Howard Herman | Designated Hitter An old Hoosac Valley nemesis and Coach K stories with Dean Darling

The bagel is lightly toasted. The coffee is piping hot. These are some of the things I'm thinking about.

When I walked into the Times Union Center Thursday night and sat down to watch some women's college basketball, the first person I thought of was Ron Wojcik.

Wojcik coached the Hoosac Valley girls to a state title game in 2015 against Archbishop Williams, and the young woman who helped beat the Hurricanes was wearing Marist College red and white.

Alana Gilmer is a redshirt sophomore at the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., college (alma mater of cohort Mike Walsh). She originally signed with Virginia Tech of the ACC.

"Alana was our top recruit two years ago and she brings a tremendous amount of versatility," Marist coach Brian Giorgis said in a release announcing her signing last year. "She's extremely quick, very athletic, has a nice pull-up game, and can shoot the three. She can also play anywhere from shooting guard to center. We're extremely fortunate to get her and have her for three years. Plus the year where she can take the time to learn our system will be huge for her development."

Wojcik remembered that the 6-foot-tall Gilmer scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds when Archbishop Williams beat Hoosac 69-46, at the DCU Center.

Gilmer wasn't even the tallest player on that team. The honor went to Jayden Williams, at 6-foot-3. Williams had 10 points and 11 boards, and is now a reserve at Penn State.

The third member of Archbishop Williams' big three was 5-10 forward Taylor Wornum, who is a reserve at Division II Stonehill.

"I remember the size," Wojcik said when I asked him about it Friday. "There was a picture with McKenzie [Robinson] with the ball and a 6-footer over her.

"That's what always stands out to me."

Gilmer had a big smile when I saw her in the Times Union Center stands and told her I remembered that game.

She seems happy at Marist. Gilmer scored 12 points from the wing on Thursday, but the Red Foxes were upset by Siena 58-53.

The big three handled a Hoosac team whose biggest player was 5-foot-10 post player Emily Rosse.

"You can't trap them, they're too big," Wojcik said, recalling the difficulty of preparing for the Bishops that year. "If you're as quick as they were, it's hard to guard them."

The Hoosac coach said that at the team banquet after the season, he had photoshopped photos of Hoosac players onto pictures of UConn women's basketball games.

He said that's what playing Archbishop Williams had to feel like.


I had a chance to catch up with former Williams College, and current Marist basketball coach Mike Maker before the game, and you'll get to read about that soon.

But the highlight of my evening Thursday was running down my old radio broadcast partner Dean Darling. We spent a couple of seasons broadcasting Army football and basketball together. So naturally, we spent time swapping old war stories.

We remembered how uncomfortable a bus ride was coming home from Penn State with Mike Krzyzewski and the Cadets. A player said something about food, and since the Cadets hadn't played well, that set Coach K off. He had each player come up to his seat and gave it to them.

I told Dean that I wished I had ridden with the luggage on that trip back from State College.

In the old Army Field House, the press row was opposite the benches. One afternoon, Dean got his ear piece stuck and our chief engineer had to come along with a pair of needle-nose pliers to get it out.

So when the game was over, Dean recalled that Coach K asked him "Why was your head cockeyed during the game?"

Nothing escaped Coach K. That's why he's a Hall of Famer.


So I was web wandering the other day and happened upon the site, and a story about 13 nicknames have been registered as domain names for a Seattle NHL team.

Some of them were pretty ho-hum, like Cougars, Eagles and Whales. Sea Lions, Seals and Rainers are somewhat Northwest oriented.

But when I saw the nickname "Kraken," I figured that had to be the team's name — assuming the NHL expands.

They could have actors Sam Worthington or Harry Hamlin drop the first puck, and have Liam Neeson on the P.A. system as the team came out.

"Release the Kraken," was said by Neeson in the film "Clash of the Titans." He played the Greek God Zeus in the remake, and the legendary beast attacked after that.

Seattle Kracken. It has a real ring to it.

Howard Herman can be reached at, at @howardherman on Twitter and 413-496-6253.


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