Ev Case, Bobby Jones & Ryan McFadyen!

January17/ 2000

…. No need to even goggle it.  These three names have NEVER appeared together anywhere for any reason but here.  A coaching legend, a golfing legend, and a “sick puppy” sums up This Week as BobLee looks around for items of topical comment…. State’s coaching search … “A Tradition Like No Other” … and “A Mess that Just Gets Messier”.

The Masters 

is THE PREMIER Annual Sports Event To Watch Year-in Year-out 


   I am fortunate to have “been to The Masters”.  I went regularly during the 90s.  Of all the legendary sports venues in all the Wide World of Sports … nothing tops Augusta National Golf Club during The Masters.  I will hyperbolize even further to say that among the landmark sights in America, few, if any others, so totally meets and exceeds one’s expectations as does The Masters @ Augusta National.  

   The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, The Las Vegas Strip, and seeing Cybil Shepherd and Connie Selleca standing side by side on the red carpet at the 1984 Golden Globes … all qualify too.  Everyone is entitled to their own list.  But if your list does not include The Masters @ Augusta National it is bogus.

   If you have never “been there” in person you feel like you have because you see it year after year after year.  The “back nine @ Augusta on Sunday” is arguably more familiar to sports fans around the world than Fenway’s Green Monster, Indy’s Brickyard, Texas Stadium, The Rose Bowl, or either of two local college basketball arenas.    

   I recall my first visit in 1992.  Washington Road outside the course is NOT what you expect … a typical commercial/retail hodge podge of strip centers, chain restaurants, and ticky tack.  Coming in off of I-20 as most do, its basically Raleigh’s Capitol Blvd.  Surely the directions are wrong.  Then there’s a chainlink fence with a tall hedgerow on your right, no sign just tall hedges, a few hundred yards further is an obscure entrance w/ a gatehouse and a subtle sign saying Augusta National Golf Club in that so-familiar green script.  Magnolia Drive!  Only members, VIPs, and the greatest names in golf enter here.  The rest of us are redirected to grassy lots behind those hedges.

   As you entered thru the public gate, you are to the right of The Clubhouse, by That Famous Scoreboard, and perpendicular to #1 fairway.  In the past decade they have added souvenir areas by the gate but well-hidden from “the course”.  As you walk up a slope towards #1 tee … THERE IT IS!  Azaleas, Dogwoods, Pine trees, and acreas and acreas of manicured grass as “Masters green” as you’ve ever seen.

   That “big live oak” behind the clubhouse is a traditional gathering place.  Just a rope line, and a big ol’ security guard,  separates you from the world’s golfing media, VIPs, and the players as they emerge from the locker room.  You are at the epicenter of the world’s sportscenter for this week.  The putting green is a few yards away … there’s the 18th green just beyond … and then, my favorite vista of them all … looking out to the south over #9 green to 17th fairway, #14, #15 and an eye-popping example of what Mother Nature can create when she has bazillions of “old South” dollars to work with.

   That view always reminds me of Cemetary Ridge at Gettysburg or The Battle of Waterloo or the battle scene in Braveheart.  Waves of properly-dressed golf enthusiasts moving politely across rolling hills and all surrounded by those azaleas, dogwoods, and pine trees.  “Properly” and “politely” are an integral part of the wonder of The Masters @ Augusta.

   I went four years in a row.  Each time I would walk the entire course by myself at my own pace hole-by-hole 1-18.  The front nine, at that time, was what we never saw on TV.  But “the back nine” … YIKES!  Amen Corner is exactly like you expect it to be.  #13, as you gauge the odds of “going for it” and risking Rae’s Creek … same on #15.  And #16 surrounded by 10,000 properly-dressed and polite spectators and the pristine pond on the left.

   We must move on to other issues, but my two other “favorite memories of The Masters” are the pimento cheese sandwiches wrapped in “green paper” so as not to be visual litter, and the syncronized mowers coming down #9 fairway at the end of the day.  You have to see that to understand … it just seems so right that the mowers at Augusta National would move in perfect syncronization.

   Most of you will watch this weekend whether you are “golf fans” or not because this event transcends sports … it really is “A Tradition Unlike Any Other”.


If Choo Choo “Matters” So Does Everett Case 

    As the Wolfpack Nation hangs on tetherhooks awaiting the latest snippet of 99% likely totally bogus info on “the coaching search” no topic is being more pummeled than “NC State’s Basketball Tradition”.

   State loyalists tout “The Silver Fox”, DT, and “Cinderella in ’83” as ample evidence that NC State is truly among the “elite basketball schools in America”.  Carolina loyalists debunk that claim because, well because Carolina fans debunk anything and everything about NC State because “that’s what Carolina fans do”.  Don’t try to make any more sense of it than that.

   My fellow Tar Heels claim a solid football legacy because of three year in the late 40s when Choo Choo Justice attracted national acclaim.  Charlie did not win a Heisman or lead a team to “the mythical national championship” but he was an exceptional player and post-war America was hungry for heroes and he had a very cool nickname.

   If three years in the late 40s counts towards a “tradition” … then Ev Case’s tenure at NC State in the 50s merits likewise.  Case, like Choo Choo, never won a national title but he unequivocably ratcheted up interest in college basketball in North Carolina.  Case set the table for the seminal event that put college basketball “over the top” in North Carolina … UNC triple overtime victory over Wilt in 1957.  Frank McGuire was brought in from St John’s to Chapel Hill to counter Case’s dominance.  

   Study McGuire’s 57 season and there are 5-6 plays that could have ended it well short of that memorable win in Kansas City.

