January 7th, 2012
12:49 PM - Game day has arrived in Miami! Kick-off between Notre Dame and Alabama is a little over seven hours away and fans have already been tailgating in the vicinity of Sun Life Stadium since late last night. Final preparations are being made on our end, uploading video and other content for tonight's live half-hour special "Perfectly Irish" which begins at 7 PM.
The special will have a definite Fort Wayne feel to it, with spotlights on Tyler Eifert, John Goodman and Tony Springmann - all Bishop Dwenger graduates. We'll also hear from both Brian Kelly and Nick Saban as well as their players who will help break down all the X's and O's for you.
We're going to keep this short as we prepare to head over to Sun Life Stadium, but its sure to be an exciting night - we hope you'll tune in!
January 6th, 2012
11:39 PM - My apologies for the lack of updates (on here at least) today. Combine a 5 AM wake-up call for the final coach's press conference with a lengthy trip to Miami Beach for a sit-down interview with John Goodman's parents and you're left with little time for blogging. There's also all of the content we're hard at work putting together for Monday night's "Perfectly Irish" special which will be well worth the wait.
But I digress.
As I said, today was the final media session with Brian Kelly and Nick Saban before kickoff and I'd like to share a couple of brief - but hopefully interesting - observations.
Kelly is very much at ease in the media firestorm that is BCS Championship Week. I'm sure three years as the head coach of the Irish is great practice for this, but for a man playing for his first national title, Kelly looks right at home. He's calm, collected and authoritarian without being condescending. It's a fine line to walk, but the Notre Dame coach pulls it off impressively.
My note on Saban is less about presentation and more about creation. When asked about his relationship with his father, the Alabama coach regaled the dozens of reporters with his days working at his father's gas station as a child. These were the days when a full service station meant the windows and car exterior were washed by hand, the gas pumped and the oil checked - no small task for a kid. Despite his age, Saban says he was held to a standard of perfection by his father: spotless windows, no streaks left behind on the cars hood, perfection. You see where this is going. A man with three national championships to his name credits his perfectionist approach in football to his days of working for his father at the gas station. A simple story? Perhaps - but the genesis of a fiercely driven man is always worth mulling over.
January 5th, 2012
9:34 PM - Media days at major sporting events - ala the BCS National Championship Game - are a lot like the first day of school. There's a lot of sizing up of your peers, internal assessment, confirmation or refuting of assumed truths and then its time to get to work.
For reporters - or maybe its just me - the opportunity to meet and greet others in your field, or simply watch them in their element is always a source of fascination for me. Then there's the "star factor". Events like Monday's Notre Dame/Alabama match-up draw the big timers: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, etc. Seeing people like Reece Davis (ESPN anchor) or Liam McHugh (NBC Sports anchor/Notre Dame football host) is a somewhat bizarre experience simply because you've seen them so many times on television and then suddenly - there they are in the flesh. After all, at the end of the day I'm a sports fan just like anyone else, it's kind of cool seeing these people up close.
Then just as the awkward stand around becomes that - an awkward stand around - the players are ushered out in droves and the work begins. To describe an event like this for reporters like myself, think bumblebee in a petunia patch - a little from column A, a little from column B. It's an hour of crossing items off your checklist, bouncing from media scrum to media scrum, attempting to glean the quotes and bites that you need from the players that you need to speak to. Essentially - it's controlled chaos.
With that said though, sometimes the chips fall in your favor, such as was the case today. We (myself and my fearless photographer J.R. Carmichael) managed to spend five solid minutes each one-on-one with Bishop Dwenger grads and Fort Wayne natives Tyler Eifert, John Goodman and Tony Springmann and that makes it all the worthwhile. Naturally, we'll have plenty from those three to look forward to in the coming days, specifically in our live half hour special "Perfectly Irish" airing Monday night at 7. That's all for now - be sure to tune in at 11 for more live coverage from Miami and keeping checking back on wane.com. Tomorrow will be heavy on the coaches as Brian Kelly and Nick Saban will address the media for the final time before Monday night.
4:13 PM - Media day at the BCS Championship game concluded a few hours ago and NewsChannel 15 Sports
had the chance to speak with a slew of Notre Dame and Alabama players throughout the morning. The one certainty to take away from it all - both teams are very relaxed.
