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Talkin’ Chalk

Written by Mike Thee
April 15, 2011

UPDATE (April 21, 2011): The faculty and staff team prevailed over the students, 60-58, exorcising the demons of last year's heartbreaking loss.

It’s that time of year, when fleet-footed youth and paunchy wisdom collide for a good cause. The 6th annual Swishes for Wishes Students vs. Faculty and Staff takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at Connolly Center. Last year, the faculty and staff team lost on a last-second shot. Executive Vice President Tim Leary returns to the sideline as faculty and staff team coach. He recently previewed the game for The Commons. 

The Commons:  How devastating was last year’s buzzer-beater loss? 

Coach Leary:  I’m not sure we’ll ever really get over it. I couldn’t sleep for weeks afterward. But I was able to have some good conversations with some of the players, and I reminded them that there will be another day. And that other day is April 20. 

The Commons: How have you been getting the team ready for this year’s game? 

Coach Leary:  A lot of good lunches and some heavy dinners. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about x’s and o’s. What I’ve asked of the players is that they play at least two pick-up games since last year’s game and to start walking around the track.  

   
Tim Leary works the ref, Joan Bonvicini, who doubles as SU's women's basketball coach, during last year's Swishes for Wishes basketball game. Leary is again coaching the faculty and staff team, and welcoming back Cameron Dollar, men's basketball coach, also pictured. The game benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

The Commons:  I know you can’t divulge too much of your game plan, but in terms of overall tone and tenor, what kind of play can we expect from the faculty and staff team—up-tempo? Half court? 

Coach Leary: I promise that if you turn out to watch this game you’ll see a lot more action than this year’s NCAA National Championship—and that we’ll shoot better than Butler! We’ll probably go with a tough 2-3 zone and do some pressing. I’m hoping players like Cameron Dollar show up in shape this year. 

The Commons:  Speaking of Coach Dollar, how coachable is he? 

Coach Leary: The most important thing is to make sure he understands who the coach is, so before the game, we’ll probably have to go through this once again—that Coach Leary is the coach and Coach Dollar is the player. But we have high expectations for him this year. He’s shown that he’s willing to do what we ask him, but the body can’t always do it. I’m not sure what we’ll get from Coach Dollar this year. 

The Commons:  Any new additions to the team this year? 

Coach Leary:  Yes, we’ve been recruiting. There’s a couple of new women faculty that we hope to have on the roster this year. Eddie Lincoln (the new Bailey Gatzert School Success Coordinator) has joined the team and is a nice addition. 

The Commons:  Not to get too conspiracy-theory, but one might wonder if there’s more than a coincidence to Eddie’s recent hiring and his joining the team… 

Coach Leary: I have to be real careful about this. Let’s just say Eddie’s a good pick-up for us. 

The Commons: Are you still recruiting? 

Coach Leary: Yes, we’re still looking for players. If you look at the roster, it seems like there’s a lot of players. In the first quarter, everyone wants to play, but in the fourth quarter when I walk up and down the bench looking for substitutes to send into the game, nobody’s looking at me—everyone’s looking down. So if anyone else wants to come out and play, I can guarantee they’ll get in the game. 

The Commons:  Anything else? 

Coach Leary:  We’re looking forward to the game. Last year’s game was broadcast around the world on YouTube, so the team knows there’s more pressure on them this year. It’s for a great cause and we hope to raise a lot of money for Make-A-Wish.