Sneak peak of my Sunday column (2012 HOF)

Here you go, dear bloggees — a peak at my Sunday column 11 hours before it hits the paper:

Get your nominations in for the Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame

Plans are beginning for the fourth class of the Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame, which will finally have a permanent home in the city later this summer.

The Hall enshrined classes of nine inductees each in 2004, 2007 and 2010. In 2004’s inaugural class, Lin Dawson, Bill Grice, Leo Hart, Bobby Hodges, Paul Jones, Cedric Maxwell, Frank Mock, Jerry Stackhouse and Ron Wooten were inducted while the Class of 2007 featured Bryant Aldridge, Grady Bethel, Eleanor Howard Cummings, Emmitt R. (Bobby) Davis, Eugene (Red) McDaniel, Amos Sexton, Oliver Smith, Donna Horton White and George Whitfield.

In 2010, the class included Marshall Happer, Alley Hart, Linwood Hartsell, Charlie Lewis, Tommy Mattocks, Vernon “Poo” Rochelle, Bill Rowe, Sam Shepherd and Jimmy Smith. For the first time, the Hall also inducted Kinston’s only state championship football teams – Adkin High School’s 1952 squad and the 1955 Grainger High School Red Devils.

The nomination process for this year’s class will begin Wednesday, when you can go by the Kinston/Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Department, 405 N. McLewean Street; or The Free Press, 2103 N. Queen Street, for an application. You can also contact me at the methods listed below for more details.

The criteria for inclusion are simple: if the nomination is for an athlete, they must’ve played and finished their prep careers in Kinston or Lenoir County at least 10 years ago; for a coach or contributor, they must’ve coached or contributed in Kinston or Lenoir County for at least 10 years (unless there are extenuating circumstances).

I am honored to have been a part of the first three steering committees and to be heading up this year’s committee, taking over the reins from Parks and Recreation Director Bill Ellis.

No date has been set for this year’s induction ceremony, which will take place at the new Kinston Woodmen of the World Community Center in the late summer or early fall. The Woodmen Center will also be the permanent home for the Kinston/Lenoir County Hall of Fame, with all the memorabilia, banners and artifacts collected being displayed within its walls.

This is the most important part of the Hall, though – it’s your Hall. Please send in nominations beginning Wednesday. If you’d like to be considered to serve on the steering committee, you may also contact me.

Stay tuned – I’ll keep you updated here in my column and on my blog on all developments.

Bryan C. Hanks’ column appears every Sunday in The Free Press. You can reach him at 252-559-1074 or at bhanks@freedomenc.com. Check out his blog at bhanks.encblogs.com and follow him on Twitter at BCHanks.

P.S. (to bloggees only): You guys get the first dibs — who would you like to see in the Class of 2012? LCC’s Bobby Dawson was one of the final cuts in 2010, so I can pretty much assure you he’s in for 2012; outside of that, it’s up in the air. I’d also like to see middle school coaches such as Skeet Davis, Coley Little and Frankie Casey be considered this year, too.

Let me know what y’all think.

Morning News Report; July 18, 2011

U.S. WOMEN LOSE TO JAPAN IN WORLD CUP FINAL

Despite never losing to Japan in soccer — going 22-0-3 over the years — the United States women found the wrong time to lose to their friends from the East, falling in the World Cup final in penalty kicks.

My take: Admittedly, I watched most of the first half of the final before heading to Grainger Stadium to PA the Kinston/Winston-Salem game. And admittedly, I was disappointed our girls didn’t come away with the title.

But as our good friend Randy Capps says in his excellent blog about the final, this was a feel-good story about a team playing for their fallen countrymates after that terrible tsunami that devastated Japan.

Can we now start talking about a REAL sport; you know, the NFL?

CASEY ANTHONY RELEASED FROM JAIL

Casey Anthony, who finds herself as America’s persona non grata at the moment, was released from jail early yesterday morning.

My take: And exactly where she is right now, no one knows. I don’t have a problem with it if she’s paying for her forced anonymity. But if the taxpayers are having to pay for her protection — I have a HUGE problem with that.

And I’ll say this: if anyone pays for the book that she’s inevitably going to write about this, they are idiots. I agree that she was found not guilty of murder by a jury of her peers, so she should be free. But there is no way under God she should be kept from the lynch mobs by our tax dollars.

HATCHER OPTIONED BACK TO DOUBLE-A JACKSONVILLE

A day after making a historic MLB debut as a pitcher, former Kinston star Chris Hatcher was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville.

My take: He knew this was probably going to happen, but I know this much about Chris — this is going to be a large motivation tool for him. He’s reached the show twice (including his uber-successful showing on Saturday) and all it’s going to take is a break to get him up there for good. No one is going to out-work him, that’s for sure.

Some other links on Hatch’s amazing Saturday:

The iPod shuffle

Kissing A Fool — George Michael

Always — U2

Suicide Blonde — INXS

Losing My Religion — R.E.M.

Free Fallin’ — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Check out Patrick Johnson’s blog, Nathan Summers’ book

Two former Kinston Free Press sports writers are doing great things since leaving our neck o’ the woods:

  • Patrick Johnson, who worked in the sports department as a stringer for a number of years before and after I joined TFP in 2002, has started a fascinating website that includes a blog and other goodies. Patrick, an Arendell Parrott Academy and ECU graduate, has golden pipes and has worked all over the state, including as the news editor for Raleigh’s No. 1 news station, WPTF 680-AM and as a host and guest host on Greenville’s WTIB 103.7-FM’s popular “Talk of the Town” with the legendary Henry Hinton. Check out his blog (linked above and to your right); it’s only part of a pretty good-looking website that includes his bio, among other pages.
  • Nathan Summers, who started at TFP the same day I did in 2002 but left here to cover ECU football for the Greenville Daily Reflector, has written his first novel, “GPS” (you can order the Kindle edition here on Amazon.com). Nathan did some outstanding work while with TFP and has done a fantastic job at the GDR — in my opinion, he’s one of the finest college football writers in the South. I haven’t had a chance to read his book yet, but as soon as I find a way to purchase a copy, I’m going to do so. I recommend you do, too — and if I get it before you guys, I’ll let you know how good it is.

Morning News Report; March 22, 2011

SPORTSWRITER TURNS PIMP

No, this isn’t a story about Ryan Herman; it’s about a 52-year-old four-time New Hampshire sportswriter of the year whose pay was cut by his newspaper … so he turned into a pimp. Seriously.

My take: Yep, times are hard for the newspaper industry, but to turn to the world’s oldest profession to supplement your income? Wowzer.

UT FIRES BRUCE PEARL

After yet another recruiting violation committed this month — combined with his admitted lying to the NCAA – Tennessee has fired basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

My take: Dude, you already knew you were in trouble … and you go out and commit ANOTHER violation? I was thinking he’d be a good fit at N.C. State, but with a possible “show cause” hanging over him from the NCAA, I don’t think they’ll give him the time of day.

Stupid, just stupid.

WORST SONG EVER SET TO MAKE TEENAGER A MILLIONAIRE

Remember last week when we introduced you to Jon Dawson’s favorite video of all time — Rebecca Black’s “Friday”? Well, it’s now generated more than 30 million YouTube views; it’s also on iTunes and will make the teenager $1 million in the very near future.

My take: America is an amazing place but, damn, are we stupid sometimes.

And yes, Dawson is somewhere, right now, poking his eardrums with a pencil.

The iPod shuffle

Sabotage — Beastie Boys

Rocket Queen — Guns N’ Roses

Get It Together — Beastie Boys

Let Her Cry — Hootie & The Blowfish

Stay (Faraway, So Close!) — U2

Morning News Report; June 24, 2010

AMERICANS WIN GROUP C IN WORLD CUP

With a 1-0 win against Algeria yesterday in the World Cup, the United States won a group for the first time since 1930. The Americans will face Ghana at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in elimination play.

My take: Admittedly, it was on in my office and that was a pretty good moment when Landon Donovan’s shot found the back of the net.

Not going to go negative here, so I don’t have to get hate mail from my good friend Randy Capps (who is keeping everyone up to date with soccer thoughts here). So, go USA!

OBAMA FIRES TOP GENERAL IN AFGHANISTAN

President Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, after statements by McChrystal and his staff were printed in Rolling Stone magazine. However, Obama did it while his secretary of defense wanted to keep McChrystal.

