January 22, 2007
Vol. 3, No. 4, January 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
JANUARY 22, 2007
any other dealership in the area!
in on you
date as they as
full year as owners
they’ve been able to accomplish.
the No. 1The
the all new,
from the media
want to bebeing
to be treated,”
proven to be
The sporty Eclipse Spyder
it has a Mitsubishi
26,000220 horsepower engine and up to 7-passenger seating, and
still boasts ashowroom
26 MPG highway
In fact, its
Just this summer,
SUV and Raider truck both received best in class awards from
Wood, joined the team
by Dave Sarmadi himself. Every car, whether it’s a BMW
to the dealership
Mercedes-Benz, a Chevy
and is so
nice, it could be parked
the owners are proudsure
“We want to be able to
know they’re good cars,
Take a look at theirrelate
have dedicated considerable
best technicians in the Valley. They currently are expanding
of a file
their service department
their technicians are dealership
of services from maintenance to major service on all makes
promise you can’t go
anywhere else and receive
is unlike any
won’t ﬁnd in
Ranked ahead of Subaru,
Honda and Nissan in JD
Powers & Associates Initial
Quality study among
Ranked ahead of Honda, Nissan,
Ford Explorer and Toyota
Highlander in JD Powers &
Associates Initial Quality study
among Mid-size SUV’s.
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Todd Marcum ........................................... 4
This month’s question answered by
Brent M. Johnson, M.D.
Mike Stevens ........................................... 5
Bob Teitlebaum ...................................... 6
John A. Montgomery ............................ 7
Mike Ashley ............................................ 19
How the Roanoke Valley Got So Good in Volleyball .................... 10
Virginia Western Professor Co-Authors Baseball Book ................11
Keeping Up with Area Football Talent .............................................12
New Basketball Coaches Bring Expertise to Their Jobs ..............14
Salem Catcher Ken Macha Became a Big-League Manager .........15
Wally Beagle, a Legend of the Games ..............................................18
From the Bookshelf ...............3
Question for the Doctor .......3
Natural Health Tip .................7
Ask A Ref ..................................8
Snapshots of the Season ......9
Training Room Tips ..............13
‘So unromantic, he was
romantic — in the end’
“Johnny U: The Life & Times of
John Unitas,” by Tom Callahan.
Crown Publishers. 292 pp. $25.
How good was Johnny U: The Life
& Times of John Unitas?
It was so good I couldn’t
put it down to take any
notes on it for this review.
I just wanted to keep reading. The ﬁrst thing you
need to know about this
book, though, is that it’s
not so much the biography
of famed quarterback John
Unitas as it is an ode to a
place and a time. That place
is Baltimore and the time is
the 1950s and ’60s as the National
Football League was changing
from a rollicking hobby for many
athletes into a true profession.
I’m of an age when I just missed
that heyday, but I remember when
the Colts seemed like the local
team for a lot of fans even here in
Roanoke. Former Virginia Polytechnic Institute stars
George Preas and Buzz
Nutter had a little to
do with that, but more
so the mystique that
was Johnny Unitas
and those Colts was to
He was a rock star
before there were rock
stars, and Tom Callahan, who covered
many of those teams
for The Washington Post, takes you
behind the scenes to capture that
time and that legend of Johnny U.
See REVIEW, Page 16
I fell while mountain biking,
hitting my shoulder against a
fallen log. The pain in my shoulder is gone, but I have a knot
and pain in the front of my
chest. What should I do?
From what you describe, it
seems you may have injured the
sternoclavicular joint. This is
where your clavicle (collarbone)
attaches to the sternum (breastbone). This joint can be sprained
Dr. Brent M. Johnson
or even dislocated. It is an uncommon injury. The clavicle can also be broken (fractured).
If you have pain in the area you mentioned with movement
of your arm on that side, swelling over the area, and/or
tenderness when touched there, see a physician for evaluation and X-rays. It usually requires only time, protection,
and pain control, but occasionally additional treatment is
PLAY BY PLAY
JANUARY 22, 2007
Green environment enhanced premiere
“Now it’s a little tight,” he said.
In my opinion, it looked great.
Haley was one of about 250
alumni and friends of Marshall
who attended the showing.
Melissa Hodge, my good friend
and co-worker, teamed up with
me, Julie Goodman, Susan Martin (both development and marketing officers at Center in the
Square), Sarah Dyess and others
to organize the premiere.
The movie tells the story of the
crash, the rebuilding of the program and the healing of the community.
I can honestly say the Roanoke
premiere of We Are Marshall was
one of the most unforgettable evenings of 2006 for me. Marshall
fans were welcomed by Salem
High School students Natalie and
Ursula Dilley, who manned the
registration table, distributing not
Players in this Issue
John A. Montgomery
P.O. Box 3285, Roanoke, VA 24015
(540) 761-6751 • E-mail: [email protected]
On the Web: www.playbyplayonline.net
©Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. No part of Play by Play may be reproduced
by any means or in any form without written permission from the publisher.
Play by Play is published every fourth Monday. Deadline for submissions
for the February 19 issue is February 5.
X-ﬁles or Terminator 2) played
Marshall head coach Rick Tolley. Tolley, a former Virginia Tech
football player and Ferrum coach,
was portrayed with all the grit you
would expect from a man dedicated to building a winning tradition
where there had been
none. After delivering
a brief speech to the
team on the plane after
a close but losing eﬀort,
the abrupt but tasteful
portrayal of the plane
crash shocked the audience and evoked more
than a few tears. The tissues were a good idea.
Enter Matthew McConaughey’s
portrayal of Jack Lengyl, the coach tasked
with saving a program
Holiday greetings from the Marcums (Trenton,
many would have
Rhonda and Amanda surrounding Todd)
just let die because the
electric. There was an incredible
wounds to the town and university
buzz of anticipation, and the lobwere just too deep. The portrayal
by, with the assistance of the folks
of former Radford University Presat the theatre and some local fans,
ident Donald Dedmon (played by
had been transformed into Herd
David Strathairn), who was the
head man at Marshall at the time,
About 20 people who were actuis enlightening and uplifting. You
ally on campus at the time of the
will have a new respect for Dr.
tragedy were in attendance. Prior
Dedmon after seeing this movie.
to the movie there were lots of
There were lots of diﬀerent kinds
Green greetings, rekindling of old
of Herd fans in attendance — from
relationships and introductions.
Ed Wright, who had been a punEveryone made their way into
ishing running back for the Herd
the theatres where the Northside
in the early ’60s, to alums like
cheerleaders had set aside their
Scott Shirley and Charlie Nimmo,
Viking attire for Marshall gear and
to 7-year-old Gabriel Wimmer,
helped an already enthusiastic
who has adopted the Herd as his
crowd get set for the movie they
own, mainly because there were
had all been waiting for by leadtoo many Hokie fans in his classes
ing a robust cheer of “We Are…
— and they all loved it.
After the ﬁnal credits, there
The movie was great — 10 out
were many hugs exchanged while
of ﬁve stars, from my admittedly
praise was heaped on the movie.
biased perspective. The only probAfterward, several of the faithful,
lem I had was when I would start
including Marshall administralooking at the ﬁlm and say, “Hey,
tors who had made the trip from
that’s the place where my buddy
Huntington, adjourned to rememhas his oﬃce” and would get jerkber, celebrate and reminisce.
ed out of the movie-watcher state
I have known the story since the
into something that was real to
story became known. By the grace
me. But director McG and writer
of God, my best friend’s father,
Jamie Linden would skillfully pull
a sportswriter who covered the
me back into the ﬁlm.
team, wasn’t on the plane. Me, I
It’s one of those movies that evwas 9, attending my little league
eryone can relate to — it’s a brilfootball banquet about ﬁve miles
liant telling of the story, a little
from the crash site. I remember
romance, a lot of drama and more
we’d all had a nice dinner (probhumor than you would expect.
ably something fried, they fried
The ﬁrst 20 minutes set the
everything then) and had just
stage of a struggling football team,
ﬁnished receiving our little trothe 1970 Herd, ﬁghting through
phies when a harried-looking man
another of a long line of rebuildstumbled onto the stage and said
ing years. Robert Patrick (you
probably remember him from the
See MARCUM, Page 17
only tickets to the soirée, but also
copies of the 1970 memorial service program and small packages
of tissues. Despite the tragedy that
brought us together on the night
that would see the season’s ﬁrst
ﬂecks of snow, the evening was
Photo courtesy of Todd Marcum
UNCAN HALEY IS NOT A
relative, but we both have
the same blood. It’s Green.
I ﬁrst met Haley at the Roanoke
premiere of We Are Marshall in
early December at the Valley View
Grande. Haley, a charismatic,
instantly likable printing salesman for a local ﬁrm, wore a green
sweater to the ﬁrst western Virginia showing of the movie.
The Kelly green sweater was emblazoned with a white “M.” Haley
earned the sweater as team manager for the 1968 Marshall University Thundering Herd football
team. He was on campus when a
Southern Air DC-9 crashed just
short of the runway at Tri-State
Airport in November of 1970,
claiming the lives of 75 people
in the worst single air tragedy in
NCAA sports history. Among the
losses were nearly the entire Marshall football team, coaches, ﬂight
crew, numerous fans and supporters. He knew virtually every
player on the plane. The night of
the crash, he put the sweater away.
