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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Who is John Albert Elway, Jr?

Who is John Albert Elway, Jr?. is a former American football quarterback and is now the executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Stanford and his entire professional career with the Denver Broncos. Elway recorded the most victories by a starting quarterback at the time of his retirement. He retired in 1999 and statistically was the second most prolific passer in NFL history. Elway led his teams to six AFC Championship Games and five Super Bowls, winning his last two.


Elway set several career records for passing attempts and completions while at Stanford. He also received All-American honors. Elway was drafted #1 overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts before being traded to the Denver Broncos. In 1987, he embarked on what is considered to be one of the most clutch and iconic performances in sports and in NFL history, helping engineer the Broncos on a 98-yard, game-tying touchdown drive in the AFC Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns. The moment is known in National Football League lore as "The Drive". Following the AFC Championship Game, Elway and the Broncos lost in Super Bowl XXI to the New York Giants. It would be the first of a record five Super Bowl starts at quarterback in Elway's career, a record that he solely held until 2012 when Tom Brady earned his fifth Super Bowl start.
After two more Super Bowl losses, the Broncos entered a period of decline; however, that would end during the 1997 season, as Elway and Denver won their first Super Bowl title by defeating the Green Bay Packers 31–24 in Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos repeated as champions the following season in Super Bowl XXXIII by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34–19. Elway was voted MVP of that Super Bowl, which would prove to be the last game of his career.
Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 in his first year of eligibility. Since his retirement, Elway has owned several businesses, including being a co-owner of the inactive Colorado Crush, an arena football team.

Early life

Elway and his twin sister were born in Port Angeles, Washington, on June 28, 1960, to Janet (née Jordan) and Jack Elway, then a high school head coach at Port Angeles High School on the Olympic Peninsula. The following year, the family of five which included sister Lee Ann, a year older than the twins, moved to southwestern Washington where Jack was the junior college football coach at Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen for five seasons. As a youth he lived primarily in Missoula, Montana, and Pullman, Washington, when his father was an assistant coach at Montana and Washington State, respectively.
His father became the head coach at Cal State-Northridge in March 1976, and the Elways moved from Pullman to the San Fernando Valley in southern California, where John played his final three years of football at Granada Hills High School in Granada Hills. He ended his high school career with 5,711 passing yards and 49 passing touchdowns, and was named to the PARADE All America High School Football Team. Known as a dual-threat quarterback, meaning he was accomplished at running and escaping pressure and had impressive passing ability, he was the number-one recruited high school player in the country, receiving over 60 scholarship offers.[citation needed] (One of those offers was from his father, who became the head coach at San Jose State following the 1978 season.) Also an accomplished baseball player, Elway was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 1979 Major League Baseball Draft.[1] (The Royals drafted Dan Marino in the fourth round of the same draft.[2])

College career

He enrolled at Stanford University in 1979 where he played football and baseball. In his senior season in 1982, Stanford was 5-5 and needed to win their final game, the Big Game against California, to secure an invitation to the Hall of Fame Classic bowl game. With two minutes remaining in the game, Stanford was down 19-17 and they were on 4th-and-17 on their own 13-yard line. Elway completed a 29-yard pass and drove the ball downfield to the 35-yard line, where Mark Harmon kicked what appeared to be the winning field goal. However, the clock had four seconds remaining, so Stanford had to kick off. What followed is now simply known as "The Play", in which Cal players lateraled the ball, rugby-style, five times –; two of them controversial –; and scored a touchdown to win the game, 25-20. Elway was bitter about the game afterward, stating that the officials "ruined my last game as a college football player."[3] Stanford athletics director Andy Geiger said the loss cost Elway the Heisman Trophy. Twenty years later, Elway came to terms with The Play, saying that "each year it gets a little funnier."[4]
Although Elway never led his team to a bowl game, he had an accomplished college career. In his four seasons (1979–1982) at Stanford, he completed 774 passes for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns. Stanford had a 20–23 record during his tenure. Elway's 24 touchdown passes in 1982 led the nation, and he Pacific-10 career record for passing and total offense. He won Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in 1980 and 1982, was a consensus All-American, and finished second in Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior.[5] In 2000, Elway was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2007, Elway was ranked #15 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list. Thomas Davids, an assistant football coach, said that Elway was the "best looking ball player he had ever seen."[citation needed] A consensus All-American at Stanford,he passed for over 200 yards in 30 of his 42 collegiate games. Elway was the nations most highly recruited prep athlete in 1984.graduated with nearly every Stanford and Elway also excelled as a baseball player. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1981 MLB Draft (52nd overall, six spots ahead of future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn), and received $150,000 for playing for the Yankees' short season affiliate Oneonta Tigers in the summer of 1982. Yankees scout Gary Hughes believed that had Elway concentrated on baseball "the sky was the limit ... he would've been off the charts". Yankees owner George Steinbrenner—who aggressively sought Elway's services—reportedly planned to make him the Yankees' starting right fielder by 1985, which Elway—aware of Steinbrenner's opinion—later described as "a tremendous [and] exciting thought".[6] He played right field and pitched for Stanford, finishing his senior year hitting .361 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs in 49 games and a 5–4 record with a 4.51 ERA.[citation needed]
Elway graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics, and he is a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.[7] Already age 19 when he entered as a freshman, Elway did not use a redshirt year at Stanford.

