Penn Relays gets national TV coverage

24870_04302011_pennrelays_laurafThe 119th edition of the Penn Relays - the oldest and biggest track meet in the United States - will be broadcast live from Franklin Field on Saturday, April 27th, by NBC from 1-3 p.m. EST.

NBC had originally planned to air the meet live from 1:30-3, but announced last week that it was extending its coverage. This new time slot will cover most of the USA vs. the World relay races, which have featured star athletes like Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix in the past.

From 3-5 p.m., live coverage of the Penn Relays will switch over to NBC Universal as the prestigious meet, which spans the entire weekend, comes to an end.

Penn Sports Plus: Roller Hockey Edition

mg_1565In this week's edition of Penn Sports Plus, we sat down with Parth Patel, the senior co-captain of the Penn Roller Hockey Club, to find out more about the team:

How long has the Penn Roller Hockey team been around?

Patel: We started back in 1995, so it’s been around for a while. There are a lot of people that I don’t know but the cool thing is that we have a pretty big alumni network and they stay on the listserv, so they’re around and you hear from them every once in a while.

The Philadelphia Collegiate Roller Hockey League was started by a guy named Brendan Brennan in 1998 at the Class of 1923 Rink. It was an invitational tournament, about a six or so team tournament. And from there they turned it into a league and it’s expanded to about 18 teams now.

We keep joking that the cup is named after him, it’s called the Brennan Cup, he started the club but in our 15 years Penn has never won it. We’ve got a shot this year, we’ve kind of snuck into the top part of the standings and everyone is joking around that this might be the year.

What initially drew you to play for the team?

Patel: I started playing because I liked hockey, but I think if you want to be part of a team that gets along, hangs out outside of the games and practices, I think this is a good club. The undergraduate group is pretty close, you have a lot of alumni, you have a lot of grad students and everyone is close and everyone gets along. We’re a fun, goofy group and we don’t take anything too seriously either. What drew me in is that you’ve got a team that you can still be a part of and play competitively but also have a good time and it’s not that structured. We have cool jerseys, too.

Do most players have previous roller hockey experience?

Patel: I think for a lot of players on the team, everyone watches hockey. We welcome all levels, so some students have played ice before, played roller before, played just street hockey before, maybe even played floor hockey or not had an skating experience. So we take everyone on, so we have a whole range of players.

Are there any big differences between roller hockey and ice hockey?

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McLaughlin Enters Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame

As if this season's success on the court wasn't enough, Penn women's basketball coach Mike McLaughlin got some more good news Tuesday night when he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

This past season, McLaughlin's fourth with the Quakers, he guided his team to an 18-13 (9-5 Ivy) record, including the program's first-ever postseason victory.

Under McLaughlin, the Quakers have improved their win total every season. In the season before he took over the program, the Red and Blue had just nine wins.

McLaughlin is the fastest women's basketball coach to reach 400 career wins, and currently has a 451-132 (.774) record during his time as a head coach.

Before coaching at Penn, McLaughlin had an incredibly successful head coaching tenure at Holy Family University, his alma mater. His Holy Family teams posted 25 wins or more in every single one of McLaughlin's 14 seasons at the helm. The Tigers won 10 conference titles under McLaughlin, and he was named Conference Coach of the Year 13 times.

Turn Back the Clock: April 3, 2001

Penn basketball coach Fran Dunphy removes his name from consideration for the La Salle head coaching job, choosing to return for his 13th season at the Palestra.

All signs pointed toward the legendary coach leaving, but what seemed like a perfect match turned out not to be.

Long-time La Salle head coach William "Speedy" Morris was forced to resign following eight consecutive losing seasons, and Dunphy was one of the primary targets.

Dunphy quickly became a popular pick to fill the Explorers' coaching vacancy due to his connections to La Salle. He graduated from the school in 1970 and served as an assistant first under Lefty Ervin and later under Morris.

