The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 15, 2001 · Page 22
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 22

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 15, 2001
Page 22
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C8 SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2001 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL T JACKIE STILES DAY Jackie Stiles, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women's bas- l<etbail, signs autographs for fans John Herter (left) and Matthew Price. Ciaflin hosted "Jackie Stiles Day" Saturday. J — Photos by AP Ciaflin turns out to honor its star 'A role model; Stiles' hometown honors its most famous resident By ROXANA HEGEMAN The Associated Press CLAFLIN — Audra Jonas bounced a basketball as she waited along the parade route for a glimpse of Jackie Stiles, the leading scorer in NCAA women's basketball history. "She is a role model," the 12- year-old Hoisington girl said. D a r 1 e e n D e m e 1 thinks that is a pretty good role model for her granddaughter: "A lot of hard work pays off" Jonas and her grandmother were among more than a thousand area residents and officials who gathered Saturday in this central Kansas town of 700 people to honor their hometown hero. It took more than an hour just for the many floats and cars in the parade to work their way down Main Street. There were T-shirts commemorating Jackie Stiles Day and the post office was canceling letters and postcards with a Jackie Stiles stamp. Stiles was inducted into the Kansas High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame and local and state officials handed her proclamations and plaques proclaiming her special day "Wow, what an unbelievable day" Stiles said. Stiles — who ended her career at Southwest Missouri State with 3,393 points — told the crowd gathered in the gymnasium of her old high school that words could not express what she felt. "To be honest, I feel much more comfortable shooting baskets on this court than having a mike in my hand," she told her many fans. But for the people here it was enough to just be with her on this day. Marlene Beck of Hoisington had a nephew in the same class as Stiles and has watched her play basketball since she was about 5. "It is an honor to see her play and to be part of this day to honor her," Beck said. Nancy Kaiser of Hoisington watched Stiles play in high school and followed her college careen "It is fun reading about a hometown person doing something — it makes me more interested in women's sports," she said. Her husband, Melvin, said Stiles can do things on the basketball court that boys do. "She made it interesting," he said. "I didn't watch women's sports that much until she came along." Among the fans at the festivities was U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, who told the crowd that people succeed in life through the support of parents, grandparents, schools and communities. "Small-town Kansas is a way of life which is well worth preserving," he told her. "We are proud of you, and we are glad you are a small-town product." Pierce / Linebacker's play speaks volumes FROM PAGE C1 representatives before spring practice began. "Our coach is always saying, as a middle linebacker you stick up and you talk to people for the defense," said Pierce, who finished last regular season with 38 tackles, including six for losses, with an intei-- ception, a fumble recovery and three passes broken up, then added three tackles in the Cotton Bowl. "We're responsible for keeping our defense going. "I guess that's the nature of the position." Pierce, a 6-foot-3, 250- pounder from Fort Worth, Texas, said he learned early about K-State's rich tradition of linebacker leadership. "I had players in front of me who would do that before," he said. "I know Jeff (Kelly), and he was that type of guy and I knew Turelle (Williams on last year's team) and he was that type of guy. "Every year we've had good leaders at the linebacker position. It went from Jeff Kelly and (Mark) Simoneau, to being just Simoneau, to being • Ben (Leber). And now, Ben and I both have to step up. It's something that's asked at this school." Leber, a senior who last year switched from middle linebacker to the strong side, said he has had to work on his leadership role. For Pierce, he said, it comes naturally "Linebacker is the heart and soul of the defense and you've got to be very vocal," Leber said. "(Pierce) is not shy about it. That's something I wish I had." What is even better this spring, according to K-State defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, is the way Pierce is backing up his words on the field. , "We thought he was good last year," Bennett said. "He's 250 pounds, he's run in the 4.6s (for the 40-yard dash), he can bench press the world and he's playing fast. "The thing about Terry right now that's fun is, everything is not new to him. That hesitation isn't there any more. He's calling things out. Terry is a brilliant kid. He is smart. He has an awareness that very few kids I've coached have." And, of course, Pierce expects the same from his teammates. "If you don't do your job and you break down, he'll tell you that, too," Bennett said with a smile. Head coach Bill Snyder has always put a premium on developing leadership. That ability surfaced early with Pierce, though it took some time to develop. "I think coach Snyder, coach Bennett and coach (Jim) Gush (the linebacker coach), all three of them, were on me to become a leader," Pierce said. "Because last spring ball, last year, it wasn't this way It was more like I let everything go because we had so many other seniors that were speaking up and so many other people that had stuff to say "It wasn't until I was able to come out and say stuff and be vocal that I was able to play and play with that idea." Most of Pierce's playing time came in the last seven games. He started five of the last six. "A lot of (leadership) comes from playing time," Pierce said. "Because a lot of times you can't be vocal with people who have played the last four years and you haven't played at all. "Playing time is probably the single most important deal to help me be able to talk to players." AP file photo The product of a broken home, Oklahoma linebacker Torrance IMarshali had to play catch up in high school, spent time at a military school and a community college before landing at Oklahoma where his emergence last year helped the Sooners capture an unbeaten national championship. Marshairs next plan: NFL Oklahoma linebacker has had a tough journey, but his perseverance and talent make him a coveted draft choice MARSHALL By OWEN CANFIELD The Associated Press When he arrived at Oklahoma, Torrance Marshall brought tremendous speed and a load of talent with his 6-foot-2, 245-pound body Still, he needed to be tougher and more dedicated to be a great linebacker who hoped to play in the NFE, his coaches said. He also needed to relax. "He always thought somebody was out to get him," said Brent Venables, the Sooners' linebackers coach and co- defensive coordinator. "He always thought somebody was there to lead him astray or trying to con him. He was a product of his environment, his upbringing — 'Don't trust anybody, you have to fend for yourself.'" Marshall eventually adjusted, becoming one of the nation's best linebackers. He can also add these accomplishments to his resume: team captain of the 2000 national champion Sooners and soon-to-be high pick in the NFL draft. "I believe I belong there," Marshall said. "I know I belong there, and I think I could succeed in the NFL. Right now, it's just a matter of opportunity." That opportunity didn't come easily. The product of a broken home, Marshall had to play catch-up in high school, then spent time at a mill- jgopil niFL DRAFT WHEN: 11 a.m., Saturday, April 21, (Rounds 1-3); 10 a.m., Sunday, April 22, (Rounds 4-7). TELEVISION: Saturday, April 21: ESPN (11 a.m.-6 p.m.); ESPN2 (6 p.m. until conclusion of Round 3). Sunday, April 22: ESPN 10 a.m.-noon; ESPN2 (remainder of draft). tary school and a community college before landing at Oklahoma. Gloria Thompson and her husband, Leslie, gave Marshall his best chance for the future when they took him into their home in Kendall, Fla., outside Miami. Marshall grew up with his father and stepmother, but as a teen-ager that relationship became strained. He moved in with the Thompsons and their four children after his sophomore year, when Marshall's father moved outside the school district. Marshall wanted to stay at the same school. "They helped me out a tremendous amount," he said. "They took me in, no questions asked, and treated me like one of their own." Marshall was already close to the Thompsons, having spent countless hours around their house with his best friend, Leslie Thompson III. The Thompsons had just two requirements — obey the house rules and do your school work. "Like any typical teenager, there were some problems," Gloria Thompson said. "But I think he really wanted to prove to me that he could do it." To graduate with his class, Marshall had to take night classes and go to summer school. He did that and got his diploma on time. But he wasn't close to qualifying at the University of Miami, where he hoped to play So it was off to Kemper Military Academy in Missouri, and the regimented life that began at 6 a.m. each day and helped give Marshall discipline. After two seasons at Kemper, he came up one grade short of qualifying for Miami. That sent him back