Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Zakos Earned The Job

The Fond du Lac boys basketball team ended their season last night in the Regional Semifinals at rival Sheboygan North 73-69. Fondy season ended at a dissapointing 6-15 but Cardinal head coach Adam Zakos did enough to have the "interim" tag taken off of his title. With Cardinal coach Dick Diener retiring last summer, the former Cardinal star and Division Three All-American was promoted from the JV head coaching post to the Varsity coach on an "Interim" basis. At the time the school district said they would give coach Zakos the job an an interim basis and then do a more extensive search after this year was over. We'll this year is over for the Cards, but the search should be short. Yes, the record wasn't great this year, but from my perspective, Coach Zakos proved he is the man for the job.

Here are my reasons why it's a no-brainer to rip that interim tag of Coach Zakos' title.

1. The team got better as the season went on. If you saw this team early in the year, it was not pretty. There seemed to be no chemistry and it just seemed like something was missing, but as the season went on things go better. Down the stretch they were in many games that they probably should have won, but couldn't get over the hump. Oshkosh North laid a 30 point loss on Fondy in the FVA opener and Appleton West spanked the Cards by 31 points during the first half of the season, but Fond du Lac rebounded to beat those teams the 2nd time around.

2. The team lost a pair of players during the season that would have helped down the stretch. Senior Ben Anderson went out early in the season after knee surgery and 6'7 Nelson Pickart was lost in January with a foot injury. Anderson was a veteran to the varsity with a pretty good mid-range jumper and a leader. On a team that wasn't exactly blessed with "basketball smarts" Anderson could have added one more piece that understood the game, game situations and has been through the battles of the FVA before. As for Pickart, this was going to be a season where he kinda felt his way through Varsity basketball and next year I would have expected to see a pretty good post player for the Cards. The injury may have set that back a bit, but if Nelson works hard during the summer, he'll be a decent post player in the FVA. You saw flashes from Pickart who showed signs of what could come in the future. With more time on the floor, and he can just react and not have to think, he'll be fine.

3. Off the court, Coach Zakos was as good as it gets. His weekly newspaper column in The Reporter was fabulous. Coach Zakos delivered some interesting insight to Fondy basketball and also a few funny stories that put the program in a positive light. From what I have been told he was always available for many booster club functions and meetings to add any help he could. He is also great to the media as well, he has always been very cooperative and forthcoming with his thoughts.

4. Coach Zakos bleeds Cardinal red. There is no other person that could be hired that understands what Fondy basketball is all about. Adam is a Fond du Lac Cardinal and knows what it means to put on that jersey. It's an honor to be a Fondy Cardinal. Sometimes these days I think players don't understand how lucky they are to play for a program that was built on blood, sweat, and tears. The great teams of the past were built with hard work in the offseason and during the regular season...something I don't think that is understood by some. You won't be good by just putting on the uniform. You have to put in the time during the summer. Not just playing AAU, but working on your game and getting better every day.

5. This Fondy team will be better next year under Coach Zakos. Fondy brings back two really good players in Eddie Gilgenbach and Nick Ford. Gilgenbach led the FVA in scoring this year and should return as an First Team All-FVA Player and be in contention for FVA Player of the Year. Point Guard Nick Ford is just a sophomore this season and will be even better as a junior. I'm excited to watch Ford run the show for two more seasons. Preston Thompson has shown flashes as well of being a decent varsity player as well, and hopefully another year of development will help him. Sam Munson will be back in 07-08. Munson could be the most athletic player in the FVA. For a guy that stands 6'0 he plays like he's 6'5 and it's always good to see a guy throw down a two-handed dunk. Add to the mix a healthy Nelson Pickart, a more experienced Jeremy Meyer and and Fondy will be better in the paint. Also adding a few players from the JV team should help the back end of Fondy's bench and make practices a bit more competive. Having a group of guys that bust it in practice against the Varsity can play a big role on game night, even if the fans don't see it. My broadcast partner Bob Hoffmaster pointed out that Neenah was a team that won just 8 regular season games last and this year they are the #2 seed in the Sectional. That could be Fondy next year.

Again, to me it's a no-brainer. Adam Zakos should be named the full time boys varsity basketball coach today at Fond du Lac High School. You don't need a committee to talk about it, you don't need to post the job. Just write up the press release, send it out and take that "Interim" tag off of his title.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Who is this guy with MY NAME?!?!?!?

Google and youtube could very well be the greatest invention of all time. You can always waste a ton of time finding weird things. It's always fun to hit the "Google Image" section and just type stuff. Well the other day, I decided to "google" my name in the image section just to find out if any past skeletons are following out of my closet in cyberspace. I found nothing but the picture you see in this post of ANOTHER WADE BATES...who according to the picture is having "Way To Much Fun in Jame's Class." according to the picture's column.

