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)