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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
|Tracking the Zags-Men IV: Game Day Baby!|
By Peter Tormey
I awoke to hear the inimitable voice of ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale, introduced on ESPN this morning as “Dicky-V,” talking about Gonzaga’s advance to the Elite Eight with a stunning win over Florida. Of course, the season Dicky-V was referring to was 1999, eight years ago, but I took it as a harbinger of good luck for the Bulldogs today.
The sky is blue this morning in Sacramento with a hint of wispy white clouds and the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies to remain with a high of 77 expected and mild winds.
Wrote Mike: “Just wanted you to know that once again, so many of us GU grads in East Asia say ‘Thanks, Pete, for keeping us informed!’ From Hong Kong, from Manila, from Jakarta, from Macau, from Singapore, from Seoul, from up the China Coast in Shanghai and points inland, and from here in Tokyo . . . we stand united shouting: ‘GO ZAGS ! Bring us to victory!’”
Wow! A huge thanks to Mike and to all of the Bulldogs in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and back home here in the States. The spirit of Gonzaga never ceases to amaze.
Brown explained his Gonzaga heritage:
“I am from here and went to Gonzaga. At that time, Frank Burgess (GU Athletic Hall of Fame member and basketball All-American) was my free-throw shooting coach. I always ask people, ‘How many players ever get to have a federal judge teach them how to shoot free-throws?,” Larry said.
Brown was involved in ROTC at GU and was among the few student-athletes to major in English, and one of the very few male student-athletes to do so. When I told Larry that I, too, was a student-athlete (football) at the University of Washington and majored in English we shook hands once again. We know how difficult academics and athletics can be and yet we appreciate its many rewards.
“A male English major student-athlete, that is a true oxymoron,” said Brown, who had especially kind words for his former coach Hank Anderson, who passed away Sept. 5, 2005 of anaortic aneurysm, at age 84. “I started for three years, as a sophomore, junior and senior, for Hank Anderson. I was at his funeral. We all owe him a lot.”
Indeed, were it not for Anderson, Gonzaga would probably not be in the Tournament today. Anderson shepherded Gonzaga basketball from the small college ranks to NCAA Division I, enrolled GU in the Big Sky Conference as a charter member, and captured a pair of Big Sky titles before retiring as coach and athletic director in 1972.
Anderson was inducted into the Gonzaga Athletic Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, 1988.
Larry said Burgess is coming into town today to watch the Zags and he was looking forward to seeing the judge although Larry was not quite sure if he would be going to the game or if he would give his tickets to someone who might need them more. That way, Larry said, he could watch the game at the sports bar that his son talked him into opening with him called “American Spirit” at 3720 Northgate Blvd. in Sacramento. Drop Larry an e-mail if you’d like at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the bar’s My Space Web site at www.myspace.com/amerianspiritbar
“The Jesuits use the shotgun approach in school,” Larry said. “They throw a lot of things at you. I did my major in English and my minor, like most, was in philosophy.”
While in Sacramento, I also received an e-mail from Kristen Benadom, a Gonzaga student, who wishes all Zags here a hale and hearty welcome:
“WELCOME TO SACRAMENTO!,” wrote Benadom. “I am a student at Gonzaga and Sacramento is my home town. Along with my parents, we are thrilled to be part of Zag Nation and are very excited about Sacramento hosting the NCAA tournament.”
Kristen graciously invites any Zags who are here for the game and in need of tips about places to eat or visit to shoot her or her mother an e-mail at email@example.com
“GO ZAGS!!!!,” Kristen concluded.
Back at the ARCO Center this morning, the Washington State vs. Oral Roberts contest just tipped off at 11:30 a.m. That game will be followed by the Vanderbilt vs. George Washington game at 2 p.m. (approximate), to be followed by the UCLA vs. Weber State match-up at 4:25 p.m., and the game that everyone reading this cares about most: Gonzaga vs. Indiana at 6:55 p.m.
I spoke with my brother Chris in Seattle this morning and he mentioned that I’m not the only one with good feelings about today’s game. The Seattle Times also pick the Bulldogs to advance to the second round of the Tournament on Saturday.
Head Hoosier Kelvin Sampson told the media here yesterday that his team is “very capable of winning” today and added, “but so is Gonzaga. They’re capable of winning this game, too. We have to play really good.”
Sampson said Gonzaga shed its Cinderella slipper long ago.
“When you’re (winning) over a sustained period of time, you go from being a Cinderella to just being good. Do you realize there is a generation of kids that think Gonzaga is a national powerhouse because they’ve been so good for so long?”
Sampson, unhappy with his team’s first-half performance against Duke Nov. 28, benched starters D.J. White, Earl Calloway and Roderick Wilmont.
Calloway told the media yesterday that he learned a few things from the loss to the Zags last year.
“You have to play defense. Last year, we had trouble in the post. We contained Adam Morrison. This year we have to rebound and play defense,” said the 6-foot-3 senior guard from Atlanta who is averaging 9.4 points a game in all games this season. “We’re going in with the same mentality we’ve had all yearlong, and that’s just to play hard and compete.”
Gonzaga Coach Mark Few, whose Bulldogs are making a ninth-straight Tournament appearance, knows what it takes to win big games. After all, Gonzaga is tied for sixth for the longest active NCAA Tournament Appearances Streak. In addition, the Bulldogs’ schedule this year included 10 opponents that were ranked in the Associated Press Top 20 at some point this season.
“The guys we have in the program, who have been a part of this, know you have to play really good to move on. Nothing else really matters after tip-off. You have to bring your best and play your best to give yourself a chance to move on.”
Surely, the Bulldogs will feel the tremendous support behind them tonight from Zags fans across the globe, from East Asia to Europe to right here in Sacramento and all points in between.
As Mike Ghiglione, Class of 1974, stated so eloquently from Tokyo:
“We stand united shouting: ‘GO ZAGS ! Bring us to victory!’”
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