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)