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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Governor Hoops

Great article in today's USA Today regarding NJ's acting governor, Richard Codey, who coaches youth hoops in his spare time, most recently in a 95-degree gym. His older son is a junior co-captain of the hoops team at Drew University (which I believe is DIII), and his younger son plays HS hoops.

From many reports, Codey has gotten high marks as Acting Governor (he acceded to the role from the State Senate after then-Governor Jim McGreevey resigned last year). He won't be running for election in the fall, and it's an open question as to what he might do next.

Coaching basketball presents many challenges, but I'm sure that after dealing with the NJ legislature, it's a piece of cake.

Even in a 95-degree gym.

Many politicians appear on national media outlets in the sporting realm. President Richard Nixon, who resigned in August 1974, rehabilitated his public image by appearing at baseball games. PA Governor Ed Rendell does post-game football commentary on the Philadelphia Eagles for Comcast SportsNet, and he attends as many University of Pennsylvania football and basketball games as he can. You can spot him in the Palestra, Penn's wonderful home gym, in the middle of the lower-tier section that is across from the visitor's bench. Illinois Governor Rod Blagoyevich, who from my recent reports seems to be suffering in the opinion polls, shows up on Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio from time to time, and one-time sportscaster J.D. Hayworth, a Congressman from Arizona, shows up on nationally syndicated Imus in the Morning, and I'm sure there are many others.

Perhaps the difference is that Codey seemingly didn't seek the national spotlight. He probably was reasonably happy in the State Senate in NJ, and surely coaching youth hoops isn't an attention getter the way doing commentary on a well-watched sports network does. And that fact might make Codey more endearing. It's not that the others are bad because they don't coach youth basketball, you can't say that. It's just that Codey is true to himself and staying with what he loves to do.

It's a fun story amidst a hot summer.


Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon said...

Ed Rendell and I were classmates at the University of Pennsylvania. Yes, he is a big time sports fan.

However, there is one item in his history of "sports fandom" that he does not remind folks about.

Back when the Eagles drafted Donovan McNabb and passed on Ricky Williams, the local sports radio station was all over the team. It sent people to NY to boo the choice if it was going to be anyone other than Williams. And indeed McNabb was lustily booed on the draft stage that day. Welcome to Philly...

Ed Rendell was the mayor or Philly at the time and he was one of the "draft Ricky Williams crowd". He used his bully pulpit as the "Eagles fan who also happens to be the mayor" to opine that any selection other than Ricky Williams would be a bad one. And I believe he went on that sports radio station not to urge them toward some kind of constructive welcome for whomever the Eagles drafted but to agree that fans had a right to make their voices heard. Hizzoner was tacitly condoning sending this "delegation" to NYC.

For the benefit of Pennsylvania citizens, I hope he's better at being a governor than he was at figuring out potential NFL talent...

4:10 PM  

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