He never wore it again. Until the
night of the Roanoke premiere on
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Time for Tiki: leaving without regret
With just February’s relatively
meaningless Pro Bowl remaining,
Tiki Barber has essentially walked
away from the NFL in the prime of
He didn’t shed a single tear, but
many of us did.
“I’m ready to go on and do something else,” he says. “I’m not going to
regret not being a football player anymore.”
Tiki uttered those seemingly unfathomable words in early January after the Giants bowed out of the playoﬀs against the Eagles, but it’s the
same stuﬀ he’s been saying, or at least thinking, for some time.
“This decision has been in my head for years and this is just the right
time for me,” he says. “I know it may not appear that way by the way I
played this year, but I’m excited about it.”
Tiki, who is now 31, is excited even though he will have to likely take
a pay cut in his next career and give up millions of dollars in endorsement contracts. The latter is necessary to at least give the appearance of
impartiality as he pursues his latest passion of becoming a TV reporter/
When I interviewed Tiki way back in 1991 when he won the ﬁrst of his
two Friday Football Extra Player of the Week awards, it was obvious that
he was well on his way to big things even outside of football.
His grammar was solid, his vocabulary was vast and his smile was,
well, just look at it…perfect.
In 2001, I was in New York covering the NFL Draft the year Michael
Vick was selected with the number one overall pick. About 30 minutes
before NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped up to the microphone
inside Madison Square Garden, Tiki walked up to me from out of nowhere
with a camera crew in tow.
He was just a few months removed from what would be his one and
only Super Bowl appearance. That afternoon he was working on a Draft
Day documentary with a crew from the National Football League. It was
one of his ﬁrst “oﬃcial” jobs on the other side of the camera. I remember
the producer of the segment asking me half-jokingly if I had some “tips
for Tiki” like how to hold the microphone, and when to use a stick mic
instead of a clip-on.
I politely told the producer, “I don’t think it’s
appropriate to give advice
to someone whose W-2
makes mine look like a
Tiki didn’t need to stop
and chat with me that day,
but he did. He certainly
didn’t need to tell the producer anything about our
relationship, but he took
time to tell the gentleman
about how Friday Football
Extra had helped a lot of
high school athletes — including his twin brother,
Ronde, and him — gain
conﬁdence by putting
Stevens and Tiki Barber at the 2001 Draft
them in front of the camera at a young age.
I should have known that Roanoke’s Renaissance man was laying the
groundwork for his next career that April afternoon six years ago.
“To go out on my own terms and be proud of what I’ve accomplished in
10 years is something you can’t put a value on,” he says. “I’m lucky, but I
think I’ve made some of that luck myself.”
Tiki made it because he was resilient when he was told he couldn’t do
something, and then willing and ready to step up and seize the moment
when he was ﬁnally aﬀorded an opportunity.
He leaves the Giants, not as bit player as many predicted he would be at
the start of his career, but with 13 diﬀerent franchise records. His career
rushing yardage ranks 17th in league history; his all-purpose yards place
him higher than that. Most importantly, his health — for the most part
— is good.
“Last year I was beat up and really felt like I couldn’t do another season,” he says. “This year my knees are stable, the bone spurs didn’t bother
me too much and my shoulders are intact.”
Tiki says he’s been told that he’ll shed 20 pounds once he quits playing,
but don’t expect him to quit working out on a regular basis. The pounding
he’s taken in his 10-year NFL career has left plenty of scars.
“I was talking with Barry Word, a UVa grad who played at Kansas City,
and he told me the pain gets worse,” Tiki says. “You stop working out as
hard and the strength that supports your joints just isn’t there anymore,
and then it really
starts to hurt.”
What really hurts
all of us is knowing
that we no longer will
be able to see Tiki on
Sunday afternoons in
anything other than a
suit and tie.
“I always wanted
success and expected success and circumstances shined
Barber credits Stevens and Friday Football Extra favorably for me,” he
says. “I got some good
for helping him gain conﬁdence on camera
coaching and stuck to
my guns, and 10 years down the road I am what I am, and I’m proud of
So are Cave Spring High School, the Roanoke Valley, UVa and the state
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PLAY BY PLAY
JANUARY 22, 2007
‘Millionaire’ definition keeps growing
N HIS LATER YEARS, MY FAther developed his own deﬁnition of a millionaire. He argued
that a person whose assets exceeded $1 million did not necessarily
My father attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1920s. He said that in those days, people
who had $1 million were deﬁnitely millionaires. The change
came over time, he believed, when it became obvious that
money couldn’t buy the same things it could in the 1920s.
Inﬂation reduced millionaires’ fortunes. By the time he
died in 1985, my father’s thinking was that the only
millionaires were people whose annual incomes exceeded $1 million.
Well, it’s too bad he didn’t live to see all of the new
millionaires roaming around the United States these
Any average baseball player can be a millionaire.
Sports Illustrated published an article about some of
the nouveau riche players earlier this winter.
Barry Bonds is going to be paid $16 million for the
2007 season, the year in which he will likely surpass
Hank Aaron’s career home run record of 755.
Pitcher Ted Lilly, a seven-year veteran who has a
59-58 career record with a 4.60 earned run average,
just signed a four-year deal for $40 million with the
Chicago Cubs. Yeah, he’s going to turn things around
at Wrigley Field. He’d just better hope he’s not pitching in a game when the wind is blowing out.
The good news is he’s a lefthander and southpaws are at a premium.
By my father’s measuring stick, he’s a true multi-millionaire. Let’s hope
Lilly invests wisely because seven years from now, the gravy train will be
Alfonso Soriano, who somehow escaped the New York Yankees, has
resurfaced after a year with the Washington Nationals as a Chicago Cub.
The Cubbies signed him for $136 million for eight years. No amount of
inﬂation can send Soriano to the poor house any time soon.
The architect of these two deals is Cubs’ general manager Jim Hendry.
He made the deal for Lilly while awaiting angioplasty surgery for three
blocked arteries, according to SI. It doesn’t seem to me that shelling out
dollars of such magnitude would be good for the ticker.
The article pictured eight players, seven of whom had signed for a total
of $502 million.
Dad, these players not only ﬁll your bill as
millionaires…they’re well on the way to becoming billionaires if they make some shrewd
This isn’t just happening in baseball. Theo
Ratliﬀ of basketball’s Boston Celtics just underwent season-ending surgery, but will get
millions of dollars for not playing this year.
How about the media? In 1970, when I
came to work for The Roanoke Times, there
was a rule within Landmark Communications prohibiting sportswriters from participating in radio talk shows. It was considered
to be a conﬂict of interest since the print and
broadcast media were clearly in competition,
not only for breaking news but also advertising dollars.
Times have changed, and not just locally. Many print types are all
over the airwaves.
Tony Kornheiser earns millions of dollars per year for appearing on
ESPN talk shows, doing color commentary on pro football games, as well
as continuing to write for the Washington Post. It’s the same for Bob Ryan
of the Boston Globe, who is frequently on ESPN, as well as for Michael Wilbon (Washington Post, NBA analyst for ESPN and co-host on Pardon the
Interruption with Kornheiser). Believe
me, they’re not working for peanuts.
...they’re well on
It seems that millionaires are sprouting up in all my old haunts. Consider
the way to becom- professional poker players. If you look
at the poker shows on television, these
ing billionaires if
guys are playing to win several hundred
they make some
thousand dollars in each tournament.
shrewd investments All they have to do is win four or ﬁve
tournaments a year to earn over a million dollars. They also write books and
appear as commentators on shows involving tournaments.
Last but not least, let’s not forget college and pro football coaches becoming millionaires. Alabama sold its soul and lured Nick Saban from
the Miami Dolphins for the princely sum of $32 million for eight years. It
doesn’t require calculus to determine that his annual salary is $4 million,
guaranteed. Yes folks, that qualiﬁes Saban as a true millionaire no matter
what deﬁnition you accept.
Where does that leave the school president? Well, he’s no pauper. However, even though the president is considered to be the CEO, Dr. Robert
Witt is probably (at best) second on the University of Alabama payroll. To
think that Steve Spurrier said no to the Crimson Tide. Of course, he’s a
millionaire anyway after all his many contracts.
There are other methods to becoming a millionaire. Win the lottery.
Start your own company, build it up and become the CEO. Then sell it for
enough money to guarantee you a million dollars a year income. Come to
think of it, sports still might be the fastest and easiest way.
If he were alive today, my father’s deﬁnition of a millionaire would
probably include such terms as: selﬁsh football coach, out-of-shape athlete — with or without a reputation, and anyone willing and able to play
poker for big stakes and win.
I can think of a few people who would be considered triple threats.
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Value of HDTV purchase becomes clear
T MUST HAVE BEEN FOUR OR
ﬁve years ago when a friend
was ﬁrst telling me about the
beneﬁts of high-deﬁnition television. “You wouldn’t believe how
beautiful a golf tournament on TV
can be,” he said. “You can actually
pick out the blades of grass.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe him, but I remained unconvinced that
the value was there. I treated his eﬀusive comments like I might react to
the words of those promoting iPhones or Ferraris. Nice gadgets for some,
perhaps; unnecessary extravagances for me.
