Sunday, March 16, 2008

Retrospective Series Cancelled, Dukes Chat Suspended

  Due to time restrictions and a lack of the Web log host to consistently update Dukes Chat, this blog will be suspended until further notice.
  Dukes Chat thanks its loyal readers and contributors and apologizes for any disappointment that this may cause.
  Dukes Chat may resurface in the future; please stay tuned. Thank you again.
  Go Dukes.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Duquesne's Athletics Facilities Through the Years

  Dukes Chat apologizes for the lack of posts recently.
  In the next week, this Web log will begin a retrospective series of posts regarding some of the all-time Duquesne University Athletics facilities. From the A.J. Palumbo Center to Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field and from Duquesne Gardens to Three Rivers Stadium, this series will prove to be very interesting and enjoyable for both the blog host and readers.
  It's coming; enjoy.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


  If you're familiar with Wikipedia -- the free online encyclopedia -- then you that the Web site is an immensely valuable yet often unreliable resource.
  The main problem with Wikipedia is that its content can be edited by literally anybody. Although there are careful steps taken by those that care most about the encyclopedia to ensure its accuracy, incorrect and unorganized information still exists in bunches on Wikipedia.
  However, because of this open-edit system, one of Wikipedia's greatest positives is that many subjects that would not exist in more-established encyclopedias DO on Wikipedia.
  For examples, there are some great Wikipedia entries out there for things related to Duquesne University Athletics.
  Dukes Chat has taken it upon itself to edit and update some of these very entries.


- Duquesne University
- Duquesne Dukes
- Duquesne Dukes Men's Basketball
- Duquesne University Atlantic Ten Conference Champions
- Ron Everhart
- A.J. Palumbo Center
- Suzie McConnell-Serio
- Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field

(Image: Wikipedia Logo, Copyright Wikimedia Foundation)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

*OPINION PIECE* Losers No More

  Lost in all of the excitement of a team flirting with even greater things this year is the fact that Duquesne Men's Basketball has clinched a winning season.
  Sure, big deal, right? Well... yeah.
  Think of how excited Pittsburgh sports fans would be if the Pirates ever found a way to win more games than they lost in a single season. Duquesne's recent streak of futility (no winning season before this current one since the 1993-94 campaign) was very, very close to the Pirates' (no winning season since 1992).
  Granted, it's easier to turn a college basketball program around than it is a professional baseball team, but it's still a nice feather in the cap of the Dukes to beat the Pirates in a race to end the losing. Call it Dukes 1, Pirates 0.
  Fingers are certainly crossed for the Buccos to end the losing too, but it feels nice as a Duquesne fan right now to no longer be a red-faced part of worse-than-mediocre sports.

(Image: Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, Copyright Elfwood)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dapper Duquesne

  Duquesne University is well-represented on this year's Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction ballot, designed once again to honor the Pittsburgh-area's greatest sports people.
  Duquesne head men's basketball coach Ron Everhart is up for the highly-respected Sportsman of the Year award, and the Pittsburgh Passion are up for the equally-impressive Sportswoman of the Year honor. The Passion's connections to Duquesne have been documented in a previous post (Championship Passion Filled With Duquesne Connections).
  This year, the Dapper Dan will commemorate Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary by also honoring great teams and athletes in Pittsburgh sports history. In that regard, Duquesne head women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio is up for the honor of greatest all-time Pittsburgh athlete.
  To vote, visit the ballot.

(Image: 2008 Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction Logo, Copyright Dapper Dan Charities)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Update On Dukes Ice Hockey

  The defending College Hockey Mid-America champion Duquesne University Dukes have recently completed their regular season.
  Time for an update on the Ice Dukes.
  The following has been copied as is from the College Hockey Mid-America Web site.

CHMA Standings
West Virginia** 13 0 0 39 1
W&J*** 10 4 1 28.5 0
Duquesne* 9 6 0 26 0
Pitt* 8 4 1 25.5 1
Slippery Rock***** 8 7 1 23.5 0
IUP ****** 5 9 0 15 0
John Carroll# 4 10 1 11.5 0
Youngstown St.# 1 12 2 5 0

* Clinched playoff spot
** Clinched regular season championship
*** Clinched #2 seed
***** Clinched #5 seed
****** Clinched #6 seed
# Eliminated from playoffs

Note: One final league game remains and it has huge implications. If West Virginia defeats Pitt, then it will go undefeated in league play. The game will also determine whether Pitt or Duquesne will take the #3 seed for the playoffs.
If Pitt at least takes West Virginia to overtime, then it will capture the #3 seed. However, if Pitt loses in regulation to West Virginia, then Duquesne will take the #3 seed.