My take: Again, I’ll admit I haven’t read the RS piece yet, although I plan to soon (can someone send me a link?). But I’ll reiterate what I said yesterday — and I’m former military, too — you can’t talk s*** about your commanding officer, particularly the Commander In Chief.

Wait until you retire and do it …

VIKING PRESS WINS STATEWIDE AWARD

Michael Moon and his journalism staff at Kinston High School won a statewide award during the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association summer institute at the University of North Carolina in June. His staff also won a slew of other awards at the summer institute.

My take: Congratulations to Moon and The Viking Press. I’ve personally watched him completely overhaul that paper — and it’s arguably the best high school student newspaper I’ve ever read. Great job, dude.

The iPod shuffle

I Hope You Die — The Bloodhound Gang

Straight Outta Compton — N.W.A.

La Di Da Di — Doug E. Fresh

Before I Let Go — Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

A Man I’ll Never Be — Boston

P.S.: My beautiful 6-year-old niece, Cara, is in a video linked here on MySpace. If she gets enough votes, she’ll win tickets to a Miranda Lambert concert — if you’re a member of MySpace, please take a few minutes to vote for her. Thanks!

P.P.S.S.: Ol’ Jon Dawson has done it again — check out today’s column about me, the Kinston HS championship ring and the Big Rock forfeiture.

Morning News Report; June 23, 2010

TOP U.S. GENERAL IN AFGHANISTAN IN D.C. TO CHAT WITH OBAMA

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan has a face-to-face meeting with President Obama this morning after disparaging comments Gen. Stanley McChrystal made about Obama surfaced in Rolling Stone magazine.

Obama hasn’t indicated whether or not he’s going to fire Gen. McChrystal yet, but it’s also possible that the general might resign.

My take: It doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with Obama’s leadership (or lack thereof), he is still the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military. If you don’t want to serve in the military under him, then get out. There’s no excuse for anyone in the military to denigrate our CIC to anyone in the media.

ARKANSAS DEPUTY SUSPENDED FOR PLAYBOY PICS

A 21-year-old deputy for the Washington, Ark., Sheriff’s Department has been suspended for posing nude for Playboy.com.

My take: Eh, if she violated the “conduct unbecoming of an officer or employee of the department,” that’s on the sheriff to decide. A look at the deputy:

062310-nekkid-deputy.jpg 

Hey, transfer her to Lenoir County!

U.S.-ALGERIA FACING OFF IN WORLD CUP

The United States is fighting for its life in the World Cup as it takes on Algeria in its final opening round game of the tournament.

My take: And somewhere, Randy Capps is glued to his TV. Go USA.

The iPod shuffle

So Cruel — U2

Doo Wop (That Thing) — Lauryn Hill

CG 2 — Nelly

I Wanna Rock — Twisted Sister

Crying In The Chapel — Elvis Presley

Morning News Report; June 21, 2010

NO $15 FISHING LICENSE? NO $912K CHECK FOR BIG ROCK WINNER

The lack of a $15 fishing license for a crew member on Citation cost the team a $912,825 payday for winning the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament yesterday.

My take: How can you feel anything but bad for the owner of the boat? But yes, this sort of goes back to last week’s discussion about personal responsibility (about parents paying for school lunches) and making sure you have your ducks in a row — if you’re the captain of a boat (or parent of your child), you need to be certain you are following the rules.

But still … this one has to hurt for the captain of the Citation.

‘TOY STORY 3′ NO. 1 AT BOX OFFICE

“Toy Story 3″ pulled in $109 million over the weekend to easily top the U.S. box office. Second through fifth were “The Karate Kid” ($29 million), “The A-Team” ($13.8 million), “Get Him To The Greek” ($6.1 million) and “Shrek Forever After” ($5.5 million).

The biggest surprise of the weekend was the poor opening of “Jonah Hex,” a movie that was plugged to death during the NBA Finals and virtually during every commercial break of every TV show I’ve watched the past few weeks. It debuted at No. 8 with $5.09 million despite having the lovely Megan Fox in its lineup.

Yes, this is an excuse to have a picture of the appropriately-named Ms. Fox in the MNR:

062110-megan-fox-jonah-hex.jpg 

(Courtesy Warner Bros.)

