Saturday, April 26, 2014

Score One For "Stats"

Photo courtesy Gannon University
One of my highlights this season was finally seeing Gannon's all-time leading scorer inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame. You might be thinking to yourself, "Wait -- I thought Butch Warner was already in the Hall of Fame." Warner, who scored 2,090 points in his Golden Knight career and is listed in the media guide at the top of the scoring charts ahead of Gerald "Bad News" Walker, Glen Summors, and Steve Moyer, was named to the GU HOF in 2010.

But the actual all-time leading scorer is Rick "Stats" Klapthor, Gannon's official scorekeeper for 39 seasons. Stats was inducted into the hall this year and was gracious enough to share his induction speech with me. It was so good, I wanted to share it with you:

Dr. Taylor, Mark Richard, committee members, fellow inductees, past inductees, family, friends, and the rest of you who are simply friends who I have yet to meet.

A few years ago, a wise man was asked, "How does a physical therapist become a university president?" Dr. Taylor's response was, "I'm not quite sure, but it's kind of neat isn't it?" Similarly, I'm wondering how someone as unathletic as myself is being inducted into an athletic hall of fame. I'm not quite sure, but it's kind of neat!

I need to thank the Hall of Fame committee for naming me the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award this year. When I consider that the three most recent recipients have been Joe Gaeta, Gary Miller, and Chuck Campagne, I'm humbled to be thought of in the same category as those gentlemen.

I would like to acknowledge three people who are influential in my being here tonight. My mother Louise, who is 94 years young, but despite having never attended a Gannon sporting event is one of the most loyal listeners to the basketball broadcasts on radio. My brother Bill, who passed away in 2003, is responsible for getting me started on my career path by teaching me how to keep score of baseball and basketball. On the other hand, he taught me how to root for the Indians and the Browns. Let's call that a push. Bud Elwell, who in 1975 had enough confidence in an 18-year-old freshman with a full head of hair to anoint me the official scorekeeper for his men's basketball team. Hopefully in the past 39 years I have rewarded that confidence.

Now back to my lack of athleticism. The extent of my athletic career was two years of Boys Baseball, Erie's version of Little League. I played in the 2B division for 11- and 12-year-olds. But, truth be told, I actually wanted to keep score at 11 years old. I never signed up to play Boys Baseball, I never tried out for Boys Baseball, but to make a long story short, I ended up on the Security-People's team in the Lawrence League. Some people will tell you that I had a batting average of .500. However, those same people will tell you that they calculated the .500 batting average by dividing my one hit by the two years that I played. I was horrible. I counted my foul balls until I finally grounded out — and I didn't ground out very often. So if you look at the list of speakers tonight, you'll notice that I'm hitting ninth in the batting order, a place that I am very familiar with.

But the silver lining in having played those two years was that it confirmed what career path I should be on. As the years have gone on, I never once looked back and thought that I should've been more of a jock in high school (going out for football, wrestling, basketball, whatever). I know exactly where I belonged. I belonged in the football press box keeping stats. I belong at the basketball scorers table.

If someone had told me then that I would be getting inducted into an athletic hall of fame, I would've told them that the day that happens, the NFL would be playing a Super Bowl in an open air stadium in the Northeast.

But the greatest thing about being involved in athletics even on the periphery are the people that you meet along the way. When I started 39 years ago I was as young if not younger than the players; now I'm older than most coaches and older than most officials. How many people do you think I've met, both directly and indirectly, over these 39 years? Whatever number you come up with is woefully low. As I look around the room at my many friends here tonight, I realize that the longest friendship that I have in this room (other than family) is tonight's emcee Steve Bohen. Steve and I go so far back that he can vouch for how bad a baseball player I was.

As I wind up tonight, let me leave you with one thought. On a night when it is really, really nice to be important, it is much more important to be nice!

Thank you and may God bless you all!

32 comments:

  1. I've heard rumors from a couple different sources that a player from St. Bonaventure could transfer to Gannon, then I saw this article online tonight after an email from a GU fan. I would guess the 6-foot-7 guy is more likely to join Gannon than the 7-footer, just based on John Reilly's style of play.

