Lenexa firefighters receive Medal of Valor from President Trump for rescuing family from burning building

first_imgA few of the first responders involved in the rescue of a family from a burning building two years ago. From left, Kyle Segraves, Andrew Freisner, Dustin Moore, Lynn Wedel and Maria Moreno.The 911 calls just kept coming in. An apartment in Lenexa was engulfed in flames.Maria Moreno, a dispatcher for the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center, was fresh out of training. She had already fielded multiple calls that day in April 2017 when the woman called. She was trapped inside a second-story apartment unit with two small children she was looking after.“My main concern was just to keep her calm and reassure her that help was on the way and that my firefighters were doing everything they could to gain access to her,” Moreno said. “It was all kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. I was shocked myself. But I knew I had to remain calm for her.”Meanwhile, the Lenexa Fire Department and mutual aid first responders raced to the apartment at 85th Street and Pflumm Road. As they were pulling up, they saw the whole building was engulfed. They saw the family banging on the windows and Moreno, the dispatcher, had told them exactly where they were trapped.Lenexa Fire Captain Dustin Moore and Firefighter Paramedic Andrew Freisner climbed the ladder, grabbed the children — a 2- or 3-year-old toddler and an 18-month-old — and helped them down the ladder.Once they climbed the ladder, there was near-zero visibility but, luckily, no direct fire yet. Moore and Freisner entered from the balcony and then forced entry into the bedroom. The kids were lethargic from the smoke and heat. Their aunt could still walk, so she waited until they came back for her and her pets.“It was a situation where we knew what to do and it sounds kinda counterintuitive, but the less you think about stuff in that situation, the better you are,” Freisner said. “You really want to work off instinct.”The family went to the hospital for emergency care, but they turned out fine. Moore estimated the chain of events that afternoon occurred in about 12 minutes.“At the time, it hit me so quick I don’t know that it really hit me what had just happened,” Moore said.A collaboration of first respondersPresident Donald Trump awards Freisner and Moore with the Medal of Valor. Photo courtesy of city of LenexaMoore and Freisner got the assignment to rescue, but the two heavily credit the collaboration of their fire department and mutual aid first responders — the Overland Park and Shawnee fire departments, Johnson County Med-Act and Lenexa Police Department — for the successful rescue. They kept the flames at bay during the rescue and ensured the family had what they needed once they got out.Kyle Segraves, Kevin Sellers and Danny Clark with the Lenexa Fire Department also gave support on the ladder. Segraves and rescued the black labrador dog after the family was rescued.“This specific incident had a culmination of all of those agencies working together, and working together really well, and that’s when you get positive outcomes,” said Lynn Wedel, Lenexa fire battalion chief, adding that he was “tremendously” proud of his firefighters.Last week, Moore and Freisner received the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the highest national award for valor presented to a public safety officer. President Donald Trump presented them with the medal during a White House ceremony on May 22.The Medal of Valor is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm.“It’s one of my proudest moments, but I think what it represents is more important,” Freisner said. “It was a countywide effort. I actually felt pretty bad having just us two there seeing the effort. Everybody worked together; it really represents how well we do work with each other.”Moreno stayed on the call with the woman until Lenexa firefighters reached her and the kids. Helping them made her feel accomplished.“They’re more than likely having the worst day of their life when they’re calling 911,” Moreno said. “They know that you’re there to help them and at the end of the day, that’s what matters to me, is that I’m able to help somebody.”last_img read more

