UVa apologizes for band behavior during bowl
/ Daily Progress staff writer
Dec 31, 2002
University of Virginia officials apologized Tuesday for a pep band
performance at the Continental Tire Bowl that has drawn the ire of West
Bob Wise, the governor of West Virginia, wrote a letter Monday to UVa
President John T. Casteen III, calling the scramble band's halftime show,
which mocked West Virginia University and the state in general, "a
Bowl officials said Monday that the band is banned from playing the
bowl ever again.
"We respect our colleagues at West Virginia University and all the
citizens of West Virginia and would never favor actions that insulted
them," UVa spokeswoman Carol Wood said Tuesday afternoon. Casteen, who was
unavailable for comment, has spoken with WVU's president but not Wise.
Casteen will make a formal statement soon, although no earlier than
Thursday, Wood added.
But John P. Ackerly III, the rector of UVa, defended the scramble band,
which is known for mocking UVa's opponents.
"The Pep Band was not offensive," said Ackerly, who attended the
Saturday game in which UVa beat West Virginia University, 48-22. "Any
insult to West Virginia was delivered gloriously by our football team, not
our lampooning pep band."
The halftime show was built around a skit based on the hit television
show "The Bachelor." Two female band members - one purported to be from
West Virginia University, the other from UVa - competed for the affections
of a male band member.
The "WVU" competitor wore pigtails and overalls, performed a square
dance and expressed her dream of living in Beverly Hills - a "Beverly
Hillbillies" reference. West Virginia fans, who occupied more than half of
Charlotte, N.C.'s Ericsson Stadium's 72,000 seats, booed throughout the
The show's script was approved by both UVa's Athletic Department and
bowl personnel, Wood said. Craig Littlepage, UVa's athletic director, has
been in contact with pep band leaders, she added.
Ackerly also criticized Wise, whose office received "numerous" phone
calls and e-mails from offended West Virginia residents, according to his
"I would think the governor of West Virginia would have more important
matters of state on his agenda, not the University of Virginia's spoofing
Pep Band," Ackerly said.
"It seems to me that WVU invites the use of the term 'hillbilly' when
its own mascot is a 'mountaineer' - unshaven, clad in buckskins and a
coonskin hat, chewing tobacco and toting a musket," he added.
Wood said she had heard from many UVa and WVU alumni who were
embarrassed and offended by the show, although a minority voiced support
for the band.
UVa's executive vice president and chief operating officer, Leonard W.
Sandridge Jr., said Tuesday that the brouhaha likely stemmed from a
history of animosity between WVU and Virginia's 29-year-old Pep Band,
rather than just Saturday's incident.
"I think the history of the situation some 15 years ago is a factor in
this," said Sandridge, who spoke on a Morgantown, W.Va.-based radio show
In 1985, the Pep Band drew fire for poking fun at the state's supposed
outdoor bathrooms - one of many occasions over the years in which the
student group has been accused of bad taste. A review committee, which has
since been discontinued, began examining show scripts before games in
In 1991, a General Assembly delegate and UVa alumnus threatened to
introduce a bill calling on UVa to create a traditional marching band to
replace the Pep Band.
The group also boycotted the 1993 football season after controversy
over a halftime show during a game against the University of Tennessee, in
which band members pretended to trample an Elvis Presley impersonator to
In 1997, after being confined to the stands, the band was allowed to
play halftime shows.
Pep Band director Adam Lorentson did not return phone calls Tuesday.
Wood declined to say what, if any, sanctions the most recent
controversy could bring.
Casteen "is reluctant to jump the gun until he knows all the facts,"
Casteen apologizes for Pep Band performance at
/ Daily Progress staff writer
Jan 2, 2003
University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III placed blame
Thursday on both the Virginia Pep Band and officials who approved the
script of last week's halftime show mocking opponent West Virginia
Casteen apologized for the diversion of attention from the UVa football
team's 48-22 victory at the Dec. 28 Continental Tire Bowl. He added that
the university will examine in the next few weeks the Pep Band's conduct,
which has come under fire many times during the group's 29-year history.
"The football team, those who attended the game and indeed the Pep
Band, whose members have worked hard to do the right thing, deserve
better," Casteen said in a prepared statement. "For all of this, I am
The president also spoke of UVa officials' respect for their WVU
colleagues and West Virginians in general. "We are related," he noted.
Both the NCAA and the ACC prohibit ridiculing an opposing team or its
fans at sports events - a tenet both the band leader and UVa's Athletics
Department, which approves all Pep Band scripts, should know, Casteen
The president also admonished the Continental Tire Bowl officials who
OK'd the show.
But Casteen tempered his criticism a bit, noting that the history of
animosity between WVU and the Pep Band dates back to 1985, when "the
current band members were infants or toddlers."
The controversy had mostly died down in the intervening years, although
some pre-game publicity had mentioned it, Casteen added.
"Not all who have complained will want to accept my view, but I have
come to believe that the band's attempted spoof, however ill- or
well-conceived, worked badly, and that our common problem now is to learn
from this event and move on," Casteen said.
The executive director of the Continental Tire Bowl acknowledged
Thursday that he and other bowl officials hadn't done their homework on
the Pep Band before approving the halftime script.
Executive Director Ken Haines said although he knew about the band's
reputation for humor, he was unaware until after the bowl of the long
history of animosity between the Pep Band and WVU fans.
