Volunteer Coaches

first_imgEach sports year schools are more and more dependent on volunteers to fill their coaching positions.  There are several reasons for this.  First of all, what used to be a normal way for a teacher to pick up extra money was to coach something.  Today most teachers don’t have time to do this.  Their teaching load does not allow it.Another reason is the number of sports and extra curricular activities that schools provide.  In the old days, schools offered 5 or 6 sports during a year and now they may have 18 or more sports (this is counting both boys and girls).  Also, the sports must pay their own way and they do not offer stipends for the number of assistant coaches that are needed.  This means volunteers who do not expect pay must fill the positions.Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow.last_img read more

Suspect Arrested in Fatal West Palm Beach Hit-and-Run Crash

first_imgWest Palm Beach Police say the victim of a hit-and-run crash died Saturday, and one person is in custody.The pedestrian in the crash was identified by police as 35-year-old David Dering.The crash happened Friday night just before 9 p.m. at 45th Street and Broadway Ave.According to officers, Dering was crossing west to east at the intersection, when an SUV struck him and fled south on Broadway.Shortly after 11:30 a.m. Saturday, police announced that they have located the driver of the vehicle. He is identified as 23-year-old Juan Castanon Perez, and is now in custody.Charges are pending.last_img read more

Syracuse football roundtable: Looking ahead at SU’s 1st bowl game since 2013

first_img Published on December 19, 2018 at 10:26 pm No. 16 Syracuse (9-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast) plays in its first bowl game since 2013 on Dec. 28 against No. 16 West Virginia (8-3, 6-3 Big 12) in the Camping World Bowl. In the month leading up to the game, several interesting storylines have developed including WVU star quarterback Will Grier deciding to not play in preparation for the NFL Draft and the possibility of Syracuse graduate transfers playing in their first games for SU.Below our beat writers address pressing questions leading into the Orange’s bowl game.How much of a difference will the absence of Will Grier make in the game?Andrew Graham: A rather big one. Grier is most definitely NFL bound, which is why he’s sitting this game out. Head coach Dino Babers said he’s not entirely sure what to expect from the Mountaineers’ other quarterbacks, though. The backup is Jack Allison, a redshirt sophomore with 10 attempts to his name this season. With no tape to scout, there’s no “book” on Allison or WVU’s other QB’s, he said. Babers brought up the other quarterbacks because he alluded that WVU may even bring out two quarterbacks, try to run from the QB position or throw other wrinkles out. While this does create a bit of a game planning black hole, none of the quarterbacks on this roster are as talented, polished or accomplished as Grier, and that’s going to show.Matt Liberman: Over the past two seasons, West Virginia quarterbacks have combined for 888 pass attempts. Grier has thrown 788 of those, and the backup, Jack Allison, has thrown just 10 passes this season. West Virginia wins its games through the air. Grier is top-5 in the nation in touchdowns, passing yards and passer rating. The Mountaineers rank third in the nation in passing yards per game and 75th in rushing. Without its star, who came into this season as a favorite to be a Heisman finalist, West Virginia will likely have to rely on its run game. Barring a Grier-like performance from whomever backs him up, that doesn’t bode well for WVU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJosh Schafer: Will Grier finished his final season with West Virginia averaging 351 passing yards per game with 37 touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore Jack Allison threw 10 passes all year. With that said, it’s hard to guess what will come of West Virginia’s offense. But if Allison doesn’t play near Grier’s level, the Mountaineers will rely on their run offense. In the regular season, the WVU offense averaged 162 rushing yards per game, 75th in the nation. Syracuse’s run defense improved as the season went on and can hold its own against an average WVU rushing attack. With the rushing attack in check, the Mountaineers may be forced to drop Allison back at a similar rate they would Grier. And with the seventh ranked pass rush in the country, Syracuse won’t