Friday, April 27, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: West Virginia's famous alumni

West Virginia has over 170,000 living alumni, so some of them are bound to be famous.  Let's take a look at some of the well-known figures you might just bump into at a future TCU-WVU game:

-Jerry West.  The Olympic gold medalist, NBA Hall of Famer and supposed model for the league's logo was a two-time consensus All-American with the Mountaineers and as a junior in 1959 was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player despite having not played for the championship team.  Later in his career as a basketball executive, he left the Lakers organization to become the GM of the Memphis Grizzlies...and immediately traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers for just about nothing. 

-Cheryl Hines.  She didn't actually graduate, but Hines briefly attended WVU before going on to achieve fame playing Cheryl David on Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Am I the only one that always kinda thought she was hot?

-Chuck Howley.  Taking a cue from his fellow WVU alum Jerry West, Howley was named the MVP of Super Bowl V despite the Colts defeating the Cowboys with a last-second field goal.  Before his Ring of Honor career with America's Team, Howley lettered in five sports at WVU- football, track, wrestling, diving and gymnastics.  Howley represents one end of West Virginia football's impact on the Dallas Cowboys.  We'll get to the other in a bit...

-Chris Sarandon.  If the last name looks familiar, it's because he used to be married to Susan Sarandon...whom I never understand some people's infatuation with.  After earning a degree in performing arts from WVU, Chris went on to have a Hollywood career made notable mainly by two roles.  He was the voice of Jack Skellington in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Al Pacino's pre-op transsexual "wife" in the incredibly under-appreciated Dog Day Afternoon

-Pacman Jones.  Before his rain-making days and becoming the personification of Jerry Jones' ineptitude as Cowboys general manager, Jones was a darn good corner and ridiculously awesome kick- and punt-returner for the Mountaineers, earning All-Big East honors in both 2003 and 2004.

-Don Knotts.  I guess you couldn't actually run into him, seeing as he passed away in 2006.  But goofy as he was, I'm sure most WVU alumni and West Virginians are proud to call Knotts one of their own.  The Morgantown native was most known for his roles on The Andy Griffith Show and Three's Company, but let's not forget he was also in Cannonball Run II and Gus

-Billy Mays.  Joining Knotts in the gone-but-not-forgotten group of WVU alumni is celebrity pitch-man Billy Mays.  Before he was extolling the virtues of products like OxiClean and Orange Glo, Mays was a walk-on linebacker for the Mountaineer football team.

-Mike Vanderjagt.  Despite being statistically the most accurate kicker in NFL history, I'll always remember him as being a complete failure with the Cowboys in 2006 and for being a prime example of a kicker not knowing his place on a team when he publicly called out Peyton Manning while with the Colts.  Did you know, though, that before transferring to be WVU's kicker in 1991 & 1992, that he was a quarterback at Michigan State?

There are plenty of other fairly famous former WVU athletes that are worthy of mention- Tommy and Terry Bowden, Steve Slaton, Pat White, current WVU basketball coach and drunk driving enthusiast Bob Huggins, Marc Bulger, four-time Super Bowl loser Darryl Talley, former WVU & Michigan and current Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez, and current WVU athletic director and father of Andrew Luck, Oliver Luck.

Daily Discussion: The NBA Playoffs

Western Conference Finals?  Eh...probably not
The abbreviated 66-game NBA regular season came to a close last night, and with the playoffs starting tomorrow it's time to drive a wedge between our readers and contributors who might otherwise exist harmoniously with our shared love of the Horned Frogs.

In case you haven't had a chance to get acquainted with this year's bracket, you can peruse that sucker by clicking here.   The defending champion Mavericks, who even the staunchest MFFLs would admit are a shadow of last year's squad, stumbled down the stretch and ended up as the #7 seed in the west.  They'll face Oklahoma City in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals starting tomorrow night.

For our friends from down south of the border (which is somewhere near New Braunfels), the Spurs are right where they were a year ago with home-court advantage all the way through the Western Conference Playoffs.  The smart-ass in me wants to draw parallels to how they blew it in the first round to #8 seed Memphis a year ago, but the reasonable basketball observer in me knows that this is a much deeper Spurs team and this year's #8, Utah, pales in comparison to last year's very underrated Grizz.

Here's where you, the regular Spit Blood reader who is normally too shy to comment on posts, come in.  What do you take of the Mavs' chances as they try to defend their first title?  I doubt many out there are picking them to go all the way again- but how far do you think they can make it?  How realistically has Poppovich put the Spurs in position to win #5? Who do you think will come out of each confernece, and do you expect any first round upsets?

Morning Dump


TCU faces Manhattan as homestand continues Star-Telegram

Frogs welcome Manhattan for three-game set


TCU fans running out of time to leave their mark Star-Telegram

Other Sports:

Field duo shines for Frogs on first day of Penn Relays

Men's Tennis opens MWC Tournament vs. UNLV at noon

TCU's Tan named MWC Tennis' Female Freshman of the Year

TCU's Chappell named MWC Tennis' Male Freshman of the Year