Talking Tommies With Mean Gene

The Tommies lately moved to the peak of the surveys at D3hoops.com for the first time in college history. They also grow to be the highest ranked team in league history, bumping out my Gustavus teams that finished second in the final poll in 2002-03 and began the 2003-04 season in the same area.

Together with Wednesday’s video game against moment place Augsburg looming, I wanted to learn more about what has made this season special. Having just seen them play after this yearI tracked long-time St. Thomas sports information director Gene McGivern in search of a few feedback.

Brett Boese: You are in the exact middle of one’s 15th year serving as the primary media contact to the athletic department at the college of St. Thomas, however you just recently joined the blogging world. Would you wind up missing the more straightforward situations or have you ever begun to embrace the Age of the net?

Gene McGivernI moved to Minnesota after eight years in the daily newspaper world in Nebraska and Iowa. I started as Augsburg’s SID at November 1988 using a average proofreader salaries of $10,000. I used a day job as a proofreader in downtown Minneapolis, then functioned nights and weekends to get the Auggies. (After about two years that I joined Augsburg full-time and actually coached track and crosscountry there for several seasons).

My very first office was an interior closet having an electrical typewriter (no computer). There was no copier – we typed football and basketball stats with carbons and duplicated them onto an ink rolloff machine. We functioned home football and basketball games, preserving stats from hand, then typed the final totals on the carbons. We”dicatated” that is we read the basketball stats into part-time personnel at the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. All other sports for game days we only phoned a dent in to the newspapers.

Throughout the 8-to-5 daywe helped compile season stats and mailed weekly reports on the NCAA and seminar statistics coordinators. We also mailed a weekly 2-4 page summary of scores and quick evaluations. The SID entire world has changed so dramatically in those 20 years with the arrival of computers, including desktop publishing, voice messaging, statistics programs, faxes, the world wide web and digital photography and movie. All these tools have made it even easier to promote your teams, however at the same time, made our jobs so much more demanding. Now we staff all home football , hockey, volleyball, softball and baseball games as well as we always failed in football and basketball.

The only thing I think that’s been missing those two decades is that today we probably rely much on technology. I used to pick up the phone and make narrative pitches, I would occasionally visit supper having a Star Tribune or Pioneer Press beat author. This was personal. These beat authors are long gone. Today you also have to make en attempt to escape all the demands at your computer and regularly visit your coaches and student-athletes. You need to get to understand them as people, perhaps maybe not as bios or as athletes. That’s an on-going challenge.

As for blogging, last August I started a site (it’s really a features/opinion pillar ). Ten years after the net was launched, I think colleges at all levels are just now figuring out how just how to utilize their sites to tell their athletic department’s story. At a metropolitan area like the Twin towns, where there’s no St. Cloud situations or even Fargo Forum that will come calling, the days of sending out narrative ideas are finished. In case the narrative is great enough, then write yourself.

B-b: D3hoops.com has helped raise the profile of small faculty athletics since it was created at 1995. It elevated the Tommie men’s basketball team to No. 1 at the polls this week, marking the very first time an MIAC faculty has reached that lofty status on its website. I’m convinced UST coach Steve Fritz would downplay the significance of that achievement, however what’s the pulse of the players? Is that a thing they’re worked up about?

GM: I feel one point that makes the 2008-09 Tommie squad exceptional is that it will not have a superstar but is directed by 4 seniors that hate losing, are unselfish, and have had to perform hard to get where they are. Last year’s team, with its many wins, didn’t have that senior leadership to the court.

Actually Lonnie Robinson, that made All-America in baseball as a grownup, has had to constantly do the job hard in both basketball and baseball to get where he is currently. Al McCoy and B.J. Viau played a year of JV and sat one year on the walnut while still waiting their shooter. Brett Tuma has played the last few years with optimism and always appears to spark the team.

As for a No. 1 ranking, ” I suspect it’s some thing they are going to appear back on with satisfaction and appreciate a couple of years down the road, but will not spend an excessive amount of time this week talking about any of it or even reveling init. Together with the MIAC schedule therefore perceptible, they wont have enough the time for you to celebrate an enhanced Augsburg team up Wednesday about the road. As for now, I presume their two main goals are to acquire the fourth consecutive conference title, and also to play their best basketball at the postseason, wherever that takes them.

B b: Perhaps more importantly, are you a reader of Composing Up? Does one have a favorite poster?

GMI read d3hoops’ basketball chat place a fair amount but have not submitted. The website looks a little more civil than when they started a few years ago. Chat rooms and blogs, with all their warts, are here to stay, therefore people only have to accept them as an outlet for fans. I dislike posters utilizing anonymous names, especially should they don’t do their homework or only tear players and coaches to the joy of this. On the plus side, the posters have a tendency to be a number of the MIAC’s most ardent fans and also we desire all the spectators and advocates we can capture.

I appear to recall that the Wonka man is really knowledgeable, but is he the same guy who sometimes obsesses on players’ individual stats in the box score? Like dogging a new Tommie 3-point shooter who played 20 feet from the basket to get not becoming plenty of rebounds? Or riding a existing Tommie guard who doesn’t get a lot of assists (although in this offense, that’s perhaps not his primary role)? Oh, well, we all have our remarks.

BB: The Tommies are now 17-0 overall – the last undefeated Division III team in the nation – and 12-0 in conference playwith. They have a 3.5 game lead over a surprising Augsburg team and their average margin of victory is nearly 20 at a typically rocky league. How surprised are you by their dominance?