Note: All league teams play each other for a total of 6 points. Most series between teams consist of 2 games worth 3 points for each win. However, some league teams have chosen to play each other 3 times with each win being worth 2 points. Ties and overtime losses are worth half of the points that would be awarded for a win. The league members have reached and agreement that starting in 2008-2009 it will be mandatory to play each team in 2 league games and any other contest will be considered as a non-league game. Please refer to the league schedule and results for a complete understanding.

(Image: Duquesne University Men's Ice Hockey Logo, Copyright Duquesne University)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

*OPINION PIECE* Don't Jump... Yet

  Okay, so what happened? In the past week, Duquesne Men's Basketball has gone from a possible NCAA Tournament bubble team to a National Invitational Tournament bubble team.
  No, that's not to say that the 2007-08 season has nothing left to play for. In fact, far from it. But the Dukes do need some wins.
  That starts tomorrow night at home against Saint Joseph's University. St. Joe's is currently tied for first place in the Atlantic Ten Conference. If the Dukes can find a way to beat the Hawks, it would offset the disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure University on Feb. 2 and put Duquesne back in a position to make another move up the Atlantic 10 standings.
  More importantly though, it would give the Dukes a big push in the Ratings Percentage Index. A trip to the NCAA Tournament -- outside of winning the Atlantic 10 tournament -- is pretty much out of the picture now for Duquesne coming off back-to-back losses (St. Bonaventure and the University of Massachusetts on Jan. 30) and early-season losses against high-RPI teams.
  But, an NIT bid is a realistic possibility. And for a team that has had 13 consecutive losing seasons, that is quite a lot to play for and would be quite a lot to be proud of.
  Even if the Dukes lose to St. Joe's tomorrow, don't jump. They can still make up for that one too. But a win would sure be nice, and the Dukes can do it.

(Image: Self-Explanatory, Copyright Hearst Communications Inc.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

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

Charles "Chick" Davies, Men's Basketball - You gotta love the nicknames. Anyway, this was an easy one, and readers of this blog saw it coming.
  By all accounts, Charles Davies won more athletics games as a Duquesne University head coach (314 in men's basketball) than anyone else in school history. And he did it against only 106 losses. That's an amazing .748 winning percentage.
  Duquesne, like this or not, is a basketball school. Davies started that.
  He is truly responsible for the great moments that followed his time with the Dukes. The man set the table for the likes of fellow men's basketball head coaches on the Bluff -- "Dudey" Moore, "Red" Manning and John Cinicola -- to feast and clean-up.
  "Chick" Davies is Duquesne Basketball. He coached the Dukes men from the 1924-25 season to the 1942-43 season and again from 1946-47 to 1947-48. (The program was suspended from 1943-44 to 1945-46 because of World War II.) He reached the prestigious National Invitation Tournament in 1940, 1941 and 1947 and took Duquesne to its only NCAA Final Four (in 1940). They were the NIT runner-up that same year. In fact, it was in 1940 that Duquesne became one of the first two teams (along with the University of Colorado at Boulder men) to appear in both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments.
  In 1941 and 1947, the Dukes actually turned down offers to play in the NCAAs, opting to play in the NIT alone.
  Case closed.
  The A.J. Palumbo Center probably doesn't exist without Davies.

(Image: A.J. Palumbo Center, Copyright Duquesne University)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good Times at Palumbo

  The Dukes are back.
  Bob Smizik, who can best be described as an "important" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist, gives Duquesne University Men's Basketball some well-deserved love:

New Feeling

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

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

Donald "Dudey" Moore, Men's Basketball - What more can be said about Dudey Moore and his Duquesne University Men's Basketball teams?
  Moore took the groundwork laid by his predecessor -- the great Charles Davies -- of a winning tradition at Duquesne and hit that ground running.
  Moore coached the Dukes from the 1948-49 season to the 1957-58 season and went a remarkable 191-70 during that time, good for a .732 winning percentage and five rankings in the Associated Press' top nine. That resume includes six appearances in the greatest college basketball tournament in the country at the time -- the National Invitation Tournament -- and five in a row from 1952-1956. In 1952 alone, Duquesne appeared in both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments.
  Moore's Dukes got steadily better in the NIT, especially from 1953 to 1955, when the team rose from third place to runner-up to champions in those three years. The 1955 NIT championship remains Duquesne's greatest athletic accomplishment.
  Despite being NIT runner-up in 1954, United Press International still saw it fit to name Moore as its Coach of the Year for that season.
  And Dukes Chat sees it fit to name Moore as the runner-up on this countdown, quite a respectable place among so many other outstanding coaches that have led the Red and Blue.