A 1985 show drew fierce criticism when the band made outhouse and
birth-control jokes at the expense of West Virginians during a UVa-WVU
The band's mockery in 1988 of Virginia Tech basketball player Bimbo
Coles, a West Virginia native, prompted further debate.
But the controversy had remained quiet until the recent halftime show,
which drew criticism from West Virginia's governor as well as many other
residents of the state.
The show featured a female Pep Band member as a WVU student dressed in
pigtails and overalls, prompting boos from Mountaineers fans.
The skit was a takeoff on the TV show "The Bachelor," with the WVU
student and a UVa student competing for a UVa man's affections.
"We made a mistake here," Haines said. "We were not aware of the '85
skit. Maybe we should have been."
The Pep Band director, meanwhile, said Thursday that criticism of the
group's performance was overblown.
Adam Lorentson, a 20-year-old UVa junior, pointed out that both bowl
personnel and UVa's Athletics Department had approved the script days
before the Dec. 28 game.
"The show was approved, and we didn't add or subtract anything from the
text," Lorentson said. "We do shows that are jokes, and jokes should be
taken as jokes."
But Haines said the script, which was read by the game announcer over
the stadium's public-announcement system, gave few details on how the WVU
girl would be dressed and did not state that she would square dance during
the show, which WVU fans roundly booed.
A copy of the script on the Pep Band's web site calls only for the WVU
student to be dressed in blue and yellow, the school's colors. It also
does not specify that the girl would square dance, only that all three
characters would dance during two songs.
Lorentson said the band had been asked the day of the game what the WVU
character would wear, and the pigtails and overalls were approved then.
Haines said he didn't know about the game-day interaction.
The band director said he has spoken with UVa's athletics director
since the bowl, but no possible sanctions have been mentioned. The
university is simply investigating, Lorentson said.
Casteen noted that UVa officials have been unable to find a videotape
of the halftime show.
As for the controversy, Lorentson attributed West Virginians' angry
reaction to history.
"This particular show is more innocuous than in the past," Lorentson
said. "This is an issue where they are trying to exact some retribution
for what happened 17 years ago. I don't know, I was 2 years old then."
Watson sees 20-20 in victory
/ Daily Progress staff writer
Jan 3, 2003
Travis Watson was 0 for 4 from behind the 3-point arc against Wofford
on Thursday night at University Hall. It was the only statistical area in
which he faltered.
Watson scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds as the
Cavaliers won their sixth straight game with an 87-65 decision over the
Furthermore, his teammates' hot shooting more than made up for his poor
marksmanship from long range.
Three nights after making just six of 24 3-point attempts against
Liberty, Virginia connected on 11 of its 24 treys Thursday, including a
late one from 6-foot-11 senior reserve Jason Rogers in the final minute.
"We made 11 of 24 3s. We're not a great 3-point shooting team but
tonight we shot the ball better than we have been," Gillen said. "Jason
pulled a three. He was happy."
Watson's performance marked the first time a Virginia player had at
least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game since Ralph Sampson had 33
points and 21 rebounds against N.C. State on Jan. 12, 1983.
"I didn't know I was that close to 20 rebounds. I just knew I was out
there playing well. I thought I was playing good defense and rebounding
and that's my job," Watson said.
As for the 3-point shooting?
"A couple of my jumpers weren't going down but that was my real strong
point today," Watson said with a laugh. "I'll be in the gym working on
Freshman Derrick Byars, starting in place of junior guard Todd Billet
who didn't start as he's battling a case of food poisoning, added 17 for
the Cavaliers (9-2). Jermaine Harper also added 11 off the bench as he
made three of his four treys. Starting point guard Keith Jenifer added
seven points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Jenifer also connected on
both of his 3-point attempts and has now connected on seven of his last
Lee Nixon had 16 for Wofford (4-6), which was playing its seventh game
of the season against an ACC, Big East or SEC opponent. The Terriers were
coming off a 86-71 loss at N.C. State on Sunday.
"I will not make comparisons but those are the two best teams we've
played. They are very different in personnel and style, but I think those
games between them will be two great ACC games," Wofford coach Mike Young
said. "I assure you that both N.C. State and Virginia would win the
The game was Virginia final tuneup before entering ACC play. The
Cavaliers travel to Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday to face N.C. State in the ACC
opener for both teams. While at times Virginia has looked more like a
collection of parts rather than a full team, Thursday's performance was
Virginia's most cohesive of the season.
"I thought we played some our best basketball of the season. We shared
the ball well. I was pleased with our effort," said Gillen, whose team's
22-point victory was its largest of the season. "We still have a long way
to go though. We're nowhere near being in sync."
Added Byars: "This was our biggest margin of victory and probably was
our best overall game of the season. I felt we played great but still have
to be disciplined for the whole 40 minutes."
Virginia led 47-34 at the half thanks in large part to a blistering
performance from behind the 3-point arc. The Cavaliers connected on seven
of their 12 3-point attempts as they shot 55.2 percent overall from the
floor in the first half. The Cavaliers led by as many as 19 in the first
half as they grabbed a 30-11 lead with 9:30 left before intermission.
Watson led Virginia with 13 points and nine rebounds in the first half
while Byars added nine, as he connected on two of his three 3-point
Wofford never got closer than 14 and the final margin accounted for
UVa's largest advantage of the game.
misconduct does not reflect well on Gillen
Pep band not
popular and not funny, either
Exclusive to roanoke.com by 5 p.m. Thursdays
Elsewhere, governors were making
proclamations and school presidents were seeking apologies for the antics of
Virginia's pep band.