    Toupane, Runs leaving St. Bonaventure
    Two SBU Players Transferring

    By J.P. Butler, Olean Times Herald

    ST. BONAVENTURE — As the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball staff continued to recruit 2014 prospects despite not having any scholarships available, it became apparent that one or more players would be transferring from the program.

    For weeks, rumors floated that 6-foot-7 forward Jean Yves Toupane and 7-foot center Matthias Runs, both sophomores, would be those players. As it turns out, those rumors are true.

    Toupane and Runs will not return to the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team next season, coach Mark Schmidt announced Tuesday. Both players intend to seek transfer to other institutions, he said, although it wasn’t immediately clear where either might go.

    “Jean Yves and Matthias have been solid students and members of our basketball program,” Schmidt said. “We wish them well.”

    Meanwhile, a junior college standout this past season, guard Marcus Posley of Indian Hills Communiuty College in Ottumwa, Iowa, has reportedly committed to the Bonnies. Posley, who helped lead Indian Hills to the NJCAA D1 National Championship game, played his freshman year at Ball State, seeing significant playing time, before abruptly leaving that program after the 2012-13 season.

    In the case of Toupane and Runs, though both seemed to have a lot of promise when they committed to the program — Toupane in the fall of 2011 and Runs in the spring of 2012 — neither panned out as the Atlantic 10-caliber players for which Schmidt and his staff had hoped.

    Toupane, a native of Dakar, Senegal, appeared in just six games this season, scoring four points. He appeared in seven games as a freshman, which included his Bona highlight, when he hit two 3-pointers and finished with seven points against No. 25 N.C. State.

    Runs, a 7-footer out of Hilversum, Netherlands, played in three games this season and did not score. He came to Bona in May of 2012, but was forced to sit what would have been his freshman season due to a delayed enrollment ruling by the NCAA.

    Runs was an intriguing prospect due to his size and apparent athletic ability — and was widely considered to be an X-factor type player heading into his first eligible campaign in 2013-14 — but never came into that role.

    As of November of this past season, Bona had maxed out its scholarship allotment with 10 returning players, including Jalen Adams, who redshirted this year, and three signed recruits. The departures of its bottom two bench players, however, open up two more scholarships for next season.

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  2. First, awesome speech by Stats. Very clever, funny, witty yet professional all the same! Shows even more why he was so deserving of this honor.

    Second, either player sounds like they could be a benefit to Gannon. Obviously would be nice to have a big guy, if he is a true big guy (not 7' and weighs 200lbs). Hopefully if either does transfer, it'll turn out better than the last Bona transfer did in the long run.

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  3. Here's info from a St. Bona message board stating that Toupane is transferring to Gannon:
    http://bonabandwagon.proboards.com/thread/12233/toupane-runs-on-transfer-list?page=1&scrollTo=112111

    If that's true, you might want some more info on him. Here's his bio from the St. Bona men's basketball website:

    As A Freshman (2012-13)
    Appeared in seven games in his first season in the Brown and White, including three Atlantic 10 contests and three against teams either nationally ranked or receiving votes … his best performance of the year came on Dec. 22 at No. 25 NC State when he scored seven points in just eight minutes off the bench … went 2-4 from 3-point range and hit his first, and only, free throw of the season … finished the year with 14 points, four rebounds and shot 5-11 from the floor and 3-8 from 3-point range in 30 minutes of action … scored his first A-10 points off a tip-in at Butler on Feb. 6; it was his first action since Jan. 9 at George Washington … made his fifth appearance of the year in a stretch of six games at George Washington (Jan. 9) after not playing in the first eight; pulled down one rebound in his three minutes against the Colonials … drained a 3-pointer and grabbed two rebounds against The Citadel (Dec. 19) in his second straight game seeing action ... made his collegiate debut against Cleveland State (Dec. 15) … scored his first points on a layup and issued an assist in his five minutes of action versus the Vikings.

    Lee Academy
    Regarded as on the top 100 prospects in the nation at his position (small forward) by ESPN Recruiting … listed as one of the top five recruits in Maine and one of the 25 players in the New England Region … was a teammate of fellow Senegal native and current Bona junior Youssou Ndoye.

    Personal
    Part of the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEEDS) program in Senegal that guided him to the United States …named MVP of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Africa … made his U.S. debut at the 2010 Jordan Brand international game, where he earned MVP honors.

