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Vol. 44, No. 4 • May 2007 • .pdf version
Shatel made the most of being there at the right time
By DICK JERARDI / Philadelphia Daily News
In between listening to the annual Final Four coaching rumor mill, marveling at how perfectly the Florida team's parts fit together and wondering how Margaret Mitchell got it all so right with "Gone With The Wind" (written in a well-preserved house not all that far from the Georgia Dome), there was time to attend to USBWA business in Atlanta.
Over the weekend, I was counting down the hours for president Tom Shatel before Andy Katz took over. Whenever I would see him (which was often), I would give him an update. It wasn't because any of us wanted his tenure to end, but just something for laughs. Tom said he was looking forward to his time being over which, given all that was accomplished in his year and how much work went into it, sort of made sense.
When the NCAA, specifically Greg Shaheen and Dave Worlock, told us at the 2006 Final Four how much they wanted to work with us, it was up to us to make it happen. Overcoming skepticism from some members, Tom just went to work. And he made it happen.
From the St. Louis meeting with the committee to the February mock bracket session in Indianapolis to the sometimes tedious discussions about wireless, Tom was right there as our advocate. He simply wanted to do the right thing by our members. And he did it.
Are there still issues? Absolutely.
Is there now a clear line of communication to address those issues? Absolutely.
At a Saturday morning meeting with several members of the committee, Shaheen and Worlock, Shaheen spoke about reducing the costs of wireless for USBWA members. When it was suggested at that meeting that we find a way a better way to get access to all the starters for each of the four teams on the Friday before the semifinals, we worked out a solution with Worlock that should solve the Greg Oden situation in the future.
Oden was not brought to the main news conference and was then surrounded near his locker by dozens of people. Few could hear him. Fewer could see him.
In the future, each team will continue to be represented by two players and a coach at the Friday news conference. The starters not on the podium will be brought to breakout rooms that are already used Sunday. The other players will be available in the locker rooms. It took us several minutes of back and forth to arrive at a solution that should work to everybody's advantage.
Andy is now in charge. In San Antonio, at the 2008 Final Four, I will get the gavel. Tom's time is up, but, as we strive to make our relationship with the NCAA even better, we all need to thank Tom who was there for us when Greg and Dave said they wanted to find a way for us to better do our jobs and then followed through all the way until the moment I ended the countdown for him.
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