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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Reclamation Projects in Sports

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Luke Jones

In honor of Jimmy Patsos taking the Loyola Greyhounds to the NCAA tournament, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones of “The Morning Reaction” rank their Top 7 reclamation projects they’ve seen in sports.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 … (Listen to full explanation HERE)

7) Dallas Cowboys of early 1990s
Cowboys

6) New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina
Saints

5) Michael Vick
Vick

4) Josh Hamilton
Hamilton

3) Lance Armstrong
armstrong

2) NFL football in Baltimore
Ravens

1) University of Maryland basketball
Terps

Continue >>>

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Reactions to Passing of Orioles Great Mike Flanagan

Posted on 24 August 2011 by WNST Staff

Orioles Owner Peter Angelos:

“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”

Former teammate/Hall of Fame SS Cal Ripken Jr.:

“I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he’ll be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day.”

Former teammate/Hall of Fame P Jim Palmer (via MASN postgame show):
“I’m not real good at this … because he was one of us. I guess, the first thing I want to say to his three daughters and to Alex, my condolences. We were a family. I think anybody that played for the Orioles in the eras that we played understood how lucky we were. It wasn’t just about what happened on the field. He was one of a kind. I’m sorry for the people that knew him. It’s devastating.”

Longtime Orioles Public Relations Manager Bill Stetka (via Patch.com):

“He bled black and orange. He was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known. Just a quick, dry sense of humor. He made in all the years I was traveling in PR, whether he was broadcasting or pitching coach or the general manager, he made it bearable with all the losses. He kept his sense of humor. He was very introspective. I’m going to miss him.”

Former teammate Rick Dempsey (via Baltimore Sun):

“It’s just shock right now. I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff. He never quit — this guy never quit. He was there for the duration. We had so many great games and so many great times. I just can’t believe it.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter (via MASN postgame show):

“He’s just impacted so many lives, including myself. Sitting in my office, drinking coffee with him, it’s tough. He made great use of his time on this earth. We’ll miss him.”

Former Orioles PR Director John Maroon:

“I had the pleasure of working with Mike Flanagan for several years and was sad to hear of his passing. Mike was always friendly, funny and kind. We are so sorry for his family and they are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.”

Orioles CF Adam Jones (via Twitter):

“O’s family, fans, supporters lost a great man today in Mike Flanagan. Learned alot from Flanny in my 3+ years in Bmore. Ur missed ALOT #46”

Orioles Pitcher Jake Arrieta (via Twitter):

“Deeply saddened by the loss of Mike Flanagan, devastating time for the entire Oriole family…”

Orioles Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (via Twitter):

“From day I was given #46 as Oriole,the fans always reminded me of the legacy Mike Flanagan left behind.This is a sad day for Orioles family. Mike Flanagan was an important person to me & touched the lives of countless people in the baseball family & especially in Baltimore. RIP”

Former teammate Ken Singleton (via The Morning Reaction on WNST – listen here):

“Flanny was a great guy, a great teammate. Always could crack up a clubhouse.”

“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going with the team. I’m sure it bothered him like it bothered everyone else.”

“Flanny had a way of keeping things loose. Fans could see that on TV.”

“This was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had and to have it end this way is not good.”

Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver (via WNST):

“He was a great pitcher. It was a player-manager relationship. I didn’t know Mike that well.”

“But when I retired and got to know Mike as general manager, he was very friendly.”

Orioles Pitcher Chris Jakubauskus (via Twitter):

“The Orioles Family lost a great man today. My thoughts and prayers Go out to the Flanagan family. He will be missed.”