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    1. Holy cow, Batman... I remember him now! I watched him play in the 2010 Jordan Brand game for the "World" team and he was nothing exceptional (i.e. - wasn't flashy or stand out etc), but was consistently solid and good (hence earning MVP honors). One thing I can say I remember was he was probably the best defender on the court for either team. Ended up with a few steals and blocks that game + aided others in getting steals, TO's by being in right place and right position.

      If he's still true to that form, he's gonna be a Coach Reilly player early on.

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  4. Here's another recruiting rumor. I'll look into it more in the near future:

    Marc Fabricius Commits to Gannon University
    http://abasketballacademy.com/marc-fabricius-commits-gannon-university

    http://abasketballacademy.com/global-squad/marc-fabricius

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    1. should we just change our name now to Gannon International University? This is definitely the most diverse (ethnicity) team I've ever seen!

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    2. You should have seen Rob Russo's men's soccer teams in the late 80s / early 90s. They certainly had an international flavor. And several of them are still / remained in Erie.

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  5. I saw where Erie Insurance Arena is getting an new $1 million+ score board. The old one might look good hanging in the center of the Hammermill??

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    1. Ceiling is too low for a center-hanging scoreboard, let alone one that large. It also may screw up volleyball, which has minimum ceiling height requirements. I had heard that reason given for previous center-roof scoreboards.

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    2. if Gannon wanted to get one, they should just spend the extra money to get the ones that retract up to the ceiling... then it can be moved out of the way for events, raised or lowered for other events, but still be useful to all.

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  6. Right next to a national championship banner.

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    Replies
    1. We already have such a banner hanging from the rafters ... the 1962 NAIA Bowling national championship banner!

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  7. I'm more concerned as to whats ON the scoreboard than what it looks like.

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  8. Former Gannon assistant and East High head coach Rick Binder is back in the coaching arena. The photo of him in this article is classic Binder. Thanks to Golden89 for the heads up on this.

    Highly successful Rick Binder returning for third stint as Steel-High's boys' basketball coach

    http://highschoolsports.pennlive.com/news/article/8834912375114734491/highly-successful-rick-binder-returning-for-third-stint-as-steel-highs-boys-basketball-coach/

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  9. Just heard this PSAC news that will affect next year's standings:

    The PSAC Presidents determined recently that all crossovers in all sports will count in the league standings. The two controversial sports were football and basketball since the teams don’t play balanced crossovers. But it passed. So, all games against PSAC teams in the East and West will count in the standings for all sports in 2014-15.

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    1. Terribly unfair due to unbalanced schedule (do not play 3/9 teams). So home court in the PSAC playoffs and NCAA bids and seedings could be based on the fact that one team in the PSAC west gets to avoid Stroud, West Chester, and Bloom and the other team avoided Mansfield, Cheyney, and Shippensburg?

      The disparity is worse in women's basketball.

      And I don't follow football, but I image that the disparity between top three and the bottom three in the conference is even larger.

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  10. Following up on my previous post: If the east games would have counted, then Gannon comes in second to IUP by three games (IUP 19-3, GU 16-6). Gannon went 3-3 against the East; IUP was perfect in six games.

    But the Knights had a much tougher schedule. Gannon's six PSAC East opponents (MAN, LH, BLO, ES, WC, CHE) last year finished a combined 55-41 in PSAC east games; IUP's opponents (MAN, LH, BLO, MIL, SHI, KUT) were a combined 45-51. Seems quite imbalanced for Gannon to avoid mediocre Millersville and Kutztown and horrible Shippensburg, while IUP avoided powerhouse teams Stroud and West Chester, and feeble Cheyney.

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  11. While I agree that it is not 100% just to have one team possibly not play the 3 lowest teams and one team not play the 3 top teams.. I am glad they've changed it. It gives these games more meaning now. Not saying teams didn't try to weren't "playing 100%", but now they better be sure they are ready to play against the top dogs of the other conference.

    Also, remember, the games counted towards Regional record (regardless of conference or non-conference) and in the end that is what matters.

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  12. Apparently in 2013-14 only some teams had to "be sure they were ready to play against the top dogs of the other conference" (ESU, WCU) and others did not. And if the regional record, (where strength of schedule is factored in), matters so much as you say, then why play an imbalanced schedule in the conference?

