20200114-gm-spt-don-arthur

Don Arthur

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the opinions du jour.

n We called him “Duke.”

Not because Don Arthur was royalty. He wasn’t. But that’s what his friends called him.

I was one of them despite also being a sportswriter for the Charleston Daily Mail.

It wasn’t difficult to like Arthur. Actually, it was more difficult not to like him. Duke was just that kind of guy. He was always fun, always upbeat, always friendly.

Except on Friday nights in the fall.

That’s when he was head football coach for East Bank High School and Arthur took no prisoners. No team was rougher, tougher or nastier than his Pioneers.

That’s why Arthur coached East Bank to Class AAA championships in both 1971 and ’73. The Pioneers had been 1-7-1 in 1970, but Arthur turned them around in ’71 defeating Morgantown, 22-16, for the title and finishing 10-1. Lanny Steed and Lester Weems, who both played collegiately at Marshall University, were East Bank’s standouts.

His 1973 team was even more memorable. With star running back Claude “C.W.” Geiger, ferocious lineman Don Payne along with two-way standouts Mike Maggio and Mel Daniels, “The Bank” was invincible, finishing 12-0. The Pioneers defeated Parkersburg, 21-6, in the semifinals and Weirton, 10-0 for the championship.

And Duke?

He was pretty shaggy by the time the season ended because he had superstitiously refused to get a haircut all season.

Calvert Field was a fun place in those days with Duke and coordinators Rodger House and Joe Craffey. Then, Arthur joined head coach Frank Ellwood’s staff at Marshall University in 1976-78.

Arthur coached current MU athletic director Mike Hamrick along with Duke’s cousin, running back Bobby “Gum Shoe” Campbell, at Marshall.

But, now, Duke is gone. He passed away at the age of 77 recently in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. But a memorial service is going to be held for Arthur from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday at East Bank Middle School (formerly East Bank High School).

The good times and the great stories will roll.

Thanks for the great memories, Duke.

n So much for freedom of speech in the Big 12.

Despite the First and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution upholding the rights of free speech unless it provides “clear and present danger,” the Big 12 still chooses to muzzle coaches.

Just ask West Virginia University’s Bob Huggins. The longtime head basketball coach recently was fined $10,000 by the Big 12 for saying, “I can’t control what those three blind mice running around out there do,” on his post game radio show after WVU had lost at Kansas.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was not amused.

“Because this is coach Huggins’ third such incident,” said Bowlsby, “a public reprimand and a fine of $10,000 is appropriate.”

Somehow, I doubt that Huggins’ three blind mice comment constituted “clear and present danger” to anyone, including the three officials.

Sounded more like fair comment and criticism, to me.

The sad part is this is just another example of how untouchable officiating crews in sports have become.

There needs to be accountability.

n Did everyone hear the news about Ryan Yurachek?

The former Marshall star tight end has hung up his professional football cleats and has become a graduate assistant in Arkansas’ football program.

Allow me to be the first to say, Yurachek will become an outstanding college football coach.