One of my nephews once brought up the Loch Ness Monster, a topic that delighted me … but forced me to admit that as desperately as I’d like to believe it’s real, I don’t actually think it is.
“Oh, no, it’s real,” he said solemnly. “I saw it on Yahoo, and Yahoo knows almost everything.”
OK, well, who am I to doubt the all-knowing Yahoo?
Now, it’s not like we don’t see things that are wrong on the Internet every day (or maybe every hour), but this one just kind of made me chuckle tonight in reminiscing. It was on one of the Missouri message boards where they were discussing the whole fight/suspension thing involving two Tiger women’s hoops players.
Somebody referenced the 1987 on-court fight between the MU and Oklahoma women. This poster said that OU coach “Marla” McHugh went after MU player Lisa Ellis after the horn, resulting in Ellis being lost to a season-ending knee surgery.
Well, sort of. Not exactly.
This was in January 1987, my senior year at Mizzou. I lived a little more than a mile from the Hearnes Center and the weather had made the streets so bad, I just walked rather than drove to the game.
It was, of course, “Maura” McHugh, and she did kind of “go after” Ellis … she poked her finger at her when the players/coaches were going through the handshake line at the end of a close, emotional game won by the Tigers 72-70. McHugh did this because Ellis had lost her mind during the game and threw the ball in the face of Oklahoma’s Margaret McKeon after McKeon had fouled her.
McKeon, now coach at New Jersey Institute at Technology, is a native of Queens, N.Y., went to Christ the King and wasn’t exactly cowed by such shenanigans. (Although, it had to hurt; I winced when it happened.) McKeon cracked to press row, “Did you see what she tried to do to my pretty face?”
I mean, is that a New Yorker or what?
Anyway, McHugh went too far, but Ellis had no business being in the handshake line to begin with. She should have been tossed from the game and sent back to the locker room. She was a time bomb who’d already blown up once, and she did it again when McHugh confronted her. The melee ensued. Ellis ended up on the bottom of a pile with a broken nose and rib injuries. She served a suspension and returned to play that season.
Back to the present day, we’re still waiting on the news about the suspensions of Missouri players Amanda Hanneman and Jessra Johnson, who did seem to have justification for their confrontation with MU cheerleader Justin Short, who’s also been suspended.
Incidentally, reporter David Briggs of the Columbia Tribune is soon to have a story about the general state of the Missouri program; we chatted about that Tuesday afternoon. (He had to listen to more of me blathering on about Mizzou history than he really needed.) One thing he will address is whether Missouri can realistically expect to be a contender in the Big 12 when it pays its coach the least in the league.
If MU does make a coaching change at the end of this season _ I don’t know that will happen, just saying if it does _ the school will have to look diligently to find someone who can bring fresh enthusiasm and confidence but still fit the budget.
Maybe it’s an eager youngster, maybe it’s a longtime successful assistant finally ready to step into the head chair, maybe it’s an established coach who has ties to/family in Missouri (definitely not trying to start a rumor, but think TCU).
Mizzou can’t break the bank – and shouldn’t – on a coach if the job does open. But that doesn’t mean it can’t find someone talented and qualified who’ll come for the salary it can offer. Unlike the Loch Ness Monster, that person does exist.
And I promise that will be my last Missouri post for awhile. Probably.
Although, in case you didn’t know … Tennessee freshman Taber Spani is from the Show-Me State.