HMCTS shuts heavily criticised divorce centres

first_imgThe government is closing some of its regional divorce centres as a result of work shifting online, the Gazette has learned. HM Courts & Tribunals Service has closed centres in Stoke, Wrexham and Port Talbot, and will begin closing venues in Bradford and Nottingham.The regional centres opened in 2015 but have been heavily criticised by senior judges for delays and inefficiencies. A question mark over their future emerged last year, when family division president Sir Andrew McFarlane said the centres were being phased out and replaced by an online system based in the national Civil and Family Service Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. At the time a government spokesperson said no final decision had been made on the divorce centres. This week’s announcement, sent to family law ‘stakeholders’, confirmed their fate.HMCTS has been digitising the divorce application process as part of the government’s wider £1bn modernisation programme. Yesterday’s announcement states that 40% of new work is now issued online and processed in the service centre. From December the online service opened to lawyers.HMCTS says: ‘That shift has allowed us to start reducing our number of regional divorce units where the paper petitions have been issued and processed since 2015. Earlier this year we closed our venues in Stoke, Wrexham and Port Talbot. We have informed staff that we now intend to begin the process of closing our venues in Bradford and Nottingham with a view to having them closed over the next few weeks, starting with new applications.’Centres in Newport, Liverpool, Southampton and Bury St Edmunds will remain open. HMCTS says: ‘Later this year we anticipate that all new divorce petitions will be issued either directly online or via a digital by default process where petitions are lodged at a central point and then scanned onto our digital platform.’Once the ‘digital by default’ process has been rolled out, HMCTS says the work will be processed by the service centre, which will continue to deal with all calls relating to the divorce process in the first instance.HMCTS says: ‘Our four remaining regional divorce units will remain as we reduce the legacy work already in the system. As that work reduces we will consolidate the remaining paper work into the venue in Bury St Edmunds with the [service centre] dealing with all new cases. At that point any legacy work will be transitioned into the Bury St Edmunds venue which will be our longer-term legacy site dealing wih legacy work and the small amount of work that does not have a digital journey. This includes at this stage dealing with judicial separations, contested applications and nullity applications.’Financial remedy centres are currently being set up across the country. HMCTS encourages solicitors to make Form A contested applications to the centre where the action will be processed ‘and therefore delinked from the divorce process’.last_img read more

Wizard World Comic-Con Once Again Takes Cleveland by Storm

first_img Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE. CLEVELAND – It was another outstanding weekend for collectors and fans of film and screen and even wrestling as Wizard World Comic-Con was back in town with another great show at the Cleveland Convention Center.The event, held from Friday to Sunday, was full of great celebrity guests as well as tons of great merchandise from t-shirts to figures, Funko Pops, and artists showing off their prints.As usual a ton of fans came to the event over three days dressed up, taking in all the sights and sounds of the event as they waited for TV and film stars to take to the stage for pictures and autographs.This years stars included Anthony Mackie (Falcon from the Avengers movies), Millie Bobby Brown (NetFlix Hit Series ‘Stranger Things‘), Gene Simmons (of KISS fame), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Dean Cain (Played Superman in ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’), and Kurt Angle (Former WWE Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist). The event will return to Cleveland in 2018 – and will take place from March 23rd to the 25th. Click HERE to see some pics from last year’s event!Click the boxes for photos of the event from walking around Sunday afternoon. Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Related TopicsAnthony MackieGene SimmonsJennifer CarpenterKurt AngleWizard World Comic-Con Matt Loedelast_img read more

