I’ve vowed to do a bunch of Shocker blogging for the next few weeks, although I almost forgot today. I almost forget a lot of things. Anyway . . .
Here are some Shocker-centric lists to get you through the evening.
Five best Wichita State coaches (reverse order)
5. Eddie Fogler (great tactician, cerebral, two NCAA Tournament appearances in three years, ultimately became tired of recruiting difficulties and left for Vanderbilt in 1989).
4. Gene Smithson (great recruiter who brought some of the most iconic Shockers to Wichita State, players like Antoine Carr, Xavier McDaniel and Cliff Levingston. Lots of other good ones, too.
3. Gene Johnson (had a lot to do with the evolution of the full-court press, some say it was even his creation. Coached from 1928-33 and had a 74-24 record.
2. Gregg Marshall (you heard of him?)
1. Ralph Miller (I still can’t justifiably say Marshall has passed Miller as the greatest coach in Wichita State history. But it’s a race now and Marshall is coming up fast. In fact, if the Shockers make a good run in the NCAA Tournament coming up, Marshall probably takes over this distinction in my mind.)
Five best things about the Koch Arena experience
1. Sitting next to my friend Ted Woodward and the cynicism that ensues. We’ve been next to one another for most of the past 15 years, at least. Always a good time. Ted, if you didn’t know, is funny.
2. Working in tandem with Shocker beat writer Paul Suellentrop, one of the very easiest guys I’ve ever worked with. He pretty much signs off on every angle I want to take. Perhaps that’s because my angles are bad. But I don’t think so. I just think Paul is considerate.
3. The Kiss Cam, of course.
4. Shocker Sound. I’ve had my go-rounds with the WSU pep band over the years. I think some new material is called for. But no one can argue with the talent.
5. The Barn’rds pre-game ham and cheese sandwich. I love Barn’rds and the Hertel family, which owns the business. Never, ever get tired of the ham and cheese.
6. (bonus choice) The games are always a lot of fun, too. Great atmosphere, belongs in the discussion as best in the country.
10 favorite Shockers from my youth
1. Dave Stallworth
2. Warren Armstrong
3. Kelly Pete
4. Jamie Thompson
5. Robert Elmore
6. Cheese Johnson
7. Neil Strom
8. Dave Leach
9. Terry Benton
10. Calvin Bruton
Best WSU memories
1. Being with my stoic father, who was a big Shocker fan but didn’t really show it during games.
2. Watching radio broadcaster Gus Grebe’s histrionics during games.
3. Seeing great players – both with the Shockers and on opposing teams – throughout my youth.
4. As a reporter and columnist, covering the team I loved so much as a kid. It’s surreal to have reported on a Final Four season followed up with a 34-0 start. Shocker fever is at an all-time high.
5. The smoke-filled haze that used to rise to the top of the Roundhouse before smoking in the arena was disallowed.
Thanks for reading. Back with another blog or two tomorrow.