MEET CHRIS KOWALCZYK
aroundthehorns@yahoo.com

A former newspaper reporter, Chris Kowalczyk finds himself in familiar territory as VCU launches “Around the Horns”.

Kowalczyk, who joined the school in August of 2005, is entering his sixth year with the Rams. He has served as the department’s media contact for several VCU sports, including women’s basketball from 2005-07 and men’s basketball for the past two seasons.

Prior to his arrival in Richmond, Kowalczyk spent the 2004-05 school year at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., as well as William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. from 2003-04.

From 2001-05, Kowalczyk worked as a reporter for Dorf Feature Service, a subsidiary of the Newark-Star Ledger, and covered high school and small college sports.

Kowalczyk is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, where he received his bachelor’s in broadcast journalism in 2000. In addition, Kowalczyk earned his master’s in sport leadership from VCU’s SportsCenter in 2008.

A native of Austintown, Ohio, Kowalczyk and his wife Stacia reside in Richmond.

WE'VE MOVED!!!
Check out the new home for Around The Horns here!

 

DEC. 15

A DOSE OF PERSPECTIVE
Losing stinks. Losing to Richmond or Old Dominion stinks more. However, one game does not a season make. Never has, never will. I always get a kick out of people who hit the panic button after one loss (to a good team, no less). Additionally, it's nearly impossible to extrapolate an accurate outcome from a small sample, such as one game in a 30-plus game season.

  • Oakland won on the road at No. 7 Tennessee last night. Does that mean Oakland would win the SEC? Of course not. 
  • Drexel beat No. 21 Louisville on the road last night (nice job, by the way), does that mean Drexel is going to roll the CAA this year? Possible, but I doubt it.
  • Delaware beat Old Dominion a couple of weeks ago. Delaware also lost to Cornell and Ohio.

The point is that, on any given night (cliche alert!), anybody can win. You have to show up. I'll tell you what, 6-3 still feels pretty darn good.To give you an idea about what one loss means, heres a look a some of the Rams' losses over the last few years.

  • 2009-10: Nov. 18, 2009: at Western Michigan, 83-67. Western Michigan finished with a 17-15 record and an RPI of 150; Jan. 6, 2010 at Drexel, 75-72. Drexel finished 16-16 last year with an RPI of 146; Feb. 13, 2010 at James Madison, 76-71. Final RPI for JMU, 241.
  • 2008-09 (A couple of real doozies here): Nov. 25, 2008 at East Carolina, 93-90 in overtime. ECU was so good this year that Mack McCarthy stepped down after the season. ECU finished 10-17 with an RPI of 223; Jan. 3, 2009: at Delaware, 81-79. Hens finished 13-19 with a 225 RPI; Feb. 4, 2009: at UNC Wilmington, 81-72. Probably the worst of the bunch. The Dub ended the year with a 7-25 mark and a 277 RPI. Also the worst road trip of my life. 
  • 2007-08: Nov. 29, 2007: at Hampton, 64-55. Final record, 18-12. Final RPI, 151; Jan. 2, 2008: at James Madison, 62-61. This was the famous buzzer-beater, followed by JMU Coach Dean Keener grabbing the public address mic and shouting something mostly unintelligible. JMU was 13-17 and had an RPI of 218 that season. Keener also got the boot; March 9, 2008: vs. William & Mary, 56-54 (CAA Semifinals). The Tribe that season? Just 15-16 with an RPI of 160.

The moral of this wall of text? Well, in the last three seasons, VCU has lost five games to teams that finished with an RPI of 200 or worse. You know what it meant in the end? Mostly nothing. The Rams won two CAA regular season crowns, one CAA Tournament title and the CBI.

In 2008-09 alone, the best of the last three seasons, VCU dropped stinkers at East Carolina, Delaware and UNC Wilmington, three schools that finished a combined 31 games under .500. The Rams won the CAA Championship that year and came within a point of beating UCLA in the NCAA Tournament.

OTHER STUFF

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SEPT. 29

ROUGH WATERS AT THE BEACH
I  posted the link to Mike Litos' blog about the "resignation" of UNCW Athletic Director Kelly Mehrtens the other day. Honestly, I'm happy for the fans in Seahawk Land. I don't know Kelly Mehrtens, nor do I know the inner workings of the UNCW program. However, the atmosphere in Wilmington had gotten so toxic that I'm not sure there was another solution. As recently as 2006, the UNC Wilmington men's basketball program was the envy of the CAA. Now, that couldn't be farther from the truth. The rate at which the Seahawks fell from grace was staggering. There were a multitude of issues within the athletic department, but the failures of the men's basketball program were the most public and damning.

UNCW MBB
2000-01: 19-11, 12-6 CAA (CAA Champions, NCAA 1st Round)
2001-02: 23-10, 14-4 CAA (CAA Champions, NCAA 2nd Round)
2002-03: 24-7, 15-3 CAA (CAA Champions, NCAA 1st Round)
2003-04: 15-15, 9-9 CAA
2004-05: 19-10, 13-5 CAA
2005-06: 25-8, 15-3 CAA (CAA Champions, NCAA 1st Round)
2006-07: 7-22, 4-14 CAA
2007-08: 20-13, 12-6 CAA
2008-09: 7-25, 3-15 CAA
2009-10: 9-22, 5-13 CAA

SEPT. 28

THE LINKS

SEPT. 24

THIS DAY IN VCU HISTORY
This may be the only item to sneak its way into the blog today, but it's a goodie. Courtesy of SID Scott Day. On this day in VCU history, Sept. 24, 2002, the VCU Women's Soccer team demolished Delaware State, 17-0 at Sports Backers Stadium. That is not a typo. 17 to zero. The Rams outshot the hapless Hornets, 61-0!. Three VCU players had hat tricks and eight scored goals.

SEPT. 23

 THE LINKS

THE WORLD OF BORIS
Undercovers, VCU alum Boris Kodjoe's new series, debuted on NBC last night. I managed to catch the last 20 minutes or so. I thought it was decent. This was just the pilot, so I'll check it out again and see where it goes. Here's a few reviews of the show, if you're so inclined.

OK GO: MUSIC VIDEO SAVANTS
Basically, Ok Go makes the bestest music videos in the world and everybody else is just playing for second place. It's not close. They have four videos that are better than pretty much any other music video I've ever seen. That includes you, Lionel Richie.

Honestly, I think they were born half a generation too late. Had they been around in the 80's, they would have completely dominated MTV and bee the biggest band in the world. Instead, the channel is now a reality TV landfill. Real World-Road Rules Challenge The Inferno Meets the Jersey Shore on My True Life Sweet 16? Sign me up! In high school, I watched two channels, MTV and ESPN. Now, I'd rather watch be locked in a dungeon and forced to watch Lifetime and Oxygen for a month straight than spend five minutes on MTV.

End rant. Consider Ok Go's most recent effort for "White Knuckles". One shot, a billion dogs and all kinds of awesome.
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