And so along came the 2006 college football bowl season, usually one
of my favorite times of the sports year. Unfortunately, the ﬁrst few games
this past December were uncharacteristically disappointing. No, wait;
that’s being too kind. They were snoozers, duds, must-miss TV.
TCU dominates Northern Illinois, 37-7 in the Poinsettia Bowl…BYU
trounces Oregon, 38-8 in the Las Vegas Bowl…Troy punishes Rice, 41-17
in the New Orleans Bowl. I found myself wishing — in various senses of
the phrase — for someone to please pull the plug.
I like high-powered oﬀense with plenty of points. Substantial comebacks by underdogs. Teams matching each other score-for-score.
I’ve always enjoyed oﬀensive explosions that end something like 3936 with a ﬂurry of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Three of the most exciting games I’ve seen in person were like that: Georgia Tech 41, Virginia
38 in 1990, when UVa was ranked No. 1 before the game and the Yellow
Jackets ended the season in that position; Virginia 36, Virginia Tech 32
in 1998, when Tech led 29-7 at the half; and Purdue (and Drew Brees) 32,
Michigan 31, in 2000, when the Wolverines and Boilermakers traded ﬁeld
goals in the ﬁnal minute. All three
were close to the end and the ﬁnal
scores resembled basketball games
I enjoy it when a coach can genuinely say something along the lines of,
“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of
time.” And generally over the years, the bowl games
have provided at least ﬂashes of that kind of drama.
But not this year. Or so it seemed.
I was beginning to think 2006 would be known in college bowl lore as
the year of the clunker, as several additional games supported that premise: Rutgers 37, Kansas State 10 in the Texas Bowl; South Florida 24, East
Carolina 7 in the PapaJohns.com Bowl; and Maryland’s 24-7 victory over
Purdue in the Champs Sports Bowl was simply one of the most boring
games I’ve ever slept through. Turning oﬀ the game at halftime was becoming commonplace — except when I forgot that the TV was on.
Nonetheless, my wife and I decided to give each other a nice television
for Christmas this year, and we took the leap and went HD. I’m pleased
to report that we’re just a few weeks in and we feel like we’ve recouped
the investment. (Of course, maybe that’s due in part to the fact that the
caliber of the bowl games picked up at a rate commensurate with our
At the same time, I picked up the NFL Network, which enabled me
to watch the New York Giants-Washington Redskins game on Dec. 30,
the regular season ﬁnale of Tiki Barber’s celebrated career (see Mike
Stevens’ related column on page 5). NFL is also the network that televised Texas Tech’s miraculous Insight Bowl victory over Minnesota,
but I missed that one.
On New Year’s Day, I assigned myself the task of watching as much of
all six televised games as possible. I don’t regret the decision, although it
was a bit of an overdose. Most of the early games (the Outback, the Cotton, the Capital One) were spirited contests, with the game’s outcomes
remaining undecided until the ﬁnal minutes. The Gator Bowl, which
kicked oﬀ in early afternoon, saw Georgia Tech seize a dominant lead
over West Virginia before the Mountaineers put together a strong second
half to prevail, 38-35. (My kinda score!) And I was coming to the conclusion that yellow looks especially radiant in high-deﬁnition.
Speaking of yellow, Michigan and Southern California kicked oﬀ the
Rose Bowl about 5 p.m., and while the Trojans prevailed by two touchdowns, dispelling any question as to whether the Wolverines had been
gypped out of a shot at the national title, the crisp presentation of the
colors and pageantry of that game made the score seem almost insigniﬁcant.
And then came the nightcap, Boise State versus Oklahoma. I’m almost
ashamed to admit that I had to call it quits early. When I went to bed at
midnight, Boise State was ahead, 28-20, midway through the fourth quarter. Imagine my shock when I learned the next morning that the Broncos
had won, 43-42 in overtime, in perhaps one of the most memorable bowl
games ever — trick plays and an on-ﬁeld marriage proposal included.
I’m happy to say the highlights looked pretty good in HD, too.
You know, I might just have to look into the feasibility of sports
Tip of the Month
From Dr. Jeffrey Barker, DC, CCSP
With the holidays over, and the new year beginning, many people will be looking
to start a new exercise program. There are many good exercise facilities in the
area and joining one has many beneﬁts...
1. They offer a safe, controlled environment
2. They can offer a variety of activities so you can ﬁnd one that best suits you
3. They offer a good support system...get with a certiﬁed trainer to learn how to
best get started
If joining a facility is not for you, consider...
1. Many churches offer some programs
2. Mall walking programs are very popular
3. Get your own used equipment by checking the trading journals
If you overdo things, see your chiropractor.
PLAY BY PLAY
he smooth Salem High
School senior guard has led
the Spartans to an overall basketball record of 11-2, 2-1 in the
River Ridge District. Felix regularly leads the team in scoring
(with a ppg average in the upper
teens) and has a knack of always being in the right place
at the right time. He is generally regarded as one of the
top players in the area.
JANUARY 22, 2007
Ask A Ref
In an eﬀort to inform fans of the ﬁner points of the
rules of the games, Play by Play regularly features “Ask
A Ref,” a chance for fans to
ask a question about speciﬁc sports rules, preferably
those related to high school
or the NCAA.
Questions can be sent to
I saw a game recently where
a defensive player was called for kicking the
basketball, even though he just hit it with his
knee, not his foot. Is this right?
Yes, last season the rule changed regarding
kicking the ball. If a defender intentionally
strikes the ball with any part of his leg, it’s kicking. The key word here is “intentionally.” If a pass glances oﬀ a knee or inadvertently strikes a leg, it will not be
kicking, by rule.
Playmakers is sponsored by Professional Therapies of Roanoke
Professional Therapies, Inc.
A Certiﬁed Rehab Agency
We accept Medicare, Medicaid, and most other
Health Insurance Companies
For Adults and Children
Attorney and Counselor at Law
FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION
Do you have
See Pam Yates, PT, who
specializes in Vestibular Rehab, at our
1421 Third Street, Roanoke ofﬁce.
Need therapy? Call the Professionals, in Roanoke
or one of our other convenient locations!
•Family Law & Divorce
•Wills & Trusts
•Corporations, LLC’s &
LAW OFFICES OF L. RICHARD PADGETT, JR., P.C.
300 Second Street, Salem, Virginia 24153
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Snapshots of the season
Stagg Bowl Action
Bill Turner photos
Mount Union defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater 35-16 in the Division III national championship football game played in Salem Dec.
16. It was the Purple Raiders’ ninth title in
14 years. At immediate right, Mount Union’s
Chris Kappas (3) attempts to block a kick
by Whitewater’s Jeff Schebler (11). At far
right, Purple Raider quarterback Michael
Jorris (6) runs for a short gain.
Alma (Mich.) College quarterback
Josh Brehm (below) accepts the
award as the Division III national football player of the year at a Dec. 14
ceremony at the Salem Civic Center.
The ﬁrst-year Salem boys’ basketball coach led his team to an
11-2 record at press time. As a
player, Garst was part of a high
school state champion team at
Salem in 1994 and an NCAA Division III national runner-up squad
at Hampden-Sydney (1999).
Former NFL running back Haskel
Stanback (tallest ﬁgure) served
as presenter, giving sportsmanship medals to ﬁve area recreation league football teams at the
Stagg Bowl: the Botetourt Patriots (juniors, pictured), Williamson Road Browns (little), North
Roanoke Storm (pee wee), Salem
Wolverines and Wolverine cheerleaders (juniors) and the Franklin County Blue Devils (juniors).
Each team won its respective
recreation department’s Kelley
Award for sportsmanship.
Bill Turner photos
William Fleming High School senior Marcus
Smalls (left) hits a shot to lead the Colonels
to the championship on Dec. 30. The threeday, eight-team tourney was overseen by Jon
Hartness (speaking at a press conference,
below), athletic director at Cave Spring.
Bill Turner photos
Member One Holiday Hoopla
PLAY BY PLAY
FUNNY THING HAPPENED
in Richmond on Nov. 18:
Roanoke County proved itself the state capital — of volleyball, that is.
On that day, the VCU campus
was the home to the Group A and
JANUARY 22, 2007
AA state title matches, each won
by a Roanoke County school. Cave
Spring took the Group AA crown
— again — and Glenvar claimed
its ﬁrst Group A title.
What’s more, both teams didn’t
so much win their respective titles
as march to the championships in
dominating fashion. The Knights
ﬁnished the season 27-1 and subdued a talented Loudoun County
team, dispatching their opponent
in three sets. Loudoun County is
the only school to have bested the
Knights in the last ﬁve state tournaments.
Glenvar did the Knights one
better, running the table for 28
matches, losing only three sets on
the season, and sprinting through
the tournament without dropping
a single set. Glenvar slew its own
dragon, Gate City, in the ﬁnal.
