Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 10/25/14

Nice gesture by Yale last weekend--honoring Penn football coach Al Bagnoli prior to coaching his final game at the Yale Bowl. Bagnoli is retiring at the end of this season after coaching at Penn for 23 years. Yale head coach Tony Reno and athletic director Tom Beckett met Al at midfield in a pre-game ceremony--exchanging pleasantries and presenting him with a packaged retirement gift. Bagnoli will go down as one of the great Ivy League coaches in history--having won nine outright titles. Altogether (he started his coaching career at Union), he is one of a handful of coaches in FCS history to record over 200 career wins. Best of luck, Coach Bagnoli--and kudos to the folks at Yale for recognizing the accomplishments of such a tremendous coach/gentleman..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1988 Detroit Lions--who finished 4-12 under head coaches Darryl Rogers and Wayne Fontes--were led in rushing by a running back who would play just three years in the NFL. Can you name this former LSU product? Answer to follow..........Speaking of Penn, the school's band started playing Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" at one point during last week's game at the Yale Bowl. Now THAT's a song you will NOT heard played very often at a college football game--if EVER. Sounded GOOD, too!..........Still waiting to hear back from the lovely Christie Brinkley regarding a decade-long invitation to play tennis. Can it be that she's simply been out of the country for the majority of that time and doesn't read sports columns on a regular basis?..........Did you know that the 2006 Oakland Raiders' highest TD total in a single game was just three--and they accomplished that just ONCE the entire season? It happened during Week 3 when they lost to Cleveland--and ONE of those touchdowns was by the defense. Oh, yes, they scored just 168 points that year--dead last in the NFL..........ITEM: Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene is arrested after he allegedly parked in a handicapped space. Instead of accepting the penalty of a simple parking ticket, Greene chose to speed away from the scene and now faces MULTIPLE charges. Call me judgmental, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and state that Green was NOT enrolled in advanced microbiology courses while he was attending Iowa between 2005 and 2008..........I used to think that a Tom Seaver slider was the ultimate thing of beauty. That all changed the other day when I saw a picture of actress/model Sofia Vergara decked out in a Ruben Singer gown while at a recent event in New York City. BREATHTAKING, folks; so sorry, "Tom Terrific"..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a college football game played in Kentucky last weekend, Murray State annihilated Kentucky Wesleyan 86-29; the winning squad totaled a whopping 720 yards of offense in this game. Incredibly, this match-up was still competitive at halftime--with MSU holding a 41-29 lead. Yes, folks--that means Murray State outscored Kentucky Wesleyan 45-0 in the SECOND HALF. I can only think of two scenarios that would explain the second half dominance of the winning team: 1) MSU must have REALLY been angry at halftime after giving up 29 points and vowed to shut down Kentucky Wesleyan the rest of the way, or 2) The Kentucky Wesleyan starters got on the bus and WENT HOME at halftime--thinking 41-29 was the final score..........The more I read about "character issues" possessed by both Percy Harvin and Marshawn Lynch, the more I am impressed by Pete Carroll and his coaching ability/player management skills after winning the Super Bowl last season..........Answer to trivia question: GARRY JAMES--who rushed for 552 yards (at an average of only three yards per carry); James played in the league from 1986-1988..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former USC swim team coach Peter Daland--who died recently in California at the age of 93 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Daland coached at USC from 1958-1992 and was also an assistant at Yale during the 1950's. Altogether, he won NINE NCAA championships at the southern California school and coached approximately 400 All-Americans. In addition, he coached the U.S. women in the 1964 Olympics and the U.S. men during the '72 Games in Munich--where he mentored the great Mark Spitz. He has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. Yes, the pool at USC's aquatic center now bears the name of this legendary coach. Peter Daland is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ingrid, five children, and eight grandchildren. Rest in peace, "Coach."

