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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.”

Remembering J.J.

My Sunday column — one I wish I didn’t have to write 

In 20 years of covering prep sports in virtually every corner of the state of North Carolina, I’ve had the opportunity to see thousands of student-athletes take the field, court or pitch.

J.J. Thompson was one of the best I had the honor to write about. The former Greene Central High School star was the best player in our area in 2006, when The Free Press named him its overall player of the year.

Friday night, J.J. succumbed to cancer, less than a month after his 23rd birthday. The news of his untimely death spread quickly throughout Greene County and North Carolina on Saturday.

Jim Bob Bryant won the Associated Press Coach of the Year award this past season at Havelock High School. In 2006, though, Bryant was Greene Central’s head football coach.

Saturday afternoon, Bryant was driving back from a coach’s clinic in Western North Carolina; more than 12 hours after finding out about J.J.’s untimely death, the coach’s voice still cracked with emotion.

“I love all my players and they know that,” Bryant said. “But J.J. was like a son to me. If he’d have ever wanted to move in with me and my family, he could have in a heartbeat — that’s how much we thought of him.”

One of J.J.’s closest friends was his defensive coordinator at Greene Central, Andre Quinerly. “Coach Q” was the catalyst in bringing J.J. back in 2011 to the Rams’ sideline, where the recent Winston-Salem State University graduate coached Quinerly’s linebackers.

“I lost a fantastic player and coach, but more than that, I lost a good friend,” Q told me Saturday afternoon, his voice shaking. “Yes, he was young, but he was going to be a great coach because the kids really admired him.”

Bryant agreed.

“He had just received his business degree from Winston-Salem State, but I told him as soon as he got his teaching certification, he had a spot on my Havelock staff,” said Bryant, who added that J.J. would’ve been a great head coach one day.

His first three years of high school, J.J. was a defensive star at Greene Central and a blocking back on offense. His senior year, though, team issues forced him to become the Rams’ starting tailback, a position he hadn’t played since middle school.

He rose to the challenge — rushing for over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns, along with leading the Rams to a 9-3 record on a squad that included other great Rams players such as defensive star Brandon Sutton, quarterback Cameron Shelton and receiver/defensive back Harrison Walston.

“That’s just the way he was; he was unselfish and a total team player,” Quinerly said of J.J., who received a football scholarship to WSSU. “His commitment was to his team. He’d sacrifice his own health to do what was best for the team.”

Bryant said, “He was a team-first player. He told me, ‘If it helps the team, I’ll move anywhere you need me.’ He didn’t care about glory for himself — he just wanted his teammates to be successful.”

Quinerly said J.J.’s greatest game was a non-conference affair against Kinston in September 2006. In a game no one expected Greene Central to win, J.J. rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the Rams’ 22-21 victory in Snow Hill. More importantly, though, he finished with 13 tackles, including six for loss, on defense.

“Like he always did, he put the team on his back that night,” Quinerly recalled. “He was hyped up and he guaranteed the team, ‘We’re winning this game.’ And we did — because of his heart.”

Most Greene Central fans remember how the charismatic Brandon Sutton led those teams with his skill and talent; Sutton — now a rookie with Richmond Raiders of the Arena Football League after a spectacular career at Catawba College — said he was always pushed by J.J.

“He made sure the person beside him was always doing his job,” Sutton said. “And he always motivated me. If I got a sack, he said he was going to get two. If I had an interception, he had to get one, too. He was the ultimate teammate and a great friend since we were in fifth grade.”

The last couple of times I saw J.J. in football season and at a basketball game, he busted my chops about my need to write a story about his return to the sideline as an assistant coach for Greene Central. I tried to tell him I wasn’t the sports guy any longer with The Free Press, but that I’d put something together for the upcoming football season.

He persisted, though.

“C’mon, Mr. Hanks — you know you want to write this story!” J.J. said with a laugh in our final conversation. “It’ll be like old times!”

I wish I could’ve written that story instead of the one I’m typing now. Rest in peace, young man.

Bryan C. Hanks’ column appears in The Free Press every Sunday. 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.

