News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 10, 2012

RAMBLIN' RECK: A fresh round of predictions as the NFL dwindles to 8

Tom Reck
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — More National Foootball League playoff games are slated this weekend, with the number of postseason teams down to eight following an interesting weekend of wild-card action.

Denver’s overtime victory over Pittsburgh was the biggie, of course, with Tim Tebow continuing his magic. He just wins.

Drew Brees does the same with New Orleans and he has more help than Tebow. The Saints are looking good as are the New York Giants, with Eli Manning keying the offense and the defense holding Atlanta to two points.

Houston won its first playoff game ever and looked good doing it. Here’s how we see the games this week:

New Orleans at San Francisco — The 49ers play good defense and Jim Harbaugh has done a great job in his first season but we think the Saints will get the job done.

New York Giants at Green Bay — The Giants had the Packers beat during the season only to lose in the final seconds. Look for the Pack to begin postseason play on a winning note.

Denver at New England — Tom Brady and the Patriots will be too tough for Tebow and the Broncos, duplicating last month’s victory.

Houston at Baltimore — The Ravens have had a chance to rest and should win this one.

We’ll see as the road to Indy continues.

• Good men — Two coaches well known to old-timers in the area died last week.

Tom Mont was the football coach at DePauw from 1959 to 1976 and served as athletic director from 1972 to 1987. He was a top quarterback at Maryland and coached there and also coached in the pros for a time.

He not only was a good coach but a great speaker.

Gene Bartow had a career mark of 647-353 in college men’s basketball. He was the coach at Valparaiso when the Crusaders competed in the old Indiana Collegiate Conference.

He also coached at Illinois and Alabama-Birmingham and took Memphis State to the NCAA Final Four, losing in the championship game to UCLA. He also was the coach who succeeded John Wooden at UCLA — an impossible task most will admit, but he had a 52-9 mark with the Bruins.

Final respects were paid two men in the area last week.

Dan Shields was a fellow empoyee at the Tribune-Star, working in the mail room for a long time and tending bar at Archie’s on Friday nights.

He loved his Green Bay Packers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and he was a big fan of IndyCar Series racing, often leaving work on a Friday or Saturday night to drive to Chicago or some track in the Midwest to watch races.

He was a member of the “Yellow Shirt” safety patrol at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than 30 years and was a member of the The Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club.

Tim “Ooch” Waldrop and his brother “Cheeker” were two of the men who helped run the Spaghetti Open at Clinton’s Matthews Park each year. They made sure we got information for the newspaper and saved a spot for us at the banquet if we wanted to attend.

Tim was the first wrestler from South Vermillion High School to qualify for the state finals in the sport. Son Tanner now wrestles for the Wildcats and earned individual honors in a big match last week.

Condolences go to the families of Dan and Tim.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — Carroll “Nellie” Bennett, former boys basketball coach at Marshall, Ill., returned home last week after spending some time at Union Hospital, undergoing heart surgery with the rehab that folllowed.

• Ellis Park opened for simulcast action last week and Instant Racing machines should be installed in the spring at the track located between Evansville and Henderson, Ky.

• Warren Central football coach John Hart was on the staff for the All-American Bowl for prep football players last week.

• Ratings for the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game were out of sight for Sunday Night Football on Jan. 1.

• NFL Awards will be presented the night before the Super Bowl at the Murat Theater in Indy. NBC will air the show and Alec Baldwin will be the host.

• Attendance was down at many of the college bowl games. There may be too much of a good thing.

• Former Indiana Hoosier Keith Smart was let go after one season as the coach at Golden State in the NBA but has signed a new contract to coach Sacramento after Paul Westphal was let go as coach after the first week.

And Ken McDonald was fired as men’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky after a 5-11 start.

• Doug McDermott scored 44 points for Creighton at Bradley last week. It was the most points scored by a Missouri Valley Conference player since Nate Green had 45 for Indiana State against Eastern Illinois in 1999.


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.