let Allison have anything easy. The bottom line: Anytime a team’s best player sits out, it’s going to be in a bit of trouble.How much will SU by boosted if its newly-eligible transfers play?A.G.: It’s hard to say at this point. Wideout Trishton Jackson and running back Abdul Adams both only became eligible about a week ago. As members of the scout team, they’ve been running the offenses of SU’s opponent for 12 weeks. The challenge for them, Babers said, is getting up to speed with SU’s offense. They need to know the playbook perfectly, because, Babers said, if even one guy is off on a play, it can wreck all the timing. I still expect to see a healthy dose of Jackson and Abdul — they’ll provide a nice talent infusion — but as of now, it’s still probably up to SU’s regular crew of contributors to carry the load offensively.M.L.: I would caution anyone who thinks that throwing Jackson and Adams out on the first snap is a good idea. Yes, they’ve been at school for over a year now and have likely learned the playbook enough to go out and run their proper assignments, but they’ve never played it in a game. And working in Syracuse’s no-huddle, fast-paced offense is a completely different animal. I think SU rides with the combination that they have gone with all season long, and if the team is in need of a spark of energy, then Jackson and Adams may see some action.J.S.: At this point, we don’t know much about Jackson or Adams other than the whispers of them being explosive in practice. Which is why it’s not unreasonable to go back to their original recruiting profiles and brief college stints with other programs. They were both four-star recruits who transferred from schools with better recent football histories than Syracuse. Adams averaged 9.2 yards per carry last season at Oklahoma. If he gets even a few carries, Syracuse fans might be treated to a hint of his explosion. Jackson, a 6-foot-1 receiver, caught 12 passes for 143 yards last season with Michigan State. Quarterback Eric Dungey likes to spread the ball around in a pass-happy offense, which would benefit Jackson if he plays.What’s the game’s most important matchup?A.G.: SU’s pass rush versus WVU’s offensive line. Besides Grier, one of the Mountaineers offensive tackles, Yodny Cajuste, is sitting out the Camping World Bowl, too. This is then a ripe opportunity for Kendall Coleman, Chris Slayton and Alton Robinson to wreak some havoc. SU’s pass rush has been good, if not entirely consistent this season. But against a backup quarterback and a weakened offensive line, SU can seriously disrupt everything WVU will try to do offensively. SU’s dominant pass rush can kill plays before they really start. If Syracuse can do that semi-consistently on Dec. 28, it should neuter the Mountaineers vaunted offense.M.L.: Can Syracuse get its run game going? Where West Virginia will be suiting up with a second-string quarterback, SU will likely have the upper hand offensively, only if Moe Neal, Dontae Strickland and Jarveon Howard are able to advance the football and be a true threat to open up the sidelines for the Orange’s wideouts. If SU is able to push the ball up the gut, it’ll open the passing lines for Nykeim Johnson and Sean Riley in the flat and over the middle, and that in turn creates one-on-one matchups on the outside for Jamal Custis and Taj Harris. If SU is forced to abandon the run game, then Eric Dungey has to be great in order to take down the Mountaineers, and he has a tendency to be up-and-down. His last game against BC was terrific, we’ll see if he can maintain it.J.S.: Syracuse’s passing attack versus the West Virginia secondary. On paper, this is a matchup the Orange offense wins every time. The Orange rank 36th in passing offense while the Mountaineers defense sits at 99th. But in this game, one without Grier, it’s important how much the Orange win this matchup by — for several reasons. A few weeks ago, the thought of the shootout sounded daunting for Syracuse. But now with WVU less equipped to keep pace with the Orange, it must run away with it. Add in that it’s the final game for Dungey, a player who has dictated the tone and performance for this team in the past four seasons, and the significance of the passing game only increases. It’s safe to say Syracuse goes as Dungey goes. So, if Dungey can throw well, complemented by some runs, the Orange will have their best chance to win. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Mourinho ready to battle Man Utd as Spurs target Diego Godin transfer

