Driesell Names Andre Morgan as Assistant Coach

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Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel head basketball coach Chuck Driesell announced on Monday that Andre Morgan has been added to staff as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season.

Morgan replaces Justin Argenal, who accepted the same position at Southeast Missouri State.

Morgan joins Driesell’s Citadel staff after serving one season as the associate director of operations at UAB. In 2012-13 he was an administrative assistant under Blazer head coach Jerod Haase.

Prior to his stint at UAB, Morgan served as the assistant coach at Young Harris College for two seasons. In that capacity, he oversaw all areas of recruiting and played a critical role in the developmental phases of the Mountain Lions’ basketball program.

Morgan was responsible for the recruitment and coaching of Young Harris standout Malcolm Jackson, who earned 2013 Georgia Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year honors.

In 2011-12, Morgan was the assistant coach on a Young Harris team that set a school record for wins in a season (22), marking a 17-game turnaround from the previous campaign.

He played the first two years of his career at Kennesaw State (2005-07) where he earned 2006 Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman Player of the Year accolades. He transferred to North Georgia College and State University and was the team captain and leading scorer during the 2008-09 season. It was there that he received his bachelor of science degree in business administration.

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Chris Lemonis Tabbed as Head Baseball Coach at Indiana

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Former Citadel baseball star and assistant coach Chris Lemonis has been named the head coach at Indiana University.

Lemonis recently completed his eighth season as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach at Louisville under Dan McDonnell, helping the Cardinals win 359 games and earn three trips to the College World Series (2008, 2013 and 2014). He also assisted in the development of numerous all-conference selections, including two players of the year, and 15 All-Americans.

Following the 2013 season, Lemonis was honored as the ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year.

Lemonis graduated from The Citadel in 1992 and was twice named to the All-Southern Conference team. He then spent 12 seasons on the coaching staff at his alma mater, helping the Bulldogs reach five NCAA tournaments.

For the complete release from Indiana on Lemonis’ hiring, go to http://bit.ly/1o2HnEq.

Gwynn’s Story Should Teach Valuable Lesson to Young Ballplayers

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By Andy Solomon

For the past 12 years, I have worked for the NCAA as a site representative at postseason baseball regionals and super regionals. One of my responsibilities is to make certain the participants follow the rules of the well-distributed NCAA manual.

One of the items we review in the pretournament meetings is the NCAA’s clearly written “no tobacco rule.” Despite these warnings, I invariably have to remind some that tobacco is banned. This year, I had to call out a pitching coach for carrying a tin of smokeless tobacco I saw in his back pocket.

“You know better,” I emphasized. He concurred and apologized.

And then I return home and learn that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn had died from oral cancer at age 54. I thought about that pitching coach.

I suspected he started dipping during while in high school and somehow smuggled it in throughout his college years. And there is coaching with a tin clearly visible to me in his back pocket. While it is not against the law, it is against the NCAA’s “law.”

It has also been illegal to use tobacco in minor league baseball since 1993; in the majors, a complete ban has not been implemented, but team personnel are no longer allowed to present any evidence of tobacco usage in front of fans.

That was a positive step by Major League Baseball when it signed its current labor agreement with the players’ union in 2011 but for many it came up short. The measures mandated that smokeless tobacco be kept out of view from fans and TV cameras. That’s why we no longer see those circular cans in pockets and big wads in their cheeks.

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But when it came to banning the product altogether the players’ union objected. Instead it agreed to mandatory oral exams during spring training as well as an extensive education campaign and cessation support system.

I can imagine how some of those exams go:

Doctor: “I’m concerned about this area where you put your tobacco. You’re at risk for oral cancer and you should stop.”

Player (reaching for his tin while walking away): “Okay. Thanks, doc.”

Addictions aren’t easily broken, especially in a culture where tobacco is as ingrained as sunflower seeds and bubble gum. Having a ban in the minors, but not the majors, simply means users will cheat or find workarounds until they’re called up. Then they’re free to dip and chew and spit brown saliva at will. As long as fans don’t see them doing it.

This has nothing to do with legalities or free choice. If adults want to kill themselves through smoking or drinking, they have every right.

However, employers establish what’s acceptable in the workplace. Beards are perfectly legal, but they’re not allowed if you play for the New York Yankees. Many teams institute dress codes for traveling.

No one sees the players’ union objecting to those measures. However, this one could be a lifesaver.

Will Gwynn’s death be a turning point? We can only hope so.

Maybe Gwynn’s final plea in an education film produced by MLB and the Pro Baseball Athletic Trainers Society will help when it’s released to all major and minor leaguers later this year.

Gwynn reportedly has said: “My advice to anyone would be if you aren’t using spit tobacco, please don’t start. And if you are using, try to quit. If not for yourself, then do it for the people you love.”

Clearly, he didn’t listen to his own advice or did so after it was too late. And what a shame that is. Now he’s gone, and his family is left with just memories and his much-too-early death.

Maybe people – especially baseball people – will listen intently. After all, it will be a dead Hall of Famer talking.

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