Professional career

1983 NFL Draft

In the 1983 NFL Draft Elway was selected as the first overall pick by the Baltimore Colts. (He is one of three quarterbacks in the history of the draft to be chosen first and later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The other two are Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman.[8]) Elway was wary of playing for the Colts, then among the worst teams in the league, and his father advised him against playing for head coach Frank Kush, who had a reputation as a harsh taskmaster. While Elway preferred football his agent Marvin Demoff later stated that baseball was "a true option" for him at the time. More importantly, the possibility gave Elway leverage in negotiations with the Colts.[6]
After unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate an private agreement with the Colts in which Elway would cite his alleged desire to remain on the West coast to explain the team trading him, Elway publicly threatened to join the Yankees full-time if the Colts did not trade him; Demoff wrote in his journal, published three decades later, that "he would be a garbage collector before he'd play for Baltimore." Elway's refusal to join the Colts was controversial— Bradshaw denounced him, stating "you should play baseball ... he's not the kind of guy you win championships with"—but many other NFL teams began negotiations with the Colts for the quarterback. One possibility was trading Elway for the San Francisco 49ers' Joe Montana, whose team had had a poor 1982 season. Another was a trade with the San Diego Chargers, which was negotiating a new contract with its star quarterback Dan Fouts. The New England Patriots were interested, but the Colts did not wish to trade Elway to a team in the same division.[6]
The Colts' general manager Ernie Accorsi badly wanted Elway as, he later said, he (correctly) did not foresee the 1984 draft as producing any first-round quarterbacks, and announced Elway as the team's Chris Hinton, which the Denver Broncos had chosen as the fourth pick in the first round. On 2 May Colts owner Robert Irsay and Accorsi agreed to trade Elway for Hinton, backup quarterback Mark Herrmann, and a first-round pick in the 1984 draft.[6]
choice as soon as possible during the 15-minute window on draft day, surprising observers. Elway that day reiterated his wish to not play for the Colts at a press conference, saying "As I stand here right now, I'm playing baseball". (When a reporter pointed out that the Yankees were not based on the West coast, Elway replied "They play baseball during the summertime".) The Colts, however, were interested in offensive lineman