Morning News Report; April 6, 2012

MUDCATS TO BEGIN SEASON AFTER STEALING OUR TEAM

For the first time in 34 years (and 25 years as the Kinston Indians), there will not be an opening night at Grainger Stadium tonight. Instead, the team formerly known as the Kinston Indians — the Carolina Mudcats — will open the 2012 season tonight in Zebulon.

Here’s a most excellent column by our David Hall on the subject.

My take: I really can’t put it any better than DHall did in his well-written piece — Kinston, this is your fault; not Cam McRae’s, not the man who stole our team and took it to Zebulon (Steve Bryant, who advertised his product in TFP this morning; yay) or even Minor League Baseball. This is YOUR fault, Kinston.

You can whine, bitch, complain or do whatever you want, but unless you were one of the handful of diehards who were at most every game (and yes, there were a hundred or so of you), shut the hell up. If you ever want another pro team at Grainger or in Kinston, do like DHall said — buy a team and bring it here or go support the “filler” games there until we have another team here.

And no, we (The Free Press) are not taking the bullet for this one — we covered the Kinston Indians better in the last eight years with David Hall’s award-winning talent than the team had ever been covered in its history. We let you know, freaking step-by-step, what was happening and how this day could come. We begged you to get out to games.

Personally, I attended at least 30-35 games last year and spent my money every time on concessions or memorabilia. I wrote several columns begging you to go to games. My publisher, Patrick Holmes, wrote several editorials to that effect.

David said it best in his column: you have the blood on your hands, Kinston.

This is on you, Kinston. Congratulations.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER ASSIGNS 70 REPORTERS TO ONE GAME

For today’s season-opening game against Kansas City, the Orange County Register — the Freedom Communications flagship newspaper (the same company that owns TFP, the New Bern Sun Journal and the Jacksonville Daily News) — has assigned 70 of its approximately 100 (!) reporters to cover the game between the hometown Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the visiting Royals.

My take: Overkill, anyone? It’s one game in 162 this season — what are they going to do if/when the Angels make it to the World Series, use all 100 (!) reporters and hire some stringers to help?

I’m not naive; newspapers are taking a beating right now and we’re doing everything we can to keep our heads above water to provide you, dear reader, with the excellent coverage to which you’ve grown accustomed. We’re embracing social media with big ol’ bear hugs and using many other methods of reaching and retaining readers and subscribers.

But … it’s hard for me to understand how using 70 reporters to cover one game is doing that, especially when there aren’t 70 total reporters at all the Freedom properties in North Carolina combined (TFP, NBSJ, JDN, The Jones Post, Havelock News, Burlington Times-News, Gaston Gazette and Shelby Star).

Send me one or two of those reporters so we can cover the things that needs to be covered in Kinston, La Grange, Pink Hill, Deep Run, Greene County and Jones County instead of overstaffing ONE regular season baseball game; I think my counterparts around North Carolina feel the same because we’re all severely understaffed.

I hope this experiment works for the OCR; it’s a hell of a product and again, the flagship of Freedom Communications — a company I love. But I just can’t help but feel this is excessive.

MCADOO RETURNING TO THE HILL

UNC freshman forward James Michael McAdoo announced yesterday he will return for his sophomore season, instead of joining the NBA Draft with teammates Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall.

My take: Good news for Tar Heel Nation — and Kinston’s Reggie Bullock, who will have a pretty doggoned good talent on one of his wings.

McAdoo was projected to go as high as No. 5 in one draft projection (according to Justin “The Kid” Hill) and was an almost certain lottery pick; for him to come back to Chapel Hill speaks volumes about how he didn’t want to leave Carolina with nothing on his resume. Good for him and good for college basketball.

JONES SENIOR ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH ARRESTED ON SEX CHARGES

Former Jones Senior assistant football coach Vaughn Chance was arrested Wednesday for indecent liberties with three female students at the school. The 53-year-old (!) was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor.

My take: This isn’t the first or second time this has happened at Jones Senior in my nearly decade-long tenure at TFP. If true (and this is America, you’re innocent until proven guilty), this is a pretty disgusting thing for a 53-year-old coach and alleged mentor to be doing.

And seriously … who thinks it’s cool for a 53-year-old man — and a football coach, to boot — to diddle with high school students?

High school coaches (and I know I have a lot who read this blog) — it ain’t worth it. I don’t care how cute that girl is, whether or not she’s 18 or that SHE’S the one making the “move” on you — she’s a STUDENT, for God’s sake. There are plenty of age-appropriate women out there who’d love to date a high school coach.