Success for local volleyball
teams is nothing new. Salem won
the Group AA state title in 1998
and William Byrd also claims a celebrated program. Hidden Valley,
Cave Spring’s volleyball team won its fourth state championship in five
years with a victory over Loudoun County in Richmond on Nov. 18
an oﬀshoot from Cave Spring just
ﬁve years ago, gave the Knights all
they could handle when they met
several times this past season.
So what makes the Roanoke Valley a haven for volleyball? The answer is not surprising and can be
boiled down to one word: interest.
Tamalyn Tanis sees the results. She has put herself in a precarious position by sheer altruism
and love for a sport. Tanis and her
husband, Mark, coach the Cave
Spring varsity team. But they are
also coaches, founders, chaperones and caretakers for the Roanoke Juniors volleyball club.
The volleyball community within the Roanoke Valley is not large,
but it is dedicated. And with the
advent of the Roanoke Juniors in
1999, girls who had a passion for
the game could hone their skills
in a club, traveling to out-of-state
tournaments, playing elevated
competition, working on their
game at a higher level.
Soccer has its travel teams.
Basketball has AAU. Now volleyball would have its place. Tanis
coached the Cave Spring junior
varsity team and saw how much
fun her girls were having. Creating
the club was a chance to let them
continue while elevating their
For Tanis, the results are mixed.
Certainly her Knights have beneﬁted — witness the trophy case
with four state cups — but she is
quick to point out two facts that
seemingly contradict her goals as
a high school varsity coach. First
of all, Cave Spring is well represented within the ranks of players in Roanoke Juniors, but it’s by
no means alone. Tanis estimates
upward of 20 schools have players
who are part of the Roanoke Juniors program. A group of 10 qualiﬁed coaches makes up the panel
of tryout judges — no preference is
given to Cave Spring players.
Secondly, the experience in the
Roanoke Juniors eﬀectively trains
Cave Spring’s competition.
What’s more, club sports are
ﬁne for girls who have fallen in
love with a sport, but Tanis is not
one to encourage anyone to be a
one-sport athlete. Club volleyball
sometimes comes in conﬂict with
scholastic sports, but Tanis can
relate. She says four of her varsity
players missed practice time because they played club soccer.
“I don’t want kids skipping other
sports just to play one,” she says.
Still, once in the program, the
girls learn to play at a level above
the standard high school match.
“I tell my kids if they’ve played
club level they’ve played better
matches than anything they’ll see
in high school,” Tanis says.
The Roanoke Juniors now includes nine teams ranging in age
from 17-and-under down to 13and-under.
Few teams have more than a
couple of players from any one
school, but those who play together grow together.
Glenvar had just that fortunate
See VOLLEYBALL, Page 13
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Right time for Sargent:
by Gene Marrano
ISTORY PROFESSOR JIM
Sargent may be the dean
of the Social Sciences division at Virginia Western Community College, but he has another passion: as a freelance writer
he has interviewed more than 100
professional athletes for various
magazine articles over the years.
The longtime Roanoke County
resident has now collaborated on
the most ambitious project yet associated with his moonlighting,
a recently released book written
with former major league baseball
player Danny Litwhiler.
Now 90, Litwhiler was an outﬁelder for 11 years in the National
League with four clubs, a period
spanning from 1940 to 1951. Litwhiler hit 107 home runs and batted .281 over that time, earning a
trip to the All Star game in 1942.
importantly, Litwhiler went on
to be the head
at Florida State
then spent 20
years at Michigan State as head
coach before retiring.
Woody Jim Sargent (left) met Danny Litwhiler when Sargent
Woodward, Dick was in graduate school at Michigan State in 1967
Howser, Steve Garvey, Kirk Gibﬁve years ago they joined forces
son…all were future big league
for the new book, Danny Litwhiler:
players (and coaches or managLiving the Baseball Dream, from
ers) in programs run by Litwhiler.
Temple University Press, which
About two dozen of the players he
— to Sargent’s chagrin — sat on
mentored made it to the majors.
the shelf for two years before beAnother decided to play pro footing published.
ball instead: Spartans pitcher/
The book’s foreword is by none
quarterback Brad Van Pelt.
other than Stan “The Man” MusiIt was at MSU in 1967 when Saral of the St. Louis Cardinals, one of
gent met Litwhiler while the forfour teams that employed Litwhilmer was in graduate school. About
er, along with the Boston Braves,
Photo courtesy of Jim Sargent
Local profor teams up with
ex-major leaguer for new book
Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.
Litwhiler had a stint in the minors as a player-manager and
later on he worked as a hitting
instructor for the Reds after retiring from Michigan State. Litwhiler also spent 20 years helping
to promote the game internationally and in Living the Baseball
Dream, he comes across as a man
who changed as baseball itself
Prompting an 85-year-old man
to remember details that in some
cases had occurred 60 years earlier isn’t the easiest thing to do,
but Sargent did his homework and
could often mine more highlights
from Litwhiler’s recollections by
tossing out speciﬁcs, even inningby-inning details. The ex-ballplayer, who lives in Florida, would often mail cassette tapes to Sargent
chapter by chapter; the co-author
would then do any ﬂeshing out
that needed to be done, contacting Litwhiler for more information
In 2001 they started to assemble
the material. Sargent would mail
back his edited and supplemented
chapters; often Litwhiler would remember another incident and add
See SARGENT, Page 17
����������������������� ������� ��� ���� ����
��� ��� ������� ����������
PLAY BY PLAY
Keeping up with area football talent
Desmond Jallah, Defensive Back, Jr. from Cave Spring
Jared White, Punter, Sr. from Lord Botetourt
Avg/G Pass-Comp-Int Cmp% Yds TD
59.9 1,723 14
Matt Greenway, Running Back, Kick Returner, Fr. from Hidden Valley
Tony Spradlin, Wide Receiver, Fr. from Salem
Calvin Bannister, Cornerback, Sr. from William Fleming
Matthew Davis, Defensive Line, Soph. from Cave Spring
Jonas Rawlins, Linebacker, Fr., from Salem
James Hyatt, Linebacker, Soph. from Patrick Henry
John Hunter, Linebacker, Sr. from Patrick Henry
Jeﬀ Highﬁll, Quarterback, Jr. from William Byrd
Jon Copper, Linebacker, Soph. from Northside
Grant Hall, Kicker, Soph. from Salem
Dustin Pickle, Special Teams, Soph. from Salem/Glenvar
GP Rush Lng Yds
Nic Schmitt, Punter, Sr. from Salem
The high school football in this region has produced countless collegiate players over
the years. Play By Play attempted to ﬁnd the season stats of as many as possible so
the home folks could chart the progress of the boys from the old neighborhoods.
JANUARY 22, 2007
— Statistics compiled by Christian Moody; Chart by Donna Earwood
Maurice Kitchens, Linebacker, Soph. from William Fleming
UVa-College at wise
Kyle Allen, Wide Receiver, Jr. from William Byrd
Matt Spangler, Linebacker, Sr. from Northside
David Epperly, Defensive End, Sr. from Salem
J.J. Jordan, Linebacker, Sr. from Northside
Darryl Gresham, Linebacker, Fr. from William Fleming
Dere Hicks, Cornerback, Fr. from William Fleming
emory & Henry
Joey Daniels, Defensive Back/Wide Receiver, Soph. from Salem
See AREA FOOTBALL TALENT, Page 17
JANUARY 22, 2007
From Page 10
combination this season. Anna
Gustafson and Jessie Moore have
played together in school and on a
club team for ﬁve years. Gustafson,
a 6’1” middle hitter, is the Region C
Player of the Year and will ﬁnd out
later this month if she’s State Player of the Year in Group A — having
led the Highlanders to a 28-0 mark
and the state title, it’s a fairly safe
bet. She will play Division I volleyball at Woﬀord next year.
Glenvar coach Mark Rohrback
worked with the Roanoke Juniors
over the past few years. This year
he and Craig County coach Jeﬀ
Boyer — a high school classmate
of Rohrback’s from Pennsylvania, started a Glenvar Junior club.
The club has an 18-and-under
team and a 16-and-under team,
coached by Mark’s wife, Jen Rohrback, a former Highlander player.
The new club will allow the Glenvar girls to stay together and work
together, with some of the Craig
players included, throughout the
Rohrback gives Tamalyn and
Mark Tanis all the credit for the
upswing in local volleyball. He
says it’s their guidance and support for the club that has made it
successful and helped the sport
gain a stronghold in this region.
Tamalyn Tanis says the attraction of volleyball is truly regional,
and because of that the Roanoke
Juniors are losing players to new
clubs outside the valley, as well.
“We used to have players come
an hour from Lexington,” she
says. “Now there’s a club up there.
There is one in Auburn (Riner) and
another one in the New River Valley.”
The Web site Old Dominion Region USA Volleyball — odrvb.com
PLAY BY PLAY
— lists clubs in Martinsville, Radford, Christiansburg, Troutville,
Lynchburg, several in Charlottesville, one in Lewisburg, W.Va., and
several in the Richmond-Tidewater corridor. Most of those in western Virginia are new, which is another reason why Roanoke Valley
schools are currently dominant.