Orioles Pitching Prospect Matt Hobgood (via Twitter):

“So sad to hear about Mike Flanagan. No words can ease the pain of losing a father, son, brother, uncle… It’s the worst feeling ever… RIP”

Orioles 1B Prospect Brandon Snyder (via Twitter):

“Flanny will be dearly missed by everyone in the orioles family. A great man and a great Oriole. #46”

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Towson Officially Introduces Skerry as Coach

Posted on 05 April 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official release, courtesy of the Tigers’ Sports Information Department…

Pat Skerry Named as Tigers’ Head Coach

TOWSON, Md. – University of Pittsburgh assistant coach Pat Skerry has been named as the head men’s basketball coach at Towson University, Director of Athletics Mike Waddell and President Robert L. Caret announced today.

“This is an exciting time for Towson University,” Waddell said. “We welcome Pat, his wife Kristen, and their sons Ryan and Owen to the Tiger Family and the Baltimore community.

“Pat is a coach that brings with him a wealth of experience as a former head coach and assistant coach, having worked with great mentors throughout his career,” Waddell added. “He is recognized nationally as a top recruiter and his contacts will open doors to recruits up and down the talent-rich East Coast. We look forward to seeing his physical and tough brand of basketball at Towson.”

A 19-year coaching veteran, Skerry has spent time building his resume of success at nine different schools: Pittsburgh 2010-11, Providence 2008-10, Rhode Island 2005-08, College of Charleston 2003-05, William & Mary 2000-03, Northeastern 1998-2000, Curry College (Mass.) 1996-98, Stonehill College (Mass.) 1995-96 and his alma mater, Tufts 1992-95.

Last season, Skerry helped Pittsburgh to the BIG EAST Conference regular season championship with an overall mark of 28-6. During his tenure at Pitt, he once again helped refill the talent pool for the Panthers as they added one of the Top 15 recruiting classes in the country according to ESPN.com, including two of the Top 60 incoming players.

“I want to thank Mike Waddell, President Caret and the entire search committee for all of the time and effort they put in during this process,” said Skerry. “It is the energy they displayed during the search and the commitment from the University that will show through as we develop our championship mentality. When Tiger Arena opens in just two short years, it will be a night of celebration for everyone in Baltimore.

“Our Tigers will represent Towson with class and dignity and show an unparalleled work ethic both on and off the court,” Skerry added. “Playing in the nation’s top non-BCS conference, we will need to work hard and play with TU toughness, both key characteristics I have learned from all the coaches I worked with during my career.”

Skerry has spent his last three years recruiting and coaching in the BIG EAST, working the two years prior to Pitt at Providence under Keno Davis.

In 2008-09, Providence advanced to the NIT with a 19-14 overall record and 10-8 Big East mark. Skerry assisted with the Friars’ 2009 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 35 in the nation by Hoop Scoop.

Before his jump to Providence, Skerry spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island working for Jim Baron. During his time at URI, Skerry gained national recognition and was named one of the top assistant coaches in the country in 2007 by Hoop Scoop. In 2008, Fox Sports.com went on to name Skerry the top mid-major assistant in the nation.

His recruiting classes at Rhode Island also captured the nation’s attention as his 2006 class was rated No. 24 in the nation by Hoop Scoop along with a No. 61 ranking for the Rams’ 2007 group.

Skerry served as an assistant for two seasons at the College of Charleston under current Marshall Coach Tom Herrion. While at Charleston, the Cougars posted a combined 38-19 record.

In addition, Skerry has a great understanding of the Colonial Athletic Association as he spent five years in the league with William & Mary (2000-03) and Northeastern University (1998-2000).

In 1996, Skerry became the second-youngest head coach in the nation at the age of 26 when he was selected to guide the Curry basketball program. During his two-year stop with the Colonels, he led Curry to its first winning season in five years.

He also spent one year as an assistant at Stonehill and three seasons as an assistant at Tufts where he helped guide the Jumbos to two ECAC Tournaments along with the school’s first NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1995.

A native of Medford, Mass., Skerry played collegiately at Tufts from 1989-92 where he was a two-time team captain and garnered All-New England honors. As a point guard, he recorded a school record 650 assists during his career – a mark that still ranks as the 17th best in NCAA Division III history. His 198 assists in 1990-91 is a Tufts single-season record. He also is fifth on the school’s career steals list with 95.