    Regular season conference record in Division II matters a lot because it affects home court for the conference tournament. And being at home for the conference playoffs can be the difference between hosting the regional or even making the NCAA's altogether.

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    1. Many conferences have this format, so it's not like PSAC is the very first. They play home-and-home with their division and some play all teams from other division and some play a handful of teams from it.

      I am still highly in favor of the change. Now, if you lose against an opponent from the opposite division you can't just say "well, at least it doesn't count in the standings" and move on... now the teams have to really focus on improving after a cross-division loss.

      Regular season records does matter a lot, which is why the games should count. With the exception of tournament games or some early non-conference "tune-ups", why play a game that has no real bearing on your record? I'd say that when the teams look at the schedule and see they have to play East Stroudsburg, IUP, West Chester, etc. they don't say "why do we have to play all of these good teams? Why can't we play Shippensburg, Clarion, and Cheyney?" They look at it and say "tough schedule... will help us prepare for the long run".

      As far as being imbalanced, the PSAC can't predict who's going to be good what year. Gannon could play Clarion, Shippensburg, Cheyney, Mansfield, etc. and those teams could end up being the best teams in the PSAC this year. Obviously, IUP and ESU are always up there, but they could have an off year too.

      All in all, I'm glad it now counts.

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  13. Seems like the rounders are waking up and itching for a new blog subject.

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  14. It is a shame that we are losing Mark Richard. Ever since Doug Elwell we have had a lot of turnover at the Athletic Directors position. To have a successful athletic program it is important to have continuity at this position.

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  15. I think ol' Shermy is and has been ready.

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  16. taking nothing away from Mr. Richard... I've dealt with the Athletic Dept. several times for different events and collaborations and Mr. Sherman is ALWAYS the one we've dealt with and knows his stuff. I'd agree with GU Fanman that he's more than ready

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  17. Sarah Grab-Skelton resigns as women's basketball assistant to take teaching job at Iroquois school district.

    http://www.gannonsports.com/news/2014/6/24/WBB_0624145555.aspx

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    1. loss for the program, but good for her! Wonder if she'll soon become Iroquois Head Coach...?!

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  18. http://espn.go.com/ncb/notebook/_/page/top50coaches9/no-9-michigan-john-beilein

    Former LeMoyne coach John Beilein voted the #9 coach in men's college basketball, according to ESPN. He finished ahead of the likes of Thad Matta, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Sean Miller, among many other big-name coaches.

    Many of you like me remember his LeMoyne teams from the 80's & early 90s. Loved to watch them.

    Which brings me to my question -- who's been the most successful opposing coach ever to visit the Hammermill Center. For my money, it's Beilein. It's hard to match the success he's had at West Virginia and Michigan. One trip to the national championship game and two other Elite 8 appearances. Some of you have been around longer than I have. Any others I'm forgetting?

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    1. Hard to argue against Beilin. Couple other notables......Cheyney State's John Chaney had a great run at Temple. John Thompson was coaching Georgetown when Gannon upset the Hoyas in the Porreco Cup.

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  19. For those round headers who follow the Knights on the road. Clarion is getting set for an upgrade to Tippin Gym. Total package @$45M
    http://www.clariongoldeneagles.com/index.aspx?path=tippin

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    1. Now if they could only upgrade the team that will be playing in it.

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  20. Hopefully none of the GU hoops fans here are Brazilian. If so, you're probably still in the fetal position after the thrashing by Germany.

    The Brazil loss got me trying to think of a Gannon hoops equivalent (well, nothing will match Brazil soccer losing like that in the World Cup, but the closest thing) -- getting completely trounced at home in an important game -- bonus points the more heavily Gannon was favored -- I have two in mind; I'm sure that the astute posters here can come up with others.

    1985: Philly Textile 99, Gannon 64 in the MCC championship game. At last Gannon got an NCAA bid and went to South Dakota State.

    2001: Mercyhurst 84, Gannon 62. A favored Gannon team had a double-digit win streak against the Hurst broken at home in an important January GLIAC encounter. The game really wasn't even that close. I remember just wanted to get up and leave the game. (The good news is that we got MC back in February with late 9-2 run to restore order to the Erie basketball universe. GU eventually went on to the GLIAC title game that season and got an NCAA bid. )

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