Wednesday, December 26, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 5 Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History

John "Red" Manning, Men's Basketball - Officially the second Duquesne University Men's Basketball coach to appear in this countdown (ahead of Father Eugene McGuigan), "Red" Manning was the last of three-straight magnificent (and nicknamed) coaches to lead the Dukes Ballers from the mid-1920s to the mid-1970s -- Charles "Chick" Davies (1924-25 to 1942-43 and 1946-47 to 1947-48), Donald "Dudey" Moore (1948-49 to 1957-58) and Manning (1958-59 to 1973-74).
  Manning's record during his time at the Dukes' reigns was an outstanding 247-138, good for a .642 winning percentage and the second-most head coaching wins in program history.
  Among Manning's accomplishments at Duquesne were four appearances in the National Invitation Tournament -- 1962, 1964, 1968 and 1970 -- and more impressively, two appearances in the NCAA Championship -- 1969 and 1971 -- when that tournament was established as the premiere college basketball event in the country.
  The 1961-62 Dukes, perhaps Manning's finest club, saw the team finish with a No. 14 ranking in the Associated Press college basketball poll and earn fourth-place honors at the NIT. Duquesne actually reached as high as No. 3 in the AP poll that season.
  The 1968-69 Dukes finished the season ranked No. 9 by the AP and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals, while the 1970-71 Duquesne squad ended its campaign with a No. 15 AP ranking.

[Image (left to right): Clyde Arnold, Bill Stromple, Willie Somerset, Coach John "Red" Manning, Mike Rice, John Cegalis and Paul Benec of the 1961-62 Duquesne University Men's Basketball Team, Copyright Duquesne University]

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Getting to Know the RPI has emerged as an amazing resource for college sports fans, for the RPI, or Ratings Percentage Index, has been a determining factor in NCAA Championship Tournament selection.
  The Web site -- updated every five minutes -- ranks, men-wise for example, all 341 NCAA Division I Basketball teams based on a formula that factors a team's winning percentage (25%), its opponents' winning percentage (50%) and its opponents' opponents winning percentage (25%). (Only games against other NCAA Division I teams are factored into the equation.)
  What makes the RPI so interesting to Duquesne University Men's Basketball fans right now is that Duquesne is currently ranked 53rd in the rating. When the NCAA begins to select at-large bids to its Division I Men's Basketball Championship, an RPI this high at the end of the Dukes' 2007-08 season -- barring a large number of automatic bids to the tournament from teams with a lower RPI ranking -- would matter-of-factly garner Duquesne serious consideration for tournament selection.
  While it is certainly too early in the season to conclude that the Dukes can keep up their stellar play of the first calendar year of the campaign, it is a tremendous blessing to Duquesne so far that its three losses have come to teams with a current combined record of 25-2. And perhaps more importantly, the Dukes' upcoming Atlantic Ten Conference schedule will feature games against fellow teams from currently the sixth-highest rated conference in the nation.

A look at Duquesne's 2007-08 teams with RPI rankings in seasons still underway:
Men's Basketball: 53 of 341
Women's Basketball: 125 of 337
Football: 186 of 242 (actually higher than three NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams)

A look at Duquesne's 2007-08 teams with RPI rankings in seasons completed:
Women's Soccer (for some reason, only available through Nov. 4, 2007): 95 of 314
Men's Soccer (final): 151 of 202
Women's Volleyball (final): 211 of 324

(Image: Logo, Copyright

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 6 Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History

Elmer Layden, Football - Elmer Layden was the coach that introduced Duquesne University Football to the land of big-time college sports.
  As one of the University of Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen," Layden came from a school and a program used to success and large-scale popularity. He was, simply, able to effectively transfer his success as a high-profile player to that as a high-profile coach of the same sport.
  Layden was at the helm of Duquesne Football for the seasons from 1927-1933 and put together an amazing 48-16-6 record (.716 winning percentage).
  Nine of those wins came in 1929 when Duquesne went 9-0-1 in easily its best season-to-date at that point.
  Layden's final game as Duquesne head coach came in the Festival of Palms Bowl played on New Year's Day, 1934. Though not officially recognized by the NCAA as a legitimate bowl game, Duquesne's win over the University of Miami (Fla.) in this game was the program's most important victory and the school's biggest athletics moment up to that point.
  The Festival of Palms game would become the Orange Bowl game the very next season.

(Image: Elmer Layden, Copyright Pro Football Hall of Fame)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

*GUEST Opinion Piece* Duquesne University Football

DISCLAIMER: Dukes Chat is again featuring a guest opinion piece. This piece regards the state of Duquesne University Football as opined by one of the better-known names of Pittsburgh sports blogging, particularly Duquesne Football blogging -- Mark Draskovich (a.k.a. Coffee).
  Only under extreme circumstances will Dukes Chat ever censor someone's opinion on this Web log. Therefore, other than simple copy editing, this piece by Mr. Draskovich will appear as is.
  If anyone else wishes to post a guest opinion piece on Dukes Chat, please contact
  As always, feel free to comment on this story and read other people's comments by clicking on the "_ comments" link at the bottom of the post.

"Lack of Support for Duquesne Football" - Mark Draskovich

  There are mixed messages coming from the Duquesne University administration in support of the Duquesne Football program. While it's great that we are awarding scholarships and building a new stadium, we must make the effort consistent.
  Athletic Director Greg Amodio is immensely talented but comes from a school that did not have a football team. There are some basics that every NCAA Division I-A or I-AA team needs to be able to recruit and be successful:

1. A decent stadium (not a Beaver Stadium, but one that seats at least 7,500). A recruit wants to play on a field at least comparable to his high school field.

2. A radio station (not just Internet) to broadcast the game to those who can't make it every time.

3. Active public relations, including support on the department's Web site.

4. A marching band/color guard/et cetera for decent halftime shows. Football can be a family event. Some dads feel better bringing their families on the weekend rather than being away for another day. College games must add as much pageantry as possible to include students and families. Families come to see their kids play on the field whether they throw the football or play the tuba. Marching bands at halftime are part of a proven formula for football just as the pep band is right for basketball.

More thoughts:
- The upcoming new stadium is an improvement, but nine rows of stands from the 20-yard line to the other 20-yard line are not going to attract anybody. It is a statement to a recruit that we don't take the program seriously.
  There is space atop the little picnic tables for a few more rows, and the department can extend the rows from end zone-to-end zone with little added expense.
- Local media must be convinced that attracting a mostly higher-educated group once a week for 10 weeks will be a win for them too. We have our own radio station on campus that broadcast basketball when they had too.
  Greg, we respect the work that you are doing for basketball, and the results are obvious. You have a core of loyal alumni and fans, and we want to follow the athletic program year-round. Do just a bit more for football, and the returns will be enormous.

(Image: Coffee Bean, Copyright Royal Society of Chemistry)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 7 Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History

Buff Donelli, Football - Aldo Teo "Buff" Donelli coached two of Duquesne University Football's greatest teams ever and arguably its greatest. The architect of Duquesne Football's undefeated 1939 (8-0-1) and 1941 (9-0-0) teams, Donelli compiled an astounding 29-4-2 record (.857 winning percentage) as Head Coach from 1939-1942.
  Had Donelli coached longer at Duquesne, he could have landed much higher on this list. The same can be said for Donelli not winning a major bowl game, though the fact that Duquesne went uninvited to a bowl game after the '41 season -- when they were ranked No. 8 in the country and led the nation in scoring, rushing and total defense -- is still regarded as a terrible injustice.

