Monday, December 3, 2012

Nightmare at Arrowhead

Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Early Saturday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs organization had a disappointing season take a tragic turn for the worse. General manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel were at work early Saturday making final preparations for Sunday’s game with the Carolina Panthers. The tandem received a phone call telling them to hurry to the parking lot.

The men exited the building to find 25-year-old linebacker Jovan Belcher standing on the other side of the exit doors holding a gun to his head. They engaged in a conversation with Belcher, ending with Belcher thanking them for giving him a chance to play in the NFL. That would be the final words Belcher would say as the four-year player took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The beginning of this tragic morning started just as it ended for Belcher, unfortunately with another person losing their life. Kasandra Perkins, 22, was shot several times in her home Saturday morning. She was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The unfortunate connection in both deaths was Belcher himself.

Belcher shot Perkins several times in her home after the couple had a dispute. Perkins was Belcher’s girlfriend and mother of his three-month-old daughter. Authorities have yet to release information on a motive for the murder-suicide, only noting the couple had been arguing frequently.

Kansas City mayor Sly James commented to the Kansas City Star regarding the tragedy at Arrowhead. “He’s trying to do his job under probably more adverse circumstances than he’s ever seen in his life,” James said of Pioli. “He knows all the players. He knows that particular player; he’s very emotional.”

James could not imagine of being in Pioli or Crennel’s shoes, adding: “You have absolutely no idea of what it’s like to see somebody kill themselves. If you can take your worst nightmare and put somebody you know and love into that situation, and give them a gun and stand 3 feet from them and watch them kill themselves, that’s what it is like.”

“It’s unfathomable. Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five,” James said.

Players and friends of Belcher were stunned by the news, adding that he appeared happy in life and was a model citizen and a happy father.

Belcher’s agent, Joe Linta, told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on Saturday: “Javon was a happy, proud father, with pictures of his baby on his Facebook page. This is shocking. Something went crazy wrong, and we’ll probably never know what it is.”

“I never take on anyone as a client I wouldn’t be proud to take home and spend time with my wife and kids,” Linta said to King. “Jovan was one of those type of people. There’s no word for this other than shocking. That’s all I can think of.”

While there are numerous victims in this tragedy, no one has been affected more than the three-month-old infant who is now orphaned and will never have the opportunity to know her mother and father.

Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn told the Kansas City Star the team was so stunned, it was hard to digest what had happened.

“It’s hard mostly because I keep thinking about what I could have done to stop this,” Quinn said. “I think everyone is wondering whether we would have done something to prevent this from happening.”

The unfortunate part of this tragedy is so many unknowns that may never be answered. Rather than to provide judgment in this horrific event, the victims should be the main concern moving forward. Pioli and Crennel witnessed something they will never forget and a three-month-old infant is left without her mother and father.

Having children of my own, this story hit close to the heart. I pray that this innocent girl will find happiness in her life and that she will be cared and provided for. Reports were discussed this morning that the Chiefs’ organization plans on playing a substantial role in her care.

No matter how one choses to remember Jovan Belcher, he is and always will be a murderer. However, the true reasoning that lead to this event may never be known.

No one plans for an accident, hence the reasoning of the name. While it is easy to point fingers and cast judgment, the events that occurred cannot be reversed. Only events in the present and future can be changed and learning from mistakes in the past can prevent future reoccurrences.

Depression and suicide are states of mind that may lead one to do something out of the ordinary. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States claiming over 38,000 lives each year as reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Persons considering suicide or to learn more about the signs and symptoms of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or online at or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morehead State's head coach returns from suspension

MSU Head Coach Sean Woods
Passion is an element in life that can cause one to lose control of one’s emotions and react in an unacceptable manner. For first-year Morehead State men’s head basketball coach Sean Woods, his passion for the game of basketball overtook his emotions and allowed him to react to a situation in a manner that Morehead State Athletic Director Brian Hutchinson claimed was “unacceptable.”

