The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on December 16, 1994 · 25
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 25

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, December 16, 1994
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ports University'-!) Friday, December 16, 1994 THE TAMPA TRIBUNE Robinson coaches suspended for game 5 ! Prep Basketball BILL CHASTAIN Cobb's gesture changed Lopez's opinion of legend Beginning this Christmas season at movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York, "The Grinch that Stole Bases." Make that "Cobb," Ron Shelton's film version of the life and times of Ty Cobb, the cantankerous base stealer and hitter supreme. The movie won't be released in Tampa until February because Warner Brothers is counting pn an Oscar nomination for Tommy Lee Jones, the actor who portrays Cobb. By releasing only in New York and Los Angeles, Jones is eligible for said nomination; by releasing throughout the rest of the country in February, it is hoped the movie can cash in on Jones Oscar nomination. Soon your ears will be filled with "Cobb." No doubt, Jones will get a nomination since Hollywood always seems to recognize actors' efforts for their most depressing roles. Cobb the drug-addicted boozer, racist, sour old man with no friends fits said script as it primarily chronicles the latter days of Cobb's life. Tampa's Al Lopez is the antithesis of Cobb with his many friends, generous nature and friendliness. Lopez's story would be Disney material. There, would be no Oscars for lack of depression; it would be a family picture. Alas, it's interesting the paths of these two diverse personalities crossed, even though they represent different eras in baseball history. First impressions Winding down his major-league career in 1949, Lopez was the Cleveland Indians' second-string catcher when he participated in a benefit game in Hollywood, Calif., between players from the Pacific Coast League and a major-league all-star team composed of players in the Cactus League. At the time, only the Cubs, Indians, Browns and Giants trained in Arizona. Lopez recalls the event held at Gilmore Stadium as quite a spectacle. . "All the festivities," Lopez said. "The place was jammed with celebrities before the game. They put on quite a show." Cobb was managing the major-league team and didn't quite appreciate the pre-game like Lopez. "Cobb was saying 'let's get those people out of there,' " said Lopez with a chuckle. "He wanted to play baseball. He took a bow when he was introduced before the game, but for the most part, he sat in the dugout and didn't say anything. He wasn't one of those guys who liked the hoopla." Famed Negro-leaguer Satchel Paige was scheduled to pitch for the major-leaguers, but didn't show up until the fourth inning, which further frustrated Cobb. "There was a big ballyhoo when Satchel Paige came walking in from the clubhouse in right field," Lopez said. "When he got to the dugout, he said, 'Mr. Cobb, my name is Satchel Paige.' Cobb was not happy and said 'Okay, sit down, I might use you later. I don't think Paige ever got in the game." Lopez later managed at Indianapolis, where the owner was Donie Bush, a former teammate of Cobb's on the Tigers. "Bush played shortstop and hit in front of Cobb," Lopez said. "They never spoke a word. But the story Bush liked to tell everyone was the time Cobb walked into the clubhouse and told his teammates, 'I'm going to give you guys a tip that can make some money. There's a soft drink company out of Atlanta, Coca-Cola.' But nobody bought any stock. The following year he came back and told his mates 'You didn't buy any stock in Coca-Cola. Now I'm going to give you another stock tip: General Motors.' Nobody bought again because nobody liked him. Bush said Cobb made $1 million off the Coca-Cola and $10 million off General Motors." A caring gesture Looez went on to manaae the 1954 Indi ans to an American League pennant but it was his 1959 Chicago White Sox that caught the elder Cobb's attention. . After winning the pennant with a scrappy team known as the "Go-Go Sox" for their pitching, defense and ability to create runs, Lopez received a letter from Cobb. "He wrote me a letter congratulating me on winning the pennant," Lopez said. "Said I managed the team in a style like the old days, you know, bunt and run. It was a real nice letter. I still have it." Lopez said the letter challenged the characterizations of the man known as "The Georgia Peach." "That's the reason the letter touched me so much," Lopez said. "All you ever heard was what a bad guy he was, then the guy writes me such a nice letter. And I think, maybe the guy wasn't so bad after all." It would be contrary to Lopez's nature for him to think anything different x- - ,"TTF f. TLSQN Cdd OF TUh MAR - - : JIM REEDTribune photo Darlee Nelson earned his second Hillsborough