ARTICLE OF THE DAY
Ready to Make Nice
writing that "negative" article last week on my Top 10 Worst
Interviews, I felt so bad about it that I decided to write my Top 10
Best Interviews. It sure was a lot tougher to write because the nice
people often fly under the radar. I apologize for leaving out any
10. Lou Holtz, College
Football Coach (ret.) -
I first talked to him
almost 10 years ago at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf Classic in
Greenville. You could always expect his golf team to be holding
everybody up because he never turned down an interview or an autograph
9. Kevin Donnally,
Carolina Panthers OL (ret.) -
After Carolina's win
over the Cowboys in the '03 playoffs, Brian Bailey and I entered the
locker room after the game. Donnally was trying to throw his
sweat-soaked jockstrap and undershorts into the dirty uniform bin.
hit Bailey right in the chops with a splash. He couldn't have been more
apologetic despite the laughter in the locker room. He was the best
interview we got that night.
8. Kevin Miller, ECU
Kicker (99-'02) -
Kevin is a good friend of mine
so I might be biased here. Kevin is exactly the kind of Pirate you want
in front of the camera. He always answered questions honestly but with
the best interests of the school in mind. He also does an impression of
former AD Mike Hamrick that is dead on!
7. Vince Carter, NBA New
Jersey Nets -
He was always gracious and
humble when I interviewed him at UNC despite the budding "Vin-Sanity."
6. "Rocket" Ismail, NFL
Wide Receiver (ret.) -
He walks to the beat of
his own drum. I got a big kick out of talking to him at the Jordan
Classic paint party to benefit the kids of the Ronald McDonald House.
After seeing him interact with the kids, I was more than honored to get
him to sign a Cowboys mini-helmet that I had originally planned to ask
Emmitt Smith to sign. No regrets on that one (see last week's article).
5. Jeremy Ingram, ECU
Basketball player -
Jeremy, like Kevin, is a
great ambassador for Pirate athletics. Super kid. Always gives
thoughtful interviews and he always greets you with a half-hug.
4. Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR
driver, analyst -
He was my favorite driver
growing up. I was anxious before I interviewed him because I didn't
want a childhood hero of mine to not meet my expectations. He exceeded
them. Ole DW is 100% "boogity!! boogity!! boogity!!"
3. Skip Holtz, ECU Head
You might say that I'm sucking up. No
way. Pirate fans, Skip is the real deal. He's a great coach and a great
2. Joe Theisman, NFL QB
I previously wrote an article that he
was one of my favorite interviews. He was nothing short of first class
all the way.
1. Keith LeClair, Former
ECU Baseball Coach -
A week after his passing,
it'd be easy to put him at the top of this list for sentimental
reasons. He always accommodated me when I showed up at practice
unannounced looking for a sound bite. While his interviews during his
tenure at ECU were always professional and insightful, it would be the
words he used after losing the ability to speak that would be the most
defining. Like many family and friends, I was fortunate enough to
receive Keith's "daily devotional", a series of emails filled with
examples of scripture and a following personal life experience to
coincide. I'll never pretend that I have the same unwavering faith that
Coach LeClair had, but I will say his devotionals and personal emails
changed my life. A few years ago I left WNCT to pursue a job in sales.
Big mistake. Coach had emailed me and asked how I was doing with the
new job. I told him that I hated it and that I couldn't stand getting
out of bed every day to go to work. How pathetic of me. Here's a guy
who can't hug or kiss his wife goodnight and I'm crying about not
wanting to go to work. But like he always did, despite all the
adversity he was facing, he found the energy to make sure everybody
else was feeling better. He sent me a moving email about staying
positive and not giving up on the idea of getting back into sports
broadcasting because I was always happy doing it. WITN called a few
months later and now 2 years later, here I sit writing about a
man who could change a life with a few short sentences in an email. I
can only imagine the influence he had on his players and assistant
coaches. The world truly is a better place for having had Keith LeClair
in it. I'm a better person for having known him.