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Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘Billy Kennedy

morning cram [sleep debt edition]

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Most high school students are chronically tired from juggling school, sports, homework, chores, friends and family.

NPR hears how the typical high school senior gets less than seven hours of sleep on school nights, but they need a great deal more.

KENTUCKY~ The Ohio River Bridge (Wickliffe-Cairo) is back open. McCracken officials will listen tonight to public comments on a proposed coal-2-liquid plant and they voted to fund MSU’s new Paducah campus. MSU loses Head Basketball Coach Billy Kennedy to Texas A&M. An Amish teen drowned in a pond. National Democrats are closely watching Kentucky’s Governor race. Attorney General Conway accuses Marathon Oil of price gouging.

TENNESSEE~ Democrats are renewing efforts to extend the state’s unemployment. A new study finds the state’s schools aren’t producing enough tech grads. Several counties are eligible for disaster unemployment benefits.



morning cram [somaliland edition]

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Somali pirates last year seized a record number (+1k) of hostages. This year, they’ve already hijacked 15 vessels, including an American yacht whose four passengers were killed.

NPR declares Somali piracy has become an epidemic.

KENTUCKY~ MSU Basketball Head Coach Billy Kennedy is in the running to be the University of Miami’s next. Paducah may have a (better) community center in the works. Clinton’s embattled nursing home will close and its purported violations have been released. Dems call for gubernatorial candidates to disclose their finances but Republicans say no. David Williams’ GOP running mate Richie Farmer wants his wife’s divorce petition dismissed.

TENNESSEE~ Gov Haslam signs the teacher tenure difficulty bill into law.

OVC SPORTS~ (Baseball) APSU < WKU; (Softball) MSU < SIU-E, APSU > UTM.

morning cram [sea turtles! edition]

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Loggerhead turtles are born with an ability to know where they are on Earth, and which way to swim to get to favorable feeding grounds.

NPR explains how the hardbacks use a natural GPS.

KENTUCKY~ Independent voters fail to break into primary elections; voting still limited to Dems and GOP. A Senate panel moves to protect hunters’ rights, while a Senate committee says no way to Gov. Beshear’s Medicaid fix. The House passes the carbon dioxide pipe bill to the Governor. Parkway extension linked to I-24 now open near Hopkinsville. MSU’s coach named best in the OVC. The Livingston County Sheriff disagrees with a state auditor’s report that shows missing money. Area kids in danger: A Fort Campbell two-year-old found wondering on I-24; mother high, and a Paducah three-year-old rides without a seatbelt; grandmother driving drunk.

ILLINOIS~ House legislators unanimously passes a bill that cracks down on high school athlete concussions, and circuit judges must undergo performance evaluations.

morning cram (denial edition)

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KY~ MSU’s Billy Kennedy is expected to sign a contract extension today. Paducah officials deny being confused. Fort Campbell will tighten its (financial) belt while soldiers are away. A US-62 bridge near Lake City is down to one lane till noon. Murray’s Chamber of Commerce will release how its members feel about a payroll tax later this week. Two bills now sit on Beshear’s desk: one forces 2 organizations out into the public eye and another wants to reduce teen suicide. Most lawmakers get a day off as budget talks resume. No ‘Race to the Top’ $$$. More universities may establish nursing doctoral degree programs.

TN~ The state expects a $75m revenue shortfall. The Senate has passed a constitutional ban on an income tax.

A Slightly Sunnier Afternoon in Murray

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By all estimates, I’ve had a pretty darned good day.  Morning Edition went well enough, work on tomorrow’s Front Page went swimmingly, I had a wonderful conversation with Berry Craig, an old friend and teacher, and everybody seemed to be in the kind of genuinely good mood that makes you think Something Is Up.  I made it home, got some research done for an upcoming feature and a book idea I’m tinkering with, and even managed an all-too-brief nap.

Turns out my day was rather pedestrian.

When I awoke from that nap, I found that the MSU Racers Men’s Basketball team, had beaten Number 4-seeded Vanderbilt in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament with a last-second shot from forward Danero Thomas.

Let’s just savor that for a moment.

We can also savor New York Times sportswriter Billy Witz’s statement that Murray State’s 66 to 65 victory over the Commodores is the biggest upset of the tournament so far.  See for yourself.

According to the Associated Press, Coach Billy Kennedy dismissed the idea that it was anything other than darned good basketball.  “They can say it was an upset,” he said, “but we’ve got a good team. They’re a very good team. We’ve got good toughness and good character. It definitely wasn’t about a coach drawing up a great play. It just goes by what the feel is.”  Well said, sir.

Nevertheless, I detected more than a little bit of surprise from the national sports punditry.  The first sentence in Sports Illustrated‘s Ann Killion piece read, “He (Thomas) wasn’t going to get off the shot, was he?”  Killion went on, however, to enumerate the reasons why Thomas had every right in the world to not only get the shot off, but sink it too.  After all, the President of the United States himself predicted a Racer win.

I do have to confess that I liked the way she ended the article.  “Jeffery McClain — in the game because Tony Easley had fouled out — inbounded the ball because Kennedy wanted a big guy who could see the court.  McClain got the ball to Miles. Miles dribbled it and swung it around to Thomas.  Who dribbled it, pulled back for the jumper, and changed the history of Murray State with one motion. He got the shot off.”

I liked it because of what it said, not just directly, but in its subtext.  These guys played like a team, the gods of good sportsmanship guiding every movement of the players and the ball.

And on top of all of that, consider what the Racers are doing for the University in a very real, and possibly lasting, way.  The hard work they’ve done has placed Murray State front and center before a lot of people.  They’ve made the aforementioned New York Times and Sports Illustrated, but they’ve also appeared on websites like mental_floss and  Publicity like that might bring in more and better student athletes from around the country and it may even draw a second look from those less concerned about basketball.  With all that could come from Murray State’s presence at the tournament, with all that it took to get there (our thoughts are with you, Picasso), the satisfaction of beating Butler and giving Syracuse the fright of their lives is the least these guys deserve.

Wait a minute…a 2010 NCAA Championship trophy is the least they deserve.

So, my hat’s off to Coach Kennedy and the Racers.  I don’t know if they’ll make it to Indianapolis and win it all, but I hope they d0, even if they have to beat my beloved Kentucky Wildcats to do it.