SI Vault
 
Put Me In, Coach
Austin Murphy
November 25, 1991
Playing time is the dream of the Division I walk-on. Bench time is the reality
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 25, 1991

Put Me In, Coach

Playing time is the dream of the Division I walk-on. Bench time is the reality

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

By the time the season ended, Halligan's future at Creighton seemed shaky. He didn't play in another game as the Bluejays advanced to the NCAA's round of 32. Barone became a hot coaching property, took the Texas A&M job vacated by the fired Davis and took Moser along as his graduate assistant.

I ran into Moser in a St. Louis watering hole last March. The Bluejays were in town for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, which they would win. I asked Moser if he had heard any talk of whether Halligan would get a scholarship next season.

"I'm not sure he's going to be around next season," he said.

A few months later I phoned Halligan. "I've been meaning to call you," he said. "Great news! Last week Coach Johnson put me on scholarship." Rick Johnson is Barone's replacement.

A week later I got a call from David Martin—Baby Dave, the nerdy Texas A&M point guard. "I have some news that applies to my life as a walk-on," he said happily. "I'm not one anymore."

Barone had struck again.

Not all walk-ons everywhere were having full rides thrown at them. After Edney, the blue-chip point guard from Long Beach, signed with UCLA, Harrick gave Richie more bad news: There was no scholarship for him. Richie traded in Pauley Pavilion and the Wooden Center for the gym at Merritt College, an Oakland junior college. Richie hopes a strong season there will attract favorable attention from a Division I school with a spare scholarship. As for Richie's old teammate Owens, he pulled off the ultimate walk-on this fall by making the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent.

I phoned Gaddy, worried. What was his status? "We lost three players and Coach Cremins signed four, which doesn't exactly help me," he said. "Looks like another off-season in limbo."

One of the departing Yellow Jackets was 6'11" senior reserve center James Munlyn. Though highly recruited, Munlyn had turned out to be an ordinary player by ACC standards. But he was an ordinary scholarship player. When I told him I wanted to talk about Gaddy, Munlyn got to laughing so hard he had to lie down for a minute or two.

Let's talk about Gaddy's strong points, I suggested once Munlyn's hysteria had passed. There followed an uncomfortable silence that Munlyn finally broke by allowing that "even though he gets the crap knocked out of him, James keeps coming back the next day, smiling and ready for more. That takes a special person."

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8