PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

February 7, 2013

Best of West: Pat Foster learns why Billy Tubbs was so outspoken

PORT ARTHUR —  Editor’s note: The following column from the Best of West collection was originally published in the Port Arthur News on Feb. 15, 1981.

  As Billy Tubbs did before him, Pat Foster is growing more and more disenchanted with the college basketball elitism that denies a school like Lamar University entrance into the select circle reserved for the so-called "name" teams and "major" conferences.

  When it comes to rubbing elbows with the upper crust roundball fraternity, Lamar, it seems, has warts, bad breath and an undesirable background. The Redbirds are treated like they're from the wrong side of the tracks or just broke jail.

  With each passing day, Foster develops a deeper appreciation for Tubbs' infamous reaction to the NCAA shipping Lamar to the West Regional in Ogden, Utah, last year. The assignment marked the second consecutive time the Redbirds had been sent out of the Midwest Region, and was more than Tubbs could tolerate.

 "We're like the bastard child at the family reunion," spewed battling Billy. "They'll do anything to keep us out of their sight. We're just lucky Iran or Afghanistan didn't have a regional."

 The most obvious slight of Lamar during Foster's first year is its absence from the polls, despite a record that's the sixth best in the nation.  But the former Arkansas assistant is concerned about more that just the hypocrisy of the rankings.

 Scheduling, for instance, has become an extremely annoying problem. Even though playing in the Beaumont Civic Center affords Lamar an opportunity to offer substantial guarantees to visitors, neither Southwest Conference teams nor schools which frequently dot the top 20 will agree to play home and home.

 "It's pretty frustrating," admitted Foster. "We need 12 home games for next year, but the way it looks now we may have to settle for 10.  Outside of our five conference opponents, the only home games we have at this point are Pan American and North Texas State. I'd like to treat our fans to some attractive teams, but most of the top schools will only play at their place."

 Foster is particularly miffed at the refusal of several Southwest Conference teams to enter a home and home agreement. Told Houston's Guy Lewis has said he'll only play the Redbirds in Hofheinz Pavilion, the former Arkansas assistant vows to look elsewhere before subjecting his team to another rip job at UH.

 "This year was a one-time deal," he said. "Either they agree to come here or we don't play. The same holds for everybody else in the Southwest Conference. It's home and home or nothing.  We don't have much to gain by playing them anyway. Our basketball reputation is better than theirs.

  "If we're going to have to go on the road and run the risks involved, we'll do it against DePaul and Big Ten and Metro Seven teams," Foster continued. "It's a shame it has to be that way, but I'm dead serious. I'm not going to give anybody in the Southwest Conference a one-sided shot at us.  We'll try to schedule them all, but we won't get any takers."

  SWC pettiness toward Lamar extends beyond the scheduling aspect. Three SWC head coaches — Lewis, Texas' Abe Lemons and Arkansas' Eddie Sutton — are on the United Press International board of coaches that vote in the wire service's weekly rankings.  It's almost a cinch bet none of the three vote for Lamar.

  "No way they're going to help us get in the top 20," contends Foster. "We'll be recruiting some of the same players. If we're ranked in the top 20 and they're not, who do you think it helps?"

  Since UPI guarantees participating coaches anonymity on their vote, it's impossible to prove Lewis, Lemons and Sutton all snubbed Lamar in the latest poll. But it is possible to establish that at least two of the three did.

  UPI sports editor Joe Carnicelli told The News that, of 37 coaches participating in the most recent poll, Lamar received votes from only two. One of those two was USL's Bobby Paschal. It's anybody's guess as to who the other might have been.  Arizona's Fred Snowden seems a likely possibility.

 "It wasn't one of the three from the Southwest Conference," Foster asserted.

 That Lamar, which started the week with an 18-2 record and was widely recognized as the last team to beat No. 1 Oregon State, could get only two votes is a sad commentary on the coaches poll.  And while the Redbirds were being stiffed, Idaho moved in for the first time despite getting beat.

 "I figured all along our best chance to get ranked was in the writer's poll (Associated Press)," Foster observed. "The coaches poll is pretty much self serving. Most of them are looking after their own interests or don't take it very seriously. But I'm still shocked to learn we only received two votes. That's unbelievable."

  While Foster is helpless to do anything about Lamar's predicament in the rankings, such isn't the case when it comes to striking back at the Southwest Conference bias.  Lamar has, all of a sudden, become the darling of the state's sporting press. It's a development which is giving the LU coach a chance to boost his product and knock brand X at the same time.

  Within the past week, writers from the Dallas Times Herald, Houston Post and Austin American Statesman have hammered out lengthy features on the Redbirds.  All have been highly favorable.  Lamar has also received positive exposure in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News.

  Foster does nothing to reject the notion some of the exposure Lamar's receiving is a backlash to the boring, ball control basketball being played in the SWC.

  "If those teams were having a banner year, I don't  think we'd be getting the statewide attention we are," he says. "The dull game they're playing turns off writers, fans and players. I'm certainly glad kids across the state are getting a chance to read about the kind of basketball we play. We need to capitalize on it as much as possible."

  Amen.

  Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Trophy stab 1.jpg WEST COLUMN: Bum Phillips trophy an impressive piece of work

    There was lots of excitement around the Port Arthur News this week, with the long-awaited delivery of the magnificent Bum Phillips trophy that will be presented annually to the winner of the Nederland-Port Neches-Groves football game.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ned 13U Babe Ruth wins

    It was a much better day Saturday for the Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team compared to Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • MOORE COLUMN: Flounder dream started in Bridge City

    The first flounder that grabbed my attention lived in what is now the Lower Neches Wildlife Management Area in Bridge City. 

    July 26, 2014

  • ESTRADA COLUMN: PED update /Key injuries with contrasting outcomes

    The results of Saturday night’s UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown event were not available as of the time of this writing. It will be covered in a future column.

    July 26, 2014

  • TODORA COLUMN: Hermsen rattles racks in Monday Seniors League at Max Bowl

    Mondays Seniors League had some nice scores this past week. Rick Hermsen started with a 263, finished with a 270 and fit in a 212 in the middle for a nice 745.

    July 26, 2014

  • Nederland 13U Babe Ruth loses 9-0

    The Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team lost 9-0 Friday to Bryant.

    July 25, 2014

  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog