I had the privilege of serving as the Master of Ceremonies once again at the American Heart Association’s annual gala on Saturday. The night was filled with a fantastic array of silent and live auction items, great food, entertainment by Big Sam’s Funky Nation and a lot of money was raised for a great cause.
Former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown, 79, was the featured speaker this year and he spoke from the heart… literally. Brown suffered a massive stroke 11 years ago and could not move. He told me he was paralyzed, but never lost consciousness. His wife took him to the emergency room and the doctor told Brown there wasn’t much hope. His carotid artery was 100% blocked and an operation would be too dangerous.
48 hours later, the artery was clear and Brown walked out of the hospital. No ill effects. Nothing. His doctors said they had never seen anything like it. An artery doesn’t just unclog. Brown called it a miracle.
Years later, Brown is still as sharp as ever and is an in-demand motivational speaker. Engagements across the country have filled most of his time since leaving the Tigers’ basketball team 18 years ago. Can you believe it’s been that long?
I asked him about the program that he built into a national power and the subsequent hard times it has experienced. Brown told me he absolutely believes that Johnny Jones, his former assistant, will rebuild the program and make it a national power once again. He emphasized the importance of keeping Louisiana athletes at home.
Brown still attends LSU basketball games and works out vigorously. For me, it was a treat to talk with him about the LSU teams that I grew up watching — teams that included the likes of Chris Jackson, Vernel Singleton, Stanley Roberts, Shaquille O’Neal, Geert Hammink, Clarence Caesar, T.J. Pugh and Ricky Blanton.
The winningest coach in LSU basketball history, Brown appeared in 15 straight national tournaments and is the second-winningest coach in SEC history behind Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp.
- 17 consecutive non-losing seasons
- Only three coaches have won more conference championships than Brown
- Brown won conference championships in three different decades.
- Led his teams to two Final Fours and four Elite Eights
- SEC Coach of the Year or runner-up nine times
- Twice named National Basketball Coach of the Year
I hadn’t heard Dale Brown speak like he did Saturday night. I also got to share a table with him and he was a pleasure to be around. Nights like that are few and far between. If you ever get a chance to listen to him, or talk hoops with him, I highly recommend it.
It’s a strange day in the WDSU newsroom.
My friend and colleague Norman Robinson is retiring after 36 years in New Orleans and 24 years at WDSU. That’s a heck of a run in local news. Norman signs off after the 6 p.m. newscast tonight. I like to tell him that I grew up watching him (he loves that). But that’s what made it such an honor to anchor newscasts next to him, including the 10 p.m., which we anchored together for a couple of years. It was even more of an honor for me to write the piece we’ll run during the 6:00 news recapping Norman’s great run in local and national news. I will miss him. The newsroom won’t be the same next week.
Below is an excerpt from my story that will air at 6:00. I think it sums up what he did for us and what he meant to us as a news anchor.
“THROUGH CHANGES TO THE CITY… TO THE STATION… AND IN OUR DAILY LIVES, NORMAN HAS BEEN A CONSTANT — A COMFORTABLE AND RELIABLE PRESENCE, GUIDING VIEWERS THROUGH TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH. PAIN AND PROGRESS.”
Here’s what I wrote last year when Norman transitioned to part-time status and anchored his final 10 p.m. newscast.
Through it all, we certainly had a great time. Best of luck in the next chapter, Norman.
Scroll down for pictures after the videos.
The New Orleans Pelicans launched a campaign in support of All-Star forward Anthony Davis, centering on his famous unibrow. It’s part of Davis’ bid for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. The widely used hashtag is #BiggerBetterBrower.
The Pelicans sent a media release and stick-on unibrows to the WDSU newsroom. I then took it upon myself to photograph as many people as possible in the faux brow.