Before the UVa men's basketball
game Tuesday night with Liberty, talk in the University Hall turned to the
off-court antics of Cavaliers' basketball player Keith Jenifer.
At last, Jenifer's on-court
antics were no longer an issue.
Jenifer was the only UVa player
named in a letter written by Kara Finnegan Irving that appeared in The Daily
Progress in Charlottesville on Dec. 22.
In the leter, Irving described
herself as a staunch Virginia men's basketball team since 1994-95 who will not
watch any Cavalier games this season after a scene she witnessed while in
Charlottesville for UVa's homecoming football game with Akron.
"Like many alumni, my trip back
to Charlottttesville for the homecoming festivities included a walk down on
the Corner to celebrate the win over Akron," Irving wrote. "I was excited to
see the members of the basketball team hanging out on the Corner that night,
proud that they seemed to gel as a team and a little starstruck to see them
"However, as my husband I, with
another University of Virginia couple, walked past the team gathered outside
Littlejohn's, we were horrified by what we heard. Members of the team, led by
Keith Jenifer, were yelling obscenities and offensive remarks to people --
their fans and supporters -- innocently walking down the street.
"We continued past, collected
ourselves and tried to assess what had just happened. We decided to walk back
past the group and received the same curses and insults. It reminded me of a
group of middle-school bullies harassing kids on the bus. I was dumbfounded
that the team was arrogant enough to harass their fans."
IRONICALLY, IRVING'S LETTER came
to light about the time that Jenifer was showing improvement on the court and
possibly he has made strides off the court, considering the Akron-Virginia
football game was in mid-September.
Nevertheless, the latest
allegations follow another act of misconduct by a member of UVa's 2001-2002
basketball recruiting class, Jermaine Harper. Harper missed the first five
games of the season after his arrest for driving under the influence.
When head coach Pete Gillen said
last spring that his players needed to become more disciplined on the court,
he took offense to suggestions that the Cavaliers needed to become more
disciplined off the court and pointed out that other programs had suffered
greater embarrassments than his.
Subsequently, Gillen placed
Harper under a suspension that was not required by the school, and while it is
not known if he has met with Jenifer about the Irving letter, he is not at a
point in his five-year tenure - with one NCAA Tournament appearance and zero
postseason victories - where fans are going to give him the benefit of the
These latest developments only
reinforce my opinion that the single most damaging blow to the Gillen regime
has been a summer 2000 injury to point guard Majestic Mapp. It has now been
close to three years since Mapp last played in a college game and his absence
has been felt in numerous areas.
Not only is Mapp the only former
McDonald's All-American in the program, but he is a class kid and a model
student who has a chance to graduate in three years. There are other good kids
on the team but Mapp has the kind of charisma that could permeate the program
if he could ever get on the court.
I COULD HEAR West Virginia's
fans yelling "get off the field" while the UVa Pep Band was performing at
halftime of the Continental Tire Bowl, but I wasn't aware of the firestorm
that was taking place in the media when I saw UVa Athletic Director Craig
Littlepage on Tuesday night.
Littlepage confirmed that he had
seen a script of the band's skit and aproved it beforehand, but he did not
know that members of the UVa band would be dressed in overalls and
perpetuating stereotypes that West Virginia has been trying to erase.
"We didn't ask enough
questions," Littlepage admitted.
I like good satire as much as
the next guy but the pep band just isn't clever anymore (if it ever was).
There was an instance during the halftime show of the UVa-Clemson game when
the pep band -- and I'm paraphrasing -- suggested that South Carolina Sen.
Strom Thurmond is a symbol of everything that's wrong with America.
We know from the Trent Lott
affair that Strom Thurmond isn't a symbol of everything that's right with
America, but why not come up with something that might make UVa and Clemson
fans alike laugh, not something that bores your fans and make the visiting
THE MOST INTERESTING recruiting
note of the week was Mike Farrell's report that Phoebus High School cornerback
Phillip Brown, rated the No. 2 prospect in Virginia by The Roanoke Times and
No. 1 by Farrell's rivals.com, is leaning to UVa.
Brown is given very little
chance of meeting NCAA or UVa eligibility requirements, but it is likely he
will sign a letter-of-intent. That would not bind him to the school of his
choice, unless he qualifies, but UVa has been successful in holding onto
players like Darryl Blackstock and Ahmad Brooks after a year in prep school.
UVa assistant coach and
recruiting coordinator Mike London has been fighting an uphill battle with a
handful of Peninsula District players with more natural ties to Virginia Tech,
but it is extremely important to have a presence in that area.
Just consider the contributions
of the following Peninsula District players in the Continental Tire Bowl:
Marques Hagans, Muffin Curry, Elton Brown and Blackstock. Phoebus coach Bill
Dee wasn't wild about the Cavaliers pulling off of Xavier Adibi this year and
they'd certainly want to be in his good graces when the recruiting starts for
all-world sophomore tailback Etan Lewis.
All appears well for Watson
Travis Watson has 21 points and 20 rebounds for the Cavs' first 20-20 game since
By DOUG DOUGHTY
THE ROANOKE TIMES
CHARLOTTESVILLE - If an optometrist were to provide a status update on Travis
Watson's injured right ankle, he might say it's 20-20.