  From the Duquesne Football Media Guide:

"The 1941 Duquesne defense surrendered just 21 points all season. Only one other team has given up 21 or fewer points in a season since. In 1941, Donelli had the distinction of coaching two teams at the same time, as he also coached the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers. Former [Duquesne Football Head Coach Elmer] Layden, who was by then the commissioner of the NFL, made Donelli choose between the two and Donelli elected to remain at Duquesne."

(Image: Aldo Donelli, Copyright Columbia University in the City of New York)

Monday, December 3, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* Duquesne Football 2007 Year-in-Review

Sept. 1 – vs. Bucknell (L, 28-19)
  Patriot League wins have always been special for mid-major teams, including Duquesne, but the success that the Dukes have had over the last handful of years against teams like Bucknell has made them somewhat commonplace… not expected but not extraordinary either. Bucknell was anything but an extraordinary team in 2007.
  In fact, the Bison beat only three of 11 opponents this year -- Duquesne, Marist and Fordham. The Fordham win was Bucknell’s most impressive, but the game was meaningless for the already-postseason-bound Rams. This is a game that the Dukes should have won. It’s time to start beating football teams from Bucknell. 0-1 (0-0).

Sept. 15 – at Brown (L, 28-17)
  As tough as Patriot League opponents can be for mid-major teams to beat, Ivy League opponents are even tougher. If Brown had not won a game in a year, Duquesne would still not be expected to win. Duquesne was in this game, so give Schmitt and the Dukes gridders some credit here. 0-2 (0-0).

Sept. 22 – at Sacred Heart (W, 30-23 OT)
  Sacred Heart Football has been a very beatable program for the last several years. This year was no exception. The 2007 Pioneers finished 3-8. One of those eight losses came against Duquesne. Not a whole lot else to say here. It did take overtime, but the Dukes got the job done this week. 1-2 (0-0).

Sept. 29 – vs. Frostburg State (W, 37-10)
  A gimme game. Duquesne was forced to schedule this tilt when St. Peter’s College dropped varsity football after the annual Dukes-St. Peter’s game had already been scheduled.
  Given that Duquesne would only be playing nine games in 2007 if this were made into a bye week, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, this was the Dukes’ Homecoming Saturday, Frostburg State had to show up and lose. They did, and everyone was happy. The Dukes padded their stats and evened their record. A loss to Frostburg State—an NCAA Division III team—would have been the worst in university history. It didn’t happen. Thank God. 2-2 (0-0).

Oct. 6 – at Marist (W, 31-21)
  Duquesne was playing this game on the road in front of the largest crowd in Marist Football history. Make no mistake; the 2007 Red Foxes were bad (3-8), but Marist always gears up for the Duquesne game. This was certainly not a gimme, and the score made the game look closer than it actually was. Good win. Good conference win. 3-2 (1-0).

Oct. 13 – at St. Francis (Pa.) (W, 24-17)
  If the Dukes were playing for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division I Championship -- not that realistic this year -- their schedule certainly wouldn’t help them. In fact, their schedule even hurt their chances of winning their second Sports Network Cup. The 2007 St. Francis (Pa.) squad was the sixth-straight poor team that the Dukes faced this year.
  But a win is, yes, a win. It’s always good to beat another local team, especially one that Duquesne probably competes for recruits with. 4-2 (1-0).

Oct. 20 – vs. Robert Morris (W, 17-14)
  Speaking of beating local teams, it doesn’t get better for Duquesne than beating Robert Morris. The best win of 2007, especially considering that the Colonials finished 4-6 this year with a very ambitious schedule. 5-2 (1-0).

Oct. 27 – at Iona (L, 28-23)
  Ouch. Duquesne would need help again if it was to repeat as league champions/co-champions. Give credit to Iona. Have the Gaels finally caught the Dukes?
  Indeed, it will certainly be interesting to see what happens to Iona Football with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League all but officially disbanded at this point. This was another tough loss to swallow. Worst of the year. Worst in a while. 5-3 (1-1).

Nov. 10 – vs. La Salle (W, 51-8)
  The season wasn’t over. Give the Dukes players and coaching staff a lot of credit here for responding to a lot of criticism by getting back to the business of demolishing fellow MAAC teams.
  Granted, La Salle –- who finished 2007 0-10 –- was the perfect medicine for Duquesne, but the Dukes could easily have unraveled after the Iona loss and a bye week to think about it. They didn’t, and for the second year in a row, fortune shined on Duquesne. Iona blew sole possession of the MAAC crown by losing to Marist this week. A tri-championship of a four-team league is certainly bittersweet, but it could have been worse.
  The championship streak stays intact, and Duquesne will look to extend it next year with a Northeast Conference championship. 6-3 (2-1).

Nov. 17 – at Monmouth (L, 31-20)
  This game shouldn’t have been meaningless for Duquesne. It had a chance to equal its win total of last season and avoid the program’s lowest win total in a season since 1994 (6-4). But, the Dukes lost.
  This game was meaningless for Monmouth, but they proved to be, frankly, the better team. 6-4 (2-1).

Looking Ahead: The streak somehow survives, but next year will bring more challenges. Recruiting, player responsibility, coaching and off-season training will all need to improve for Duquesne to survive in the NEC, let alone compete for the league title.
  With NEC Football most likely soon to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Championship for its champion, the competition for the chance to win an undisputed NCAA Division I Football championship will be fierce in the conference.
  Here’s hoping that the Dukes can handle it. Shoo shoo. Rah rah.

(Image: Bruce Hocker, Copyright Duquesne University)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

*GUEST Opinion Piece* Duquesne University Men's Basketball

DISCLAIMER: Dukes Chat is again featuring a guest opinion piece. This piece regards the state of Duquesne University Men's Basketball as opined by a member of the Red and Blue Crew -- diehard Duquesne Men's Basketball fan Craig Mancia.
  Only under extreme circumstances will Dukes Chat ever censor someone's opinion on this Web log. Therefore, other than simple copy editing, this piece by Mr. Mancia will appear as is.
  If anyone else wishes to post a guest opinion piece on Dukes Chat, please contact
  As always, feel free to comment on this story and read other people's comments by clicking on the "_ comments" link at the bottom of the post.

