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Lonergan Update

Since everybody else is doing it, here's a Mike Lonergan update.

I ran into Mike, easily the most manic man I've ever interviewed, while he was conducting a phone interview in a Comcast Center foyer after Vermont's win over New Orleans last night. He was chugging a can of orange juice, and he kept losing cell phone reception. His post-game phone interview with the Burlington paper was like every post-game Lonergan interview: 73 sentences a minute, and detailed recitations of virtually every line on the box score.

(At the time, I was returning from the NCAA Field Hockey Selection Show and Pot Luck Dinner Extravaganza at the Maryland field hockey team house, an event which I figured was a tailor-made media magnet but which wound up attracting just me. The field hockey players didn't seem particularly impressed by my questions. I, however, was particularly impressed by the apple and cranberry crisp made by former all-American and current volunteer assistant Emily Beach. More on this event later, but the defending national champs received a two seed and tons of face time on the CSTV broadcast, and will host a regional this weekend. If you're going to the football game, go a few hours early and watch some field hockey. Maryland plays at 11 a.m.)

Anyhow, I seem to have lost my notebook, but I can say that Lonergan's emotions included these: fear, relief, happiness, joy, apprehension, excitement, and any other emotion you can think of. He said he didn't sleep at all Monday night because he was so nervous. He said that, above all, he just didn't want to play in the consolation game, and that with one win in the books he could enjoy himself the rest of this trip. He said that even though he used to coach in the Comcast Center he had forgotten how impressive the building is, that he felt sort of awed, and that he thinks it's the nicest arena in the country. He said that, during the game, he kept thinking about which seat he used to sit in on the bench, when he worked at Maryland. He said that, in recent weeks, he kept telling his coaches how much a win last night could do for their program: a chance to play on ESPN2 tonight, a chance to face an ACC school with nothing to lose. He said "Coach Williams," to whom he's eternally grateful, won't have much trouble figuring out Vermont's offense tonight, since it's "Coach Williams's" offense. He said that he didn't want to tell his players how much that game last night meant to him, but that they probably figured it out. Um, yeah, they did.

"He would act like he didn't want us to know, but you knew," Jason Green said. "He wanted to look good."

Despite Lonergan's insistence that he can just relax and have fun tonight, I'm here to tell you he will be an emotional wreck for the next 10 or so hours.

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 8, 2006; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Terps , Weirdness  
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