Archive for February, 2007

JMU Changes: Athletics

Earlier in the 2006 school year JMU decided to cut ten sports teams to comply with Title IX. The affected teams were men’s archery, cross country, gymnastics, indoor track, outdoor track, swimming, and wrestling, as well as women’s archery, fencing, and gymnastics. I can’t say that I agree with the decision, but I feel that JMU needs to move on and focus its attention to the remaining sports.

Currently JMU is not a powerhouse in any of the “major” sports (football, basketball, baseball). The football team competes in Division 1-AA, and has had some recent success (e.g. 2004 National Championship). The baseball team is competitive, and the program has produced several minor league prospects. The women’s basketball team was recently ranked in the AP Top 25, but the men’s team hasn’t had a winning season in a number of years. In the 1980s and early 1990s JMU’s men’s team was a CAA powerhouse. Coached by Lou Campanelli and “Lefty” Driesell, the team made several NCAA tournament appearances, and several of these trips included first round upsets. In fact, in 1982 JMU was a 9 seed and played UNC in the second round of the tournament (after beating Ohio State) and lost, 52-50. That Tar Heel team included Michael Jordan and James Worthy, and they went on to defeat Georgetown in the Championship game.

The Dukes’ football team is in the Atlantic 10 and probably won’t graduate from D1-AA anytime soon, but I’m not worried about the direction the football team is headed in because Mickey Matthews has done an excellent job the past couple of years. The football team has excellent facilities, a great coaching staff, and a growing tradition of excellence. However, if the team ever makes the jump to Division 1, JMU will need to make some major changes to Bridgeforth Stadium.

The men’s basketball is a different story. The team is currently in the CAA, and they haven’t had a winning season in a number of years. Coach Dean Keener hasn’t won more than 6 or 7 games in a single season, and his team barely draws 2,000 fans to the 7,000 seat Convocation Center. The basketball team is in Division 1, and every year the CAA sends at least one team to the 65-team NCAA tournament. So, the Dukes do have a chance of winning a National Championship (alright, I know that sounds crazy but last year George Mason, a CAA team, went to the final four), but they won’t be able to do it with the players, coaches, and facilities they have now.

Good athletes are the key ingredients for success, but the best recruits only go to schools that have top-notch facilities, excellent coaches, and a strong tradition of winning. Currently, JMU lacks all three of these necessities. Therefore, I propose that JMU builds a new basketball arena and hires a new coaching staff to rejuvenate the program. Facilities are expensive and their construction requires a lot of fund-raising and planning, so it would take a couple of years for a new facility to be constructed. We don’t need a $130 million dollar arena that seats 16,000 (e.g. UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena), but we need a small, start-of-the-art facility that will attract top recruits.

A quick way to jump start a program is to change coaches. In 2004, JMU fired Head Coach Sherman Dillard and replaced him with Dean Keener with the hopes of bringing the program back to life. This was Keener’s first head coaching job (he was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech), and over the years he’s proven that he doesn’t have what it takes to be successful at the D-1 level. Keener has failed to bring in high-profile recruits, and he hasn’t had any tournament success (NCAA or CAA). His style of basketball is bland and it isn’t appealing to players or fans. JMU’s next head coach should be a proven winner that has experience recruiting top players and coaching competitively at the top level. Certainly, we don’t have the resources or pull to hire coaches like Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Billy Donovan, or Tubby Smith. But we can get coaches that were recently released from high-profile jobs (“Lefty” Driesell came to JMU after a successfully stint at Maryland). I think some potential candidates could be former UVA coach Pete Guillen, former Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy*, former UNC coach Matt Doherty*, former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, and former Indiana coach Mike Davis.

* Both were candidates when Sherman Dillard was fired, and both have jobs in Conference USA


JMU Changes: Financial Endowment

A financial endowment is a transfer of money or property donated to an institution, with the stipulation that it be invested, and the principal remain intact. This allows for the donation to have a much greater impact over a long period of time than if it were spent all at once, due to compound interest. Financial endowments are important because schools can use the money generated by donations to provide scholarships, pay professors, update facilities, and/or finance new facilities. Endowments are also important because they enable public universities to spend money without having to rely on their state governments to supply the funding.