[Image: Duquesne University's Dick Ricketts (foreground, right) in the 1953-54 College Basketball Season, Copyright Duquesne University]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

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

Greg Gattuso, Football - Let the debate begin. Is Greg Gattuso the greatest coach in Duquesne Football history? It says here that he is.
  The bottom line: Coaching wins are not all that "relative." Yes, Gattuso won most of his football games at Duquesne against an NCAA Division I-AA mid-major schedule, but he was doing it with a I-AA mid-major roster. A win is a win on an even playing field.
  What truly separates Gattuso from other coaches in Duquesne Football history though (other than his record 97 wins) was his ability to score upsets.
  No I-AA mid-major team had more wins over I-AA scholarship teams than Duquesne during Gattuso's tenure. This is where Gattuso distinguishes himself as an outstanding coach. Among his biggest upsets were the Dukes' wins at Lafayette College (1999), at the Virginia Military Institute (2000), versus Lafayette (2000), vs. VMI (2001), vs. Bucknell University (2002), vs. Lafayette (2002) and at the College of the Holy Cross (2004).
  Some followers of Duquesne Football will point-out even more upsets, and some others will argue that some of these wins were not even upsets given how good Duquesne was in these seasons. Well, credit that to Gattuso as well.
  The Dukes were remarkably consistent at their level of play during Gattuso's tenure as well. Never mind the upsets for a minute. Duquesne won eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championships under Gattuso from 1995-2004, including six straight from 1999-2004. Amazingly, the team won 33 straight MAAC games during that run.
  The ability to avoid an upset loss in the conference during a six-year span like this is incredible and speaks volumes to the quality of head coach that Gattuso was at Duquesne.
  Throw in a 2003 NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major national championship, a runner-up finish to that championship in 2002 after an 11-0 regular season, a 10-0 regular season in 1996, two ECAC Bowl victories (1995 and 2003) and a school-record 19-game winning streak from 1995-1996 and you are very hard-pressed to keep Gattuso out of the top three in this countdown, especially given that Gattuso took over the Dukes in 1993 in their first year of I-AA football.

(Image: Greg Gattuso with the Duquesne University Football Team, Copyright Duquesne University)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

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

Dan McCann, Football - Although his greatest coaching accomplishments at Duquesne University came as the head of a club football program, "The Big Guy" Dan McCann belongs no lower than this spot on a countdown of Duquesne's greatest coaches.
  McCann was hired to lead Dukes Football beginning with the 1970 season -- shortly after a group of Duquesne students (led by student Sam Costanzo) put together a collection of Duquesne gridders in 1969.
  The school had not fielded a football team since the sport made a minor comeback at Duquesne (1947-1950) after its World War II hiatus.
  McCann wasted little time with his group of dedicated student-athletes, quickly turning the program into a serious contender for the National Club Football Association (NCFA) championship. In just his first year at the helm (1970), McCann landed Duquesne a No. 15 national ranking at its club level and even used his Pittsburgh-area connections to start grabbing the Dukes a few home games at prestigious Three Rivers Stadium.
  In fact, it was at Three Rivers that McCann and the Dukes -- fresh off of 7-1-0 and No. 3-ranked season in 1972, capped an undefeated and untied 1973 season (10-0-0) with a 13-7 win over Mattatuck Community College in the NCFA title game. The 1973 Dukes have since been inducted into the Duquesne Athletics Hall of Fame.
  Far from done, McCann coached Dukes Football to four more top-seven rankings from 1974-1978, including a runner-up finish at the NCFA title game in 1977.
  In 1979, McCann oversaw Duquesne's venture into varsity football at the NCAA Division III level. He stuck around until 1983 before handing over head coaching duties to one of his former players in 1984 -- Terry Russell.
  But McCann did eventually come back, head coaching the team again from 1988-1992, long enough to finish his career at Duquesne with 91 wins, which stood as a record until 1993 replacement Greg Gattuso broke the mark in 2004.
  It was indeed 1993 -- the end of the second McCann term -- that Duquesne moved up another level of college football, this time to NCAA Division I-AA.
  Neither that move, nor Duquesne's current move into I-AA scholarship football in 2008, would ever be possible without Sam Costanzo and the 1960s-1970s club football Dukes... and of course, their leader Dan McCann.

(Image: Duquesne University 1992 Football Media Guide, Copyright Duquesne University)

Friday, January 4, 2008

*OPINION PIECE* Duquesne Can Say Aloha to More High-Profile Recruits

  Bruce Hocker is going to the Hula Bowl.
  And seriously, he might be selected in the NFL Draft.
  Some followers of Duquesne Football have been pessimistic about the future of the program after a disappointing 2007 season, but Hocker's invitation and acceptance to play in one of the best showcases of college football talent in the country gives the Dukes a much-needed recruiting edge heading into scholarship football in 2008.
  The effects of Duquesne alumnus Leigh Bodden's success in the NFL have not yet worn off, but coupling that success with having an athlete compete in the Hula Bowl is something that Duquesne coaches will undoubtedly throw at potential recruits.
  Imagine if Hocker gets drafted. Don't rule it out.
  And if he does, you can rule in about eight to 10 years at least of more unbelievable recruiting for Dukes Football.

(Image: Bruce Hocker, Copyright Duquesne University)