Column: Phelps stops Olympic clock for us all

first_imgAs we age, Olympians just seem to get younger. First, they seed the gardens of our childhood imaginations, giving us an idea of who we want to be when we grow up. In our twenties, they are more like us, at the height of our powers, only with superpowers. In our thirties, they are what we would like to think we could be again if we shed pounds and unwrap those unused running shoes. But by middle age and beyond, their youth becomes insolent and their taut vigor becomes a mirror for what we’ve lost forever: You cannot take your eyes off them but looking hurts more than a little, too.Pass the cachaça, with a double dose of Prozac.Even Phelps seemed to feel morbidity’s cold claw after his last Olympic race, saying at his last post-victory Olympic news conference that his baby son, Boomer, will likely inherit his 28 medals, 23 of them gold, when he dies.Phelps sank into his chair with the audible sigh of an old lion for his final Q-and-A.“It’s nice to sit down,” he said, wearing all of his 31 years.Welcome to the club, Michael. Here, try the slippers, take the remote.The younger generations reading this won’t yet fully understand how the retirement of an Olympian whose ups, many ups, and downs you have followed for such a large slice of life, through five Olympics, feels like the onset of grey hair, the wrong side of a watershed.At best, how many Summer Olympics do any of us get to witness? Fifteen, perhaps, 20 if we’re lucky? For 25 percent of that journey, Phelps has swum at our side, reassuringly constant, plying us with thrill upon thrill.By holding creeping years at bay for his last Olympic week, fueled by a love rekindled for swimming that he’d lost ahead of the 2012 London Games, Phelps kept his eyes fixed on the here and now, on his next exploit and his late bloom into a more mature, thoughtful, and engaging version of the one-dimensional medal machine he used to be. By un-retiring for Rio, Phelps enabled us to pretend that this wasn’t quite the end until, of course, it was.Now, we can only look back at what used to be. Being beaten by 21-year-old Joseph Schooling in the 100-meter butterfly and swimming his last gold-medal winning relay with Ryan Murphy, the 21-year-old who broke the world record for the first 100-meter leg of backstroke, were telltale signs that Phelps’ time is up. Both Schooling and Murphy have old souvenir photos they took with Phelps when they were youngsters and he was an upcoming Olympic idol. Now is their time to become idols to others.If these are the games of big-names retirements, headlined by the farewells of Phelps and Bolt, then logic dictates that the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 must be the games of renewal. New, as yet unknown stars will be born; there should be more medals to look forward to from Katie Ledecky, already the owner of five swimming golds at just 19, and others now carving out their place in Rio.But there will always be a void where Phelps and Bolt once lived so large.___John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester . See his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/john-leicester As we age, Olympians just seem to get younger. RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Got a bad case of lingering PMPD — Post-Michael Phelps Depression? If you think his retirement from Olympic swimming is a bitter pill, then batten down the hatches for the imminent global epidemic of Life’s Hardly Worth Living Without Usain Bolt when he schmoozes out in a samba of sad emotion this week.Storms of Mo Farah Misery also are forecast. Having retained his 10,000-meter title at the Rio Games, the British runner only needs a repeat in the 5,000 on Saturday to give him a gold medal for each of his four children and a good excuse to close the curtain on the Olympics at age 33.Bradley Wiggins has ridden off into the Rio de Janeiro sunset, having become the only Brit with eight Olympic medals, all in cycling and from five games. The tick-tock of the Olympic clock would also suggest that these were likely the final games for 30-year-old Rafael Nadal, 34-year-old Serena Williams and the 2008 and 2012 Olympic women’s 100-meter champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, finally overtaken at age 29 by another Jamaican five years her junior, Elaine Thompson. Evergreen gymnast Oksana Chusovitina is a notable exception, already eyeing what she hopes will be her eighth Olympics in 2020, when she will be, wait for it, 45.When, eventually, they all join Phelps in retirement, they’ll be sorely missed. If sports teams are like a marriage, with us our whole lives, Olympians are brief but exciting recurring romances. By wowing and wooing for two weeks every four years, they can sink deeper hooks into hearts than footballers, baseball players and others who, by populating lives and screens 24/7, become part of the furniture. To twist the lyrics from the “Girl from Ipanema,” when Olympians pass by, all tall and tan and young and lovely, the rest of us can only go “aah.”center_img United States’ Michael