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Fans get chance to pick the leader of the Frost Heaves

Posted: Wednesday April 5, 2006 10:35AM; Updated: Wednesday April 5, 2006 5:57PM
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I missed covering the NCAAs for the first time in 26 years, and when people ask why, I tell them, "Because the Vermont Frost Heaves didn't get a bid." That's how all-consuming the task of starting an American Basketball Association team has been.

But I did feel kinship with participants in the mosh-pit resume bazaar that is the lobby of the coaches' hotel at every Final Four. That's because, hundreds of miles from Indy, I've been busy sorting through candidates to become the first head coach of the Frost Heaves.

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We've considered some splendid possibilities. One is among the top 10 coaches in minor-league basketball, as named last month by the sage Sam Amico of probasketballnews.com. Several are enshrined in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. Others have apprenticed with giants of the game, and most have served with distinction at the Division I level.

Next week, as part of our mission to use the Internet to bring the New England town meeting to pro sports, we're putting the finalists to a vote of our fans -- but only those enrolled in the Bump in the Road Club, our on-line community, as of 3 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, April 10, will be eligible. (That's April 10, not April 17, as the "Frost Heaves Watch" column in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated erroneously states.)

Empower the fans? It's a radical notion. It calls to mind Dennis Miller's rant about the unsuitability of John Q. Public to so much as reach for the emergency brake in a subway car. But I'd prefer to invoke that small-college football coach who would canvass the fans behind his bench after touchdowns before ordering his team to kick or go for two -- an inspired use of the plebiscite.

Until now, pro sports teams have given fans the chance to pick team nicknames and mascots. We'll be offering ours the chance to make a much more consequential decision. We're doing so not just because we endorse the principle of "one fan, one vote," but also because we believe all the finalists would do a superb job of leading the team.

If you're already a member of the Frost Heaves' on-line community, not to worry -- you'll get an e-mail introducing the candidates and allowing you to cast your secure vote. If you're not a Bump Club member, you can sign up at vermontfrostheaves.com/bumpintheroad/. It won't cost you a thing. Then watch your in-box for an e-ballot, which will go out the week of April 10.

In November, the Frost Heaves will make history by playing their first game -- and we need you to help determine who'll get us there.

For information about the Vermont Frost Heaves and to purchase team gear, go towww.vermontfrostheaves.com.

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