Navy Sports Central

Men's Lacrosse Wins Big, A Navy-Pitt Connection, and Navy Sports' Mount Rushmore

March 25, 2022 Episode 28
Men's Lacrosse Wins Big, A Navy-Pitt Connection, and Navy Sports' Mount Rushmore
Navy Sports Central
More Info
Navy Sports Central
Men's Lacrosse Wins Big, A Navy-Pitt Connection, and Navy Sports' Mount Rushmore
Mar 25, 2022 Episode 28

Send us a Text Message.

Welcome to Navy Sports Central - The Official Podcast of the Navy Sports Nation!

This episode represents a little bit of a milestone for the podcast. Navy Sports Central's first full episode was released exactly one year ago today on March 25th, 2021. We're going to talk a little bit more about the men's lacrosse teams big win over Johns Hopkins.  And we'll also  be joined by a special guest who will share some of his perspective on a program that Navy is quite pretty familiar with on the football field. And they share a connection in basketball as well. So please join us at Navy Sports Central celebrates its first birthday!

 Links Related To This Episode:

We want to hear from you. Respond to our updated Question of the Day. And be sure to comment too! The most engaging comments will be read on the next podcast!

Which spring sports team(s) do you think will win a Patriot League Championship this year?

  • Men's Lacrosse
  • Women's Lacrosse
  • Men's Outdoor Track
  • Women's Outdoor Track
  • Men's Tennis
  • Women's Tennis

Follow Navy Sports Central wherever you get your podcasts:

Check out the Navy Sports Nation group on Facebook

Music is provided courtesy of Audio Jungle. Artists featured in order:

  • Seven In Music (Intro)
  • Alexiaction (Deep Dive)
  • Loka Music (Deep Dive Pt. 2 Lead In)
  • Artlss (Question of the Day Lead In)
  • Cinematic Alex (Closeout Music)

Do You Like What You Hear?

  • If so, consider supporting the podcast by clicking on the "Support the Show" link at the bottom of the Show Notes or the heart icon in the top right hand corner of the page.
  • Any amount is appreciated and goes towards covering hosting & maintenance fees. 
  • Just a $1.00 donation from 50% of our group covers hosting fees for a whole year.

Support the Show.

You can click on the hyperlink above to make a $1 donation through Cash App if you like what you hear. You can also support the Mids and the show at the same time. Navy Sports Central is a proud affiliate partner of, the Ultimate Fan Gear Store! Click on the link to start shopping now!

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Welcome to Navy Sports Central - The Official Podcast of the Navy Sports Nation!

This episode represents a little bit of a milestone for the podcast. Navy Sports Central's first full episode was released exactly one year ago today on March 25th, 2021. We're going to talk a little bit more about the men's lacrosse teams big win over Johns Hopkins.  And we'll also  be joined by a special guest who will share some of his perspective on a program that Navy is quite pretty familiar with on the football field. And they share a connection in basketball as well. So please join us at Navy Sports Central celebrates its first birthday!

 Links Related To This Episode:

We want to hear from you. Respond to our updated Question of the Day. And be sure to comment too! The most engaging comments will be read on the next podcast!

Which spring sports team(s) do you think will win a Patriot League Championship this year?

  • Men's Lacrosse
  • Women's Lacrosse
  • Men's Outdoor Track
  • Women's Outdoor Track
  • Men's Tennis
  • Women's Tennis

Follow Navy Sports Central wherever you get your podcasts:

Check out the Navy Sports Nation group on Facebook

Music is provided courtesy of Audio Jungle. Artists featured in order:

  • Seven In Music (Intro)
  • Alexiaction (Deep Dive)
  • Loka Music (Deep Dive Pt. 2 Lead In)
  • Artlss (Question of the Day Lead In)
  • Cinematic Alex (Closeout Music)

Do You Like What You Hear?

  • If so, consider supporting the podcast by clicking on the "Support the Show" link at the bottom of the Show Notes or the heart icon in the top right hand corner of the page.
  • Any amount is appreciated and goes towards covering hosting & maintenance fees. 
  • Just a $1.00 donation from 50% of our group covers hosting fees for a whole year.

Support the Show.

You can click on the hyperlink above to make a $1 donation through Cash App if you like what you hear. You can also support the Mids and the show at the same time. Navy Sports Central is a proud affiliate partner of, the Ultimate Fan Gear Store! Click on the link to start shopping now!

Karl  0:14  
Hi, everybody. My name is Karl Darden, and I'd like to welcome and thank all of you for joining us today here on Navy Sports Central. I'm your host, and this is the official podcast of the Navy Sports Nation, where we take a deeper dive into Navy sports. This episode represents a little bit of a milestone for the podcast and I'll explain that more in a minute. And we will be joined by a special guest who will share some of his perspective on a program that Navy is pretty familiar with on the football field. And they share a connection in basketball as well. So please stay with us.

Karl  0:56  
Okay, here we go with episode 28 of the Navy Sports Central podcast. And I mentioned that specifically because today's release date is March 25th, which marks the first anniversary of my very first full episode that I put out last year. So I thank everybody who's been with me from the beginning. But no matter how much you listen to the show, whether it's just occasionally or if you happen to be a first time listener, thanks for making us part of your day. 

Karl  1:19  
I wanted to lead off the sports update by getting into a few more details around the men's lacrosse team's historic win over Johns Hopkins last weekend. Most of you probably heard about it. But unless you follow lacrosse closely, you may not have known that Navy had gone quite a long time without ever having beaten the Blue Jays. Back in 2010, the Mids ended a 36 game losing streak to Hopkins by knocking them off at home 9  to 8 in Annapolis. And since then they have won a few more times. But it's always been at Navy Marine Corps Stadium, you'd have to go all the way back to May 10 1969. For their last win on the Blue Jays home field. All that ended exactly a week ago today. Led by Pat Skalniak and Max Hewitt, the Mids came from behind the beat Johns Hopkins 11 to 10. And that ended a losing streak that stretch over 53 years. Now, just to clarify, this was the first game between the two teams since 2017 due to scheduling issues and the pandemic. And by the way, the Blue Jays were ranked 18th at the time. So this one was not only historic, but it's also a signal that the mids can compete with the country's best programs. 