Woods is a legend in the state of Kentucky. He was a member of the 1992 East Regional final team and scored 21 points against Duke in one of the most memorable games in the history of NCAA basketball. He was named SWAC Coach of the Year last season and earned the prestigious Ben Jobe Award, which honors the top minority coach in NCAA Division I men’s college basketball. He led Mississippi Valley State into the NCAA tournament last season after finishing with a record of 21-13 overall, 17-1 in the SWAC. While Woods’ resume speaks for itself, his action last Wednesday night in Lexington, Ky., were deemed out of line.

During the game against his alma-mater, Woods shoved one of his players who had fouled out of the game and was slow to leave the court. After the altercation, Morehead State suspended Woods for one game for his action during the contest.

“My behavior during Wednesday night’s game was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Woods said. “I value the opportunity I have been given as the head men’s basketball coach at Morehead State. I am passionate about the young man on our team and the opportunity we have together. I care for them deeply. I can assure our student-athletes, university community, alumni and fans that anything approaching this type of situation will not happen again.”

The rest, according to Woods, is history and he and the university are ready to move on from the mistake; although, do not expect Woods’ passion to fade away.

Woods style of coaching is labeled as out of control by some and complete passion by others. Woods prefers the later of the two and is quick to explain why he brings passion to the court every day.

“Basketball is a game of expression,” Woods said. “Play with emotion and a reason. If you don’t have any type of expression, you don’t need to be on the court.”

Forced from the sidelines Monday night, Woods had to watch his team endure a battle with Norfork State without him at the controls of the ship. Morehead State overcame 16 lead changes and seven ties in the contest to eventually secure a 73-67 victory. Woods praised his staff and players for sticking together and finding a way to get the win.

“We found a way,” Woods said. “Playing under distress and with emotion brings us as a program closer and makes us more relentless. It shows me that everyone is looking at the big picture.”

People make mistakes every day, some more serious than others, but for Woods, his mistake was one that he has acknowledged and is ready to move on. How a person reacts after admitting a mistake is often how one is remembered. Woods would not comment about the episode during the Kentucky game, but provided his thoughts about his future with Morehead State basketball. “I have to be Sean Woods and do what is best for my team,” Woods said. His new beginning starts tonight inside the Cam-Henderson Center as his Eagles travel to Huntington to battle the Herd for the first time since 2007. While Woods admits he must stay under control, he admits you can never be too passionate about something you love.

“I bring passion to my team,” Woods said. “It’s contagious and that’s how my team plays. When I see my players reflecting my passion, it’s gratifying.”

