Clougherty Countdown Begins

January17/ 2000

… Zebra hunting season begins … BobLee’s whirlwind jaunt to Las Vegas involves a drunk as a skunk celebrity … Duke Buck visits South Bend noting “they don’t have a Jumbotron and they don’t NEED a Jumbotron … and Swagger agrees with Dorothy – “there no place like home” – as he returns to his roots in a time of mini-crisis.

    As all “enlightened” SSays readers well know, longtime BB referee par excellance, John Clougherty, is now “the new Fred Barakat” for the ACC.  Clougherty is Little Johnny’s ACC Mr. Ref … “the man” … “where the buck stops” … “the incompetent scapegoat” … basketball’s Tommy Hunt. 

    Remember our 3-year minimum rule … any/all changes in college sports endure a 3-year  incubation for the “know-it-all” loon brigade.  The Sears Cup is still The Sears Cup in loon parlance even though it hasn’t been “The Sears Cup” for over two years.  Ergo, John Clougherty will labor in ignominous obscurity for 3 years.  Partisan ACC loonies will continue to blame “the worst referees EVER” on Ol’ Fred and dredge up unlimited byzantine conspiracies linking Ol’ Fred to plots to prevent “us” from attaining our rightful throne atop college basketball.

For those “in the know” it will only take the beginning of “meaningful games” to bring out the howling and wailing that “IT WAS THE REFS’ FAULT” because everyone knows “our great kids never foul” while “their no-account thugs are assaulting our kids in plain sight of those crooked refs”.  “WORST EVER … WORST EVER!”  

We will offer an autographed copy of Braggin’ Rites to the first reader to send us a fan post linking John Clougherty and Mike Krzyzewski in a clandestine plot to overthrow western civilization using “flopping” as the primary WMD.  Coach K will transmit his instructions to Clougherty through special encyrpted sideline F-Bombs.

I will repeat my comment made when Little Johnny announced Clougherty’s appointment.  

“Whatever he’s being paid … it ain’t enough.”


    Within the span of four hours last Saturday, Carolina came within one play in either game of losing an FB game to Duke AND a BB game to Gardner Webb.  That “combo from hell” would have been enough “humble pie” to gag 80% of Tar Heel Nation for sure.  Where would it have ranked with Matt’s 8-20 or Carl losing to Furman?


    Speaking of F-Bombs … BobLee was introduced recently as “the Patron Saint of F-Bomb Alley”.  A spectator asked if F-Bomb Alley” was the street Coach Krzyzewski lived on.  A good one … I gave him a book.


   BobLee’s 25 hours in Sin City was note-worthy in an unexpected fashion.  The purpose was a celebrity golf deal at Casablanca Resort Casino along with PGAers Bo Van Pelt and John Daly.  I have appeared w/ Daly before.  He always plays the hell-raising “everyman” role.  This time he played the “drunk as a skunk” role showing up for the photo session an hour late and potted to the gills.  He behaved like every “drunk as a skunk” lush you’ve encountered at any party.  He did have one good line … “rehab is overrated”.  

The event organizers got some negative feedback. Yes, they did.

On a more positive note … I stayed at The Palms in Las Vegas.  I am not, and never was, a member of the MTV Generation which is The Palms’ primary market but my guest room was THE NICEST room I have ever had in Las Vegas.  It was a standard tower room; not some VIP suite, but had everything I appreciate in a hotel room.

The Palms is owned by the Sacramento Kings’ Maloof Brothers.  It was where Britany Spears decided to marry her high school guy for 24 hours a few years ago.  I did not visit it’s infamous rooftop “Ghost Bar”.  

Most Las Vegas hotel rooms fall into three categories … French Bordello, Old West Whorehouse, or Sears & Roebuck circa 1965.  Not The Palms.  They do NOT have a “showroom” but count on their celebrity clientele (Paris Hilton and Paris wannabees) to be the draw.

My “fancy wine friend” insisted I check out Wynn’s.  Steve Wynn’s latest mega hotel on The Strip.  I grabbed breakfast there Monday AM … very nice in the Bellagio, Venetian, Caesars category 


   Duke Buck went on a “road trip” with Son #2 to South Bend for Notre Dame v Syracuse.  I was originally scheduled for the trip until the conflict with UNC v Duke was noted.  Good thing.  If I hadn’t been in Kenan to channel Choo Choo on that measurement, life as we know it in Piedmont NC could have been forever altered.