Karl  2:23  
The year after Joe Amplo came to Annapolis he brought the number one recruiting class according to inside lacrosse magazine to the Naval Academy. And Max Hewitt was a part of that class. Last Friday, he put on a show in the fourth quarter and scored the mids final three goals to clinch the win. The men have a five and three record right now. And so far, they're one on one in league play. And as of today, they only have six games left in the regular season. So not a lot of margin for error there. And of course, the main goal is to get to the point where you're playing at a high level once a Patriot League Tournament starts getting to that title game, winning it and punching their ticket to the NCAA tournament. 

Karl  2:58  
The women's lacrosse team is also playing very well. They are seven and two so far this year, and 1-0 in league play. And they've outscored their opponents 123 to 76 through nine games, which tells you that the offense is clicking pretty well. That goals per game average of nearly 14 is tracking slightly higher than last year. Now, a couple of months ago, I was a guest on another sports podcast and the host asked me what I thought was a really thought provoking question. He asked me to name the sport that represented Navy's best chance of winning a division one championship. Of course, I didn't mention the three that the mids won last year in rowing, as well as an intercollegiate and Offshore Sailing. But then I said, you know, if you're asking me about the sports that are more on people's radars, then I'm going to go with men's and women's lacrosse. And here's my reasoning.  You guys bear with me on this and see if you if you agree. 

Karl  3:48  
First of all, just like basketball, it's a single elimination tournament to determine the national championship. And even better, in this case, it's only a 16 team field instead of 64. And by the way, I'm not counting those two gimmick games in the NCAA basketball tournament that they refer to as the First Four. That's a that's just a straight up money thing. So anyway, when you look at the the Lacrosse Championship compared to March Madness, the national champion in lacrosse, the eventual national champion only has to win four games as opposed to the six wins that they have to pull off in the NCAA basketball tournament. And if you just look back eight years to the 2014 tournament, the UConn men's basketball team won at all as a number seven seed. So that basically means that according to the selection committee, there were at least 24 other teams that they thought had a better chance of winning. And that's only if UConn was actually the best of the four teams that were seeded seventh across the four regions. But the Huskies got hot at the right time and Kemba Walker ended up carrying them all the way to their fourth national title. 

Karl  4:46  
So that's the first part of the formula when it comes to Navy possibly winning a national title in lacrosse. They need to be hitting their peak and playing their best lacrosse right as the tournament starts. Now, the second reason I think both the men and the women are two teams that are capable of winning it all is to a certain degree, the precedent has already been set for them going deep into the tournament. In 2004, the men's team got all the way to the championship game before finally falling to Syracuse in a game that went right down to the wire. And then in 2017, then women had a terrific run to the Final Four after beating Loyola to get to the tournament. And then they knocked off number two ranked North Carolina before going down, I believe, to Boston College. 

Karl  5:22  
So to be fair, 2004 was a while back, but that was a really, really good Navy team. They had a solid defense and excellent goalkeeper. And I remember in the semi finals, that year, they beat Princeton. And it was a really low scoring game, I think was like 7-6 or something like that. And remember Princeton back then, I mean, they've won three national championships in the 90s. So there's your precedent on the on the men's side. 

Karl  5:46  
Now, as far as the women's team goes, 2017 was only five years ago. And my thinking is the Mids have really done a good job leveraging that result, that final full result into attracting more top tier talent to Annapolis. Coach Cindy Timchall has won several national championships at Maryland, so she knows just what it takes to get her teams ready once a tournament begins. 

Karl  6:05  
Okay, so that's it. I'm not saying it's gonna be easy. And certainly it may take a couple of stars lining up just the right way. Yeah, first, they have to make it to the tournament, I get that. But from there, everything gets reset. And all it takes is four games to win it all. So I've made my case. I'm very curious to hear what you guys think, so feel free to share your thoughts on the group Facebook page. 

Karl  6:25  
All right. I'm going to finish up this update by recognizing two athletes who've earned all America status in the last week or so. The first is Jennifer Coleman from the women's basketball team. She was named as an honorable mention all American by the Associated Press. Coleman is the first member of the Navy women's basketball program ever to earn that all America status and she's just a third player in the Patriot League to get that distinction. So congratulations to Jennifer as she closes out a terrific basketball career at Navy. Meanwhile, Mike Zanti, who's the captain of the Navy rifle team was selected as the collegiate rifle Coaches Association all American, he was recognized as a first team all American in the small bore and air rifle disciplines, while also being named second team all American in the aggregate category. Zanti is the first Mid since 2010 to earn that first team all American status. And he was just incredibly consistent throughout the entire year. So it's great to see him being recognized for his efforts. Okay, that that's it for sports update, but we are just getting started. Next up is our deep dive segment.

Karl  7:40  
All right, it is time for a deep dive segment. And you heard me say earlier that I was a guest on another sports podcast a couple of months ago. And one of the things we do to help each other out to get some exposure is what we call guest swaps. That's where we'll do a spot on each other's show so that the respective audiences can learn more about us. So my guest this week produces a show called the Original Sports Podcast and he comes to us out of Frederick, Maryland, where he teaches full time I invited him on because I thought it'd be fun to explore a couple of connections between Navy and one of the teams he follows. So I am happy to welcome to the show fellow sports podcaster Mark Maradei, to Navy Sports Central. Hey, Mark, thanks so much for making the time to be with us today. We really appreciate you being on the podcast. 

Mark  8:24  
Karl, it is a an honor and a pleasure to join you today. I appreciate you coming on my show. Just a little while back and I love returning the favor. 

Karl  8:33  
Yeah, that was really a lot of fun. Now, just to kind of get the listeners, you know, acquainted with you. Tell us a little bit about how you got started producing your podcast, how long you've been doing it and what led you down that path?

