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Get to Know the Producer/Cohost of “Sports Spin” through her Encounters with Legendary Coaches

There are a handful of moments in my life that I will never forget — with one thing in common, a legendary coach. All having similar qualities about them and known for their passion to win, make a difference and for their relationship with the media.

It was the fall of 1991 and we waited watching the UTEP Miner basketball team run up and down the court at their afternoon practice. After Marlon Maxey, Eddie Rivera and David Van Dyke walked off the court, I watched as my mother and aunt rushed to ask Coach Don Haskins if he could say “Happy Thanksgiving” to my family. My aunt held her video camera up showing she was ready to go.

I stood beside him and stared up at him. He had a serious demeanor, a stern look on his face and a frame that said a thousand words. No wonder they called him “the Bear.” I was only eight-years-old at the time. He walked and talked as we followed then finally, he stopped. He seemed bothered, but nonetheless, he took a couple minutes to wish my family a happy holiday season. As quickly as my aunt said thanks, the Bear was out of sight. But I would see him again

In high school, becoming an Irvin cheerleader and newspaper reporter, was the only way I got the closest seat, so to speak, to the action on the courts and fields. I remember standing along the sidelines as Coach Tony Shaw took command of the Rockets on the field. He had a serious demeanor, a stern look on his face and a frame that said a thousand words. As my senior year winded down, in health class was the last time I saw “Papa Shaw.” I wondered if I would see him again

After a few internships with the local TV stations in Lubbock – one memory stands out. I walked the lower level of the United Spirit Arena and for a second thought I was lost as I tried to find the sports anchor I was shadowing. I passed the office of Bob Knight too bad it was empty. It would have been awesome to meet him. As I continued down the long hallway, I saw a big figure walking towards me. He had a serious demeanor, a stern look on his face and a frame that said a thousand words. Without West Point under his belt, I’m certain he would still be called “the General.” Just as I was going to say hello, he started to yell at the assistant coach who followed behind him. Was my first impression of Bob Knight really the one portrayed by the media? I wasn’t sure. But I would see him again

Youtube/rgallardo36 and Crystal Dominguez

On the drive home from the airport I saw my old high school, but this time it was different. The stadium read “Tony Shaw Field.” I never saw the coach again, but it was nice to see a part of him stay at Irvin.

In my last semester at Tech, I was amongst the thousands chanting in unity as Coach Knight took the microphone to thank us as he celebrated his 800th career win passing legend Dean Smith. He seemed a bit choked up with occasional pauses as the gentle giant gave all his coaching credit to his wife, who he said knew the game better than he ever did. That was the last time I saw him. But I might see him again

I came back home to El  Paso. It was my third day on the job at KDBC. With hopes my first story would be fluffy news filler, I was the only reporter on hand when the news broke. Don Haskins had died.

Being one of the toughest assignments of my life, I held back my tears; chills went through my body as I went live in my hometown for the first time. Behind me, inside the Don Haskins Center, laid Don Haskins. The scoreboards were lit with the final score: Texas Western 72, Kentucky 65 –while a spotlight was beamed on his 1966 National Championship banner hanging above him. Instead of flowers, the Bear was at peace in a chili pepper covered casket in the middle of the court. The lights were dim; a projector replayed the flashbacks of that day in history while music from the Glory Road soundtrack broke the silence. That was the last time I saw him.

As I graduated high school, college and began my career in broadcasting. My encounters with coaches became more profound and exciting. In between Mark Cuban and I, was Larry O’Brien — the Mav’s NBA Championship trophy. Cuban’s intentions were to bring the trophy back to the photographer and hurry back to a video shoot. Before he walked away, I asked him if he could be in the picture with me. He looked at his watch and paused. But with a serious demeanor, a stern look on his face and a frame that said a thousand words — he finally broke into a smile. I’m sure I will see him again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2OXI7zlEAw&feature=related

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