Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chuck Denny, 1934 – 2006

The Missouri basketball program lost one of its own this past Thursday when Chuck Denny succumbed to ALS at the age of 71. More details can be found here.

Denny arrived at the University of Missouri from Fayette, Mo., as an ungainly six-foot-six center, and he bided his time on the bench behind the great Bob Reiter until his senior year of 1955-56. By then, he had blossomed into a rugged inside presence who would anchor the middle for a team built around perimeter stars Norm Stewart and Lionel Smith. Denny’s career highlights included a 23-point performance in an 85-78 victory at Kansas on February 6, 1956 (the Jayhawks’ first-ever loss at Allen Field House), and a 20-rebound effort four weeks later in a triumph over Kansas State. He closed his career with 23 points in a victory over Nebraska as Mizzou took second place in the Big Seven standings.

The condolences, thoughts and prayers of many Tiger fans are with the family of one of Mizzou’s true sons.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Meet Mike Anderson (and me) in KC

The Kansas City Chapter of the MU Alumni Association holds its annual picnic and auction this Friday, August 25, at the Pavilion at John Knox Village in Lee's Summit. Mizzou head basketball coach Mike Anderson will be among the honored guests, and I'll be there signing copies of True Sons. Always a great event, this year's auction includes several autographed pieces of Missouri basketball, Missouri football and Kansas City Chiefs memorabilia, plus a wide array of other items, from a one-week stay at a Hilton Head condo to the entire sixth season of MacGyver on DVD (and who wouldn't want that?).

Friday, August 18, 2006

If this guy likes the book . . .

"When I was reading this account that has been well documented, it became apparent to me – that even with my age, historical knowledge, and close contact with the Missouri program for 53 years – that the book brings out historical facts, individual situations, and games that I found interesting, amusing, and educational. For instance, did you know that Missouri was judged to be the best team in the country in the days before the national championship was decided by a tournament? . . . The first twenty years gave me more insight into the history of Missouri basketball. From the ’26 period on, it was a renewal of names that I had the good fortune to know. Not just at Missouri, but at the other institutions. Some of those faces I still see and am fortunate enough to have a cup of coffee with on a regular basis. I must admit that with all the enjoyment and appreciation I left a tear on some of the pages."

Norm Stewart, from the foreword to True Sons, A Century of Missouri Tigers Basketball.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

True Sons in Borders Bookstores

I'm pleased to announce that True Sons will be available at Borders Bookstores in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield within the next few days. Central Missouri Tiger fans can already find the book in Columbia at University Bookstore, the Tiger Team Store, the Ninth Street Bookstore and the Missouri Shirt Company, and at the Downtown Book and Toy Store in Jefferson City.

For Kansas City-area Tigers, we'll have the book for sale on Friday, August 25 at the annual picnic and auction of the Kansas City Chapter of the MU Alumni Association. As always, the Master of Ceremonies will by KMBC-TV's Larry Moore, and Tigers head coach Mike Anderson will be there, too. I'll be signing books, and I hope to meet some of you there.

Or you can buy online.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It’s S against the world

After wandering through the alpha-numeric maze of the top 100 players and Mizzou A to Z, I began contemplating how dominant the letter S has been in Missouri’s basketball history. Coaches Stewart (634 wins), Stalcup (195) and Snyder (126) have combined for 76% of the program’s 1,392 total victories, and the Tigers’ six retired jerseys – Stauffer, Stewart, Smith, Stipanovich, Sundvold and Smith – make for an alliterative alliance of All-Americans. Number nineteen in the alphabet, number one in your hearts.

So here’s the unanswerable theoretical question of the day: If I form a team of Mizzou’s past players whose surnames start with S (at the peaks of their careers), and I give you everyone else, who wins a mythical game?

Here’s my starting five: Willie Smith and Jon Sundvold (guards), Norm Stewart and Doug Smith (forwards), and Steve Stipanovich (center). Here’s yours: Melvin Booker and Anthony Peeler (guards), Derrick Chievous and John Brown (forwards), and Arthur Johnson (center). My team’s starters were ever-so-slightly more decorated during their playing days, but your team has the advantage off the bench, with the likes of Ricky Frazier, Al Eberhard, Kim Anderson and Larry Drew. We’re playing one game for all of history’s marbles. Who wins?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

True Sons is out!

It’s my pleasure to report that True Sons, A Century of Missouri Tigers Basketball is out and available for purchase. True Sons recounts the full history of the program, from the formation of the first team in 1906, to the hiring of coach Mike Anderson 100 years later.

Visually, the book is spectacular, which I can say without a trace of immodesty. The credit goes to the editorial and design team of Kathy Sheridan, Lynn Parrott and Scott Rule, who laid out and beautifully reproduced over 300 photos spanning the full century of Mizzou hoops. In the course of writing the book, I collected similar histories of some of the top programs in the country, and none can compare with the look of True Sons.

For those who preordered the book, shipping should start immediately (for those who ordered copies signed by Norm Stewart, those will be shipped as soon as the coach can sign them). It will also be available in the coming days (if not already) at the University Bookstore, the Tiger Team Store and the Ninth Street Bookstore in Columbia, and the Downtown Book and Toy Store in Jefferson City. We anticipate having the book in selected stores around the state in the coming weeks, and I’ll have details as they’re available. We’ll also sell the book at special events (like the alumni association Kansas City chapter’s annual picnic and auction on August 25) and at home football and basketball games throughout the year. For now, though, the easiest way to order is to buy online.