first_imgTOTTENHAM have entered the race for Inter Milan’s Diego Godin but face competition from Manchester United, according to reports.Jose Mourinho was snubbed by the Uruguayan when he was manager at Old Trafford but the Special One will go after the veteran defender again.2 Mourinho was snubbed by Godin when he was United manager two years agoMourinho was raging two years ago when the 34-year-old used interest from the Red Devils to land a new deal at Atletico Madrid.The Spurs boss claimed Godin’s agent used United to secure a new contract for his client, saying the Uruguayan was keen to come to Old Trafford and that a deal could be done.United subsequently made an offer but just hours later the centre-back had signed a new contract on improved terms of around £130,000-a-week.The Uruguayan ace left Diego Simeone’s side on a free transfer to Inter last summer but could be available when this season eventually ends and Tottenham are eager to bring him in, according to the Mirror.Serie A has been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus crisis, which has put football across Europe on standby with campaigns possibly finishing throughout the summer.The Special One is keen to re-shape his defence and is looking at replacements for Jan Vertonghen who is out of contract at the end of the season.2Tottenham have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight matches and Godin’s experience and leadership has seen his touted as a potential candidate for Mourinho’s struggling backline.Godin has a contract until 2022 but according to Corriere dello Sport it now appears unlikely that he will see out the remainder of his deal in Italy.The former Atletico man has only played in 16 Serie A games out of a possible 25 for Inter this season and it seems boss Antonio Conte would not stand in his way if he were to seek a move away.Mourinho’s successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may well be the man to finally bring Godin to Old Trafford.The Red Devils are also said to be interested in the veteran defender and may look to swoop in for Godin a second time to bolster their ranks at the back.Solskjaer spent heavily last summer on Harry Maguire but is still seeking a settled centre-back partnership.Eric Bailly’s return to fitness has given the Norwegian another option at the back having played Victor Lindelof for much of this campaign.most read in football THROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’ExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidNEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticLaLiga side Valencia are also rumoured to be interested in bringing the Uruguayan back to Spain and he could favour a return to a Spanish-speaking country.Godin spent nine years at Madrid and captained Simeone’s side, winning LaLiga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana and the Europa League twice.He remains captain of Uruguay and was part of the squad that secured the Copa America title nine years ago.Juventus ready to offer Man Utd Paulo Dybala or Pjanic for Paul Pogba in ‘win-win’ transferlast_img read more

Turner hoping to inspire generation next

first_imgSpeaking via video link to school children from Aboriginal communities in Walgett, Gilgandra and several other towns, Turner promoted the idea of healthy living – namely dental hygiene – through the short story ‘Gaarrala Kylegu’ or ‘Brush with Kyle’. The initiative – part of the Rugby League Reads program – involved a reading in the Gamilaraay language as well as a Q&A between Turner and the children that addressed issues such as healthy living, goal-setting and, of course, what it’s like to play with Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis. Speaking to NRL.com after the event, the proud Coonabarabran junior explained what it meant to interact with the Indigenous kids. “Heritage and culture are very special to me, especially coming from the country and being a proud Gamilaraay boy. To be a part of this and to be given the opportunity to influence the younger generation on how to be healthy is special to me,” Turner said. “I remember when I was younger – I think I would have been about 12 or 13 years old – I had David Peachey and Preston Campbell come to our school. “Other than being starstruck by having NRL players there, they really talked to us about being proud Indigenous people and what it means to represent the people. “Ever since that moment, I wanted to be a part of that. Being a part of this book, I feel like I am a part of that now and it means a lot to me.”Turner’s message to kids extended beyond the over-arching concept of personal hygiene, with the 24-year-old encouraging the students to pick up a footy and play rugby league. With rule changes set to revolutionise the way junior rugby league is played, there has never been a better time for kids to start playing the game. And as Turner revealed, it’s never too late to kick-start one’s career. Sometimes all it takes is a few words of wisdom from an NRL star or two. “My footy career all started from that moment. I wasn’t playing rugby league before those guys came to our school but their visit got me into it. If I’ve inspired some of these kids to play, then that’s what my job is to do,” he said. “I played with the Coonabarabran Unicorns. We didn’t have the most intimidating team name. At first I just wanted to play to be with my mates and then obviously it got more serious as I got older.”Our coach took it very seriously but we just loved being around each other. Obviously it got more competitive the older you got, but when we were still kids it was all about having fun.”I started off as a hooker and then transitioned to centre and eventually finished up in the back row. “The least amount of travel you had to do was about an hour-and-a-half away or roughly 100kms. We’d travel as far as Nyngan which was about three hours away. It was a lot of travel but I don’t regret it for a moment.”We all travelled to our games on the bus and it was all fun and games. Everyone just enjoyed their time together on those trips and that’s what footy’s all about.”last_img read more

