Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My -30- Column

I'm not sure what "fifth-yeah" senior means, and I have no clue what a "tenur" is. But don't blame me. I don't write the headlines. This is my goodbye letter to the Texan and my readers, who are legion.

Fifth-yeah senior finally leaves after controversial tenur

By: Ryan Killian

Posted: 4/30/08

In the typewritten days of the newspaper industry, "-30-" denoted the end of a story. A -30- column gives graduating seniors an opportunity to reflect and speak their minds.

My byline appeared in The Daily Texan for the first time on Feb. 20, 2004.

Damn, I've been here awhile.

But I guess I've overstayed my welcome, because they told me to write one of these here 30 columns.

I came to the Texan with one goal: Get hired. Turns out that's really easy. So then I came up with a new goal: Cover Texas football. That one took awhile.

By the time it was all over, I covered football twice, men's and women's basketball and a slew of other sports. I covered a baseball Super Regional in Oxford, Miss., and a Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Along the way, I learned a lot of things. For example: If Ricky Treon tells you to pull over the van because he feels sick, don't ask questions or even check your blind spot. Pull the damn thing over and let him out. If you fail to react in time, take heart; the canned air sanitizer is still in the van.

Projectile vomiting aside, traveling around Big 12 country (and beyond) was always my favorite part of covering sports for the Texan. I've been to Manhattan, Kansas City, Lawrence, Lincoln, Ames, San Diego, Stillwater, OKC and Oxford.

I saw Ryan Bailey kick a game-winning field goal at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium. I sat under the basket as Kevin Durant scored 25 points in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse - and when Bill Self and his Jayhawks cut down the nets 20 basketball minutes later to celebrate a Big 12 regular season title.

Excuse the cliché, but who could ask for anything more?

Plus, I learned a lot along the way (though, avoiding clichés apparently hasn't stuck). One of the first things I learned was not to root for Texas while on the job. Truth be told, that part came easy. That doesn't mean my fanhood died though. I have not graduated to some higher level of sports awareness.

If I ever do, it'll be time to find a new job.

I decided to be a journalism major because my mom one time told me I could write well. Plus, I knew I loved sports. Sports + writing = sportswriting.

I suck at math, but even I could figure that much out.

(Another nice thing about journalism: I only had to take one math class. C's get degrees.)

If this missive is going to have any value, I suppose I should offer some unrequested advice to all you undergrads out there. Believe me kids, I'm an expert, so perk up.

You're in college. Pass your classes. Have fun.

That's all there is to it.

I've never heard anyone mention his or her grades or studying as they discussed their fondest memories of college life. Personally, mine involve regular

spur-of-the-moment trips to Waco and Denton.

You learn a lot more about what's important to you while spending time with your friends and doing things that would horrify your parents than you ever will in a classroom.

Another thing: Get real-life experience (or something approximating it) in your chosen field. Graduating with an empty resume and a good GPA doesn't say much. Plus, you'll figure out if you even enjoy what it is you're preparing to do for the rest of your life.

I got lucky. I love this sportswriting stuff.

But enough about me. Let's get to the fun stuff.

In which Ryan lets people know how he really feels about them.

Mom and Dad: How many parents can say they graduated three kids from three state universities in one semester? Sure, one of those kids went to Texas A&M, but that's not your fault. Thanks for everything.

Stacy, Eric, Nikki, Alex: I'm going to have to leaf through a book of meaningless platitudes, so I can find something appropriate to say. Hold please … here we go, Halle Berry 2002 Oscar speech to the rescue: "Thank you. I'm so honored. I'm so honored. ... Thank you. … But more importantly you've loved me when I've been down. … And I love you very much. ... Thank you so much for being my mentors and believing in me."

Well that didn't quite fit, but close enough. And it was fun.

In order of appearance - Eric (again), Matt, Ryan A., Daniel, Lance, Lonnie, Shane: I could write a whole 30 column to you bastards. It would read like a love letter. Now let's all move to DFW, get real jobs, have real lives and never grow up.