THAT FEW MINUTES OF PLEASURE IS NOT WORTH HAVING YOUR PICTURE SPLASHED ON EVERY NEWSPAPER FRONT AND EVERY TV STATION.

ARKANSAS FOOTBALL COACH CAUGHT FOOLIN’ AROUND?

Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino was in a motorcycle accident over the weekend, one that initially he said he was a lone rider.

Uh, no. The school held a late-night presser last night to reveal that instead, the 51-year-old coach had a 25-year-old school employee on his bike with him. He admitted to an inappropriate relationship in a press release and has been suspended by the university. And yes, Petrino hired her on March 28, only four days before the accident.

My take: It’s this simple — don’t cheat and this kind of thing WON’T happen. Can’t make it simpler than that. He certainly has a lot of ‘splaining to do.

The iPod shuffle

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You — Sting

Bad Meets Evil — Eminem

Eruption — Van Halen

I Can See For Miles — The Who

Fantastic Voyage — Coolio

Morning News Report; April 4, 2012

SAMPSON ELECTED TO BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME

The greatest center in ACC history — Ralph Sampson — will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Sept. 6 in Springfield, Mass.

(Courtesy Associated Press)

My take: Longtime bloggees know how I feel about this subject (yes, there’s a “Ralph Sampson is a basketball god” tab to your right). I feel he should’ve been inducted a long, long time ago and it’s a travesty it took this long. However, it’s awesome the HOF has finally come to its senses.

In the annals of college basketball, there might not be a better center outside of Sampson than UCLA’s Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton.

People have often asked why I’m such a University of Virginia sports fan … it’s because of Sampson. While everyone around me growing up in northwestern North Carolina was going crazy over UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest in the early 1980s, I chose UVa. because of King Ralph. Even my first email address (which I still own) was wahoos50 in honor of him.

And yes … I’ll be in Springfield for the ceremony.

TRAYVON MARCH TODAY

A march for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin will take place in Kinston today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

My take: I’ve not shared my views on this issue because I don’t know all the details. However, if Zimmerman wasn’t in danger of losing his life — and there have not been many indications that he was — why shoot at a teenager with nothing but a pack of candy and a bottle of tea?

Before you jump all over my quasi-analysis, remember this: no one knows all the details about this except for Zimmerman and Martin — and one of them is dead now.

And there is nothing wrong with a peaceful march — it’s awesome to live in a country where we can peacefully assemble without fear our government will break it up.

MAZINGO IS NEW SUPERINTENDENT/SL GETS A FOOTBALL COACH

Two big things happened at this week’s Lenoir County School board meeting — interim superintendent Steve Mazingo had “interim” taken off his title and South Lenoir had Tim Jenkins approved as its football coach.

My take: I’m not surprised by the Mazingo move — the man has done a fine job in the interim role. For all seven board members to approve him speaks volumes and it’s good they’re unified in their support of him. Now … let’s get our coaches paid a little more so they don’t stay for a year and then move on to surrounding counties because of money, OK?

Still crappy they ran off a fine gentleman in Dr. Terry Cline, though, but I guess it’s time to close the book on that subject.

As for Jenkins — he’s got a tough job ahead of him in Deep Run, but a good foundation has been laid by Kevin Wilson, his predecessor. I’ll say what I’ve said several times: no one has better football fan support in our county than South Lenoir — it’d be good to see those fans rewarded with a consistent program.

The iPod shuffle

(Love Is) Thicker Than Water — Andy Gibb

Kinda Like A Big Deal — Clipse

Straight Outta Compton — N.W.A.

Boom Boom Pow — Black Eyed Peas

I Want To Take You Higher — Ike & Tina Turner

Morning News Report; March 19, 2012

HOW’S YOUR BRACKET?

Mine’s not too shabby, as I have 10 of the Sweet 16; I still have seven of the Elite Eight and three of the Final Four (my decision to have Murray State as a surprise Final Four participant has blown up in my face).

Lots of intriguing storylines from the first two rounds (I refuse to call the First Four games the first round — yes, I’m a rebel that way), including the unfortunate breaking of Kendall Marshall’s wrist, Duke’s early exit and N.C. State’s first Sweet 16 appearance in a decade.

