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Book Club With Plati-'Tudes

Dec 11, 2020

Welcome to a notes and comment column in its 21st year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is his 37th year as the Buffaloes' director of sports information.
 
Next one is: Plati-'Tudes No. 135 ... As 2020 is thankfully nearing its end (though 2021 has yet to have a more optimistic outlook), as a numbers geek, I bring you this: when Election Day was set forth on a Tuesday back in 1792 (the harvest was over being the major reason for November voting), the U.S. population was right around 4 million; it was cemented on the first Tuesday in November in 1845, population around 20 million.  So now in 2020, with the population around 330 million if not more, why can't voting in person take place over, say, three days?!  Guess that's way too logical!
 
Opening Trivia
CU—With football not starting this year until November, there was overlap with the start of basketball.  When was the last time that football, men's basketball and women's basketball were all undefeated at the same time?
Music—Many Hall of Fames are political, the Rock and Roll Hall being no different.  Of the following groups/artists, which one is in its Hall: Jimmy Buffett, The Go-Go's, the Beastie Boys, Tina Turner or Pat Benatar.
Name That Tune—From 1972: "We may lose and we may win … Though we will never be here again."
 
Quick Hits
I'd be remiss if I didn't wish a fond farewell and happy retirement to CMCI (formerly Journalism School) associate dean, Steve Jones, who is calling it "quits" after 44½ years at the university.  He touched the lives of virtually all of us who passed through the school, either by teaching (mostly broadcast journalism classes) or working with students in general, and in my case, being the conduit to create the class I have taught since 2000 (cleverly named "Athletic Media Relations").  As KUSA's Chris Vanderveen noted in the Fall edition of CMCI Now, "(Steve) set countless careers in motion." Those would include the many CU graduates you see or have seen on the national or local airwaves through the years (among them Chris Fowler, Jim Gray, Kim Christiansen, Kevin Corke, Tom Costello, Eric Christensen), not to mention all the people behind the scenes as producers (e.g., Jay Rothman at ESPN, Peter Lasser at TNT, Mark Baker at KCNC, CNN-SI), directors and others such as Michael Davies (field ops at Fox Sports). 
 
Did You Know: From CUBuffs.com Contributing Editor Neill Woelk:  The late Lute Olson, legendary college basketball coach, was a guidance counselor and basketball coach at Boulder's Casey Middle School in 1961 (it was a one-year pit stop for his family between Minnesota and California).
 
TALKING To GOATs
I think most CU sports fans know that Chris Fowler is CU sports information alum, working first under John Clagett and then myself.  But our office has spawned two icons in the media landscape, as Jim Gray preceded Fowler in our office (we were student assistants under Tim "The Fish" Simmons at the same time).   Back then, some may recall that we had the "CU Sports Hotline," where fans could dial in after a certain time each day and hear reports and interviews on current events (Gray took over from John Butz in 1979 and Fowler for Gray in 1982). 
 
(Fowler wasn't with us yet, but Fish, Clags, Jim and myself all took part in an "all hands on deck" event 41 years ago last month; we had a huge snowstorm the day before the '79 home finale against Kansas State, and around 35 staff members, from full-timers to androids—the name for student workers back in the day, some sort of link to Star Wars—were given shovels and assigned sections in the stadium to clear out the snow.  Jim remembered that day.  Now how geeky am I?  I'm one of those who remembers what section (it was 108), along with my childhood phone number and even the one I had in Sewall Hall).
 
Jim recently wrote his first book, Talking To GOATs, which recounts the diverse, or menagerie if you will, of famous sports celebrities he had the opportunity to interview through the years.  But each carries a story with it, ranging from the circumstances that created the interviews to the relationships he forged (with most remaining through the years after their first encounter).  Jim joined the SID office my sophomore year ('79), when we had maybe six students total working; we now hire 12-14 a year.  Those long-time CU fans can recall our financial problems back then; we had hired Chuck Fairbanks, but lost a court battle with the New England Patriots that set us back some $200,000 (which today doesn't sound like much), but our budget back then was $4.3 million, and that was also the first year we absorbed the full costs of women's athletics after the departments merged.  Ticket sales never took off, facility improves lagged funding and other expenses drove the department into a $1 million deficit, or nearly 25 percent of the overall budget.  I keep meaning to ask Jim if he was paid (I think I made about $750 for the entire year).  Yes, money was tight.
 
But as most everyone will tell you, when you're 19 or 20 years old and have your sight set on your future, money doesn't matter; it's a labor of love knowing you're building your resume.  Jim fell into that category, after all, he had the chore of interviewing Fairbanks on almost a daily basis for the Hotline, over a two-year span where we won a total of four games.  I would bet that his creativity for asking questions may have begun during those two years.
 
