Randy Smith: Time For A Retraction

Sunday, April 14, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Okay. I’ve read all your emails, and I have thought long and hard about it all weekend. The fact that words that I wrote caused so much anger, and  discontent among UConn basketball fans, has forced me to say, I’m sorry.

Last week in my column in the sports section of the chattanoogan.com, I based my blog, entitled,” Congratulations Geno: But Think Again”, on a quote from Lady Huskies Coach Geno Auriemma in an Associated Press article recapping Tuesday night’s Women’s National Championship game between UConn and Louisville. Coach Auriemma was quoted as saying, “The fact that I tied Pat Summitt’s record, puts you in the category of the greatest womens’ basketball  coach of all time.” To me, those words, just as they were presented in the article, still sound a bit arrogant. Even some of the upset Lady Husky fans admitted that their coach had a reputation for being cocky. But, my big mistake was not investigating further Geno’s complete press conference. After I had read the entire transcript, I realized that I had made a huge mistake.

Coach Auriemma was very cordial and flattering in his praise of Tennessee Lady Vols coaching legend Pat Summitt. He did say the words I blasted him for saying in the above mentioned quote, but they were certainly taken out of context. So again, I apologize to Coach Auriemma and all UConn fans for jumping to a  very big, and very wrong conclusion.

I do defend myself on one very big issue that about one-third of the upset UConn fans mentioned. My use of the term, “whop-sided” or “wop-sided” was in absolutely no way an ethnic slur at Italian-Americans. “Wop-sided” is a term that millions of other Southerners, including myself, have used for many years to describe a one-sided blow-out. One disgruntled fan questioned, “Don’t you mean lop-sided?” Perhaps I did, but in the South, most of us have always referred to it as “wop-sided.” For those of you who took offense, again I apologize. Believe me when I say this; there is not a prejudiced or biased bone in my body.

Finally, the email that I read last was the one that helped me make up my mind to retract my earlier column. It was written by Alysa Auriemma, the daughter of the Lady Huskies’ coach.  Alysa wrote a very powerful letter to me in defense of her dad. In contrast to some of the emails I received in the past few days, there were no curse words…..no threats……no poisonous put-downs of Southerners and their “ignorant” ways or thoughts.  After I finish writing this column, I plan to write her back and thank her for the classy way she defended her father.

There….I’ve said it. I’m sorry, and I truly am sorry for not being  the kind of journalist that I have been for the last 43 years.  I am also sorry for this fact; that there is still so much animosity and hatred between Tennessee and UConn fans. Today, I will have a new-found respect for Coach Auriemma and his Lady Huskies!

rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


Dalton State Hires Director Of Soccer

Dalton State Athletic Director Derek Waugh announced Monday that 20-year coaching veteran Kerem Daser has been hired as the Director of Soccer for the Roadrunners.  “I want to thank the hiring committee for the professional job that they did and for selecting me to lead the soccer program in an already prestigious athletic department at Dalton State,” Daser said. “I cannot ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: A Special Hall Of Fame Class

The 2014 class of inductees into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame was really something special. The group was headed by a pair of Atlanta Braves’ pitchers and their manager. It also included Former Braves’ and Yankees’ manager Joe Torre and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, who played baseball at Auburn. In other words, it was a great day for the south. Braves’ pitchers Greg ... (click for more)

City Council Presents Potential Ordinance To Address Noise Level Downtown

Members of the Chattanooga City Council presented a potential ordinance to address concerns about the noise level downtown. If passed, the ordinance will put limits on both dB(A) and dB(C) levels of sound. It was noted, "When we compare our dB level, it is clear that Chattanooga is lower than Nashville and Knoxville." However, this comparison only takes dB(A) levels into consideration. ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Ohls Avenue While Working In His Yard

A Chattanooga man was shot Tuesday evening, while working in his yard. At approximately 8:55 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 4217 Ohls Ave. for a shooting. Officers located 34-year-old Daniel Marlowe suffering from a single gunshot wound to his hip.  Mr. Marlowe stated to investigators that while he was working in his yard, three black males approached him and ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Scottsboro’s Pat Trammell

I got a warm feeling Tuesday when it was announced Pat Trammell will be among those in the inaugural class of the Jackson County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame. When the august group is enshrined at Scottsboro’s Goose Pond Civic Center on Nov. 1, most folks won’t even know who Pat Trammell was but I knew all about him in my very first year as a fledgling sports writer back in 1967 and, ... (click for more)