Watson, whose jumping ability had been impaired in recent games, was full of
life Thursday night and finished with 21 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in
an 87-65 victory over Wofford.
"Thank goodness we don't have anybody like that in our league," Terriers coach
Mike Young said.
It was the first 20-20 game for the Cavaliers since Jan.12, 1983, when
three-time national player of the year Ralph Sampson had 33 points and 21
rebounds against North Carolina. That was also the last time a Virginia player
had grabbed as many as 20 rebounds in a game.
"I thought I had about 17," said Watson, a 6-foot-8, 255-pound senior.
"Sometimes, I surprise myself. My ankle felt a lot better. I was able to step
and plant tonight, which hadn't been easy the last couple of games."
Watson, the reigning ACC rebounding champion, had consecutive five-rebound games
against Gardner-Webb and Georgetown before posting a 15-point, 10-rebound effort
Tuesday night in a 77-58 victory over Liberty.
He was stuck at 19 points and 19 rebounds Thursday until he grabbed the rebound
of a missed Keith Jenifer free throw and jammed it with 2:17 left. Coach Pete
Gillen, unaware of the school record of 25 rebounds or the fact that Watson was
approaching it, took him out of the game with 1:30 remaining.
"I had no idea," Gillen said. "I'm lucky if I know who we're playing."
It was the sixth straight victory for the Cavaliers, who will take a 9-2 record
into their ACC opener Sunday at N.C. State. Southern Conference member Wofford
fell to 4-6 in its first season under Young, a Radford native.
Wofford learned earlier in the day that its schedule ranked No.1 in Division I,
and that didn't count the game against the Cavaliers. The Terriers have played
Auburn, Clemson, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, South Carolina, N.C. State and
"We survived the Bataan death march," Young said. "Let me assure you, N.C. State
or Virginia would win our conference."
Virginia, unimpressive in earlier nonconference home games, made five straight
3-point shots in opening a 30-11 lead in the first 10 1/2 minutes Thursday. The
barrage came courtesy of five different players: Jenifer, Devin Smith, Derrick
Byars, Todd Billet and Jermaine Harper.
It was the only field goal of the night for Billet, who was battling a case of
food poisoning that kept him out of the starting lineup and limited him to 16
minutes, including three in the second half. Jason Clark did not play in the
second half after injuring an ankle.
Watson missed four 3-pointers, but the rest of the Cavaliers were 11-of-20 from
behind the arc, two days after going 4-of-24 on 3-pointers against Liberty.
Freshman forward Derrick Byars had 17 points and sophomore guard Harper had 11
points in his second straight double-figure scoring effort off the bench.
The 22-point margin was the largest of the season for the Cavaliers, who were
able to empty their bench for the first time. Rob Williams, a walk-on from
Martinsville, blocked a shot in his first trip down the floor.
A crowd of 6,516 reserved its loudest cheers for Jason Rogers, a seldom-used
6-11 senior who has received the Cavaliers' best-attitude award after each of
the last three seasons. Rogers replaced Watson and had five points, two rebounds
and a block in the final 90 seconds.
Rogers' 3-point field goal with 33 seconds left came on the first 3-point
attempt of his career.
Watson's vision 20-20 vs. Wofford
U.Va. senior in select company
BY JEFF WHITE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 03, 2003
U.VA. 87 WOFFORD 65
CHARLOTTESVILLE - It took him three-plus seasons at the University of Virginia,
but Travis Watson finally joined the 20-20 club.
Watson, a 6-8, 255-pound senior, had a season-high 21 points and a career-best
20 rebounds last night in U.Va.'s 87-65 romp over Southern Conference member
Wofford at University Hall.
"Thank goodness we don't have anyone like that guy in our league," said Terriers
coach Mike Young, a native of Radford.
Watson's 20th rebound came off a missed free throw by sophomore point guard
Keith Jenifer with 2:19 remaining. Watson went back up and slammed home his 20th
and 21st points. He left with 1:30 remaining to a warm ovation from the crowd of
Not since Ralph Sampson, nearly 20 years ago, had a Cavalier totaled at least 20
points and 20 boards in a game. The 7-4 Sampson blitzed N.C. State for 33 and 21
on Jan. 12, 1983.
"It's a blessing to have my name mentioned with his," said Watson, whose
previous high was 17 rebounds against Wake Forest last season.
With Watson recording the 43rd double-double of his career, the Cavaliers (9-2)
won their sixth consecutive game and collected their most one-sided victory of
the season. Three nights after missing 18 of 24 shots from beyond the 3-point
arc against Liberty, they sank their first five treys and finished 11 for 24
from long range.
Six players made at least one 3-pointer for U.Va., which opens ACC play Sunday
night at N.C. State. Sophomore guard Jermaine Harper came off the bench to hit a
career-best three treys and scored 11 points, his second consecutive game in
Freshman forward Derrick Byars, starting for the first time since Dec. 4, had 17
points in 30 minutes. Byars, 6-7, made 5 of 8 shots from the floor, including
two 3-pointers, and 5 of 6 from the line.
"Derrick is terrific. I hate to take him out," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said.
"He's a very good player, doesn't make too many mistakes. He had two turnovers,
but when he has the ball in his hand, you're not gasping for air. Some guys you
do. You go, 'Oh, my God.'"
