LOS ANGELES (CCN) — Flint's Anthony Dirrell made his first return to the boxing ring since losing his middleweight championship belt 17 months ago, and the national TV broadcast team expressed shock in the judges ruling it was a draw in his bout with Tyrone Davis of New Jersey. READ MORE
FLINT (CCN) — The Mott Bears were beaten 74-70 by Delta Community College on Friday night in their home opener at Ballenger Field House. Freshman Connor Bush of Bellville missed a 1-and-1 opportunity from the free throw line with 21.4 seconds left to doom the Bears to defeat. READ MORE
(CCN) — Flint Beecher and Goodrich survived overtime thrillers in boys' basketball action Friday night to highlight the Metro Flint area action. Flint Beecher beat Flint Carman-Ainsworth 65-63 in a double overtime non-league affair while Goodrich nipped Linden 70-64 in an overtime contest between the two division leaders in the Metro Lea
(CCN) — Flint Beecher and Goodrich survived overtime thrillers in boys' basketball action Friday night to highlight the Metro Flint area action. Flint Beecher beat Flint Carman-Ainsworth 65-63 in a double overtime non-league affair while Goodrich nipped Linden 70-64 in an overtime contest between the two division leaders in the Metro League. It was the first loss of the season for C-A which led by an many as 15 points in the first half.
PREP SPORTS ROUNDUP:
Week #3 of Winter Sports Season (Week Ending 2-20-2021
Week #2 of Winter Sports Season (Week Ending 2-20-2021
OTHER SPORTS SECTION FRONTS
Flint Firebirds Section
MOUNT PLEASANT (CCN) — Doug Towler joined the 600 victory club among high school hockey coaches on Wednesday night in Mount Pleasant. The Davison Cardinals won by an impressive 9-1 romp in their season opener over the host Oilers. READ MORE
FLINT (CCN) — The Flint Fury are set to go for an 18th season of semi-pro football. They will be part of a new league known as the Midwest Elite Football Alliance (MEFA). Owner Charles Lawler announced that the season opener is set for May 1. "We're not sure yet on how many fans will be allowed, I guess that will be up to the governor,"
FLINT (CCN) — The Flint Fury are set to go for an 18th season of semi-pro football. They will be part of a new league known as the Midwest Elite Football Alliance (MEFA). Owner Charles Lawler announced that the season opener is set for May 1. "We're not sure yet on how many fans will be allowed, I guess that will be up to the governor," said Lawler who also revealed that he will again serve as the General Manager and Head Coach for the Fury.
He said negotiations continue about using the new turf field at Flint Hamady High School. "It would be a great place to play," Lawler said. "We just need to make sure we can afford the price."
Not operating a gate happened last season under the governor's COVID-19 rules, but Lawler was quick to assure everyone that the "games will go on."
The Fury is currently conducting a raffle to benefit the 2021 Flint Fury Youth Football Camp. Tickets are $10 each and will be limited to 1,500, according to Lawler. A flyer with information is presented at right if you are on a PC or laptop, or scroll down to find it under this story if you are on a mobile device.
Lawler said the raffle winners will collect $50 to spend at black businesses of their choice for fourth prize, a $100 Visa or Mastecard gift card for third prize, an Apple air pod pro or Raycon the Performer ear buds for second prize and a Samsung 65-inch smart TV for the grand prize.
"The new league is a great league and we're really looking forward to it," Lawler said as he prepared for Saturday's practice session at an indoor facility in Fenton. This year's numbers are the best in franchise history and he credits the interest in a new video campaign.
"We've been doing highlight videos for new players and posting them all over Facebook which has really helped get the interest up, I think," Lawler said.
He announced that the MEFA will field a 16-team lineup this season. "The league has also made a deal for our championship game to be at the beautiful indoor facility in Brighton (The Legacy)," he added.
