Chattanooga times sports

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A man was killed and three other people shot in a drive-by shooting in northeast Denver Saturday, according to Denver police.

The shooting happened around p.m. in the block of East 22nd Avenue, police said in a statement. A group had gathered at a home and were outside when the shooting happened, Officer Cassandra Ulrich said Sunday. Two men and two women were shot; one man died from his wounds.

The surviving man and both women were hospitalized with serious injuries, police said.

&#;It was in front of a house, and it was a drive-by, but we are still investigating the circumstances around it,&#; Ulrich said, adding that police had no information to release on a suspect.

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She did not know the age of the man. He has not been publicly named.



George was a graduate of Shadyside High School, where he excelled not only in the classroom but in athletics. He was most proud to have played in the Ohio-West Virginia All-Star game and will always hold the yard dash record in Track and Field. He played football for the University of Tennessee- Chattanooga and Ohio University where he received his undergraduate degree. He received his Master&#;s degree from WVU. He loved to share stories about these years of his life with his grandchildren or reminiscence over a beer with his family and friends.

George was a retired school administrator, teacher and coach at Big Walnut, New Albany and Martins Ferry school districts. He also retired from Ironworkers Local # in Columbus and Local # in Wheeling, W. Va. He loved any form of good athletic competition, working out at the gym, playing golf, and working at the Tucker Rd property cutting wood. Most of all, he enjoyed happy hour every day!

George is survived by his wife of 35 years and caregiver, Barbara, along with six daughters: Sarah (Derek) McPeak, Emily (Steve) Schwier, Mandy (Donnie) Noble, Stephanie Edwards, Kathy (Jarrod) Compton, and Richelle (Tim) Sammons. His stories will be sadly missed by his ten grandchildren: Evelyn, Joel, Aaron, Sam, Caleb, Nolan, Zoe, Sophia, Reed, and Colt. As his granddaughter, Sophia said, &#;Only God can make a grandpa like my Papa&#;. Also, surviving George are two sisters, Helen Anne (Larry) Bundorf and Barbara (John) Feher of Shadyside, along with many nieces and nephews. A brother, Matthew Tomich, of Jacobsburg, Ohio passed away in

&#;Country Roads Take Me Home&#;.let&#;s &#;Play Something Country&#;. &#;People Are Crazy&#;.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, October 16th from a.m. thru pm at the DeVore-Snyder Funeral Home, N. St. Rt. 61 at St. Rt. 3, in Sunbury, Ohio Private family services will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Judes or any veteran- related charity of your choice.

The DeVore-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the Tomich family.

Share a message or memory with them at www.

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The night Lane Kiffin left Tennessee: An infamous YouTube video, press conference chaos and a mattress fire

Lane Kiffin waited in a shadowy hallway, yellow legal pad in hand and a blank expression on his face, to give his farewell statement in a hastily called news conference on the University of Tennessee campus.

Angry students gathered outside. Puzzled players searched for answers. And a mattress was set on fire in the street in one of the strangest off-the-field scenes in recent college football history.

It was around 10 p.m. on Jan. 12, But you’ve heard that story before.

The bizarre episode that occurred inside the news conference room — which produced an infamous YouTube video — and the media’s frantic moments before and after Kiffin decided to bolt UT for Southern Cal may be just as interesting years later.

That story started with a prayer and ended with a glass of whiskey.

Kiffin, in his second year as coach of Ole Miss, returns to Neyland Stadium when the Rebels (, SEC) play the Vols (, ) on Saturday ( p.m. ET, SEC Network).

Some of the reporters who covered his shocking exit are still around Knoxville, but many have moved on. Their personal stories behind the ones they reported provide a unique angle to the night UT fans will never forget.

Lane Kiffin waits to announce his resignation as coach of the University of Tennessee football team on Tuesday, Jan. 12, Kiffin took the coaching job at Southern California after just one season at Tennessee.

“As soon as people figure out that I covered that season at Tennessee, (the night Kiffin left) is all they want to know about,” said Austin Ward, former UT football beat reporter for Knox News.

“I’m sure I’ll be talking about that night as long as I live. But I still can’t believe it happened.”

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The ‘TV guy’ who held up Kiffin’s news conference

Kiffin couldn’t talk until Bill Shory got his way, or at least that’s how it played out. And it was all captured on a video posted on YouTube.

Shory, then the news director at WBIR-TV, argued with UT sports information director Bud Ford about the ground rules for Kiffin’s news conference, scheduled for p.m., hours after news had leaked that he was leaving for the USC job after only one season with the Vols.