I feel the seat is a lot a lot more successful this season with Tuma, newcomer Brady Ervin and lately with centers Josh Peltier and Sam Eicher Growing upward. Lonnie Robinson has been a beast and has shown no signs of senioritis. Tyler Nicolai continues to strengthen and has struck some huge pictures.

As far as the MIAC race, I am sort of a”Law of Averages” guy, therefore that I expected that this would be a catchy season for St. Thomas coming in as a result a substantial target, trying to acquire a fourth MIAC title in a row. I predicted January to be rough with the four-game elongate at Bethel, home Carleton, at SJU and dwelling Gustavus, then five at a row over the road. I presume St. Thomas and Augsburg have been the conference teams that have played consistently and nearest to their ability. Jeremy Sutherland’s accident has probably price Carleton in a number of shut defeats. Bethel has several talented seniors and still is capable of making a February push. In case UST retains focusing on its next video game and working hard in practice, it even has a chance at a excellent postseason.

With eight video games left in the regular season, how convinced are you really that the Tommies will run the table? Has that ever happened before? Which remaining games make you most nervous?

GM: A couple teams went 16-0 or 18-0 in the 1960s and 1970s, but one men’s team has gone 20-0 considering that the league expanded to 11 teams in the 1980s. St. Thomas travelled 20-0 at 1994-95 using a team that played only 7 guys. This season’s UST team has fresh legs, thickness and balance, so, convinced, 8 more wins may happen. However, the odds are stacked against it, and I’ll be surprised if the Tommies go 20-0.

Augsburg will be a superior evaluation Wednesday as the Auggies, coming off a bye, have often played UST shut in recent seasons. UST easily won the first meeting using Augsburg at home, but Nate Alm was in early foul trouble and sat most of that game, and he’s been huge lately. Bethel has lost 10 in a row to UST, so that it may be due. And there are road video games at Carleton and Gustavus. When you play a team a 2nd or next time, they seem at the movie and sometimes change strategy, also.

B b: When I played against the Tommies earlier this decade, coach Fritz seemed to trip his starters in to the soil. He seemingly have gone into the other serious this year, together with 10 players averaging in between 10 and 28 minutes. Is that a product of the many blowouts, a change in coaching philosophy or perform the Tommies only possess a more reliable bench this year? I will say that they did not seem to reduce when the starters sat against Gustavus – but I’d appreciate if you were able to avoid breaking that particular game in any great detail.

GM: Some recent Gustavus teams had very heavy benches, and a couple of Johnnie teams in the last two years also attracted some fantastic players off the pine, but this Tommie team may have as good of an overall bench the MIAC has seen at the last 25 years – perhaps not in scoring however in guys who can play defense, apply a full-court media, rally, and take from outside.

Last year’s UST bench was decent, and you add Brady Ervin and have a few sophomores playing with more optimism. I would say it’s more of a case of Coach Fritz having much better athletes onto his last two teams, and the fact that should you want to press and run, you want to use additional guys and keep players brand new.

However, they haven’t won two straight video games at the national tournament in a decade. That comprises two disappointing losses at house within the last two years. What factors have played a role in the lack of postseason success?

GM: At the last decade, handful of adult men’s or women’s teams out of the MIAC have gone far from the NCAA playoffs. Is a portion of that thanks for the 20-game (22 for women) summit schedule, that limits opportunities to play good place and outside teams? I don’t believe that it helps. You have to become fine and catch several breaks to make a profound postseason run.

1st of all, the West area is one of the far much better ones, so you aren’t getting any easy video games. Given that the 1993-94 Toms reached the Final 4, St. Thomas had six more NCAA playoff berths in the subsequent 15 seasons. None of those NCAA exits can be considered chokes, and only one was a double-digit loss.

Back in 1995, a 27-0 Tommie team that went just seven deep probably ran out of gas when it lost 94-74 at the next round at home to a very good Nebraska Wesleyan team. In 2002, in Mark Buri’s final video game, they dropped at home in overtime from the next around to UW-Oshkosh, 88-85, on a nighttime where Osh Kosh I presume made 22-of-23 totally throws. In 2006 UST misplaced in the next round the road to No. 1-ranked Lawrence (Wis.), 63-59 after cutting a 15-point shortage to one position in the final 30 minutes. Back in 2007 they missing in the next round at home 86-80 to a very athletic Carroll (Wis.) team; and at 2008 they dropped from the very first round at house 72-70 into a profound and athletic Buena Vista (Iowa) team that later misplaced in overtime to eventual NCAA champion Wash.. U.

I believe the Nebraska Wesleyan, Carroll and 2008 Buena Vista losses have beenn’t ideal matchups.

BB: Each significant subscriber returns from a year ago to UST and the consequences have already been striking. It certainly looks like the Tommies could reach Salem without visiting a place like the Road Star Inn in Stevens Position (Thanks for splurging, Myles Brand). Whilst expectations have certainly been raised for all many diehard UST students, what questions could you have as the end of another season ? Do you see any small issues that could become significant issues down the road?

GM: I actually don’t believe anyone associated with the UST team is even aware that Salem is where the Final Four is playedwith. Since none of the present players have reached the Sweet 16, they aren’t looking extremely far (if at all) into the postseason.

As far as UST students with J-term ending second week, so many students have been on research abroad or home working may return. I’d expect good crowds for St. Mary’s, Bethel, St. John’s and Hamline games in February.

 

 

 

 

 

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