Annually the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) releases a list of the values of various endowments from universities and colleges across the United States. In the 2006 rankings JMU ranked 548 out of 765 institutions. In 2005 JMU had an endowment valued at $33.58 million, and in 2006 it was worth $39.07 million. In 2006 Harvard’s endowment was valued at $28.9 billion , and the University of Virginia’s was worth more than $3.6 billion.

So why is JMU’s endowment so small (relatively speaking)? JMU was founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg – it was a school for women teachers. In 1946 men were first enrolled as regular day students, and in 1977 the school officially became James Madison University. The school’s endowment is minuscule compared to UVA’s because JMU hasn’t been open as long and it hasn’t produced the high-profile alumni. UVA opened in 1819 and it has produced U.S. Presidents, million-dollar athletes, and corporate CEOs.

JMU’s current goal is to have its endowment reach a value of $100 million by the year 2013. I think this goal is great, and I would like to see the endowment expand exponentially in the next couple of years. However, this entire process depends on the generosity and financial fortitude of the current alumni. If the current Alumni continue to give money, then JMU can use the endowment to attract highly qualified faculty members, provide scholarships to deserving students, and improve athletic facilities. These actions will in turn produce more high-profile alumni and increase the money being donated to the endowment.

JMU Changes

In May my four year tenure at James Madison University (JMU) will come to an end, and I will make the inevitable transition into a JMU alumnus. The thought of graduation has triggered thoughts about the people I’ve met during my four years, the things that I’ve learn, and
the direction my life is headed. Furthermore, I have thought about the things that I like about JMU and the things that need to be modified to improve the school. Over the next couple of posts I will discuss some issues that I would like to see the University and/or fellow alumni address in the near future.

Geographic Location: Manchester United Football Club is located in Trafford, Greater Manchester.

Team’s History:
The club was formed as Newton Heath LYR F.C. in 1878 as the works team of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath, then started to sever it’s links with the rail depot in 1890, becoming Newton Heath F.C.. After nearing bankruptcy in 1902, the club was taken over by J H Davies who changed its name to Manchester United.

Since 1991, the club had been run as a public limited company meaning that its sales may be offered for sale to the public.

On 13 May 2005, American businessman Malcolm Glazer acquired a controlling interest in the club through his investment vehicle Red Football Ltd. in a takeover valuing the club at approximately £800 million.

Current Success: ManU won the 2006 League Cup, 2004 FA Cup, and 2002-03 Premier League. They are currently at the top of the EPL Table.

Past Success: They have won the FA Premier League/Football League 15 times, FA Cup 11 times (an English record), the League Cup twice, the European Cup twice, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup once, the Intercontinental Cup once, and the European Super Cup once.

1998-99 was when Manchester United had the most successful season in English club football history as they became the first and only English team to win The Treble – winning the Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in the same season.

Premier League titles: 15
1907-08, 1910-11, 1951-52, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1964-65, 1966-67, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03
Second Division: 2
1936, 1975

FA Cup: 11
1909, 1948, 1963, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004

League Cup: 2
1992, 2006

European Cup / UEFA Champions League: 2
1968, 1999

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1

Intercontinental Cup/World Club Championship: 1

European Super Cup: 1

FA Charity/Community Shield: 15
1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967, 1977, 1983, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003

Current and Past Players:
George Best (Northern Ireland)
Mark Hughes (Whales)
Bobby Charlton (England)
Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands)
Gary Neville (England)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Wayne Rooney (England)
Louis Saha (France)
Ryan Giggs (Whales)
Henrik Larsson (Sweden)
Paul Scholes (England)
Rio Ferdinand (England)
David Beckham (England)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands)
Tim Howard (United States)
Fabien Barthez (France)
John O’Shea (Ireland)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Iceland)
Roy Keane (Ireland)
Giuseppe Rossi (Italy / United States) currently on loan