The most coral Espanyol

first_imgBut not only those who were already headlines worked, but they also fulfilled the calls to replace those who were on leave. Adrià Pedrosa, who came from staying out of the call against Mallorca, passed the cotton test to supply the sanctioned Dídac Vilà, in one of his most content, defensive and serious games that are reminded of him. Victor Sanchez he did his job at the pivot and, although he saw two yellow ones, it can be said that had real bad luck with the second, since it was just necessary when he pushed his leg away so as not to commit it. Y Wu Lei Not only did he adapt to the right wing in attack and defense, which in the crash of the first lap had been a highway for Sergio Reguilón, but He reflected on the grass the offensive game of rapid transitions that Abelardo has been trying to implement for a month and a half in Espanyol.Not surprisingly, with his target against Sevilla not only certified Wu Lei a gold point for the parakeets (although at that time he gave all three), but it was confirmed as the goal scorer for the Asturian coach in the absence of RdT. He has scored the Chinese in both games without the Madrid striker, against Barcelona and Sánchez Pizjuán. Y, with Abelardo, averages a goal every 56 minutes, since he played 16 ‘in the derby, seven against Athletic, 17’ in Granada and 72 ‘in Seville. Better even than Thomas, with one every 90 minutes although, yes, four in total.Teamwork reaches the benchAs if it were a conviction, just one month and one day after scoring the last of his 11 goals this season with Rayo Vallecano, Adrián Embarba premiered his locker with Espanyol, on Sunday at Sánchez Pizjuán. He did it on a free-kick launching low to the ground, below the barrier, which seemed more of an instant resource (although Éver Banega lay down without much success) than a rehearsed play. However, Embarba did it with all the intention and knowledge. It was the goalkeeper coach of Espanyol, Jesús Salvador, who in Saturday’s training in the Sports City, before leaving for Seville, I had warned the extreme that the Spanish squad usually jump into the fouls. In addition, and being almost on the line that delimits the area, few alternatives had to reach the goal. He succeeded. Beyond the momentary doubts of Sevilla, pointed up the visit to Sánchez Pizjuán for a Espanyol forced to score for their circumstances and that in the previous he lost two of his leaders, David López and Raúl de Tomás. A setback that worsened when, in the nth individual error of the season, Lucas Ocampos scored at 14 minutes. Once, the ‘End’ poster would have appeared on the game screen. But this set by Abelardo Fernández seems made of another wood. He tied, came to come back and, although he stayed with ten and came to receive 2-2, he knew how to scratch a point in a very difficult stadium.Many are the keys to this point that may be worth gold in the fight for permanence, but one prevails over the rest: the teamwork. One way to do that work is done in training, even from the offices and that translated the day they were neither the ‘pichichi’ nor the footballer who is the extension of the coach on the grass, and that more slogans and corrections distributed . Without Thomas, Abelardo kept his usual 4-4-2 (except in defensive work) and resorted to a 4-2-3-1 which also used the last course in Alavés. And the pieces responded. Did Sergi Darder, more focused on the location on the grass and also in his privileged vision of the game to give in-depth passes, without forgetting to defend. Too Jonathan Calleri, stajanovista pointed and turned into another winter signing for a Espanyol who needed it. OR Embarba, who not only scored, but redoubled defensive aids for his band. Behind, Leandro Cabrera acts with an improper hierarchy of a central that takes only four weeks in a club, and blends fabled with Bernardo Espinosa.last_img read more

