Penn State packs a perfect punch with its B-W weekend

Some general observations while enjoying the springtime weather and the springtime sports.

n Could Penn State pack any more into the Blue-White weekend? The spring football scrimmage highlights what has become over the last two decades a showcase for all things sports and all things Nittany Lions.

Some Penn State programs have bigger reunions on this spring weekend than during homecoming festivities in the fall. But in addition to the alumni gatherings, the weekend marked some significant celebrations and notable comings and goings:

New Lady Lion basketball coach Carolyn Kieger embraced Happy Valley with both arms over the weekend: meeting and greeting fans, buddying up with men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers and even taking the opportunity to sprint across the football field.

She’s said all the right things during her official introduction as head coach and in the few days that have followed: her values aligning with those of the university; her energy contagious, and her experience taking Marquette to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances is impressive.

Looking forward to the next chapter of women’s basketball in Happy Valley, it’s fun to imagine what the young coach will bring to the BJC and the Big Ten, as she promises an “exciting, fast-paced, position-less” brand of basketball. Hopefully that means that Penn State will take their place back among the elite of the league and the nation sooner rather than later.

n As the new coach moves into town, a women’s basketball broadcasting legend moves out. Jerry Fisher, voice of the Lady Lions for the last four decades has retired after being honored at the team banquet over the weekend. He leaves as the nation’s longest-serving radio announcer for women’s basketball — having covered the team through multiple conferences, coaches, arenas, championships and records; more highlights than he could count, and one Final Four.

Fisher has been more than a solid play-by-play man: he’s been an advocate for Penn State and women’s athletics. His knowledge, enthusiasm and love of the Lady Lion program will be missed.

n The PGA got a huge gift over the weekend, as Tiger Woods captured his fifth green jacket. Networks and sponsors had to be high-fiving one another knowing the attention that will turn back toward the game with the epic Masters victory. Tiger has always drawn attention that transcends the sport itself.

In the wake of scandal a de-cade ago, the scene that played out on Sunday seemed almost inconceivable. But Woods reminds us that redemption is possible — in sports and in life.

The golf prodigy who appeared on the Tonight Show as a toddler and grew up to be one of the game’s greatest of all time, only to see it all come crashing down, finds himself back on top.

We were reminded back then that athletic talent does not equal quality of character. But here’s hoping that Woods has righted the ship on both fronts, because this time his children are watching.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@bedfordcountychamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.


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