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 10/11/14

I recently had the opportunity to speak with former NFL wide receiver Eddie Kennison--whose current mission is to find a cure for lupus. An autoimmune disease, Eddie's wife Shimika was diagnosed with the malady back in 2003. Since then, Mr. Kennison has partnered with the ALR (Alliance for Lupus Research)--raising over $90 million in the battle to eradicate this disease. In my various media endeavors, I've come across many "top-shelf" individuals--and Eddie Kennison is surely one of them. Here's wishing Shimika the best of health as both of the Kennisons continue their tremendous humanitarian efforts. For more information on how individuals can join the fight vs. lupus, please visit www.lupusresearch.org.......... TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2006 Detroit Lions--who finished a pathetic 3-13 under coach Rod Marinelli--had a pair of wide receivers on the squad who had more than 1,000 yards receiving apiece. Can you name this duo? Answer to follow..........ITEM: Chinese tennis player Li Na, the reigning Australian Open champion, has announced her retirement at the age of 32--citing various knee surgeries as factors in facilitating her decision. However, two reasons NOT to feel too sorry for Ms. Na: 1) She's earned close to $17 million playing tennis since 2007 and 2) She'll never get writer's cramp while signing her name during any future autograph sessions..........*Scenario: Former NC-Wilmington basketball player Sheila Boles marries Eagles QB Nick Foles, divorces, marries Foles' teammate in Philly, Darren Sproles--divorces again--then weds former MLB pitcher Dickie Noles. She is then known by the full married name of Sheila Boles Foles Sproles Noles..........Two words why success in sports radio has NOTHING to do with journalistic talent, courtesy, and integrity: MIKE FRANCESA..........I used to think that a spiraling football thrown by former NFL quarterback Warren Moon was the ultimate thing of beauty. That all changed the other day when I saw a picture of actress Lea Michele decked out in a revealing, teal-colored gown outside Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre. Umm--sorry, Warren; goodness gracious..........Sad news about Cigar--the great racehorse who died recently at the age of 24 from complications following surgery. The maternal grandson of the great Seattle Slew, Cigar was a "late bloomer"--dominating the horse racing world at the ages of 5 and 6. He was the 1995 and 1996 Horse of the Year and won 16 consecutive races at one point--equaling the mark of the legendary Citation. Famed jockey Jerry Bailey called Cigar "the most talented horse I ever saw", and credited the thoroughbred for being solely responsible for his love of horses. Cigar spent his final 15 years at Lexington's Kentucky Horse Park; I can picture him now running free with his grand-daddy--in an incredibly beautiful setting. Thanks for the memories, Cigar..........How 'bout the pitiful NY Jets last Sunday--who rushed for a GRAND TOTAL of 31 yards vs. Denver (led by QB Geno Smith with 11)? But just when I thought it couldn't get any worse for New York football fans, I tuned in to the Giants game later on ; "Big Blue's" performance that evening made the Jets' effort vs. the Broncos appear to be superhuman. How ugly was the Giants' debacle? Eli Manning was sacked SIX times (he had only been sacked seven times all season entering the game). Umm--the Giants also scored ZERO points, folks. Oh--and Manning's replacement--Ryan Nassib--was sacked an extra couple of times, as well. The topper? The Giants lose Victor Cruz for the remainder of the season with a torn patellar tendon suffered during the third quarter. Truthfully--I'm not a fan of either NY team, but if I WAS, I'd be asking just ONE question this week: Is it 2015 yet????????..........Answer to trivia question: ROY WILLIAMS (1,310) and MIKE FURREY (1,086)..........*O.K.--one more: LPGA golfer Esther Lee marries MLB pitcher Jon Lester, divorces, marries NFL player Devin Hester--divorces again--then walks down the aisle with Indiana high school soccer player Cameron Mester. She is then navigating golf courses with the catchy, rhyming name of Esther Lester Hester Mester..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NFL linebacker Scott Ross--who was recently found dead in a church parking lot in Louisiana; he was just 45. Known for his toughness and hard-nosed approach, Ross was an All-Pac 10 linebacker for USC from 1988-1990 and played briefly for the New Orleans Saints in 1991. Sadly, he later claimed that he suffered immense head trauma while in the NFL due to concussions--and was never treated by doctors at the time. Scott Ross is survived by a daughter, Caroline, his parents (Janie and Marshall), and a brother, Jason. May this former talented football player rest in peace.