My takes: For all those who thought Tyler Zeller, John Henson or Harrison Barnes was UNC’s most important player and worthy of first-team All-ACC status over Marshall … now you’re going to find out. I think the Tar Heels will have enough to get past Ohio, but that Kansas game is a hell of a lot tougher without Marshall.

Like many of you, I was frankly shocked by Duke’s performance on Friday. I didn’t have any allusions of the Blue Devils going to the Final Four, but I thought they could make it past Lehigh. What this tells me is that Mike Krzyzewski did a hell of a job coaching this team. What this also tells me is that he needs to recruit a little better or Duke is truly falling behind.

And congrats, Wuffies — you’re at least one and maybe two years ahead of schedule. With one of the top recruiting classes coming in next year, it’s not inconceivable to think State could make a run at the Final Four next year.

KEVIN WILSON FOLO

As announced here last week, South Lenoir football coach Kevin Wilson formally announced his retirement from coaching last week. His decision was family-based and he’ll remain on staff as a teacher.

My take: Yes, it’s a true familial-based decision, but there might not have been a better time for Wilson — a man I truly respect and admire — to get out. There was so much infighting and bitterness in Deep Run this past season, I don’t know how anyone could’ve put up with it.

My unsolicited advice to Lisa Smith, Steve Saint Amand and the Blue Devils — make a decision and make it soon. This does not need to linger over several months. You have the best fan base and financial support in Lenoir County and that fan base expects some results.

EARLY VOTING: DON’T BE SKEERED

My Sunday column was on Lenoir County being approved for Sunday voting during the primary — and the fact that folks shouldn’t be afraid of it.

My take: I love how people in hushed tones — and looking around to see if anyone is listening to them — say things like, “You know THOSE churches encourage their people to vote a certain way.” Replace THOSE with any adjective you’d like — black, urban, country or white — and that’s what is implied.

Good grief — go vote. Anything that gets more folks into a voting booth is a good thing.

And I meant what I said in the column: if you have proof that your minister, preacher, priest or rabbi is encouraging you to vote in a certain way, please let me know.

The iPod shuffle

Just Like A Woman — Bob Dylan

Touch Me — The Doors

Crazy Train — Ozzy Osbourne

Johnny Ryall — The Beastie Boys

Let It Rock — Bon Jovi

Kevin Wilson resigns at SL

According to Free Press Sports Editor Ryan Herman, South Lenoir football coach Kevin Wilson has resigned from his post, effective immediately, due to family issues.

He is going to stay on as teacher. The school’s administration is ready to assign an “interim” title to a current assistant before starting the process for a permanent replacement.

More coming.

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

Afternoon News Report; Feb. 1, 2012

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

Six young men from our area — South Lenoir’s K’Hadree Hooker, Kinston’s C.J. Bradshaw, Angelo Keyes and Shaheed Swinson, and Ayden-Grifton’s Kariym Gent and Brandon Whitaker — signed their national letters of intent to play college football today.

My take: First off — many kudos to Sports Editor Ryan Herman, who was seemingly EVERYWHERE this morning, reporting on these signings. I’m really looking forward to seeing his story/stories in Thursday’s Free Press.

I concur with what Herman said on his Twitter feed — this is an extremely special day for those young men, who have worked their tails to get to this day. I’m also happy for the parents who have helped their children get to this point in their lives!

DON CORNELIUS DEAD AT 75

Don Cornelius, the iconic creator of “Soul Train,” is dead of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 75.

My take: And another icon of my youth is gone. I’ll never forget Saturday afternoons of “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train” — as many of you in my age bracket also remember.

Until I discovered Sting in 1983, Prince in 1984 and Bono in 1988, Cornelius was the coolest music celebrity I followed.

A final note — there is hardly anything more sad to me than a teenager or older person committing suicide. I’m not saying it’s acceptable for a middle-aged person to do it, but for someone young (who hasn’t truly experienced life) or someone old (who has fought the battles but decided they can’t go another day) to kill themselves is quasi-tragic to me.

