the improvements that the Bobcats have made to avenge a regular season loss to Toledo, who finished undefeated in the MAC. The team got better as the season went on and reached the pinnacle in winning the MAC Championship.

Coach Werner was named MAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. This is an honor he is proud of but said is an award that reflects the performance of his team.

Although the MAC season is over for the team, the swimmers and divers are not yet towelling off. NCAA Championships will be held in Columbus from March 20-22. The whole team will not be going but Werner is working with some swimmers who have chosen to go. The training is pretty continuous for the swimmers and Werner said that some may even be going to Olympic Quals.

Women's sports have flourished this year at Ohio. The Swimming and Diving team's victory gives the Bobcats their fourth women's MAC Championship this season. The Volleyball, Field Hockey and Cross Country teams have all taken titles in the MAC as well.

While these women's teams do not always get the most recognition, their accomplishments are extremely impressive and should be lauded.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bobcats Pummel the Patriots

The men's basketball team made Ohio University proud Saturday afternoon with their stellar performance against George Mason University. ESPN televised the game, and viewers across the nation watched the Bobcats pummel the Patriots, 69-57.

The Bobcats started off slow, shooting 27% from the field, and were down 32-19 at the break. However, they rallied in the second half, making a 50 point come-back victory for Ohio.

Bert Whittington IV brought the Bobcats ahead for the first time in the game, 41-40 with a fast break lay-up with 10:45 left. Continuing the scoring streak, Bubba Walther put the Bobcats ahead 49-48 with 5:30 on the clock, keeping the Patriots trailing behind the rest of the game.

Leon Williams launched the ball with 2:26 to go, making his first ever attempted three-pointer.

"Honestly, I just threw it up...I didn't even think the shot clock was that low. I just threw it up, and it went in," Williams said.

Walther, Whittington,
and Michael Allen sunk 7 of 8 free-throw attempts, ending the game.

High scorer of the game, Walther racked up 21 points, shooting 7-of-14 from the floor and 5-of-11 outside the arc.

"Bubba probably had his best game in an Ohio uniform today. He was incredible. He did what seniors are supposed to do. He put us on his back and made big shots and big play after big play," Coach Tim O'Shea said.

scored 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, marking the 40th double-double of his career.

Whittington and Jerome Tillman scored in double-digits, with 12 and 10 points respectively.

The GMU Patriots scored only 25 points in the second half. Folarin Campbell led the Patriots with 18 points, and John Vaughn racked up 12 points.

William's and high school opponent, GMU's Will Thomas, seemed strikingly similar to one another entering the game, each averaging 16 points.

"We tried to disrupt what they wanted to do, and keep the ball out of his hands. That was our main objective, not letting [Thomas] be comfortable getting the ball," Williams said.

The Bobcat's strategy seemed to work, as Thomas finished the game with only 9 points and 9 rebounds.

Part of ESPN Bracketbuster Saturday, the victory marked the 500th game held at the Convocation center. The victory also marks the 20th non-conference win for the Bobcats at the Convo. The Bobcats hold a perfect home record (11-0) this season.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cut Hocutt some slack

Yesterday I sat down with Kirby Hocutt, who just recently resigned as Director of Athletics at Ohio University to take the same position at the University of Miami. The resounding thing I took away from the interview is that Hocutt deserves the benefit of the doubt.

A very affable guy, Hocutt spoke proudly of the accomplishments in his tenure at Ohio. The Bobcats won the Jacoby Trophy for the best all-around women's athletics program in the MAC, reached their first bowl game in 38 years, gained revenue from multiple corporate agreements and have reaped the benefits of fundraising success from alumni.

I asked Hocutt about the importance of reinvigorating the football and basketball programs. This led him to speak of the importance of leadership through coaching. He spoke highly of the entire football coaching staff and said of coach Sylvia Crawley, "You would not meet a finer person." I have to agree with Hocutt on the importance of having good coaching in college athletics. I think Ohio has some of the best coaches in the MAC not only with coaches Solich, O'Shea and Crawley in the big name sports but also with coaches Macmillan, Greenlee, Werner, and Calkins in some of the less recognized sports. A good coach is vital to the consistency and vision of a team, which is why it is so disheartening to see Geoff Carlston, one of the best in the nation leave. It must be a main priority of the next athletic director to find a suitable replacement for Carlston, who can pick up where he left off with our volleyball team.

The most interesting parts of the interview for me were finding out a little about the interview process and Hocutt's thoughts on his legacy at Ohio.

