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MSR’s ‘Only One’ at the NCAA softball regionals

After a long winter, our “Only One” reporter finally got out and spent last weekend as the only Black media member in the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium press box at the NCAA Minneapolis Regional softball tournament at the University of Minnesota. Again I seemingly wore my invisible suit as the passing-out-stats people passed me by on a couple of occasions. Before last weekend’s four-team double elimination tournament, I promised Gophers’ Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom that I would attend. The two previously were featured a couple of weeks ago in our Gopher 100 series.  

“We are going to see a whole lot of each other,” exclaimed Walker. Continue Reading →

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Gopher softball heads for the top

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Gopher softball players Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom

 

Juniors Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom are two members of a combined two-year recruiting class that helped Minnesota string together three consecutive 30-plus softball win seasons. Before last weekend’s league tournament play, Walker told the MSR that despite losing two of three to the conference regular season co-champs Wolverines in a series at Ann Arbor, “We can play with the top teams. We are one of the top

teams.”

The U of M went unbeaten and won the Big Ten softball tournament in Evanston, Ill. last weekend. Continue Reading →

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Gopher candidates for NFL Draft find the experience ‘overwhelming’

 

 

 

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players.  

This week: Gopher football players Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen

 

The waiting game hopefully is nearing its end for former Gophers Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen. These two are the only Minnesota players being considered in this year’s NFL Draft, which begins Thursday. If projections are accurate, Hageman will be the first Minneapolis City Conference player to be selected in the opening round and Vereen, the Valencia, Calif. Continue Reading →

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Two Washburn grads who chose to stay home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When he graduated from Minneapolis Washburn five years ago, RA’SHADE HAGEMAN was the state’s top football prospect and among the nation’s top tight ends. When he entered the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2009, standing at 6’-8”, he had helped the Millers’ boys’ basketball team capture the Class 3A state championship five months earlier. After switching to defensive end and adjusting to the rigor of Division I football and college academics, Hageman developed into one of the country’s top players. He earned All-Big Ten honors and is among the top 25 2014 NFL draft prospects. As a high school senior, Hageman was recruited by a host of Division I schools before choosing to stay home and play for the Gophers. Continue Reading →

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In memory of three great men

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

We lost three individuals this April; I personally didn’t know each of them, but came close to meeting one of them. Charles Sumner “Chuck” Stone, Jr. died April 6 of congestive heart failure at an assisted-living facility in North Carolina at the age of 89. Born in 1924 in St. Louis, he was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II. Then, instead of attending Harvard — who accepted him, he instead went to and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1948, and later earned his master’s from the University of Chicago. Continue Reading →

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Greater diversity unlikely in post-Borton Gopher women’s basketball

 

 

Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.  

Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →

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Inclusive candidates for Borton’s replacement

 

 

The news wasn’t even an hour old before a local daily newspaper posted on their website a list of possible candidates to succeed Pam Borton as Minnesota women’s basketball coach. Not one, however, of the eight current head coaches and six assistant coaches suggested for the position was of color. The Gophers probably hadn’t gotten back in town after last Thursday’s loss at South Dakota State before Minnesota AD Norwood Teague simply inserted the final date on Borton’s “Dear Jane” dismissal letter — the same type letter that former coach Tubby Smith received last year. Every time I saw Teague at a Gopher game during the season, he looked like he was just counting days, hours and minutes before he could zap her out. The former coach had been on shaky ground since last season. Continue Reading →

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Tutor exposes fake classes at major university

 

 

 

Mary Willingham has received death threats from social media users. She’s looked at by some with disdain. All because she decided to step forward and help bring to light what was going on at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Willingham, then a school’s academic tutor for UNC players, finally let it be known that she was the “unnamed source” for a local reporter’s investigative reporting on the school having set up fake classes, changed grades and awarded worthless degrees for football and basketball players — too many of them were Black — for at least a couple of decades. “I want to do right by them because I was part of the problem,” says Willingham during an MSR phone interview on the “hundreds” of UNC players she worked with during her seven years as a tutor. Continue Reading →

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Was it Tubby Smith’s fault?

Gophers miss 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament

 

A year ago this month, the Minnesota Gophers Men’s Basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament. The African American Head Coach, Tubby Smith, had retooled the team. It was on the move again. But even when 15-1, Star Tribune started a series of negative, anti-Tubby columns. To his credit, Sid Hartman didn’t agree (writing the day before Smith was fired that it would be a “big mistake by the Gophers”). Continue Reading →

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Playoffs for the Wolves? Forget about it!

The Timberwolves have already guaranteed themselves a better season than last year when they won just 31 games. Not many teams can say that in this town — not the Vikings, Twins, Gophers men’s basketball, Gophers women’ hockey. As for the Wild, we’ll see. The Timberwolves with 34 wins are hanging around the .500 mark. That is good for 10th place in the rugged NBA Western Conference. Continue Reading →

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