County Coach of the Year award after leading Jefferson to an 8-2 regular season record and the Class 5A-District 9 title. Nelson earns coaching honor By JOEY KNIGHT Tribune Staff Writer TAMPA Jefferson coach Darlee Nelson, who led the Dragons to the Class 5A-District 9 title, was named Hillsborough County's Coach of the Year by the Tampa chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. The award was presented Thursday at the chapter's annual luncheon at the Marriott Westshore. Nelson, 42, also won the honor in 1986 after leading Jefferson to an 8-2 mark and a playoff berth in his third year as coach. "That 1986 award was early in my career and I feel like I'm a better coach as a result of those groups of kids I had back then," said Nelson, who owns a career mark of 65-59. "This year's kids got the maximum of Darlee Nelson." Despite the transfer of standout tailback Jamall Anderson to Hillsborough, the Dragons finished 9-3, earning their second consecutive state playoff berth. They advanced to the second round before losing to North Fort Myers. Nelson credited much of the team's success to a strong nucleus of three-year players, including tight end Keith Newman, quarterback Carl Puryear, linebackerkicker Jason Sparks and lineman Jonathan Griffin. "We've had kids that have come to our program and hung with it three years," Nelson said. "Anytime you have a group like that that comes and stays with it, it makes coaching that much greater." Nelson beat out several other county coaches recognized for outstanding efforts in 1994. Among them were Hillsborough's Earl Garcia, who led the Terriers to a 9-2 record and 6A playoff berth; Gaither's Joe Severino, whose team finished 7-5 and won the 6A-District 6 title; and Temple Heights' Tom Allen, whose Eagles were 8-3 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1976. A former Plant assistant, Nelson has led Jefferson to three playoff berths and a Horizon Bowl appearance in his 11 seasons. Newman, one of Hillsborough County's top recruits, characterized his mentor as a "players' coach." "He teaches good discipline and does whatever he has to do to see you turn out to be a good man," Newman said. "I've always remembered him telling us seniors this is our last year and it may be the end of some of our football careers. He says it may be the climax of our life, to go out and have fun." Several others were honored, including George Steinbrenner, who was given the Distinguished Service Award. A longtime supporter of area prep sports, Steinbrenner financed a four-team jamboree and regular-season doubleheader at Tampa Stadium this season. Officials Charlie Morgan and Tony Scionti, who have a combined 82 years experience at the prep level, received special awards. Other special award recipients were former Tampa Catholic and Robinson football coach David Grantham, and current Jesuit coach Dominick Ciao. Hillsborough High was given the West Coast Officials Association Sportsmanship Award. . ' f . ' . V. - ; I v -.. ' ' f ,' fj "t-.j' ' -r; ' ' '" ' J ' ' i ., - . -. - University of Tampa senior LaQuanda Car-michael, shown listening to Coach Tom Mosca during a recent practice, proved she JAY CONNERTribune photo could play at the Division I level during the Spartans' 64-62 loss at Florida State on Saturday. Near-miss boosts UTs confidence WOMEN'S BASKETBALL You can reach Bill Chastain through Prodiqy electronic mail at TRIB04D or through the Internet at You can write to him at The Tampa Tribune, P-O. BcN 191, Tampa, 336QS. By DOUG CARLSON Tribune Staff Writer TAMPA Exam week on campus is a quiet time for studying and reviewing the semester's lessons. For LaQuanda Carmichael and her University of Tampa teammates, it's also an opportunity to reflect on the early stages of a strange and surprising basketball season. The Spartans, who let a 12-point lead slip away in the second half of a 64-62 loss at Florida State on Sat- " urday, receive a break from exam pressure when the season resumes tonight. Tampa plays 1993 Division II Final Four participant Bellarmine College at 7:30 p.m. at the Martinez Sports Center. The game holds additional interest now that Tampa (3-4) has had time to gain some perspective of its early-season play. Against FSU, the Spartans displayed the ability to be a Division II power. But the question isn't whether Tampa has talent. It's whether Tampa can maintain the level of performance required to be a top-10 team. The Spartans had a preseason No. 7 ranking, four starters back from the most successful team in school history and all the accompanying expectations. The up-and-down performances through six games were puzzling. "I think the FSU game showed us and everybody else we can play," said Carmichael, who had a game-high 19 points and six rebounds against the Seminoles. "We've got to be mentally focused if we're going to play like that all the time. Nine times