First, the hiring process with Miami. For those who want to villify Hocutt for leaving Ohio, he was not actively pursuing other jobs. He was contacted by a search firm in Cleveland and asked if he had interest in the University of Miami job. Obviously he did. I really don't think many people would fault Hocutt for taking a job at a major ACC program but, quite frankly, those who do are not really thinking.

On his legacy here at Ohio, Hocutt sounded remorseful about the discontinuation of four varsity sports. Although I was not at the University when the situation happened it was evident to me that cutting the sports was not something Hocutt wanted to do; it was something he had to do. He said he's not going to make the easy decisions but the right ones. Some may disagree with the decision. However, I respect that fact that Hocutt had the pride to say he will be linked to the cutting of the four sports. Yes, it was surely painful for the athletes who played on the teams that were cut. But to villify Hocutt for making what was obviously a difficult decision is not fair.

I asked Hocutt what he would miss most about Athens and he said the good people here. Not all will agree but I think Kirby Hocutt will be missed. It's very easy to look at the negatives but let's not forget about the positives. Ohio is a mid-major school in the MAC, where there can be a lot of parity. During Hocutt's time here, we've seen improvement in football and women's basketball and have won six MAC Championships. And if he had done such a poor job, would a top-tier program like Miami have hired him?

Was he perfect? No. But let's cut Hocutt some slack and not only look back at the scandals or negatives but also the good that he has done.

Monday, February 11, 2008

MAC-et Buster?

ESPN has announced the times and television arrangements for its 2008 Bracket Buster games. It looks like the MAC has a very favorable lineup, with 4 games to be played before national audiences:

VCU vs Akron 11 am ESPN2
George Mason vs Ohio 1 pm ESPN2
Miami (Ohio) vs Valparaiso 6 pm ESPN Classic
Kent St. vs St. Mary's Midnight ESPN2

If the MAC wants to get 2 bids, Ohio & Kent St need to win these games. Akron & Miami victories will also help build the conference's resume as a whole...

Bobcats Return to ESPN

Word on the street is that Ohio's Bracketbuster game against George Mason will be on ESPN2 with a 1pm start... more on this as details become available.

Grading The Bobcats vs Western Michigan

Leon Williams: A++++

With the exception of his monster performance and late game heroics at the 2005 MAC Championship, this may have been Leon's greatest performance as a Bobcat. 26 points and 15 rebounds is insane on any night, let alone while going up against the best rebounding team in the conference and All-MAC Selection Joe Reitz. Just give Leon MAC Player of the Year award now.

Bubba Walther: A-

While some of my fellow reporters have dissed the Bubbalicious One for being "selfish," he was anything but on Saturday. It was evident that every time he touched the ball, the #1 priority was feeding the Beast. Couple that with a scoring burst at the end of the first half, and you have a great game. He may have had a few errant passes, but Walther didn't take a single bad shot. He's starting to look like the Senior leader we need.

Mike Allen: B-

I've been high on Mike all year. The Bobcats have desperately needed a PG the past two years, and Allen is it. His play has been a little inconsistent lately, but nothing scary. I love his unselfish attitude, but honestly wish he'd try to score little bit more. One thing he needs to work on is fouling... he had 4 on Saturday with about 4 minutes left; not usually what you'd expect from your PG. Still, a good effort.

Devaughn Washington: C+

Pretty much what we've come to expect from this talented freshman. A nice block, and a few key rebounds, but no points. He'll be an offensive threat soon enough. Like Allen, one consistent flaw in his game has been fouls. It seems like he quickly gets one or two right after coming off the bench in every game. I love the aggressiveness, though... he just needs to play with slightly more control.

Tommy Freeman: C

Ditto for the Bobcats' other talented freshman. Saturday was pretty much par for Tommy. Not a huge scoring threat, but ran the offense well. Nothing amazing on defense, but not a liability either. Another unspectacular, but solid game.

Bert Whittington, Allen Hester, KVK: C-

I literally wondered aloud late in the game if these guys had even played. After a string of amazing games, Bert has gone cold, and one has to wonder if the hip pointer injury has anything to do with it. Give Hester props for the big rejection on Western's last second shot, but that was really the only notable thing he did. Speaking of which, KVK has seemed to have slipped into the unnotable category for most of the conference season. I was really high on his improvements at the beginning of the year, but he hasn't really shown much in conference play. All these guys have shown flashes of brilliance, it's just a matter of getting consistency.

