News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 19, 2011

Here’s rooting for some fictional sports characters

Tom Reck
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — With all these hot days, it’s nice to sit in one’s apartment where it is cooler — not air-conditioned but cooler — and watch some television.

We were free last Friday and got to watch what likely will be the final new chapter of Friday Night Lights, a program centered on Texas high school football but one that is more than another sports program.

This program centers around a coach, his wife and their family as well as the teams he has coached in the time the program has been on the air. The characters and stories all seem quite real and not made-up if that’s the proper word.

In the finale, East Dillon plays for a state championship in the Cotton Bowl and wins, but that’s almost secondary to other action in the 90-minute finale.

In the final 10 minutes, we know that the coach has decided finally to accept an offer to coach in college and we watch one of his first practices at his new job. We also know that daughter Julie has made the decision to marry her longtime boyfriend against her parents’ wishes because they’re both too young.

Since the program is ending unless some other network gives it new life, we won’t know what the future holds for any of them.

It was good to see that the program and the leading actor and actress, Kyle Hamilton and Connie Britton, have been nominated for Emmys. We’ll be rooting for them.

• Good play — Thomas Goss competed in his third major golf tournament of the season last week and had a top-50 finish in the Indiana Open.

Goss earned a spot in that event and in the Indiana Amateur by qualifying for both of them, then made the cut in both of them, which whittled the fields from about 180 to 75 or so.

The recent Terre Haute South graduate began the summer by leading the Braves to a ninth-place finish in the state, the Braves’ best finish since 2006. Goss will play college golf at Dayton.

Locally, play begins in the women’s city tournament on Friday at Hulman Links.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — South Vermillion is looking for a new football coach since Ron Whiteman has resigned to take a job in Tennessee.

Terry Eup and Brian Gilman are handling team coaching chores until a coach is hired.

• Chad Gilbert, who played one year of basketball at Indiana State before transferring to Southern Indiana, has been named the boys basketball coach at Jeffersonville. He replaces Tim LaGrange, who was named assistant principal.

Gilbert compiled a 220-43 record in 11 seasons as the girls basketball coach and the team won the Class 4A state title last season.

• Jim Les did not stay unemployed for long after being let go as men’s basketball coach at Bradley. He is the new coach at Cal-Davis.

His attorney has informed Bradley of a possible lawsuit over a dispute concerning money owed him by the school.

• With the seasons ended at other tracks, fields have picked up for thoroughbred racing at Ellis Park with racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Labor Day.

• Former Oklahoma and Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson has been hired by Kevin McHale to be on the Houston staff in the NBA.

• Ratings were apparently the lowest ever for the baseball all-star game last week.

• Bike riders made the Ride Across Indiana last week, starting in Terre Haute and finishing in Richmond. Brad Hayes of Brazil was the first participant to finish, completing 163 miles in 7 hours, six minutes and 12 seconds according to a race official.

• Former National Hockey League player Joe Sakic got rich in the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament concluded Sunday.

He got his first hole-in-one on the 17th hole at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Nevada to win $1 million. He said he used an 8-iron for the 167-yard shot.

 Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.