Free Press Radio Show – Jan. 17, 2013

The latest show features me and Jon Dawson interviewing Brian North about a variety of subjects, including Manti Te’o, Lance Armstrong, Kinston High School basketball, Lenoir County basketball, Jamie McCuthcheon’s hair and something you guys are used to: a live iPod shuffle.

Enjoy the show by clicking here!

Tim Jenkins out at South Lenoir

I’ve confirmed with two independent sources that Tim Jenkins, the football and baseball coach at South Lenoir, has resigned to become an assistant coach at East Duplin. A replacement for Jenkins — who only coached one year at SL — has not yet been announced, although it should be worked out this week by SL Principal Steve St. Amand and Athletic Director Lisa Smith.

Thanks to longtime blog supporter Jonathan Davis for giving me the tip on this nugget.

My take: Interesting development, especially since Jenkins announced on our podcast earlier this season (I’m trying to find the link and I’ll post it here tomorrow) that he was going to be at South Lenoir until he retired or unless he got fired.

I’m never going to denigrate a man’s career choice, but this one hurts for South Lenoir. It’s bad enough Jenkins is leaving the Blue Devils program(s) in a lurch — baseball workouts begin REALLY SOON (this week, I think?) — but to leave Deep Run for Beulaville? To be an assistant? Dang.

I hope Coach Jenkins was/will be classy enough to address his team and look those freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the eye to tell him he was leaving … ESPECIALLY after he was staying there “until he retired.”

Afternoon News Report; Feb. 16, 2012

REALIGNMENT IN FINAL STAGES

The NCHSAA has released its final preliminary realignment plan – schools have until March 1 to appeal and on March 15, may make their appeals.

As expected, five of the six public schools in our area (Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton) will be in one 2A league along with Goldsboro. Our other public school, Jones Senior, will be in a 1A league with East Carteret, Lejeune, Jacksonville Northside, Pamlico and Chocowinity Southside.

To see the proposed 2A league, click here. For the 1A league, click here.

My takes: For starters … Ryan Herman is one lucky SOB. Back in the old days when I covered sports, all our schools were pretty much split up in separate conferences. Now … he gets five of our six schools in one league? Damn.

Seriously, though, I’m happy for him, because this means readers of TFP will get even better coverage. Now, if Parrott Academy, Bethel Academy and Mt. Calvary could all join the same league, we’d be in Nirvana. That AIN’T gonna happen, though.

I’m wondering what the new league is going to be named. I seriously doubt it’ll be the Eastern Plains 2A, because four of the existing seven members (Farmville Central, North Pitt, SW Edgecombe and Wilson Beddingfield) of the EP2A are going to be in the same league in the new realignment.

Greene Central was one of the founding members of the EPC in the 1960s and I know Snow Hill legend Rabbit Fulghum would like his Rams to remain in the league (which it has inhabited since the mid-1980s). Again, it’s unlikely to happen unless Ol’ Rabbit puts some heat on some folks.

There are a lot of six-team leagues in this realignment, but that won’t hurt as much as it might seem. I’d like to think Kinston football will finally get East Duplin — and former Vikings coach Battle Holley — on its schedule, especially since ED is also in a six-team league.

In fact, THIS would be a great non-conference schedule for the Vikings: East Duplin, Jacksonville Northside (which I can’t believe dropped to 1A!), Greenville Rose, Havelock, Jones Senior and Tarboro. Of course, that would mean Kinston’s schedule would be one of the toughest in the state, but it would certainly get them ready for the 2A playoffs!

You know South Lenoir is going to keep East Duplin on its non-conference football schedule (or, I hope so anyway). Spring Creek has also been a mainstay on the SL sked, but I’d love to see Jones Senior back on the Devils’ slate, along with Richlands (Kevin Wilson connection) and one of the existing EP2A members (like North Pitt, Beddingfield or SW Edgecombe).

North Lenoir will probably keep Eastern Wayne, C.B. Aycock and Southern Wayne on its’ non-league football schedule — teams the Hawks have played for decades. Whatever else happens, though — there’s no freaking reason for the Hawks to be playing Davidson Day School or West Montgomery in the new realignment.

Maybe the powers-that-be at Jones Senior will get the three Lenoir County schools — along with Greene Central and Jones Senior — in its non-conference rotation, making Herman’s life THAT much easier!