Speculation that Dunphy would take the job increased as the Penn coach met with the athletic directors at La Salle on three occasions regarding the head coaching job. However, Dunphy announced on this day that he is removing his name from consideration for the vacant post in order to remain at Penn.

After turning down the job, Dunphy would remain at Penn until 2006, when he left to coach at Temple. He became the first coach ever to lead two different Big 5 programs. He was approached one more time by La Salle in 2004 to be their head coach, but he turned it down again.

Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger enters rehab

Alcohol, drugs and sex – these are the problems we expect people to be confronting when they enter rehab. But this Thursday, Buzz Bissinger, the author of Friday Night Lights and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, checked himself into rehab for a far lesser-known addiction: shopping. His location remains undisclosed.

Bissinger, a former Daily Pennsylvanian Sports and Opinion Editor graduating in 1976, announced his shopping addiction – primarily clothing shopping – in a statement to NBC as well as in an article in GQ. In the article, Bissinger claims that since his addiction started in 2010, he has spent nearly $600,000 on clothes alone.

The candid GQ article reveals that he owns 81 leather jackets, 75 pairs of boots, 41 pairs of leather pants and 115 pairs gloves, among many other things. The 58-year-old, who currently resides in Philadelphia as a columnist for The Daily Beast, chronicled his all-expenses-paid trip as a special guest at a fashion show for Gucci – the brand he has spent most of his clothing budget on.

Bissinger also made sure to confront the notion held by many that shopping addiction is not a true problem, or a lesser addiction. His descriptions of the feelings that came with purchasing clothes mirror those described by drug addicts: “The futile feeding of the bottomless beast and the unavoidable psychological implications, the immediate hit of the new that feels like an orgasm and the inevitable coming-down.”

The fiery and opinionated sports journalist left his short-lived radio program in December amidst reports that his outspoken personality was causing problems at the radio station. In the GQ article, he revealed that some of these problems may have been due to his addiction.

Over/Under – Dartmouth Edition

OverUnder15 minutes for Cam Gunter – UNDER

The junior forward had a career night Friday against Harvard, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine boards in just 15 minutes of play. Off of a breakout performance like that, the fans might expect to see more of Gunter. But for the most part, Gunter was forced into action due to Henry Brooks’ foul trouble and Darien Nelson-Henry’s limited minutes coming back from injury. Both of those players should see more minutes tonight, which means less court time for Gunter.

60 points for Dartmouth – UNDER

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Three Up, Three Down: Yale Edition

Three Up Three DownThe past week has been full of ups and downs for the Quakers - an upset win over Columbia to a disappointing defeat to Cornell to the reemergence of Miles Cartwright to the likely season-ending injury to Fran Doughterty. Here are some predictions for the ups and downs likely to happen when Penn takes on the Yale Bulldogs on Friday at the Palestra:

Three Up-

Jerome Allen: If there was ever a time for coach Allen to step up, this weekend is it. Allen has been criticized often this season for his team’s lack of discipline and costly mistakes, but he has the chance to prove his doubters wrong if he can pull off a victory or two this weekend without Fran Dougherty and Steve Rennard.

Patrick Lucas-Perry: Over the season, the diminutive sophomore guard has slowly but surely made his claim to be a more integral piece in coach Allen’s plans. The Penn offense needs a spark from somewhere, which is exactly what PLP can provide. His fantastic three-point shooting cannot be ignored, and PLP should at the very least be the Quakers’ first option off the bench.