"Dukes Fever" - Craig Mancia

  The word is out. This is the year for the jump from average to great for Duquesne Men’s Basketball.
  It may just be the exciting play, the 10-40 format (closer to 12-40 this year) or the confidence that the coaches and players bring to the A.J. Palumbo Center. Or it might be something more.
  With the incoming freshmen class, Red and Blue Crew membership has skyrocketed to an astounding 700+ members this academic year. People are becoming excited. But it’s not only the freshmen and sophomores who are supporting Ron Everhart’s second version of the Dukes. The Red and Blue Crew have a large number of memberships from upperclassmen as well who have witnessed the bad and are ready for the good.
  Campus is buzzing with big games coming up against Pitt, WVU and the Atlantic Ten teams. There is talk of tailgates, posters, signs and followings of players and coaches. Bill Clark, for instance, has found his own cult following among the Red and Blue Crew, as a large section of members have signs, chants and cheers just for him.
  Other players have similar status on the team. It is well-known throughout the basketball community, both fans and players alike, of Gary Tucker’s ability to soar through the air. The sharp-shooting Jason Duty is a fan favorite among the Duquesne community. But it is the power that Shawn James and Kieron Achara bring to the court which pulls the largest cheers from the fans.
  This kind of excitement is carrying beyond the Palumbo Center. Students are proudly wearing red and blue around campus. Red and Blue Crew shirts are becoming popular attire, even on non-game days. The news of Duquesne Men’s Basketball is spreading. Pittsburgh knows it. The basketball community knows it. It’s now time for the rest of the nation to remember what Duquesne Basketball used to be and to know what it is becoming. This year is quickly turning out to be a great season for Dukes Men’s Basketball. The team already has half of the wins that it did last year and has renewed a confidence from the campus community.
  As an NCAA Division I program, Duquesne will always be grouped with the great powerhouses of our time, such as Duke and North Carolina. Over the past 10 years or so, however, the rise of the “mid-major” teams has begun to change the way that NCAA Basketball is played. A number of shocking upsets in major tournament play has brought new light on smaller schools which provide playing time for great players. After a decline in recruits, talent and support plagued the Dukes in the past, the addition of Ron Everhart and his relentless recruiting tactics have brought Duquesne back to being a respectable program. As of November 28, the Dukes are 5-0 with a tough schedule to come. The fans are ready for the excitement to continue.
  So bring it on Pitt. WVU, you can bring it too. A-10, we’ll be waiting, just like students, faculty and alumni have all been waiting for this transformation to occur.
  Now that the transformation has arrived, Duquesne will unite and see the success of a once great program be restored to its rightful place in the Division I standings... as a force to be respected and feared.

(Image: Craig Mancia, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 8 Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History

Father Eugene McGuigan, Baseball, Men's Basketball, Football - Father McGuigan simply must be included in any countdown concerning the pivotal coaches of Duquesne University Athletics' history.
  Although "Coach Gene Martin" (as he often went by to mask his double-life as a priest and athletics coach) had his greatest accomplishments at the helm of Duquesne Men's Basketball, Father Mac has been credited as being a baseball and football coach on the Bluff as well. That resume and more led to him being named as Duquesne's first athletic director in 1920.
  McGuigan officially coached Duquesne Men's Basketball for eight seasons (1914-15 to 1920 and 1921-22 to 1922-23) and compiled a 66-35 record -- good for a .654 winning percentage.

(Image: Duquesne University Old Main Building, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 9 Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History

Clipper Smith, Football - John "Clipper" Smith only coached the Duquesne University Football team for three seasons (1936-38), compiling a rather ordinary 18-12 record. Yet, this countdown would be incomplete without him.
  Duquesne's Jan. 1, 1937, Orange Bowl victory under Smith still ranks as one of the greatest moments in Duquesne Athletics history and is easily Duquesne Football's greatest accomplishment.
  If Smith had coached the Dukes longer, he may have ranked higher on this list. But No. 9 is the least that Dukes Chat can do for Coach Clipper.
  In an interesting side note, Smith, like another former Duquesne Football head coach -- Elmer Layden, also played football at the University of Notre Dame.

(Image: Clipper Smith, Copyright National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, Inc.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Upcoming Guest Opinion Pieces

  Dukes Chat is seeking guest opinion pieces on the topics of Duquesne University Football, Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball.
  Please contact if interested. These pieces, at least one on Duquesne Football, will debut very soon.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* Expectations SOAR for Men's Basketball

  Duquesne University Men's Basketball completed its 2007-08 preseason exhibition schedule with a 6-0 record after a 62-point pounding of NCAA Division II Seton Hill University yesterday.
  Granted, Seton Hill is a far cry from Atlantic Ten Conference competition and that of most of the rest of NCAA Division I, but Duquesne hit 20 of 34 three-point field goals in this game. Bill Clark and Jason Duty were a combined nine-for-nine alone. Regardless of the opponent, a three-pointer is a three-pointer.
  Now, superior teams will hustle a shot more than a team like Seton Hill (with all due respect), but shooting close to 60 percent from three-point range UNCONTESTED is still impressive.
  In the Dukes' final two exhibition games, Clark made 11 of 12 shots from beyond the three-point arc. That kind of outside shooting, coupled with two big, proven defenders and rebounders in the paint (Shawn James and Kieron Achara), gives Duquesne the type of balance that seldom teams can claim to have.
  The season has yet to start, and this is still a team that won only 10 games last season, but the 2007-08 Dukes might be the next big thing in Pittsburgh... and for that matter, college basketball.

[Image: Shawn James (left) and Kieron Achara (right) on the cover of the 2007-08 Duquesne University Men's Basketball Media Guide, Copyright Duquesne University]

Saturday, November 3, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 10 Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History

John Hartupee, Wrestling - Say what you will about Duquesne University Wrestling's competition when it comes to competing as an Independent team. Nevertheless, under head coach John Hartupee, the program has put together an unbelievable list of accomplishments.
  Consider the following (from the Duquesne University Athletics Web site)... In his nine seasons as head coach, Hartupee has sent at least one wrestler to the NCAA Championships every year and has directed the Dukes to two NCAA East Regional Championships (2000 and 2005). In 2001-02, Duquesne set the school record for wins in a season with 12 while winning the National Catholic Championship and the East Regional Duals meet. In 2002-03, Duquesne won its second straight National Catholic Championship and sent three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. In 2003-04, Hartupee guided the Red and Blue to its fourth straight runner-up finish at the NCAA East Regional Championship before capturing the crown in 2004-05 when he sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships and was named East Region Coach of the Year.
  Granted, wrestling is not a high-profile sport at Duquesne, but when you put together a resume like this, it doesn't matter what sport you're coaching; you deserve inclusion in this countdown.

(Image: John Hartupee, Copyright Duquesne University Athletics)

Sunday, October 28, 2007


  Dukes Chat usually speaks of only positive news concerning Duquesne University Athletics, but a comment on Dukes Football's recent loss to Iona College deserves some words.
  In no way is the quest for a ninth straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship over. After all, Iona defeated the Dukes in 2006 as well, only to blow the championship late in the year. And give credit to the Dukes for rebounding that season to earn a share of the crown despite that loss -- its toughest, really, of the program's NCAA Division I-AA tenure. Upsets happen.
  But with all due to respect to the 2007 Dukes -- they're still a good team -- this was no upset. Iona is better right now.
  Of course, the Gaels don't have as much going for them future-wise as Duquesne does, but that means nothing in 2007.
  Here's hoping that the Dukes can shake this off like they did last year, but again, they'll need some help.
  For now, what a bummer.

