Statute on Statues & Other Tidbits

Before we dive in to the main post for the day, I promised some follow-ups from yesterday and I want to ensure that I get to them. So, let’s get through the housekeeping:

‘Cats Spring Game Big Ten Network Coverage

I know all of you that are in the area will be making it to the Spring Game on Saturday. But for those displaced ‘Cats fans, good news. The Big Ten Network is all over it.  The game will be streamed live on www.BigTenNetwork.com at 1 pm et/12pm ct.  That night the BTN crew of Revsine, Dinardo and Griffith will be hosting  Big Ten Spring Football Report at 8pm et/7pm ct on BTN. Additionally, the ‘Cats Spring Game will be telecast Monday April 18 on the BTN at 8pm et/7pm ct. Former ‘Cat QB Brett Basanez and Ted Albrecht will be assigned co-hosting duties. Baz has a gift at the mic and is fun to listen to while Ted, well, if you don’t have anything nice to say…

Jaeschke Update

Congratulations to Northwestern women’s hoopster, Amy Jaeschke, who became the first Wildcat to be drafted in the WNBA yesterday.  The honorable mention All-American was selected by the hometown Chicago Sky with the 27th overall pick (3rd round).  She was the fourth pick in the draft by the Chicago Sky.  For a full report click here and read the coverage at www.nusports.com.

Secondary Shape?

Fitz has said every spot is up for grabs on defense. Well, we know with relative certainty that DE Vince Browne (who racked-up another preseason award with a spot on the Go Daddy.com All-America list last week) and CB Jordan Mabin are locks.  But, I’ll be interested to key on the secondary on Saturday.  Jeravin Matthews seems to have earned a starting spot opposite Mabin and you’ve got to figure Brian Peters is in the driver’s seat at one safety spot.  The other safety spot s seems to be up for grabs still.  A host of guys like David Arnold, Jared Carpenter have game experience and are battling. Plus a guy like RS Fr Ibraheim Campbell has been making noise in the secondary.  I feel with LB Ben Johnson on crutches and several others dinged up the LB corps is still the most wide open unit.  You can bank on the fact that the defensive roster will not be resolved at the conclusion of spring practice.  It will be interesting to see who emerges as the starting lineup for BC, but knowing Fitz and Hank, the starter tag is just that, and you can bet we’ll be rotating quite a few guys in to game situations early. What are you honing in on for Saturday?

Marketing 101

This Sun-Times article by Tina Akouris certainly didn’t break any new news on NU marketing. However, it is a concise piece to encapsulate the impact of year one with a proactive campaign and a slightly above average on field product did.  It can also be a recruiting tool for us to send to our respective friends about the up arrow in buzz at NU.

Back to the main post…

Ahh, statues.  Is it me or is the trend du jour creating statues for sports figures? As a kid, I always associated statues in a Sixth Sense sort of way – I associated them with dead people.  Yet, in the past month, I’ve been bombarded with news articles and photo ops that include quite the opposite – tributes to recently retired players.  Scottie Pippen got his buzz-generating bronze replica at a Bulls game a couple weeks ago.  The Cubs will unveil a Ron Santo statue on August 10 and are quickly running out of real estate and/or corners to pay homage to greats.  Teddy Greenstein recently  had an entertaining Q&A with Nebraska AD, Tom Osborne, who admitted to being embarassed by walking by it every day and wished he had a way to make it pop in the ground when he walked by, but yet was accessible to fans when they wanted it.  Then, this weekend, the unveiling of three statues at Florida to honor Heisman trophy winners Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow caught my eye.  Turns out, it was Tebow’s eye that generated buzz as the detail of the sculpture included his famous ode to scripture with the “John 3:16” in the eye black.  I did a double-take as the erection of statues in honor of a 20-something made me realize that we’re in a new age of tributes.  Doesn’t there need to be some adherence to an unwritten rule of a tad bit of time before we start putting up permanent tributes? I realize Tebow will likely go down as one of the greatest college football players ever, but c’mon.

