This winter, Badger basketball and hockey fans have been given much to gripe about — two teams that underperformed with large expectations.Traditionally, when a team underperforms, fans point their fingers to the coach and in both cases, they may have an argument.For the basketball team, their recent success has jolted Badger fans’ views of Head Coach Greg Gard and flipped them upside down. Gard went from a coach who couldn’t recruit in-state players to the “silent assassin,” written on shirts worn by players and now being sold to fans.For the hockey team, however, their continued lack of success has caused the feelings of fans toward Head Coach Tony Granato to get worse.Men’s Hockey: Badgers capture key sweep of No. 9 Arizona State in final home series of seasonThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (13-18-1, 6-15-1-1 Big Ten) took on the Arizona State University Sun Devils (22-11-3) Read…University of Wisconsin alumni and father of four, Coach Granato played in the NHL for 13 years before going on to coach an additional 13 years in the league.Finishing his collegiate career fourth all-time for the Badgers in points scored with 220 points, Granato was drafted as the 120th pick in the sixth round by the New York Rangers and posted four 30-goal seasons. Granato was also chosen for the 1988-89 NHL Rookie Team, as he set a franchise record for a rookie with 36 goals. After playing for multiple teams and sustaining the typical veteran injuries, Granato retired in 2001 and became a coach immediately.Owning a 102-78-17 coaching record as a coach for the Colorado Avalanche and owning a winning record as a head or assistant coach for 12 of his 13 years coaching in the league, Granato became the UW men’s hockey coach prior to the 2016-17 season and has remained in the position ever since.In his first year as the Badger head coach, Granato finished his degree earning a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies.Men’s Hockey: Experience gained this season cannot be overlookedGoing into the 2019-2020 season, the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (10-17-1, 5-14-1-1 Big Ten) faced high expectations from Read…Across just over three seasons, Granato is 61-70-11 including an impressive 20-15-1 record in his first season. With tall highs and even lower lows, Badger fans have built a distrust in the coaching methods of Granato, so much so that over the past few months, a light chatter has been made about whether Granato should remain the Badgers’ head coach following what has been an extremely disappointing season.Coming off a 14-18-5 season last year, Badger fans looked hopeful due to the strong freshman core, including NHL Draft picks in No. 5 Alex Turcotte and No. 15 Cole Caufield.Led by Turcotte and Caufield, in addition to fellow draftees in Ryder Donovan, a fourth-round selection to Las Vegas Golden Knights, and Owen Lindmark, drafted in the fifth round by the Florida Panthers, the 2019-20 Badger hockey team looked to take the next step and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2013-14 season.After a hot start, the Badgers struggled to stay consistent and the frustration of fans grew. While several players have had terrific individual seasons, the consistency has never been there for this squad and lots of blame is thrown on the coach.Whether deserving or not, Granato has received lots of criticism about how he lacks the ability to light the fire under his team and get them playing at the level every expert thought they would.Currently sitting in last place in the Big Ten with a 13-18-1 overall record (6-15-1-1 Big Ten), it is easy to look at the record and think this was yet another waste of a season. But, with the recent hot streak the Badgers are on, it may be time to stop the talk of firing Granato.Men’s Hockey: Yet another split series for Badgers vs No. 11 Penn StateThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (11-18-1, 6-15-1-1 Big Ten) took on the No. 11 Nittany Lions of Pennsylvania Read…By winning three of four games prior to their weekend series with The Ohio State University, the Badgers seem to have found their stride and may be able to turn a lost season into a deep run in the Big Ten Conference Tournament.This year’s Badger team has proven themselves through small bits and pieces against top-level talent in arguably the best conference in men’s college hockey. The Big Ten this season is the home to three top-20 programs in the nation and is also home to three other teams who received votes to be ranked within the top 20 as well.In a deep conference mixed with some unfortunate injuries to crucial players, Granato should not be fired following the 2019-20 campaign. Should he be on the hot seat? One could argue he should be following what will now be his third consecutive losing season at the helm, and I would agree. What I will not agree on, however, is that he should be fired without being given a chance to see if he can continue to develop the young core.A life-long Badger deeply rooted in the city and culture of the school, Granato has earned at least one more season to lead the team. If things start to go further downhill next season, then I can understand a possible change in coaching. But, hopefully this team will carry the momentum from the end of this season into next season, making the Badgers a team to look out for next year.
