My favorite rite of spring, Joe Dooley and a running doubleheader

Published 7:00 pm Monday, March 14, 2022

I can’t believe there have not been normal NCAA men and women’s basketball tournaments since 2019. To me, last year in the bubble didn’t count because it was a made for TV event.

Thank goodness my favorite rite of spring is back with 68 teams getting after it in what promises to be crazy three-week stretch.

Good luck filling out your brackets and I hope you win big. This publication is sponsoring a contest with Piggly Wiggly, so I hope you entered it.

I don’t particularly care who wins as long as Kansas and North Carolina don’t. I was raised to root against the Jayhawks and learned to dislike Carolina from afar on my own. I could rant for days against both, but I won’t.

I’m just happy to have a chance to fill out a bracket and watch the games. Thursday and Friday used to be two of my favorite days of the year because the upsets historically start the first two days. Saturday and Sunday will be crazy also and I think it’s really neat that 64 teams are in it Thursday, but only 16 are left after Sunday.

Usually, a top seed ends up winning, but the intrigue lies with which one. I try not to get caught up in the winning and losing and just enjoy the mayhem. I’m a little rusty, but look forward to watching as much as possible.

This year’s pressing question is when will Coach K’s last game occur? Fans of the light blue want it to be Friday, while the right-minded want his run to last until the first Monday in April.

The women’s tournament should be a lot of fun as well. There’s more parity in women’s basketball these days and many talented players. The Wolfpack women earned their top seed with an outstanding season, but have to knock off UConn in Connecticut to make the Final Four. No easy task, but fun to watch.

I have lots of fond memories from this time of year when I broadcast the Duke women’s games. Tune in if you can. These girls can most definitely play.

I don’t really have an opinion about East Carolina firing Joe Dooley for the second time. That’s the part that interests me.

How many other schools have canned the same men’s coach twice? Remember, he was in Greenville in the 90’s and was sent packing in ’99. I’ve started my research and found nothing so far. It has to have happened somewhere to someone, but I bet it’s extremely rare. I will report back when I have the answer.

Finally, those of you who enjoy running 5k’s have a unique opportunity Saturday.

The Leigh Swain Memorial race in Bath was postponed because of last Saturday’s horrible weather and will be run at 10 a.m. at Bath Elementary. It’s $30 to enter and the proceeds go toward building a walking/running trail around the school.

After a few hours to recover, you can complete your doubleheader with the Washington Sunrise Rotary 5k, which starts at 4 p.m. at Mac Hodges Festival Park. $25 gets you a cool t-shirt and other stuff. I bet there are several in the crowd who will run both.

I’ve run the first three 5k’s of my life since moving to Washington and derived great satisfaction from completing them without walking. You won’t see me Saturday though. I’ll be surrounded by snacks with a beverage in one hand and the remote in the other. The tournaments are finally back.