Ford said Kiffin didn’t want TV to broadcast his remarks live. Then he said Kiffin wanted to speak to media off camera to explain why he was leaving before doing an on-camera portion.

Shory disagreed on UT setting ground rules for a news conference at a public university. A stand-off occurred in the Gordon Ball boardroom — used that night to avoid students protesting near the entrance of the usual news conference room — as Kiffin waited in the hallway.

“I’m surprised they didn’t just have security escort me out,” said Shory, who now owns a strategic communications company in Louisville.

Sports writers didn't know Shory, who usually didn't work UT sports events, which only added to the confusion.

"Who is this TV guy in a black trench coat? And why is he holding up the proceedings?" recalled Mike Strange, who covered the Vols for Knox News for 34 years. "The fact that he was the central figure and we didn't know who he was made it even more bizarre."

Why Lane Kiffin held a news conference at UT

Some reporters in the room said they agreed with the principle of Shory’s stand but thought the unusual circumstances should’ve tabled the debate for a different day. They were on deadline, and Kiffin wasn’t obligated to address media.

“We’re burning daylight, and he may walk,” Ford warned reporters.

Coaches rarely hold news conferences at the school they’re leaving. Ford, who had just left a prayer meeting at Salem Baptist Church before being called to campus, said he told Kiffin it would be wiser to hold his comments until he arrived at USC.

"However, that is not what occurred," Ford said.

Kiffin confirmed he ignored the advice of Ford and agent Jimmy Sexton in holding the news conference and a team meeting before leaving UT.

"That was my idea only," Kiffin said. "(They) said, 'Get out of town, get on a plane, show up at USC and then speak there.' I think both of them backfired, but that’s not the point. You do things in life because they’re the right things to do, whether they work or not."

Kiffin saw his final news conference at UT as a courtesy, albeit for the purpose of smoothing things over with media and fans.

Sports reporters who regularly covered Kiffin understood that and sympathized with Ford's position in trying to manage an impossible situation. Some news reporters thought that was irrelevant, especially since a public university was managing a news conference on behalf of Kiffin.

“The TV guy was stubborn. I just wanted a press conference, where we could ask Lane questions,” said Jimmy Hyams, sports talk radio host on WNML.

“The fan base was cheated from getting an explanation because of one darn news director. I still get frustrated talking about it,” said Mark Packer, who was reporting for WVLT-TV. 

Kiffin said media that covered UT regularly were "not just fair but awesome." He wanted to explain why he was leaving in a private setting, and perhaps answer a few questions, without holding a full-fledged news conference until he got to USC.

But coaches at high-profile college football programs can't tip-toe that line, which is why he was advised against it.

Kiffin eventually spoke for 59 seconds, did not take questions and returned to his office to wait for the protests outside to die down.

Shory won a national award for ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists for taking the stand. And he said important context has been missing from the story.

In , livestreaming capabilities were becoming easier, and Knoxville TV stations had been pressing UT for months to allow live broadcasts of news conferences and major news events. They were arguing over ground rules that would later affect the use of smart phone cameras and livestreaming on social media.

“It was an issue beyond those 30 seconds with Lane Kiffin. It was about who gets to decide what you do with the content once it enters the lens of the camera,” Shory said. “That was the time that stake needed to be put in the ground.”

Ford and Shory had lunch a week after the news conference to discuss what happened. They share a mutual respect to this day.

YouTube video shows media vs UT officials, other media

There’s a 7-minute, second video on YouTube that showed the behind-the-scenes bickering in that boardroom — media vs. UT officials and media vs. media. Debates on journalistic practices, a responsibility to get the story and frayed nerves on deadline led to the chaotic scene.

"I felt like a cat watching ping pong," WNML host Heather Harrington said. "Just people fighting back and forth. It was awkward. It was wild."

Harris D. "Bud" Ford, UT associate athletic director for media relations, dictates ground rules for coverage to reporters as Lane Kiffin prepares to announce his resignation on Tuesday, Jan. 12,

The video is sort of a cult classic, like a director’s cut of the actual Kiffin appearance immediately afterward.

Media members still joke about lines they shouted in the pair of videos.

“He’s a snake! You can’t worry about what he wants,” Packer shouted about Kiffin before he entered the room.

"What does this mean for recruiting, Lane?" Harrington shouted at Kiffin as he left the room.

