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This, that, and he'll be back

A few random thoughts on a variety of goings-on have crossed my mind this week. Hang on as I bounce through them like a ping-pong ball.

As the McDuffie County School Board looks to the future in planning for the physical needs to serve our children with the various new buildings, Brickyard improvements and SPLOST opportunities, I am confident that our leaders won't forget about our elementary schools and the middle school.

Our current elementary schools and Thomson Middle School have gymnasiums that are not air-conditioned. With school starting on July 31, 2006, our little Bullpups shouldn't be sweating it out in tin can conditions or outside in 100-degree weather during PE classes. They also return to class in a not-so-pleasant way. It's a long haul until they become big Bulldogs and can enjoy the air-conditioned PE facility at the high school.

Air-conditioned gyms don't bring much publicity to a school, but just imagine the feeling if a kid is overcome by heat. Besides, the kids and their parents will appreciate it. As an aside to that, the new recreation gym under construction at Sweetwater Park will be air conditioned, according to Director Bob Howard. A wise use of SPLOST dollars there I say.

Georgia Tech hired a new athletic director. Dan Radakovich comes from LSU where he served as the top assistant to Tiger AD Skip Bertman. Bertman was the ultra-successful baseball coach that retired into administration a few years back. Radakovich was his right hand man and was directly in charge of football, men's basketball and baseball at LSU.

I think Tech made a wise choice. Radakovich is an experienced athletic administrator in a day of big budgets and myriad NCAA rules. Bill Curry, the other finalist, is a former football coach and television football analyst. His only qualification for the job was being a Tech alumnus that played for Bobby Dodd. Besides, Curry bolted from Tech once before when he gave up their football job for Alabama's. I will admit pulling for Curry though, just to get him off TV.

I always wanted to say I hit the trifecta, and now I have. When I went to the Georgia basketball game against Ole Miss a few weeks back, I saw the third of Tubby and Donna Smith's sons play college basketball. Tubby Smith is Kentucky's head coach and coached Georgia in 1995-96 and 96-97.

The Smith's oldest son, G.G., played for his dad at Georgia and finished his career with the Bulldogs after Tubby left for Kentucky. Middle son, Saul, played for his dad at Kentucky. I even saw Saul play in high school at Clarke Central. I had forgotten about the youngest Smith, Brian, until he took the court for the Ole Miss Rebels. The Smiths are a nice family.

According to various media reports, Ernie Johnson, Jr. has lymphoma. "E.J." is an NBA studio host for TNT whose biggest job is keeping Charles Barkley straight. He is the son of retired longtime voice of the Atlanta Braves, Ernie Johnson, Sr.

I'm glad to hear his prognosis is good as his voice takes me back to my college days. While in college at UGA, Ernie was the sports reporter for my favorite radio station in Athens.

I can still hear his routine sign-off with that golden voice, "For Q-105 Sports, I'm Ernie Johnson, Jr."

He led the way for another "chip" off the old block sports broadcaster with an Atlanta Braves lineage. Chip Caray also graduated from UGA and now joins his dad Skip on the Braves broadcasts. I'd like to see Ernie, Jr. in that role one day.

If you miss my mug and macrobiotic musings occasionally over the next few weeks, don't cancel your subscription. Often times, my ramblings become more repetitive and hard to chew than magniloquent. I don't want my column to become like a soap opera, or as Yogi Berra once said, "de'ja' vu all over again."

In other words, the ole' brain needs a break.

But don't worry, I'll be back...

Web posted on Thursday, March 2, 2006

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