First of all, how dare someone have the same name as me! I'm thinking about going down to the copyright office of the U.S. Goverment and maybe getting him to change it! And also, how can he be having so much fun at a seminar or something at a hotel banquet hall room. This James person, must be a real hum-dinger!!!

Anyways, with my new found alter personality, we decided to take a peak at my other co-workers in the KFIZ Sports Department and found out that Justin Hull is also a hockey ref and a college golfer. Bob well, himself, as a picture with him and former KFIZ Sports man Chuck Friemund interviewing Brewer manager Ned Yost is all we found.

If you have some time to burn, and I know you do because you are reading a google image search on yourself and reply to this post with what you found!

And to THE OTHER WADE BATES...If you are out there...drop me a line and remember you have a big standard to live up carrying the burden of sharing MY NAME!

I'll see you on the radio!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Logo...Not A New Nickname at Waupun

Waupun High School will have a new logo this fall. Their school board on Monday night approved a design put together by students and staff. District Business Manager Bill Zeininger says they abandoned using a Native American figure some years ago. The new logo features a helmeted knight in reference to the school's "Warriors" nickname. Zeininger says they will be working in the new logo gradually. He says Waupun's "W" logo has served them well, but didn't give them the same identity as the logo the school once used.

I think the Waupun School District did it right. In the day of being politically correct you are seeing schools totally dump nicknames with Native American in respect to their culture. I'm 100% fine with that, but there are always was to satisfy both sides and I think Waupun did that. They eliminated the insenstive part of their school's nickname but didn't get rid of their years of tradition by changing their name to some other generic name like "Wildcats."
The new logo looks sharp and will look good on T-shirts and other school related items and give Waupun an image that will make them proud.

They are still the Warriors, but in a different context. My high school growing up was the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Red Raiders. Our logo was a WR with an arrow through it. I think it was in the mid-90s they removed the arrows and kept the nickname and the basic logo. Back in the 1980s they had the Indian Chief that did the "War Dance" before every game. That went by the way of Illinois Chief Illiniwek, which will be retired this week.

If a team has to change their logo/nickname in order to fall in line to the "PC" world I totally understand these days...Indians....Tomahawks...Braves, etc are tough to find a compromise on and new nicknames probably are the direction they are going.
Names like Raiders, Warriors, even Blackhawks could find some compromise in my book.
Let's just hope schools don't choose "The Gold" as their new nickname....we've been down that road before at Marquette.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Local Athlete in SI's "Faces In The Crowd!!"

Jim Dilling
FOND DU LAC, WIS. > Track and Field
Dilling, a senior high jumper at Minnesota State, cleared 7'4 1/2" to break his Myers Field House facility record. He was named North Central Conference men's indoor field athlete of the week for the fourth straight time. The 2006 NCAA Division II indoor champion has the season's No. 1 jump at 7'6 1/2".

Fond du Lac native Jim Dilling is in the February 19th Edition of Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" section! It's the issue with Texas' Kevin Durant on the cover....Congrats Jim!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Been A While...

OK, I know it's been forever since I've posted something here and I'm sorry for that, and I promise to be here more regularly with fresh posts on the prep season and whatever from now now.

Here are a couple of quick hitters from the prep scene

1. Congratulations to WLA head girls basketball coach Kris Clausnitzer. She picked up career win #300 on Tuesday night with the Vikings win over Winneconne. In this day and age it seems like coaches can't hang in there long enough to reach such a milestone. Coach Clausnitzer is one that has "survived" the challenges of coaching this day and age.

2. It was good to catch up a bit with Waupun head boys coach Lucky Wurtz last Friday night when the Warrior took on WLA. Lucky is a good guy and a great coach. We don't get to cross paths as much any more since he moved from Laconia to Waupun. Lucky's team looks primed to make a run in the tournament that starts in a few weeks.

3. Give it up for the Fondy boys basketball team. For the 2nd time this year, they avenged a 30 point loss. Appleton West destroyed the Cards 75-44 back in early January and last night, the Cardinals picked up a 50-49 win. Fondy was very patient and forced West out of their zone defense by getting layups and open looks. Lets hope the Cardinals can use that win to get some momentum in the final two regular seasons games before the post season starts.

4. Back to football for a bit, Coach Koz at Fondy High let me know a few of his players are going to play football at the next level...forgive me if I forgot someone. He tells me that receiver Kyle Senn will go to Northern Michigan. Josh Korb will try out for UW-LaCrosse and Paul Shaver will attempt to play at UW-Oshkosh. If you know of anyone else in the area that is playing at the college level, please let me know.

5. Finally, I love goodies! It's starting to become a tradition at the game we are broadcasting that some nice people (You know who you are!) have decided to bring me some cookies or other bakery items! I really do appreciate does my stomach. Thank you so's very unneccessary......but if it continues...I'm not one to complain!

OK...again...I'll be back on a more regular basis!