Enterprise Journalism Weekly Features Across ESPN Platforms
August 27, 2009
Search Party Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET,ESPN; noon,ESPNEWS)
College coaching searches can make big news, but the most influential figure in the process is often kept secret. Some schools, including Oklahoma, LSU and Florida, acknowledge they use headhunters — liaisons between universities and coaching prospects. The appeal is confidentiality, with universities possibly avoiding the embarrassment of reports if a prospect turns them down. Outside the Lines found that since 2008 at least 21 of the 35 college football coaching hires were made with the help of search firms. Bob Holtzman reports.
“Well, I think three reasons: No. 1, probably to expedite the process; No. 2, maintain the confidentiality; and No. 3, avoid embarrassment.” — Chuck Neinas, former commissioner of the Big Eight and Executive Director of the College Football Association,now founder of the search firmNeinas Sports Services, on why universities spend the money to hire him
“In all probability, the search firms may be important to you professionally or personally in the future. So, you’re going to be very hesitant to criticize someone who may play that type of role in your life.” — Ron Wellman, Wake Forrest AD who has never hired a search firm, on why it is so hard to find anybody critical of search firms
In Parkersburg, the Game Must Go on ESPN.com (Follow-up to E:60 piece)
Following the shooting death of coach Ed Thomas, residents of a small Iowa town still wonder how they will carry on. Aaron Thomas, one of Ed and Jan’s children, is Aplington-Parkersburg’s new athletic director, replacing his father.Perhaps one of the answers to carrying on lies on the football field. Elizabeth Merrill reports.
Bill Laimbeer: Does NBA Player + WNBA Coach = NBA Coaching Job?
Outside the Lines
Bill Laimbeer could get under an opponent’s skin more than any other player, but his success is undeniable: back-to-back NBA championships playing for the Detroit Pistons, and three WNBA titles in seven years coaching the Detroit Shock. In June, just three games into his eighth WNBA season, Laimbeer abruptly quit to pursue a job as an NBA head coach. With no NBA coaching experience, some question his credentials. Mark Schwarz examines Laimbeer’s legacy and potential future in the NBA.
“I can honestly say when I played Laimbeer that I really hated his guts.” — Charles Barkley
“If I was a GM, I would hire Bill Laimbeer. Without any reservations. He did due diligence and the work coaching. Yeah, he’d be one of my first calls.” — Charles Barkley
“Well I don’t think there is any question that the perception of me in the past probably has carried over somewhat to who I am now. But they don’t know me. They haven’t been around me now.” – Bill Laimbeer
Mechelle Voepel writes: “Did he burn too many bridges in the past, even within his Pistons family? Will NBA organizations think of him only as the ultimate Bad Boy? Will they understand what he has done the past seven years is, in fact, fully applicable to what he wants to do now?”
Burress: Gunshot wound nearly fatal ESPN.com (Follow-up to E:60 interview)
In his first interview since accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub in November, Plaxico Burress on Monday told E:60 that the gunshot wound he suffered was nearly fatal.
In His Element ESPN The Magazine (on newsstands Friday, Aug. 28) Follow-up to E:60 piece (video below)
In the new issue of ESPN The Magazine, Alyssa Roenigk profiles Clay Marzo, who some say might be the greatest surfer since nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater. However, Marzo always knew something was off with him. He would excel on the waves but had trouble adjusting to other areas of his life. As his fame skyrocketed, his behavior became more erratic — to the point he missed scheduled appearances and took unnecessary risks in competition. Concerned with Marzo’s actions, Strider Wasilewski, team manager of Quiksilver, the brand that sponsors Marzo, encouraged the then-18–year–old to get tested for Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Now, two years after his diagnosis, Marzo still excelson the water while learning to cope with the Syndrome. Marzo always knew he had a gift, and now he can explain it.
“He was becoming a problem, and people wanted to let him go. But I knew this kid wasn’t stoned or stupid. He wasn’t a spoiled teenager who didn’t want to be there. I could see him freaking out inside. He was in pain.”— Strider Wasilewski, Quiksilver team manager
“Clay is a freak on a surfboard. He does things people don’t even think of. He just sees the wave his own way.” — Kelly Slater
“It’s (Asperger’s Syndrome) a gift. With surfing, with the way I see the world, with everything. It’s definitely my gift.” — Clay Marzo
Age Changing in the Dominican Republic ESPN Deportes SportsCenter (Sunday, 11 p.m.) Reportajes Especiales piece on espndeportes.com
In the past decade, several Dominican baseball players have been discovered to be older than their official documents stated. Among this group are Major Leaguers Bartolo Colón, Rafael Furcal, Luis Vizcaíno and Miguel Tejada. This year, a talented Dominican player became the recipient of the largest international signing bonus in Washington Nationals’ history. He was listed as 19 years old, but eventually was revealed to be a 23-year-old. In an ESPN Deportes investigation, a hidden camera helps uncover how easy it is to change one’s identity and age in the Dominican Republic.