Mark  8:45  
Well, I am a high school teacher, by trade, I make $0 doing podcasting. Basically, we got sent home to teach from home back in March of 2020. The exact date was March 13th, 2020. And, you know, we were at home and we were teaching from home trying to set the world back on fire by teaching virtually. And as I was doing that and we were all you know, we were all relegated to be at home trying to figure out COVID I wanted to get into communications as a young person. And when I tried to get into it when I was in college, they closed the field. It was so busy back then I went to college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for my first undergrad. And I've always had that passion still. And at work. I would talk sports all the time with guys and they would be like man, you just know your stuff. I love listening to you talk, you know no matter what it is.

Mark  9:43  
So I'm at home and my wife's like you're gonna have to find something to do besides teach and just do nothing. She said why don't you, why don't you get into trying to do that podcast that you've talked about? I had bought a microphone. I had done all these research. So I had a neighbor up the street and I said, Hey Chris, can you come down and hang out with me? And let's have a conversation about, about how you do your podcasting. His guy had a really successful podcasting about food. You know, and he has done fantastic with it. So he comes down masks in all we sit outside, 12 feet apart. And we had a long conversation. And I just dove right in my first podcast was doing it's, you know, by myself, I done a lot of research, it was getting close to, you know, they confirmed that they were still going to have the NFL draft and I was looking at the free agency stuff, so I just did free agency stuff.

Karl  10:41  
All right. All right. Good stuff. Now you are originally from Pittsburgh. And you shared with me earlier that you cover pretty much all the teams out there. But which one do you like to cover the most? 

Mark  10:52  
To be honest with you, I cover as much as possible, not just the Pittsburgh teams. I am a diehard Steelers penguins, and I even cover my mouth a little bit and say it but I'm a diehard Pirates fan as far as professional teams go. I'm a huge Pitt fan. Grew up a big Pitt fan just because of my age. And during the heyday of the the mid 70s. Going into the early 80s. Pitt was, you know, they were on fire with guys like Tony Dorsett and Dan Marino, there was a guy that I actually got to watch play by the name of Bill Fralic he played high school. Yeah. And played, played at Penn Hills High School, he played football and he wrestled, and I actually got to meet him. I was a sophomore, sophomore freshman. And he was a senior, but he was the nicest guy. And, you know, guys like that are what, what engage me in supporting and rooting for them. 

Mark  11:46  
But if I had to pick one particular sport out of all them, it's probably evolved from football to hockey, only the Steelers to the penguins. And only because from that perspective, um, the NFL has just turned me sour with the money game that they play. And, you know, that's just how I feel about

Karl  12:06  
Yeah, yeah, I understand. Alright, so you mentioned Pitt. And that's actually kind of the direction I wanted to go in, because it's the biggest state university in western Pennsylvania. And there are actually a couple of interesting connections to Navy. In any case, the guy who's been in the news lately for them has been their quarterback Kenny Pickett who had a fantastic year. In fact, he was a Heisman Trophy finalist, and ended up you know, I guess, Bryce, who was it? Bryce Young? Yeah. from Alabama ended up winning. Yeah. But pick it was right there in the thick of things. And I just wanted to get your take on him. Statistically, he had a great season. And not a lot of people know about it just kind of flew underneath the radar. So I was wondering, we could what you could share with the with the audience about him.

Mark  12:45  
First of all, I've been watching Kenny, since he was a freshman because he came in as a freshman and got some playing time pretty early on in his career. Keep in mind that he had a six year career, right? He got that extra year because of COVID. He actually went to, I forget with the Manning camp or something, something Mannings had sponsored. I believe it was Peyton. And Peyton said, you know, you really should seriously consider going back to school for an extra year and making a name and, and, you know, just taking all that knowledge you gained and taking advantage of it. And he did. Um, man, he's a natural leader. I'll tell you what, he's he's just fun to watch. He's got all those intangibles you want. He had the respect of that team. He would do whatever it would take on the field to get them to win. I mean, you think about their bowl game alone, or no, it was the it was the championship game. When he took off up the field fake the slide ran it the rest of the way. He made them change a rule, basically, because of his fake slide. The man would do whatever it would take to win and I always loved that about him. 

Mark  13:53  
You know, the big thing about him recently had been you know, they talked about his hand size. I listened like various. Yeah, you know, I listen to a lot of different guys come on the radio and one guy said we've been doing this for 30 years and he has the smallest hands ever. He has eight and a half's. You know what? Hands and heart don't even equate together. If you can get it done, you can get it done. I recognize that the NFL football is slightly bigger than a college football. But the guy wears a glove on his hand. I'm sure that helps. I'm sure he recognizes that. And I'm sure he's going to do whatever it takes to to make himself successful again, you know, when Drew Brees came out, they talked about his size. He's little he's not gonna make it. Let's talk about Drew Brees' career, you know, I mean,

Karl  14:40  
Yeah, I mean, and then you look at somebody like you know, Patrick Mahomes now and our guy here in Arizona. Kyler Murray. Yeah. So I totally agree with you there.

Mark  14:49  
I just I had a problem with them like nitpicking at him. Yeah. But they do say though, that, you know, if you listen to the analysts, they say that he is not a franchise ready quarterback. Well, depending on who takes him, he may not need to be the franchise ready quarterback next year. He might need a couple of years to get seasoning at that next level. But I think when you inevitably plug him in to play with that seasoned understanding of the NFL, he is going to be a franchise quarterback for a long time.

Karl  15:17  
Right, right. Yeah. And talking about that in terms of what team he may go to. Right now. And again, I'm not a big mock draft guy at all. And Mel Kiper, Jr. I can you know, I got to take him in small doses. But, but he's got him going at number 11 to the Washington Commanders. And I don't know, you're there in Frederick. So I don't know how much noise you hear out of DC, you know, from down south. Yeah, I was wondering if you've caught any kind of talk coming out of those sports talk shows and what they might say about him.

Mark  15:47  
Well, let's, let's start here. Um, that's not going to happen because he just traded and got Wentz and in there paying Wentz $28 million. They actually just cut two guys today to get $17 million under the cap because they were snugged up against it. They haven't made one move yet in free agency. So that's not going to happen for them. I think they're going to look at addressing more like the positions that they ended up cutting right right today. 