Boavista have completed the signing of Ghana defender Samuel Inkoom on a free transfer.The Portuguese club announced the three-year deal on their website on Thursday and it is a chance for a fresh start for the 26-year old.”I had some conversations with the Boavista coach (Armando Goncalves Teixeira) and I’m exited and motivated by his positive vision and plans.”The club has a great history and I am excited to play in one of the best leagues in Europe,” Inkoom said.In response to why rejected a move to Houston Dynamo after his inability to hold down a place at DC United, he said: “The competitive nature of the European game is incomparable because you get to face tough opponents every weekend.”I plan to repay the club’s confidence with all the required dedication.” Inkoom has had a more than decent career since he came to the fore in the local Ghanaian league for Kotoko and moved to Switzerland’s Basel.His launchpad at the national level came following his showing for the Black Satellites in the 2009 World Youth Championship, which they won.But from Basel his fortunes have not been rosy, as he left for Ukraine in a big €10 million Euro move to Dnipro. There, former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos kept him on the bench. Stints in France and Greece did not help his reputation either.”I’m currently training very hard and keeping fit. I’m in great shape and looking forward to the new season,” Inkoom, who has been in the news in the last few months for legal issues in the States, told BBC Sport.Official photos –––Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith
Josh Hill met up with England Golf graduate Tommy Fleetwood today and was presented with a Guinness World Records certificate to mark his achievement as a history-maker.England boys’ squad player Hill made headlines across the world when he fired a final round 62 to win the Al Ain Open on the MENA Tour in October.The victory saw him become the youngest-ever winner of an official world golf ranking event at just 15 years, six months and 27 days old.In recognition of his fabulous win, Fleetwood took time out his busy schedule to hand over a framed certificate to the up-and-coming young Englishman.Hill said: “I’m a big admirer of Tommy so it was a real thrill for him to present me with this Guinness World Records certificate.“I feel honoured to have achieved what I have at 15, but I know it’s only a starting point.“I’m like any normal teenager, just half-decent at golf. I will continue to work hard to achieve my dreams.”Fleetwood – currently world number 10 – came through the England amateur ranks before going on to become one of the biggest stars of world golf, a Ryder Cup winner and Europe’s number one.Hill – who was born in Surrey, but is based in Dubai – pegs it up tomorrow in another professional event, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.Already this week he has enjoyed a practice round alongside world number one Brooks Koepka and rubbed shoulders with a range of stars from the European and PGA Tours.Hill’s meeting with Koepka naturally attracted a lot of attention especially when the 15-year-old outdrove the American on two occasions and beat him over eight holes!Koepka – a four-time Major winner – was impressed with both the teenager’s technique and attitude.Koepka said: “It’s always fun to get to play with these young kids, and you really see in 10 years – when I’m close to being on my way out – all these kids that will be up and winning a bunch.“It will be cool to see in the next five, 10 years how much he progresses.“He asked good questions. I thought that was important.“I think being so young, if I was in his shoes, I would have been afraid to ask. He wasn’t afraid to ask, which I think is very important and very mature for his age.“He’s a good player. Putts it really well. Short game is really good. Strikes it really well.”Hill is an important member of the England boys’ squad for 2020 and will be competing for a place in the team to play Home Internationals and the European Championships.Photograph credit: Getty Images Tags: England Boys’ Squad, Josh Hill 15 Jan 2020 You’ve been framed! Record-breaker Hill is a Guinness prize guy
By John BurtonThe proposed choice for the replacement of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge was met with a cool reception but eventual acceptance by local officials. It could, however, mean the loss – or at least relocation – of a couple of Sea Bright businesses.Members of the public, Monmouth County and state officials and those they are labeling stakeholders, including local officials, attended an Oct. 4 session to discuss the plan to replace the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. After studying eight options, the plan to construct a new movable drawbridge was chosen. The proposal calls for a bridge alignment that would be 10 feet south of the existing bridge.The present span extends from Rumson Road eastward across the Shrewsbury River connecting with Sea Bright and Ocean Avenue/Route 36 running north and south.The decision of which proposal to choose was made by a consulting engineering firm, Monmouth County engineers and representatives from various state departments following a series of meetings in Rumson and Sea Bright that began in February, according to Martine Culbertson, the contracted community involvement facilitator for the project.The plan calls for the bridge to have sidewalks, shoulders and designated bicycle paths, features that members of the public said they wanted, said Bruce Riegel, project manager for Hardesty and Hanover, LLC, an engineering firm contracted for the project.The existing bridge could continue to operate while the new one is being constructed.But having the bridge built just south of the current one would mean officials will have to acquire a commercial property. The site, 1002-1006 Ocean Ave., is the location of a Dunkin’ Donuts and the Sea Bright Service Center, a gas station and repair shop.“They would look to relocate that business,” Culbertson told Sea Bright representatives present, including Mayor Dina Long and council members William J. Keeler, Marc Leckstein and C. Read Murphy.The borough officials were troubled by the loss of a business in their community.“There’s no place to relocate a Dunkin’ Donuts or a gas station in Sea Bright,” Leckstein said. “They’re gone.”“It’s a bridge replacement but it’s an important component for both communities,” Culbertson acknowledged. She said that if the choice moves forward, every effort would be made to accommodate the businesses.The site owner, John Regan, 85, of Oceanport, said his father bought the property more than 60 years ago. While he has kept tabs on the various proposals for a new bridge, no one has informed him about the proposed design chosen by the panel.