home to Miami Dade Community College, which didn't have a football program but where he got his associate's degree. After reviewing tape, the Oklahoma coaches offered Marshall a scholarship. He arrived in Norman in the summer of 1999 and became a starter for the rebuilding Sooners. "It was a big transformation for him," Gloria Thompson said. "Division I is completely different from junior college or high school. He had to grow up quick." He did more growing last season, when he was a major factor in Oklahoma's 13-0 season. He was voted MVP of the Orange Bowl and was MVP of the North team in the Senior Bowl. He made one of the biggest plays in Oklahoma's perfect season when he returned an interception 41 yards for a fourthrquarter, go-ahead touchdown at Texas A&M. He and Ail- American Rocky Calmus teamed to give the Sooners one of the nation's best line- backing tandems. "It was like night and day from his junior year to his senior year," co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "We always knew he had tremendous ability, but always held back because he didn't always know where he needed to be exactly" As Marshall became more familiar with Oklahoma's system, his confidence grew and that translated to the field. He also improved his work habits. "I think that's what probably everybody's most proud of here, his ability to mature on and off the field," Stoops said. "He did all the right things." Marshall said he was driven last year, in part, by a desire to improve his NFL stock. He also has a wife and two young daughters to support. He recently bought a new SUV but otherwise hasn't splurged. He'll watch the draft at the Thompson home in Florida. He said he would love to play close to home, but isn't going to be picky. "I grew up looking at the NFL and wanting to play there," he said. "I don't care if I play for the Cleveland Browns or the San Diego Chargers, it doesn't really matter to me. I just want to be a part of that fraternity" Green, Chiefs remain at a stalemate By The Cox News Service A trade of St. Louis backup quarterback Trent Green to Kansas City appears no closer than it did a month ago. The Rams want the Chiefs' first-round pick — No. 12 overall — as part of the package. Kansas City president Carl Peterson continues to say no. "I've only traded our first-round pick once, and that was for a guy named Joe (Montana), and we got a third-round return," Peterson said. "Right GREEN pick in now, (Green) couldn't pass any team's physical. He's had reconstructive (knee surgery in 1999), and three procedures after that." Williams a no-show during workouts Saints running back Ricky Williams continues to be the only no-show at the team's offseason workout program, already forfeiting a $100,000 workout bonus. Making matters more confounding, his agents recently contacted the Texas Rangers to inquire about resurrecting his professional baseball career. "It's all news to us," said Saints general manager Randy Mueller. . . . After the draft next weekend. Bill Walsh will step down as general manager in San Francisco and be replaced by Terry Donahue. Walsh soon will turn 70. . . . The Vikings supposedly are not interested in acquiring Seattle running back Ricky Waiters in a trade. Watters' salary of $3 million is too high for Minnesota, and the Seahawks want to play Shaun Alexander If that's true, the Vikes are said to like Wisconsin running back Michael Bennett as a possible selection at No. 27 of the first round — if Bennett is still around.... The Rams played host this week to Aeneas Williams, the cor- nerback tagged as a franchise player by Arizona, and Tennessee restricted free agent cornerback Samari RoUe. Either player would cost St. Louis dearly in draft picks to sign away from their current teams. ... If the Cards trade down. they're interested in Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour in the middle of the first round. Team officials think he might play outside. At 6 feet 6, 300 pounds, Seymour would be a big defensive end. "I definitely have that versatility," said Seymour, who rarely played outside in college, "but I prefer to play inside." Debate of Troy Now that Troy Aikman has retired from the NFL, there will be discussion for quite some time on whether he qualified as a great quarterback. His raw statistics, particularly in the regular season, paled in many ways to some of the league's legends. But Aikman was 11-4 in the playoffs and won three Super Bowls. Only Terry Bradshaw and (Joe) Montana won four. "I am not taking anything away from (running back) Emmitt (Smith) or anybody, but let me tell you something — the quarterback is the guy who makes the difference," said former Dallas vice president Gil Brandt.

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