Mark  16:15  
You know, I mean, that just it only makes sense to me right now. i They're all over the board. Yeah, they're their number one cuts should be their owner. Like he tries to pull the Jerry Jones stuff and, and he's not that football knowledgeable. You know, I mean, he still has a . . .Karl, he still has a dark cloud hanging over his head about the thing that happened with the cheerleaders that they swept under the rug, the thing that was going on with Jon Gruden, it got Gruden fired, and he was the only one that that they actually called out on that. Like there's a lot of dark cloud hanging over top of Snyder and I have no idea why the league has not come down on him. I know a few years back if you remember this the NBA. The one owner had done something I can't remember if it was a racial comment. Off the top my head I can't remember. But they forced him to sell right?

Karl  17:02  
Oh, yeah, correct. Yeah. That was Donald Sterling. He used to own the LA Clippers.

Mark  17:07  
I think, you know, we got a multi billion dollar organization here that the National Football League, and I don't understand why they are just sitting on their hands when it comes to Dan Snyder.

Karl  17:16  
Yeah, yeah, that's a . . . that's a head scratcher. Alright, so kind of continuing along the the subject of Pitt. Actually, the idea came to me after we spoke on your show. And I thought, hey it could be kind of cool to look up a lot of different connections between Pitt and Navy and maybe talk about those. So the most obvious one to me, and there's actually two of them that I want to focus on basketball and football. 

Karl  17:38  
Okay. So we can start with basketball first, because that was one that jumped out at me right away. We spoke about the fact that when I was a freshman at the Academy, that's when Paul Evans took over as coach of the Midshipmen. And he came out, he came from a little D3 school in upstate New York, and had a reputation for playing a style where you really focus on the front line. And certainly, when he got the Navy, he was able to recruit two of the best that I've ever suited up for the Mids. And that was Vernon Butler and David Robinson. 

Karl  18:08  
So he was there for basically six years. And during that time, his record was 119 wins and 61 losses. There's actually a three year stretch between 1984 and 1986 where the mids were 80 - 19. Evans took them to the NCAA tournament twice, including that unbelievable year in 1986, when they got all the way to the Elite Eight. That team led by Robinson and Butler was the best that Navy's ever put on the floor. And to be quite honest, I just don't see a service academy team making it to the Elite Eight anymore, you know, yeah. So anyway, of course, then he goes to Pitt, and I didn't know I obviously you follow Pitt back then. But I didn't know how much you were dialed into that program when he showed up, if you can kind of recall the atmosphere back when he came? What were the circumstances, you know, did the coach before him was he let go? Did he just decide to move on to another team? Or . . .or what do you what do you recall from that time,

Mark  19:04  
I actually don't remember who the coach was before that. But I know when they brought in Evans, they talked him up as a player's coach, which was a big part of the reason that they felt he had so much success with Navy. You know, bringing in those high, you know, you got high character guys to come in there. And with high character guys means that they're buying into what the coach is selling, because I'm sure they had other opportunities. And I know they really sold that to the Pitt program. The program that he had there, though, it really had the city excited about basketball. Like they talked a lot about potentially getting an NBA team back then and things like that. I mean, it's always kicked around here and there but Pittsburgh is not a basketball city per se from that perspective, but I can tell you back then, let me just drop some names for you. Okay, these are the guys that he had on this squad. That was probably, if not the best one of the top three. Charles Smith, Jerome Lane,  Curtis Aiken, Demetrius Gore, even like Rod Brookin and Pat Kavanaugh, who I think I told you earlier, that was like one of his last guys coming off the bench. But he was a highly productive guy on this team. Like they bought into the mission that that Evans brought there and they were good. Like it was kind of sad that they lost like they did in those guys senior year in the in the big dance. I mean, the East was legit back then to definitely the Big East. It was legit.

Karl  20:29  
Yeah. I mean, it was my favorite conference to watch. Back then, because of you had Pitt, you had Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John's, you know, all those big, big teams going at it head to head and yeah, I mean, a lot of people could make a case that teams that come out of the Big East, you know, get so beat up during the tournament, they end up going into the NCAA tournament, and they're just, you know, the legs might might not be as fresh, you know, that sort of thing. But you're right, that '88 team was strong. They were I think they still ended up finishing the year ranked eighth. But they were a number two seed going into that tournament and ended up bowing out on basically what was a miracle shot against Vanderbilt. So it was just one of those things that, you know, it happens and unfortunately, they were on the other end of it that particular time. So,

Mark  21:14  
Unfortunately, that's one of the greatest things about the NCAA tournament. You don't have to be a powerhouse. Just make the dance and get a couple breaks.

Karl  21:21  
Yeah, I mean, look at what Loyola Chicago did a few years back. I mean, they made it all the way the Final Four and that's a little tiny private school. 

Karl  21:27  
So alright, let's move on to football. That was the one where there's a connection that's a little bit more strong. And before Navy moved over to the American Conference, they used to play Pitt on a fairly regular basis. I know they played three times in the 2000s and a couple of times, just within the last 10 years, but also back in the you know, 70s and 80s. That's when you saw a lot of matchups. And I know, I can't remember what your Marino graduated. This might have been the year after he graduated, but I think Pitt played Navy in 82 and beat, you know, beat the Mids and that was a home game because I remember seeing that one, and then didn't in the 2000s Pitt won  twice and Navy won once and the ones that the two that pit one was when they had Shady McCoy had no answer for him. He's just like ran all over the place. And then the mids have won the last two I think pit leads overall series 22-15 and the Mids have won the last couple. One was in a bowl game back in 2015. And then the other one was when they squared off in 2013. 

Karl  22:34  
That was Keenan Reynolds' sophomore year. And it was actually Aaron Donald's senior year and the Mids . . . They're both two fairly evenly matched teams at that point. And I think Navy ended up winning on a last second field goal 24-21. But I remember Donald because he had a pretty awesome game. I mean, he because of the off because of the offensive Navy runs. I mean, he had a reputation as really going after the passer and they just didn't throw a lot of passes. But so overall, he you know, had like four tackles, but I think one of them was for a loss. And it was when he was went after Keenan Reynolds on an option run. And basically, almost took him out of his cleats on the hit. This was before Reynolds figured out that knack for kind of slipping tackles and stuff like that. But his first year, I was literally scared for him because I just saw him get popped a couple of times and just wondered if he's gonna get up again. But yeah, that was a kind of hit that Donald laid on him. But you know, he bounced back up and they were able to, to win the game. But what I wanted to do was just kind of get your take on Aaron Donald when he was in college, and just how much people thought about him. And if they figured that that was going to transition to the pros to the extent that it did.