For the Tide - this isn't surprising. The senior class at Alabama has the opportunity to claim a third national championship in four seasons - we're talking all-time dynasty at this point. But for Notre Dame, the relaxed atmosphere surrounding their one hour session with the media this morning is a testament to not only how confident they are in their abilities, but the job Brian Kelly has done instilling confidence in his team. The Irish were so laid back today, they even broke out a special edition of trick-shot Monday with ESPN reporter Samantha Steele - attempting to bounce a ping pong ball off the BCS National Championship trophy into a standard sized plastic cup of water. Priceless entertainment.
Bishop Dwenger fans will be happy (or unhappy perhaps) to know that Tyler Eifert is very high on the Alabama defenses' watch list. In fact, based on the players I spoke with this morning, only quarterback Everett Golson is more cause for concern on the Tide's sideline. Senior defensive tackle Damion Yates put it bluntly, "We understand how great of a player he is. We understand the kinds of situations [the Notre Dame coaches] are trying to put him in to create mismatches for linebackers and stuff like that. Of course we're going to have to focus in on that guy."
I'll delve more into media day a little bit later - for the time being I'm working on content you'll see live tonight at 6 and 11 only on WANE-TV in addition to uploading raw interviews that can be seen right here on wane.com.
January 4th, 2012
9:27 PM - Day one of fun in the sun is in the books here in Miami, but the work is just beginning for the NewsChannel 15 Sports Team. We arrived in Florida shortly after 10 a.m. in West Palm Beach and spent much of the afternoon picking up credentials, checking into hotels and arranging our schedule for the next several days that will be packed with preparation for Monday's BCS National Championship.
But while our interaction with players and coaches doesn't begin until Saturday morning's media day, our interaction with fans began almost as soon as we began our trip. There was no shortage of Notre Dame attire on our flights to the Sunshine state - but we really hit it big upon checking into our hotel.
J.R. Carmichael - our photographer extraordinaire - was wearing one of his many Notre Dane t-shirts and this one happened to catch the attention of passerby Tony Matula. We expected the standard small talk about "the big game" - but it quickly turned into a great story. Tony is a native of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, he's lived there his entire life and cheered on the Irish his entire life. The same goes for Tony's friends, all eight of them, who happened to be on a once-in-a-lifetime trip in a house just blocks away from our hotel.
It turns out the entire group - all friends and family - decided almost immediately after Notre Dame defeated USC to clinch a spot in the BCS National Championship Game - they were going to be there. So they all took off time from work, found a house for the week and are reveling in the glow of renaissance season from the Golden Domers.
There's more to the story - but I don't want to give away all the details just yet! We'll have the entire story on WANE-TV this Sunday in both the morning show and at 11.
I will say that there will be much, much more coming on this blog starting tomorrow with media day. We'll have photos, extended interviews and of course live reports on the news - so stay tuned!
Each year, students at Taylor University attend a men's basketball game and are completely silent until the Trojans score their 10th point of the game. The game is known as "Silent Night."
There will be several holiday-themed events this weekend in the Fort Wayne area, including Christmas displays, children’s parties, visits from Santa Claus, and more.
Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at Indiana state facilities be flown at half-staff on Saturday, Dec. 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
A water main break has closed two lanes in the 1300-block of Lafayette Street, near Douglas Avenue.
A national campaign wants the NFL's Washington Redskins to change its name to not be offensive to Native Americans, and it could effect teams across the country.
The Lilly Endowment Inc. has given more than $62 million to 39 Indiana colleges and universities to increase employment opportunities for college graduates. receive
A two-car crash tied up traffic for a short time on Illinois Road at the entrance to Jefferson Pointe.
It's been a year since FBI agents and police raided several homes in Fort Wayne. The center of the investigation was Michael Fabini's home.
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not toxic to humans or pets. Some mild side effects are possible if they are eaten.
A Fort Wayne man had the opportunity to have lunch with Nelson Mandela 20 years ago. He says the experience is something he has carried with him throughout the years.
The suspects face bank robbing charges, as well as charges of assaulting and putting in jeopardy the lives of others.
The yellow brick building that served for decades as the club house for the Elks Lodge 155 golf course in Fort Wayne is being demolished.
Buffalo Wild Wings donated $6,500 to the Boys & Girls Club's Fairfield location on Friday afternoon. The money will be used for youth sports tournaments.
A new event promises 12 days of delicious deals at Fort Wayne restaurants in January.
A woman arrested for shoplifting at a Fort Wayne Walmart identified herself as her husband's ex-wife when she was actually the man's current wife. The ex-wife then ended up getting arrested when the real wife failed to show up for court.