‘Opening up Test not in West Indies’s best interest’

first_imgSYDNEY, Australia (CMC): West Indies captain Jason Holder says he rejected a proposal from his opposite number Steve Smith to open up the third and final Test with a dramatic last-day run chase, because he did not believe such a scenario was in the best interest of the team’s development. With rain allowing just 68 deliveries on day two and forcing the abandonment of the third and fourth days, the Test was predictably headed for a draw when play finally resumed on Thursday’s final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The proposal would have seen West Indies declaring at their overnight 248 for seven, Australia then forfeiting their first innings, allowing the visitors to rattle up 121 off seven overs and then attempting to chase down 370 off 70 overs for victory. “He came to us and made an offer. I just went back to the team and we thought at this stage of our development, it wasn’t the best thing for us,” Holder told a media conference following the drawn contest. “We had (Denesh) Ramdin, who was scoring well and looking well, so [we decided to] give him the encouragement to go out there and build an innings and build some confidence. “We set out at the beginning of the series to make sure to bat 90 overs each time we batted and get past the 300 mark. That was one of the things that we wanted to achieve today and we achieved that.” Holder said with the disappointing series the Windies had experienced Down Under, it was more important for them to achieve team goals. “It was a team vote and a team decision. We started in Hobart and we didn’t play well at all there. We showed improvement in Melbourne, and we just had to come here to improve as well.”I think we just need to take it step by step; it’s not a case where you can just jump from losing Test matches to winning in one transition, especially against good opposition like Australia.” Australia won the series 2-0 after victories in Hobart and Melbourne in the first two Tests.last_img read more

Ginebra whips ROS in Final 4 opener

first_imgIn fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West Buboy passes biggest test as head trainer Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins But the Painters came storming back with three-pointers from Ed Daquioag and Reggie Johnson as the top-seeded ballclub during the eliminations pulled within a single-digit deficit.On Monday, San Miguel Beer is expecting a stronger and more tenacious Alaska when it guns for a 2-0 lead in their separate series.Showing up in full force during Saturday’s Game 1 at Mall of Asia Arena, the Beermen tore the Aces apart, 92-79, to gain headway.“I know Alaska and that’s not their game. They are capable of doing more,” said Austria, whose Beermen face the Aces anew at 7 p.m.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team Greg Slaughter was efficient around the rim and Justin Brownlee thrived at mocking the Painters’ defense as the Gin Kings stretched their victory run to eight games deep into the playoffs.“The best part about this game was we were able to win it despite not having Japeth (Aguilar) around,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Aguilar had to sit this one out due to a swollen Achilles tendon he sustained during their quarterfinal series with Meralco.“We don’t know how long exactly he will be out,” said Cone. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding View comments Barangay Ginebra missed the other half of its towering frontline and had a lemon of an import during its last scuffle with Rain or Shine.Playing at full strength this time, the Gin Kings got back at the Elasto Painters with a 102-89 win in the opener of their best-of-five semifinal tussle in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Jeff Chan even added his devastating shooting touch to the misery of his former team as Rain or Shine tried to reverse the outcome with a fightback early in the fourth only to get crushed along the way.“Jeff is really a great weapon when there are good players around him,” said Cone.During their previous meeting, Ginebra failed to squeeze the juice out of its former import, Charles Garcia, while the seven-foot Slaughter was still nursing an injury, resulting in a Rain or Shine triumph.The Painters also couldn’t exploit the absence of Aguilar right from the start.Brownlee powered his way to 18 points early on and Chan had nine points in a sizzling run capped by a three against his former team that put them ahead, 40-22, early in the second quarter.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Supreme Court Justices to Attend LCC Prayer Service Today