Phelps celebrates with teammates during the medal ceremony for the men’s 4 x 100-meter medley relay final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP) First, they seed the gardens of our childhood imaginations, giving us an idea of who we want to be when we grow up. In our twenties, they are more like us, at the height of our powers, only with superpowers. In our thirties, they are what we would like to think we could be again if we shed pounds and unwrap those unused running shoes. But by middle age and beyond, their youth becomes insolent and their taut vigor becomes a mirror for what we’ve lost forever: You cannot take your eyes off them but looking hurts more than a little, too.Pass the cachaça, with a double dose of Prozac.Even Phelps seemed to feel morbidity’s cold claw after his last Olympic race, saying at his last post-victory Olympic news conference that his baby son, Boomer, will likely inherit his 28 medals, 23 of them gold, when he dies.Phelps sank into his chair with the audible sigh of an old lion for his final Q-and-A.“It’s nice to sit down,” he said, wearing all of his 31 years.Welcome to the club, Michael. Here, try the slippers, take the remote.The younger generations reading this won’t yet fully understand how the retirement of an Olympian whose ups, many ups, and downs you have followed for such a large slice of life, through five Olympics, feels like the onset of grey hair, the wrong side of a watershed.At best, how many Summer Olympics do any of us get to witness? Fifteen, perhaps, 20 if we’re lucky? For 25 percent of that journey, Phelps has swum at our side, reassuringly constant, plying us with thrill upon thrill.By holding creeping years at bay for his last Olympic week, fueled by a love rekindled for swimming that he’d lost ahead of the 2012 London Games, Phelps kept his eyes fixed on the here and now, on his next exploit and his late bloom into a more mature, thoughtful, and engaging version of the one-dimensional medal machine he used to be. By un-retiring for Rio, Phelps enabled us to pretend that this wasn’t quite the end until, of course, it was.Now, we can only look back at what used to be. Being beaten by 21-year-old Joseph Schooling in the 100-meter butterfly and swimming his last gold-medal winning relay with Ryan Murphy, the 21-year-old who broke the world record for the first 100-meter leg of backstroke, were telltale signs that Phelps’ time is up. Both Schooling and Murphy have old souvenir photos they took with Phelps when they were youngsters and he was an upcoming Olympic idol. Now is their time to become idols to others.If these are the games of big-names retirements, headlined by the farewells of Phelps and Bolt, then logic dictates that the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 must be the games of renewal. New, as yet unknown stars will be born; there should be more medals to look forward to from Katie Ledecky, already the owner of five swimming golds at just 19, and others now carving out their place in Rio.But there will always be a void where Phelps and Bolt once lived so large.___John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester . See his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/john-leicester,RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Got a bad case of lingering PMPD — Post-Michael Phelps Depression? If you think his retirement from Olympic swimming is a bitter pill, then batten down the hatches for the imminent global epidemic of Life’s Hardly Worth Living Without Usain Bolt when he schmoozes out in a samba of sad emotion this week.Storms of Mo Farah Misery also are forecast. Having retained his 10,000-meter title at the Rio Games, the British runner only needs a repeat in the 5,000 on Saturday to give him a gold medal for each of his four children and a good excuse to close the curtain on the Olympics at age 33.Bradley Wiggins has ridden off into the Rio de Janeiro sunset, having become the only Brit with eight Olympic medals, all in cycling and from five games. The tick-tock of the Olympic clock would also suggest that these were likely the final games for 30-year-old Rafael Nadal, 34-year-old Serena Williams and the 2008 and 2012 Olympic women’s 100-meter champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, finally overtaken at age 29 by another Jamaican five years her junior, Elaine Thompson. Evergreen gymnast Oksana Chusovitina is a notable exception, already eyeing what she hopes will be her eighth Olympics in 2020, when she will be, wait for it, 45.When, eventually, they all join Phelps in retirement, they’ll be sorely missed. If sports teams are like a marriage, with us our whole lives, Olympians are brief but exciting recurring romances. By wowing and wooing for two weeks every four years, they can sink deeper hooks into hearts than footballers, baseball players and others who, by populating lives and screens 24/7, become part of the furniture. To twist the lyrics from the “Girl from Ipanema,” when Olympians pass by, all tall and tan and young and lovely, the rest of us can only go “aah.”last_img read more