Club Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

Uniforms: Manchester United’s most recognized home uniform includes red jerseys, white shorts and black socks. Away uniforms are usually white jerseys with black shorts and white socks.Third kits are usually all blue but the club has also used all black. The Manchester United crest has been altered on a few occasions, but the basic form remains similar. The badge is derived from the crest of the city of Manchester. The devil on the club badge stems from the club’s nickname “The Red Devils.”

Fans: Manchester United supporters are known as some of the most loyal fans in football, and it is estimated that there are over 50 million Man U supporters worldwide. A lot of fans love the club because they have the opportunity to buy shares of the team’s ownership (i.e the team has been run as a public limited company). Many fans were outraged when Malcolm Glazer took control of the club in 2005, and large groups vowed to fight the takeover. Glory Glory Man United is a football chant sung by the fans to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Team Nicknames: The Red Devils, United

Stadium: Manchester United plays at Old Trafford Stadium in Trafford, Greater Manchester, and it seats 76,212. It is nicknamed “The Theatre of Dreams.”

PROS: American owner, strong history and tradition, marquee players, willingness to sign U.S. players

CONS: Large bandwagon (one of the most popular clubs in the world), no current American players

Arsenal Football Club

Geographic Location: The Arsenal Football Club is based in Holloway, North London.

Team’s History: Arsenal was founded as Dial Square in 1886 by workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, but were renamed Royal Arsenal shortly afterwards. They renamed themselves again to Woolwich Arsenal after turning professional in 1891. The club joined the Football League in 1893, starting out in the Second Division, and won promotion to the First Division in 1904. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, they moved across the Thames to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London; they dropped “Woolwich” from their name the following year. In May 2006 they left Highbury, moving to their current home, the Emirates Stadium in nearby Ashburton Grove, Holloway.

Arsenal have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with neighbours Tottenham Hotspur, located four miles away in Tottenham.

Current Success: In 2005–06 became the first London club to reach the UEFA Champions League final.

Past Success: Arsenal have won thirteen First Division and Premier League titles, and ten FA Cups.

First Division and Premier League titles: 13
1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1947-48, 1952-53, 1970-71, 1988-89, 1990-91, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04

FA Cups: 10
1929-30, 1935-36, 1949-50, 1970-71, 1978-79, 1992-93, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05

League Cups: 2
1986-87, 1992-93

Charity Shields and Community Shields: 12
1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1991 (shared), 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup: 1

European Cup Winners’ Cup: 1
1993-94Current and Past Players:
Jens Lehmann (Germany)
Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
Tomas Rosicky (Czech Republic)
Fredrik Ljungberg (Sweden)
Robin van Persie (Netherlands)
Thierry Henry (France)
William Gallas (France)
Jose Antonio Reyes (Spain)
Denilson (Brazil)
Sol Campbell (England)
Ashley Cole (England)
Patrick Vieira (France)
Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands)

Club Manager: Arsene Wenger (France)

Uniforms: In 1922, the club adopted their first single-cannon crest, featuring an eastward-pointing cannon, with the club’s nickname, The Gunners. In 2002 they introduced a new crest featuring more modern curved lines and a simplified style.

For much of Arsenal’s history, their home colors have been bright red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts. Generally, the away colors in this period have been either two-tone blue designs, or variations on the traditional yellow and blue.

Fans: Arsenal fans often refer to themselves as “Gooners”, the name being derived from the team’s nickname, “The Gunners”.In addition to the usual English football chants, Arsenal’s supporters sing “One-Nil to the Arsenal” (to the tune of “Go West”) and “Boring, Boring Arsenal”, which used to be a common taunt from opposition fans but is now sung ironically by Arsenal supporters when the team is playing well.
Team Nicknames: The Gunners

Stadium: The Emirates Stadium is a football stadium located on Ashburton Grove in Holloway, north London, and the home of Arsenal Football Club since it opened in July 2006; the stadium has an all-seated capacity of 60,432.

