Wednesday, December 7, 2016

One more time: the media and politics

       So here is my challenge for the readers today: When you say "mainstream media" or "liberal media," be specific. Tell me -- by name -- who you are talking about.
       Not by network (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, whoever else you consider the main ones), not by just a newspaper name (The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, etc.).
       Give me the TV reporters/analysts/and, well, entertainers you watch -- or don't watch. Give me the newspaper reporters/columnists you like -- and don't like.
       In other words, where do you get your news? Where do you get the information to confirm your opinions?    
       Don't just say the "liberal media" or the "conservative media." That's too easy. That's too general.
       I am not promoting any cause here, or criticizing one. I'm just curious to know what you think.
       I welcome the feedback to my blogs -- positive, negative. Whatever. I will post the comments ... if I think they're decent. If they cross the line into name-calling or if they're ugly, most often I will not post them. I might leave them on Facebook for a while, but not forever.
       The lack of civility in this campaign the past year and a half was the most galling aspect to me. Not only from the politicians, but all over social media. Disgusting. Enough already.
       So no bashing Mr. Trump, or President Obama, or Hillary.
--- 
       Before I return to the media scene, we interrupt our beginning message for a few thoughts:
       I keep seeing the Hate Hillary comments; I received a couple. Here is my view: She lost. She is no longer relevant. She is history. You don't have to keep beating a beaten candidate. It's piling on.
       On the other side, stop whining about the popular vote and 2.5 million. It doesn't matter; it's not what really counts. The Electoral College counts, and there's no reversing that. It wouldn't be right. And can you imagine the chaos in the streets if it was reversed?
       And when I see "sore losers," count me out.
       I was involved in athletics long enough to know that it's a competition; one side wins, one side loses. If you win, don't gloat too long. There is another game coming. If you lose, don't let it linger. Life goes on.
       An inside joke with some of my friends is that I am "a bitter man." I'm only bitter for a few moments, believe me. But if you want a list of the most painful sports losses, I did a blog on that.
       There are a thousand, ten thousand, games I wish would have come out differently. That doesn't happen.
       So this election is done, and as I wrote four years ago after President Obama's re-election, "get over it and move on." We have a President-elect, and we should wait and see what happens.
       Even if you're a Trump supporter, you might not  particularly like him, you might even admit that he is  unpredictable. You don't know what's coming next, what he's tweeting about at any moment. But you probably also believe his administration can fix what needs fixing.
       I was told by one friend that I must be a "Trump Hater." Nope. I try not to hate anybody; it's a waste of time.
       Didn't support Candidate Trump, but now that he's President-elect Trump, I wish him well. The Presidency should be respected, and if he and the Congress improve health care and immigration and veterans' needs, schools/education, inner-city issues, violence in the streets,  rising terrorism and its threats, etc., etc., we're all for it.
 ---
       Back to our regularly scheduled message ... 
       I believe that many people lose sight that many media people are paid to offer their opinions, whether in print or on television and radio. So you should not expect them to be unbiased. 
       You might expect reporters to be more straight-laced, factual. But they are human; they slant their stories through their own filters. And journalism/the media has changed over the years. It is more analysis-based now.
       This hit home with us as we listened to our latest audio book Tuesday. Early in This Town by Mark Leibovich (of The New York Times), published in 2013 and based on life and politics in Washington, D.C., he writes, "Punditry has replaced reporting as journalism's highest calling. ... " 
       After my most recent blog about Mr. Trump and his "war" with the media, one comment in particular triggered the idea for this blog.
Chuck Todd photo from nbcdfw.com
    John Dittrich, a baseball lover like me and a former Fort Worth resident, wrote: "Like you, I watch the Sunday morning political talk shows religiously (no church-related wisecrack intended). Although I continue to record and watch Meet The Press, it seems to me that [host] Chuck Todd is not very objective. He takes a very obvious hostile approach to the conservatives, particularly to anyone affiliated with Mr. Trump.
       "While I do not like President-elect Trump and consider myself left-leaning, I do feel that Todd gives credence to those in the right who accuse the media of being too liberal. He is so obviously argumentative toward certain guests that it actually makes me uncomfortable. This approach is exactly what damages the credibility of the mainstream media."