“It makes no difference to me whether they buy it or not. If they want my property and have enough money, buy it,” he said.Regan disagrees with the proposed plan. He feels the bridge should be constructed on the northern side of the existing one and should be a fixed span bridge. A drawbridge, he said, simply snarls road traffic during the summer. “The whole town of Sea Bright suffers,” he said.The location has had a gas station there going back to the late 1920s, according to Regan.Attempts to contact the service station owner were unsuccessful.The Dunkin’ Donuts, next to the gas station, has been there for a little more than nine years, said its owner, Dominic Sequeira, when reached by phone. He also has not been contacted about this proposal and what it would mean for his business.“If it happens and that’s the way it’s going to go, we’ll see what happens and what our options are,” said Sequeira, whose franchise agreement limits his ability to make public comments.During the Oct. 4 meeting, those involved in the project said they had rejected options, like a fixed span bridge because the public comments were strongly opposed to it. That plan would also increase construction costs. Other proposals would have a temporary bridge erected while the old one was dismantled and a new one built.Another rejected option called for the old bridge to be taken down and traffic detoured for approximately two years while the new bridge is built. That proposal was met with fierce resistance from much of the public and local officials, Reigel said.Initially, local officials from Sea Bright and Rumson Administrator Tom Rogers weren’t happy with the preferred plan.“You guys are not listening to what we said,” Rogers told those working on the project.A new bridge should be constructed to allow for four lanes of traffic – two each way – to keep it moving during the busy summer months, he said.The bridge is designed for two lanes, but local officials noted in reality it operates as four with the shoulder.Sea Bright Councilman Murphy reiterated a longstanding complaint about a state ban on turning right on red for those who want to go south on Ocean Avenue after crossing the bridge. The State Department of Transportation currently prohibits it and has been reluctant to change it, citing safety concerns.“Our town is a parking lot, a parking lot all summer and that’s because of the Rumson Bridge,” Murphy said.“There’s all kinds of problems with the traffic pattern,” Rogers agreed.Reconfiguring the design, especially to expand the bridge to allow four lanes, and to redo Ocean Avenue to allow for additional right- and left-turn lanes, would add costs to the project, Culbertson said.With that in mind, Rumson and Sea Bright officials huddled and agreed to accept the preferred option as the best plan. “What we were asking probably wouldn’t go forward,” Rogers acknowledged.“I’ve been saying all along replacing this bridge is a good thing,” Long said later, with a hint of irony in her voice, but acknowledging it has to be done given its current state.The bridge’s overall condition is “serious,” Riegel said, beyond the point of being able to simply repair it. “Ultimately if the condition isn’t addressed, the bridge will have to close.”The project will be paid for with federal transportation funds. Tentative plans call for construction to begin in April 2016 and take about two years to complete.Representatives plan on conducting a public input session in November, before any final decision is made about the design, Culbertson said. No date has been selected.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 29, 2016) – The Breeders’ Cup announced today that registration is now open for the 2016 BCBC at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4-5. Now in its eighth year, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is a highly lucrative and exclusive real money tournament that crowns the winner with the highest accumulated bankroll at the end of the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This year’s BCBC will have a prize pool of up to $800,000 based on 350 players and will again allow players to participate from multiple, to-be-announced, satellite locations. The top 15 finishers from the 2015 BCBC won seats to this year’s DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC), which started yesterday in Las Vegas.Adding to the excitement and anticipation for this year’s BCBC, three automatic qualifying positions are on the line at this week’s NHC, where the top daily finishers from Day 1 and Day 2, plus the winner of the NHC consolation tournament, will gain automatic berths into the 2016 BCBC. Players can also win their way into the BCBC through online qualifiers resuming on February 14 at www.bcqualify.com. In addition, there will be a minimum of 25 live tournament qualifiers across North America this year starting with the NHC. The live tournament schedule can be found at http://www.breederscup.com/bcbc.Fans can follow the top 15 finishers from last year’s BCBC at the NHC, and their quest to be Horse Player of the Year, on social media by following @BreedersCup channels.“We are very excited to open registration for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and encourage players to take advantage of the multiple online and live tournaments that will be available throughout the year,” said Tim Schram, BCBC Tournament Director. “We wish the best of luck to all our BCBC participants from last year’s tournament who are competing in Las Vegas in the NHC.”For the 2016 BCBC, a $2,500 buy-in and $7,500 betting bankroll ($10,000 total) will be required of each player. All buy-in monies are applied to the prize pool, plus a minimum of $25,000 in additional funds provided by Breeders’ Cup and Santa Anita Park. Players make real wagers with their $7,500 bankroll over the two days and keep all monies earned from their betting.Fans can follow the social conversation all year long on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge using #BCBC. Complete BCBC information and rules can be found at http://www.breederscup.com/bcbc/rules. About Breeders’ CupThe Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 grade I races and purses totaling $26 million, will be held November 4-5 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube Contact: Jim Gluckson, Breeders’ Cup, 212-230-9512 SIGN -UPS AVAILABLE NOW FOR FEBRUARY ONLINE QUALIFIERS