Most of the long-standing volleyball clubs are in areas where the
high schools are Group AAA. Volleyball only recently began drawing interest in rural areas with
schools in the Group A and AA
ranks. Not to say there haven’t been
good programs in smaller schools
— Altavista, Grayson County, Gate
City and Rye Cove have had good
programs. But the introduction of
travel clubs will bring the competition to a new level.
Tanis and Rohrbeck will take
teams to major tournaments in
Atlanta and around the East Coast
where teams will be exceptionally
What’s more, many of those
teams — 220 to be exact — will
come to the Roanoke Valley on
March 10-11 to compete in the
annual Shamrock Festival Tournament, a competition started by
the Roanoke Juniors in 2000 with
just 60 teams. For two days, teams
from New York to South Carolina
will be in town in a frantic pace
of volleyball. Each team is guaranteed seven matches, so court
time is going to be at a premium
Tanis says this gives local girls
who are thinking of playing volleyball in middle school a chance
to see the game and the excitement it fosters.
With such encouragement, it’s
no wonder the new breed of local
volleyball players is ﬁnding success on the high school level.
Training Room Tips
A message from On-Site Sports Medicine Services
very day, millions of children and youth participate in sports, and every
year, more than 775,000 children under age 15 are treated in emergency
rooms for sports injuries. The majority of these injuries occurs during unorganized sports activities, and adolescents are likely to suﬀer more serious
injuries than younger children because they play harder.
When young athletes sustain sports-related injuries, they can become
injured more easily than adults because their bones, ligaments, tendons and
muscles are still growing. Their growth plates — areas of developing cartilage where bone growth occurs — are also weaker. Often times, an injury to a
growth plate may be diagnosed as only a bruise or sprain.
Parents should know how to prevent serious sports-related injuries. Proper
education, coaching, supervision and equipment can make the diﬀerence.
• Have your child get a physical for intense sports, such as basketball, football, hockey
• Inform the athletic trainer of any medical conditions your child may have.
• Verify that the coach has speciﬁc training in the sport he or she is coaching.
• Make sure equipment is in good condition and is appropriate for age and size.
• Make sure that there is a certiﬁed athletic trainer who will be present for all
• Have your child train for the sport before beginning to play.
• Have your child warm up before playing and cool down afterwards to prevent muscle
pulls and tendon ruptures.
• Teach your child to know and play by the rules of the sport.
• Don’t let them participate when in pain or tired.
• Make sure they wear protective gear at all times.
• Give them plenty of water before, during and after playing to prevent dehydration.
• Know the four steps (RICE) of treatment for most minor athletic injuries. RICE stands
or rest, ice, compress and elevate.
• Have a doctor evaluate any child experiencing severe pain, swelling, bruising or
decreased movement in a limb or joint.
care of your
kids during a
Call today to ask about
certiﬁed athletic trainer rates
for tournament and event
coverage. We help you stay
safe and off the sidelines.
Teams without a certiﬁed athletic trainer had a 63% re-injury rate and
teams with a certiﬁed athletic trainer had a 3% re-injury rate.
Our certiﬁed athletic trainers work with you to prevent injuries and keep
athletes participating safely in sports.
Cave Spring head volleyball coach Tamalyn Tanis (white blouse, back
row) is generally credited with advancing this area’s level of the sport
On-Site Sports Medicine provides
top-quality services at
competitive costs. We are
happy to provide detailed
cost information based
on your speciﬁc needs.
Please contact us for
PLAY BY PLAY
New coaches bring
talent to their jobs
by Gene Marrano
NE THING THERE IS NO
shortage of in the Roanoke
Valley this year when it
comes to girls’ high school basketball: new head coaches.
From one-time William Byrd
basketball and baseball star Mike
McGuire joining 2006 Group AA
state runner-up Hidden Valley to
former Patrick Henry High School
and Virginia Tech standout Troy
Manns coming on board at William Fleming, there are several
new faces roaming the sidelines at
local schools. Two of those rookie coaches can be found at Cave
Spring and William Byrd high
schools, programs trying to revive
past glory days.
At Cave Spring, Jessica Ficarro
has taken over from longtime
coach Linda Long and the exRoanoke College Maroon had the
Knights oﬀ to a surprising 9-4 start
just as River Ridge District play got
Cave Spring was 10-15 last season.
The former Northern Virginia
high school athlete came to Roanoke College and never left the
area. Ficarro was an assistant to
Steve Buchanan at Hidden Valley
and one of the candidates to replace him before McGuire got the
Ficarro rarely sits down, walking along the sideline, talking to
players, celebrating or grimacing as the action unfolds. She has
at least one big fan in her corner:
Susan Dunagan, her former coach
at Roanoke College — and a former Cave Spring girls’ basketball
coach herself (circa 1970s).
“I love Jess,” says Dunagan, recalling that Ficarro was the only
Maroons senior at the time. “She
was a good player, she wasn’t a
great player, but what she gave us
Dunagan and others saw exactly what Ficarro had meant to
the team — that “never die, never
quit” attitude — the next season
when she wasn’t there. “She didn’t
want to lose,” says Dunagan, conﬁdent that Ficarro “wants nothing
more than to take Cave Spring to
the next level. I think she has the
ability as long as people back her
and stay loyal to her. There’s no telling what could happen.” A Group
AAA power in the late 1990s-early
2000s, Cave Spring took the 2002
split with Hidden Valley hard and
lost a number of potential athletes
to its bigger and newer rival.
For Ficarro, it has been learning on the job as the head coach:
“Obviously there are things I need
to improve on and learn and I’m
doing that every game. But I’m
coaching to the kids. I didn’t come
here with a system that was mine,
I wanted to see what they had
— and hopefully, build a system
that’s right for them.”
her players is a big part of the job,
something Ficarro ﬁnds necessary “for pretty much any female
athlete.” The mental and physical
preparation needed to become a
successful head coach is something Ficarro has been getting
used to. “Unless you’re in coaching, [people] do not understand
the number of hours you put in. I
JANUARY 22, 2007
probably was not prepared for that
— but I can’t say that I don’t absolutely love every minute of it.”
McGuire’s arrival at Hidden
Valley, undefeated at press time
just before a contest with Cave
Spring, left an opening at William Byrd High School that was
ﬁlled by Gale Moore, a former
Craig County High School coach.
At Craig County (several seasons
ago), his Rockets won more games
than they had in a while, ﬁnishing
13-5 in his third and ﬁnal season
after winning eight games in each
of his ﬁrst two years. It was more
victories than the program had
seen in decades.
The West Virginia native also
spent time as an assistant coach in
that state before taking the Craig
County girls’ job.
“The game changed a lot when
I was out [of coaching]. I said I
would be an assistant somewhere
and called Bryan up,” Moore says.
That’s when he joined the Glenvar
girls’ basketball coaching staﬀ led
by Bryan Harvey. Moore spent
four seasons as an assistant to Harvey, helping the Highlanders win a
state championship along the way.
Like Ficarro, Byrd coach Gale
Moore often walks the sideline
“It was a perfect ﬁt,” Moore recalls
of his time in western Roanoke
A self-proclaimed “defenseﬁrst” coach, Moore says Harvey
taught him a few new tricks on the
oﬀensive side of the ball. “I picked
up diﬀerent schemes that he uses,”
See COACHES, Page 16
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Salem catcher became big-league boss
run total for the team was eclipsed
only by Parker with 22 and Ron
HEN THE SALEM-ROAMitchell with 21.
noke Baseball Hall of Fame
Macha had a lot of hitting supholds its induction cereport and rival pitchers wouldn’t
monies at the Salem Civic Center
work around him because they’d
on Feb. 11, recent major league
run into Parker, Mitchell and Ott
manager Ken Macha will become
(who had seven homers and batthe third member of the 1972 Sated .297).
lem Pirates baseMacha
ball team to be inMitchell, who hit
Already includthe lineup, were
ed are outﬁelders
known as the “M
Dave Parker and
and M boys.”
What kind of
Macha will be
one of four people
Macha make? He
inducted in the
replaced John Siclass of 2007. The
others are CharJohn Vance, the
Wally Beagle and
who combined for
three homers and
a batting average
the former direcunder .200.
tor of the Salem
Parks and Recknew
reation Department and Play by
what was needed to make Salem
Play’s Sportsperson of the Year
the best team in the league. Sain 2005. Beagle (see page 18) has
lem won the second half and then
been a big supporter of amateur
beat ﬁrst-half winner Burlington
baseball in the Roanoke Valley as a
in a three-game playoﬀ for the
Cave Spring baseball booster club
pennant. The Salem Pirates went
member and then later oversee46-24 in the second half to ﬁnish
ing the all-star competition in the
with a 79-58 record for the entire
Coventry Commonwealth Games
season, an indication of how much
of Virginia held each summer.
Macha’s presence helped.