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2013 Penn football banquet recap

On Friday, Penn football held its annual postseason banquet to celebrate the team’s 2012 Ivy League championship, honor the seniors, and hand out the individual awards to the outstanding performers from 2012. Here is a rundown of who took home the accolades from Friday night:

Edgar Church Memorial Award (Biggest Overall Contributor)
The team’s letterwinners voted for senior quarterback Billy Ragone to receive the Edgar Church Memorial Award. Ragone started nine games for the 2012 Ivy League champions. The honorable mention All-Ivy quarterback ranked sixth in the Ivy League in total offense, seventh in passing yards and ninth in rushing. He finished the season 118-of-210 passing for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also rushing for 476 yards and four touchdowns to lead the team with 1,764 yards of total offense.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen)
Senior offensive lineman Joe Bonadies and senior defensive tackle Taylor Brown took home the Chuck Bednarik Award for their fantastic work in the trenches this season. Bonadies was a first-team All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy selection, as he started all 10 games at right tackle for the second consecutive season. Brown started all 10 games on the defensive side for the second straight year, recording three sacks along with eight tackles for loss.

George Munger Award (Offensive and Defensive Most Valuable Players)
Named after Penn's Hall of Fame coach, the George Munger Award was given to senior running back Lyle Marsh and senior captain Brandon Copeland. Marsh was a second-team All-Ivy selection as he led Penn and finished eighth in the Ivy League in rushing with 515 yards, finding the endzone six times. He also led Penn with 791 all-purpose yards, while his 5.4 yards per carry ranked fifth all-time at Penn in a single season. Copeland was Penn's first solo captain in 15 years and was named first-team All-Ivy. The defensive lineman led Penn and finished seventh in the Ivy League with five sacks and was second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss.

Reds Bagnell Award (Unsung Heroes)
Senior tight end Ryan Allen and senior linebacker Steve Lias were handed the Reds Bagnell Award, named after Hall of Fame running back Francis (Reds) Bagnell. Allen played in all 10 games and finished the season with nine catches for 107 yards and 11.9 yards per catch. Lias started all 10 games for the Quakers, finishing with 43 tackles on the year in addition to three tackles for loss and two sacks.

George A. Weiss Award (Demonstrating “Pennsylvania kind of football”)
Junior offensive lineman Chris Bush
was honored to receive the George A. Weiss Award, given to the player who best displays the toughness and determination that represents the "Pennsylvania kind of football." Bush was a second-team All-Ivy selection and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area honoree. He started nine games at center for the Ivy League champions and played through injury during most of Penn's season-ending four-game winning streak.

Football Club Award (Distinct Athletic Achievement)
The Football Club Award was given to junior wide receiver Conner Scott on offense, senior cornerback Dave Twamley on defense, and senior punter Scott Lopano on special teams. Sophomore tight end Mitchell King and sophomore linebacker Dan Davis also received the award as offensive and defensive rookies. Scott had 52 receptions for 691 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. Twamley earned second-team All-Ivy and Academic All-Area honors as he led the team with 43 solo tackles. Lopano set Penn's career records for punts (184) and punt yards (7,111), while King played in all 10 games and finished with six catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

 Coach Lake Award (Leadership, Team Spirit, and Penn Pride)
Awarded for the first time in 2010, the Lake Award is presented in honor of Coach Dan "Lake" Staffieri, a team motivator for 33 seasons. Senior running back Jeff Jack was the recipient of the award for the 2012 season. Jack played in all 10 games, starting the last seven for the Red and Blue. He ran for 413 yards and had four rushing touchdowns on the season.

Man of the Year Award
Along with the awards given to the athletes, Hench Murray, C'66, GEd'67, was named the Man of the Year for his continued dedication to and support of Penn's football program. Murray played baseball while attending Penn, and has served as the color analyst for the football team for 33 seasons.

Turn Back the Clock: Jan. 30th, 1993

Penn men's basketball topples the Princeton Tigers, 64-46, on its way to an undefeated Ivy season.
January 30th, 1993

One of the sweetest moments for any team is when they can come together and prove the critics who doubted them wrong. From the opening tip-off in a packed Palestra on that Saturday night, the Quakers did just that.

Penn (10-4 overall, 3-0 Ivy) pummeled the Tigers (10-5, 2-1) all over the court on their way to a decisive 64-46 victory. Before the game, the Quakers side was heavily criticized and labeled "too soft" following back-to-back losses to Big 5 foes Temple and St. Joseph's.