Skerry earned both of his collegiate degrees from Tufts, earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992 and his master’s degree in education in 1995.

Skerry and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Ryan and Owen.


The Pat Skerry File


Birthdate: January 21, 1970

Hometown: Medford, Mass.

Education: Bachelor of Science–Psychology, Tufts University, 1992; Master’s degree–Education, Tufts University, 1995

Family: Wife, Kristen; two sons, Ryan and Owen

Coaching Career:

Years Title School
2010-11 Assistant Coach University of Pittsburgh
2008-10 Assistant Coach Providence College
2005-08 Assistant Coach University of Rhode Island
2003-05 Assistant Coach College of Charleston
2000-03 Assistant Coach College of William & Mary
1998-2000 Assistant Coach Northeastern University
1996-98 Head Coach Curry College (Mass.)
1995-96 Assistant Coach Stonehill College (Mass.)
1992-95 Assistant Coach Tufts University

Playing Career:
Earned All-New England honors and was a two-year team captain at Tufts … set school record with 650 career assists which still ranks as the 17th best total in NCAA Division III … his 6.8 career assists per game average still ranks 10th in NCAA Division III Record Book.


What They Are Saying About Pat Skerry


Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, University of Pittsburgh
“I’ve had numerous conversations with Towson Athletic Director Mike Waddell regarding Pat Skerry and the job at Towson. During our conversations over the last few weeks, I’ve expressed how valuable Pat has been for our program and how good of a coach he’s going to be. We have been extremely fortunate to have Pat on our coaching staff for the past year. With his talent, work ethic, experience and background, Pat was a valuable addition to our staff. He is well-rounded as a coach and has assisted us in a variety of ways including recruiting, scouting and player development. In his one short year at Pitt, he made a tremendous impact. We are happy and excited for Pat and his family and we are sure that he will do a great job at Towson.”

Tom Herrion, Head Coach, Marshall University
“I am thrilled for Pat and the wonderful opportunity he has been given at Towson. I commend Mike (Waddell) and the entire Towson community on an excellent hire. There is no doubt he will infuse new life into the basketball program. I am confident he will represent Towson in a first-class manner as its head coach.”

Jim Baron, Head Coach, University of Rhode Island
“Pat is an outstanding individual and one of the hardest workers I have ever coached with. He did an outstanding job for us, both recruiting and developing players. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Jeff Goodman, College Basketball Reporter, FOXSports.com
“I have known Pat for a long time and I am not sure you will find a more tireless worker. He has proven himself as an elite recruiter. He is a terrific leader and knows how to deal with today’s players. This is a great hire for Towson. Pat is going to raise the level of their talent pool.”

Keno Davis, Former Head Coach, Providence College
“Pat Skerry is one of the hardest working coaches in the country and I wish him all the best. I expect to see a great deal of success for Towson.”

Waddell joined Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hear that chat in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net. Skerry will join Forrester at 8:05 Wednesday.

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2010 Ravens Training Camp Preview: 10 Purple Questions

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Luke Jones

As the Ravens begin their 15th training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster, expectations are as high as they’ve ever been for a team with serious Super Bowl aspirations in 2010.

From the acquisition of impact receiver Anquan Boldin to the continued maturity of quarterback Joe Flacco, prognosticators across the country have earmarked the Ravens as serious contenders to raise the Lombardi Trophy at Cowboys Stadium in early February.

Despite the loud optimism for this Ravens team, many questions remain unanswered, as is the case with any of the 32 teams in late July.

In honor of this year’s 10th anniversary of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory, I pose 10 questions as the men in purple report to McDaniel College this week:

1. What’s the deal with Ed Reed?

Reed’s name has created buzz throughout the offseason dating back to his uncertainty of whether he would return following the Ravens’ playoff loss in Indianapolis. Since then, the All-Pro safety has declared his intention to return, but when we’ll see him on the field is anyone’s guess.

After undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, Reed declared himself at only “35 percent” as late as last week in comments to various media outlets. Speculation persists that Reed will begin the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

In addition to his health, Reed’s relationship with the organization is on shaky ground after the veteran safety expressed his displeasure with the team’s amount of support during his recovery. Reed also shared his desire for a new contract several weeks ago when he spoke to Drew Forrester on The Morning Reaction and has repeated the sentiment several times since.

Regardless of Reed’s shaky standing with the team, his uncertain health with the hip and lingering nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder may force the Ravens to turn to newly-acquired veteran Ken Hamlin or third-year safety Tom Zbikowski to fill Reed’s void in the defensive backfield.

His health will be monitored closely over the next four weeks, as has been the case during the last two summers at McDaniel College.

2. Will Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb be ready to go on September 13th?

Reed’s status will grab the headlines, but the health of Washington and Webb could prove equally critical as the two corners—both recovering from ACL injuries—will compete for the starting job opposite Domonique Foxworth in the Baltimore secondary.

Washington appears to be further along in his recovery, but both are candidates to begin training camp on the active-PUP list (eligible to come off the list at any point during camp). In the meantime, Chris Carr will receive reps as the other starting corner.

Slow recoveries for either Washington or Webb would open the door for new acquisitions Travis Fisher and Walt Harris to compete with Cary Williams (suspended for the first two regular season games) and Marcus Paschal for the final cornerback spots on the 53-man roster.

3. Is Joe Flacco ready to take the next step into stardom in his third season?

Entering his third season as starting quarterback and fully recovered from leg injuries that hampered him last season, Flacco is expected to take the next step in developing into one of the finer quarterbacks in the league.

The offseason acquisitions of Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth and the re-signing of veteran Derrick Mason give Flacco a plethora of weapons in the passing game in addition to the dependability of Ray Rice coming out of the backfield.

Flacco was criticized last season for checking down so often and avoiding the middle of the field, but the excuse of not having sufficient weapons will no longer be in play.

In order for the offense to grow, he will be expected to do even more in the passing game.

4. How quickly can Sergio Kindle recover from his accident in Austin?

While the details surrounding the accident remain sketchy, Kindle’s injury on Thursday night creates a nightmarish start to his NFL career with the Ravens, as the young linebacker will miss all of training camp with a fractured skull.

Kindle was expected to back up linebacker Jarret Johnson and provide a legitimate pass rushing threat on third down for the Baltimore defense, so the Ravens can only hope he makes a speedy recovery and eventually contributes to a pass rush that struggled to pressure the quarterback in 2009.

Unfortunately, it sounds more like a matter of if—not when—he can return to contribute before season’s end. It’s a major blow to the Baltimore defense but paves the way for Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, and Paul Kruger to become bigger factors in passing situations.

5. How prepared is Terrell Suggs to rebound from a disappointing 2009 campaign?

It was no secret that the organization was unhappy with Terrell Suggs’ 2009 campaign after he signed a $62.5 million contract last July. The linebacker arrived in Westminster out of shape and injured his heel on the third day of full-team workouts, sidelining him for the duration of training camp.

This translated into a sluggish season for the talented linebacker, which included a career-low 4.5 sacks and an MCL injury due to a low block from former Browns quarterback Brady Quinn.

Harbaugh voiced his displeasure with Suggs’ absence through much of the OTA schedule, so it will be interesting to see what kind of shape the linebacker is in when he reports to McDaniel College this week. A healthy, motivated Suggs is needed if the Ravens hope to pressure the quarterback and help mask would could be a depleted secondary to begin the season.

With Kindle’s unfortunate accident, it becomes even more crucial for Suggs to return to his previous Pro Bowl form.

6. Can Michael Oher and Jared Gaither pull off the flip-flop at offensive tackle?

There’s little doubt that Oher can handle the left tackle spot after filling in for an injured Gaither last season, but questions remain over the health and mental state of the new right tackle.