Powell has been a tireless worker
Despite Salem’s great secondon the Franklin County diamonds
half record, it was still close. The
for 40 years while starting the DiPirates beat Kinston for the secxie Youth baseball program there.
ond-half crown by 2½ games
If anyone knew in 1972 that one
thanks to winning three of four
day there would be a local baseball
games at Kinston in August.
hall of fame, Macha would be one
Two years following his Salem
of the least-likely candidates to be
experience, he was the Eastern
League batting champion. It wasn’t
Macha was drafted in the sixth
long after that when he joined the
round out of the University of
Pittsburgh and was sent to Salem
Macha will sit out this year in
with hopes of turning around a
baseball after being ﬁred as Oakteam that had a losing record in
land’s manager when the A’s lost
the ﬁrst half (33-34) in spite of an
in the 2006 American League playabundance of talent. Macha was
oﬀs to Detroit. Since Oakland was
a catcher in ’72, although most of
93-69 during the regular season,
his playing time as a journeyman
Macha’s dismissal came as somein the majors was spent at third
what of a surprise.
It mattered little to Oakland
“I went to Bradenton (Fla.) for
General Manager Billy Beane that
mini-camp and then came right to
in four years as manager of the A’s,
Salem,” Macha recalls.
Macha led the team to the AL play“In the beginning, I got oﬀ to
oﬀs twice and had a solid regular
a great start,” says Macha. “But I
season record of 368-280 (.568).
wasn’t used to playing every day
The former Pirate also had two
and then I went 0 for 32.”
years and just over $2 million dolMacha still wound up hitting
lars left on his contract, which
.254 with eight homers in 62 games
is one reason he’s weighing his
(less than half a season). His home
options before returning to the
by Bob Teitlebaum
“I feel good about what we did
here,” Macha told ESPN in a phone
interview after being ﬁred. “I went
to the ballpark every day with the
sole intent of winning a baseball
game for the Oakland A’s, and we
did a lot of that. I have no regrets.”
Beane replied to ESPN that he
felt a disconnect on a lot of levels
that needed to be addressed.
All of this was strange in that
Macha, who just a few years back
was a coach under A’s manager
Art Howe, also a former Salem Pirate and member of the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame, was
a candidate to be Boston’s manager. At that time, Beane refused
to release Macha to talk to Boston
because Beane and Howe also had
Beane, looking to the future,
wanted Macha to manage the
A’s when Howe left or was ﬁred.
Howe, in fact, did leave to become
the manager of the New York Mets.
This coming season, Howe, who
lasted just two years in New York
after taking Oakland to the playoﬀs four straight years, will be a
bench coach for the Texas Rangers, close to his Houston home.
“I think Billy felt I would eventually be in Oakland (as the manager),” says Macha. “It’s a highly
unusual move that someone will
hold people back.”
Beane’s move changed the
history of baseball. The Red Sox
turned to Grady Little, who was
ﬁred basically for his failure to
remove a tiring Pedro Martinez
during a 2003 playoﬀ game that
the Red Sox lost to the Yankees. In
2004, of course, the Red Sox won it
“Well, you don’t know whether
I’d have taken [Martinez] out or
not, but to me that was going to be
my job. When you have a chance
to manage a marquee franchise
and it’s taken away from you, that’s
tough,” says Macha.
Macha says he’ll look to get back
into baseball next year as a coach
“Art says one of the things you
have to do to stay in the game is
stay visible,” Macha says. A small
piece of that visibility will be his
local induction next month.
From Page 3
I don’t even want to think about
how many players, coaches, media, Baltimore fans and the like
are quoted in this book. Suﬃce
it to say it’s the kind of rock-solid
hard work that makes writers like
me not want to even attempt such
By also telling us the stories of
Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan,
“Big Daddy” Lipscomb, Raymond
Berry, Lenny Moore, Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula and John Mackey, among others, Callahan paints
a picture of Unitas better than any
simple standard bio could oﬀer.
He captures the spirit of the Colts
and of the times.
And during any time, Unitas
would have been an anomaly with
his drive and determination, his
sense of right, and his innate ability to pass it along to his teammates.
“It’s always been my job to glorify the game,” says Steve Sabol of
NFL Films. “I’ve always looked at
football in dramaturgical terms…
But when I met Unitas, I realized
he was the antithesis of all that.
Football to him was no diﬀerent
From Page 14
says Moore, 46, a health-P.E. high
school teacher at Byrd, who has
an eighth-grade daughter playing basketball at Glenvar Middle
When Harvey left for Ferrum
College a year ago, Moore took
most of the year oﬀ from coaching
before the Byrd job became available. He has coached girls’ basketball in the Roanoke Stars AAU
program over the past few summers as well, and coached AAU
boys years ago.
A banner hanging on the gym
wall during Lady Terriers home
games proudly lists a series of district, regional and state championships for Byrd — but it ends in
1998. Moore would like to add to
“Mike [McGuire] built the foundation. I do a lot of the same stuﬀ
Mike does and I think that was
one of the reasons I got hired here.
He had a good thing going,” Moore
says. Building a program starts
from the bottom up, notes Moore,
who has met with local recreation
league coaches and the Byrd Middle School staﬀ. He wants every-
PLAY BY PLAY
than a plumber putting in a pipe.
He was an honest workman doing
an honest job. Everything was a
shrug of the shoulders. He was so
unromantic that he was romantic,
in the end.”
I thought that quote captured
the essence of a game where indeed some players in the ’50s and
’60s just might have been plumbers in the oﬀ-season to make ends
meet ﬁnancially. Unitas was never
rich except in respect from his
peers and the fans, and the story
is sad in detailing his ﬁnal season, misplaced in San Diego and,
truth be told, in the ’70s. Those
are memories I do have — of the
end of Johnny U’s career when I
was just taking the word of it from
broadcasters and writers about
how great he truly had been.
Beside the physical skills that
would have made him a star in
any era, Unitas’ legendary status as a “ﬁeld general” is what set
him apart. Callahan puts you in
the huddle with Unitas, using his
teammates’ words and stories to
explain the command he had. The
Colts were a gregarious bunch,
too, and those fun and funny stories keep the book moving like a
one espousing a similar philosophy, “so we don’t have to re-teach
everything,” and hopes to create a
feeder system that can make Byrd
basketball successful on a consistent basis.
Moore has already faced challenges. He’s hoping to have star Rebecca Bays back at 100 percent for
the bulk of the Blue Ridge District
season after early-season leg injuries and the new coach dealt with
a lack of conﬁdence on the team
early in the season. Yes, he says, it
is diﬀerent coaching girls than it
is boys. As a friend in the business
once told him, “Guys have to play
well in order to feel good, while
girls have to feel good in order to
play well.” Moore says, “It’s more
of a mental game with girls. I try to
be as positive as I can be.”
A Marshall University graduate,
Moore played on a state championship team at little Hartz High
School in West Virginia and was an
assistant at his alma mater when
Hartz made several deep runs in
“It seems like I’ve always been
in the right place at the right time,”
he says. “I’ve been very fortunate
in my basketball career.”
Johnny U two-minute drill.
Heck, Unitas’ rise from tooskinny-to-play kid to minor league
quarterback for the Bloomﬁeld
Rams to all-time great quarterback would likely have been a
good enough read in Callahan’s
skilled hands. What he has delivered, though, is so much more.
Cut by his hometown Pittsburgh
Steelers and passed over by the
powerful Cleveland Browns, Unitas took the sport by storm when
he got his chance in Baltimore. His
precision in delivering the 1958
NFL championship in overtime
forever changed the game and became the impetus for football be-
JANUARY 22, 2007
coming our true national passion.
An injured Unitas was also
there in 1969 when the mantle of
greatness passed to Joe Namath
and pro football entered another
new era of Super Bowl hyperbole.
Again, there are enough good stories just around these two events
to provide a decent book, and Callahan doesn’t shortchange us, analyzing from all angles.
It’s the kind of book that makes
me wish I were just a little bit older
and had more Colts highlights in
my memory bank. Thanks to Callahan, I now know exactly what I
— Mike Ashley
Seeking an opportunity
to ﬁx a relationship
“For One More Day,” by
Mitch Albom. Hyperion.
197 pp. $21.95.
Mitch Albom, a sports
columnist for the Detroit Free Press, is rapidly
becoming one of this
country’s most popular
This book started out as No. 1
on The New York Times’ Best Sellers list before slipping to third in
early January. Albom has written
two other widely acclaimed books.
Tuesdays With Morrie was nonﬁction with a sports theme. The
other, The Five People You Meet in
Heaven, was non-sports ﬁction.
This book’s main theme isn’t
sports, but it’s indirectly connected to the game of baseball.
Chick Benetto is a down-and-out
former pro baseball player who is
estranged from his family. After
his athletic career, Chick had resorted to the excessive use of alcohol. His daughter doesn’t even
invite him to her wedding. He is
so devastated that he tries to end
Chick’s thoughts turn to his
mother, Posey, who died eight
years earlier. He goes to Pepperville Beach, the hometown where
he grew up. He is determined to
wreck his car and end his misery.
The story opens with a sportswriter, who remembers Chick,
catching up with him at the local ballpark. Then Chick, upon
trying to take his life, ends up at
the house where he grew up. His
mother is there and together they
retrace his life. His father, Leonard, who pushed Chick’s baseball
career, suddenly disappeared one day, deserting
Chick, his sister, Roberta,
and his mother.