I can’t remember the last time — if ever — I’ve been this pumped for a realignment. It’s going to be fun here from 2013-17!

‘COLBERT REPORT’ TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED

“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central’s satirical look at politics, announced it will not tape an episode today. The show aired a re-run last night, too.

My take: Speculation is there is a family emergency; earlier today, there was speculation that Comedy Central might be pulling it, although that wouldn’t make sense since the Report is one of the channel’s top-viewed programs.

And yes, I’m a fan. Colbert is notoriously anti-GOP, but he’s also very intelligent and, well, funny. Here’s hoping he’s back soon.

GARY CARTER DIES OF BRAIN CANCER

One of baseball’s all-timers, Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, has succumbed to brain cancer.

My take: Along with Pete Rose, “The Kid” was my first baseball hero. I was one of the few Montreal Expo fans in high school — mainly because of Carter.

RIP to one of the best.

The iPod shuffle

Losing My Way — Justin Timberlake

Play That Funky Music — White Cherry

Communication Breakdown — Led Zeppelin

In A Little While — U2

Before You Accuse Me (Take A Look At Yourself) — Eric Clapton

Morning News Report; Dec. 14, 2011

Before we get started here on the ol’ blog, some good/bad news from the sports media front — our very good friend and freaking awesome TV sports monkey, WCTI ABC-12′s Derek Bayne, is leaving Eastern North Carolina for the greener pastures of Rockford, Ill., where he’ll be the sports director of a station up there. His final day at WCTI is next Thursday, Dec. 22.

As has been mentioned here a plethora of times, Derek is truly one of the good guys. Just like his mentor, Brian North, D-Bayne (as the kids call him) has gone well beyond the call in covering prep and LCC sports here in Lenoir, Greene and Jones counties through the years.

D-Bayne will be seriously missed — not just by North but by viewers of WCTI. Good luck, my friend. Now … on to the MNR:

REALIGNMENT STILL LOOKS GOOD … FOR NOW

With the NCHSAA releasing its second look at realignment, it looks like five of our area teams — Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton — might still be headed to the same conference, with Jones Senior as our only area school outside that potential league.

Free Press SE Ryan Herman has a great column on this today — in fact, he’s even come up with a great name for the potential league: The Free Press 2A.

My take: This would be such a dream conference for many reasons for all of our schools … and for TFP. I’m begging the NCHSAA and our schools — let this bad boy go through and you will be extremely happy with what we’ll be able to do with this.

TIME’S PERSON OF THE YEAR NOT ACTUALLY A ‘PERSON’

Time Magazine’s annual choice for its Person of the Year is … The Protestor.

My take: Seems like a cop-out to me, but I have to agree that protests throughout the world — Egypt, Africa, Europe and the Occupy movement here in America — have dominated news cycles all over the globe.

Some of my nominees for Time’s POTY would’ve been Herman Cain, Bono or even Derek Jeter. Yours?

UNC’S WITHERS JOINING MEYER AT OSU

WRAL CBS-5 has confirmed that UNC interim head football coach Everett Withers will be a part of Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.

My take: Good for Withers, who seems like a pretty decent fellow from all accounts. And it was pretty much a guarantee that UNC was going to completely clean house following the Butch Davis fiasco in Chapel Hill.

The iPod shuffle

Emotional Rescue — The Rolling Stones

Air Force Ones — Nelly

Come Together — The Beatles

Wrapped Around Your Finger — The Police

Talking To The Moon (Acoustic Piano Version) — Bruno Mars

P.S.: The Hermanator will be releasing the All-Free Press football teams, along with the coach, offensive players and defensive players of the year in Sunday’s edition. Not going to reveal any of the winners, but I think it’s a very judicious list in which Herman, me, Keith Spence and Justin “The Kid” voted on.

Of course … it’s hard to select just ONE coach of the year when four of your seven area coaches led their teams to state championship games! I was a little surprised at the defensive POTY, but the offensive POTY was a pretty easy choice. Discuss!

Morning News Report; Nov. 30, 2011

Well … waiting to post since the powers-that-be are doing a changeover, but too much good stuff to wait! Going to get this MNR, standings update and some other goodies to you today here before the change to the new server, which will have a new URL.

CAIN’S CAMPAIGN ON LIFE SUPPORT

With yet ANOTHER woman stepping forward professing to having improper sexual relations with Republican Herman Cain, the former front-runner for the GOP nomination for president in 2012 is reassessing his decision to run.