The Legacy Center Sports Complex is a sprawling state state-of-the-art sports complex on a 90-acre site. Strategic partners include Adidas, Xenith, Fox Sports, Polynesian Bowl, Pylon, Michigan Elite and Europe’s Elite, and Legacy Football services more than 15,000 student athletes every year from Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Washington, California and Canada. The complex also offers training and events for baseball, softball and lacrosse with more than 100,000 square feet of indoor field space on two fields. The Legacy also features seven outdoor multi-purpose fields ad six outdoor ball diamonds, in addition to fitness, nutrition and sports performance consulting offices.
The Flint Fury will play in the MEFA's Elite Red Conference's North Division with the Tri-City Stampede, Michigan Hurricanes and Wayne County Badgers. The tentative schedule for the Fury is at right if you are on a PC or laptop, or scroll down to find it under this story if you are on a mobile device.
The Elite Red Conference's West Division will include the Muskegon Mustangs, Kalamazoo Titans, West Michigan Patriots, Tri County Crusaders and Calhoun County Panthers.
The Elite Black Conference lineup will be comprised of the Detroit Ravens, Detroit Seminoles, Michigan Gators, Metro Raiders and Motor City Hawks in the East Division and the Toledo Thunder, Lima Warriors, Eastside Mudd Doggs, Southern Michigan Red Storm and Findlay Knights in the South Division.
GRAND BLANC (CCN) — An indictment was announced Wednesday (Feb. 10, 2021) against a former financial adviser from Grand Blanc who is the former owner of The Jewel of Grand Blanc and Paddy McGee's Irish Pub. Federal prosecutors accuse Mark Hopkins, 53, in an indictment of "devising a scheme to trick two sets of elderly investors" into giv
GRAND BLANC (CCN) — An indictment was announced Wednesday (Feb. 10, 2021) against a former financial adviser from Grand Blanc who is the former owner of The Jewel of Grand Blanc and Paddy McGee's Irish Pub. Federal prosecutors accuse Mark Hopkins, 53, in an indictment of "devising a scheme to trick two sets of elderly investors" into giving him $1.1 million in an alleged fake investment. The charges say Hopkins produced fake bank account statements to make the investments appear legitimate when their money actually went into an account associated with the Jewel of Grand Blanc. Hopkins and fellow Grand Blanc businessman Jerry Drudi bought The Jewel of Grand Blanc in 2009.READ MORE
MONTROSE (CCN) — The Metro Flint area has lost a baseball legend. Walt Head has passed away at age 77. Two of Head's Flint Connie Mack division 18-&-under teams were inducted into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame before he was honored with personal induction in 2016. READ MORE
FLINT (CCN) — Practice is over for Flint's 2021 cast of Mott Bears. The men's program begins its 30th season tonight (Feb. 19, 2021) under Steve Schmidt as head coach on the road at St. Clair Community College. READ MORE
A new Davison High basketball player is in the local spotlight after a lengthy post on social media by his dad. The post takes some swipes at Grand Blanc High basketball Coach Mike Thomas. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg should be ashamed for allowing his platform to let Nathaniel Brown rant about his son's old coach.
Brown is well known as a chef in the area and he's currently the owner at Chef Nate's Wings and Things. He was a great basketball player in his day under the legendary Grover Kirkland at Flint Northwestern. In fact, daddy Brown was the captain of a team as part of a starting five that also featured Kelvin Tolbert, Marcus Willis, Desmon Farmer and John Selvie.
But daddy Brown used Facebook to rip a coach who did the right thing in my book.
Brown's son violated team rules imposed by the coach, and he was released from the team.
Sports are a privilege, not a right. They provide valuable lessons for life, including the lessons of learning the harsh punishment that sometimes comes with breaking rules.
Before we invite Coach Thomas to appear Saturday morning on The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show to defend himself, let me give you Brown's version. Quite honestly, I don't need to hear the coach's version to deliver a verdict on my feelings about the situation. Daddy Brown sums it up pretty well why Thomas dismissed Nathaniel Brown Jr. from the team. "HE LEFT A TEAM EVENT a hour and a half early," Brown posted on Facebook.