Junior guard Todd Billet, recovering from food poisoning, didn't start and
played a season-low 16 minutes. Sophomore post player Jason Clark turned his
right ankle in the first half and remained on the bench as a precaution. Neither
player was needed against Wofford, which has played the nation's toughest
The Cavaliers shot 49.2 percent from the floor and outrebounded their guests
51-35. Senior guard Lee Nixon (16 points) paced the Terriers, who shot only 33.3
percent against a tenacious U.Va. defense.
"I think it was one of our better efforts," Gillen said.
By JODY MURPHY
Why are a number of West Virginia fans so up in arms over the UVA pep band's
little number during halftime of the Continental Tire Bowl Saturday?
I know the initial response is because the Wahoo's musical ditty poked fun at
us backwoods West Virginia fans; complete with buck-toothed, bibbed overall-wearin'
hillbillies and country music. There was no mention of mama, prison or trains.
Yes, West Virginia was being picked on, but no more so than any of UVA's
other opponents. The pep band routinely makes fun of the Cavaliers' foes.
A large number of WVU faithful is up in arms, having begun a letter writing
campaign to UVA's president demanding an apology. You can reach President John
T. Casteen's office at 434-924-3337, fax him at 434-924-3792, or write him at PO
Box 400224 Charlottesville Va., 22904-4224.
But before you start pounding out a fiery hillbilly-style retort on the typa-ma-writer
or storm up the nearest water tower with a can of paint to besmirch the Wahoos,
take a deep breath.
Are you mad because UVA was already beating the Mountaineers 28-10 at the
half - ultimately losing the game - and the band stunt added insult to injury?
You shouldn't be mad because they poked fun at us.
Face it, there is a stigma attached with living in West Virginia. While I'm
proud to tell people I hail from the our great state, I accept the fact people
inevitably think my wife is also my sister. They are also surprised I wear shoes
- with laces; and don't own a house with wheels on it. Or have a bumper sticker
on my truck advocating the virtues of possum meat. We're made fun of.
That statement is about as hot a news nugget as Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. I
hear all the latest hillbilly jokes from my yankee relatives when we travel to
Pennsylvania for family reunions and holidays.
I don't let it bother me and neither should you.
My personal motto - aside from Carpe eat'em (Eat the Carp)- is, "I don't
discriminate, I make fun of everyone." In order to do that, you have to be able
to laugh at yourself - including the hillbilly stereotypes associated with our
Every time I turn on the Jerry Springer Show, I inevitably find myself
muttering, "Please don't be from West Virginia. Please live anywhere but in West
Don't take the UVA pep band's jab too seriously. One southern W.Va. sports
columnist wrote about the distasteful performance and got a slew of responses
agreeing with him. To me, that's just sore losers looking for an excuse to pout
West Virginia may have split from Virginia to stay in the Union, but we are
still associated with the south - and all the inbreed, bare foot, lazy,
liquor-running stereotypes that go with it.
Don't let UVA's fun ruin your bowl trip or overshadow the season WVU had.
Remember it could be worse. You could be living in Kentucky!
Now if you'll excuse me, my cousin, his wife and my dad are going to be on
W. Virginians' hurt feelings ruin image
I've always had an image of West Virginia that had nothing to do with
overalls or outhouses.
I believed West Virginians were sturdier than the rest of us. I believed they
lived the way they thought they should rather than the way others thought they
should. I believed they were too self-assured to succumb to prevailing trends.
Man, was I wrong. The prevailing trend in this country is sensitivity. Life
in the United States often seems a contest to demonstrate whose feelings have
been damaged most. Some claim the movement, like so many others, originated in
the south of California. I'd say it originated in South Charleston, W.Va.
Saturday, West Virginia and Virginia played a football game at Ericsson
Stadium. During halftime, the Virginia band engaged in a skit that mocked West
Two women, one representing Virginia and the other West Virginia, competed
for the interest of a bachelor. The woman who represented Virginia planned to
become a pediatrician.
The woman who represented West Virginia wore overalls and square-danced with
the bachelor. Did she plan to go to medical school? No. She planned to go to
"Beverly ... Hills that is. ... Swimming pools, movie stars!"
To some, this was funny.
To West Virginia, this was Hillbillygate. The governor of West Virginia
called for an apology (and received one from the Virginia university president
Thursday), the West Virginia university president denounced the skit, and the
indignant fans of the state and school cranked out angry letters to the editor.
Hey, West Virginia. Why don't you do what other sensitive souls do when they
get angry? Why don't you form a committee? Counselors from Wheeling to Willow
Bend, from Halltown to Huntington and from Bluefield to Brandonville are
What a waste. I travel frequently and occasionally hear outsiders make fun of
Charlotte. Some of their criticism is valid, but most is uninformed. I don't get
offended. What does their ignorance have to do with me or with my town?
By trotting out tired West Virginia stereotypes, the band did no damage to
the state's reputation. But the reaction of West Virginians has.
Do you remember, West Virginia, how much fun the Continental Tire Bowl was
going to be? You came cascading down Interstate 77, filled our hotels and
restaurants and took a backwater bowl and made it feel important.
Not once in the 21 years I've worked for this newspaper have I been asked by
so many for tickets to a sporting event. I had no idea I knew so many West
Virginians. They were so proud and happy, and their enthusiasm was sufficiently
contagious that folks who long ago turned from their West Virginia roots
announced they were loyal and lifelong fans.