My take: You know that old adage about “where there is smoke, there is fire?” There’s a heck of a lot of smoke around Mr. Cain right now — and you have to figure that there has to be a bit of truth to this.

Does that make him unworthy to be president? One of the best presidents in my lifetime was a philanderer and it didn’t stop him from doing a good job.

REALIGNMENT SURPRISES

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has released its preliminary realignment plan — and there are some local surprises, including:

  • Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Ayden-Grifton and Greene Central altogether in one seven-team 2A conference, along with Goldsboro and Midway
  • Jones Senior being placed in a six-team 1A league, along with Warsaw James Kenan, Lakewood, Lejeune, Clinton Union and Wallace-Rose Hill

My take: OK, I can’t speak for the rest of the state (and I saw some questionable moves in other areas of the state), but The Free Press WHOLEHEARTEDLY approves this recommendation! To have five of the six public schools we cover in one league is a dream come true for coverage.

Thanks, Rick Strunk!

But before we all get too giddy about this, remember: this is the first draft. There will be a few more changes before we get close to being through with this.

But … wow. Prep sports fans around here would be duly impressed with what we could do if that league came to be.

GLAXO GETS A NAME CHANGE, RELEASES BRACKETS

The Raleigh holiday tournament that has had GlaxoSmithKline as a primary sponsor for more than a decade has had a name change: it’s now called the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational. Twenty

The HSOT.com, which includes Kinston again this year, has also released the brackets for this year’s tourney, which runs Dec. 26-30. Kinston will face Wheeler (Ga.) in the first-round of the eight-team American Airlines bracket on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at Raleigh Broughton High School.

My take: Pretty exciting news for the tourney, of which I am the media coordinator for the fifth straight year. The hard part is going to be not calling it the “Glaxo!”

DUKE LOSES … BIG

Duke suffered its first loss of the year last night when the Blue Devils fell 85-63 at Ohio State in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.

My take: Much like UNC losing last week to UNLV, no one thought the Dookies would go undefeated.

But to lose by THAT much? Dayum. I did enjoy this K quote: “I was trying not to lose by 30.”

The iPod shuffle

On The Road Again — Canned Heat

I’ve Tried Everything — Eurythmics

Losing My Religion — R.E.M.

Mary Jane’s Last Dance — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Cat Scratch Fever — Ted Nugent

All they do is win — go NL, SL, APA and track athletes!

It was quite a night for our three area playoff teams last night:

  • Behind a record-setting home run effort by junior Brian Hardy, the North Lenoir Hawks battled past Rocky Mount, 11-4, in the third round of the 3A baseball playoffs. Hardy homered twice last night and now has a school season record of 12 dingers this season. The Hawks play at Eastern Wayne Tuesday night for a berth in the 3A Eastern Regional championship series against either Asheboro or NE Guilford
  • The annual South Lenoir-Whiteville playoff game (the fourth in the past five seasons) went to the Blue Devils, who hammered the Wolfpack, 10-2, as Paul Mills, Austin Smith and Eddie Hawkins led the way. The Blue Devils host North Brunswick on Tuesday in the friendly confines of Paul Novicki Stadium for a berth in the 2A Eastern Regional championship series against either Randleman or South Granville
  • The undefeated Arendell Parrott Academy softball team beat down Fayetteville Christian School, 11-1, last night in Fayetteville to advance to today’s semifinal game against a school from my old stomping grounds, Gaston Christian School. When the Patriots win that game , they’ll play for the state title at 3 p.m.

My take: Congratulations to coaches Jim Montague, Troy Eason and Matt Beaman for all their success last night! It’s crazy that as small as Lenoir County is, that there is this much baseball/softball talent in our area. Let’s send some good mojo to Fayetteville for the Patriots to bring a title home today and then support those young men from Deep Run and Wheat Swamp on Tuesday!

On top of all this, there are track athletes from Kinston, South Lenoir and Greene Central competing in the 2A state championships in Greensboro today with opportunities to bring back more state titles to our area. Keep those kids and coaches in mind today, too!

Also: big time props to Ryan Herman for his tremendous job covering these runs this spring. I’ve been in this position before — maybe not even to this degree, though! — and he’s doing a great job keeping our readers up to the minute on all these title runs (all at The Free Press’ prep website, freepresspreps.com). Keep up the great work, dude!