Denver Broncos

Elway joined Denver as one of the most highly anticipated athletes in the history of the NFL. The local newspapers ran a section that was called "The Elway Watch".[9] Elway debuted for the Broncos in the 1983 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium. He was sacked for the first time in his NFL career at the hands of linebacker and fellow Hall of Famer Jack Lambert. Although the Broncos were playoff contenders for his early years, Elway went through the normal growing pains of a young NFL quarterback.
In the 1986 season, Elway led the Broncos to Super Bowl XXI, after defeating the Cleveland Browns on a famous possession at the end of the fourth quarter that became known as "The Drive". (In a span of 5 minutes and 2 seconds, Elway led his team 98 yards to tie the game with 37 seconds left in regulation. The Broncos went on to win the game in overtime). Elway and the Broncos started out the Super Bowl against the New York Giants very well, building a 10–7 lead and then driving to the Giants 1-yard line in the second quarter. However, the Broncos lost five yards on their next three plays and came up empty after kicker Rich Karlis missed the field goal attempt. From that point on, the rest of the game went downhill for the Broncos. Elway was sacked in the end zone for a safety on the Broncos ensuing possession, cutting their lead to 10–9. Then in the second half, the Giants scored 30 points and ended up winning the game 39–20. Still, Elway had an impressive performance, throwing for 304 yards and a touchdown, with one interception, while also leading Denver in rushing with 27 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
In 1987, Elway was selected to start in the American Football Conference's (AFC) Pro Bowl team and won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. He went on to once again lead the Broncos to a victory over the Browns in the AFC title game, earning their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance, this one against the Washington Redskins. The game started out very well for Denver, and they built up a 10–0 lead by the end of the first quarter. At the time, no team had ever overcome a 10–0 deficit in the Super Bowl. But in the second quarter, the Redskins suddenly stormed back with a record 35 points, and ended up winning Super Bowl XXII 42–10. Elway did have a few highlights. His 56-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Nattiel after just 1:57 had elapsed in the game set a record for the fastest touchdown in Super Bowl history, at the time. He also became the first quarterback ever to catch a pass in the Super Bowl, recording a 23-yard reception from halfback Steve Sewell on a halfback option play. With a porous defense unable to stop the Redskins offense, Elway was forced to take more risks on the offensive end. As a result, Elway's performance was rather disappointing: just 14 out of 38 completions for 257 yards and one touchdown, with three interceptions.
After recording an 8–8 record in 1988, Elway once again led his team to the Super Bowl after the 1989 season, with yet another win over the Browns in the AFC championship game, going on to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV. However this game ended even worse for the Broncos than their previous Super Bowl losses. San Francisco blew out Denver 55–10, the most lopsided score in Super Bowl history. Although Elway scored the only touchdown for his team on a three-yard run, his performance was abysmal: 10 out of 26 completions for 108 yards with no touchdown passes and two interceptions. But he didn't try to hide from the media after the game or downplay his dismal performance. And when he was asked if he wanted to go back to the Super Bowl after three losses, he responded that he wanted to go back every year, even if his team kept losing. Still by this point, many doubted that he would ever win a Super Bowl in his career.
It took Elway another eight years, but he eventually led his team back to the Super Bowl in 1998. During the 1997 preseason American Bowl game in Mexico City, Elway ruptured his right (throwing arm) biceps tendon. It was treated non-surgically, and he returned to play 19 days later, going on that season to play in his fourth Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXII, the Broncos faced the defending Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers. Despite Elway completing only 11 of 22 passes, throwing no TDs, but one interception, they went on to defeat the Packers 31–24, finally winning a Super Bowl after three failed attempts for Elway (and four for the team). In 1999, the Broncos repeated this feat and Elway was awarded the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII, throwing for 336 yards and one touchdown with one interception, while also scoring a rushing touchdown in Denver's 34–19 win over the Atlanta Falcons. It was his last game, other than the 1999 Pro Bowl.

Legacy

On May 2, 1999, at the age of 38, Elway announced his retirement from pro football. Elway is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks ever to play the game. He has one of the best winning percentages in league history (148–82–1), and is tied for second most Pro Bowl selections for a quarterback (nine). He is fourth to Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning in career passing attempts, passing yards and completions. His four total rushing touchdowns in his Super Bowl games are the most ever by a quarterback. As of 2012, Elway and Tom Brady are the only quarterbacks to start in 5 Super Bowls. He is also the second player ever to score a rushing touchdown in four different Super Bowls (running back Thurman Thomas was the first).
On September 13, 1999, Elway's number 7 jersey was retired by the Denver Broncos during halftime of a Monday Night game against the Miami Dolphins; that same night he was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. (Craig Morton, his direct predecessor in Denver, also wore number 7 and is in the Ring of Fame alongside Elway). He was the first Broncos player to have the five-year waiting period waived. Also in
1999 he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Also in 1999, Elway was ranked number 16 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players,[10] the only player to have spent the majority of his career with the Broncos to make the list (Willie Brown, who began his career with the Broncos but spent more of it with the Oakland Raiders, also made the list). In 2005, TSN published another special feature honoring the 50 Greatest Quarterbacks. Elway was ranked third behind Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana.
Elway was named the greatest athlete wearing the #7 by Sports Illustrated. Current Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who grew up idolizing Elway and Joe Montana, wears number 7 in honor of Elway.[11]
Elway is the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, winning his last at the age of 38.

Notable statistics

Elway ended his career with a record 148 victories, since surpassed by Brett Favre for most wins by a starting quarterback. He finished his career with 774 rushing attempts, one shy of NFL record-holder Randall Cunningham (775) for rushes by a quarterback. Elway's 3,417 rushing yards ranks sixth all-time among NFL QB's behind Cunningham, Michael Vick, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton, and Steve McNair.
Elway threw for 1,128 yards in his five Super Bowls, fourth most behind Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Joe Montana. His 76 Super Bowl pass completions rank fifth, and his 152 attempts were a Super Bowl record before being broken by Tom Brady. He is one of only two players ever to score a rushing touchdown in four different Super Bowls (the other being Thurman Thomas) and the only quarterback to do so. (156 attempts) [12][13]
Elway holds several Broncos franchise records:
  • Most Total Offensive Yards: 54,882 yards (51,475 passing, 3,407 rushing)
  • Most Total Touchdowns: 334 (300 passing, 33 rushing, 1 receiving)
  • Most Total Plays: 8,027
  • Winning Percentage: .641 (148–82–1)
  • Most Career Passing Yards: 51,475
  • Most Career Completions: 4,123
  • Most Career Attempts: 7,250
  • Most Touchdown Passes: 300