PROS: Recent success, marquee players, lots of young talent, great stadium, signed a deal with Colorado Rapids in the MLS

CONS: Large bandwagon, no American players, signed a deal with Colorado Rapids (yeah, this is good and bad [ I don’t like Colorado])

Chelsea Football Club

Geographic Location: The Chelsea Football Club is based just outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The stadium is located in West London.

Team’s History: Chelsea were founded on March 14, 1905 at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher’s Hook), opposite the present-day main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road.
In June 2003, Chelsea was sold to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £140 million, completing what was then the biggest-ever sale of an English football club.

Current Success: During the 2005-06 season, they became Premier League champions for the second consecutive year.

Past Success: Chelsea has won three league titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups.

First Division/FA Premier League: (3)
1954-55, 2004-05, 2005-06
Second Division/First Division: (2)
1983-84, 1988-89
FA Cup: (3)
1970, 1997, 2000
League Cup: (3)
1965, 1998, 2005
FA Charity Shield/Community Shield: (3)
1955, 2000, 2005
Full Members Cup: (2)
1986, 1990
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: (2)
1971, 1998
European Super Cup: (1)

Current and Past Players:
Mark Hughes (Wales)
Petr Cech (Czech Republic)
Ashley Cole (England)
Claude Makelele (France)
Michael Essien (Ghana)
Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
Joe Cole (England)
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
Michael Ballack (Germany)
Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
John Terry (England)
Hernan Crespo (Argentina)
Damian Duff (Ireland)

Club Manager: José Mourinho (Portugal)

Uniforms: The club’s traditional kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. Their traditional crest is a ceremonial blue lion holding a staff.

Fans: Chelsea’s traditional fanbase comes from working-class parts of West London, such as Hammersmith and Battersea, from wealthier areas like Chelsea and Kensington, and from the Home Counties. In addition to the standard football chants, Chelsea fans sing songs like Carefree, “We all follow the Chelsea” (to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory), “Ten Men Went to Mow” and the celebratory “Celery”, with the latter often
resulting in fans ritually throwing celery.

Team Nicknames: The Blues, The Pensioners, The Lions

Stadium: Chelsea’s home is the 42,055 capacity Stamford Bridge football stadium in Fulham, West London. The club plans to increase its capacity to over 50,000, and there are rumors that the club will move away from Stamford Bridge to sites including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Battersea Power Station and the Chelsea Barracks because of the current stadium’s expansion constraints.

PROS: Superstar players, located in London, lots of media coverage

CONS: The “Yankees of the EPL” (they buy all the high-priced superstars), large bandwagon, no American players

Liverpool Football Club

Geographic Location: Liverpool , is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England, and it is along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. Liverpool is located in North West England.

Team’s History: Liverpool F.C. was founded by John Houlding in 1892 to play in Anfield stadium. For the previous seven years the stadium had been used by Everton F.C.. However, in 1891, Houlding, the leaseholder of Anfield, purchased the ground outright and proposed increasing the rent from £100 to £250 a year. The Everton members objected, left Anfield and moved to Goodison Park. With an empty ground and just three players remaining, Houlding decided to form his own football club and on 15 March 1892, Liverpool Football Club was born.

On February 6th 2007, George Gillett, owner of the Montreal Canadiens and Tom Hicks, owner of the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers, took control of Liverpool FC in a deal worth £470 million.

Current Success: 2006 Community Shield, 2006 FA Cup, 2005 UEFA Cup

Past Success: Liverpool has won eighteen First Division titles, seven FA Cups, seven League Cups, five European Cups and three UEFA Cups.