(Image: Duquesne University Football Championship Banner, Copyright Duquesne University)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* A Major Step Forward for ALL Teams

  Duquesne University Athletics has announced a partnership with adidas that makes the apparel company the official sponsor of the Dukes.
  Ron Everhart, Suzie McConnell-Serio, Shawn James, Derron Thomas, permanent seating for Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field, scholarship football and the multi-purpose recreational center have all been tremendous additions for Duquesne Athletics. Each speaks volumes about how seriously the university is taking athletics.
  But while the new additions have been improvements mostly for basketball and football, the deal with adidas -- which will provide footwear, uniforms and other apparel to all 20 Dukes varsity teams -- is great for the non-revenue/"Olympic" sports at the university as well.
  For Duquesne's teams that lack the funding that the football and basketball teams have, something that this deal is MAJOR, MAJOR news. Teams like women's cross country and wrestling will now have free adidas gear at their disposal and will be even more closely aligned with Duquesne's marquee squads.
  A Duke has always been a Duke, and each Duquesne team wears the red and blue. But now each team will look even more alike, and because each team's uniforms will come from adidas, they will also all have the same benefit -- the overall improved image of Duquesne Athletics.

(Image: adidas Logo, Copyright adidas)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Last Countdown (for a While) -- Top Ten Coaches in Duquesne Athletics History

  In a few short days, Dukes Chat will unveil the latest of its countdowns -- the Top Ten Coaches in Duquesne Athletics History.
  This will be the last of the Dukes Chat countdowns for a while.
  Stay tuned.

(Image: Cartoon Whistle, Copyright Discovery Education)

Monday, October 15, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 1 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1954-55 Men's Basketball - Surely to spark no debate, Dukes Chat announces that this team is undoubtedly the greatest in Duquesne Athletics History.
  The rationale for doing so is simple. The National Invitation Tournament in 1955 was the equivalent of today's NCAA Division I Championship. Led by All-American Sihugo Green and finishing with a 22-4 record and a No. 6 Associated Press ranking, this team took the 1955 NIT title, and no Duquesne sports team has won an NCAA championship at the highest level before or since. Therefore, this team achieved more than any other sports team in Duquesne University history.
  Basketball, particularly men's basketball, is the premiere sport at Duquesne. It has been this way since World War II, and this team did more than its part to drive this notion home.
  The future of Duquesne Basketball, and Duquesne Athletics in general -- not coincidentally -- seems incredibly bright. This team, in some way, is to thank for that. The new Multipurpose Recreational Center, the soon-to-be-new permanent grandstand seating around Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field and the hiring of Ron Everhart are all steps that Duquesne University has taken to try to recapture the athletic glory of its past, highlighted, of course, by the 1955 NIT champions.

(Image: Retired Sihugo Green Jersey, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 2 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1939-40 Men's Basketball - Though Duquesne University would often turn down bids to play in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship to compete in the more prestigious (at the time) National Invitation Tournament, during this season, the Dukes participated in both.
  Though, they certainly did a lot more than just participate. Duquesne Men's Basketball reached the Final Four of both the NCAA and NIT Tournaments in 1940 -- advancing all the way to the championship game of the NIT.
  Duquesne University is one of the first two schools to participate in both tournaments in the same season. (The other team -- University of Colorado at Boulder Men's Basketball -- played in both in 1940 as well.)
  The Dukes overall record in the 1939-40 season was a tremendous 20-3.

[Image: Paul Widowitz (left) in 1940, Copyright Duquesne University]

Thursday, October 4, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 3 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1941 Football - The only apparent reason that Duquesne University went uninvited to a college football bowl game this season was that most schools were simply afraid to lose to the Dukes. In this way, it's unfortunately clear that a lot about scheduling in college football hasn't changed.
  The 1941 Dukes Gridders get the nod over the Orange Bowl-winning team of the 1936 season as Duquesne's best football team because of their awesome and sometimes bar none accomplishments.
  In 1941, Duquesne went undefeated and untied (8-0-0) and earned a No. 8 Associated Press national ranking. But even more impressively, the Dukes led nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense in '41.

(Image: Current NCAA Football Logo, Copyright National Collegiate Athletic Association)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Should the New Permanent Seating Be Named?

  With Duquesne University Athletics announcing that construction on the soon-to-be-new permanent seating to line Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field will begin once the 2007 football season is over, the question is begged: Should this permanent seating be named after someone from Duquesne Athletics' colorful past? If so, then who?
  Should the overall facility simply remain as "Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field"? Perhaps it should be changed to "Arthur J. Rooney Stadium." What about "Greg Gattuso Grandstand"? Or something honoring new Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame honoree John Rosato? Does this have to be football-specific?
  Please share your thoughts. If you are unsure how to do so, simply click on the "_ comments" link below this post.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 4 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1953-54 Men's Basketball - Not that different from the team that won the championship game of the 1955 National Invitation Tournament, this version of the basketball Dukes lost in the championship round of the NIT to the College of the Holy Cross.
  The 1953-54 Dukes Ballers went 23-6 -- not that dissimilar, again, to the next year's squad's 22-4 -- and garnered a very impressive No. 5 national ranking from the Associated Press.
  Dick Ricketts was a leader and an All-American for this team and went on to an NBA (and MLB actually as well) career. He was taken with the first overall selection by the Milwaukee/St. Louis Hawks in the 1955 NBA Draft.

(Image: Current NBA Logo, Copyright National Basketball Association)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dukes Men's BB a Sleeper

From the Duquesne Athletics' Web Site:

"Basketball Times, the nationally-respected college basketball publication, has named the 2007-08 Duquesne Dukes as one of four 'Under the Radar Guys' in its October issue. It is the first time in the four-year history of the annual 'Under the Radar' issue that a team has been chosen.

"Editor John Akers annually runs nearly every projected Division I starter through an efficiency rating known as the 'Larry Bird formula' - a plus/minus system of positive and negative statistics - and takes note of those players who jump out unexpectedly. They then run those players through another filter - testing their efficiency again, but against better teams - before making final decisions.

"This year it is the Dukes along with Florida center Marreese Speights, Georgia Tech guard Lewis Clinch and Utah center Luke Nevill that were chosen as under the radar guys.

"Says Akers in the 'From the editor ...' portion of the October issue, '... no one in four years' worth of 'Under the Radar Guys' has jumped out like the Duquesne Dukes.'

"A three-page feature inside tells the Duquesne story.

"Kieron Achara, of whom Akers says 'Kieron Achara might have been the nation's most under-rated player, his terrific individual season hidden by a late start, limited minutes and a losing season,' graces the cover."

(Image: October 2007 Issue of Basketball Times, Copyright Basketball Times)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Work from the Blog Host

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Duquesne University Football Article

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*OPINION PIECE* No. 5 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1936 Football - Not much more can be said about this tremedous football team.
  The 1936 Dukes gridders garnered a No. 14 Associated Press ranking while posting an 8-2 record, capped-off by a win in the 1937 New Year's Day Orange Bowl.
  To this day, the 1937 Orange Bowl win remains Duquesne Football's only official major bowl game victory.
  Guided by the almost forgotten Coach Clipper Smith, this team's only two losses came by a combined nine points. One of those losses was by a mere 2-0 score. The Dukes shut out seven teams this year.
  Mike Basrak, an Associated Press All-American and 1937 Orange Bowl MVP, was selected in the first round of the NFL draft in 1937.

