love the international aspects of the beautiful game!
Great writeup. I'm excited for this season and happy that the Bulls are keeping up their gem of a ballpark.
One can argue that the DBAP was the anchor for the ATC and started the downtown transformation.
Well done, Adam.
Speaking of coaches working their way up from the youth ranks to professional, I'd love to see Dewan Bader get a shot at the RailHawks head coaching job when Martin leaves.
Thanks DF for the thoughtful piece. We are sure going to miss him next year. I'd love to know who are some of the candidates for Rennie's replacement.
Nice read Sobsey.
@ACCfan4REAL: I think you should go look at a couple of things: First, foul calls for/against UNC during the Doherty years compared to Roy Williams. Second: foul calls for/against Duke during the Pete Gaudette season, compared to Coack K with the same players.
I think you'll find that great coaching has more to do with calls going one way or the other than some grand conspiracy which magically took a season off here and there. They know how to mold disciplined players who know how to take charges, know when they can't get away with reach-ins, etc. Also, the Big East Tournament is held in MSG, the home court for St John's for much of the season. They certainly haven't figured out that whole "home cookin'" advantage there. There's no Greensboro Hex on teams from out of state.
I like the 3-division idea better of the two. And keeping the worst teams out, I think, adds more prestige to making the tournament and value to the regular season games. You have to earn it to get there. Not to mention the savings on airlines and gas throughout the season. I really don't think any ticket money would have been lost if Wake Forest wasn't a part of it this year.
I think that the reason the ACC is soooo boring to watch is that the league is so pro UNC/Duke. It is no mystery that before the season begins that those two schools are already going to get the most calls, the most favorable non-calls, shoot the most free throws, and will be in the ACC final. The league hides and lets officiating do what it does. Bad calls are banned from being played on the screens at the games (which makes it look like the league is trying to hide things from the fans). The vast majority of the time the tourney is held in UNC/Duke's back yard, and people simply don't buy that it is an honest league. I'm sure that there will be a Carolina or Duke fan that will com on here and blast what I'm saying, but this is a true reality for every school except for UNC/Duke. Not saying they don't have good programs, but when they need a call (or non-call) it happens. This affects every program in the conference in many ways and especially hurts recruiting in the conference. More the tourney around and put the officials in a fishbowl. Give ACC coaches a way to make the officials responsible for their calls. Things will turn around.
But as it is now, all the Wake fans have to look forward is buying a book for a tournament they know they will be out of on Thursday. The attendance on the Thursday sessions is a joke and always will be under the current system.
I do favor making it possible for all 4 teams within a sub-division to make the tournament if all are at .500 (9-9) or better and two teams in another division are 7-11 or worse, but that is a wrinkle I didn't have space to include in this version.
I think Wake is damaged a lot more by not playing Duke and UNC home and home every year, under the current system, then they would be by being left out of the ACC Tournament.
I should also add that if you extrapolate the standings for your proposal #2 from the current ACC standings (which I know wouldn't be exactly the same but it's the best piece of data we have) this year's ACC tournament would be played without Virginia, Wake Forest, or Georgia Tech. Is that really a good idea?
This seems to be a favorite topic of sportswriters this week. The N&O also has a similar article today and I think they nailed the reason that Thad missed for the decline of the ACC tournament: the complete dominance of Duke and North Carolina of the tournament means that fans of other teams aren't as motivated to go. Not only is winning the ACC no longer required to make the NCAAs, but the ACC tournament title is no longer seen as up for grabs.
I disagree strongly with the idea of limiting how many teams make the ACC tournament. The Big East proves that when good basketball is being played in a league and the conference title is considered to be up for grabs, a four or even five day tourney can work well.
Another drawback of limiting who can make the conference tournament is that if you have 1/4 of the conference's teams not making it, you will further depress ticket book sales to fans of teams that are not in the top echelon and therefore pretty much guaranteed to be there, which also hurts school fundraising. Who will make the donations needed to be a tournament ticket buyer or even bother to buy a ticket book, or make plans to attend the tournament, if your team may not make it? In your scenario this year for example, Wake Forest and NC State fans, who by proximity should be prime candidates to attend the tournament, would probably not bother being interested since by January both fansbases probably would know that one of their teams would not even be in Greensboro. THAT's what would put the final nail in the coffin of the ACC tournament.
Great Article. There was a lot more going on behind the scenes than I ever realized being a fan. I'll continue to do my part to get my friends out to see the new Railhawks and hope they continue to grow and survive.
Please though, put out an update on your front page saying the Railhawks Live and are still here. I was walking by and saw the front page with Swoops and the headline and thought Shit!. Most people may not have read the great article and think the Railhawks are gone from just seeing the front page. Get those people to realize that the Railhawks are still going next time they walk by and see a cover stating They Live.
Great article Neil! I think you hit some of the key points about why this has become such a struggle the past 4 years. Maybe this should be required reading for the staff members who haven't lived it.
As a fan, I'm hoping all this is just growing pains resulting in a stronger team and a more mature league. Am I delusional?
Thanks for the Indy for doing their bit to promote the Railhawks.
The Chris Gaffney Story was my first cover! remeber that photo shoot David?
Neil, good story I can't help but echo Brian's sentiment that we really did build something in the past four seasons and I am confident that with Curt at the helm they will be able to carry on our legacy
Excellent article! Thanks for your work on this Neil.
Thanks, Chris. Many a source actually referenced your cover story way back when as an ironic bookend to this update.
Chris Gaffney's 2007 cover story about the RailHawks is here:
The cover can be seen here:
nossa senhora. who would have thought that between two cover stories of the indy things would change so much? Great reporting here. The story of lower league footy in the USA deserves book length treatment and this would certainly be an interesting chapter. For that matter, has anyone seriously covered the phenomenon of USA footy fandom? Por favor.
I agree with Jeff W.'s comment about Traffic. There is nothing to suggest that Triaffic have anything but base commercial interests at heart. I don't think that they are in need of the quick buck, but may be using their teams in the USA for other reasons. They will want to develop youth players to sell to foreign leagues and the name "traffic" basically tells the story. Kind of non-self-conscious reflection of what they do. Ironically, the trafficking of humans might be good for soccer in the Triangle, where there are innumerable quality players. Y'all might want to start speaking more portuguese instead of spanish though.
Economides of scale...love it. I'm still shaking my head. Why didn't I use that so long ago??
Looking forward to reading the next installment. Keep up the good reporting!
As a fan, I'm glad someone stepped up to save the team. Hopefully they can give the RailHawks the marketing boost they've sorely needed the past couple of years - we can only hope that Traffic thinks that marketing means more than putting tiny schedule boxes in a few stores around town.
But I think we have to approach Traffic with some trepidation. Their other team, Miami FC, has been awful the past few years. Then there's the awkward fact of their horrible treatment of US U-20 centerback Gale Agbossoumonde, which would make any US soccer fan a little wary of supporting a team owned by them. The fact that they put in the effort to win the auction for the RailHawks name is heartening, but I'm still not convinced that they'll be as interested in maintaining a quality, well-run club as they are in making a quick buck.
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