  • League titles: 18
    • 1900-01, 1905-06, 1921-22, 1922-23, 1946-47, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1972-73, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1978-79, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90
  • European Cups and UEFA Champions League titles: 5
    • 1977 3-1 vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
    • 1978 1-0 vs. Club Brugge
    • 1981 1-0 vs. Real Madrid
    • 1984 1-1 (4-2 in penalty shootout) vs. AS Roma
    • 2005 3-3 (3-2 in penalty shootout) vs. AC Milan
  • UEFA Cups: 3
    • 1973, 1976, 2001
  • FA Cups: 7
    • 1965, 1974, 1986, 1989, 1992, 2001, 2006
  • League Cups: 7
    • 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003
  • Community Shields: 15
    • 1964 (shared), 1965 (shared), 1966, 1974, 1976, 1977 (shared), 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986 (shared), 1988, 1989, 1990 (shared), 2001, 2006
  • UEFA Super Cups: 3
    • 1977, 2001, 2005

Current and Past Players:
Robbie Fowler (England)
Michael Owen (England)
Steven Gerrard, Captain (England)
Peter Crouch (England)
Xabi Alonso (Spain)
Djibril Cissé (France) (Currently on loan toOlympique de Marseille)
Milan Baros (Czech Republic)

Club Manager: Rafael Benítez (Spain)

Uniforms: Liverpool’s traditional colours are red and white, with the home kit being all red since the mid 1960s. Liverpool’s away colors are traditionally white shirts and black shorts or all yellow. The current Liverpool badge is based around the traditional liver bird, which is placed inside a shield. Above the shield is a representation of Anfield’s Shankly Gates bearing the title of club’s famous anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. The twin flames at either side are symbolic of the Hillsborough memorial — an eternal flame burns outside Anfield in memory of those who died in the disaster.

Fans: The song “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, originally from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel and famously recorded by Liverpool musicians Gerry & The Pacemakers, is the anthem of Liverpool FC and has been sung by the Anfield crowd since the early 1960s.

Team Nicknames: The Reds

Stadium: Anfield stadium was built in 1884 on land adjacent to Stanley Park, and was originally inhabited by Everton F.C. Liverpool City Council granted the club planning permission to build a new 61,000 seat stadium just 300 yards away from Anfield at Stanley Park. The old stadium will become a public plaza surrounded by apartments, offices, bars, restaurants and a hotel.

PROS: Strong History and tradition, American Owners, Likable players (Gerrard and Crouch)

CONS: Lack of young talent, Americans, and marquee players

I have Fox Soccer Channel (FSC), and every week FSC airs several English Premier League (EPL) games. The EPL was formed in 1992 from the clubs in the top division of the English Football League, and it is made up of twenty clubs. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned the league’s champion, and the three lowest teams are relegated into the Football League Championship. Only Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea and Manchester United have won the league title, and Chelsea is the current title holder. Annually the top teams in the EPL play in the Champions League and UEFA Cup, and the EPL is widely regarded as one of the best leagues in the world along with Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A.

As a sports enthusiast I love watching FSC because I enjoy watching top flight football. However, sometimes it’s difficult to follow the matches because I don’t have a team to root for. Before this year I never had the chance to watch EPL games, so I never had the chance to develop a real interest in any of the teams. Over the next several days I will profile the top teams in the EPL, and evaluate each team’s pros and cons in terms of likability. I will review factors such as the team’s…

  • Current Success
  • Past Success
  • Current and past Players
  • Uniforms
  • Team’s History
  • Fans
  • Team Nicknames
  • Stadium
  • Geographic Location

I wanted to share this great documentary on Downtown Ann Arbor made by an urban planning student at the University of Michigan. The director/narrator of the piece does an excellent job of pointing out the simple urban planning elements of the downtown area and why they are important to the city. Elements such as light posts, shop windows, and restaurant placards can add to the ambiance of an area and help attract consumers/residents.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Vince Carter was one of my all-time favorite Tar Heels. I found this clip on You Tube, and I wanted to show you some reasons why Vince is one of my favorites. Enjoy.