Hall of Fame

On August 8, 2004, Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was elected in his first year of eligibility. He was presented by his eldest daughter Jessica. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.[14]

Career highlights

  • In 1979, Elway was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals to play baseball in MLB. George Brett, the future Hall of Fame third baseman for the Royals, is said to have remarked, "I hope this guy plays football."[citation needed]
  • In the 1981 MLB Draft, Elway was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round.[15] The following year, he played outfield in 42 games for the Oneonta Yankees of the Class A New York - Penn League.[16] He had a .318 batting average, with four home runs, 13 stolen bases,[17] and a team-high 25 RBI.[16][18]
  • In the 1983 NFL Draft, Elway was selected as the first overall pick by the Baltimore Colts, and on May 2, was traded to the Denver Broncos.
  • On January 11, 1987, Elway executed "The Drive"—a last-ditch, five-minute, 15-play, 98-yard touchdown drive in the AFC Championship against the Cleveland Browns to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, leading to an overtime win by field goal (by Rich Karlis) for the Broncos. It included six passes made (nine attempted), five rushes and an eight-yard sack. He was named the NFL Most Valuable Player and the AFC Offensive MVP.
  • Elway is the only player to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 200 yards in seven straight seasons (1985–91).[19]
  • Elway was named the AFC Offensive MVP in 1993 when he passed for 4,030 yards and 25 touchdowns. He had a quarterback rating of 92.8.
  • In 1997, Elway led the Broncos to their first ever Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXII. His three previous attempts in Super Bowls XXI, XXII and XXIV were unsuccessful.
  • Elway is the oldest player to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl at age 38 in Super Bowl XXXIII.
  • Elway is one of only two players to rush for a touchdown in four Super Bowls (XXI, XXIV, XXXII, XXXIII). Thurman Thomas is the other.
  • On January 31, 1999, in Super Bowl XXXIII, Elway passed for 336 yards in a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. He was named the Super Bowl MVP.
  • Elway was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times during his 16 seasons with the Broncos, a franchise record.
  • Over his professional career, Elway led Denver to 35 comeback wins in the 4th quarter & overtime, tied for third with Johnny Unitas.[20]
  • Elway's 148 wins place him third to Peyton Manning and Brett Favre for career wins among quarterbacks.
  • Elway was sacked 516 times, second to Favre for most times sacked in NFL history.
  • Elway's 300 career touchdown passes places him fifth behind Favre, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton and Peyton Manning.
  • Elway is one of only four quarterbacks to pass for at least 3,000 yards in 12 seasons; Favre, Marino and Manning are the others.
  • On January 31, 2004, Elway was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[21]

Career statistics

Regular season

¹Led league ²Second place ³Third place Tied
Year Passing
Rushing
Att Comp Yds TD Int
Att Yds Avg TD
1983 259 123 1,663 7 14
28 146 5.2 1
1984 380 214 2,598 18 15
56 237 4.2 1
1985 605¹ 327² 3,891² 22 23
51 253 5.0 0
1986 504 280 3,485 19 13
52 257 4.9 1
1987 410 224 3,198 19 12
66 304 4.6 4
1988 496 274 3,309 17 19
54 234 4.3 1
1989 416 223 3,051 18 18
48 244 5.1 3
1990 502 294 3,526 15 14
50 258 5.2 3
1991 451 242 3,253 13 12
55 255 4.6 6
1992 316 174 2,242 10 17
34 94 2.8 2
1993 551¹ 348¹ 4,030¹ 25² 10
44 153 3.5 0
1994 494 307 3,490 16 10
58 235 4.1 4
1995 542 316 3,970 26 14
41 176 4.3 1
1996 466 287 3,328 26 14
50 249 5.0 4
1997 502 280 3,635 27 11
50 218 4.4 1
1998 356 210 2,806 22 10
37 94 2.5 1
Total
(all-time)
7,250
(4th)
4,123
(4th)
51,475
(4th)
300
(5th)
226
774 3,407 4.4 33