(Image: Current National Football League Logo, Copyright National Football League)

Saturday, September 22, 2007


  A few mistakes in facts have recently been made. The mistakes pointed out by an anonymous reader/commenter occurred in the "*OPINION PIECE* No. 7 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History" post and have since been corrected.
  Dukes Chat regrets the errors and thanks the reader/commenter.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 6 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1949-50 Men's Basketball - Duquesne University's finest basketball team of the 1940s -- yes, 1950 is the last year of the 1940s -- enters this countdown at No. 6.
  "Dudey" Moore's Dukes climbed all the way to a No. 2 Associated Press ranking this year and posted a 23-6 record in advancing all the way to the Final Four of the National Invitation Tournament.
  Lest we forget, the NIT was the premier college basketball tournament in the country during this time period.

(Image: Current National Invitation Tournament Logo, Copyright National Collegiate Athletic Association)

Monday, September 17, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 7 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1968-69 Men's Basketball - Simply put, this team's credentials are outstanding and go a long way in cementing Duquesne's place in college basketball lore.
  A 21-5 overall record this season for "Red" Manning's Dukes earned them a No. 9 Associated Press ranking, as the team reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
  This was Duquesne's best sports team of the 1960s and easily one of its greatest basketball teams ever.
  Consider this about Duquesne's competition this season. The team played six games against teams ranked in the Associated Press' top 16, including three of its final four.

[Image: Former Duquesne University Basketball coaches "Red" Manning (right) and "Dudey" Moore (left), Copyright Duquesne University]

Friday, September 14, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 8 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1939 Football - Duquesne University Football's 1939 edition is often overlooked in terms of Duquesne's greatest football teams ever. The Dukes' success in bowl games from this time period and the mid-major powerhouses of the Greg Gattuso era often overshadow this team... unjustly.
  Keeping in mind that Duquesne Football was competing at a higher level in 1939 than it was during the Gattuso era, you can logically place this team above any of Gattuso's. And, keeping in mind that Duquesne Football was undefeated in 1939 with a very respectable schedule, you can sure argue its place on this countdown.
  Not only was this team undefeated (8-0-1), but it also garnered a No. 10 ranking from the Associated Press.
  Easily the biggest win of this season came when Duquesne visited and upset the then-No. 1 ranked (AP) University of Pittsburgh, 21-13. In the 1939 season finale, both Duquesne and its opponent -- Detroit College (now the University of Detroit Mercy) -- came into the game undefeated and untied. The game ended with a score of 10-10.

(Image: NCAA Logo, Copyright National Collegiate Athletic Association)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Women's BB Full Schedule

  The full 2007-08 Duquesne University Women's Basketball schedule was recently released. To view it, click here.

(Image: Duquesne University Women's Basketball Team, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 9 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1951-52 Men's Basketball - The first basketball squad creeps into this countdown of greatest Duquesne University Athletics teams at No. 9.
  This team certainly wasn't the greatest of its kind in Duquesne Athletics history, but its accomplishments are very hard to overlook.
  A 23-4 record under the legendary Coach Donald "Dudey" Moore got the Dukes to a No. 4 ranking in the Associated Press' College Basketball Poll that season. Moore's 1951-52 team also took home fourth place honors in the National Invitation Tournament -- the most prestigious collegiate basketball tournament in the country at the time -- and made it to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Basketball Championship.

(Image: Associated Press Logo, Copyright New York Newspaper Publishers Association)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* Fortune Shines on Dukes

  Duquesne Men's Basketball finally catches a break.
  In light of the campus shootings last year, Robert Mitchell's departure and Stuard Baldonado's recent legal troubles, it was more than refreshing to see that Lady Luck was at least temporarily wearing red and blue when the Dukes' 2007-08 Atlantic Ten Conference schedule was released.
  Although the Dukes' 2007-08 Atlantic Ten opponents have been known for some time, the specific dates and times for games against those opponents have only recently been announced.
  The fortunate highlights: The Dukes open league play at home for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, they will not have more than two consecutive road games for the entire season AND, combined with a three-game homestand against non-league foes, they will have two three-game homestands.
  And lest we forget, the (non-league) City Game against the University of Pittsburgh is also at home this season.

(Image: Coach Ron Everhart, Copyright Duquesne University)

*OPINION PIECE* No. 10 Greatest Team in Duquesne Athletics History

1933 Football - The team with a 10-1-0 season and a victory in the 1934 Festival of Palms Bowl starts this countdown off.
  The Festival of Palms Bowl was the forerunner to the annual Orange Bowl, which Duquesne University Football would eventually win in 1937. Unlike the Orange Bowl though, the University of Miami (Fl.) was guaranteed an invite to the Festival of Palms Bowl. The NCAA, thus, does not officially consider the Festival of Palms Bowls to be official bowl games. This fact puts Duquesne's 1933 football team down to No. 10 on this countdown despite its outstanding record and impressive performance in 1933 against Miami -- 33-7. (A true bowl game would have pitted Duquesne against a better team.)
  Make no mistake about it though. Miami is and always was a solid college football program, and this postseason victory was still a mighty accomplishment -- enough of an accomplishment, coupled with Duquesne's overall record for the 1933 season, to put this team on the countdown.

(Image: Miami Beach Palm Trees Painting, Copyright

Saturday, September 8, 2007


  After a slight delay due to extenuating circumstances, the Top Ten Teams Countdown will debut TOMORROW.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* Mitchell's Departure a Positive Sign for Dukes

  It's never a good thing to lose your leading scorer from one season to the next, regardless of the reason(s), but the departure of Robert Mitchell from Duquesne University Men's Basketball still has to be construed as a positive sign for the Dukes.
  Although his relationship with Coach Ron Everhart is/was less than ideal, rumors have it that Mitchell's decision to leave the program was grounded more in his prospective playing time than a conflict of philosophies with his head coach.
  A look around the team's roster this year combined with common sense puts Mitchell out of the starting five and unlikely to reprise his role as one of Duquesne's top point-scorers, let alone the top scorer.
  A player with Mitchell's personality wouldn't be best served by playing at Duquesne, and it does appear as though Mitchell realized that.
  Certainly, it would have been nice to have him available off of the bench for the Dukes during the 2007-08 season and beyond, but it says a lot about the program right now that even last season's Atlantic Ten Conference Rookie of the Year can't find playing time on this team.

(Image: Robert Mitchell, Copyright Duquesne University)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Top Ten Teams in Duquesne Athletics History

  Sometime next week, Dukes Chat will unveil the next of its countdowns -- the Top Ten Teams in Duquesne Athletics History.

  Feel free to comment and/or debate.