Darren Everson of the WSJ went down this exact path last fall.  In this article he takes the same tone I’m taking (or I should say vice versa) as he incredulously inquired to how low the bar has become for statue-worthy subjects.  Jason White at Oklahoma has one and yet still looks as though he can’t grow a beard.  A Sam Bradford one is soon to be revealed. Nick Saban got one for winning a national title and I hope they have it with wheels, as the carpet-bagging coach will sure to be somewhere else soon, likely when NCAA sanctions come to town.

I’m old school in this regard.  If Dan Persa were to do something like win the Heisman in 2011 I’d advocate we wait at LEAST until he gets elected in to his own school’s HOF which has a minimum five year wait period from the completion of graduation.  However, the statute on statues did cause me to really think about the imminent stadium renovations I’m expecting.  You can bet that any plans for a facelift to Ryan Field include some type of grander entrance or approach.  I can’t think of a stadium in Big Ten country that doesn’t have a welcoming entrance/facade that is the go-to meeting spot. These areas are usually homages to the past and include a statue.  Northwestern’s only bronze bust in and around Ryan Field is the venerable Wildcat statue that is perched in the south end zone.  So, who should get the immortalization treatment when we do renovate?

I have two and only two to date.  The first would be Otto Graham.  He’s unquestionably the most decorated athlete in NU Athletics’ history and worthy of a stadium name.  His collegiate exploits were incredible as a multi-sport and musical star.  His post-collegiate career only enhanced the undergraduate feats as the man played 11 years at the professional level (one year of pro ball in which the Rochester Royals won the pro hoops title) and was in the championship every single season, winning eight titles. He was back-to-back pro football MVP (’47, ’48) and widely regarded as one of the best NFL QBs of all-time.  The man’s jersey isn’t even retired at Northwestern! I think it is time we package up the tribute to Otto around the new stadium renovation, build the Otto Graham plaza (heck, I’d name the stadium after him unless someone helps foot the bill for the potentially massive overhaul), put up a statue and retire his #48 and call it a day.  I wonder if junior LB Roderick Goodlow has any idea about the history of the number he is wearing this season?

The only other statue I would cast would be in honor of Gary Barnett. Let’s cut to the chase.  Barnett’s tarnished legacy at Colorado where alleged recruiting trip improprieties occurred by his staff on his watch and a dumb comment about a female placekicker have zero to do with Northwestern.  In Barnett’s time at Northwestern he proved to do what was said to be impossible.  Barnett is the Herb Brooks of college football in my mind.  Based on the constant influx of CFB scandals that are daily newswire material, I’m still stunned at the seemingly blackball treatment GB received.  I’m not condoning the ethics of his staff/players at Colorado, but something is a tad off in the ending to the whole story.  Barnett was everything you could’ve ever wanted at Northwestern. He turned an entire culture around, celebrated academic achievement and was a stellar representative for the school. 

Sure, Gary sniffed at several of the high profile jobs like Georgia, Notre Dame and Texas when they came knocking.  How is that any different than 99% of the current major DI coaches?  In my mind, none of this takes away what he did at Northwestern.  There would be no potential capital campaign for athletics today if not for Gary Barnett.  Just do yourself a favor and try finishing the following open ended sentences. “If not for Gary Barnett, Northwestern would not….” OK, I’ll see you in a couple of days.  It will take that long.  Barnett is STILL a factor at Northwestern as he is one of Fitz’s confidents.  I still connect with him about once a year and every correspondence comes with one major caveat from him – “I only want to be involved in things that benefit Northwestern and put the best light on the program”.   It is a no-brainer to me that Gary should have his due at Northwestern and is more than statue worthy.  The statute on statue time is due. 