The rest of my shoutouts have been arranged at random - the process involved lots of rolling dice and flipping coins. So, don't try to use the order to determine a hierarchy. (Or am I the only person that does things like that?)

David H., Colby W., Blake H., Michael S.: I look at you, and I see the future. Don't foul it up any worse than we did.

Ricky Treon: Wow, I think this is the first time I've ever been able to get in a word edgewise with you. I'm not complaining, though. That Secret Service Agent never knew what hit him. Oh, and sorry about your carpet, but my shoes took the brunt of it.

Joseph Duarte: You could hate The Daily Texan, and I'd understand. But you're always around and supportive, and I thank you for that. I guess your bitterness was assuaged when that guy turned wound in Paris, Texas. That's a great story. Keep telling it.

Melanie Hauser: You're one of a kind. Ack! Another cliche. You taught me better than this … you're the best teacher in the history of teaching. What's that? Too superlative? … can't help it. It's all true. I was far from your best student, but thankfully, your policy of once-a-student-always-a-student is all-encompassing. Even after I graduate, I'm still going to be your student. I'll still e-mail too often to ask trivial questions.

Texas Sports: Our relationship was contentious at times, sure, but at the end of the day, you were responsible for providing me with the access and information that was so crucial to doing my job. Sure, I'd trade on-demand box scores and notes for more access and freedom, but that's a discussion for another day.

Jill Sterkel: I've covered plenty of UT head coaches. You got more respect from your athletes than any of 'em, and I share that respect for you. It's not my place to say anything but just for the heck of it: Texas doesn't need any more coordinators. Get out there and coach again. For the swimmers.

Eric Ransom: Leave your job now, and tell them to hire me. If I'm the best thing that ever happened to the Texan sports department, you were the second best. Your cutting, cynical wit kept me going, and your reporting skills have always put mine to shame.

Cedric Golden: You put up with my wide-eyed existence, and that's saying something. The Statesman higher-ups knew what they were doing when they made you a columnist, and I'm proud I can say I knew you when.

Jacqueline Walker: I still remember the first time I ever saw you. You woke me up. That was very rude of you. I knew we hit it off on that trip to see Texas lose against Kansas State, but I never thought we'd become friends like we did. I'm glad we did though, otherwise, I never would've gotten acquainted with the Witches of Eastwick.

Nathan Riojas, Clay Whittington: Journalism as we know it is collapsing around us. Fuggit. Let's be sportswriters as long as we can stand it.

Cody Hale: Remember that one time on Sixth Street where we almost got in a fight? You would've kicked my ass. (But I would've fought.)

If Ransom kept me going, you've kept me sane. Plus, as a roommate, you taught me the importance of tidiness, and I understand girls appreciate that.

Connie Clark: 203-44 (58-11) - 84-64-2 (22-31) And I'm the bad guy?

Anup Shah, Brady Gray: You kids are winners. Keep the ship on course.

Bill Minutaglio: You made storytelling fun and reinforced my previously ungrounded notions that every story is worth telling - even if it's just a night in Waco with Ryan and Daniel. I plan on continuing to hound you with emails every time I have a pertinent question. It's selfish of me and a waste of your time, I suppose, but I value your input.

Natalie England: Thanks for not laughing at me when I brought in my "clips" that first day I entered The Daily Texan basement. The sight of a dumbass freshman with a stack of complete Conroe Courier sports sections must have been pretty funny. Oh, and thanks for giving me the men's golf beat and then the women's golf beat when that other kid flaked. And finally, thanks for treating me as an equal once you were out being a real live sports writer and I was still doing it up DT-style.

Prospective Employers who might happen to stumble across this: Have mercy on my soul. No really, I made some concessions. This isn't too bad, is it? Is it?!

Everybody I've forgotten: That's life.