(Image: Duquesne University Football Team, Copyright Duquesne University)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Championship Passion Filled With Duquesne Connections

  The Pittsburgh Passion, Pittsburgh's National Women's Football Association team, was recently crowned league champions after an undefeated season.
  The team's players and management come from all over the Pittsburgh area, and some of these people have a close connection with Duquesne University.
  Jayne Beatty, the Pittsburgh Passion's general manager, is the throws coach for Duquesne Track & Field, Jen Cairns, a Passion running back, is a former Duquesne swimmer and lacrosse player with a degree from the university (B.A.), Kara Prentice, the team's co-community relations director, is also a Duquesne graduate (M.B.A., M.S.) and Sarah Young, who plays offensive line, is a Duquesne Pharm.D. recipient.
  Cairns is also officially sponsored by Duquesne University Athletics.

(Image: Pittsburgh Passion Logo, Copyright Pittsburgh Passion)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Foreign Tour

  To get a jump start on the 2007-08 men's basketball season, Duquesne University Athletics will take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows it to schedule a preseason out-of-country tour every four years.
  In preparation for four games in three days against teams in Canada from September 1-3, the Dukes began practice yesterday a full week before they normally would be allowed (in a standard NCAA season).
  Though newcomers Bill Clark, Brandon Harris, Ricky Jackson and David Theis are not permitted to participate in team workouts until the first day of classes on August 27, transfers Stuard Baldonado, Shawn James and Kojo Mensah have already joined the nine returnees from the 2006-07 Dukes and are eligible already for full participation. The nine returnees include Kieron Achara, who was invited to try out for the Great Britain National Team in late July but did not make the final cut for the 12-man team. He will be with the Dukes for the Canadian tour and its accompanying team workouts.
  The Dukes' opponents north-of-the-border will be the University of Toronto (Sept. 1), Ryerson University (Sept. 2 - Game 1), Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Sept. 2 - Game 2) and the University of Waterloo (Sept. 3).
  All four of the games will be broadcast live on the Internet by Ray Goss, the "Voice of the Dukes." Fans may listen to the games by going to the Red Zone Media Web site. A link is provided to the right of this Web page.

(Image: The National Flag of Canada, Copyright Department of Canadian Heritage)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 1 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Sihugo Green, Men's Basketball - Men's basketball is not the only sport played at Duquesne University, but men's basketball is the sport that matters most at Duquesne. This is why Green, the greatest basketball player in Duquesne Athletics History, is the greatest athlete in Duquesne history.
  The man's career was nothing short of fantastic. He was an Associated Press Second-Team and First-Team All-American in 1955 and 1956, respectively.
  Without Green, who led the 1954-55 Dukes in total points, Duquesne simply would never have won the National Invitation Tournament in 1955, the greatest accomplishment in Duquesne Athletics history. Green's contributions to the team during the 1954-55 season and more led Duquesne Basketball to retire his No. 11 in 2001 and place him in the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame in 1973. The annual Duquesne Men's Basketball award given to the top upperclassman on the roster is even named the Sihugo Green Award.
  The media truly understood how great Green was in those days, as he was once featured on the cover of SPORT magazine, and Milton Gross, of the New York Post, even had the following to say about Green following his game-high 33 points in the 1955 NIT Final.
  "Si Green, at 6-2, must be the best college basketball player in the country today. In a sense, he is to college basketball what Ray Robinson was to boxing -- the best fighter pound for pound."
  Green was selected first overall by the Rochester Royals in the 1956 NBA Draft following his collegiate career -- one pick ahead of the legendary Bill Russell -- and enjoyed a long NBA career. He played for the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals (later the Kansas City-Omaha, then the Kansas City and now the Sacramento Kings) for all of the 1956-57 season and part of the 1958-59 season, for the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks for part of the 1958-59 season, all of the 1959-60 and 1960-61 seasons and part of the 1961-62 season, for the Chicago Packers/Zephyrs/Baltimore Bullets (later the Capital/Washington Bullets and now the Washington Wizards) for part of the 1961-62 season and all of the 1962-63, 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons and for the Boston Celtics for the 1965-66 season.

(Image: Sihugo Green on the cover of an issue of SPORT magazine, Copyright Duquesne University)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 2 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Dick Ricketts, (Men's Basketball, Baseball) - Ricketts is another two-sport star in the history of Duquesne University Athletics.
  His collegiate basketball career truly speaks for itself on both a team and individual level.
  First and foremost, Ricketts was the captain of Duquesne's 1955 NIT title-winning team, and he was named an Associated Press First-Team All-American that year. (He was named an AP Second-Team All-American in 1954.)
  Ricketts also holds many Duquesne Men's Basketball records. To this day, he holds the team records for most free throws made in a game, most free throws made in a game without a miss -- he went 19-for-19 in game during the 1954-55 season -- most points in a season by a sophomore, most rebounds in a season, most rebounds per game in a season, most rebounds in a career, most starts in a career (tied), most free throws made in a career, most consecutive free throws made and most points in a career.
  His success in college landed him the first overall selection by the Milwaukee/St. Louis Hawks in the 1955 NBA Draft. He played for the Hawks for part of the 1955-56 season and for the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals for part of the 1955-56 season and all of the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons.
  What truly propels Ricketts to No. 2 on the Duquesne All-Time Greatest Athletes countdown though is his two-sport versatility. Many athletes can claim stardom in multiple sports during college, but Ricketts was such an accomplished baseball player (in addition to his basketball abilities) that he made it all the way to Major League Baseball as a member of the 1959 St. Louis Cardinals.

(Image: Dick Ricketts, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 3 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Norm Nixon, (Men's Basketball) - Nixon is yet another former Duquesne University basketball star that made mis mark not only in college but also in the major professional ranks.
  A Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in 1982, Nixon's No. 10 was retired by Duquesne Basketball in 2001. Perhaps his biggest acomplishments though, both team and individual, came as part of Duquesne's 1976-77 season. The Dukes were the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League (the forerunner to the Eastern Athletic Association -- now known as the Atlantic Ten Conference) champions that season, and Nixon was honored as the conference's 1977 Player of the Year and conference championship's Most Outstanding Player.
  The 1977 basketball title is the lone Atlantic Ten postseason championship in Duquesne Basketball history and was the only postseason Atlantic Ten team championship of any kind for the university until 2005.
  Nixon still holds the Duquesne Men's Basketball record for field goals made in a career, assists in a season, assists per game in a season -- he actually holds the top three spots in that category's place in the record books -- assists in a career and assists per game in a career.
  His outstanding collegiate career led Nixon to the longest-tenured NBA career of any Duquesne alumnus.
  He was a first-round selection by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1977 NBA Draft and was a member of the NBA All-Rookie team in 1978. A two-time NBA All-Star, he was a starter for the Lakers' world championship teams of the NBA's 1979-80 and 1981-82 seasons.
  An ironman and a multi-dimensional player, Nixon led the NBA in minutes played for the 1979-80 season and steals for the 1978-79 season.

(Image: Norm Nixon, Copyright Duquesne University)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 4 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Willie Somerset, (Men's Basketball) - Somerset is simply one of the best basketball players in the history of Duquesne University.
  His No. 24 is retired by Duquesne Basketball, and he was inducted into the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975.
  Some of Somerset's Duquesne Men's Basketball records: most points as a junior, most career 30-point games, most consecutive 30-point games and highest career points per game (22.7, which is 2.9 points higher than second place). He also scored more points in three seasons than any other player in team history.
  Somerset's ABA/NBA career lasted three seasons; he played for the NBA's Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) for the 1965-66 season, for the ABA's Houston Mavericks (later known as the Carolina Cougars and then the Spirits of St. Louis) for the 1967-68 season and part of the 1968-69 season and for the ABA's New York (now NBA's New Jersey) Nets for part of the 1968-69 season.
  He was an ABA All-Star with the Mavericks for the 1968-69 season.