first_imgJustices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, including Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, will today join members of the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) for another round of intercessory prayers for Liberia.This Friday’s will mark the LCC’s seventh prayer service since it began praying for the nation in a National Prayer Campaign against Ebola.The one-hour Weekly Prayer Service, which is open to the public and begins at 12 noon, was inaugurated by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.  VP Boakai launched the Ebola prayer campaign in the Providence Baptist Church Shrine, the nation’s oldest church edifice, where the services have been taking place since September 5.During the launch, the VP said that historically Liberians have sought the intervention of the Almighty when faced with great difficulty.“When all else is failing, the only place to turn to is the Almighty God, who is forever listening to our prayers,” Vice President Boakai declared.Citing Biblical references for the occasion, the VP pointed out that the battle against Ebola is the Lord’s. A call to unceasing prayer is not a call to constant prayers, but to persistent and consistent prayers. “The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much,” he said, quoting the Epistle of James.According to Apostle Dr. J. Adolphus During, chairman of the LCC’s National Prayer Committee, other major stakeholders have followed the Vice President in attending the prayer services.Dr. During disclosed that today, Justices of the Supreme Court have assured him that they would follow suit and attend the service to join in praying for the nation.Chairman During said while the Weekly Prayer Service focuses mainly on prayer against Ebola in the sub region and for peace and stability, “a holistic prayer is often made for Liberia.”According to him, these calamities were befalling the nation because Liberia has sinned against God, naming the sins of neglect, ingratitude and others as some of the sins, Liberians have committed against God. During the civil war, we prayed and God answered us, but as soon as we settled down, we forgot God,” Dr. During charged.Dr. During, who is the founder of the Soul Cleansing Clinic of Jesus Christ, told this newspaper that a few days before the nation observed a three-day fast and prayer, MSF and Samaritan’s Purse had threatened to pull out of Liberia.   But after calling on God to intervene, that decision changed, “ZMAPP came and the tremendous goodwill from the international community, including America, began to pour in.”The Weekly Prayer Service will run for the next three months under the theme ‘A Call to Unceasing Prayers,” taken from the Holy Bible books of I Chronicles 19:13 and I Thessalonians 5:17.According to Liberian history, the Providence Baptist Shrine, which is the small edifice overlooking Broad Street, has been used as a place of intercessory prayer whenever the nation was faced with a national crises.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Remembering The Quiwonkpa Invasion: The Hunted And The Naked Prey