Morning News Report; April 28, 2011

SOUTH LENOIR NAMED NCHSAA’S TOP SPORTSMANSHIP SCHOOL

This morning, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, in conjunction with the N.C. Athletic Director’s Association, has named South Lenoir the Sportsmanship Award winner for 2011.

The Blue Devils will formally accept the award a week from today in Chapel Hill. They’ll also get a trophy, a banner and a $1,000 cash award.

My take: Congrats to Athletics Director Lisa Smith and the Blue Devils — this is certainly a worthy award for our friends at South Lenoir.

TORNADOES SWEEP THROUGH SOUTH AGAIN; THEY’RE HEADED HERE

Dozens of people have died in tornadoes sweeping through the South; now, ENC is under a tornado watch.

My take: I’m not much of an apocalypse-type guy … but these are some scary times. Keep your head down, y’all, and stay tuned to Kinston.com and Skip Waters and the boys at WCTI ABC-12.

NFL DRAFT KICKS OFF TONIGHT

The Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, which kicks off at 8 p.m. today (and it appears they’re going to take Auburn’s Cam Newton). The draft will be broadcast on ESPN and NFL Network.

My take: There are so many red flags here about Newton for the Panthers, I don’t know where to start. If they select Newton … they deserve what they’re going to get. The smartest pick, to me, would be for them to take Alabama’s Marcel Dareus, a defensive tackle who will be a star for a decade.

Of course, that won’t be sexy enough for Carolina, so they’ll likely take Newton, who’ll be giving back his Heisman in a few years.

As long as my Redskins make a smart pick (probably UNC’s Robert Quinn, if he slips that far), I’ll be happy.

He won’t be selected in tonight’s first round or maybe even in the seven rounds of the draft, but former Greene Central defensive end Brandon Sutton (who played at Catawba College) will likely sign a free agent contract with an NFL team. But I won’t be surprised if he ends up as a late-round pick.

The iPod shuffle

Stuntin’ Like My Daddy (Radio Edit) — Birdman & Lil’ Wayne

Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check — Busta Rhymes & Rampage The Last Boy Scout

Only Girl (In The World) — Rihanna

My Love — Paul McCartney & Wings

Bridge Burning — Foo Fighters

Morning News Report; March 24, 2011

The Bryan Hanks-Jon Dawson World Tour 2011 continues as we inspire the young minds of sixth-graders at Contentnea-Savannah School today. We’ll be talking to the students all day, along with Free Press photographer Janet S. Carter. If you’re in the neighborhood, come on by and bring us a sausage biscuit…

On to the MNR:

THE END OF INTERSCHOLASTIC PREP SPORTS AS WE KNOW IT

Bills in the N.C. House and Senate, if passed, would allow home-schooled children to play sports at public schools.

My take: It’s this simple — if this passes, prep sports as we know it now is OVER.

Why? If home-schoolers can decide where they want to play interscholastic sports, what’s to keep them from playing at North Lenoir in the fall, Kinston in the winter and South Lenoir in the spring? Nothing.

How are you going to check their attendance records? Other than state-mandated EOC tests home-schoolers have to take, how are you going to know if they’re academically viable? While coaches and administrators have to hold their student-athletes accountable for attendance and academic achievement, there is no such mechanism for home-schoolers.

And if you think transfers are bad now — wait until this potentially passes (which it probably will, since the GOP is behind this and it controls both legislative houses in Raleigh).

This is arguably one of the most ridiculous bills I’ve heard proposed for a long, long time. I truly respect N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque (one of the co-sponsors of the House version) but I pray he sees the light on this one before it goes much further.

CHRIS BROWN ‘EXPLAINS’ HIS OUTBURST

R&B performer and woman abuser Chris Brown appeared on BET yesterday to explain his outburst on “Good Morning America” Tuesday when he threw a chair and created other mischief. Evidently, GMA host (and former ESPN talking head) Robin Rogers didn’t follow his talking points sheet (i.e., script) and it upset him greatly.

My take: That’s possibly the worst excuse anyone could come up with. I’ll reiterate what I wrote yesterday — if you’re buying his music, you’re supporting a convicted female abuser. Congrats — hope you feel good about yourself.