Monday, November 12, 2012


HUNTINGTON, W.Va—Marshall women’s volleyball played itself into a corner after losing seven straight games and not winning a match in nearly a month. This weekend inside the Cam Henderson Center, Marshall not only got out of the losing corner, but it played itself into the Conference USA tournament. Marshall was 16-12 on the season and 6-8 in conference play before the matchup Friday night against Tulane, needing wins against both Tulane and Sunday opponent UTEP. Marshall wasted little time righting the ship.
In its first home game in three weeks, Marshall swept Tulane in three straight sets, (25-17, 25-21, 25-17), never letting the Green Wave to establish itself in the matchup. Marshall’s fast-paced offense kept Tulane off-balance the entire matchup, providing the Herd opportunities to score early and often.
Marshall’s 13 service aces combined with 37 kills and a .216 hitting percentage proved too much for Tulane to handle.
Marshall head coach Mitch Jacobs said it was Marshall’s service that kept Tulane out of system. “I felt like we put a lot of pressure on Tulane in the service game,” Jacobs said. “We were able to come out and play defense consistently. Better than that, we were on both sides of the ball. We played decent on offense and defense. When mistakes were made, we didn’t harp on them and moved on. We executed in key times.”
Junior Laura Der with the attack.
Marshall was led by outside hitter Laura Der with 15 kills, three service aces and nine digs, while finishing with a .244 hitting percentage. Sophomore Katie Potts collected four kills on a .300 hitting percentage, while dropping in three service aces. Freshman Lauren Legge lead the team in services aces, collecting a career high four.
Der praised the play of both underclassmen. “Potts is a great role player,” Der said. “She may not score a lot of points, but she isn’t going to go out and make a bunch of errors. She added so much in today’s match. Lauren has played four different positions this season as a freshman and is always willing to just step in and do what she can to help the team.”
Tulane offensive attack was smothered by the Herd defense, not collecting a single player with double digit kills while having a .083 hitting percentage.
Before Sunday’s matchup with UTEP, Marshall was in a four way tie in the conference at 7-8, tied with Houston, Memphis, and SMU. Although Marshall had many different ways to play its way in, the goal was simple, just win. A Marshall win and the worst possible outcome could be a number 8 seed in the tournament next week in Tulsa.
Before the contest began, seniors Katy Schad and Andrea Snipes-Booker were honored during “Senior Day” inside the Henderson Center. While it was a special day for the seniors, it would prove to be special day for the entire team.
Junior Dorothy Rahal digs a ball.
Marshall combined a fierce offensive attack with stellar defensive play, seemingly having the UTEP players guessing at where the next ball would be. UTEP was led by junior Jeane Horton with 14 kills, but Marshall’s defense kept the junior off-balance most of the contest, sweeping the Miners in three sets.
Junior Laura Der found a rhythm early in the first set and her team was quick to follow her lead. “I try to lead by example of my play on the court,” Der said. “I may not be the most vocal person on the court, but I try to let my hustle and speak for itself.”
Der produced the most kills by a league player in three sets, earning 22 in the three set sweep. Her performance in the matchup made her the second ranked player in C-USA in kills and points. Horton finished third.
The Herd finished the match with an average side-out percentage of 76.3, including 82 percent in the final stanza. UTEP never broke 60 percent in the contest.
Marshall head coach Mitch Jacobs was pleased with his team’s effort and its ability to play its way into the tournament.  “Our service game came back pretty strong,” Jacobs added. “UTEP just didn’t look like the team we have seen on tape. You can credit our kids for playing really hard with their backs against the wall, knowing it could be win or be out of the tournament today. We played as if it was tournament time.”
The Herd had three players finish with over a .400 hitting percentage in the match providing an answer to every UTEP attack. Der, Byous-McConnell and Potts lead the Marshall attack that totaled 49 total kills and scored its highest hitting percentage of the season.
Although the offense was firing on all cylinders, Marshall’s defense held the UTEP counter-attack in check, allowing Marshall to control the tempo of the game.
Senior Katy Schad on the attack.
While noted for her offensive productions in most of this season’s contest, senior Katy Schad provided 20 digs while posting 10 kills, recording the games only double-double in her final game inside the Henderson Center.
“They didn’t ace us tonight,” Jacobs added. “If you look back at our stats from weeks past when we were really on a roll, we would have five, six, seven or more aces against our opponent. Tonight was more like that serve and pass game. We didn’t get aced and they have a few really good servers.”
After losses by Houston, Memphis and SMU, Marshall vaulted into the No. 6 seed and will face UCF Friday night at 8 p.m. ET in the Donald W. Reynolds Center located in Tulsa, Okla. The winner will move on to face the winner of Rice/Houston Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
“Our goal was to make the conference tournament,” Jacob commented. “And we did that. Now we would like to do something in that tournament positive. It’s a long way to go to Tulsa, so let’s go there and enjoy the tournament and get after it.” 
Marshall split with UCF this season, defeating the Knights 3-2 at home and losing 3-1 in Orlando.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Huntington, W.Va—Marshall women’s basketball concluded its exhibition season Sunday with a 67-50 win over Kentucky State. Marshall defeated both its opponents in exhibition but the win this weekend was more of what is expected from the program.
“That was a little bit better,” Head Coach Matt Daniel said. “Today’s performance was a little more of what we expect.” Marshall scored the first nine points of the contest, but did not record its first field goal until 5:42 into the first half when sophomore Shay Weaver buried a three-point basket giving Marshall an eight point lead.
Marshall’s offensive attack put Kentucky State into early foul trouble, picking up its seventh team foul before the half-way point of the first half. After senior JoAnna Powell and freshman Taylor Sanders were forced to the bench early with two fouls each, Kentucky State Head Coach Serena King-Coleman turned to her bench for a spark.
Trailing Marshall by 11 just before halfway in the first half, Coleman turned to senior guard Jasmine Davis for a lift, and she gave more than expected. Davis rolled off back-to-back three pointers to cut the lead to three and finished the half as the game’s leading scorer with 10 points.
Marshall’s defensive pressure created 11 Kentucky State turnovers in the first half but managed only 31 points while shooting 32.3 percent from the field going to the locker room with a nine point lead.
Daniel made adjustments at half forcing his team to refocus on the game plan for the matchup. Junior guard Jasmine Shaw led the way for the Herd on both sides of the court. With 15:10 remaining in the game and Kentucky State trimming the lead to five, Shaw forced a turnover by Davis and converted the steal into a three-point basket.
Shaw contributed her preparation for her early season success. “It’s all about practice, working hard, and adjusting to the system,” Shaw said after the victory.
Shaw puts up a jumper in exhibition play.
Kentucky State would make one final push at the six minute mark trimming the lead to six, but Marshall’s defense created its offense, giving the Herd four fast-breaks resulting in lay-ups and its biggest lead of the game of 15 points. “We took a two possession game to a 10 possession game simply because of our focus,” Daniel added.
Daniel applauded the manner his team conclude the game in his “Full-Tilt” philosophy. “If players want to play one-on-one, they can do that tomorrow,” Daniel added. “Teams will play one on five against Marshall.”
Weaver put the final exclamation point on the win after draining a three-point bucket, running the lead to 20 and giving Marshall its largest lead of the game.
“When you are prepared, things go so much smoother,” Daniel said. “Game day is a celebration of preparation.”
Marshall had 10 players score in the contest as Shaw led the way with a game-high 18 points, nine which came from behind the arc. Weaver added 11 shooting 3-5 from behind the arc. Marshall finished the game shooting 41.1 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from behind the arc and 77.8 percent from the foul line.
Marshall’s starts its regular season at home Friday against Radford with a noon tip-off.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daniel Announces Staff