We loved having you here. You showed us how real fans act. Then came
halftime, and you showed us you're no different than anybody else.
I have a question. If Virginia, a six-point underdog, had not pounded your
Mountaineers by 26 points, would you still be talking about halftime?
ACC gains respect
By FRANK DASCENZO : The Herald-Sun
Jan 2, 2003 : 11:09 pm ET
ACC gains respect
Watching and listening to the plethora of bowl games that have made my eyes
somewhat bloodshot and my ears nearly deadened, I’ve been able to reach one
ACC football is earning national respect — quickly.
Maybe it was that new Tire Bowl, in Charlotte, where Virginia toyed with West
Virginia. Maybe it was the Peach Bowl, where Maryland whacked a dizzy Tennessee
team. Or maybe it was at the Gator Bowl, where N.C. State put an exclamation
point on its season by slamming Notre Dame from start to finish.
No, hold on. It might have been way out in Seattle, where Wake Forest was seen
pushing around the Oregon Ducks without much trouble. But one of the announcers
— right, who cares which one? — was jabbering on about how the "Atlantic Coast
Conference is really known as a basketball league, but it also plays some pretty
good football, too."
Well, really now? I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or shake my head in disbelief
that this actually was getting through to some people.
Come on now, take a look at what we’ve got rolling here: Good coaches, improved
facilities, more interest than ever before and, by all means, high expectations.
It reminds me of what former ACC commisioner Gene Corrigan told me when he
proudly ushered Florida State into the league 10 years ago. Corrigan said that
the Seminoles would make everybody else better in football.
Well, can we make that nearly everybody else?
What’s changed about ACC football is obvious. Just look at Florida State’s final
9-5 record to be convinced. It’s now difficult to tell which program is the
best. True, Florida State won the 2002 ACC title and was awarded a BCS bowl and
lost to a better Georgia team in the Sugar Bowl, but the Seminoles also lost to
N.C. State during the regular season.
The simple fact that the ACC put seven teams in the postseason and came away
with four wins is impressive enough to admit that the league is vastly better in
football than many realize. Look at the four wins a bit closer:
Virginia beat West Virginia 48-22. That matched the second-place teams from
the ACC and Big East. West Virginians were crying about the fact they didn’t get
to play in the Gator Bowl. Now is a good time to dry the tears and move on. This
game never was close, and now you know why Al Groh deserved ACC coach of the
Wake Forest beat Oregon 38-17 and never looked better. Jim Grobe is 13-11 in
two years and has been a viable candidate for conference coach of the year —
twice. The Deacs rushed for 256 yards against the Ducks, but Grobe’s early game
passing attack clearly caught Oregon by surprise.
Maryland’s 30-3 dismantling of Tennessee ended the Vols’ disappointing season,
but Ralph Friedgen, as good as he was a year ago, was very good again in 2002.
The Terps won 11 games and, along the way, took down West Virginia and N.C.
The Wolfpack’s 28-6 domination of the Fighting Irish sets the stage for what
could be something special — a BCS bowl perhaps? — for Chuck Amato’s 2003 team.
The moment Dantonio Burnette knocked Irish quarterback Carlyle Holiday out of
the game, the stage was set for a gigantic win by an ACC team.
Now consider this: In the last two seasons, the ACC is 8-5 in bowl games.
True, there were three downers, and Tom Mickle can tell you about one of them.
Clemson was hideous in a 55-15 loss to Texas Tech, a team that lost earlier on
its home field to N.C. State, in the Tangerine Bowl. And Georgia Tech turned the
ball over seven times at the Silicon Valley Classic while losing to Fresno State
30-21. Florida State, with no experienced quarterback, fell to Georgia 26-13.
It’s time to give ACC football its due. The conference did well this postseason
Balance finally takes root in ACC
By ROB DANIELS, Staff Writer
News & Record
Virginia's 2002 season was only a few hours over and ESPN college football
analyst Trev Albertswas declaring Al Groh's team the "favorite" to win the ACC
But that was before Maryland took a chunk out of Ol' Rocky Top and before
N.C. State tranquilized the Echoes. And what about the Seminoles? Remember them?
Since Florida State joined the ACC for football in 1992, the league race has
been short on compelling drama. Don Knotts as Hamlet would have held audiences'
Now what? The conference's long-predicted competitive balance is coming
about, and it's not strictly a matter of stragglers gaining on FSU. The
Seminoles are doing their part by slipping.
The Cavaliers (6-2 ACC, 9-5) may stand out on paper more than anybody else.
In last week's 48-22 Continental Tire Bowl win over heavily favored West
Virginia, their offensive depth chart included eight freshmen, eight sophomores
and one senior. Defensively, they've got one of the league's best freshmen,
quarterback-chaser Darryl Blackstock, and they'll welcome two of the best
linebacker prospects in the nation, Ahmad Brooks and Kai Parham.
Quarterback Matt Schaub, the ACC Player of the Year, will be back for his
"We finished second (in 2002). The next step is to win it,' Schaub said.
"We're extremely confident. We feel we can play with anybody. It's reasonable to
think we can win the ACC."
But not automatic. UVa plays at North Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson and
Maryland this fall -- a far more arduous road schedule than Duke, Wake Forest,
Georgia Tech and Florida State.
"The biggest mistake we can make," Groh said, "is to assume that it will pick
up again just because of the way this ended."
