Hail Don Shea Well Met….

February05/ 2015

I didn’t know him all that well.   Our paths crossed maybe 6-8 times over the past 20+ years.   I will claim that “we were friends”, allowing that anyone who ever met Don Shea can lay that same claim.   Don Shea died this week.  He was 77.   If you ever met Don Shea in person and didn’t like the guy, I’d say the problem was on your end.

Losing Don Shea PLUS another National Signing Day…. both, IMO, negatives for Big Time College Sports.  Also a week when I learned who “Katy Perry” is and; that Russell Wilson went to college with “a whole Pack of Badgers'”.

The expected tributes to Don Shea are popping up across the Triangle sports media scene.   Mostly by his colleagues immersed in that scene.  A scene Don Shea lived in for over 40 of his 77 years.

I first met Don in the Durham HQ of some evolution of the Duke Childrens’ Classic.  Somewhere between the early Perry Como version and the later Jeff Foxworthy version.  Over the years Don held various management positions in that event and similar events for the Jimmy V Foundation.   Don had the perfect blend of sincere tenacity and good cheer that leads to success in such endeavors.

As a TV sports anchor and later  NC State coaches’ show host, Don did have a bit of Ted Baxter / Ron Burgundy in him.   The good bits.  He had “that voice” that you instantly recognized even if you weren’t watching the TV screen.   Sports / News “anchors” who stay in one market for most of their careers eventually become caricatures of themselves.   That’s a reality.  Their catch phrases and mannerisms get parodied and exaggerated.   I never met anyone who could “do Don Shea” as well as Don could “do Don Shea”.

My various interactions with Don were memorable only in that you could always count on Don to do anything he could to help you with whatever it was you needed.   My last Don encounter was a year ago, or was it two, when he got Terrance Holt to be our guest on The Good Sports.   From my initial call “Hey Don, can you help ……?” to his confirmation that “Terrance is all set” took less than an hour.

Don is of the Era of Woody Durham and Bob Harris in age and tenure.   Include Caulton Tudor and even Tom Suiter in there too.   The Legendary Frank Weedon left us a few years ago.   In Vegas the phrase is “he shook Sinatra’s hand”.   On Tobacco Road it might be “he has a Bones McKinney story” or “he knew that Case and McGuire were actually close friends”.   “Case and McGuire” might be stretching it a bit but “saw Pistol Pete play at Broughton” would include a few of those guys.

Other than simply being a heck of a nice guy, what I will remember about Don Shea is, although paid to promote NC State athletics, Don never got into trashing rival schools, coaches, players.   If he did, I never saw it.   Yes, there are a few sports “professionals” around that can / do spew stoopid partisan venom with the worst of board monkeys.   I avoid those sickos.

There are probably rival board monkeys trashing Don Shea this week simply “because he was a ^&%#$ State guy”.   That odious ilk will also defame Woody and Bob Harris when their days are done.   I urge you to either avoid such humanoids or run over them with a heavy vehicle if convenient to do so.

One of Don’s monikers was “Cli-Shea” so I’ll wrap this up with a cliché….. “Why do only the good guys die?” …… The a-holes die too, its just that no one cares enough about them to eulogize’em.

♦ ♦ ♦

Wednesday was National College Football Pimp Day.   At Exactly 4:45 PM EST, 128 Head Football Coaches all declared in unison:

“We are THRILLED with the outstanding young men that we have coerced to come to __________ .   We got everyone we really wanted.  They are all young men of the highest character who are anxious to apply themselves academically to go forth to lead the Free World in the decades to come….. and also play a little Football here at WhazzaMatta U.”

What are the odds that for the 27th consecutive year EVERY coach got EVERYONE he really wanted.  And they are all truly outstanding young scholar-athletes.   Yeeee HA!

Season ticket sales for every school skyrocketed today.   Sleeping giants were awakened from sea to shining sea.  AMAZING!   I can’t verify it BUT it is rumored that Gene Chizik was seen reading a signed edition of Look Homeward Angel as the faxes rolled in Wednesday.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to “tag” each signee at your school like they “tag” bluefin tuna and puffins and caribou and see where they are in 5 – 10 – 15 years.   Where they are and what they are doing.   How many of Wednesday’s Champagne Wishes & NFL Dreams will come true….. how many won’t….. and what their average reading level will be when they turn 30?   Oops sorry….. we aren’t suppose to mention literacy are we….. just their times in the 40.

A fresh batch of gladiators to entertain the suited spectators on Fall Saturdays.    YUCK!

♦ ♦ ♦

I had heard of “Katy Perry” but get her confused with Katy Something that was married to Tom Cruise…. and that Lady Gaga person or Miley The Twerker.   I do know a little something about Taylor Swift because she’s Kid’s favorite.

Anyhooo, the Super Bowl Halftime Show was a true Extravaganza.   I could not understand a single word that was sung / shouted but it was a Humdinger of a visual show.   The choreographing and production of that has to be just slightly less complicated than a Lunar Landing.

“Katy Perry” is a helluva of a performer and, by current standards, not skanky which prudish ol’ BobLee appreciates.   There IS a time and place for “skanky” but Super Bowl Half Time isn’t it in my opinion.

Katy Perry has 60,000,000 Twitter followers and Kim Kardashian only has 23,000,000.  That is encouraging.

Sure, I think the Seahawks shoulda given it to Marshawn Lynch, but if the controversial play HAD worked, what would we have had to debate all week?   Other than Johnny Manziel of course.   It was a heckuva game.

Did you know that Steven Hauschka attended Middlebury College?   That and “a whole Pack of Badgers” likely upset a few people.

♦ ♦ ♦

I was over in Chapel Hill for lunch on Thursday.  Guess what?  EVERYBODY is simply beside themselves that:

“rival coaches said negative things about Carolina Football during the recruiting process. NOOOOO!”  Whats next Larry … stomping our logo and spray painting our locker room?

That is not quite as HORRIBLE as that campus building named for the Klan guy; but it might get to that level in another 24 hours.   People are screaming for Deborah Crowder to do something about it!

HOW DARE “THEM” DO THAT – say negative things.  I haven’t seen Franklin Street so upset since those horrible Derm police dared to stop dear sweet PJ with the drugs and the gun.

A busload of angry Tru-Blue lunatics is headed over to Grandover to demand that Swoffy “do something”.    Swoffy, however, is up at Syracuse trying to figure out that mess….. then there’s that Referee screw-up against NC State (OF COURSE) in the WFU game.   Did Swoffy order that one via his iPhone from Syracuse?

Wonder what Don Shea would say about all this?


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