HUNTINGTON, W. Va.—Marshall Women’s head basketball coach Matt Daniel has a lot of new faces to learn around the locker room in his first season with the Herd; however, there will be two faces he already knows. Daniel selected two of his former assistants from the University of Central Arkansas to join his staff at Marshall.
Tony Kemper was hired as the associate head coach for Daniel’s team, a position he is very familiar with. Kemper worked for Daniel for two years in the same role he will perform at Marshall.
While at Central Arkansas, Kemper shared Daniel’s success, winning 45 games, making two trips to the postseason and winning a (Southland) conference championship. Daniel is excited to have Kemper on the staff.
Prior to Kemper’s time with Daniel, he served as an assistant coach for the Central Arkansas men’s team for four years. Kemper also worked as an assistant coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College—a program known for its success at the junior college level.
A face that Daniel will be familiar with is newly hired assistant coach Caronica Randle. Daniel’s familiarity with Randle is largely in part of the time she has served as an assistant in his program. Randle knows Daniel’s expectations for the program well.
“She has been with me since the day I became a head coach, and she is considered a family member to my family,” said Daniel.
Before Randle began coaching she was a standout for Central Arkansas. Randle finished as the school’s No. 3 career scorer (2,089 points) and all-time leader in free throws made and attempts.
Randle played a major impact on the recruiting while at Central Arkansas, bringing in the Southland conference’s Freshman and Player of the Year during her first two seasons.
“I am eager to learn more and expand my knowledge of the game of basketball since I feel that there is always room to grow when you have a passion for something you love,” said Randle.
Daniel’s final addition to his staff was Tamisha Augustin. Prior to joining the Herd, Augustin spent two seasons as an assistant at South Carolina State, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Augustin gained her coaching experience at Bethel High School in Hampton, Va. She spent two years with the school coaching the girls’ varsity team to a 15-11 record. Augustin also coached the Georgia Metro Nike Travel Team from 2006-08.
Augustin spent her college career at Alabama A&M University and was a two-time All-SWAC selection. Her skills provided an opportunity to play for the professional club KSC-Szekszard (Hungary) during the 2008-09 seasons. Her career with the club was interrupted by an injury.
“Coach Daniel has built a staff with a lot of charisma and great character; I believe this will lead to a championship,” Augustin said.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marshall Looks to Build in Rivalry Games

