“I knew the record would stand until it was broken.” Yogi Berra.
Phil Jackson had his greatest coaching season ever this year based on what he had to work with and the results. Under Jackson, the Lakers improved their record by 11 wins and a playoff birth. Phil Jackson is what A. Auerbach (The “A” actually stands for Arnold, but I have a far more appropriate name for him) would like to be, the best coach in NBA history.
Story of the Week
U.S. MILITARY ACADEMIES. SPORTS PROGRAMS.
This article is a tribute to the military academies of our country, and to their sports programs. The idea for this article was conceived by virtue of my tremendous respect for two alumni of the Naval Academy. They are my close friend and most astute Merrill Lynch investment advisor, Stephen Murphy (an unsolicited infomercial; I just happen to have his phone number if you're interested), and my all-time favorite football player and brilliant Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Roger Staubach. The following appears on the respective websites of these fine academies.
United States Naval Academy
Located in Annapolis, Maryland.
Trustees Create New Athletic Awards:
In a move initiated by Chairman Tom Lynch ’64, the Trustees of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, Athletic & Scholarship Programs recently created four new athletic awards/trophies.
The trophies are in honor of Heisman Trophy Winners Joe Bellino ’60 and Roger Staubach ’63, all-purpose running back Napoleon McCallum ’85 and basketball great David Robinson ’87.
The Joe Bellino Trophy is in honor of Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Bellino ’60 and will be presented to the varsity football player of the graduating class who was the leading ground gainer over his playing career.
The Roger Staubach Trophy is in honor of Heisman Trophy Winner Roger Staubach ’63 and will be presented to the varsity football player of the graduating class who has contributed the most to the team’s success over his playing career.
The Napoleon McCallum Trophy is in honor of Navy’s all-time, all-purpose yards gainer, Napoleon McCallum ’85 and will be presented to the varsity football player of the graduating class who has gained the most all-purpose yards in his playing career.
The David Robinson Trophy is in honor of Navy’s greatest basketball star, David Robinson ’87 and will be presented to the varsity basketball player on the men’s team who has contributed the most to the team’s success over his playing career.
United States Military Academy
West Point is located 50 miles north of N. Y. City.
The Military Academy's sports teams were historically called The Black Knights of the Hudson, but the nickname has been officially shortened to Black Knights. U.S. sports media use Army as a synonym for the Academy; this usage is officially endorsed. The Army mascot is the mule.
Army's football team at one time was considered a top-tier college program, reaching its pinnacle under coach Earl Blaik when Army won consecutive national championships in 1944 and 1945 as well as produced three Heisman trophy winning players; Doc Blanchard in 1945, Glenn Woodward Davis in 1946 and Pete Dawkins in 1958.
In recent years Army was a member of Conference USA, its NCAA Division I-A football program reverted to its former independent status after the 2004 season. It competes with the other academies for the Commander in Chief's Trophy. The 2005 football season marked Army's fourth consecutive loss in the Army-Navy Game.
It is a member of the Division I Patriot League in most other sports; its men's hockey program competes in Atlantic Hockey.
United States Air Force Academy
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Intercollegate athletes at the Air Force Academy compete in the NCAA's Division I-A. Most teams compete in the Mountain West Conference. The gymnastics (men and women) and men's soccer teams compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, its hockey team competes in College Hockey America and its Water Polo team competes in the Western Water Polo Association. The men's boxing team, which competes in the National Collegiate Boxing Association, have won 19 national championships, and have never finished lower than second in the nation.
The Academy also has several "club" teams that compete at the intercollegiate level. The men's volleyball and the men's and women's rugby teams are consistently among the top in the nation. The men's rugby team won the 2003 national title and have had several alumni compete on the All-Services Team.
The Academy's sports teams are nicknamed the Falcons. Air Force has traditional service academy rivalries with Navy and Army. The three service academies compete for the Commander in Chief's Trophy in football each year. The Academy is a member of the Mountain West Conference.
Honorable mention to the United States Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, New York).
Last Week’s Trivia
The Dodgers produced the NL Rookie of the Year in four straight years from 1979-1982. The award winners were Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Sax. The Dodgers did a repeat performance in five consecutive seasons from 1992-1996. The award winners were Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth.
Trivia Question of the Week
My thanks to Kevin Wallin of Field of Dreams in the Forum in Las Vegas for this one. What former NFL player owns five Super Bowl rings from the same team. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.