Playoffs

*includes Super Bowl
Year Passing
Rushing
Att Comp Yds TD Int
Att Yds Avg TD
1983 15 10 123 0 1
3 16 5.3 0
1984 37 19 184 2 2
4 16 4.0 0
1986* 107 57 805 3 4
15 101 6.7 2
1987* 89 42 797 6 5
18 76 4.2 1
1989* 82 42 732 4 3
16 91 5.7 1
1991 54 30 378 1 2
10 49 4.9 0
1993 47 29 302 3 1
5 23 4.6 0
1996 38 25 226 2 0
5 30 6.0 0
1997* 96 56 726 3 2
9 25 2.8 1
1998* 86 45 691 3 1
9 34 3.8 1
Total 651 355 4,964 27 21
94 461 4.9 6

Business activities

Elway is currently co-owner of the Arena Football team Colorado Crush, a position he has held since 2002. In February 2007, Elway was elected chairman of the Arena Football League's executive committee.[22] On August 4, 2009 the Arena Football League announced an indefinite suspension of operations.[23] Elway was one of the 17 remaining franchise owners that voted to suspend operations indefinitely.[24]
Elway is the owner of two steakhouse restaurants, each named "Elway's": One is located in the upscale Cherry Creek shopping district, and the other is in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Denver.[25]
Elway owned five auto dealerships, called John Elway Autos, in the Denver area. He sold them to AutoNation Inc. in 1997 for $82.5 million. In December 2006, Elway ended a nine-year licensing agreement with AutoNation, removing his name from Denver-area dealerships. At the time, Elway said the move could allow him to get back into the auto business under his own name.[25] He still owns two Toyota Scion dealerships, one in Manhattan Beach, California[26][27] and another in Ontario, California,[28][29] a Chevrolet dealership in Englewood, Colorado,[30] and a Chrysler Jeep dealership in Greeley, Colorado.[31]
In September 2008, Elway became the spokesperson for OpenSports.com.[32] Elway also writes a weekly NFL blog on the site.[33]
Elway had LASIK eye surgery and endorsed Icon LASIK in the Denver area in November 2008.[34]
Elway currently offers his commentary on the Broncos and the NFL season as a whole Friday mornings during the football season on 87.7 The Ticket in Denver.

Executive career

In December 2010, Elway expressed interest in working as the Broncos' top football executive, after having dinner with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen. However, he expressed no interest in being a head coach or general manager after Josh McDaniels' firing, saying, "I'm not interested in being a head coach. I'm not interested in being a general manager. I don't have that kind of experience to be able to pick those players day in and day out and such."[35]
On January 5, 2011, Elway was named executive vice president of football operations of the Denver Broncos. In this capacity, he reports to Joe Ellis (team president) and oversees both the General Manager (Brian Xanders) and head coach John Fox.[36]

Family

Elway married Janet Buchan, who attended Stanford University and competed on its swimming team, in 1984. They separated in 2002 and divorced in 2003. They have four children: Jessica, Jordan, Jack, and Juliana.[37]
Elway's twin sister Jana developed lung cancer and died at the age of 42 in the summer of 2002. John's father, Jack, died of an apparent heart attack a year earlier.
Elway proposed marriage to former Oakland Raiders cheerleader Paige Green in Italy in September 2008.[37][41] Elway and Green were married in August 2009. Elway met Green in 2005 at a celebrity golf tournament held by former Raiders running back Marcus Allen in Los Angeles.[37]

Elway appeared on commercials for the foam Vortex football in the 1990s.[42]
Elway has suffered a long-term battle with acid reflux disease. In 2003, he made this condition public.[43]
In 1994, Elway appeared in an episode of Home Improvement.[44] along with Grant Hill and Evander Holyfield. The season 3 episode, "Eve of Construction," featured the athletes working with Habitat for Humanity. Elway appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, in 2007, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. Elway won the competition.[45]
Elway was featured as the star of John Elway's Quarterback video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Elway and his Elway Foundation, in partnership with Sun Microsytems, host a charity golf tournament every year called the John Elway Celebrity Classic.[46] In its early years, The Elway Tournament was played over two days on two courses, Plum Creek Golf Course in Castle Rock, CO, and at Arrowhead Golf Course in the Denver foothills. In its later years, the Plum Creek venue was replaced by Fox Hollow Golf Course because Fox Hollow had 18 holes and could accommodate a larger field of players. For over a decade, Kim Andereck and other businessmen from around the U. S. joined NFL celebrities, major league baseball stars and other notables for the two-day events.[47]
Elway has contributed to a number of Republican Party candidates in recent elections. Following the decision by incumbent U.S. Senator Wayne Allard on January 15, 2007 not to seek another term in 2008, some pundits speculated Elway might campaign for the seat.[48]
Elway was featured on the cover of All-Pro Football 2K8 video game with Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice.
Elway has appeared in a commercial for Heroes.
Elway was referenced in Bo Burnham's debut song "My Whole Family." Burnham, on the topic of his family viewing him as homosexual, sings "I was John Elway, now I'm Elton John."
Elway has been referenced in a couple of episodes of South Park from being a possible candidate of being Eric Cartman's father to a large statue of him in the episode The Wacky Molestation Adventure dubbing him "The Provider". In It's Christmas in Canada Cartman wants a John Elway Doll with Karate Chop action as a gift. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are notable long time fans of the Denver Broncos.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Who is Rick Pitino?