first_imgWhile throngs of Liberians and residents took to the streets on Tuesday, November 12, 1985, dancing and chanting revolutionary songs and heaping praises on Quiwonkpa and his men, and as total strangers happily hugged each other in the streets as a way of signaling support for the ‘invasion’, very few, if any, of the jubilating crowds were aware of what the real state of play was militarily. In their convivial carnival-like activities on the streets, most of them cared less about what the reality was at that point. All they thought was that the game was over for Doe. But as events painfully and dramatically bore out later, nothing could have been further from that feel-good assumption.Even those of us who had attempted to get closer to the combat zones couldn’t be sure about what was obtaining at the Executive Mansion, where Head of Sate Doe was reportedly ensconced and protected by heavily armed loyalists on one of the upper floors. We knew even less so about ongoing communication between Doe and the Camp Schieffelin Military Barracks (now renamed after Edward Kessely), where Colonel Moses Wright (the quiet and unassuming commander and a close member of Doe’s family) was mobilizing and readying his troops for a confrontation with the ‘invaders’. Meanwhile, by around 11.a.m, based on the rather opaque and amorphous atmospherics I had noticed at some of the places we visited during our drive-around, including the Ministry of Information (close to the Executive Mansion) and the Benson Street armory (where we saw gunmen whose identities were anything but clear), I suggested to Sando Moore that we should get back home and observe the situation from there. I stressed to him that as things stood, the situation was becoming fuzzier by the minute. In any case, I reminded him, I was more than famished at that point as he (Sando) had not given me the space to have breakfast when he literally jerked me out of my sleep earlier that morning. When I got back to my compound, I learnt that an ELBC Radio/Television crew had earlier driven in my yard and asked about my whereabouts. Among them were senior television reporter Charles Beyond (one of the first media casualties of the ‘invasion’) and a very telegenic radio/television newscaster Ms. Rolande Wright (unfortunately deceased a few years ago in the United States). The experiences of these young state-owned radio/television journalists and those of their colleague Kwame Clement (once a superstar of ELTV news department), during the heat of the turmoil that day and afterward requires a whole chapter by itself based on eyewitness accounts. One of the aspects of Quiwonkpa’s radio statement announcing the ‘coup’ that day was that Doe had gone into hiding. Some political analysts have since attributed the eventual collapse of the coup attempt partly to that statement. They argue that by giving the impression that Doe was still alive and at large, many AFL soldiers who would have otherwise given up knowing Doe had either been ‘captured’ or ‘killed’ (even if a propaganda ploy) now opted to instead err on the side of caution by not joining or sympathizing with the rebellion. Others have suggested that the ‘invasion’ failed because the junta leader turned civilian President had been given a heads-up on the planned ‘invasion’ from Sierra Leone, but that instead of opting to nix it in its embryonic stage, he had decided to set a trap for the ‘invaders’; so that once they were in the country, he and his elite security forces would move against them—as they surely did with spectacular success a few hours after Quiwonkpa and his men had taken over the radio station and broadcast their statement.Still others say the ‘invading’ force was not only numerically small to take on Doe’s relatively well equipped loyal army, but also that Quiwonkpa and his men quickly lapsed into complacency in the mistaken belief that they already had victory in their bag as they enjoyed a groundswell of open support the ‘invasion’ generated among civilian residents during its early stages. Reports later surfaced about incoherence in coordination and poor intelligence gathering on the part of the ‘invaders’. At some point, according to reliable sources, the situation in the rebel camp became so bad that communication between Quiwonkpa and his men in the field broke down—leading to allegations subsequently that ‘malfunctioning’ of Walkie Talkies the rebels were using was a function of jamming by pro-Doe Israeli advisers.Whatever it was that eventually got the rebels on the back foot, two hours after I had settled down at home following our drive around town, I got a hush-hush message from a female lawyer friend telling me to quickly tune in to the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) radio station located by the beach on the Roberstfield Highway. I did that in no time, only to hear a recorded broadcast from the ‘President of Liberia and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of Liberia’, declaring, among other things, that the attempted ‘invasion’ had been foiled. My mind then immediately went out to the hundreds of jubilating compatriots who, unaware of the recorded announcement on ELWA Radio (as most people were tuned more to ELBC radio), were still dancing up and down the streets. Many of the lucky ones were later whipped with rattans and dispersed by Doe’s troops; some less lucky ones were arrested, beaten and taken either to the Mansion or to holding cells for interrogation. Yet, much less lucky folks (especially persons from Quiwonkpa’s Nimba County) “never lived to tell the story”—to borrow a favorite expression of Doe in those days.What had happened militarily resulting in the ELWA radio broadcast was a textbook tactical maneuver on the part of Colonel Moses Wright and his Camp Schieffelin combat unit. Having probably sent in agents on reconnaissance to ELBC where Quiwonkpa, his bodyguards and a sprinkling of AFL soldiers sympathetic to his cause were assembled in front of the radio house and facing the main street, Colonel Wright (I think he was later promoted by Doe) first attacked the lightly defended religious radio station reportedly using the beach route as a decoy. Little wonder that the first recorded broadcast from Doe came over that station.The Colonel then stationed some of his men at the radio station and then led the main force to ELBC; not by using the main road via the ELWA junction, but by cleverly crossing the highway from the sprawling ELWA compound and then using a little known and little used dusty road that took them through the brushes on an elevated perch of land overlooking the ELBC building. It was from this rear end of the radio station that the