Still, as Chick matured,
he continued to push himself in baseball in hopes that
perhaps one day his father
would return. On occasion
when he was playing games,
his father would be there and
Chick wanted his father to become
part of the family again.
It never happened. After Chick
left a professional baseball career
that culminated with a brief trip to
the majors, his life fell apart, taking him to the meeting with his
Like Albom’s The Five People You
Meet in Heaven, this book includes
considerable fantasy on the way to
a dramatic ending.
There are pictures of Posey and
Chick in the back of the book. This
leads to confusion as I sense some
of this might have been autobiographical. E-mails asking this
question to the author went unanswered. Nevertheless, it makes
me wonder if Albom, although he
never tried to kill himself, might
have been writing about disenchantment in his own childhood.
Is he suggesting that he knows
from ﬁrst-hand experience that
professional success doesn’t always ensure a happy life?
The book makes a deﬁnite statement about how much you can
miss a loved one and want just
one more day with that person
to straighten out everything that
seemed to go wrong.
— Bob Teitlebaum
JANUARY 22, 2007
From Page 11
to it. “We went back and forth like
that for about a year and a half,”
Litwhiler was on the ﬁeld playing for Boston the ﬁrst time Jackie
Robinson ever suited up for the
Brooklyn Dodgers and was later
part of a diversity campaign with
Robinson. A photograph of the
twosome promoting that campaign is included is in the book.
Sargent says Litwhiler, a collegeeducated Northerner, was seen as
someone who could help AfricanAmericans break the ice in a major
league universe then dominated
by Southern-raised ballplayers,
many of whom had little more
than high school educations and
limited views of the world.
“Danny’s attitude was it doesn’t
matter if he’s black or white, if
he can play ball, play him,” says
Sargent, who called Litwhiler an
Litwhiler, who once went
through an entire season (1942)
playing every inning of every game
without an error, had a charmed
major league life, playing in two
World Series with the Cards and
earning one championship ring
against the cross-town St. Louis
Browns. He also helped develop
the JUGS gun to measure pitch
speed, an epiphany that started
when a Michigan State trooper
parked his cruiser (with a mounted radar gun) behind the backstop
during a Spartans baseball prac-
From Page 4
that the Marshall plane had just
crashed. Details were sketchy, but
we all prayed and then went home
to watch the news. There would be
no good news concerning the Marshall team for a very long time, until a victory over a heavily favored
Xavier team nearly a year later.
Upon home video release, We
Are Marshall will take its place
beside Bull Durham and Field of
Dreams in my movie collection
among my very favorites. It continues to chug along at the box oﬃce
and by all indications has been a
godsend for the school, where interest among prospective students
is very high.
But for me, the movie was about
family. I loved sharing the story
with my son, daughter and lovely
wife, none of whom has yet gone
PLAY BY PLAY
tice. Litwhiler asked if the technology could be adapted to track
pitchers and was soon working
with the manufacturer.
A Flint, Mich. native — where
he said everyone played baseball
— Sargent found his way to the
Roanoke Valley 30 years ago after teaching at Clemson and Ball
State. “There weren’t many college teaching positions, especially
in the ’70s,” recalls Sargent, who
raised two children in the Cave
Spring area with his wife, Betty.
He was also a pretty fair softball
player for local amateur teams, including the one at his church, Colonial Presbyterian.
Sargent was working on a story about former major leaguer
Enos Slaughter in the mid-’90s
and needed input from some of
Slaughter’s Cardinal teammates.
That’s when he crossed paths with
Litwhiler again and the idea for
the book germinated. Years prior, Sargent had written an article
about the ex-outﬁelder for Old
Time Baseball magazine.
“A lot of the books on baseball
in the [1940s] are about American
Leaguers — you get [Joe] DiMaggio, you get [Ted] Williams, later
you get Mickey Mantle,” Sargent
says. The most famous National
League star of that era — Musial
— knew Litwhiler well. “He and
Stan became best friends.”
In his foreword Musial calls Litwhiler “a very good ballplayer, a
good ﬁelder and a good power hitter. He was dedicated to the game.”
The Hall of Famer also noted some
of the other innovations credited
to Litwhiler, like weighted baseballs and bunting bats, used in
“Danny was always an innovator,” says Sargent. “He was always
looking for ways to practice better.” The bunting bat he developed
in the 1950s had half of the barrel
cut oﬀ, forcing players to use the
bottom part of the bat.
Sargent, a lifelong Tigers fan,
has written about a number of Detroit heroes from the 1968 World
Championship team. The Society
for American Baseball Research
(SABR) recently published his
story online about Tigers outﬁelder Jim Northrup. Catcher Bill
Freehan was the focus of another
feature. “Real neat guys,” says Sargent.
Other subjects over the years
have included Mickey Vernon,
Dom DiMaggio, Ray Boone,
Charlie Maxwell (a member of
the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall
of Fame), football, basketball and
even some hockey players. Many
are not particularly well known.
Sargent has also authored a handful of stories about players in the
All American Professional Girls
League, the circuit made famous
in the movie A League of Their
Litwhiler was able to remember
both general and more speciﬁc information about teammates, seasons and particular games, and
Sargent’s research helped in that
“You can say things that will
trigger the former athlete to remember other things,” says the
history professor of a technique he
has used many times when writing sports stories.
Sargent will make a presentation
on his book at Virginia Western
this March. “I have now taught in
eight decades, beginning in 1938,”
says Litwhiler at the conclusion of
Living the Baseball Dream. “The
stories keeping getting better, and
I still love talking to the fans.”
Danny Litwhiler was not only
a noteworthy part of the game in
perhaps its heyday — he was a fan
himself, something that comes
across in the book.
“I tell old-timers this is my way
of playing the game,” the history
professor concludes with a chuckle. “It’s a great feeling.”
Area football talent FROM PAGE 12
Sixteen players from the Roanoke Valley were listed on rosters
but had no statistics. In football, oﬀensive linemen have no
recorded statistics. Likewise, statistics books do not list if a player is
injured, redshirting or playing well but not advancing the football.
Those who were on teams but did not record statistics were:
Jackson Andrews, Long Snapper, Soph. from North Cross
to Marshall but all of whom are
Marshall through and through. I
loved watching it with friends and
I loved watching it with my Marshall family, many of whom I had
met for the ﬁrst time that evening.
For those of us who bleed Green,
most of us are overjoyed that the
story has been told with such skill,
compassion and in such a positive
and uplifting way. One of the most
unique things about Marshall is
that the plane crash galvanized
the community. I am amazed at
the number of people who have
been enthusiastic Marshall supporters, yet they never attended
the school. My hope is that this
movie will extend the community
from coast to coast. There’s room
for more people who bleed Green.
It’s a family where there is always
room for one more at the tailgate
Andrew Sellers, Linebacker, Soph. from Cave Spring
Brian Thompson, Linebacker, Soph. from Cave Spring
Chavis Fochtman, OL, Sr. from William Fleming
Thomas Boddie, OL, Fr. from William Fleming
Dennis Hardy, Linebacker, Fr. from William Fleming
Sergio Jones, OL, Soph. from Northside
K.J. Paitsel, Kicker, Fr. from Glenvar
Joseph Hollingsworth, OL, Fr. from Staunton River
Allen Bell, Linebacker, Jr. from Staunton River
Corey Ramsey, Quarterback, Fr. from Staunton River
David Redick, Tight End, Fr. from Cave Spring
Emory & Henry
Daniel Ayers, Wide Receiver, Fr. from Glenvar
James Bonamo, Linebacker, Fr. from Northside
Tommy Burgess, OL, Fr. from Cave Spring
Devin Chapell, Quarterback, Fr. from Glenvar
PLAY BY PLAY
JANUARY 22, 2007
LEGENDS OF THE GAMES
Beagle walks softly, carries a big stick
EEP IT SHORT AND SIMple, says Wally Beagle, one of
four new members going into
the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall
of Fame on Feb. 11. The Hall of
was organized Legends of
in 1991, is ex- the Games
pected to open Twenty-ninth in a Series
the doors of a
permanent facility this April. The
new building is located adjacent
to the Salem Avalanche baseball
“I’m speechless, really; it’s a
wonderful honor,” says Beagle of
his induction. “I totally did not expect it at all.”
A modest man, Beagle was recently seen in the lobby of the Salem Civic Center during the Member One Holiday Hoopla, humbly
gazing at the plaques of the 68 inductees who have preceded him.
The longtime supporter of youth
baseball in Southwest Roanoke
County seems genuinely surprised he will be receiving recognition for his past or current baseball accomplishments. Beagle has
always preferred to work in the
background, to be a quiet force on
and oﬀ the ﬁeld.
During the period when his
sons, Chad and Mark, came
through the Cave Spring baseball
system and during the many years
that have followed, Beagle has
built a résumé worthy of his induction into the Hall: Cave Spring
Little League coach and administrator, Cave Spring High School
Booster Club member during several drives to improve the baseball
facilities, and for the past 13 years,
coordinator of the Coventry Commonwealth Games of Virginia
baseball competition that brings
four all-star high school squads
to the Roanoke Valley every summer.
