News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

April 15, 2014

AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall

TERRE HAUTE — My email box is a little less busy now, and there’ll be a familiar face missing on basketball trips to Marshall in the future.

Carrol “Nellie” Bennett — truly a one-of-a-kind character — will be buried today.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet hundreds of “favorite” people in my job, but it’s no stretch to say that Coach was near the top of the list. He always had a twinkle in his eye, looking like he had a joke ready or a secret he was about to reveal, but opposing coaches learned he was a lot more than just good-natured.

I covered the Lions a couple of times during my first year at the Tribune-Star in 1971 and 1972 — the team that included his son Steve — but my favorite of his teams came about a year later. Fans in Marshall of a certain age no doubt remember that one with fondness themselves.

As much as I respect all the coaches I know today at every level — up to and certainly including the NBA — I still pine for the times when there wasn’t a stigma attached to simply wanting to outscore your opponent. With apologies to Coach, I’ll put it in Indiana terms — I’m more Branch McCracken than Bob Knight (big Jimmy Rayl fan back in the day).

Well, this early-1970s Marshall team was everything I could have hoped for — not that they were big enough to slow the game down against anybody anyway.

Most of you know Howie Johnson, and at 6-foot-2 and 150 pounds with rocks in his pockets, he was one of the Marshall big men. The other was 6-2 Tom York, while the remainder of the starting five — and I don’t remember the Lions going to the bench often — consisted of 5-10 Mike Volk, 5-10 Karl Prevo and 5-8 point guard Joe Ferris (if I spelled somebody’s name wrong, remember it’s been awhile).

York was good for 20 points a game with jumpers from the key, and Howie may have averaged 35 a game or so — from everywhere. They were fun with a capital F, and I saw them often enough (while also getting to eat banquet fried chicken at Tom’s Restaurant downtown and hitting the occasional pep session) that I got to know the key players, manager Brian Bloodworth and all of the cheerleaders.

They got through one round of tournament play and were playing Lawrenceville, coached by Ron Felling and including one of the Shidler brothers (two more very scary names for eastern Illinois fans of a certain age) for the sectional championship.

When the dust cleared after that one, the Lions had won (I seem to remember a 95-85 score, but it may have been higher than that) and Volk was the hero with 27 points, which was probably at least triple his average. I’ll never forget the first postgame quote.

“It’s funny how things work out,” Coach said with that sly grin of his. He knew how Felling was going to guard York and Howie, and he also knew that for the Indians to do that, they’d be leaving the short corner wide open. Volk practiced 10-foot baseline jumpers the week before the game, and may not have missed a one in the biggest game of his life.

As it turned out, that wasn’t the first team I got to cover at a state championship game, although that night I certainly thought they would be. But it was a fun ride, and one I’ve relived more than once with Coach in the 40 or so years since then. I would tell my old friend to rest in peace, but he’s probably stirring up something right now instead.

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Sports
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    July 31, 2014

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    Big Bjoern has certainly made his presence felt during the first week of training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. Bjoern Werner — the 6-foot-3, 257-pound second-year outside linebacker for the Colts— is being counted on to big a major force on the Indianapolis defense this season.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP202765859190.jpg Colts' Thomas leaves practice with lower-leg injury

    Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been trying to take a lighter approach to training camp practices this year in an effort to slow down the list of injuries that dogged his team a year ago.
    Pagano’s plans, though, haven’t been bearing fruit.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0731-ColtsCamp-Fleener-206.jpg Colts, Fleener focused on situational football

    One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes.
    The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field and the Colts’ 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: 'Fore the Kids' golf scramble Friday at Rea Park

    The Vigo County Education Foundation (VCEF) will host its 22nd annual “Fore the Kids” golf scramble Friday at Rea Park.
    The scamble will begin at 1 p.m., with lunch being served at noon. This year’s tournament chairperson is Dave Piker, a current board member for the VCEF.
    There will be 36 teams comprised of business people and community members as well as teachers, principals and administrators from the Vigo County School Corp.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tom Lindley column mug.jpg TOM LINDLEY: Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL’s image

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    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT 072914 ROSSELLI STEAL.jpg Sabo's 11th-inning double keeps Rex in first place

    Ryan Sabo, a Southern Illinois infielder, was one of several Terre Haute Rex players to come up short in RBI situations through nine innings, but he redeemed himself in the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-out double to center field to lift the Rex to a 2-1 victory over West Virginia.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • ISU football picked last in MVFC

    Indiana State’s football team found itself in familiar, if depressing, territory when the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll was released on Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Post 346 wins Legion state tournament opener

    Post 346 wins American Legion baseball state tournament opener

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT071614sprints clauson.jpg JOE BUCKLES: Clauson living up to lofty expectations

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    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Local Interest
SPT 072614 TOM JONES LEADER.jpg

Tribune-Star/Bob PoynterLeader: Tom Jones is leading going into Sunday's final round of the Men's City Championship at Hulman Links on Sunday.

High School
College
  • ISU football picked last in MVFC

    Indiana State’s football team found itself in familiar, if depressing, territory when the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll was released on Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Degano2.jpg Bullpen mates: Three relievers coming on strong down stretch for Rex

    The Terre Haute Rex pitching staff ranks fifth among the 12 teams in the Prospect League in earned-run average this season and first in the league with only four home runs allowed all summer. But the Rex pitchers might be the best in the league the past two weeks as the team has had two shutouts and two games with one run allowed in the past week.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prettyman wants ISU to be prepared for potential NCAA changes

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    July 26, 2014

  • ISU basketball trio earn national academic honors

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    July 23, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville

    Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

Sports Columns
Pro Sports
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Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, right, laughs with running back Chris Rainey during an NFL football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Terre Haute Rex
Colts
SPT-HB0731-ColtsCamp-Werner-319.jpg

Don Knight | The Herald BulletinFrom left, Bjoern Werner and Anthony Castonzo face off during Colts Camp on Wednesday. For a gallery of photos to view or purchase, visit photos.heraldbulletin.com.

Auto Racing
SPT071614sprints clauson.jpg

Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Waiting: Bryan Clauson sits in his sprint car, waiting his turn to qualify at the Terre Haute Action Track for the Don Smith Classic.

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