Change of mascots for Southeast included some curious decisions

Sunday, July 11, 2004

After no column last week -- I was having too much fun to write during my annual summer vacation in California -- I'm back in full swing to address a variety of topics, including Southeast Missouri State University's mascot decision and the school's athletic department budget story that was published July 4.

First, for the mascot issue. I'm sure I'm not the only person who is going to need some time to get used to Redhawks, especially since I've been typing Indians and Otahkians in my stories for the past 20 years.

But at least I won't have to rush into the switch since the school somewhat curiously decided not to begin using the new nickname until spring 2005, because a new mascot and logo could not be created and put into use until then.

Since Southeast currently doesn't have a mascot nor utilize the Indians or Otahkians logos anyway, it would seem there's no real reason to delay the name change. I'm sure university officials have their good reasons, although I'm not certain what they might be.

As for Redhawks, if a change had to be made -- and I've been on record for a while as saying I don't agree that it was necessary -- I didn't see a whole lot of difference between that and Red Wolves, which was the other finalist, so it's fine with me.

But in another somewhat curious twist, reliable sources have told me that the committee in charge of recommending a new nickname -- after narrowing the field to Redhawks and Red Wolves -- virtually unanimously voted for Red Wolves until Southeast president Dr. Ken Dobbins later told the committee that he preferred Redhawks, which ended up being the final recommendation.

Curious indeed.

Now, for the budget thing. That was some pretty interesting stuff. I'm no expert on how to solve the problem -- if there even is a solution, save for some private donors stepping forward with large contributions -- but it's clear that men's basketball and football come up short in funding when compared to the rest of the Ohio Valley Conference and other similar programs.

The other thing that stuck out was just how amazing a job baseball coach Mark Hogan does in raising money for his program.

Although all of Southeast's coaches were praised by athletic director Don Kaverman for being able to supplement their all-important operating expenses through fundraising, Hogan appears to go above and beyond.

Former Southeast baseball star Kerry Robinson just can't seem to catch a break this year.

First, Robinson was traded by his hometown Cardinals before the season -- and now St. Louis has the best record in the National League.

Then, Robinson was having a solid showing as a reserve outfielder with the Padres -- who are surprise contenders in the NL West Division -- but last weekend he was demoted to Class AAA Portland because San Diego apparently wanted to fill his spot with a bit more power.

Robinson was batting .280 (21-for-75) with the Padres and, despite seeing only limited playing time, led them in stolen bases with eight.

Hopefully Kerry will be able to make his way back up to the majors before the season is over.

Former Advance High School and University of Missouri baseball star Garrett Broshuis has gotten his professional career off to a rousing start.

A fifth-round pick by San Francisco in last month's amateur draft, the pitcher was 3-0 with a puny 0.60 entering the weekend for short-season Class A Salem-Keizer (Ore.). In 15 innings spanning four appearances, he had allowed seven hits, struck out 18 and walked three.

It's nice to see that former Shawnee (Ill.) High School and Southeast baseball standout Todd Pennington has finally made his first appearances of the minor league season after missing the first couple of months with an oblique (side) injury.

Pennington, an All-American pitcher at Southeast in 2001 who was a 46th round draft choice of the Cleveland Indians, made it all the way up to the Class AA level by the end of last season.

Pennington's injury no doubt set him back, but he was recently activated by Class A Kinston (N.C.) of the Carolina League. Entering the weekend, he had two saves and an 0-1 record in 5 1/3 innings covering five appearances.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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