(Image: Willie Somerset Cartoon, Copyright Duquesne University)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

MacKenzie a Hermann Trophy Candidate

  Duquesne University Soccer player Travis MacKenzie has been named to the 29-man watch list for this season's male version of the Hermann Trophy.
  The trophy represents the Missouri Athletic Club's Player of the Year, a title given annually to both the top NCAA Division I male and female soccer player. The award is also sponsored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
  Past Player of the Year honorees include Alexi Lalas and Mia Hamm, among many other notables.
  MacKenzie hails from Carnegie, PA. He will be a senior for Duquesne Men's Soccer this season.

(Image: Travis MacKenzie, Copyright Duquesne University)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 5 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Aldo "Buff" Donelli, (Football, Men's Soccer) - Donelli was a true two-sport star in his day.
  A charter member of the Duquesne University Athletics Hall of Fame, Donelli was a standout football player at Duquesne, captaining the university's 9-0-1 team in 1929. But as good as his football career was, he was an even better soccer player.
  Donelli is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and what follows is an excerpt from the Hall's Web site: "[Donelli] played American football for Duquesne University from 1926 to 1929, at first at center and then as a running back. In the 1930s, he began playing for [a] local soccer team in Curry, and it was while he was with [that team] that he was selected for the 1934 U.S. World Cup team [in Italy].
  "In Italy, he scored four goals against Mexico in the qualifying game and the lone U.S. goal against Italy in the first round. One year later, he was a guest player with the New York Americans when they toured Mexico. He came out of soccer retirement in 1943 to play for Morgan Strasser in the 1944 Open Cup final... at the Polo Grounds."

(Image: Aldo Donelli, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 6 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Mike Basrak, (Football) - Basrak, Duquesne Football's first All-American (Associated Press, 1936 season), is Duquesne's greatest football player ever.
  With only one level of major college football in the United States at the time of Basrak's career, he ranks as Duquesne Football's highest-honored player, especially given his MVP performance in the 1937 Orange Bowl.
  His collegiate career led him to a first-round choice (fifth overall) in the 1937 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers), for whom he played for from 1937-1938.

[Image: Mike Basrak, Copyright Bellaire (Oh.) Public Library]

*OPINION PIECE* No. 7 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Korie Hlede, (Women's Basketball) - Hlede is, without a doubt, the greatest female athlete in Duquesne Athletics history. Perhaps no player dominated his/her particular sport more as a Duquesne University athlete than Hlede did as a women's basketball player from 1994-1998.
  A four-time First-Team All-Atlantic Ten Conference player and consistent All-American (as picked by numerous publications and authorities), Hlede has her #25 uniform retired by Duquesne Basketball and is a memeber of the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame.
  A fantastic scorer, she holds the Duquesne Women's Basketball records for points in a game, in a season and in a career and scoring average in a season and in a career. Her career total scoring mark bests the second all-time Duquesne Women's Basketball scorer by an astounding 1,300+ points.
  Also an outstanding defensive player, Hlede holds three important Duquesne Women's Basketball defensive records as well -- steals in a game, in a season and in a career.
  Hlede's college success led her to a first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock. She played for the Shock that year and for part of 1999, for the Utah Starzz (now San Antonio Silver Stars) for part of 1999 and from 2000-2001 and for the New York Liberty in 2002.
  She led the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage in 2000.

(Image: Korie Hlede, Copyright Duquesne University)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 8 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Leigh Bodden, (Football, Men's Outdoor Track & Field) - Though Bodden's contributions to Duquesne Outdoor Track & Field are outstanding -- Atlantic Ten Conference champion in the long jump in 2002 and three school records for men (one as a relay team member) -- it is truly Bodden's football career that makes him one of Duquesne's greatest athletes ever.
  A member of football's four straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship teams from 1999-2002, Bodden holds nearly every Duquesne record for interceptions and was a vital part of Duquesne Football's greatest NCAA Division I-AA team to this point -- the 11-1 2002 Dukes. Consistently, Bodden was also one of the very few I-AA "mid-major" players to garner inclusion on overall I-AA All-American teams, including the Associated Press' First Team for that level.
  As impressive as his college athletics career was, Bodden went undrafted by the NFL, but the Cleveland Browns took a chance on him as a free agent and have been rewarded handsomely. Bodden is currently a starting defensive back for Cleveland and has already accumulated numerous interceptions.
  His debut for the Browns in 2003 marked the first time that a Duquesne Football player competed in the NFL in half of a century.
  He is the gold standard for the modern Duquesne Football player.

(Image: Leigh Bodden, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 9 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Boyd Brumbaugh, (Football) - Inducted into the Duquesne University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1965, Brumbaugh was the second Duquesne athlete ever to be selected in an NFL Draft, one of only two to be taken in the first round and, to this day, is the highest-drafted Duquesne Football player ever.
  He was selected third overall by the now-defunct Brooklyn Dodgers (later known as the Tigers) in 1938, and enjoyed a colorful four-year NFL career for that team and later the Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers.
  Brumbaugh's exact time period of Duquesne Football roster membership is unknown, but it is certain that he was a key part of the Dukes' 1937 Orange Bowl win. It was Brumbaugh's 72-yard halfback pass in that game that provided Duquesne the winning margin over Mississippi State College (now University).
  The Duquesne Football media guide also credits Brumbaugh as once being "an honorable mention All-American."

(Image: Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, 1938, Copyright

Monday, July 30, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 10 Greatest Athlete in Duquesne Athletics History

Tom Slosky, (Men's Outdoor Track & Field, Men's Cross Country, Men's Indoor Track & Field) - Slosky's contributions to the image of Duquesne University Athletics cannot be overlooked, which merits him inclusion in this countdown.
  Though he is believed to hold numerous men's records for Duquesne Indoor Track & Field, records for this club team are not completely verifiable. Nonetheless, Slosky's highest accomplishments have been for Duquesne University Outdoor Track & Field. An Atlantic Ten Conference champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in both 2005 and 2006, Slosky has advanced to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championship twice in that event (in 2006 and 2007), advancing to the final heat of the competition in 2007.
  He is the first Duquesne athlete ever to compete in the very final competition of an NCAA-sanctioned national championship.
  Some of Slosky's other accomplishments include two Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2006 and 2007 as well as a Atlantic Ten team title in 2005 with men's cross country. Slosky was Duquesne's top finisher at the championship meet, and the 2005 title was Duquesne's first postseason A-10 team championship of any kind since 1977.
  In addition to being Duquesne's record-holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Slosky also holds Duquesne Outdoor Track & Field records in the 1,500 and 5,000-meter runs and is part of the record-holding 4x1,500-meter relay team.