Kiffin said he watched the video for the first time this week after ESPN's Chris Low sent it to him. Incidentally, Low sat conspicuously quiet in the frame of the behind-the-scenes video.

“I remember thinking, ‘I bet a million dollars someone is rolling tape on this’ and they were,” Low said. “I was taught in Journalism that you never want to become part of the story.

“Right or wrong — and I’m not judging here — the media sort of became part of the story that night.”

Shory said he doesn’t know who filmed or posted the video which showed him arguing with Ford and reporters, but it wasn’t part of his TV crew. He’s still asked about the video whenever Kiffin changes jobs, and reporters reference it when trying to make sense of that strange night.

“It was great theater, almost comical,” Strange said. “I remember thinking it looked like a made-for-TV movie about a college football team because it was so weird."

Kiffin to USC reports send media scrambling

That day was bound for chaos before the sun set.

Josh Ward and Will West, co-hosts on WNML, speculated on air during their early afternoon show that Kiffin could leave if offered the USC job.

UT fans lit up the phone lines to scold them. Even a coworker cautioned them during a commercial break to cut out the Kiffin-to-USC talk.

Former UT head football coach Lane Kiffin talks to media following his resignation Tuesday, Jan 12,

The Vols had been led by only two coaches — Johnny Majors () and Phillip Fulmer () — for the previous 32 seasons. It was a destination job, not a stepping stone.

“And then it happened a few hours later,” Ward said. “It was fascinating to see the range of emotions in a hour period from fans believing Lane would never leave to then hating him for doing what we tried to warn people would happen.”

Rumors had swirled about Kiffin’s exit all afternoon. Wes Rucker, then covering UT for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, was getting a new set of tires put on his Mazda 3 when a media friend in Los Angeles messaged him.

Kiffin had become the frontrunner for the USC job, and it was only a matter of time before he accepted it.

“I said a lot of foul-mouthed words and ran to the counter,’” Rucker said. “I told the guy that I cover Tennessee and Lane Kiffin is going to USC, so get my tires on or get my fricking car down.”

The news broke after dinner. Brent Hubbs, publisher of, was playing Chutes and Ladders with his toddler son when he got a call confirming Kiffin was leaving.

Before rushing to campus, Hubbs typed, “Guys, it’s true” as a thread title on his Rivals message board, but nothing else. That phrase is still a running joke on Volquest, referenced by fans whenever they want to know if a report is true.

From mattress fire to a glass of whiskey

Reporters arrived on campus to find a few angry students protesting Kiffin’s departure. The emotions sharpened when Shory and Ford sparred in the boardroom.

When reporters exited the news conference about 45 minutes later, the crowd had swelled to hundreds along Johnny Majors Drive, outside the football complex.

Students burn a mattress outside the football complex after Lane Kiffin announced his resignation Tuesday, Jan. 12, , as coach of the University of Tennessee football team. Kiffin took the coaching job at Southern California after just one season at Tennessee.

“They were raising hell and burning a mattress right beside me. And a lot of folks there were drunk, so I thought a fight might break out,” Hyams said. “Then someone yelled that a coach was leaving from the back office, so everybody started running to see who was leaving.”

It wasn’t Kiffin. He was tucked away in his office after Low and John Brice, who was working for Volquest, had followed him down the hallway, trying unsuccessfully to coax another comment.

Then they stepped outside.

“And I got my defining memory of that night,” Low said. “Here comes (longtime UT football equipment manager) Max Parrott. He walks beside me with an extinguisher and just calmly puts the mattress fire out, looks at me with this quizzical look, shakes his head and walks off.”

Around 3 a.m., Hubbs said Kiffin was escorted by security out of his office and home. Austin Ward had been texting Kiffin, who agreed to an interview the next morning.

But when Kiffin’s coaches started calling midterm enrollees to persuade them to go to USC instead of beginning class at UT, the coaches’ phones were shut off by the university. Ward still got his interview, just as Kiffin had promised.

After the news conference, Rucker drove home in his Mazda 3, which sported a new set of tires. He filed his story just before deadline, took a deep breath and asked himself a series of questions to sum up the night.

“Was that real? What just happened? And who’s the next coach going to be?” Rucker recalled. “And then I put whiskey on some ice and just sat there for a minute.”

Reach Adam Sparks at [email protected] and on Twitter @AdamSparks.

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Mar. 5—Veteran television sports reporters Dave Staley and John Madewell, along with weather reporter Erin Thomas, were among 11 people reportedly let go this week at WTVC-TV 9 as part of a nationwide workforce reduction of Sinclair Broadcast Group employees, according to multiple sources.

