'A Farewell To The Fans'

Dec. 15, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. - It has been a long, strange trip since I began writing this article back in June. I must say that it has been an honor and pleasure writing this article and I hope that the fans of ASU football have enjoyed reading it as well. I appreciate the feedback I have received and the kind words many of you had to say about the 2000 ASU football team. Although the season did not go as planned, the fans should be extremely excited about the 2001 team. With an abundance of talent returning on both sides of the ball, the Devils looked poised to be a contender for the conference title.

Reflecting back on the 2000 season, I am proud of what this team accomplished. It is amazing to think that this team is heading to a bowl game after all of the off the field incidents and injuries that plagued this program throughout the season. In the face of adversity, this team rose up to the challenge and played with emotion and passion week in and week out. We suffered some heart-breaking losses and won some nail bitters, but in the end we are still headed to a bowl game in paradise. We could all look back and think about what 'could have been' this past season, instead I think we should all enjoy what we accomplished. In my five years as a Sun Devil, I will have played in four bowl games. Not many programs across the country can say that. The future definitely holds bigger and brighter things for this program - hopefully even a national championship.

It will be interesting to see what Coach Dirk Koetter and his staff will bring to the table at Arizona State. The new staff is inheriting a program that has a wealth of talented players who will work hard at achieving their goals. The transition period will be tough, but in the end I believe Coach Koetter and his staff will have this program headed in the right direction. I was happy to see that Coach Ron English was retained, as he is a team favorite and great teacher. He will be a tremendous asset to this program throughout the transition process and for years to come. I wish the rest of the ASU coaching staff the best of luck with all of their future endeavors. It has been a great opportunity for this team to work with great coaches. These coaches were not only instructors of the game of football, but they also taught us life lessons as well.

Now to the more important information - the Aloha Bowl.

Since this is our second consecutive year playing in the Aloha Bowl, the players know what to expect and what to do differently to make this year's experience more enjoyable. I was happy to learn that the Devils will be staying at the same hotel that we did last year. The Moana Surfrider is a colonial style hotel located right on Waikiki Beach. The balconies from each room hang over the white sand beach and have a spectacular view of Diamond Head and the vast Pacific Ocean. Everything you could possibly want to do is within walking distance of the hotel. The first activity in which the Sun Devils will participate is at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here we will be fed an island feast and entertained with traditional Polynesian dances. Last year, the drummer for the festivities was a huge Samoan man who was a crowd favorite. I hope he is there again this year! Another day the team will head to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The tour of the USS Arizona is a very sobering experience. Our generation has never had to endure anything as horrible as war. Both of my grandfathers served in the military during World War II, and after visiting the memorial I have the utmost respect for the two of them and their service to our country. One of the nights during the week all four teams attend a banquet. With all of these activities and an abundance of free time to spend at the beach, this year's trip to Hawaii will be a great one. An important lesson learned from last year, though, is that when it is time to work, it is time to work. It is hard to focus in on a game in such a beautiful setting, but this team wants to erase the ugly loss suffered last Christmas day.

This year's contest against Boston College is shaping up to be a hard fought game. It is hard to evaluate the Eagles since they are an east coast team and play in a conference that is different from ours. The coaching staff does not recruit the same players as B.C. and none of the Devils know players from the Eagles squad. Judging by the film we have watched, Boston College is a big and physical team. Their defensive front eight are enormous and do a great job stopping the run. Offensively, the Eagles are going to try to run the ball all day long. They are led by running backs William Green and Cedric Washington. All-American Paul Zukauskas anchors the offensive line. It will be interesting to watch the line from Boston College versus the speed and agility of the Devils' front seven. Whoever wins in the trenches will win the game.

I hope you all tune into the game on Christmas day. It has been a tremendous five years with the Devils and I have many fond memories from this University. What I have enjoyed most is walking out of the tunnel each home game to play for the best fans in America. Thank you all for the wonderful memories.

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