(Image: Tom Slosky, Copyright Duquesne University)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Top Ten Athletes in Duquesne Athletics History

  Sometime next week, Dukes Chat will unveil its newest countdown -- the Top Ten Athletes in Duquesne Athletics History.

  The details involved with judging Duquesne University athletes:

- The person must have competed for Duquesne as an ATHLETE in some capacity for either a club or a varsity team. (Coaching accomplishments will not be included in this criteria.)

- The person's entire body of ATHLETIC work DURING AND AFTER his/her tenure as a Duquesne athlete will be considered.

(Image: 1933-34 Duquesne University Men's Basketball Team, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2007-08 Men's Basketball Opponents

  Duquesne University Athletics unveiled its men's basketball team's opponents for the 2007-08 season.
  Non-conference home contests will be waged against Howard University (November 9), Winston-Salem State University (Nov. 12), Niagra University (Nov. 24), the University of Pittsburgh (December 4), Saint Francis University (Pa.) (Dec. 21), Robert Morris University (Dec. 28) and the University of South Carolina-Upstate (Dec. 30).
  Non-conference away contests will be played versus Rice University (Nov. 17), Oakland University (Nov. 20), West Virginia University (Dec. 8) and Bowling Green State University (January 2).
  Atlantic Ten Conference home contests pit Duquesne against Fordham University, La Salle University, Saint Bonaventure University, The George Washington University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the University of Richmond, Saint Joseph's University and Saint Louis University.
  Intraconference away contests for Duquesne: Fordham, La Salle, Saint Bonaventure, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of Dayton, the University of Rhode Island, Temple University and Xavier University.
  In addition, an in-season tournament at Drake University from Nov. 30-Dec. 1 will include Duquesne, Drake, The California State University-Northridge and North Carolina Central University.

(Image: 2006-07 Duquesne University Men's Basketball Team, Copyright U.S. Basketball Writers Association)

Monday, July 23, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 1 Greatest Moment in Duquesne Athletics History

March 20, 1955 - Men’s basketball defeats the University of Dayton, 70-58, at Madison Square Garden (III) in New York City to win the 1955 National Invitation Tournament -- the most exclusive collegiate basketball tournament in the country at the time.
  According to the Duquesne University Web site, "Five thousand people greeted the returning Dukes at the Pittsburgh airport, and the entire student body was invited to a testimonial dinner honoring the team."
  The NCAA began sponsoring a national championship tournament for men's basketball in 1939, but it wasn't until the 1960s that this NCAA tournament became the most exclusive and important college basketball tournament in the country. Colleges and universities routinely declined offers to participate in the NCAA Championship Tournament during this time period while still accepting bids to the NIT.
  An NIT championship before the mid-1960s or so, like the Dukes' 1955 title, was an unofficial (by the NCAA's standards) national championship, but it still meant that Duquesne was the home of the best college basketball team in the country.

(Image: 1954-55 Duquesne University Men's Basketball Team, Copyright Duquesne University)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 2 Greatest Moment in Duquesne Athletics History

January 1, 1937 - Football defeats Mississippi State College (now University), 13-12, in the Orange Bowl.
  According to The Duquesne Duke’s January 7, 1937, issue, "Thousands of followers and classmates greeted the conquering Duquesne University squad on its arrival at the Pennsylvania station last night at 11:25 p.m. The Duke gridders, weary from the long train ride, were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic throng which greeted them on their return from Miami [Fl.] in tribute to their brilliant 13-12 triumph.
  "The welcome celebration climaxed one of the most successful seasons in the athletic history of Duquesne. Loyal followers cheered wildly and sang the school songs as the train bearing the squad pulled into the train shed a few minutes late... Radio announcers succeeded in detaining the coaches and some of the gridders for a few hurried words to audiences of WWSW and KDKA."
  This moment remains, to this day, the pinnacle of Duquesne Football's success as an NCAA Division I team and thus, the program's greatest moment.

(Images: Oranges and Bowl, Copyright chennaiist)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 3 Greatest Moment in Duquesne Athletics History

October 21, 1939 - Football visits and defeats then-No. 1-ranked (AP) the University of Pittsburgh, 21-13, on its way to an undefeated season and a top ten AP ranking.
  The 1939 Dukes Football team finished 8-0-1 under head coach Aldo "Buff" Donelli. Donelli was the former player that captained Duquesne to its first official undefeated season (9-0-1 in 1929).
  The 1939 Dukes were arguably Duquesne's second-greatest football team ever behind the undefeated and untied 8-0-0 Dukes of 1941, but the Duquesne Football win over Pittsburgh in 1939 ranks as one the school's greatest, especially given the opponent and thus, the situation.
  Pitt entered the 1939 contest ranked No. 1 in the country by the Associated Press, and Duquesne was still undefeated and untied. A showdown between the city of Pittsburgh's top two college football teams would lead to ultimate bragging rights, and you could taste the drama in the air. The Dukes were considered legitimate underdogs, especially since they were the official visitors.
  However, the Duquesne victory truly signalled a "changing of the guard" in Pittsburgh's college football scene. The Panthers entered the 1939 season riding eight straight seasons of at least seven wins and no more than two losses, but after the 1939 season, the Panthers would not win seven games in a season again until 1955.
  The Dukes, meanwhile, would go 7-1-0 in 1940 and 8-0-0 in 1941.
  Unfortunately, after a 6-3-1 1942 season, World War II would force Duquesne to suspend football operations, and "big time" football success would truly never come back to the Bluff.

(Image: Antique Football Helmet, Copyright Akadema Inc.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 4 Greatest Moment in Duquesne Athletics History

March 22, 1940 - Under head coach Charles "Chick" Davies -- according to the Duquesne University Men’s Basketball media guide, "the 'Dean' of Duquesne coaches" -- men’s basketball defeats Western Kentucky State Teachers College (now Western Kentucky University), 30-29, to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship Final Four after already reaching the NIT Championship game only seven days earlier.
  Davies's success at Duquesne put the Dukes on the map in terms of collegiate basketball and made Davies himself a celebrity. His obituary even appeared in The New York Times following his death in 1985.
  A clip from the NYT obituary about Davies, by far Duquesne's all-time winningest coach in any sport: "Davies's record at Duquesne was 314-106. He brought the Iron Dukes to national prominence in the late 1930s and early 1940s. His 1939-40 team, which compiled a 20-3 record, was the first to play in both the National Invitation Tournament and the NCAA Championship Tournament."

(Image: Charles Davies with Duquesne University Men's Basketball Players, Copyright Duquesne University)

Walker Leaves Duquesne

  Duquesne University Athletics has announced that now-former women's soccer head coach James Walker is leaving Duquesne to take an assistant coaching position with Pennsylvania State University Men's Soccer. Both Penn State Men's and Women's Soccer are very successful NCAA Division I programs with multiple Big Ten Conference championships between them. The men's team was the Big Ten regular season and postseason champion as recent as 2005.
  Walker's time at Duquesne was one of growth for the women's soccer program. His record at the helm of the Dukes was a respectable 31-36-6, but more importantly, he led Duquesne Women's Soccer to its first-ever appearance in an Atlantic Ten Conference Championship (in 2005).

(Image: James Walker, Copyright Duquesne University)