The company announced on Wednesday it was reducing its workforce across the country by 5%. It is unclear if that number represented a similar reduction in each market or overall nationwide.

"From local businesses and advertisers to distributors and partners, no component of our business's ecosystem has been fully shielded from the impact of the global pandemic," Sinclair said in a statement released by 5W Associate Vice President Michael Padavoano. "In response to this, we are currently undergoing enterprise-wide reductions across our workforce, including corporate headquarters, to ensure we are well-positioned for future success."

Officials at WTVC did not respond to requests to confirm the layoffs, but the bios and pictures of Staley, Madewell and Thomas are no longer included on the station's News Team web page, and other sources at the station confirmed they are among those let go.

Staley, who joined NewsChannel9 in , was sports director at the station and well known for his award-winning Dave's Diamond Darlings segment featuring local youth sports.

Madewell joined a decade later as a news reporter and later switched to sports. None of the remaining on-air personalities on the station's News Team site cover sports.

Thomas covered weather and traffic for the station since

Contact Barry Courter at [email protected] or


Times sports chattanooga

Chattanooga Times Free Press selects Presteligence for high school sports coverage

Presteligence has announced that the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press will use My Team Scoop for its high school sports coverage of 55 area schools.

All high school sport news stories and photo galleries along with team schedules, scores, stats and standings will be available on the responsively designed websites and branded iOS and Google Play Apps. Times Free Press plans to sell site sponsorships, school and team sponsors, and geo-targeted event promotions.

Times Free Press will include the schools and community in obtaining scores and stats. Coaches, statisticians, athletic directors, parents and volunteers can be given access to update team information via the website and app. Chattanooga teams will take advantage of the reverse publishing of customized, formatted and stylized box exports from the system for print pagination.


Presteligence, Chattanooga, sports

Tyner 3-point shot wins the game

In the depths of the Depression, Joe Engel, the "Baron of Baloney," would do almost anything to promote his minor league baseball team. The owner of the Chattanooga (Tennessee) Lookouts traded a shortstop for a pound turkey, placed singing canaries in grandstands, and featured elephants and a base-running ostrich in a promotion for a game. Engel was an outstanding self-promoter, too: He named the Lookouts&#x; ballpark after himself.

But perhaps no Engel promotion generated as much publicity as on April 2, , when he pitched year-old Jackie Mitchell against a New York Yankees team featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Mitchell&#x;one of the few females to play professional baseball against men&#x;struck out the future Hall of Famers in an exhibition game in Chattanooga.

Or did she?

"It was a stunt," Major League Baseball official historian John Thorn says of the "feat," which drew nationwide attention. "Mitchell couldn't break a pane of glass."

In , Ruth and Gehrig&#x;among the most feared sluggers in baseball history&#x;were an intimidating duo for the big leagues' best pitchers, let alone an year-old female. In , The Bambino led the American League in home runs (49), and The Iron Horse topped the AL in runs batted in () and total bases ().

But shortly before her death in , Mitchell insisted her strikeout feat was legit.

Why, hell, they were trying&#x;damn right, she said. Hell, better hitters than them couldn&#x;t hit me. Why should they&#x;ve been any different?

Women's Baseball Player Jackie Mitchell Learns To Pitch From a Big Leaguer

Jackie Mitchell became a baseball fan an early age. At 5, she reportedly played with the young son of neighbor and future Hall of Famer Dazzy Vance, a big-league pitcher who taught her how to throw a sinker. At 9, Mitchell&#x;who lived in Memphis and then moved with her family to Chattanooga&#x;played ball with neighborhood boys. Mom did not approve.

Now you may as well realize you are not going to play ball with those boys this afternoon,  Virne Mitchell told her daughter, according to a lengthy feature story in the Chattanooga Daily Times in

Well, all right, Jackie said, but they&#x;ll be a man short if I don&#x;t.

"A tough, little tomboy," David Jenkins, author of Baseball in Chattanooga, called Mitchell.

In , Mitchell was playing ball with the Engelettes, a team composed of local women that played games in and near Chattanooga. Later, she refined her game at a baseball academy in Atlanta.

Keen on pumping up attendance at Engel Stadium, Engel signed Mitchell to a minor league contract in early spring to play exhibitions for the Lookouts. The nation&#x;s newspapers gobbled up the news&#x;a photograph of Mitchell signing her contract, with Dr. Joe Mitchell, her optometrist father, standing nearby, even appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News.