Who is Rick Pitino? The college and professional basketball world knows Rick Pitino as an American basketball coach. Since 2001, he has been the head coach at the University of Louisville. He has also served as head coach at Boston University, Providence College and the University of Kentucky, leading that program to the NCAA championship in 1996. He has coached on the professional level for the NBA's New York Knicks and Boston Celtics with mixed results.
Pitino holds the distinction of being the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four (John Calipari did, but two of his appearances were vacated by the NCAA) and the only coach in the NCAA to lead two different schools to an NCAA National Championship (Kentucky and Louisville). Pitino is also one of only two coaches (along with Roy Williams) in NCAA history to have led two different programs to at least three Final Fours each, one of only four coaches (Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim) ever to take his school to the Final Four in four separate decades. In addition, Pitino has achieved a measure of success as an author and a motivational speaker. Pitino's election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was officially announced on April 8 during the 2013 Final Four; he will formally enter the Hall on September 8.[2]

Early years

Pitino was born in New York City, New York and was raised in Bayville, New York. He was captain of the St. Dominic High School basketball team in nearby Oyster Bay, Long Island.[2] He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1970. He was a standout guard for the Minutemen basketball team. His 329 [3] He led the team in assists as a junior and senior.[4][5] The 168 assists as a senior is the eighth-best single season total ever there.[3][6] Pitino was a freshman at the same time future NBA legend Julius Erving spent his junior (and final) year at UMass, although the two never played on the same team because freshmen were ineligible to play varsity basketball at the time. Other teammates of Pitino's include Al Skinner, who also went on to become a successful college coach, and baseballer Mike Flanagan, who went on to pitch in the major leagues and win the AL Cy Young Award in 1979. Pitino earned his degree from UMass in 1974.
career assists rank tenth all-time at UMass, as of the 2009–10 season.

Collegiate coaching

Pitino is currently head coach of the University of Louisville. Previous college coaching assignments include Boston University, Providence College, and the University of Kentucky. As a collegiate head coach, Pitino has compiled a 629–234 record, for a .732 winning percentage that is ranked 10th among active coaches and 29th all-time among all collegiate basketball coaches entering the 2012 season.
Pitino is considered by many to be one of the first coaches to promote fully taking advantage of the 3-point shot, first adopted by the NCAA in 1987. By exploiting the 3-point shot, his teams at Kentucky in the early 1990s were known as Pitino's Bombinos, as a significant portion of the offensive points came from the 3-point shot. Even now, Pitino's teams are known for the 3-point threat and all of his teams rank towards the
Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan
top in 3-point attempts per season.
Many of Pitino's players and assistant coaches have gone on to become successful collegiate coaches. In total, 21 former Pitino players and coaches have become Division I head coaches, including Florida's Billy Donovan, Texas Tech's Tubby Smith, Arizona State's Herb Sendek, Cincinnati's Mick Cronin, University of Minnesota's Richard Pitino, Seton Hall University's Kevin Willard as well as Reggie Theus.[6]

Assistant coaching career

Pitino started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Hawaii in 1974, and became a full-time assistant (and interim head coach) in 1975. He was then the first assistant hired by Jim Boeheim in 1976 as Boeheim began his tenure at Syracuse University.
Pitino served as Hawaii's interim head coach late in the 1975–76 season. Coach Bruce O'Neil was fired after the Rainbow Warriors' started the season 9–12. Pitino led Hawaii for their final six games, going 2–4 in the span.[7]
Rick Pitino and Jim Boeheim
Pitino's time at Hawaii was marred by a 1977 NCAA report on sanctions against the program. According to the report, Pitino was implicated in 8 of the 64 infractions that led the University to be placed on probation. The violations involving Pitino included providing round-trip air fare for a player between New York and Honolulu, arranging for student-athletes to receive used cars for season tickets, and handing out coupons to players for free food at McDonald's. He was also cited, along with the head coach, Bruce O'Neil, for providing misinformation to the NCAA and University of Hawaii officials. Also in 1977, the NCAA infractions committee recommended that Pitino and O'Neil be disassociated from Hawaii athletics. In 1989, Pitino would dismiss the report, saying "I didn't make any mistakes, I don't care what anybody says."[8]