Ryan Killian covered football, men's basketball, women's basketball, softball, women's swimming, women's golf, men's golf, postseason baseball, NASCAR and Indy Racing for the Texan before serving as Sports Editor in the fall of 2007. He was best known for turning every cutline into a history lesson.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Disappointing couple of days for Texas football

The Longhorns just experienced a rather humbling NFL Draft experience.
Sure five of them got drafted, but only one, Limas Sweed, heard his name called on the first day. The Pittsburgh Steelers picked him up in the second round with the 53rd selection. Both players who elected to leave college early and enter the NFL went in the third round. Running back Jamaal Charles was taken 73rd overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Green Bay Packers selected tight end Jermichael Finley with the 91st pick of the draft.
Offensive tackle Tony Hills heard his name called in the fourth round, and he'll be with Sweed in Pittsburgh.
Defensive tackle Frank Okam was the final Longhorn selected. He went to the Houston Texans in the fifth round.
Overall, Texas doesn't have anything to brag about. For the first time since 2003, the Longhorns didn't have a single player taken in the first round.
A year after seeing his twin brother go in the first round, safety Marcus Griffin will have to wait to be signed as a free agent.
The same goes for wide receiver Billy Pittman, defensive tackle Derek Lokey and cornerback Brandon Foster.

I kept waiting for the Tennessee Titans to select a Texas player, but for the first time since 2004, the Longhorns were left out of Tennessee's plans for the future. Of course, they were "supposed" to take Sweed in the first round, but they followed the trend of ignoring wide receivers — none were selected in the first round — and Sweed fell a long way.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Goodbye Augustin

Well, at first I thought he was coming back. Then, as the process dragged on I started changing my mind. Now, he's made the decision.
D.J. Augustin will enter the NBA draft.
I think he could've used another year, but I hope I'm wrong.
Back during the regular season, he said he'd be back no matter what happened. I don't hold it against him too much that he changed his mind — what with all the money and fame involved — but he should have seen that coming, you'd think.

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A.J. Abrams to Declare for Draft (?!?!)

Fox Sports is reporting that A.J. Abrams is going to declare for the draft. He won't hire an agent, and he'll probably still come back to Texas, but apparently he's going to take advantage of a recent rule change that allows NBA teams to pay for his workouts while he weighs his options.
I suppose he's got nothing to lose, unless he actually enters the draft, but I'm not sure how much he stands to gain either.
On the flip side, just goes to show you that yesterday when I was among the reporters hounding D.J. Augustin about whether or not he'll go pro, I should've checked up with Abrams. I could've maybe been the first to know and might have gotten some insight into what he's thinking.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

D.J. Augustin still hasn't decided

I just thought you should know: D.J. Augustin said today that he hasn't decided on whether or not he'll take his game to the NBA. Furthermore, he said he didn't have any timetable for a decision. Of course, the deadline is April 27th, so he'll have to make a decision by then.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Augustin an All-American, Again

At what point do all these awards get watered down?
D.J. Augustin has been named "NABC State Farm All-America First Team"
Joining him on the team is Michael Beasley, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Tyler Hansbrough and Luke Harangody.
Harangody is the only deviation from the usual bunch. Kevin Love is on the second team.

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Goodbye G.J. Kinne

G.J. Kinne is transferring.


As much as I would have liked to blog it here first, now that the Daily Texan has its own blog I have to be professional and make sure they have it first.
Of course, it's not like I would have been scooping anyone anyway. It was an e-mailed press release.

And don't say I never tagged a blog post G.J. Kinne. That's really what I'll take from all this.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Augustin takes Cousy Award

D.J. Augustin is the nation's best point guard.
You might argue with that assessment, but I wouldn't. And neither would the people who decide such things.
Augustin was declared the winner of the 2008 Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the country's top point guard each season. The sophomore will be presented the award at the Marriott River Walk in San Antonio this Monday.
Augustin's 5.8 assists per game were enough to lead the Big 12, and he was the conference's second-leading scorer with 19.2 points per game.
The Cousy Award has only been around for five years, and Texas A&M's Acie Law won it last year.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Conradt to speak at commencement

I'm graduating in May, and it looks like one of my favorite UT coaches (and that's a short list) will be speaking at the commencement.
Jody Conradt retired last year, making room for Gail Goestenkors to take over the women's basketball program. She basically the Darrell K Royal of women's sports except with better graduation rates among her athletes.

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