Editor’s note: Neal Farmer is Executive Director of the Touchdown Club, a former reporter for the Houston Chronicle and an all around good guy. He does the Monday updates.
By NEAL FARMER
Former Houston ISD coach Phil Camp of Milby had a problem. He had kids who wanted to play football in college, but colleges weren’t looking at HISD schools.
“They had grades and they were good athletes, but because we only had nine at Milby, nobody came to talk to them,” Camp said.
So he decided to start his own try-out combine for Milby as well as other HISD kids, called the Houston Senior Football Showcase. He hooked up with a Milby academic advisor, Coby Rhoden, to set up the first event. It has grown to epic proportions, with the National Football Foundation, the Touchdown Club of Houston and the Houston Texans jumping in to assist. In nine years, more than 1,500 scholarships grants and aid has been given out for more than $45 million in Houston.
The Senior Showcase literally has taken kids off the streets of Houston and put them in college.
Camp said 170 HISD kids and 12 colleges showed up the first year. Camp had high school football coaches in Poteet, Crystal City and other South Texas high schools, and knew college coaches from NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA colleges and got them to attend. NCAA Division I schools — LSU, A&M, Utah, UCLA, etc. — have different recruiting rules and cannot participate.
The idea has expanded, with the combine celebrating its fifth year in California this year, and run by former UCLA head coach Terry Donahue. California has seen more than 450 kids receive more than $11 million in scholarships. The showcase had its first events this year in Miami (47 small colleges, 380 kids and more than $2.5 million in scholarships), sponsored by the Orange Bowl, and in Charlotte, N.C. (17 colleges, $1 million in grants and 125 kids).
And this stuff started in Houston.
Favorite St. Patrick’s Day meme: Not everyone can be Irish. Someone has to drive.
NCAA bracketing: Best TV Ad, Barkley division: “You have your TV on the Clapper?” “I clap in my head. It gets loud in there.”
Runner-up TV ad, Barkley division: “Steaks, on a plane.”
Best Barkley line during a basketball broadcast: “Kentucky has five McDonald’s All-Americans, and Northern (Western) Kentucky has five guys who have eaten at McDonald’s.”
What the? Barkley division: The reverse snack hoodie? My son did that 12 years ago.
Worst TV ad: The singing turd who is vocalizing why to buy AT&T for watching the tourney.
Best ad: Allstate — “Saraaaaaaaaah. Come to prom with me.” “No,” “Hey, Mr. Parker.”
Technically speaking: The Northwestern coach who got a technical while complaining about a call and likely cost the game — I would have complained the same way if I were the coach. Except I would have been kicked out because I would have asked if the refs got their money back from the botched Lasik surgery.
Best non-basketball moment — A Villanova player hustled and ran into the Nova band, with the action knocking a trumpet player’s horn to the ground. The player picked up the trumpet and gave it back to the band person. (Can you tell I was in the band in college?)
Biggest upset: How the hell did Michigan beat Louisville? (But bonus points for having a water-gun fight in the post-game locker room celebration.)
Second biggest: How the hell did Wichita State not beat Kentucky?
Biggest Cavalier attitude: Virginia scored 39 points? 39 POINTS?
Heel, dog: North Carolina is the luckiest team in this year’s NCAA tournament. The key play could have been a charge, or could have been traveling, but it was a horrible, rimless shot off the backboard that turned into an offensive rebound and put-back for the most-important basket in the game. It also helped that Arkansas did not score for the last 3.5 minutes.
Embarrassing revelation: I had SMU in the Final Four in one of my brackets.
Embarassing revelation II: I have six brackets.
Embarrassing revelation III: They are all friggin’ busted.
Embarrassing revelation IV: Baylor’s day-glow uniforms.
NFL players telling bad jokes: I couldn’t stop laughing. I think that makes me a bad person.
Classical music section, Part 3: Try something light this time, like chamber music. You can thank me later. Here is one of the greatest hits from the chamber — Boccherini – String quartet in C, Night Music from the Streets of Madrid. It was featured in the Russell Crowe movie, Master & Commander.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey.”
— Ernest Hemingway
HOTTIE OF THE DAY