My take: Not surprised at either result — “TS3″ was being roundly lauded by my contacts on Facebook and by reviewers this weekend, while “Jonah Hex” was being roundly panned.

LADY GAGA CRASHES YANKEES CLUBHOUSE

Pop singer Lady Gaga went uninvited into the N.Y. Yankees clubhouse after Friday night’s game, causing a stir and getting herself banned from it by Hal Steinbrenner. However, the ban was later lifted.

My favorite line from the above-linked N.Y. Post report: “She gushed about what a Yankee fan she is, all while groping her breasts during the cringe-inducing visit.”

A picture from USA Today:

062110-lady-gaga-yankees.jpg 

My take: Fantastic.

On a side note — from someone who has worked MLB, NFL and NBA locker rooms and clubhouses: it’s almost impossible to get through the levels of security to get there. How the heck did she just waltz into the freaking Yankees clubhouse?

The iPod shuffle

Three Point One Four — The Bloodhound Gang

Vision Of Love — Mariah Carey

Nightrain — Guns N’ Roses

Staring At The Sun (New Mix) — U2

It’s Now Or Never — Elvis Presley

Capps on the World Cup

For some ungodly reason, our good friend Randy Capps is an unapologetic soccer fan — so he’s excited about that World Cup thingie that begins tomorrow in South Africa. He even has a whole blog up about it — if you like soccer, check it out.

Side note here: Ol’ Randy works for the Fayetteville Observer, which has an unlimited budget, which is why he gets this cool shot on his blog:

061010-capps-mug.jpg 

He also has an ESPN World Cup pick ‘em contest going on at his blog, so check that out, too, if you’re so inclined. I’ll have an entry in it — and my goal is to do better than Capps, even though I know squat about futbol.

P.S.: Kissing Suzy Kolber’s Big Daddy Drew has a HILARIOUS take on N.Y. Jets coach Rex Ryan motivating the U.S. team. WARNING: It is extremely vile and probably NC-17 — so if you’re under 17 years old (or if you are easily insulted), DO NOT GO TO THE SITE. You have been warned, so don’t call my boss complaining about it.

But if you’re a grown-up and want to laugh until your sides hurt, check it out.

Battle Holley IS leaving Kinston

According to multiple Kinston High School student sources (and coaches), it looks like he’s headed to East Duplin for certain, in an associate head coach type of position while Brian Aldridge coaches his final year in Beulaville. I’ve got calls in to Coach Holley and to athletics director Wells Gulledge and am awaiting official confirmation. More details as I get ‘em.

UPDATE 7 P.M.: Really no update, other than to say I haven’t heard back from Holley or Gulledge. But between texts from players, Facebook chatter and my exploded e-mail box, Holley told his returning players today that he was leaving for East Duplin. A source at ED told me there will be a presser tomorrow announcing Holley’s arrival there for the 2010 football season.

Frankly, this is terrible news for Kinston High School football. What Coach Holley did in two years at KHS is historic — 22 wins, a fourth-round trip to the 2A playoffs in 2009 and a restoration of pride in Viking football.

Don’t get it twisted — I don’t blame Coach Holley for this ONE BIT. When the Lenoir County Schools administration decided to cut everyone’s coaching supplements across the board (i.e., a first-year head coach is making the same as a Montague, Eason and Gulledge), this is what you get.

The anti-sports folks should be happy tonight — they’ve ran an excellent coach out of Lenoir County. Instead of having a coach in place who motivated kids to do better and to improve themselves on an athletic field, I’m left to assume those types of people/administrators would rather see kids in gangs, end up in prison or dead. What else am I to assume? Instead of keeping a good man in Lenoir County coaching OUR kids, they’d rather pay him peanuts (literally about 30 cents an hour) and let him go coach Duplin County kids.

Folks — sports are good for kids; it keeps them out of trouble, it unites communities and helps raise money for schools! When are non-athletes and non-sports fans going to finally figure that out?

I’m disgusted with Lenoir County Schools right now. Good luck, Coach Holley in Duplin County, where I hope you will finally be appreciated.

P.S.: Oh, this isn’t the end of it, either — the rumblings are out there about another prominent county head coach leaving for a private school job in our own backyard. More on that later.