Colonel and his men launched a fierce and tactical surprise attack on the building, and on Quiwonkpa and his men, who were only concentrating on the front side of the building facing the main road leading to Red Light.The rest, as they say, became history: Quiwonkpa and his men, according to several accounts, scattered and fled in all directions in a manner akin to a cat being thrown among the pigeons. Little wonder why he was eventually cornered in a nearby neighborhood hungry, exhausted and abandoned. The hunting party later claimed that the once powerful and highly popular General was shot and killed while he tried to resist—a similar copout Doe had blurted at his first major international press conference at the Executive Mansion in 1980 when asked why the coup plotters had to kill President William R. Tolbert instead of arresting him. Replied Doe at the time: “He tried to resist arrest!” The circumstances of his capture have never been clear; with some saying he committed suicide by taking a cyanide compound, while others say he simply surrendered and begged for mercy. (Whatever the truth is about his capture, Quiwonkpa remains a hero to many who perceived him as a patriot who died in the cause of his country). In the days following the bloody confrontation, Monrovia and its environs were enveloped by an eerie silence. Many persons – military and civilian – were rounded up. Demonstrations and gatherings of any kind were banned as were political activities and student groups. The Press Union was also subsequently proscribed and prevented from holding any meetings. (When, several months after the ‘invasion’ and the banning of the PUL, we went to the Justice Ministry to let the then Minister of Justice – Jenkins Scott, deceased – know that the PUL would go ahead to defy the ban imposed on its meetings, he threatened to have his police open fire on any such meetings. But for the intervention of religious leaders who dissuaded us from holding meetings at the last minute, we were hell-bent on standing up to him). As the hunt of perceived and real supporters of the coup attempt began that day, some family members came to my residence and literally ordered me to leave my apartment, after a good-hearted security officer at the Executive Mansion (who knew my family), had surreptitiously informed my brother that Doe’s Press Secretary at the time had fingered me and Sando Moore for “supporting” the coup attempt. He claimed he had seen us driving around and jubilating. The officer had strongly advised that I leave my residence immediately. As hard as I tried to convince my relatives that the Press Secretary’s allegation was downright false, no family member was interested in listening to my denial. For them, my explanation would have to wait for another time. I hurriedly packed a few belongings and, after sending word to Sando to do the same, I sought refuge in one of a few safe houses I had in those activist days. I remain very grateful to that fearless lady (who is today a highly qualified professional working in the service of her country) for putting her life and those of her family at risk for me during those very dangerous days. There were many such good and brave women who, at various times during our media freedom struggle, gave us sanctuary when we needed to temporarily switch sleeping places. (Since that monstrous allegation I have never had the opportunity to meet that press secretary – said to be leaving in the United States since then – and ask him to his face whether he made any such claim that could have cost our lives).Meanwhile, as I remained in my hideout, I heard gut-wrenching stories of how Quiwonkpa had been killed and his body reportedly cannibalized, and how TV reporter Charles Gbeyon had met his death after being stripped virtually naked, brutalized, bloodied and thrown into the back of one of the jeeps in Doe’s convoy and driven first to Broad street, and then to the Mansion almost half-dead. This was after the TV reporter had rather unsuspectingly gone to ELBC Radio compound and attempted to interview Doe, who had gone to the station to formally announce his triumph over the ‘invaders’. (Charles was apparently unaware that some of Doe’s men had bad-mouthed both him and fellow reporter Kwame Clement to Doe, accusing them of being supportive of, if not complicit in the attempt to remove the military cum civilian leader from power. Kwame was less unlucky when he was later only arrested and incarcerated for a while after immediate post-coup tensions had notched a bit). I got to learn further that successful businessman Jim Holder (affectionately called ‘Big Jim’) had also been arrested and severely beaten with gun butts, and was undergoing brutal interrogation at the hands of Doe’s henchmen—most of whom were by now in a bloody state of mind and all too disposed to dispensing swift and bloody vengeance against perceived and real foes. Jim was later arrested and detained along with the current Liberian leader and charged with treason. (Although they were later freed following intense international pressure, Big Jim passed away some four years later while serving in the Amos Sawyer-led Interim Government—with many anti-government critics attributing his death to the manner in which Doe’s security forces had manhandled and maltreated him during his detention and ‘interrogation’).As I sat on my bed in my safe house and internalized the disturbing news, I reflected on two issues that still stood in my mind at that point: the somewhat mysterious and fearsome gunman Sando and I had encountered near the statue of the ‘Unknown Soldier’ on the Tuesday morning of the invasion’ (wondering whether he was still alive); and the conversation I had with my visiting Liberian Business Caucus guy – who had cryptically raised with me the issue of the Press Union of Liberia providing a platform for an unknown important person and for an undisclosed statement – just a few weeks before the November 12, 1985 showdown in Monrovia. Some thirty one years later, I have never again asked that individual what he meant at the time when he had posed the PUL forum question. And consequently, I have never been certain whether what he was referring to at the time had anything to do with the abortive ‘invasion’—a military and political upheaval that further nudged the country closer to the all-out bloody guerilla war and generalized destruction and mayhem that eclipsed Liberia four years later and eventually claimed the lives of reportedly hundreds of thousands of Liberians, including Doe himself. (Excerpts from an unpublished monograph titled, Reporting Liberia—In The belly of the Beast).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more