HUNTINGTON, W.VA.—Marshall Women’s basketball team attempts to avenge disappointing losses last season to rival opponents Ohio and West Virginia. Marshall travels to Charleston Dec. 4 to battle WVU after a devastating loss in January, 69-57 in the Capital City Classic. Ohio will visit Marshall in the Cam Henderson Center in December.
Marshall’s success will rely on juniors Jasmine Shaw and Erica Woods to defeat these rivals and contend for the postseason. Shaw averaged six points a game last season and Woods led the team with 6.7 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. Marshall has not beaten WVU since 2005.
WVU returns its top performers of last season’s game, something that does not bode well for the Herd’s chances for a win in Charleston. Junior Taylor Palmer led all scorers with 17 points. Juniors Brooke Hampton added 14 points and Christal Caldwell nearly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Marshall’s top performers from last year’s game graduated in May, leaving some questions about how the team will fare against the veteran WVU team. West Virginia leads the series 34-16.
Marshall clashes with the Ohio Bobcats on Dec. 15 as the Herd returns home for the first time in more than a month. Marshall trails Ohio 24-17 in this series and its last win against the Bobcats was 78-74 during the 2007 season in Athens. Likewise, Marshall has not defeated Ohio at the Henderson center in nearly a decade, an 86-63 victory in 2004.
Last season in Athens, seniors Porsha Harris and Tenishia Benson torched the Herd for 14 and 11 points each, respectively, and both grabbed 13 rebounds in a 68-56 win. This season, the Bobcats will rely on senior guard Shavon Robinson, who added 12 points in last season’s victory.
Coach Matt Daniel returns three juniors from last season bidding to turn this series around. Guards Jasmine Shaw, Erica Woods and forward Suporia Dickens led Marshall’s charge in last season’s game, ultimately falling short.
In his first season at Marshall, Daniel has inherited a team loaded with juniors and seniors. He hopes to benefit from the maturity of the team and return the program to a winning tradition.
Daniel wants to attract a great deal of attention to his program during his inaugural season. Collecting victories over WVU and Ohio would not only attract attention to the program, but provide a springboard for the program to launch into conference play.
These two games will provide a measuring stick for Daniel and his program. A win would have the program moving in the right direction; however, another loss would leave the program stuck in neutral and Daniel searching for a way to drive forward.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Matt Daniel takes control of Marshall Women's Basketball

HUNTINGTON, W.Va – Marshall Women’s basketball program has a new head coach. Matt Daniel was named the new coach of the team and has already left his mark. Daniel has been seen in the halls of the Henderson Center wearing bright green shoes while in plaid Bermuda shorts the following day. The 35-year-old Daniel is not trying to win a contest, but rather he wants his program to stand out. Daniel admits his program will stand out as loud as it can while he tries to build it stronger.
Daniel’s move from Central Arkansas to Marshall brings a new conference and unique problems to overcome. Daniel’s philosophy has been labeled as “Home of Higher Hoops,” although many just think it is nothing more than hot air. Daniel debates this is nothing but a belief system and anything is possible that you believe in.
With a program that seems stuck in neutral at 581-581, any positive would be a win for Daniel. Daniel has been around programs all around the country and is a second generation coach. In Coach Daniel’s first press conference he laid the foundation of how his program would operate, “There are two things we won’t do. We won’t do anything illegal, and we won’t do anything immoral. That’s our intention. Now, we’ll make mistakes I’m sure, as everybody does, but our heart will always be in the right place with the big picture of Marshall in mind.”