All mixed up: Steelers secondary focusing on versatility

first_imgPittsburgh Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton chases down Eli Rogers, looking for the ball on a pass route during an NFL training camp football practice, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)PITTSBURGH (AP) — The nameplate over Cam Sutton’s locker isn’t actually a plate at all. It’s a yellow sheet of paper with his number, his last name and his position written in black marker.The position part says only “defensive back.” Not cornerback. Not safety. Not slot corner or dime back. Maybe it’s fitting. When the Steelers met with Sutton after taking him in the third round of the draft, they didn’t outline a specific role for him. That’s just fine by Sutton.“(We’re) kind of just keeping it open minded,” Sutton said. “Not just labeling yourself. … You’re a DB, you can play any position. That’s the mentality.”One that’s common across a secondary whose development could be the difference between the AFC North champions chasing down New England or spending the first weekend in February watching the Super Bowl on TV instead of playing in it. The group was exposed during a 37-16 AFC title game loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots eight months ago, when Brady threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns.Steelers coach Mike Tomlin hinted at a more physical, aggressive approach this season. And the front office delivered by throwing young bodies at the problem, particularly ones who can be moved around as defensive coordinator Keith Butler and secondary coach Carnell Lake see fit.Sutton spent most of his career at Tennessee at corner but was morphing into a hybrid role before an injury derailed him. He impressed at the Senior Bowl by willingly — and impressively — switching back and forth between both spots. Now on the job a full three months, Sutton still has no idea how the team plans to use him. He’s hardly complaining, particularly after being limited during camp with a right hamstring injury.“Just whatever,” said Sutton, who expects to play extensively in the preseason finale on Thursday against Carolina. “I can just take all the special team reps (too). It wouldn’t matter to me.”Like they did with Sutton, the Steelers gave Mike Hilton no specific outline on his official duties when he joined the team’s practice squad last December. Unlike Sutton, Hilton arrived at training camp with no guarantees he’d be on the roster when it is trimmed from 90 to 53. Yet Hilton figures to stick around anyway, thanks in large part to his versatility and his productivity.At 5-foot-9 and 184 pounds, Hilton is the right size to line up in the slot. Yet he’s also strong enough to be effective at safety, and his willingness to do the dirty work on special teams hasn’t gone unnoticed. He recovered a fumbled punt, collected a sack and broke up a pass in the preseason opener against the New York Giants, and the momentum has hardly slowed.Wherever he’s lined up, he’s proven effective. Learning the ins and outs of three different positions at the NFL level isn’t exactly easy homework. Yet Hilton understands it was his best chance at making the team.“You can take up some spots and make them feel comfortable moving you to a different spot than just bringing in a whole other guy to learn a whole new system,” Hilton said. “I feel like that’ll help me out a lot.”If he needs inspiration, he need only look around the room during position meetings. Veteran William Gay has spent a decade in the NFL shuttling between cornerback and nickelback and is now experimenting a bit at safety. Sean Davis spent some time at nickel last fall before going back to safety. Mike Mitchell has flipped safety positions during his time in Pittsburgh. Ross Cockrell and Coty Sensabaugh both began their careers elsewhere before finding a home with the Steelers.“They’re known to play a lot of guys that, say, they found off the street or just late-round picks or something like that,” Hilton said. “I just came in and made the best out of my opportunity.”Sensabaugh has, too. Tomlin has seen enough during camp to turn the starting corner spot opposite Artie Burns into a two-man race between Sensabaugh and Cockrell. Sensabaugh isn’t afraid to play press coverage at the line of scrimmage, an area Tomlin cited needed serious improvement going into 2017.Despite the near-constant mixing and matching during the preseason, there are no concerns about a potential lack of chemistry. Having so many new faces and so many undefined roles has forced the group to focus on communicating and learning the tendencies at every position. The matchups may look one-on-one, but the Steelers understand they work as a collective.“You want to know what everyone else is doing out there on the field,” Sutton said. “You never know, might have instances where you might have to play (elsewhere).”NOTES: S Mike Mitchell (lower-body injury) remains optimistic he will play against Cleveland. Mitchell hasn’t missed a game in four seasons with the Steelers. … Pittsburgh placed LB Keion Adams on the team’s Reserve/Injured List and released DE Christian Brown and TE Phazahn Odom. … The Steelers introduced the inaugural 27-man class to its Hall of Honor. The group includes founder Art Rooney, son Dan Rooney, coach Chuck Noll and more than 20 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/APlast_img read more

The best photos from Steelers at Browns, Sept. 10 (From the Courier’s Brian Cook)

first_img (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook) (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook)last_img read more

Seahawks Bennett continues to sit for anthem in home opener

first_imgSeattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, center, is joined by teammates Thomas Rawls, left, and Justin Britt, right, as he sits during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)SEATTLE (AP) _ Michael Bennett was the first Seattle Seahawks player announced during pregame introductions before the home opener against San Francisco, receiving one of the loudest ovations.It was the second show of support for Seattle’s outspoken defensive end on Sunday.Outside of CenturyLink Field, a group of protesters supporting Bennett gathered prior to the game. The group expressed its support for Bennett after he says he was subjected to racial profiling and excessive force when Las Vegas police detained him last month. Protesters also showed support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is still without a job after his anthem protests a year ago. It was a small protest with about 50 people participating.Among those participating in the pregame rally was Bennett’s younger brother, Reshaud.“It means everything. It’s always good to have your family support you and also a lot of people in the city to supporting me. I think it was just a really good thing,” Bennett said after Seattle’s 12-9 victory.When the anthem began Sunday, Bennett took what’s become his usual seat on the bench. Seattle center Justin Britt and running back Thomas Rawls stood next to Bennett each with a hand on his shoulder during the anthem. Teammates Cliff Avril and Frank Clark also sat with Bennett for the final few bars of the anthem.___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