As for Fitz, well, I think we’re likely all aligned on this one.  Wait.  Wait a long time.  No one is denying Fitz was a critical part of Barnett’s turnaround at Northwestern.  Also, there is no denying he is the face of our university and an incredible representative as he is the island of integrity in a sea of college football sharks.  The program is definitely in the right direction and hovering in above-average consistency territory. , However, to be statue worthy, I believe in time. Fitz is hopefully a lifer at NU, but bowl championships and Big Ten titles are what separate the statue worthy from the pack.  Granted, if Fitz is at the helm in 25 years, time plays a role as well. He might only win one or two Big Ten Championships in that tenure, but assuming we’re winning games and doing it the right way, I’ll be the torch bearer for cementing his legacy literally – in bronze. 

There are others that will be worthy down the road. Kelly Amonte-Hiller is a pioneer of a sport and upon retirement from NU she should have one. No doubt about it.  I’m sure you’ll offer some up that I’m not thinking of right now, but the recent barrage of bronze tributes led me to this topic and I net out with only two statues I’d unveil as part of a Ryan Field renovation.  Let’s hear what you have to say.

Landslide Poll

The poll results are in and it was one of our alltime landslides. Check it out…

LTP Poll Question:

How Do You Feel About Potential 12pm ct Start Times This Fall?

  • Love it! (80%, 205 Votes)
  • Indifferent! (15%, 37 Votes)
  • Hate it! (5%, 13 Votes)
  • Total Voters: 255

    • Wildcat86

      LTP, Surprised to see you don’t have Peters as a “lock” as you do Browne and Mabin…

    • Jimgocats93

      Bravo, LTP!
      It’s great to see someone stand up for Gary Barnett! It is oh so much harder to be the pioneer rather than the settler.
      Everything we have now stands on the land that Gary cleared and the foundation he built – and most importantly the success that he brought. If he had not had to work for one of the biggest jerks……no, no let’s be positive….if he had been able to work for a class act like Phillips the story might have been quite different.
      I wish Gary and Mary the best.
      gocatsgo

    • wildcat6

      I would think given the respect and affinity Fitz has for JoePa, he would want to wait as long as Paterno did, and believe that was an appropriate amount of time to wait. Paterno got his statue outside of Beaver Stadium in 2001.

      http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/110201aaa.html

    • wildcat6
    • ravenswood cat

      I am not positive about this, but I am pretty sure that the Northwestern campus does not have any statues at all. There are some sculptures in the Block sculpture garden, sure, but I can’t think of a figure, historical, athletic, educational, or otherwise, who is represented in statue on the Northwestern campus. Not John Evans, not John Paul Stevens, not Steve Albini. I think there are a lot of people connected with the University who might deserve a statue before we start erecting monuments to former athletes and coaches.

    • Lake The Posts

      @db & Wildcat6 – yes, I’ve been tracking the big man from NC closely, just been superstitious about expressing any excitement. Trust me, if we lock him I’ll be doing cartwheels…fingers crossed.

    • Rooge

      I have yet to see a bronze statue of an individual that inspires the reverence intended by the sculptor and his sponsors. This is not the fault of the artist, but the medium. Even when an artist uses a life mask, bronze renders the subject lifeless. Life-sized wax figures are creepy. Life-sized bronzes statues are cold.

      Graham, Barnett and Fitz are not Civil War generals. They deserve something more original and “living” than a bronze statue. Laser-cut 3-D images in crystal, holographic projections and looped HD video highlights might be a place to start. If we are going to rebuild Ryan Field, why make it a me-too venue? Let’s do something unique.

    • Before we start hanging bronzes statues of Otto around his renamed stadium, you better do some homework on Coach Graham. We just might not like what we find and some smart sports history buffs could make NU a running punchline.

    • calmer than you are

      On John Cannon: “He does look to score when receiving the ball in the post up situation and goes aggressively to the hoop.”

      That would a first for recent NU big men. How long will it take Carmody to break him of this habit? (No, I still cannot believe he has been retained.)