    Duke & Son had a wonderful time enjoying the whole “Notre Dame Gameday Experience” including The Gipper Bar on Friday night.  Some random observations 

… “there is no Jumbotron nor any need whatsoever for one” 

… “you are packed into the stands like sardines but no one complains at all” 

… “the band is incredible, more brass and percussion than we could count” 

… “Touchdown Jesus is not a statue but a mosaic on the side of a building” 

… “Brady Quinn is a chiseled football god” 

… “it is pure COLLEGE FOOTBALL COLOR & PAGENTRY at its old-fashioned best” 

… “their “player walk” is attended by 10,000+ and all the players are wearing blazers with NO HEADPHONES”.

    NCSU and UNC don’t need to use Notre Dame as an example of “school spirit” since it’s an unattainable goal but interesting that it is “no frills” and dictated by “tradition” and not by “what recruits expect to see”.  Huuummm, Notre Dame doesn’t let semi-literate 18 y/os dictate massive facilities spending programs??? … neat concept.

BobLee will see for himself next Fall.


    Getting in from Las Vegas at Midnight Monday, my head hit the pillow at 1:15 and the alarm went off at 4:45 for my trip to Kinston for the Lenoir County Rotary Club at 7:30.  It was cold, dark and rainy.  There was a leaf caught under my windshield wiper.  Like every leaf caught under a wiper, it was right in the middle where it streaked across my field of visor.  For 30 miles I cussed and fussed at that leaf.  Sure, it would have taken about 7 seconds to pull over and flick the leaf off.  If that’s your solution you do not understand “creative problem solving”.  I was determined to dislodge that leaf by sheer intimidation.  About Smithfield, I succeeded and the leaf blew away.  I won?

The leaf gone, I enjoyed two miles of bliss … then my “WARNING – Service Needed” dashboard light blinked on.  Cold, dark and rainy at 6:30 and the SwaggerMobile about to blow up or simply die on me.  My first thought was “I would rather cuss at that stupid leaf … can we go back to THAT problem”.  Alas, not how life works.  I took deep cleansing breaths and hoped I could limp into Kinston intact and not intow.

I did my BobLee ALIVE thing to an appreciative “boutique” audience.  Then thoughts turned to my old high school classmate Ray Beard … Kinston auto repair guy extraordinaire.  I get to Ray’s garage.  Think “Wally’s” in Mayberry.  He’s not there.  I tell the young mechanic I’m an old friend of Ray’s.  He tells me I have “two bad cylinders”.  While he was fixing the cylinders, I visited the local branch of my banking institution of choice to do some fiduciary juggling to cover my unexpected “aw sh*t”.  My good friend and good banker “Vine Swamp” was not in but an able staffer pulled up my file and saw Swampy’s note … “help this guy all you can because he really needs help”.

Moral to this convoluted tale … I was sure glad I was “back home” dealing with good folks I could trust rather than at the mercy of interstate bandits and highway robbers.  Living the good life and jet-setting hither and yon is cool, but when trouble comes acalling … it’s old friends and familiar surroundings that provide the best ports during life’s storms.  


    Team Swagger will be in Kansas City this holiday weekend with friends and friendly in-laws.  Other than Mizzus’ 24/7 fretting over a terrorist hijacking or midair collision with a pteradactyl or some such in-route calamity, we should survive the ordeal.  

Best wishes to all our wonderful SSays readers and friends … 

We are very thankful for each one of you.

… maybe even the “junior woodchucks” and “45 y/o Little League right fielders” will allow themselves a few minutes of rant-free rageless peace.  OK, maybe not. 


 Swagger’s Stumper

John Daly was won Two Majors … 

what are they (years not important)


    The Three ADs … Dave Braine – Eric Hyman – Todd Turner are all UNC grads.  2 of the 3 played FB at UNC … 2 of the 3 also worked at NC State too.

    A reader called a recent unspecified column “the biggest bunch of bs I’ve ever read” and “I hope it was meant as a joke”.  Could she be doubting the genuiness of Swagger channeling Choo Choo on that critical measurement?  Did she recall a hated Duke BBer of non-Caucasian persuasion?  We’ll never know.  We recommended she peruse the 700+ other columns in our archives for “even bigger bunches of bs”.

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