It’s no secret that Gaither wants a new contract, as the tackle delayed signing his restricted free agent tender until early June. Gaither also battled a foot injury through much of the OTA schedule, missing valuable reps as he makes the transition to right tackle—a position he hasn’t played since his days at the University of Maryland.

Should Gaither struggle to adjust to right tackle, it may force the Ravens to shuffle around other players into the right tackle spot or force them to abandon the switch and return Oher to the right side of the offensive line.

7. Will Shayne Graham (or Billy Cundiff) be able to silence the memories of Matt Stover?

The Ravens inked former Bengals kicker Graham to a one-year contract in hopes of finally silencing fans who clamored for Matt Stover last season as the Ravens struggled in the kicking game with Steve Hauschka.

Cundiff returns after being signed mid-season to replace Hauschka, but most believe Graham has the inside track for the job despite missing two critical kicks against the New York Jets in a playoff loss last season.

We’ll inevitably be tracking every kick from the fields of McDaniel College as we did last season with Hauschka and Graham Gano, but the kickers’ performance in the four preseason games will hold the most weight in determining who’s kicking for the Ravens in September. Unlike last summer, however, both Graham and Cundiff bring more experience to the table, providing more confidence that special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg can choose a viable solution in the kicking game.

8. How much longer will Troy Smith be a Raven after the acquisition of Marc Bulger to back up Flacco?

Several players, including Flacco and Reed, have voiced their support for Smith as the backup, but the fact remains Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens have invested $3.8 million in Bulger to be the backup behind Flacco.

While Smith has said all the right things to this point, he has to see the writing on the wall as he’s now relegated to No. 3 quarterback duties. The problem for Smith is none of the other 31 teams have shown a strong interest in acquiring his services after he expressed a strong desire to start for another team at the end of last season.

As of now, Smith will compete with John Beck for the third spot, but it remains very possible that Smith finds himself on another roster before training camp ends.

Needless to say, the Ravens don’t want an unneeded distraction in the locker room, but it appears Smith’s supporters will continue to sing his praises, likely contributing to his departure at some point.

9. Can “Mount” Cody help form a brick wall in the middle of the Baltimore defense?

The 350-pound rookie will need to keep his weight at a manageable level, but the coaching staff was thrilled with his athleticism and strength during OTAs. Coupled with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, it’s no secret Newsome envisioned a brick wall in the middle of the Ravens defense reminiscent of the tandem of Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams.

Cody will begin his rookie season backing up Kelly Gregg, but if the big man is as good as advertised and maintain his conditioning, it won’t be long before Ngata and Cody form a 700-pound monster on the inside—that will also keep blockers away from Ray Lewis.

With Kindle’s rookie season now in serious doubt, Cody becomes the most likely (and needed) draft pick to make a serious impact in 2010.

10. Will the aging Ravens defense continue to fight off Father Time?

While three defensive starters over the age of 30 may not sound like a big deal, it is when two of them are Ray Lewis (35) and Reed (31). The other starter Kelly Gregg (33) will battle Cody for playing time while Trevor Pryce (35) remains a key member of the defensive line rotation.

Reed’s health issues are well-documented (see question 1) and may not have much time left despite his desire for a new contract.

Lewis continues to be an enigma at the inside linebacker position where even the greatest of all time typically retire by their early 30s. He lacks the speed he had in the prime of his career, but his cerebral approach and leadership are invaluable to the Baltimore defense.

Newsome has drafted young talent to supplement the veterans on the defensive side of the ball, but injuries to these key veterans likely prevents this unit from being great as it has been for so many years.

Of course, the Ravens are banking on having a more explosive offense, so simply having a good—not great—defense might be enough to take Baltimore deep into the playoffs. If the defense’s elder statesmen can fight off Father Time for one more season, they’ll have a chance to play for a ring in early February.

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