Enough said for me. No player ever dared to leave a team event during my many years of coaching teams in hockey, baseball and basketball.
"Let’s rewind and I’ll give you the history," Daddy Brown continued. "Back on November 13th, Nate turned 18. He and his friends decided to throw a little birthday kickback. Well, little turned into big. The problem is a girl showed up to the party with COVID-19. She passed it on to kids from the party and those kids passed on to some family members.. It turned into a mess. I get a call from Nate’s coach at the time, Mike Thomas. He explained his frustration and we discussed consequences. Fast forward to January 29th. Nate made the decision to leave the team lock-in early. On that night, Mike said that Nate was off the team. That Sunday we all (Mike, Nate's Mom and Nate) had a Zoom meeting. Mike explained his frustrations. We did too. He said he made (an emotional) decision on Friday and he would let the team decide if (Nathaiel) can come back."
The player then sent a text to his coach, saying he felt it would be better to leave the team, according to his dad's rant on Facebook.
He subsequently transferred to Davison — one of Grand Blanc's rivals in the Saginaw Valley League's South Division.
Daddy Brown complains in his social media post about how Thomas "didn't follow up with him" after the Zoom meeting as asked. He also complained about the coach not talking to him about things last season when he had concerns about his son was handled on the team.
It's right there that Daddy really lost me.
Let me enlighten Daddy here, and any other parents with similar temptations about going wild with a rip job on the coach of their son or daughter.
With five state championships as a hockey coach in my DNA, I feel qualified to weigh in. One of my thrills in life was leading Team North to a Silver Medal at the Junior Nationals in 2000 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs where four teams from around the USA competed for spots on Team USA's Junior Olympic squad of 18-&-under stars. No parents were consulted about their ideas on how to coach their kid or help assemble Team USA Juniors, and one common denominator among every young star there was a supportive parent.
The group dinner to announce the team included many parents coming up to thank the coaching staff members for giving their young athletes a chance at the big stage, although not being selected. Nobody ripped me for how I ran the selection camp for the juniors or how much playing time their sons were able to get. A few weeks later came an opportunity at the U.S. Olympic Center in Lake Placid to help assemble Team USA's world team of professional players for the 2000 World Championships in France. What a thrill putting on my Team USA jacket and standing inside the historic ice arena in Lake Placid where Team USA won the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal.
The 2000 team I helped assemble later went on to win the Gold Medal in France.
So Gold Medal in hand, let me lecture here on the value of sports in the Killer's Rulebook.
1) The coach is always right.
2) If you believe the coach is wrong, refer to Rule 1.
It's my guess that Coach Thomas was putting a good old-fashioned scare into Nathaniel Brown Jr. The idea of "letting the team decide if you get reinstated" is a favorite trick used in producing many, many championship teams during my coaching career in hockey, baseball and basketball. It's a trick copied from many coaching legends I was able to meet along the way. You know your players are not going to throw one of their friends off the team! But you get a star player's attention on who is in charge, in case he wants to challenge your authority again and risk the penalty of sitting in the stands on game day in street clothes.
Discipline is the key to building a championship team. Sometimes a star player needs to sit for breaking team rules or for lazy play in practice or in games. It's the way to let players learn that the coach is in charge.
Not every coach wins championships, and seldom do the ones who don't impose strict discipline.
I've had an opportunity to cover some of the greatest high school teams in the annals of Flint area sports history. I've been up close at practices and games for many of the best college coaches in our state in multiple sports as a long-time newspaper sports cColumnist and sports talk show host. The great coaches have a lot in common with what I've seen so far of Mike Thomas at Grand Blanc.