   Study Valvano’s ’83 miracle run and there are AT LEAST 5-6 plays that could have easily derailed that net-cutting.

   Need we mention the final minute of either the ’82 win over Georgetown or the ’93 win over Michigan.  No Carolina fan would ever wish to replay those games, thank you very much.  Folks at Villanova would like to replay last season’s game’s final minutes against Roy’s Boys however.

   History is a marvelous negotiating tool … defend it vigorously when it serves your purpose … dismiss it as irrelevant when it does not serve your purpose.  Politicians and sports fans are masters at the art of “situational historical proof”. ……. Cut to the freakin’ chase Swagger.

   If NC State hires a very good basketball coach there is absolutely no reason that he cannot be very successful.  If a 20 mile region can have two nationally prominent programs, it can have three.  “The Triangle” has no guaranteed “right” to have ANY nationally ranked programs.  Matt Doherty and Neal McGeachey proved that.

   Yes, Ol’ Roy and Mike will always cherry-pick the McDonald’s AAs … and John Brady will cherry-pick “Greater Baton Rogue”.  So?  

   The recent March Madness proved that there are a WHOLE LOT of talented basketball players in America and lots of talented coaches.  I will venture to say that 30 days ago not one UNC or NCSU “real fan” could have identified Jim Larranaga, John Brady, or ANY player on either Florida or UCLA starting five.  And we consider ourselves “the greatest college basketball fans in the history of mankind”.  Fooey!

   Any of “the top ten names being banded about” could come to Raleigh and recruit enough talented players to be a national contender and do so within a very short time.  He won’t have to cheat to do it.  He will have to be a shrewd judge of talent, a convincing “closer” and a top-notch bench/game coach.  And he will need a VERY thick skin for sure.

   Regardless of “how long before Roy and Mike retire”, the resources are in place at NC State to be successful.  Certainly as much so as any “major program” in the country not to mention the Wichitas and George Masons.

   UNC and Duke fans make the mistake of assuming because State does indeed have a quite wacky bottom-feeding fan faction that that precludes the program’s success.  EVERY “major program” has a quite wacky bottom-feeding fan faction including UNC and Duke.  I know … I’ve made it my hobby to study those goggle-eyed howler monkeys of varying jersey hues. State’s is overtly paranoid … Carolina’s is overtly arrogant … Duke’s is overtly elitist (at least for the time being!)

   Compare Broadhead, Alleva and The Iron Dukes to Oblinger, Fowler and the WPC and Moeser, Baddour and The Rams … amazingly interchangeable.  Then you have the rank/file fans with UNC and State far outnumbering Duke.  Then you have the respective “crazy cousins” that each school tries to keep chained up in the basement but which invariably gets hold of a modem and a keyboard and totally embarrass the rank/file by vomiting bile all over the Internet.

   I think State WILL get one of their “top five” and he will have the quality of resume experience to be very competitive in the Triangle, the new ACC, and to dance pretty much every March.   I think that mystery will be resolved by next Wednesday if not before.


   If your first name is Ryan or your last name is McFadyen or you are 6’6” and 220 … you better get out of Derm real quick.  This assumes that THE Ryan McFadyen is right now barricaded in a bunker at least 300 miles from Derm and less than two people know where he is.  That “sick puppy” has taken his Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame and pretty much botched’em really bad.

   Being a “sick puppy” does not mean he is a gang rapist but it does eliminate him from being a poster boy for Lacrosse or being in a Why Duke Is The School For You brochure.  Ken Starr and Corey Maggette will be Duke cover boys before this sicko.

   Wednesday changed a lot in “The Gothic Nightmare”.  It did NOT prove that “the college student and single mother of two” was gang raped.  It did pretty much make it impossible to seat a fair jury within 100 miles of Derm however … if it comes to that.  

   Now, if the DNA proves inconclusive, as it likely will, DA Michael “Up For Re-election” Nifong HAS to charge somebody with something or he will have lost every black vote in Derm and put himself in great personal peril.  The aforementioned knee jerk, jackass race baiters ginning up the mob in Derm will have a bounty for McFadyen and DA Nifong.  “That e-mail” costs the Lacrosse coach his job and increased the liklihood that “the worst is yet to come” for Duke and for Derm in this tragic scenario.

   I still have that reoccuring scary thought … WWMD … “What Would Moeser Do” with this mess?

   The NAACP set up its tent in Derm early Thursday but still no sighting of Reverend JJ or Ol’ Sharpie.  We are predicting Tom Wolfe and Dominick Dunne on hand if it comes to trial.

   On a related note … The Congressional Black Caucus told demented dingbat Cynthia McKinney on Thursday that she was too demented and downright stoopid even for them.  That’s got to hurt.  


 Swagger’s Stumper

 The Masters winner will be interviewed in __ ___ ___?


    Phil Silvers played Sargeant Ernie Bilko in “The Phil Silvers Show” aka “You’ll Never Get Rich”.

    If you want solid, reliable info on “the State situation” go to StateFan Nation.  The howler monkeys have no voice there.  The site is run by adults who have real lives and actually contribute to society.  We’ve heard that the guys who run that site “don’t like BobLee” but that’s OK.  It’s a good source for reliable commentary and shows what a fan-site with an idiot-filter can be like.  Check it out. 


    Perky Katie Couric to do the CBS Evening News.  We haven’t watched “Perky Katie” or Dan Rather in over 10 years at least.  Doubt we’ll change our viewing habits now.  I don’t expect my liberal friends (yes, I have a few) to listen to Rush or watch FoxNews, why should I watch “Perky Katie” and CBS?

 E-Mail BobLee at …

[email protected]

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