Mark  23:47  
Well, let's start with when he was in high school, he went to Penn Hills High School, which was always a powerhouse High School back in western Pennsylvania and the WPIAL, Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League, which is one of the usually if you win the WPIAL, it's like winning a state championship in western PA, I'll be quite honest with you. You are a powerhouse and if I could start dropping names of guys who have come through the WPIAL that are playing in the league now that played in league before or that are in the Hall of Fame, but you know, he came out of Penn Hills. 

Mark  24:21  
And one of the things that keeps people attractive to guys from the WPIAL is when they stay home and go to Pitt even Penn State. They love that. And that was one thing he did so I'm sure he definitely had everybody on board with him back then, as he did when he got to the league. I don't know if anybody ever expected him to be the guy he is in the league though. Like you just you know it's such a coin flip. We have a draft coming up at the end of April and all these guys are rated one through whatever 1000 In only so many guys get picked and you know how many guys go in the top 10 and never even make it. That just, you know, they bow out. So, you know, Aaron Donald was driven and he made a name for himself. I mean, I'm sure there are a lot of people who, who said, I think he can make it. But I don't know if anybody ever thought that he would be the guy he is. I mean, he, I mean, looking forward, and I know you were gonna talk about this, but you know, the two plays he made at the end of that Super Bowl. Those, those are difference makers. Those are made by guys that are legends. And he inevitably, he inevitably made himself a legend by by doing that, because he really was, like, let's face it, if you watch the Super Bowl, you know, he was not the dominant guy. They were double and triple teaming him making sure they chip him. They were running the ball away from him. If they ran the ball at him, it was in some sort of misdirection. So they they gameplan well, for him.  But um, you know, at the end of the day, I think no matter what this guy was cut out to be who he is today. He and he took it and he ran with it.

Karl  26:00  
Right, right. And so just to kind of touch on, you know, what he did do in college. He ranks, you know, on the team. Anyway, he ranked fourth all time in sacks. And he's got 29 and a half. And what I think was really interesting was when you look at his total number of tackles, 181 on his career, 66 of them were for a loss. So we're talking one in three times, he's going after, you know, the ball carrier, he's taking them down behind the line of scrimmage. So that's pretty impressive. 

Karl  26:27  
But yeah, I'm with you. I knew he was good when he came out of college. I just didn't know he was going to be that good. And you mentioned those last couple of plays, I think, you know, on the one way kept the guy from getting the first down. To me, that was probably an even better play than the one he made to get around the two guys to sack well not to basically, you know, keep Burrow from making that completion because he had a hold of the guy and had the presence of mind to fall backward. You know, most of the time, you get a hold of the dude, you just drive him to the ground. And sometimes a forward motion is what gets in the first down, right? But he didn't do that he basically grabbed them and just pulled him back like a wrestler, you know, trying to take him down, and the guy's helmet got to the first down marker, but not the ball, because that was tucked into his waist. So I think that was just an incredible play from just a football IQ standpoint. And then of course, he just uses superior athletic skill and strength to get around a double team to get to Burrow and and make him rush that pass. So

Mark  27:27  
I was obviously astound that they even that they look at that for as long as they did, because it was very clear cut that was not, you know. Hey, I'll tell you how well Aaron Donald is still loved in Pittsburgh, even though he played for the Rams on March 4. This year, they had Aaron Donald day. 

Karl  27:43  
How about that. That's pretty cool.  All right. So here's what I want to do next in talking about , you know, Navy and Pitt football, I was actually just kind of cruising around the net and just found some comparisons on the two programs. So what I found here is 12 specific categories where they compare the Navy football program to Pitt and what I'm going to ask you to do, I'm going to give you the category and you just tell me who's got the edge. Is it either Pitt or Navy and just for the sake of the you know, for the audience, I will tell you straight up guys, thatPit's going to lead in most of these. Okay, so what I'm doing is I'm going to be seeing if Mark and pick out the couple or so that that Navy has the edge and as we go through but I'm going to go through all 12 of them. Okay. 

Karl  28:25  
All right. The first one is all time record in terms of wins and losses. Navy or Pitt? Pitt. Pitt, Yeah, but that one's closer than you might think. There's only 20 wins it's separate them. The Panthers have 749 wins against 547 losses and 42 ties, while the Midshipman have 729 wins against 586 losses and 57 ties so a slight edge to the Panthers there in terms of the winning percentage. Okay, so that's that's not too bad. I was I wasn't I was a little bit surprised to see that. 

Karl  28:54  
Next one - National championships. Pitt. Yep, they've got think a total of nine all together and believe it or not, that ranks fifth all time out of the 131 programs right now. So wow, I didn't know that. Now. I guess it's been a while since I got one but it's been even longer since Navy's got their one that was back like in the 1920s or something like that. So

Mark  29:16  
I can tell you that Pitt has some other programs that are on the rise there their volleyball program, baseball program. Yeah, those programs are on the rise. 

Karl  29:25  
Yeah, and I do recall our women's soccer team played Pitt ast year and yeah, and the Panthers won that one. So okay. Conference Championships,

Mark  29:35  
Hmmm . ..  I'm going to say Navy on that one. 

Karl  29:39  
Okay, so that one's actually Pitt and the biggest reason is because unless you unless you count Independents as a conference, which I really don't, there's been a couple of times where Navy's finished atop the list of independence. Not terribly often. But Pitt's got a total of three conference championships and Navy doesn't have any by the way they measure now, but they did make it to that championship game in the American Conference back in 2016. Okay, let's see what's next. Oh, number of bowl games. Yep, Pitts got the edge there. They have been to 36 bowl games, which is good for a ranking of 26 out of the 131 programs. Meanwhile, the Mids have been to 24. And that puts them in 49th place. 