Boston University

Rick Pitino coaching at Boston University
Pitino's first head coaching job came in 1978 at Boston University. In the two seasons before his arrival, the team had won a mere 17 games. Pitino led the team to its first NCAA appearance in 24 years.[9]

Providence

Pitino left Boston University to become an assistant coach with the New York Knicks under Hubie Brown. Pitino returned to college coaching to become head coach at Providence College in 1985. Providence had gone a dismal 11–20 in the year before he took over. Two years later, Pitino led the team to the Final Four. That Final Four team featured point guard Billy Donovan, who would go on to be an assistant coach under Pitino at the University of Kentucky and then win back-to-back national championships as head coach at the University of Florida.

Kentucky

After spending two years coaching in the NBA, Pitino returned to the college level again in 1989, becoming the coach at Kentucky. The legendary Kentucky program was dusting off its shoulders from a major Eddie Sutton that left it on NCAA probation. Pitino quickly restored Kentucky's reputation and performance, leading his second school to the Final Four in the 1993 NCAA Tournament, and winning a national title in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Kentucky's 6th NCAA Championship. The following year, Pitino's Kentucky team made it back to the national title game, losing to Arizona in overtime in the finals of the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Pitino's fast-paced teams at Kentucky were favorites of the school's fans. It was primarily at Kentucky where he implemented his signature style of full-court pressure defense. The following year he left Kentucky for the NBA and Kentucky went on to win the 1998 national title. He would later refer to Kentucky as "the Roman Empire of college basketball".
recruiting scandal brought on by former coach

Louisville

Pitino went back to the NBA in 1997, but returned to college—and his adopted home state—on March 21, 2001 to coach the University of Louisville following the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum. In the 2005 season, Pitino led Louisville to their first Final Four in 19 years, and became the first men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four. Immediately following their Final Four run, several players graduated or entered the 2005 NBA Draft. The inexperience caused the Cardinals to limp into the Big East Tournament seeded 12th, and miss the NCAA tournament. They made the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), where they were defeated by eventual champions University of South Carolina. The 2007 Cardinal team was primarily the same team, with added freshmen. Picked to finish towards the bottom of the Big East Conference again, Pitino led them to a second-place finish, 12–4 (tied with the University of Pittsburgh, who had been beaten by the Cardinals during the regular season) in the Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 2008 Cardinals finished second in the Big East and ranked 13th in both the AP and Coaches' polls. Louisville was the third seed in the 2008 NCAA tournament's East region. They defeated Boise State, Oklahoma and Tennessee to advance to the Elite Eight, where they were defeated by North Carolina. Louisville was the top seed overall in the 2009 NCAA tournament and was planted as the first seed in the Midwest region. They defeated Morehead State, Siena and Arizona to advance to the Elite Eight, where they were defeated by Michigan State. In 2010 the Cardinals suffered a disappointing 15-point loss to their first round opponent, the California Golden Bears. In 2011, Louisville was upset by 13th-seeded Morehead State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
conference standings and a first round bye in the conference tournament. Pitino implemented a 2–2–1 and 2–3 zone defense midway through the season. The 2007 team's season ended when the Cardinals lost to
In 2012, Pitino coached the Cardinals to the Big East tournament championship and a berth as a 4 seed in the West region of the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals defeated Davidson, New Mexico, and top seed Michigan State to advance to the regional final against Florida and his former player and friend Billy Donovan. The Cardinals would go on to win that game, but lost to arch-rivals and eventual national champions Kentucky in the 2012 Final Four.

Professional coaching

Pitino became head coach of the New York Knicks in 1987. The year before he arrived, the team had won only 24 games. In just two years, Pitino led the Knick[9]
s to their first division title in nearly twenty years.
His NBA coaching experience often demonstrated a deep frustration with the dynamics of the league, especially in Boston, where he amassed a 102–146 record from 1997 to 2001. After being beaten by the Toronto Raptors on March 1, 2000, on a buzzer-beater by Vince Carter, Pitino's frustration reached critical mass as he addressed the press. Referring to the expectations of Boston Celtics fans and media, Pitino challenged each of them to let go of the past and focus on the future:
Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we're going to improve. People don't realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their asses off. I wish we had US$90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can't; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that's in this town sucks. I've been around when Jim Rice was booed. I've been around when Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room... and if you think I'm going to succumb to negativity, you're wrong. You've got the wrong guy leading this team.[10]
Pitino struggled in his roles with the Celtics, and statistics like 1999's 19–31 record made him little better in M.L. Carr. Pitino's remarks became a cornerstone of Boston Celtics lore, and has served as a metaphor for other sports franchises and their inability to relive past successes. Pitino himself reprised the speech in a tongue-in-cheek manner at Louisville in November 2005, challenging his freshmen players to play as tough as past seniors and drawing laughter from sportswriters in a post-game press conference. During his time in Boston he had complete power serving not just as head coach but as general manager, CEO, and president of the team.
the eyes of many Boston fans than his inexperienced predecessor,