out of 10, you're playing a team you expect to beat. We know it's harder to prepare yourself mentally in that situation, just like FSU didn't take us seriously." To FSU's surprise, Tampa took a five-point half-time lead and wiped away the smirks. Tampa's other losses this season to Wingate, Catawba and Missouri-St. Louis gave little indication it was capable of knocking off a Division I team. But the game may have reinforced Coach Tom Mbsca's lesson in teaching his team how to be one of the country's best. "All the players will have a different attitude now, I'm sure," Carmichael said. "We always knew how well we could play, but we didn't do it until the FSU game. What we found out is if we can take that approach all the time, we're capable of beating anybody we play." The Florida State game was special for Carmichael, a senior from Orlando who transferred to UT from St. Petersburg Junior College. "I always wanted to see what it would be like to play at Division I, to play against the best," she said. "And it was the first time I ever had a chance to play in a big civic center like that. I've always wanted to do that." Carmichael's performance indicated she might . have excelled as a Division I player, although she didn't receive much Interest from that level after junior college. "She's a big-time player and I think she opened some eyes in Tallahassee," Mosca said. "LaQuan-da's as quick as anybody and he showed it." By JOEY KNIGHT Tribune Staff Writer TAMPA Only five months after hiring a new boys basketball coach, Robinson officials are scrambling to fill the position again for one game. Neither first-year coach Scott Wagers nor assistant Donnie Oliver will be on the Knights' bench tonight when their 2-3 team plays host to Hillsborough. Both drew one-game suspensions after being ejected from games in the last week. According to Florida High School Activities Association rules, a coach ejected from a game must sit out the next contest at the level of his or her primary responsibility, and any other games that same day. The ejections also carry a minimum FHSAA-imposed fine of $50. Hillsborough County Athletic Director Wayne Williamson also could impose further suspensions and fines. Williamson and assistant athletic director Vernon Korhn were out of their office and couldn't be reached. Wagers, who never had been ejected in four previous seasons, was tossed in Tuesday's 77-68 loss to Gaither. The ejection resulted when Wagers received his second technical foul late in the first half and kicked a ball in apparent frustration. Oliver was removed from the bench Monday while coaching the ninth-grade team during its loss to Jefferson, and won't be allowed to coach the junior varsity team against Hillsborough. , Both may attend tonight's game, but must sit in the bleachers and aren't allowed to give instructions to" the team or interim coach, according to FHSAA rules. "I'm just going to have to keep ' my mouth shut tonight," Wagers ' said. "I'll bite my lip a lot." Robinson Athletic Director Don-' aid Wolf said girls junior varsity coach Scott Burkett likely would coach the varsity while veteran -track and volleyball coach Don ' Cherry would lead the junior varsi-' ty. -'i Burkett, ironically, was ejected after earning his second technical during his team's victory against . East Bay on Dec. 6, but served his suspension in Thursday's game; against Jefferson. "Between the two, we have a pretty good situation," Wolf said., "Coach Burkett obviously will have v a good handle on things, and Coach -Cherry has coached here for years and knows all the girls pretty well. "Basically, you just need someone to sit there," Wagers said. "You do your coaching before the game-, so the kids should be pretty well prepared and can handle it. The only problem with whoever takes over is calling timeouts, making substitutions and things like that." Freshwater Fill your washtub with fish. Speckled perch catches improve with the moon phase. Specks by the buckets are being caught on Lake Okeechobee. Lake Kissim-mee also is a good bet. Bass were shy after the front last weekend, but should be much improved before the next front hits. NORTH TAMPA: A-24 Hour Bait & Tackle Specks are hot in the By-Pass Canal and Hillsborough River. Minnows, jigs and Crap-pie Niblets are catching these adult-sized fish. Fish the edges with Power Worms and spoons for excellent bass numbers. HILLSBOROUGH RIVER: Oak Haven Fish Camp Bass in the 3- to 4-pound range are being taken on live shiners and artificial worms in purple and motor-oil colors. Fish deep in the tree tops and bridges for specks to 1 pound. Panfish catches are fair. LAKE TARPON: Tarpon Tom's Specks are big and taking minnows and white and chartreuse jigs. Night fishing is best, with some specks in the 2-pound range. Bass to 6 pounds are taking shiners In 6 to 7 feet of water. WINTER HAVEN: Cypress Bait & Tackle Bass catches slowed with the fronts. Flipping or deep worming is the best bet just after the front. Specks are being caught in limit numbers. Lakes Hamilton and Pierce are producing many specks. LAKE ISTOPOGA: Henderson's Fish Camp's Mike Bennis Recent weather has caused a bad case of lockjaw for bass and specks. The weekend should show signs of recovery, especially before the new front that's on the way. KISSIMMEE CHAIN: Oasis Fish Camp A mixed bag of bass to 6 pounds are being caught on worms and shiners. Crank baits such as Rat-L-Traps also are taking bass. Speck action is very good. SOUTH LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Roland Martin's Marina Shiners are the bait of choice for Okeechobee guides, with bass to 8 and 9 pounds reported. The recent Redman Bass Tournament was won with 10 fish totaling 33.2 pounds. Huge specks are being caught all over the area. Fish the maiden cane patches for best results. OKEECHOBEE'S WEST WALL: Glen Hunters RV Park and Store High numbers of bass are being caught with fish to 9 pounds taking shiners. Speck fishing is excellent, with very large specks taking jigs and minnows. Fish the twin marker, Harney Pond and Harney Pond Cuts for tubs of specks. TSALA APOPKA: Cypress Lodge Speck action has improved with excellent catches reported. Artificial worms and Bud's Temptation worked slowly is effective. The "dead bait" method also is producing excel-lent bass catches. LAKE PANASOFFKEE: Pana Vista Lodge Speckled perch catches continue to be good and bass catches are improving. Speck numbers should begin to pick up with the full moon. Keeper-sized bass also are being caught. Saltwater Snook went out of season on Dec. 15. Red tide has been reported offshore Charlotte Harbor. Grouper and mangrove snap- ' per abound in 30 feet of water. Trout catch- es have picked up, but snook bites were off. -Large cero mackerel are on the outside!, " along with a few kingfish. CHARLOTTE HARBOR: Ranger guide Brian Mowatt Fishing inside is good. Cooler t weather has kept the fish in the bottom -of ; the potholes. Boat traffic keeps most from biting until after 2 in the afternoon. Red tide has stopped fishing outside and in some of the passes. , - r ' SARASOTA: Capt. Rick Grasset Fish New Pass and Big Pass as well as the beaches for pompano and bluefish. Cotee ' jigs are taking pompano and trout to 19 ' inches. Redfish, snook and trout are taking Cotee gold spoons in Charlotte Harbor. ' BRADENTON: Perico Harbor Bait & Tack- ' le Snook have slowed. White bait is tak- ing redfish, trout, sheepshead and flounder. . High numbers of red grouper to 22 pounds were being caught in 90 feet of water. ' UPPER TAMPA BAY: Denny B's Quality ' Bait & Tackle Grouper are taking frozen ; sardines seven to nine miles off Tarpon -Springs. Snook went out of season on Dec. 15. Upper Tampa Bay is full of catch-and-re- . lease snook. Fish the tides for excellent red- fish and trout catches on live shrimp. Dana ' Shores canals are producing snook and ' reds. LOWER TAMPA BAY: Interbay Marina and bait The snook season ended with ' two keeper snook caught off the marina docks. One 31 -inch fish was caught. Floun- der are in the bay and keeper trout are be- ' ing caught in the lower bay area. i SOUTH PINELLAS: Capt. Paul Hawkins ! Fish the holes on the grass flats with live bait or a quarter-ounce Cotee jig for redfish and trout. In five to six feet of water, try a 1 5M MirrOlure or noisy topwater lures for trout and redfish. Offshore, kings, mackerel j and grouper are in close. MID-PINELLAS PARTY BOATS: Hub- bard's John's Pass Marina Mangrovfc , snapper, yellowtail snapper, grouper and J amberjack fill the boxes on overnight trips. ! Half- and all-day boats are taking goo grouper catches, some large Key West j grunt and black seabass. Inshore night trips . are taking yellowtail and mangrove snapper'. CLEARWATER: Southern Star Charters 5 Fishing School Kingfish, large mackerel, J and barracuda are taking trolled baits from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Grouper to 10 pounds, along with mangrove snapper and yellowtail snapper, are in 30 feet of wa- v ter. ;; - HUDSON: Capt. Dennis Royston Larg$ mackerel, cobia, jack crevalle and trout are;; being caught on the flats. Fish the mouths of , creeks and canals for snook, flounder anij -sheepshead. HERNANDO BEACH: Hernando Beach J Bait and Tackle Trout are more active ' with the crisp weather. Schools of reds are In Jenkins Creek. Large sheepshead and ' black drum are on the Inside. Huge cero ' mackerel and grouper are in 16 to 25 feet of water. J JIM LEE -jr i'"r-m m??n' tm wt-s wi r- ""? tt jts j jp f your car V ,TT s y j f i i mR- n .jmit)Fi f. ,- s A ' ..r.i -3 I S f MSB ! fy . : fes StaaS .jfcS F- tewtt 9hS afc S! t&m ffir S NOrUH TA:.:?A TOWN N CCK'NTSY i 352 M. Florid T532 W. V.":Jz&m f

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