Time to clean out the notebook. Here goes: A bargain basement five columns in one
Everyone knows the story of LaVell Edwards, the legendary gentleman-coach of BYU who recently passed away. Among the many stories and salutes that followed his recent passing, there was one that was overlooked. If not for Clara Louise (Peggy) Pyne, the Cougars as we’ve known them — the glory days of the '80s, Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, Luke Staley, the 1984 national championship, the Heisman and Outland trophies — might never have happened.
Peggy, whose maiden name was Loveless, and LaVell were raised in the same Orem neighborhood, and their lives crossed in at least one significant way. Peggy’s daughter, Sandra Kaye Evans, wrote about it in her journal: “One hot summer day when she was young, Mom heard the screams of a toddler who had fallen into an open irrigation ditch and was toppling in the fast-moving water. She rushed to the ditch and pulled the youngster out before he drowned. That little boy was her neighbor, BYU’s legendary coach, LaVell Edwards — making her directly responsible for years of BYU winning football seasons.”
Peggy died Dec. 19 at the age of 91 — 10 days before LaVell.
During his final game, Steve Smith, the 37-year-old former Ute and retiring NFL great, wore purple cleats that were inscribed with about a dozen names — and one of them was that of former Ute head coach Ron McBride. Smith was asked about the names during a postgame interview with CBS’s Jenny Hill. The first person he mentioned was McBride.
“Those names on there weren’t just about football,” he said, “They were about people in my life — Ron McBride, rest-in-peace Richard Williamson, Jake Delhomme, Mike Payton, Mark Payne, my mom, my dad just a ton of people, the University of Utah, the Smith family, the Young family just multiple people who have had an impact (on me).”
The 77-year-old McBride attended Edwards’ funeral on Saturday. He was listed as an honorary pallbearer and was mentioned by name during the memorial service for his friendship with the former BYU coach.
Ronda Rousey’s 48 seconds of work in her one-sided loss to Amanda Nunes wasn’t a total loss. Rousey was guaranteed $3 million (Nunes’ guarantee was $100,000). Thus, Rousey’s payday works out to be $62,500 per second, which might be the highest pay scale of any athlete ever.
Well, not quite. According to research conducted by Bobbi Brant of Expert Market, boxer Floyd Mayweather made $65,972.22 per second in 2015 for 4,320 seconds of work (actual ring time). As Fortune’s Jonathan Chew wrote, “That would be more than an entire year's income for the average household in the U.S., since the median household income was estimated to be $53,657 in 2014, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.”
Conor McGregor, another fighter, came in at $31,886.79 per second. LeBron James makes a “mere” $25.12 per second.
Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Michael Bennett said recently that Detroit Lions running back Zach Zenner is a good running back — for a white guy. “There’s not many white running backs in the NFL, but he has to be the best right now," said Bennett, who is black. "He's doing such a great job of cutbacks and hitting the hole. That surprises me a lot because you don't see a lot of white running backs in the NFL. There's a couple of them, but right now he's really, really good.”
There’s nothing wrong with what he said — it’s honest and true — and there was little reaction to it, though the media tried to stir up something. You have to wonder if there would be a different reaction if a white player made a similar comment about black quarterbacks.
There are five black quarterbacks starting in the league, and only two of them played well. Dak Prescott ranked third in pass efficiency rating, Russell Wilson was 14th, Tyrod Taylor 18th, Jameis Winston 21st and Cam Newton 28th.
There are even fewer white running backs. Zenner was undrafted in 2015 despite rushing for 2,000 yards in three consecutive years at South Dakota State. He didn’t see much playing time until injuries created an opportunity. He ran for 334 yards and four touchdowns on 88 carries, along with 18 catches for 196 yards. The only other white running back who sees the field is San Diego’s Danny Woodhead (Green Bay's Aaron Ripkowski and New Orleans' John Kuhn are fullbacks). Toby Gerhart and Peyton Hillis showed promise but are out of the league.
Norm Chow, who guided BYU’s offenses for much of the Edwards era, flew in from California to attend Edwards’ funeral. He is one of a number of accomplished coaches produced by Edwards, along with Andy Reid, Mike Holmgren, Wally English, Doug Scovil, Brian Billick, Ted Tollner, Steve Sarkisian, Tom Holmoe and Gary Crowton.
Chow, 70, is apparently enjoying retirement by coaching a high school team in Los Angeles. It is his seventh stop in the 16 years since he left BYU, where he coached for 27 years.
After leaving BYU following the 1999 season, he took a series of jobs at North Carolina State, USC, the Tennessee Titans, UCLA and Utah before landing his first head-coaching job at 65 — at the University of Hawaii. He lasted four seasons and then was fired on Nov. 1, 2015, with a record of 10-36. Hawaii rebounded to a 7-7 season in 2016, and Chow settled in Southern California and became the offensive coordinator at Van Nuys High. The head coach is Mike Williams, a star receiver for Chow at USC. Imagine the awe of a high school player who learns that his coach tutored three Heisman winners and called the plays for two national championship teams. Alas, Van Nuys was 3-8 last season.