The Flat Hat sports desk rings in 2015 with the best commentaries and features of 2014. Flat Hat Sports Editors Mick Sloan and Chris Weber, Assoc. Sports Editor Jack Powers, staff writer Samantha Cohen and staff writer Sumner Higginbotham are featured.
The athletic department has been content to perpetuate the system that makes head coaching experience much more accessible to white coaches than to their minority counterparts. The lack of minority head coaches at the College may be primarily an oversight, but it is becoming an increasingly embarrassing one as the boundary between negligence and racism is becoming blurred.
Feature: Model Of Excellence|Chris Weber
A rope hangs from the ceiling in Kaplan Arena’s gymnasium. Halfway between the ceiling and the floor is a pair of rings, and it’s these rings that have been so instrumental to senior gymnast Landon Funiciello.
Feature: Destination Williamsburg|Jack Powers
Stick around a William and Mary men’s basketball game long enough and you’ll likely hear a common refrain, usually preceded by a dazzling play or a gaudy overall performance, but always uttered in exasperation: “How the heck did we get that guy?”
Why would a respected high school player choose an academically-strenuous school in a torn-apart conference? Why choose a program with the dreadful distinction of never having made the NCAA Tournament? Surely not because of the customary brochure, full of high-falutin’ facts and obligatory Jon Stewart ’84 quotes that hook everyone else.
Five presidents, four athletic directors and one Jimmye Laycock later, Colley still calls the College’s football and men’s basketball games. Whether working alongside Matt Ridjaneck ’06 in the press box at Zable Stadium or scribbling down stats with Charlie Wollum in Kaplan Arena, Colley has become the voice of the Tribe.
Commentary: A Team Worth Appreciating|Jack Powers
Reality slowly set in. Two lessons came with the shellshock of Monday night’s loss in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final: one sobering and one gratifying. First, there is no “should” in sports. Having an inspiring narrative on one’s side is much less important than having a 6’9”, 260-pound center.
Second, no one can say this program isn’t capable of qualifying for the NCAA tournament. If the glass ceiling isn’t broken, it’s in need of serious repair. History isn’t on the side of the Tribe, but recent play stands to change that in the near future.
Feature: ‘Tribe For Teddy’|Chris Weber
Late in the afternoon on Nov. 14, 2013, doctors and specialists settled on a prognosis — Menkes disease. Characterized by deficient copper levels, Menkes disease has no known cure. Children diagnosed with typical Menkes cases generally don’t live past three years. Teddy Fish, turning 11 months old Sunday, has a typical case.
Commentary: Teddy Tells More Than Just A Story|Chris Weber
Sifting through the details became a little tougher — a simple analytical approach wouldn’t cut it. It’s one thing to cover Tribe sporting events dispassionately from a press box or cold bleacher, but it’s something entirely different to write a piece on a kid you’ve only ever heard cry over the phone.
That’s the crux of journalistic problems. To report requires analysis, unbiased coverage and a shrewdness to cut through to find what matters. It’s impossible to remain cold, to stay aloof of the emotion surrounding Teddy’s story.
Feature: Queen B|Jack Powers
A long cascade of curls crowned by a bow — don’t let it fool you. The girl with the bow in her hair is not what she seems. If you pull back the smiles and the hugs, high-fives, handshakes and humble shrugs, you get something else: A born winner, one of the greatest in William and Mary history.
Feature: Two of a Kind|Samantha Cohen
One of the only ways to tell Austin and Davis Morrison apart is their style — their golf style, that is.
The identical twins are freshmen on the College’s golf team and are almost as similar on a stats sheet as they are in appearance. The Morrisons both finished with identical scores at the Snowman Getaway tournament February 25, tying for 21st place out of 100 competitors.
Feature: Lacrosse 101|Sumner Higginbotham
For an American sport invented over 300 years ago, more people should know something about lacrosse. The game is team-oriented, fast-paced, and features athletes wielding metal sticks — what’s not to love? Despite its attractive attributes, however, lacrosse remains relatively unknown. Today that changes.
Commentary: New Opponent, Same Play Calls|Chris Weber
I started to believe somewhere in God country. Between Country Cookin’ and Mama’s Kitchen, I convinced myself it could happen.
William and Mary could cover the spread.
At that moment the Tribe desperately needed a spark, and McBride provided it. On the fifth play of the College’s subsequent drive, McBride sprinted behind NSU’s defense and hauled in a rainbow of a throw from Cluley. With nobody to beat ahead of him, McBride sprinted the final dozen yards for the game-tying touchdown. After a troubling start, the Tribe was back in the game. McBride put them there.
Feature: Art Matsu – Hero Amidst Hatred|Jack Powers
That “Art” became a hero for students, many of whom professed belief in the inferiority of his heritage, is undeniable and helps explain why 800 College students cheered on their team against its rival in Richmond on Nov. 25, 1926.
Feature: Impact Of Injury|Mick Sloan
Revell was stuck at the crossroads of dream and nightmare. At that moment, he was a senior captain on a talented team, playing on national television in Virginia’s most hallowed football stadium, but he was also badly injured. Revell’s season, along with his Tribe career, was over.
Commentary: College Falls Just Short, Again|Mick Sloan
They celebrated the victories humbly and took the losses hard, but they never surrendered until the final whistle sounded. They deserved to compete in the FCS postseason, and they gave everything they had to get there. It just didn’t work out.
There’s no telling what will come next season for the Tribe. The team must replace playmakers all over the roster, and hopefully key players such as Cluley, Abdul-Saboor, Houston-Carson and junior linebacker Luke Rhodes will lead the College in another competitive year. But for now, I keep coming back to those seniors who ended their Tribe careers without a playoff appearance in four years.