Knights Field at Cave Spring
now features a press box, restroom
and concession stand made possible by the school’s booster club
Beagle is no longer an oﬃcial
club member but will “help them
when they need stuﬀ. They had
other people come along behind
The Commonwealth teams have
featured a number of future major leaguers, including Brandon
Inge and Justin Verlander of the
current American League Champion Detroit Tigers. Budding stars
Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals) and David Wright
(New York Mets) played at Kiwanis
Field in Salem during the Commonwealth Games as high school
athletes. Cave Spring’s own Tyler
Lumsden, a good bet to make the
Kansas City Royals as a left-handed pitcher this season, was also a
Beagle estimates that 100 or
more players have been drafted
out of high school or college after appearing in the Games while
many more went on to play baseball in college at some level.
“[These] are the best of the best
you might say, in the state of Virginia,” Beagle says.
“Wally has been the driving force
in providing the leadership and
commitment to the outstanding
success that the All Star Baseball
portion of the Coventry Commonwealth Games of Virginia has had,”
says Pete Lampman, president of
the organization that oversees the
Games. “The time and dedication
he has given this sport is immeasurable. The coaches, players and
the volunteers he recruits each
year continue to be amazed at the
organization and the quality of
the event. What Wally has done for
this event and for baseball in the
valley is priceless.”
A Staﬀord County native, Beagle picks high school coaches
from around the state and they assemble the squads. “It’s one of the
premier events at the Commonwealth Games,” says Beagle, who
knows how to compete with summer showcases elsewhere for the
attention of players, scouts and
by Gene Marrano
grew the diamond at Cave Spring
“He’s a great guy,” says Beagle,
also giving kudos to the entire city
of Salem staﬀ. “They did a tremendous amount of work on it.”
He points out that assorted AAU
teams, Salem High School and
Roanoke College are based at Kiwanis Field every spring before
the Commonwealth contingency
arrives. “It’s used six to seven days
Beagle’s son, Chad, played briefly in the Florida Marlins system as
a pitcher in the early
’90s before arm injuries
forced him out of the
game. In college, Chad
Beagle set an NCAA record at South CarolinaAiken for strikeouts per
inning, according to his
Franklin County native Gary Gilmore was
skipper at South Carolina-Aiken at the time.
Beagle, who works
for Allstate Insurance,
Wally Beagle has preferred to work in the backis still a supporter of
ground, to be a quiet force on and off the ﬁeld
Cave Spring athletScores of college coaches and
ics these days and runs the time
pro scouts show up every summer
clock at basketball and football
to watch the round-robin tourgames.
ney, clipboards and JUGS guns in
“I just love sports and enjoy behand. Beagle, a former high school
ing around it, seeing these kids deinﬁelder who didn’t quite make
velop,” he says.
his college team at East Tennessee
He also looks forward to the
State, has been at the center of the
Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of
Commonwealth Games baseball
Fame and the recognition its new
action in one way or another since
permanent home will give to those
its inception in 1990.
with local ties that have moved the
He is very pleased to go into the
game forward at the professional,
Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of
college, high school and recreFame at the same time as Charlie
ation league level. Now he’s a part
Hammersley, the former Salem
of that mix as well. “It’s going to be
Parks and Recreation director who
unbelievable,” Beagle says. “It’s
welcomed the baseball competireally needed for this area of Virtion to Kiwanis Field after it outginia.”
JANUARY 22, 2007
PLAY BY PLAY
Looks like I’m caught in a resolving door
’M NOT A BIG NEW YEAR’S
I already know I don’t have
much willpower so I’m just setting
myself up to feel bad for someAshley
thing I probably already should
have been doing — and this is the
point, something I wasn’t doing
— and likely never will. I’ve already got more than enough things to feel
guilty about to keep teams of psychiatrists working around the clock.
In a survey of my friends, both of them said they didn’t make resolutions
either. Although Jimmy did say he was resolved especially not to make
any this year. So he gets an asterisk (or a kick in the asterisk, depending if
he buys me lunch for weaseling his name yet another column).
So what does this all have to do with sports? Well, I have semi-resolved
to be less snippy and more patient this year (just as soon as I ﬁnish this
#%*@$ column) and I ﬁnd that mindset has a lot to do with sports and,
not coincidentally, writing this piece.
For instance, I could opine how absolutely ludicrous it is for the NCAA
to sponsor playoﬀ championships in every sport except the one everyone cares the most about — football; but I won’t. I will point out that
they added a 12th regular season game this year so every I-A team could
smash another I-AA team and season-ticket holders could grumble during tailgate parties. The “championship game” itself — painstakingly ciphered together by a couple of computer geeks, several accountants, a
Tostitos chips salesman and Beano Cook — was actually played Jan. 8
You’re telling me somewhere between that extra game the ﬁrst of December and Jan. 8, you couldn’t cobble together a reputable 8-or-16-team
playoﬀ that would get people from Boise State to shut up? (Sorry, that was
In the interest of full disclosure, since I have actually worked in college athletics, I had long been against the national football playoﬀ, best
summed up by the notion that some pimply-faced, freshman walkon kicker would be lining up for a $20-million ﬁeld goal at some point.
But you know, we already have freshmen shooting similarly priced free
throws come March and no one’s advocating a stop to the Madness.
The strongest arguments against playoﬀs are making football a two-semester sport and of juggling varying exams schedules. Yet somehow they
seem to do it in Division III and II and even NAIA. Division I scholar-athletes should be allowed the same opportunity, and if that’s unreasonable,
then — this just in — there’s probably something wrong with the mix of
academics and athletics at our highest level of competition.
Finally, since the BCS has already somehow made all of the bowl games
save one actually meaningless, I don’t see a problem. Bowl games can be
like the NIT for football.
So cut that stupid 12th game, set up a championship playoﬀ for the top
16, a process that would take all of four weeks (bowl teams practice short
yardage situations longer than that now), and give somebody a trophy
that’s earned on the ﬁeld and not on some computer (or Tostitos) chip
somewhere. (Was that snippy? I can’t even tell anymore.)
Now while I’m rolling, let me get a couple more things oﬀ my chest:
I got a little misty at the movie, We Are Marshall. I think any sports
fan would. I did some consulting work for the Thundering Herd back in
the late ’90s and you could still feel the scars from the plane crash that
took their football team in 1970. Before that, I worked in athletics at Radford University under Dr. Donald Dedmon, a prominent character in the
movie as interim president at Marshall in 1970. It was interesting to see
gifted actor David Strathairn’s portrayal of Dr. D.
For the record, he had Dedmon’s brisk, gotta-get-things-done walk
down but he didn’t capture Dedmon’s oft-noted eloquence with words
and he had way too much hair. I’m in the tank for Strathairn, though, who
I’ve loved in everything he has done, particularly the movie version of
Eight Men Out, where he played Chicago Black Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte,
the guy who shouldered the brunt of the 1919 ﬁxed World Series.
I’m also in the tank for Dedmon, clearly the last RU president with a
clue about what to do with athletics at the university. (Sorry, that was
snippy, albeit true.)
Anyway, the rumor at RU was Dr. Dedmon would never let the Highlanders add football because of his gut-wrenching experience at Marshall. I believe there’s some truth to that, but I also think he just liked
athletics without football because of the emphasis it allows for all the
other programs outside of football’s daunting shadow.
I bring this up because as a wide-eyed senior sports enthusiast at RU
back in 1982, I marched into the good doctor’s oﬃce armed with a petition and a plan to add baseball. Dr. D listened to my song and dance and
said ﬁne, as long as I and the other club members would foot the bill.
We were delighted to do so, and two years later, baseball became a varsity sport at RU, winning all of four games and laying claim to being one
of the worst teams in the country (without a home ﬁeld, practice ﬁeld or
much in the way of equipment or players, it should be pointed out). I hesitate to think how bad it might have been if we hadn’t had the jumpstart
from my club team!
Back to football, from which I’m bleary-eyed and have couch sores, I
can’t help but wonder whether Bob Seger (“Like a Rock”) or John Cougar Mellencamp (“Our Country”) has sold more trucks per capita during
NFL games? I really only ask because all my daughter’s friends think The
Who is the group that wrote theme music for the CSI TV shows.
My daughter, bless her National Honor Society/all-advanced-placement courses heart, doesn’t believe that, thanks to my nurturing, not
quite-so-snippy-anymore tutelage in the matter. (Translation: I rant every time I hear one of my rock-and-roll heroes’ music on TV shows or in
commercials.) And now, thanks to this paragraph, I don’t have to put one
of those insipid honor roll student bumper-stickers on my car. (OK, that
was deﬁnitely snippy, but my bumper remains clean and my daughter
has written documentation of how proud I am.)
It’s obvious I’m battling larger demons here than I ﬁrst guesstimated in
making my resolution, friends. But I’ll keep ﬁghting the good ﬁght. And
my resolve will be resolute, to semi-quote our President, Dubya, not Dr.
D, God rest his soul.
I’ll exercise more patience this New Year, because Lord knows I’m not
going to patiently exercise more.
PLAY BY PLAY
JANUARY 22, 2007
© 2005 Kroger Mid-Atlantic