The Chattanooga Daily Times sports section, meanwhile, pitched stereotypes of the era: When not in uniform, Jackie dons an apron and joins in with the household chores, read a story below images of Mitchell at home. &#x;Jackie can take that southpaw flipper and mix a mean batter or swing a wicked broom. Maybe that's where she got so much power in her flinging arm.

In early April , en route back to New York from spring training in Florida, the Yankees stopped in Chattanooga for exhibitions against the Lookouts. Engel announced he would pitch his newly signed lefthander against them. The consummate promoter eagerly stoked the fire for the story.

I think Jackie Mitchell will fool Babe Ruth as he is easily fooled, especially by a girl, he said, adding, I don&#x;t think [our outfielders] will have anything to do.

Days before Mitchell&#x;s debut, a wire service reporter watched as she practiced for the big game with an obliging neighbor boy in her backyard. Engel planned to keep her in hiding until the moment she took the mound.  I&#x;ll do my best, Mitchell told the reporter, "&#x; and will go out there with plenty of pep and with my mind made up on one thing&#x;to fan Babe Ruth.

Jackie Mitchell Strikes Out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig

The Yankees and Lookouts were to play on April 1, but the game was rained out. Some have speculated a game scheduled for April Fool's Day revealed Engel's true intentions. Four New York newspaper reporters interviewed Mitchell that day about her big-league ambitions.

The next day, 4, fans attended the exhibition at Engel Stadium. A Universal film crew was on hand to document the event for showing in theaters. Fans didn't have to wait long for Mitchell to face Ruth. To the roar of the crowd, she took the mound as a reliever in the first inning. Ruth tipped his cap to Mitchell, who was composed despite the hoopla. Her first pitch was a ball inside. 

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About Babe Ruth

Then Ruth swung and missed at two more pitches and took a called third strike. Apparently disgusted, he threw down his bat and stalked to the dugout. "Merely acting," the Chattanooga News described Ruth's "fit."

The Babe performed his role very ably, reported the New York Times. He swung hard at two pitches then demanded that Umpire Owens inspect the ball, just as batters do when utterly baffled by a pitcher&#x;s delivery.  The next batter, Gehrig, went down swinging on three pitches. Mitchell's girlfriends at the game celebrated.

John Kovach, author of Jackie Mitchell: The Girl Who Loved Baseball, believes Mitchell may have simply fooled Gehrig and Ruth with off-speed pitches. "I have coached baseball for 35 years, and when you see a box score and it says you struck out, you struck out," he says. "I am not going to put an asterisk by it."

But Thorn insists it was a PR stunt. "[Gehrig] had a sense of humor, and he would go along with Ruth," he says. "They both liked Engel." If it were indeed an orchestrated stunt, neither Ruth nor Gehrig publicly admitted it. Asked about Mitchell's feat over the years, Engel "always danced around it," Kovach says.

After walking Tony Lazzeri, the Lookouts' manager pulled Mitchell. "Evidently," the Daily Times wrote, "he expected her to whiff them as fast as they came up." The Lookouts lost, , but Chattanooga fans didn't care. Their "feminine flinger" was the big story.

Jackie Mitchell Aspires to Play In World Series

The next day, the nation's newspapers splashed headlines of Mitchell's feat across their pages. "Babe Turns Chivalrous, Lets Girl Fan Him Out," wrote the Los Angeles Times

The Chattanooga News mentioned Engel, who died in , in the same vein as P.T. Barnum, the master showman. Of Mitchell, the newspaper wrote: "Whatever may be her abilities on the mound, the female hurler is earning her coffee and cakes all right, by bringing in the publicity."

READ MORE: How the Only Woman in Baseball Hall of Fame Challenged Convention&#x;and MLB

In , Daily Times reported Mitchell had big-league aspirations and wanted to pitch in a World Series. But the lefthander's baseball career ended in August , after years playing in the Piedmont League and barnstorming, without her getting close to the big leagues. No woman has played in the majors. In the s, Mitchell played on a barnstorming basketball team with Babe Didrikson, perhaps the greatest female athlete of all time. 

"She loved baseball," says Kovach of the shy and reserved Mitchell,"and I think until the day she died she believed she struck Ruth and Gehrig out."


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He squeezed her buttocks tightly, digging his fingers into the soft flesh, and shouted: Aaaaa. Further, a bathhouse, jacuzzi and general bliss. Tired and contented, they went out into the cold.

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