Against Princeton, however, the Red and Blue was anything but soft. In front of a sold-out crowd of 8,700 raucous fans (the Palestra's first sell-out since 1984), the Quakers dominated every aspect of the game. Penn held a 34-18 advantage on the boards while also shooting a lights-out 54.3 percent from the field and only committing four turnovers.

The stellar backcourt tandem of sophomores Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney (both would go on to be three-time First-Team All-Ivy during their college careers) highlighted the Quakers' fantastic performance. Allen put up 11 points and dished out 7 assists, while Maloney led all scorers with 18 points along with 5 assists.

At halftime, the game was still very tight, with Princeton holding a slim 26-25 advantage. But the Quakers stormed away in the second period by playing nearly flawless basketball and outscoring the Tigers 39-20 to finish out the game.

By beating Princeton at home, Penn reclaimed its title as the premier basketball program in the Ivy League. The Red and Blue used that momentum to run the Ivy League table and finished with a perfect 14-0 Ivy record on the season, ending Princeton's streak of four consecutive league titles.

The matchup was a battle of two legendary coaches. Of course, current Temple coach Fran Dunphy led the Quakers from the sidelines. Dunphy has the second-most wins of any Ivy League coach in history. The only Ivy League coach with more all-time victories? The man standing across from Dunphy that night, Princeton's head coach Pete Carril (famed for perfecting the Princeton offense).



Three Up, Three Down: St. Joseph’s Edition

Three Up Three DownOn Thursday, Penn basketball broke their eight-game losing streak in a close and admittedly ugly 54-53 victory over NJIT. Up next, the Quakers will (not really) go on the road for a Big 5 matchup against St. Joseph's at the Palestra, for which the Hawks are the official home team. Here are some predictions for the Quakers' third Big 5 contest of the season:

Three Up-

Darien Nelson-Henry: In his first career start on Thursday against NJIT, Nelson-Henry had somewhat of a coming out party. He recorded his first collegiate double-double and was a huge factor in Penn’s vast improvement on the boards. The turnover problems are still there, but the Quakers will need to rely on DNH to be a presence in the paint, especially if Henry Brooks finds himself in foul trouble again.

Penn's bench contribution: St. Joseph’s Halil Kanacevic will miss his third straight game due to a death in the family. With him out, the Hawks won’t have a single bench player who averages more than 10 minutes per game. The Red and Blue will look to take advantage of their much deeper bench, as coach Allen has 10 players fit who average double-digits in minutes per game.

Patrick Lucas-Perry: While just about everyone else on the team underperformed against NJIT, Lucas-Perry was a rare bright spot. PLP scored eight points in only nine minutes on the court, including Penn’s final five points to grab the victory. So Perry has now been a driving force in two of the three Penn wins of the season — NJIT and UMBC.  Expect more minutes for the diminutive guard as the Quakers will need all the help they can get to shut down an explosive St. Joe’s backcourt.

Three Down-

Penn turnovers: At some point, there really is nowhere to go but up. Or down, in this case. The Quakers turned the ball over a ghastly 26 times against NJIT, but expect that number to be significantly lower on Saturday. St. Joe’s only causes its opponents to commit 10.9 turnovers per game this season, while hopefully coach Allen will have made some tweaks to who handles the ball for Penn and how they do it. 

Jamal Lewis: With the recent emergence of Tony Hicks, Lewis has seen his minutes drop in the past few games. His performances have also dropped: 0 points off just two shots against Princeton and NJIT. This won’t have gone unnoticed by coach Allen, who should give emerging players like Lucas-Perry more minutes. 

Penn rebounding deficiencies: Kanacevic’s absence for the Hawks also hurts them on the boards. St. Joe’s will miss his 7.2 rebounds per game, especially as Penn has been steadily improving in the rebounds department. Against NJIT, Quakers won the rebounding battle 41-24, the highest margin ever under coach Allen.