The Wolfpack (5-3, 11-3) will corner the market on marquee value. Having
dismantled Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl, State will mount a Heisman Trophy
campaign for quarterback Philip Rivers. T.A. McLendon will seek to defend his
conference rushing title, and Jerricho Cotchery, one of the league's most
reliable receivers, will still be around.
The Pack will lose a lot on the defensive line, but it can expect immediate
contributions from Mario Williams, whom coach Chuck Amato ardently pursued the
past two years and who recently committed to the program.
If the Wolfpack can pull off an early-season upset at Ohio State, dreaming
and anticipation will eclipse October 2002 levels and a virtually unprecedented
concept -- big-time football -- will hit the Old North State.
It was easy to dismiss 2001 champion Maryland as a one-hit wonder after the
Terrapins suffered early lopsided losses to Notre Dame and FSU. But when QB
Scott McBrien got comfortable, a whole new group of offensive and defensive
leaders emerged. This suggests that coach Ralph Friedgen may really get this
program going when he has stockpiled it with his own recruits.
In the past dozen years, Florida State has never had three competitors in
such healthy shape as the Pack, Terps and Cavs are right now. State will soon
move its football operation into an impressive new facility in the end zone
opposite Finley Field House at Carter-Finley Stadium. Virginia's stadium
expansion to 60,000 seats, once dismissed as superfluous and pretentious, is
proving wise. And Maryland, fresh off a 30-3 whipping of Tennessee in the Peach
Bowl, is working on an upgrade of its support facility.
For the first time in decades, few opponents were afraid to throw deep on the
FSU secondary in 2002. No matter who played quarterback in the Sugar Bowl loss
to Georgia -- and the identity of that poor soul seemed to change hourly -- he
wasn't going to get much help from an offensive line that appeared to wave
rushing defenders right on through.
For whatever it's worth, at least one source would rank FSU's 2003 recruiting
class fourth in the ACC if today were signing day.
Clemson seems to be moving toward irrelevance and Georgia Tech's second
straight trip to an unknown bowl -- this one sealed by several critical injuries
-- doesn't bode well for the Yellow Jackets.
Wake Forest will not be elite, but coach Jim Grobe's complicated offense is
enough to make opponents worry. When counting guaranteed wins, smart fans must
concede that Wake, which has posted consecutive winning seasons, deserves
omission from the list of the downtrodden.
Duke and North Carolina will be better in 2003, but both programs need
further recruiting to advance appreciably. With its tradition and facilities,
Carolina seems like a natural for immediate improvement. But there is simply too
much competition right now to expect a rapid jump. The Tar Heels' current
recruiting class is promising, but it must have company down the line.
At any rate, there seems to be a lot to talk about.
Virginia pep band should be abolished
Friday January 3, 2003
Virginia pep band should be abolished
First of all, congratulations to the Virginia football team.
You guys played with heart and determination and deserved to win that game
without a doubt. However, the halftime presentation by the U.Va. band at the
Continental Tire Bowl was pathetic and disgusting.
This performance insulted every Mountaineer, especially all
current and future alumni of WVU. I am sure a lot of lip service will be paid to
this issue, but I doubt that justice really will be done.
In essence, this group should be abolished — period. No more
of their classless behavior should be tolerated.
This so-called pep band will surely claim artistic license to
do what they do. They will say that those of my opinion should lighten up. After
all, “It’s only humor.” But the point is that we are not laughing. I suppose if
the opponent was Grambling, then you would mock slavery. Or maybe for a game
against South Carolina, the target could be the KKK. Or even better, had you
gotten your matchup in the Gator Bowl against Notre Dame, would your skit
involve Catholic priests? Yes, these are all disgusting examples, but no more
disgusting to us than the manner in which we were portrayed.
Just try to wear my shoes for a minute (yes, I do have a few
pair without holes). My heritage, my family and my education at WVU are all very
important to me. Maybe you would laugh if we ridiculed your heritage. But if
that’s true, then you lack pride and self-esteem. Those are qualities that all
Virginians, West Virginians and, indeed, all Americans should possess.
WVU brings negative image upon itself
First of all, apologies for the U.Va. Pep Band. I’m like most
who feel it was not funny and out of line. That being said, WVU brings much of
this on itself.
Upon entering our hotel, my family was subjected to chants of
“white trash” by a group of about 30 WVU fans in the lobby, and it didn’t get
any better. Many acted as if they had been let out to come to the game.
The boorish behavior by this group and other anomalous dolts I
encountered did nothing to enhance what I have heard about WVU fans. I heard
more than once, “Hell, these people are worse than [Virginia] Tech fans.”
William D. White
Gov. Wise praised for reaction to band
Kudos to Gov. Wise! As a WVU grad and former West Virginia
resident now residing in Charlotte, N.C., I applaud his stance and hope that the
U.Va. administration (I use this term very loosely) steps up to the plate and
does something about this.
I attended the game but quite honestly did not pay attention
to the U.Va. band and their “Bachelor” skit. However, I did catch the last part
of it and commented to some friends, “I hope this guy and his sister have a good
life together. Let’s get the real band onto the field,” and left it at that.
However, if the U.Va. band is not disciplined for this, I hope
the next time these two bands meet, the Pride of West Virginia does a skit
parodying “Mr. Jefferson’s College” by either having Thomas Jefferson beating a
slave with a whip or George Jefferson doing their laundry! I wonder if they’d be
laughing about that!