BEAUFORT TIES FOR FIRST IN NATIONAL CONTEST

In a contest that had virtually all of ENC voting for it, the coastal city of Beaufort ended up tied for first with a New York town for the title of “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

My take: And that’s a bit bogus — Beaufort actually won the contest by 0.2 percentage points but it was declared a tie? Good for Beaufort in c0-winning the contest, but the person/people making that decision for a tie are the same people who want to give everyone a trophy for winning.

If it finished as a tie, so be it … but Beaufort won the damned thing. Give ‘em their award.

The iPod shuffle

Spaceship — Kanye West feat. GLC & Consequence

99 — Toto

Hot Stuff — The Rolling Stones

Exit — U2

Mother — Tori Amos

P.S.: Check out my brother’s new blog by clicking here. Not only is my brother Darrell the better-looking of the two of us, he’s also more athletic (although he can’t beat me on the basketball court!) and now he’s a better writer, too. Sigh.

Seriously — please check out his blog. Darrell is very sharp and his observations are top-notch, especially when he FINALLY admits U2 hasn’t lost their “it” factor.

P.P.S.S.: While I’m busy pimping, please check out the outstanding coverage of two regional media companies who are really on top of National Signing Day.

Nick Stevens and his legion of soldiers and soldierettes are working their tails off in the Triangle area getting NSD stories online at highschoolot.com. They are, frankly, knocking it out of the park today, so give ‘em a read.

Also, Randy Capps and the boys at the Fayetteville Observer are hosting chats and good stuff all day, so check them out, too.

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!

Afternoon News Report; Dec. 9, 2011

Many apologies, faithful bloggees — I’ve been all over ENC the past week with my company’s “social immersion” roll-out training. Trust me: you’re going to see a lot about it in the coming weeks and months in TFP, Kinston.com and here on the ol’ blog.

The powers-that-be also haven’t completely archived this blog yet in the change to the new URL, which, incidentally, will be http://bhanks.freedomblogging.com. No, I’m not a big fan of its look right now, but maybe we can dress it up a little bit. I’m not pleased with the lack of categories … but you work with what they give you, right?

Some quick hits on stuff before we plunge into today’s MNR ANR:

  • My twitter feed (@BCHanks) has been blowing up — mostly because I’m really beginning to work it. As many of you know, I am the PA voice of the Kinston Vikings basketball teams, so I’m tweeting updates every chance I get. If you want to know who’s winning tonight’s KHS games against SW Edgecombe (yes, I refuse to call it SouthWest Edgecombe), follow me on Twitter.
  • Ryan Herman, Jon Dawson and I wrapped up the prep football season and talked about a bunch of cool stuff on this week’s Free Press Sports Podcast. I even curse a time or two, just to see if I can get away with it. Seriously, though, if you’re not listening to this weekly podcast thingie we’re doing — you’re missing out. We have a lot of fun with it and this is the best part — it’s the kind of podcast I’d like to listen to. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do.

Anyhoo, here’s your MNR ANR.

B.J. MURPHY NAMED YP OF YEAR; 20 UNDER 40 NAMED

Kinston Mayor and FOB B.J. Murphy was named the Young Professional of the Year at last night’s Young Professionals of Lenoir County annual gala. Among the other honors handed out last night were TFP’s “20 Under 40″ awards and the Mentor of the Year award by the YPLC to LCC President Dr. Brantley Briley.

My take: There is not a more deserving person than the mayor for this honor. You tell me another 20- or 30-something in our area who has made more of an impact in Kinston/Lenoir County than B.J. Murphy in the past three or four years?

I voted in the 20 Under 40 awards and was duly impressed by the 50 or so people nominated. Some of the most impressive nominations, though, were for Scott Alston, Dana Hill, Benjamin Knight, Michael Parker, Eric Rouse, Samara Sutton-Taft, Mary Crews Whaley and Brian Wiggins.

And a sincere congrats to Dr. Briley — one of the good guys out there.

The iPod shuffle — extended version (and send me your honest shuffle, too, and I’ll post it here in a future MNR)

Eyes Without A Face — Billy Idol

My Michelle — Guns N’ Roses

Throw Yourself Away — Nickelback

Sassafras Roots — Green Day

Modern Love — David Bowie

Wishing You Were Here — Chicago

Changes Comin’ On — Alabama

Bring Em Out — T.I.

Hot Blooded — Foreigner

Red Rain — Peter Gabriel