SWEET 16 TIPS OFF TONIGHT

The Sweet 16 starts tonight with Florida-BYU and Wisconsin-Butler in the Southeast, along with San Diego State-UConn and Duke-Arizona in the West.

My take: My predictions — although they’re not worth much! — are that Florida and Wisconsin win to set up an Elite Eight matchup while Duke and UConn do the same in the West. At least I hope they do, since I have Duke and Wisconsin in my busted bracket…

The iPod shuffle

I Can’t Explain — The Who

Electric Avenue — Eddy Grant

Rocket Queen — Guns N’ Roses

Every Breath You Take — The Police

The Show Goes On — Lupe Fiasco

Morning News Report; Feb. 4, 2011

MAN CHARGED IN GREYHOUND BUS HIJACKING

A man on a Greyhound bus to Raleigh hijacked the bus before being apprehended by authorities this morning.

My take: While there are some jokes that can be made here, this serious question remains — what would keep some terrorist or terrorist wannabe from taking a bus full of passengers hostage? I’ve not been on a Greyhound since I was in the Army 20 years ago, but I don’t think there are any type of security measures to keep those types of d-bags off a bus … are there? And Dawson — an Amtrak junkie — can answer the same question about trains.

I’m not saying riders need to go through the same measures you have when you get on a plane, but there has to be some way to keep a jagoff from carrying a pistol on a Greyhound bus … and there evidently wasn’t in this case.

‘THE DAILY’ LAUNCHES AS FIRST ONLINE-ONLY NEWSPAPER

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has launched the first online-only “newspaper” called The Daily. It is available only on the iPad, although you can see its content in other online mediums.

My take: I signed up for my free two-week subscription to it on my iPad yesterday … and was pretty impressed. Although the “news” was pretty New York City-centric (which is where News Corp. is located), the design and presentation was a combination of newspaper layout and state-of-the-art website bells and whistles, including photo albums and video.

As a old school newspaper guy, I have to admit that I liked it. Will The Free Press or papers of our (small-town) ilk go to this model? Eventually, yes. But the staff it takes to produce The Daily — which had about 100 pages in yesterday and today’s edition — has to number in the dozens … and papers the size of TFP only have a newsroom with less than a dozen employees.

Still, it’s just the first. It’ll keep evolving.

WAKE COUNTY CLOSE TO PAY-FOR-PLAY FOR ITS STUDENT-ATHLETES

Wake County Schools – facing a $100 million hole in its budget — is considering making student-athletes pay for the right to play interscholastic athletics.

My take: This is a sad, sad day for prep sports — and one I hoped would never come.

So, the poor kid whose only way out of his situation in life is through athletics may never have a chance because he can’t afford to play. That’s what we’re headed towards, folks.

By the way, fantastic job by our good friend Nick Stevens of HighSchoolOT.com on the story. Just wish he didn’t need to write it.

The iPod shuffle

Brain Damage — Eminem

Back In The High Life Again — Steve Winwood

You Give Love A Bad Name — Bon Jovi

Keep It Comin’ Love — K.C. & The Sunshine Band

California Gurls — Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg

Someone Saved My Life Tonight — Elton John

Obsession — Animotion

Free Bird — Lynyrd Skynyrd

1999 — Prince

Come Out And Play — The Offspring

North Lenoir Sports Hall of Fame

North Lenoir High School will induct three new members into its sports hall of fame at halftime of the Hawks’ football game with Kinston on Sept. 3. The new members are South Lenoir baseball coach Troy Eason, former football/basketball coach Quill Albritton and Arlynn Hines.

There will be a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 3 at the Frink Alumni Building in La Grange; tickets are available by calling Wayne Barwick at 252-560-0023 or Jim Montague at 252-560-4708. Tickets can also be purchased at the school’s office.

The inductees will be formally inducted during a halftime ceremony at the NL-KHS game.

My take: I don’t know Coach Albritton or Hines, but I’ve had the distinct honor of covering Coach Eason for most of a decade.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an humbler man than Coach Eason — he is the epitome of a man who will never take credit for his team’s successes while always (and I mean ALWAYS) taking responsibility when his team doesn’t do as well.

There are not a lot of gentlemen left in the prep coaching ranks, but Coach Eason personifies that “gentleman” trait — he’s as classy as they come and I’m ecstatic that North Lenoir (the school that he ironically graduated from) is honoring him in this fashion.

Congratulations, sir.