WVU fans fell right into band’s trap
As a graduate of Virginia Tech, a frequent pep band target, I
have a few words of advice for WVU fans — lighten up! The band is known for its
unique brand of satire, and they delight in the overreaction of their targets.
You played right into their hands and gave them more press than they could have
ever obtained on their own.
WVU players, fans can learn from Herd
I find it both humorous and disappointing about the behavior
of both players and fans of WVU in regards to the Tire Bowl.
First, the players. You feel snubbed when you get invited to a
minor bowl AND win. When you lose by 26 points, you were selected to the right
bowl. Also, Avon, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, or else you wind
up with egg on your face.
Second, the fans. WVU was second place in the Big East. That
counts for something. You don’t embarrass the whole state and WVU by being
dragged out by cops because your team’s rear end is being kicked.
Maybe you should take your cues, players and fans, from the
smaller state school, Marshall University. After all, they were complimented
about their behavior and attitude — low key and “enjoy the ride.”
Bright outlook for ACC
By CAULTON TUDOR, Staff Writer
The ACC's bowl record was a modest 4-3 and the league may not have a top-10 team
in the final polls.
But if you think ACC football is down, think again. The 2003 season should be
the league's best in years, possibly ever.
Barring extensive attrition, the ACC will begin next season with four legitimate
national top-20 teams, a world of quarterbacking experience and some of the best
young running backs in college football.
Here's an early look at the pecking order:
1. N.C. STATE (5-3 ACC, 11-3): The schedule includes games at Ohio State,
Florida State and nemesis Georgia Tech, but the Wolfpack is loaded.
Quarterback Philip Rivers, receiver Jerricho Cotchery and runner T.A. McLendon
will be joined by big-play prospects Tramain Hall and Richard Washington.
The defense, easily the ACC's best by the end of this season, will benefit from
the addition of cornerback A.J. Davis.
If Rivers can stay healthy for a fourth straight season, the Pack should start
and end among the nation's top 10.
2. VIRGINIA (6-2, 9-5): With Matt Schaub at quarterback and Wali Lundy at
tailback, the Cavaliers will be even more difficult to contain in '03 than they
were in Al Groh's second season.
Wide out Billy McMullen will have to be replaced, but much of the current
recruiting emphasis is on finding receivers.
The Cavaliers play at NCSU and Maryland. But Florida State and Georgia Tech --
as well as in-state, non-league rival Virginia Tech -- go to Charlottesville.
3. FLORIDA STATE (7-1, 9-5): The Seminoles face more pressing offseason
questions than any team in the ACC.
Is Chris Rix reliable enough to be put in control of the offense? Can tailback
Greg Jones make a complete recovery from his injuries? Do junior defenders
Kendyll Pope and Mike Boulware come back or consider the NFL? Does the coaching
staff need revamping?
It's obvious that the talent level has slipped during the past several years and
the fear factor among league opponents is beginning to fade.
The Seminoles, who will play NCSU, Maryland, Tech and Miami in Tallahassee, are
still a top-12 team, but the dynasty is cracking.
4. MARYLAND (6-2, 11-3): The Terps play at NCSU, FSU and Tech, so it's not going
to be easy.
And there are significant personnel losses including linebacker E.J. Henderson,
center Todd Wike, running back Chris Downs, offensive tackle Matt Crawford and
punter Brooks Barnard.
Ralph Friedgen still has one of the best coaching staffs anywhere, and the
momentum is sky high. But a third straight season with a double-digit win total
5. GEORGIA TECH (4-4, 7-6): You have to start by assuming that the Yellow
Jackets can't possibly have as many injuries as in early '02.
Running back Tony Hollings, who missed most of his junior season, won't go
through spring drills but should mend from Oct. 1 knee surgery in time to start
preseason camp. When he's in the best of health, he's the best ball carrier in
But the team didn't make a smooth adjustment to new coach Chan Gailey and the
defense has eroded significantly. Holding off North Carolina for fifth could be
6. NORTH CAROLINA (1-7, 3-9): It's easy to forget that with Darian Durant at
quarterback, the Tar Heels were a competitive team, winning at Syracuse and
Arizona State and hanging around for a while against Texas, NCSU, Virginia and
Unless Durant is sidelined again, there will be improvement. How much will hinge
on the defense. Getting Will Chapman back from injuries will help, but he can't
do it alone. For the Tar Heels to win five or six games, all the UNC defenders
must play much tougher.
7. DUKE (0-8, 2-10): In '02, the Blue Devils found a way to stay in league
games. Now, they have to find a way to win a few.
The team's maturity should make that possible. Jamyon Small, the sole senior on
the '02 squad, is gone. But everyone else returns, and quarterback Adam Smith no
longer will be learning on the job.
8. WAKE FOREST (3-5, 7-6): Most of the offense, starting with much underrated
quarterback James MacPherson, will have to be replaced.
But the defense should be slightly better, and Jim Grobe has established that he
can coach. The Deacons will retreat some, but they won't be an easy mark for any
9. CLEMSON (4-4, 7-6): Could 2003 be a repeat of 1998, when Tommy West lost his
job after going 1-7 in the conference?
It's entirely possible. Tommy Bowden will face enormous job pressure from the
start and his fifth team will end the season at South Carolina. By then, it
could be ugly unless he can come up with something bordering on a miracle. The
talent is low and the team's confidence even lower.