Karl  30:29  
Number of all time wins. I mentioned the record before but number of all time wins. That was . . . I think I gave that one away. Yeah, you did it. That's right. Yeah. It's got an edge by about 20 wins there. Okay, uh . . . bowl record.

Mark  30:43  
I'm gonna throw that one at Navy again.

Karl  30:46  
Okay. All right. You're right about that one. Navy's got a record of 12-11-1, and Pitt is just slightly under 500. There. In fact, let's see. Yeah, I already mentioned that bowl game that Navy played Pitt in back in 2015. That was the year that Keenan Reynolds was a senior. Navy won 11 games that year, and Reynolds set the record for most number of rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in that bowl game. He was he was pretty dynamic. Yeah, yeah. Okay, next one is number of all Americans. Pitt. Yep, no doubt. The Panthers have 54 consensus all Americans, which places them eighth nationally, and the Midshipmen have 24, which is pretty good. And that puts them at 31. 

Karl  31:36  
Heisman Trophy winners. Pitt. That was, that was that was Navy, actually. Oh, yeah. So Staubach? Yeah, Staubach and Bellino from Navy, and Tony Dorsett was the only one from Pitt. That's it. Wow. Yeah. Well, I Okay.

Mark  31:50  
Yeah. And I was thinking maybe back a long, long time.

Unknown Speaker  31:55  
Right, right . . . Okay. Oh, here's a good one. Number of NFL draft picks. 

Mark  32:03  
I'll probably go with Pitt on that one. 

Karl  32:05  
Yeah, for sure. The Panthers have had 289 players drafted into the NFL, while the mids have only had 18. And then it gets even funnier first round draft picks. 

Mark  32:14  
I definitely go with Pitt on that one. 

Karl  32:16  
Right. Right. The Panthers leading that category 25 to nothing. And then the last couple weeks in the AP poll, you know, there was a top 25. Pitt? Yep, pit has been ranked in the top 25 for a total of 308 weeks, which is good for ranking of 27th in the country. Meanwhile, the mids have achieved that top 25 ranking for a total of 139 weeks. And that's good for a ranking of 63. And then finally, we have the number of weeks at number one.

Mark  32:44  
Oh, probably have to ride Pitt on that. 

Karl  32:46  
Yeah, for sure. Navy's never been at number one at any time. You know.  Not since I've had the AP Poll anyway. So yeah, that's it. Out of the 12, Pitt came on top and 10 of them. So the only two categories were Navy had the edge was and the number of Heisman Trophy winners, and they lead in that category two to one, and also the bowl game record. Right now the mids are 12-11-1 while the Panthers sit at 14-22.

Mark  33:13  
Navy's made more bowls in the recent, you know, like, say 25 years and Pitt is actually made so that doesn't surprise me.

Karl  33:19  
Yeah, you're right about that one. Okay, cool. All right. So that takes care of that. I tell you what we'll do. We'll step away for a quick break. And when we return, we'll continue our conversation with Mark Maradei.

Karl  33:45  
All right, welcome back to Navy Sports Central Karl Darden here with you. And my guest today is Mark Maradei, who is the host of the Original Sports Podcast. So here's what we're gonna do next Mark. We're just gonna do like a little rapid fire thing here to kind of finish things up. Okay. You mentioned you're a teacher. Yes. So tell me your favorite subject that you teach.

Mark  34:05  
Um, probably by probably my first aid class, I certified kids in CPR, AED and basic first aid skills. I have an American Red Cross program I was asked to, to get trained in, like 12 years ago or something like that. And I got the training and I've been doing it over 1000 people, probably like 1200 people now that I've certified.

Karl  34:27  
Wow. Okay, that's a that's a big number. Now, just give me your funniest students story. You know, I don't it does. It can relate to anything. But you know, whether it's in class, you know, on a project, you know, whatever.

Mark  34:39  
Okay, so in a nutshell. I'm going to give you a story about a kid who shot getting ready to graduate and go to the Marines. And this is back when vaping was just kind of kind of coming on to the radar. Okay, and I'm we're sitting classroom one day, it's the end of the day. And I'm over at my computer doing something in their in their desks, and they're working on something. And I look up and I see this giant cloud of smoke is if it was a train whistle that just blew my classroom, you know? And I'm like, Oh, my God, did I really just see that? 

Mark  35:22  
And I walk over to the kid and I said, what was that? He said, Oh, I just hit my vape. And I'm like, Are you serious? Man, you're in the middle of my classroom. We're in the middle of class. Do you think that's okay to do? And he's like, Oh, we're cool. We're cool. I'm like, Oh, we're cool. Yeah, but you can't do that. So I dropped it at that. I went saw administration. Kid got suspended for a day. And this is like two weeks before he's graduating. Comes back comes to my class. He says, Can I talk to you? Yeah, you could talk to me, of course. So he comes over and he says, Why did you turn me in and get me suspended? I said, Are you kidding me? Are you serious? You know, if I let this slide by, just because we're cool the way you want to say it. You know, what, am I telling the rest of the class? Right, right. Well, what am I saying everybody else? So he's like, okay, whatever. So the kid graduates, and about a year later, he comes back to visit me after he gets out of Marine boot camp. And he says, Man, I just want to apologize to you. You know, I thought about that a lot for a long time. And what I did to you what I did that day was just me being stupid. So it's not a funny story. But it was just insane to like, see that happen? In my in front of my face in the classroom? I was like, Wow, I can't believe that. So ballsy. To be honest with you. Wow, that's unreal.

Karl  36:53  
Well, I'm always curious when you hear stories like that, and for kids that do end up going into the military, and especially the Marine Corps. I would like to be a fly on the wall within the first hour or two that they got sworn in, and just that immediate culture shock that they would get when you know, the DI is in their face and everything like that. So pretty wild. Okay, so Mark, we're gonna finish up with a question that I actually stole from you, because I thought it was such a great question from when we spoke. And Mark asked me, Who would I put on my Mount Rushmore of Navy sports? So I don't think I've ever shared my answer with the listeners before. So unless they actually heard the program, they wouldn't know but so the way I decided to do it was I went with what the first two were basically no brainers I went with Roger Staubach and David Robinson. And the main reason is because they excelled at every level, both college and pro. They both they both won World Championships. And they're both in the Hall of Fame. So I don't think there's any denying that. 

