Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Nacho: Cap'n Pappy graduated from Davidson in, like, 1912 or something. He gives us his take on his beloved Wildcats, whether we ask for it or not...
Cap'n Pappy: Back in the spring of '69, just a couple of months before Neil Armstrong would take "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind", I thought I would check the roundball team of the college I would be attending in the coming fall. I mean, how good could they really be? A small group of their students with Rhett Butler accents had just won the College Bowl (kind of a nerd's version of Jeopardy) where college students competed against each other in answering obscure questions about history, archeology, and literature, beating Harvard, Yale, Penn and others. So I adjusted the rabbit ears, the vertical and horizontal on the TV set, and then WALKED BACK ACROSS THE ROOM to sit down (yes our version of the remote at the time was to get your little brother or sister to walk up to the TV and change the channel).
Cap'n, cont'd: Well, it turns out that it was Lefty Driesell's last season at Davidson and Charlie Scott of Carolina would score at the buzzer over the outstretched arms of Wildcat defenders at the top of the key to advance Carolina to the Final 4 from the East Regional (back in the day when ONLY the conference champion went the to the Big Dance). Terry Holland took over from Lefty and my school of 1170 students would continue what would become its perennial advance to the NCAA tournaments during my tenure there. Since I was a Floridian, I had me some learnin to do about ACC basketball and Davidson basketball. Yeah I knew the SEC and Adolph Rupp and the Duke teams of the mid 60's with Marin, Vacendak, and a guy named Jeff Mullins (who would later coach at UNCC). When I got to Davidson I had to memorize the local traditions: Snyder, Hetzel, Huckle, and yes, Terry Holland. I'll never forget the road trips into the Olde Charlotte Coliseum (a 50's vintage building that looked that the UFO that Michael Rennie emerged from in "The Day the Earth Stood Still") to watch Cook, Kroll, Kirley, Malloy, and Bryan Adrian match up against South Carolina with Roach, Riker, and Ribock, and the Tar Heels when Dean Smith had hair. We loved having Carolina students visit the Davidson campus so we could whistle and shout out "Here, Dean" to the lab running around campus (Terry Holland named his dog Dean Smith). Mike Malloy's fro was way better than Will Ferrell's.
I never thought I'd live long enough to see the Cats challenge the power schools again. I cannot tell you how much I love that the Hornets legacy of Dell Curry/Stephen Curry whipped the butts of Ewing Jr./ and JT3. I ran into a die-hard Hokie fan in an airport last weekend who was disconsolate that Va Tech's coach Greenberg offered the younger Curry a possible scholarship beginning in the sophomore year if he would walk on as a freshman. That's only 30 ppg (or is it per half) the Hokies are missing this year. Not to men tion a very nice character antidote to Michael and Marcus Vick. I also love it that Bob McKillop is following in the tradition of Lefty Driesell and Terry Holland in recruiting outside the box. Lefty was one of the first guys to comb the entire country to find a few guys who wouldn't mind moving from Ohio, Florida, NYC, or Australia to Davidson NC to play college hoops and drink beer at Hattie's Truck Stop. McKillop has just expanded Lefty's Davidson horizons to become a global recruiter (Europe/Africa/Australia). Just a note to the Badgers (the next bowl of Cat-food): how many languages can you talk trash in?