Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A fine pair from Texas

Two winners from the Texas Monthly 2008 Bum Steer Awards, one about a former Pittsburg State University football coach and another about a television journalist who was nabbed for suspicious behavior in the maternity wards of a couple of Amarillo hospitals.

"Of all the Bum Steer sagas that played out over the past year, however, none was stranger than that of the man ESPN called “dumber than a blocking sled.” Yep, it’s the Aggies’ own Dennis Franchione. His $2 million salary evidently wasn’t enough; he moonlighted as the author of a VIP newsletter, which he sent out by e-mail to 23 well-heeled boosters willing to pay $1,200 for inside dope about injuries and recruits. Unsportsmanlike conduct! When A&M learned of his other gig, the university had to report two rules violations to the NCAA. Even beating Texas two years in a row couldn’t keep him in his job. Congrats, Coach Fran. You’re the Bum Steer of the Year."

Well, my (admittedly slight) connection to Franchione is that I got my undergraduate degree at PSU. I often say in my journalism class that sports really isn't news unless they execute the losers. But I'll make an exception for greed and corruption.

And this gem:

"Coming up at ten: She does five. Cecelia Lynn Coy-Jones, a reporter for KCBD-TV, in Lubbock, was arrested for attempted aggravated kidnapping after lurking in the maternity wards of two Amarillo hospitals, because, she claimed, she was investigating how secure they were from would-be kidnappers."

I'm all for enterprise reporting, but when you appear to be a threat to children, you're begging for trouble. My advice to Coy-Jones: While the occassional stolen baby story makes for breathless copy, it's the damned politicians and bearucrats that really need watching. Lurk in city hall instead.