Karl  37:51  
The other thing I wanted to do was go with a representative from from the women's sports because when I got there, the women's sports were just starting to kind of take off. Women were admitted in 1976. So by the time I got there, in 1980, you had a lot of them that are just starting to kind of transition to from D2 to D1 programs. Some of them even started out as club programs before they jumped to varsity, you know, that sort of thing. So the, the woman I wanted to put on there is a member of the basketball was a member of the basketball team. She has a class of 82 Her name is Colleen Cassidy. And I will tell you that my my source for this is my classmate, Becky Lewis, who was the captain of the of the team when we were seniors. And she played with Colleen for a couple of years. And then Becky came back to actually be an assistant coach on the team. And she was I mean, she's still dialed into the program. So she knows . . . she's basically seen a whole generation of players pass through the academy. And knows, you know, the kind of talent that has been that that basically has walked on the court. 

Karl  38:57  
And to this day, 40 some odd years. Well, exactly. 40 years later, calling Cassidy still leads, she still holds the record for most average points per game. After after 40 years, so pretty incredible, I think. And then she's still near the top in total points scored so and back in the day, they didn't have a three point line when she finished up and she could hit from just about any range as well. So that's, that's who I put up there. And then the last representative I actually selected was an entire team and that would be the heavyweight rowing team from 1952 because they won the NCAA championship that year, actually three years in a row I believe. And then they also won the gold medal at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. And the most amazing thing there was the year before in 1951. They competed in the NCAAs and none of their three boats finished because they all sank due to a storm the previous day. It really kind of churned up the Ohio River . . . that's where they had the championships that year. And they were having to dodge all kinds of debris in the river and just were not that successful. So they went from basically not having any boats finish at all to national champions, and then Olympic champions in the same year. So pretty impressive turnaround there. 

Karl  40:10  
And the last thing that I'll mention is that this crew, which was also known as a Great Eight won 29 consecutive races, and no other program has come close to doing that. Okay, so Mark that I've set the table for what, what I have for for Navy's Mount Rushmore so you can choose one sport, any sport, or you can choose a number of sports, it doesn't matter. So I'm going to turn it over to you and you give me your four.

Mark  40:33  
I'm going to add an extra head get my Mount Rushmore, okay. 

Karl  40:36  
Okay, so we'll go with five.  

Mark  40:37  
That's what I'm going to do. Alright, so I started out with Tony doorset. I mean, his name speaks for himself. He won Super Bowls with the Cowboys. He won a national championship, the last national championship Pitt won. He was the centerpiece. He was the marquee player on that team. And, you know, even though he was a Dallas Cowboy during the Steelers heyday, he was still beloved in Pittsburgh, and he still is today. 

Mark  41:02  
Next is Dan Marino. Okay, I mean, again, another guy whose name speaks for himself. There was always speculation that he should have been a Steeler, but some there was something about Dan Marino that kept Chuck Noll from wanting to draft him. And at the end of the day, I think that the Rooney's were, the Rooney's were kind of buffaloed by that whole thing. Otherwise, the Steelers fortune story in the 80s and 90s. Might have been a little different early on. 

Mark  41:31  
Then I went in another direction. And I grabbed Roger Kingdom.

Karl  41:36  
Roger was a sprinter right. 

Mark  41:38  
Yeah. He was a sprinter hurdler. Ran for Pitt was in the Olympics. He's a two time Olympian. I had a kid from my high school actually  go to Pitt on a on a track scholarship and challenge his records there. He was that good. Wow. The kids are so much faster than Kingdom was back. Then I chose Charles Smith from the basketball program. Yeah, I think it speaks for itself. When we talked about Paul Evans in the team. He had 86-87. You know, those guys. were unbelievable. But Smith was the leader. He was the centerpiece on that team. He had a nice NBA career. And, you know, really, I don't think they ever really replaced a big man like Smith. I mean, they've had some guys come through, but nobody like Smith was for them. And finally, Susie McConnell Syrio, who was a basketball player for the University of Pittsburgh. She was a stud. She, she I believe she was on the Olympic team, too. I'm almost 100%. Sure. And she actually coached to Duquesne and now she's at Pitt.

Karl  42:46  
Oh, how about  that? Yeah. So she's the head coach of Pitt, or one of the assistants or?

Mark  42:50  
I'm almost no, she's I'm almost 100% Sure she is the head coach.

Karl  42:53  
That's awesome. Yeah. Always good to have a player who was successful at the program. Come back. And coach I think, right. 

Mark  42:59  
 Yeah, absolutely. 

Karl  43:00  
For sure. All right. All right. I guess Mark, this is gonna do for our conversation. Listen, I, I had a great time talking. It's always great to talk sports.

Karl  43:10  
I mean, like I said, I mostly focused on Navy stuff, it is always kind of good to, to kind of branch out a little bit. So I appreciate you being on the show with me. And thanks for sharing your perspective on the Pitt Panthers. I'm hopeful that on some level, I know, it may not happen in football that quickly, but I'll be keeping an eye out when they can kind of go head to head in other sports. And maybe we can, maybe we can chat again. And finally, I did want to give you a chance to let everybody know where they can find you and your show, the Original Sports Podcast with Mark Maradei.

Mark  43:35  
Absolutely. I appreciate you having me on as a guest. And people need to listen to you on my episode, they can check me out at Original Sports Podcast, with Mark Maradei. I'm on any, any place you can download a podcast, listen to a podcast or you can go right to my website, and and find it there because we had a great conversation too.

Karl  43:54  
Yeah, guys, I tell you and I was kind of looking at my information. I do have at least one person from Pittsburgh who's heard heard this show a couple of times. But so far, I've been able to figure out that this reach has got like about, I don't know about maybe 400 cities or you know, across the country. So I'm sure Mark, you've been doing this a little bit longer than I have. And just the scope of what you discuss is pretty cool, too. So, guys, you know, if you're listening to the show, especially if you're in the Pittsburgh area, but you don't have to be go ahead and tune in the Original Sports Podcast with Mark Maradei. It's a lot of fun to listen to. So thanks a lot, Mark. I really appreciate it.