    • Drew

      @Lord Willie

      What are you talking about? All I could find was that he coached the Redskins to a record of 17-22-3…

    • Mark

      Holograms of every All -American and Parseghian or do something like the new Minny stadium (although they have the concourse to use there). One shouldn’t be honored by a statue just because they won games, i.e., Barnett. Yes, he did taint his reputation by losing or lowering his standards for himself and his players. I agree about statues in general – they should be only the all time best if you’re even thinking about putting one up. Certainly Graham and Parseghian fit the bill here both by their conduct at NU and afterward and afterward does count.

    • Wildcattack!

      @ravenswood cat
      There are some sculptures outside of Patten. I’d assume they count as sculptures since they don’t appear to be a tribute to any person in particular. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NU_Patten_Gymnasium.JPG

    • LookGoodInPurple

      @Wildcat86: If Peters plays like he did at the end of the 2010 season, I wouldn’t have him “locked” for anything.

    • I believe that the winningest coach in NU history deserves some sort of permanent recognition – Fencing Coach Lawrence “Laurie” Schiller. He has well over 1,000 wins plus he’s a class act.

      Go Cats!

    • Munj

      How about Kristen Kjellman?

    • Alaskawildcat

      @ ravenswood cat

      You didn’t really get through 4 years at Northwestern without a visit to the Shakespeare Garden? To my knowledge, The Bard is our one and only statue on campus.

    • Alaskawildcat

      LTP – could you add Matt Hartl to your poll list of proposed persons meriting a statue? Not only does he pays your “statute of limitations” test, but he epitomizes attributes that I believe every Northwestern student athlete would want to emulate. My guess is if you contacted Gary Barnett he would willingly swap his place on a pedestal allowing Matt to be his proxy.

    • Alaskawildcat

      Actually, the statue I would really prefer would not be a single person or a bust, but rather a threesome that would tell a story. Matt Hartl would be the featured individual with Matt positioned blocking for Darnell Autry as Coach Barnett crouches on the sideline.

      Here is a link describing Matt Hartl’s Rose Bowl season role:

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1010887/index.htm

    • PastorCat

      I’d be all for a Barnett statue. I was at the basketball game when he was introduced as our new head coach. He confidently proclaimed, “We’re taking the purple to Pasadena!” I got a good laugh out of it at the time…didn’t this guy know our history?

      Anyone that can change a culture of losing that quickly (without getting dragged into a major scandal) is statue-worthy.

    • HartlCat46

      @Alaskawildcat
      Wow! Now there is a great thought! I love the shout out to Matt as I think it is so important that people know what an amazing person her really was and recognize the great impact he had on our Championship teams weather he was on the field our battling Hodgkin ’s disease. Anyone on that Rose Bowl team would tell you that.

      I love your idea for a statue of more than just one player. How about the enter ’95 team, beginning with the key members (i.e Coach Barnett, Autry, Fitzgerald, Schnur, Hartl & Bates) and highlighting the rest of the team behind them (Rice, Waterman, Beazley, Kardos, Ray, Dailey, Roby, Drexler, Johnson, Lozowski…. I could go on all day!). Let’s pay homage to that one special year in all of our lives that for many of us, like an 11 year old me, changed our lives forever.

    • Lake The Posts

      @alaska cat – great idea on the ’95 montage with Darnell, Hartl and GB. I was a huge fan of Hartl and had the chance to interview him and do a feature on him before he passed away. He was a class act all the way and made me proud to be an NU grad as he was everything you’d want to be in a person from what I could tell.

    • Michael

      I would love to see NU erect a statue of Paul Flatley’s one-handed grab vs. Notre Dame in ’62. Not because Flatley was one of the two of three greatest NU players ever, but because the game is so significant in NU lure and its a great image.

      http://hailtopurple.com/features/w1962.JPG

    • Sir Cat

      Ron Burton. A player so great that he contributed to the ’95 team without playing a down.