He has produced results by "winning" at Grand Blanc and last year's team would have made a run at a Class A state title. He had a solid track record of winning, too, at both the high school and college levels before coming to Grand Blanc in 2017. The 37-year-old led Kalamazoo Central High to a 92-11 record that featured ack-to-back Class A state titles in 2010 and 2011. Thomas then went to Albion College where he played in college, spending five years as an assistant before getting the Head Coach position at the school where he is the No. 2 all-time leading scorer.
Thomas, a Saginaw High product, was a four-year starter at Albion where the Britons won MIAA titles in 2003 and 2005 and made a trip to the sectional title game in the 2005 NCAA Division III Championships. He was a three-time all-MIAA first team selection and ranks third on Albion's career list for both 3-point field goals and free throws.
As a coach, he has won Michigan High School Coach of the Year honors by both the Detroit Free Press and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. Yet, one dad wants to use his social media platform to tell us he's a bad guy.
His post doesn't mention how it took only three years for Thomas to transform Grand Blanc's program into the very best in all of the Metro Flint area last season. Last year's Bobcats beat 17-0 Midland in the Saginaw Valley League championship game and beat a Flint Beecher team that had won 18 in a row. It was one of the most anticipated game in our areas in years, packing fans into Dort Federal Event Center (formerly the IMA Sports Arena) in what was the first high school game played there since 2004. The Bobcats played one of the toughest non-league schedules in the state and they were 18-3 — stopped only by COVID-19 shutting down March Madness in the second week of competition. His team was ranked No. 2 in the state when play was halted by the governor.
In this age of COVID-19, Coach Thomas gets an A-plus for how he handled the situation with Nathaniel Brown Jr., according to the way I evaluate Daddy Brown's version of how things went down on social media.
I will be the first, however, to suggest that some of the allegations raised against Thomas are serious and deserve an investigation by the school's athletic director and the Grand Blanc Board of Education. If Coach Kirkland, rest his soul, could weight in on his former captain's conduct in this saga — trust me: He would have recommended a a different venue to level such horrible accusations.
If true, maybe Thomas should be fired — no matter how successful he has been in his coaching career.
If not true, maybe Thomas should call a lawyer and ask about how he goes about filing a defamation lawsuit for libel. Add slander, if Brown is saying the same things he wrote about Thomas on Facebook and they are not true.
Defamation lawsuits are a horrible penalty in the USA. Although many say death and taxes are the only sure things in America, let me assure you that our Congress values one's reputation enough to preserve defamation suits as bullet proof — even in bankruptcy. In other words, you pay a judgment for defamation, no matter what.
If you gather any assets, they can be seized and sold at auction until you pay off the judgment. No bankruptcy filing to get around not paying up.
Let's hope this Editor's Notebook rip job of a parent is the kind of medicine that other parents may not want to risk taking the next time they're mad at their child's coach when they consider using social media to throw stones.
Hug your child, encourage him or her to listen to their coach, follow the rules, play hard, practice hard and let their actions show the coach they deserve playing time. No coach is perfect, and if he or she is dealt a bad coach, teach them to deal with it. Life is hard. If the boss tells an employee not to leave early, he or she likely won't have a job.
Let's hope Nathaniel Brown Jr. stars at Davison and shakes hands with his old coach one day at center court with an apology for his dad's social media rant, and an apology for not finishing what he started with Grand Blanc basketball because I'm guessing the team would have voted to keep him in the lineup for the Bobcats.
Davison is lucky to have a great new player and let's hope the basketball career of Nathaniel Brown Jr. isn't overshadowed by his dad's rant on Facebook about his son's old coach.
Mike Killbreath hosts The Morning Gazette Radio Show weekdays from 7 am until 8 am although on hiatus until March 1. He is also soon launching a new statewide syndicated TV show known as The Michigan Crusaders. He also hosts The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show every Saturday from 9 am until 11 am and The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show weekdays from 6-7 pm on MetroFlintNewsTalkRadio.com.
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