Mark  44:29  
I appreciate you having me. 

Karl  44:30  
Alright, take care now. Okay, we're gonna take a quick breather and be right back with our Question of the Day. 

Karl  44:52  
Alright, thanks for staying with us everyone. It is time for a Question of the Day and like we always do. Let's start with checking the responses. On the question from our last episode. That was the one that came to me kind of on the spur of the moment as I was going over how people were had responded to the poll question about the, the short circumference of the rugby ball, I was curious to know, who makes up our Facebook group. As you may or may not know, we have about 700 members, and I typically figure on about maybe 10% engagement. And that just means either liking or commenting on different content that's on the page. And I was happy to note that on this particular poll question, we actually had a 15% response. So that was pretty cool. 

Karl  45:34  
And just to refresh your memory, here was the question. Among all of us who have joined the Navy Sports Nation group Facebook page, which bucket do you fall into? The first one was I went to the Academy. Next was I am the parent of a current Mid or a recent graduate. After that was I have a relative or a close friend that graduated from Annapolis. And then finally, I just happen to be a big Navy sports fan. So as of the time of this recording, we had 108 responders. So that was, that was pretty awesome. And here's how things broke out. There were 54 responders who went to the Naval Academy, 35 of you let us know that you are big Navy sports fans. And I know that does include a number of Navy veterans because I've had some conversations with you. And then also there were 15 in the group that were either parents of current Midshipmen, or ones who have recently graduated. And finally 4 people got back to us to say that they had a close friend or relative that graduated from the Academy. Now there are also some great comments that some of you added as well. Fred Paone's dad was a professor at the Academy and his family actually sponsored Joe Bellino. So, you know, how cool is that to be able to say that one of Navy's two Heisman Trophy winners was a regular visitor in your home. And Fred also mentioned that he saw the very first football game at Navy Marine Corps stadium. So that's pretty awesome. 

Karl  46:52  
Also, Tom Nicholas is a Navy vet who actually served about the same time that that me and my classmates did, and his son is starting his application process this summer. And then finally, Loretta Scarborough's husband was from the class of 1966. And he actually ran varsity track. So thanks, you guys, for those great comments. There are some more interesting ones as well, so be sure to check them out on the group Facebook page when you get a chance. 

Karl  47:15  
Now, let's get to our question from this week. We are well into the spring sports season. And I want to know which Navy team or teams you think have the best shot at winning a Patriot League championship. And there's multiple choices here. So just kind of bear with me. First choice is men's lacrosse. Next is women's lacrosse. And then I'm going to go with a men's and women's outdoor track, followed by men's and women's tennis. So those are going to be six separate choices for you guys to choose from. And you can select more than one. This question will be up on the group Facebook page by the end of the day, so you can respond there. And please just like last time, feel free to add any comments because I will mention at least a couple on the next podcast. Thanks a lot. 

Karl  47:56  
Alright, let's keep moving along to our Mid Watch segment and today we're going to identify the two athletes we'll be tracking for the rest of the spring. This time we're gonna focus on a couple of lacrosse players. So on the women's side, the player will be tracking is Regan Roelofs. She is a senior attacker from Apple Valley, Minnesota. Right now she has 20 goals and eight assists to lead the women's team with 28 points. And Roelofs also has two game winning goals so far this season. Her best game to date was against Bucknell that was the Patriot League season opener last week, Roelofs had seven points in the 15-3 win. And one thing I did want to mention is she is one of the very best in the league when it comes to control draws which is basically the face off. The main difference between the men's game and the women's game is that the women do it basically standing up with a ball, you know, caught between the sticks at about probably chest level, whereas the men kind of do it not kneeling down. 

Karl  48:51  
So Roelofs has won 47 control draws so far this season. And I look at those and ground balls about the same as I do rebounds in basketball. I mean, you can't score if you don't have the ball and those are the two primary ways to get it. And Roelofs just has a knack for coming up with it either herself on the draw or getting it over to a teammate. The Mids are 7-2 so far and 1-0 in league play and Roelofs will definitely be one of the keys to the team's success in order to compete for a league championship. 

Karl  49:18  
Now on the men's side, the player will be tracking his junior midfielder Pat Skalniak from Dallas, Texas. He's got 20 goals and 15 assists to lead the team with 35 points. He goes 6'3" and is a solid 200 pounds and it's just an excellent playmaker. Skalniak has started every game for the Mids since he showed up in Annapolis, and he has registered at least a point in every single one. In the win over Johns Hopkins that we talked about earlier, he had a season high three assists to go along with his three goals. 

Karl  49:46  
Now the Mids weren't picked to win the Patriot League this year, but you never know what can happen. I mentioned earlier that in his first recruiting season, Navy coach Joe Amplo landed the the number one recruiting class according to Inside Lacrosse magazine, so they clearly have a lot of talent. And with the win over Hopkins on the road, I mean, that's a pretty good indicator that they may be ready to challenge teams like Loyola over the next couple of years and Skalniak figures to be one of the Mids leading that charge. So we'll see what happens as the men's lacrosse team gets into the meat of their Patriot League schedule. 

Karl  50:17  
That's gonna do it for this edition of Navy sports Central. Thank you all so much for joining us. Now if you like what you've heard, be sure to follow us wherever you get your podcasts. And remember to spread the word to all the other Navy fans out there. Thanks again to my special guest, Mark Maradei for joining me today and giving us his perspective on the Pittsburgh Panthers athletic program. We have been getting a great response to our Question of the Day so if you want to jump in on that just go to the Navy Sports Nation group Facebook page. I will go ahead and pin it to the top so you won't miss it. And just a quick reminder, the views expressed on Navy Sports Central are my own and do not reflect those of the U.S. Naval Academy or Navy Athletics. 

Karl  50:54  
By the way the music used in Navy Sports Central comes to you courtesy of Audio Jungle. This is a great site for purchasing the rights to use music from thousands of artists around the world. And those we feature in the podcast will be credited in our show notes. Talk to you soon everybody. Until next time, this is Karl Darden. Go Navy! Beat Army!

Transcribed by