Jim goes into detail some of his most famous interviews, from Pete Rose in Game 2 of the 1999 World Series to LeBron James "taking his (my) talents to South Beach" in what became known as "The Decision."   And often we're all asked who our "dream foursome" would be in golf; there's a great picture in the book of Jim's real life dream foursome – in Spain at the Barcelona Olympics when he played with Chuck Daly, Julius Erving and Michael Jordan. 
 
Kevin Harlan, one of the nation's top play-by-play announcers, has publicly lauded the book during NFL broadcasts I've heard on SiriusXM.  A long-time friend, trust me, he knows his stuff.  I've read most of the book and it's most entertaining; I personally recommend it for any fan of sports, not to mention enjoying the accomplishments of a fellow Buffalo.  And while the stories might mean a little more to those who personally know Jim, I think any sports fan will enjoy this ride through his career.
 
If interested in ordering a copy of Jim's Talking to GOATs, visit www.talkingtogoats.com or click on this link: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/talking-to-goats-jim-gray.
 
 
This P-'Tudes Number: 200 & 3                                         
In the 48-42 win over UCLA, its was the 70th game in school history with at least 200 yards rushing and passing in the same game.  Colorado rushed for 264 yards and passed for 261, improving to 59-11 dating back to the first time it happened in 1960.  The three-yard difference tied for the second most-balanced offensive game in CU history.  There have been eight games where CU has rushed and passed within 10 yards total when both are 200 or higher; head coach Karl Dorrell has been involved in four of those eight games.
 
The P-'Tudes Mailbag
Q: What did you think of the Denver Post's assessment of CU joining the Pac-12?
A (I altered the question, it came in not-family friendly to the Post): Well, I certainly don't agree with everything that was written.  But I will point out a couple of things that need to be corrected:
--One, that if we stayed in the Big 12, we'd be getting a higher payment ($38.2 million to $32.0 million from the Pac-12).  Thing is, the TV partners of the Big 12 agreed to not alter the contracts that were in place after CU, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas A&M left and were replaced by TCU and West Virginia.  Thus, if there were still 12 schools in the Big 12, the current payment per school would be $31.8 million. 
--Two, NCAA Golf.  You qualify for the championships (story said tournament, which it has never been referred to in its history) by being selected to the regionals; there's a reason the top schools in each advance to the NCAA Finals.  The Post said the women had two team bids and the men zero; when in actuality, it's six for each with individuals qualifying the other two times (with no event this past spring). 
--As for no rivals, that depends on the sport; while true that no real rival has yet to emerge in football, historically Utah dates back to our original out-of-state rival back to the 1920s.  It needs time to redevelop and games in 2011 and 2016 when one or the other needed a win for the division crown were certainly contested (and the rivalry with Utah has been intact in skiing dating to when the sport went coed in 1983).  There is definitely a rivalry with Arizona and USC in men's basketball; there has been one in women's hoops with Stanford since the Ceal Barry days; a long-standing rivalry with Oregon and Stanford in cross country; and there already is one with USC in women's lacrosse, etc.  While every school in the Pac-12 is technically a league rival, there has to be a long history which really only existed with Utah, and that series in football was dormant between 1962 and 2011.  Most of our sports had been playing Pac-10 schools in their non-conference schedules for years.
 
Reliving A Title
In 1968, Bill Musselman led the Buffaloes to the Big Eight Golf Championship with a second place finish, with Jim English and Chris Scena tying for third and Allen Hoos eighth at Lake Valley Country Club, as CU defeated perennial favorite Oklahoma State.  Several members of that team were in town in earlier this fall for "Colorado Golf Day," the men's golf team's annual fundraiser at Boulder Country Club.  English, who still lives in Boulder, was met with a surprise from BCC head pro (and former Buff) Kevin Bolles.  The club surprised English with a special plaque commemorating his bronze finish in the event some 52 years earlier (pictured: English at center, flanked by CU head coach Roy Edwards to his left and Bolles on his right).
 
Trivia Answers
CU—1989: football was undefeated through the regular season (11-0), men's basketball started 6-0 and the women 2-0.
Music— The Beastie Boys of those listed are the only ones in.  And rumor is their likely their most famous song is one they really don't care for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBShN8qT4lk.
Name That Tune—Take It Easy, by The Eagles.  Listen to a live version of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceO_QpHeLAQ (note what Glenn Frey is wearing!).
 
"Plati-'Tudes" features notes and stories that may not get much play from the mainstream media; offers Plati's or CU's take on issues raised by those who have an interest in the program; answers questions and concerns; and provides CU's point of view if we should disagree with what may have been written or broadcast.   Have a question or want to know CU's take on something?  E-mail Dave at david.plati@colorado.edu, and the subject may appear in the next Plati-'Tudes.