Jeff Capel becomes first Black men’s basketball head coach in Pitt history

first_imgJEFF CAPELThe New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Pitt has hired Jeff Capel as men’s basketball head coach, the first African American men’s basketball head coach in university history.The Associated Press reports that the Panthers hired the former Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma coach and longtime Duke assistant on Tuesday, March 27, tasking him with returning Pitt to prominence following two tough years under Kevin Stallings, who was fired a few weeks ago.Athletic director Heather Lyke called Capel a “high-energy leader.” Capel will need it, taking over a team that finished 8-24 and 0-18 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.The AP reports that Pitt’s search included interviews with Thad Matta and Tom Crean and overtures to Danny Hurley, who opted instead to become the head coach at Connecticut. Ultimately, the Panthers brought in the 43-year-old Capel, who spent the last seven seasons in the seat next to Mike Krzyzewski while developing a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation.“Jeff Capel is one of the most dynamic coaches in the country,” Krzyzewski said. “He possesses championship-level experience as both a head and assistant coach, as well as distinct knowledge of the Atlantic Coast Conference that will benefit Pitt immediately.”There’s nowhere to go but up.The Panthers were the only team in Division I to go winless in conference play and at times, Pitt and its freshmen-laden roster lost eight ACC games by more than 20 points. Attendance at the once raucous Petersen Events Center when the team was coached by Jamie Dixon dropped dramatically as enthusiasm for Stallings waned. Pitt averaged just over 4,100 for home games this season, easily the lowest in the conference and a 50 percent drop from 2016-17.“Pitt has a great tradition of success and I look forward to putting together a staff and team that will enable us to build on that tradition,” Capel said in a statement.According to the Associated Press, Capel went 175-110 in nine years at Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma before returning to his alma mater to become Krzyzewski’s right-hand man. The former Duke guard was viewed as an obvious candidate to replace the 71-year-old Krzyzewski once the winningest coach in men’s Division I history finally hangs up his clip board.Capel has filled in for Krzyzewski at least once in each of the past three years, including a seven-game stint during the 2016-17 season while the Hall of Famer had surgery to have a fragment of a herniated disk removed from his back.Duke went 4-3 under Capel, who also led the Blue Devils to single victories at Georgia Tech in 2015-16 and against Wake Forest this year while Krzyzewski was ill.Capel starred at Duke in the mid-1990s and got into coaching in 2000, beginning his career as an assistant for his father Jeff Capel II at Old Dominion. He moved to VCU the next season and became head coach in 2002. It didn’t take him long to find success. The Rams qualified for the NCAA tournament in his second season.Oklahoma lured Capel to a Power Five conference in 2006. He led the Sooners to the second round of the NCAAs in his second year and all the way to the Elite Eight in 2009 behind star forward Blake Griffin.Capel’s tenure with the Sooners ended when he was fired in March 2011 as part of the fallout from an NCAA investigation that discovered former Oklahoma assistant Oronde Taliiaferro broke NCAA rules by failing to report that a player had received an impermissible extra benefit and by lying to investigators.Capel was not implicated in the investigation and found a landing spot at his alma mater. He served as one of the top recruiters at Duke and helped the Blue Devils land several high-profile prospects, including several members of the 2015 team that won the national title. Capel also signed freshman forward and ACC Player of the Year Marvin Bagley III last year. Bagley guided Duke’s push to the Elite Eight this season before the Blue Devils fell to Kansas in the regional final.The immediate expectations won’t be quite as high at Pitt.The Panthers reached the NCAAs 11 times in 13 seasons under Dixon. For now, they’ll settle for something resembling a competitive team after the worst season in the program’s 113-year history. Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourierlast_img read more

Hawks’ feathers get ruffled

first_imgBy RUSSELL BENNETT Gippsland League A VASTLY improved Drouin outfit was still no match for Sale in the first week…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Four line up for Nats seat

first_imgTHE NATIONALS have endorsed four candidates to stand for pre-selection as the State Upper House Member for Eastern Region. The…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img