Puerto Rico National Team

On December 20, 2010, the Puerto Rico Basketball Federation announced Rick Pitino as the next head coach for Puerto Rico's Olympic team. The President of the Basketball Federation described the hiring as the highest impact coaching hire in the history of Puerto Rico Basketball. On April 29, 2011, it was announced that Pitino would not coach the Puerto Rico national team due to scheduling conflicts and NCAA regulations disallowing it.

Author and accomplishments

Pitino is the author of a motivational self-help book (and audio recording) named Success is a Choice. He published an autobiography in 1988 entitled Born to Coach describing his life up until his time with the Knicks. His most recent book "Rebound Rules," was the top seller at the 2008 Kentucky Book Fair.
In 2005, Pitino's Louisville team posted a tie for the most single season wins in school history (33) while he is one of two men's coaches in NCAA history to lead three separate schools (Providence, Kentucky, and
Louisville) to the Final Four. The other coach is his in state rival, John Calipari (UMASS, Memphis, Kentucky), though both final four appearances at UMASS and Memphis were later vacated.
As of 2012, Pitino's .724 winning percentage in 58 NCAA Tournament games ranks eighth among all coaches, sixth among active coaches.[11]

Thoroughbred horse racing

Beyond basketball, Pitino has been involved in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing as the lead partner in Celtic Pride Stable and the Ol Memorial Stable. Among his notable horses have been A P Valentine and Halory Hunter.[12] Pitino, through the stable name of RAP Racing, owns a 5 percent share of Goldencents. Goldencents who won the $750,000 2013 Santa Anita Derby and is scheduled to run in the 2013 Kentucky Derby.[13]

Personal life

Pitino with his wife Joa
Pitino married his wife, the former Joanne Minardi, in 1976. They have five living children: Michael, Christopher, Richard (now the head coach at Minnesota),[14] Ryan and Jacqueline. Another son, Daniel, died in 1987 from congenital heart failure at the age of six months. Rick and Joanne established the Daniel Pitino Foundation (along with a Daniel Pitino shelter in Owensboro, Kentucky) in his memory, which has raised millions of dollars for children in need.[15]
Their son's death was not the last tragedy for Rick and Joanne. Both were especially hard-hit by 9/11, as Joanne's brother and Rick's closest friend, Billy Minardi, was working as a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck by American Airlines Flight 11. Since 2002, the University of Louisville has designated a December home game as the Billy Minardi Classic, and the university named a dorm on campus as "Billy Minardi Hall." Only a few months earlier, another brother-in-law of Rick, Don Vogt, was killed after being hit by a New York City cab.[2]

Extortion attempt against Pitino

On April 18, 2009, Pitino announced that he was a target of an extortion attempt.[16] On April 24, Karen Cunagin Sypher, the wife of Louisville equipment manager Tim Sypher, was arraigned and charged in US District Court with extortion and lying to federal agents.[17][18] On August 11, Pitino admitted to having engaged in sexual relations with Cunagin on August 1, 2003 in a Louisville restaurant, Porcini's. Several weeks later, Cunagin told Pitino that she was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion, but she did not have health insurance. Pitino paid her $3,000 for an abortion.[19] In addition, Cunagin stated that her estranged [20]

Karen Sypher
husband, Tim Sypher, was paid to marry her.
At a press conference on August 12, Pitino made a statement, in which he apologized for his indiscretion and stated that he would remain as coach.[21] While Pitino's contract allows for his firing for "acts of moral depravity or misconduct that damages the university's reputation," University of Louisville president James Ramsey announced on August 13 that Pitino would be retained in his position.[19] On August 26, Pitino demanded in a press conference that the media stop "reporting these lies." The conference was called even though University of Louisville officials advised that he was not obligated to respond.[20] On August 6, 2010, a federal district court found Sypher guilty of extortion and lying to federal agents, carrying a maximum penalty of 26 years in prison. After her conviction, Sypher hired new attorneys and accused the judge, prosecutors, her former attorneys, and Pitino of taking part in a conspiracy to ensure she was found guilty.

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