Jerome Tillman: D+

It absolutely pains me to give this grade to Big Tilly, but he was almost invisible out there on Saturday. Maybe I'm being hard on him... he did have 8 rebounds. But only getting 2 points, both of which from free throws, is hardly what we've come to expect from Rome. Fortunately, I doubt this is a trend and fully expect to see him back to form against Toledo. When Jerome and Leon both bring their A game, there isn't a team in the MAC that can beat the Bobcats.

Western Michigan: A-

The Broncos proved that there is good basketball to be found in the MAC West, and nearly handed the Bobcats their first home loss of the 07-08 season. Joe Reitz & David Kool are a formidable 1-2 punch, and leave Western as a virtual lock for the West championship. Earlier in the year I said that I'd rather be a 3 seed than a 1, because that would allow the Bobcats to play the West champs instead of an East team in the semis... I'm not so sure about that now. After Saturday, I have to say that it looks like Western is as good as anyone.


1) Kent 8-2
2) WMU 7-3 (MAC West leader)
3) Akron 7-3 (1-0 vs. Ohio)
4) Ohio 7-3 (0-1 vs. Akron)
5) BGSU 6-4 (1-0 vs. Miami)
6) Miami 6-4 (0-1 vs. BGSU)
7) CMU 5-5
8) EMU 4-6 (1-0 vs. Toledo)
9) Toledo 4-6 (0-1 vs. EMU)
10) Buffalo 2-8 (1-0 vs. NIU and BSU)
11) NIU 2-8 (1-1 vs. NIU and BSU)
12) Ball St. 2-8 (0-1 vs. Buffalo and NIU)

Right now the Bobcats are hanging on for a crucial bye in the first round... but wins against Toldeo and Kent in the next two games would most likely rocket them up to the #1 seed after the tiebreakers shake out... case in point: It's a big week for the Bobcats.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hocutt Hits the Road, too.

Kirby Hocutt will no longer be the Athletic Director for our beloved Ohio University Athletics Department. And you know what?

Who cares?!

I'm not trying to be pessimistic or anything, but what has he done that is so special? I've seen several years of mediocrity on the Ohio Sports front and Kirby hasn't done much to help. I don't hold him accountable, it might just be a product of his environment, but he just didn't do much tangibly to help the department. It's not his fault that several sports needed to be cut last year, but it is somewhat of a legacy for him. Not much, outside of having a top 25 volleyball team and a football team make it to the MAC Championship game, has gone right for the former A.D.

Kirby leaves Ohio in a bit of a mess. The school has no Volleyball coach presently and students on the baseball team were recently accused of running an illegal gambling ring. Hocutt didn't handle those situations well, and now heads a school that draws controversy to itself like Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens.

I hate to say this about my own school, but the Athletic Department has been much less-than-stellar since I've been a student here.

Some advice for Hocutt when he leaves:
If you can't take the heat, good luck in Miami.

Abandon Ship?!

Of course, we're all disappointed that Volleyball Coach Geoff Carlston abandoned his team to take a presumably better job at Ohio State. I'm sure my good friend and house-mate Matt Noonan will takes more offense to this that most people. Sure, it's not a great situation for the Bobcats and it wasn't quite the classiest move for Carlston to leave this late in the offseason, but let's look at it from his point of view:
  • Ohio University has a certain stigma attached to it. Unfortunately, it's not an overly positive one. OSU, on the other hand, in spite of the "Evil Empire" tag, shows off a classier demeanor beginning with their coaches. Who wouldn't want to be associated with Jim Tressel?
  • Think about the recruiting potential at Ohio State compared to Ohio U. Potential recruits want to play for "THE" Ohio State University for the name recognition and tradition. Most recruits wouldn't even know OU existed if they aren't from around here or until they play against them.
  • How about the earning potential? He had to have gotten a huge pay increase.
  • Fans? If he starts winning in his first two years at OSU, can you imagine how many fans will pack the house? Here in Athens, fans almost never packed the Convo, even when it was publicized for weeks in advance! If you were a coach trying to fire up your team, where would you rather work?
Obviously, we don't want to trash a guy who made Ohio Volleyball a perennial national power, but the bottom line is that we have to say "Thank you, and goodbye." So Geoff, it's been a good run, but don't let the door hit you on the way out.


Welcome to the new Ohio Sports Zone blog site! Check back often as our reporters will write stories about Ohio Sports and other fun stuff throughout the year. GO BOBCATS!