DJK DJK DJK. While members of the football team were in Carver-Hawkeye on Sunday to be recognized for their stirring Insight Bowl win, one former member of the team was there too -- one Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. In the aftermath, there's been a relative torrent of DJK interviews. KGAN did a video one-on-one (auto-play; the link also provides a full-text transcript, too), and there's another one with the Gazoo:
When asked about that apparently strained relationship, Johnson-Koulianos agreed that it was rocky …"My entire career. He’s an old school coach, and it was me being me. I credit myself for our terrible relationship."
Was his dismissal from the squad justified? "Yeah, yeah, allowing something like that to happen, you don’t deserve to wear the Hawkeye."
Here and elsewhere DJK takes full responsibility for his actions, particularly those that led to his December arrest, and seem genuinely remorseful; it's damn hard not to root for him to get a second chance, frankly. In the Gazoo article, he notes that he's still hoping to be included in Iowa's Pro Day event and it would be great to see that happen. He fucked up, but he's paying the consequences and taking responsibility for that fuck-up. But even if he isn't included in the Iowa Pro Day festivities, I hope can kind a forum somewhere to show off his talents for NFL scouts and that he gets drafted by a team. There haven't been many more Hawkeyes that were more fun to watch than DJK over the years.
Your obligatory reminder that Dan Gable is the fucking man. Things from Iowa that are awesome: Templeton Rye whiskey, Casey's pizza, the tigerhawk, and Dan Gable. If you need a reason why:
Gable coached 21 years at Iowa and won 15 national championships, going 21-for-21 in Big Ten titles. That is even outdoing John Wooden. He went 182-1 as a high school and college wrestler, losing his last match. And in the Cold War days of the 1972 Olympics, when the Soviet Union wrestling machine made him the enemy of the state and target No. 1, he won the gold medal and did not give up a single point. Take that, Comrade Brezhnev.
"Nothing like having a country vow to beat you," Gable says, 39 years later.
My bad, that's just why he's the greatest coach any team in Iowa has ever known. And I say that as someone with deep respect for the accomplishments of Howard Jones, Forest Evashevski, Hayden Fry, Kirk Ferentz, Lute Olsen, and Tom Davis (and, hell, Johnny Orr if we feel like being nice to our neighbors). Get back to me when they create a dynasty on par with what he did with Iowa wrestling. It's absolutely astonishing.
But for as incredible an athlete as Gable was and as remarkable a coach as he was -- and let's be clear, there are few men who can match his accomplishments in those regards -- he might be even more amazing as a representative for his sport and just as a representative of his state.
He hopes his story can help revive wrestling at large. He wants to find ways that training and fitness can fight disease and depression. The man who has spent a lifetime on the mat is looking for something beyond. He mentions Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who developed heartier wheat to counter world hunger.
"The guy was from Cresco, Iowa, and he was a wrestler. For me, that's who I look up to."
Calling Dan Gable "one hell of a guy" seems awfully trite and a poor way of describing the man, but sometimes words simply fail.
Back in the saddle. A bit more good news in the wake of Rhabdogate: all thirteen players are expected to be healthy and able to participate in spring practice next month:
The 13 Iowa football players hospitalized for a muscle disorder following grueling offseason workouts are expected to participate in spring practice next month.
Hooray for that. There was some concern that the fallout from Rhabdogate could be lifelong kidney problems, but -- so far -- that doesn't seem to be the case, which is excellent news.
WASABI! Like most coaches shows, Fran McCaffery's HawkTalk radio show is usually pretty dry -- except when he flat-out expressed his preference for Melsahn Basabe over Aaron Fuller:
"He’s (Basabe) a better player than Fuller," McCaffery.
Granted, that statement isn't really that surprising since (a) Basabe is here and Fuller is not and (b) Basabe has comparable (or better) stats as a true freshman in a deeper Big Ten to those that Fuller put up as a sophomore. Frankly, I'd be happy to take both, but if you forced me to pick one (and stop being such a jerk and forcing me to do stuff, okay?), I'd stand by Fran and proclaim my love for Wasabi, too. And it's always nice (if surprising) when a coach expresses a firm opinion rather than just defaulting to coachspeak double-talk.
Something for the ladies. Fresh off their incredible comeback win (they scored sixty-three points in the second half alone) against Northwestern in Evanston (proof that at least one Iowa team can win in that fetid hellhole; although the wrestling team also won there, but they also win pretty much everywhere), the lady hoopyballers are back in action tomorrow night, taking on a resurgent Wisconsin team (9-3 in Big Ten play, but just 14-10 overall; that non-conference slate must have been a doozy) and aiming for their 20th win of the season. That would make four straight years of 20 or more wins, which is a mighty nice accomplishment, even if it doesn't necessarily guarantee an NCAA berth:
"Twenty still has a good ring to it," Bluder said Tuesday at her weekly press conference. "It used to be, once you got to 20, you were in the NCAA, but that doesn’t hold true as much. I think it’s still a big deal to the media and to fans."
ESPN's latest bracketology has Iowa as a 5-seed in the Spokane region, so they're still sitting in a good position to still make the tourney. A few more wins to improve that seeding would be nice, though.
Whose NU will rule? Speaking of Northwestern, our FOTP Adam Rittenberg posted recently about the "great" debate between fans of Northwestern and incoming Big Ten member Nebraska about who will get to use the "NU" moniker. Leaving aside that two other long-time members of the league have -- shockingly! -- been able to get by just fine despite sharing a two-letter moniker (that would be Iowa and Illinois, if you're feeling alphabetically challenged), BHGP Consulting is happy to offer a solution. In fact, it's one that we've been using for Northwestern since long before Expansionpalooza was even a twinkle in Jim Delany's beady little eyes. We're speaking, of course, of "jNW." It's simple, it's effective, and it clearly delineates the Armani-clad jag-offs from the
"world's greatest fans" pompous, red-faced assholes. Plus, how great would it be to see "jNW" on the ESPN Bottom Line? Pretty damn great is right.
* If you're not listening to the "On Iowa" podcast by FOTP Mas Casa and Scott Dochterman, you really should be, especially since they're now outsourcing their theme music duties to the dulcet tones of one Mr. Patrick Vint.
* Speaking of Mas Casa, if you're still craving more "Caring is Creepy" news, he has a very handy one-stop shop for all kinds of information about the 2011 Iowa football recruiting class. Make with the clicky.
* Yet another Indiana assistant football coach has left before even coaching a game (this makes four, total) for the Hoosiers upon learning that, yes, he really would have to live in Bloomington.
* EEEE NEW RADIOHEAD THIS SATURDAY EEEEE. Based on the title and the weird cover imagery, I think it's safe to say it's their long-planned concept album about a regal jellyfish.