       We want to like Chuck, but I must add that I agree with John.
       I will stick with my contention that PBS has the best-balanced newscasts. I'd like to think that Meet The Press is also balanced, that Chuck Todd can be as tough with questions directed at Democrats, or left-leaning people -- as he was last Sunday with U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi -- and that the panel discussions always have both sides represented.
       Same for Face The Nation, where host John Dickerson also asks the hard questions of both sides, but is more congenial than Todd.
       We do miss the late beloved, respected Tim Russert.
       We still see the old anchors from time to time. From left to center to right -- Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Fort Worth's Bob Schieffer. They are venerable.
       I think today's network news anchors -- Lester Holt (NBC), David Muir (ABC), Scott Pelley (CBS), Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Judy Woodruff (PBS) and, say, Brian Williams (MSNBC) --  play it pretty straight down the middle, they don't take positions. You might not agree. They ask tough enough questions to people from both ends of the political spectrum.
Katy Tur photo from mediamatters.org
      But it's different for reporters. We mostly watch NBC, so Andrea Mitchell, Hallie Jackson and Katy Tur were following the Clinton and Trump campaigns. My view was that they were demanding of the candidates they covered, but I had to feel for Katy, only 33, when Mr. Trump named her  specifically in a rally or two, and she needed security at events and afterward after receiving threats.
       We like the CBS 60 Minutes regulars, especially the venerable Lesley Stahl. Anderson Cooper (also on CNN) is clearly slanted toward more liberal position.
       Maybe so are Jake Tapper (CNN) and fast-talking, loud Chris Matthews (MSNBC). They can be tough and argumentative interviewers. Matthews is a small-dose guy, but I loved his reverent commentary when Pope Francis visited his hometown, Philadelphia.
       If you want to go right, go FOX. We don't watch it often, but Chris Wallace seemed like a fair moderator in the first Republican debate and even better in the third Presidential debate, and I wasn't familiar with Megyn Kelly until she squabbled with Mr. Trump in that debate, and he helped make her famous.
       Then there's Bill O'Reilly. Read a couple of his books we liked. Funny guy, at least when he banters with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. His politics? Not for me, but he's entertaining. 
       You really want to go right, here's some names: Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Thomas Sewell. We think Mr. Will is an outstanding columnist (Washington Post), and I loved his baseball book Men at Work, but seldom agree with his viewpoint. He also did not back Trump or Clinton. 
       Step to the right with FOX anchor Sean Hannity and to the left with Keith Olbermann wherever he is. Neither one appears on my TV; they are too much. Didn't like Olbermann in the sports arena, either.
       And then there is -- spare me -- Rush Limbaugh ... ultra-right. Is he "media" or "entertainment" or "human?" 
       (Of course, in the sports world, I feel the same about Skip Bayless and Mark May, and a hundred others. You could not pay me enough to watch them. Rarely watch or listen to any TV/radio talkfests. I've blogged on this, too.)
       Two conservative "pundits" who we did not pay attention to before, but impressed us in this campaign with their reason and their calm: Hugh Hewitt and -- surprisingly -- Glenn Beck. Hewitt wasn't enthused about Mr. Trump; Beck flat-out rejected the idea.
       Columnists to the left: No one more left, more critical of the right, than Paul Krugman (New York Times). Leonard Pitts (Miami). We like the very smart Thomas Friedman and the acerbic, rip-'em-all Maureen Dowd (both NYT).

       Also far left: MSNBC's nightly hour shows -- Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell. We watch regularly because they give us perspectives (yes, liberal) that we think are well-researched.
       And even farther left: Jon Stewart. Master of satire and The Daily Show on Comedy Central for all those years. Outspoken liberal. Generous benefactor of so many comedians/show hosts/commentator.
       Stewart, of course, is more entertainer than politician. So is Bill Maher. If you are a conservative, either Stewart or Maher might be Public Enemy No. 1 (outside of politics). Think we know who No. 1 and 1A are in politics.
       We don't watch the morning TV shows; too early. So we're strangers to Morning Joe, but it must have balance with Mika Brzezinski (Democrat) and Joe Scarborough (Republican). Do they have verbal battles?
       But have there been better verbal battles than those between Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth Hasselbeck -- political/social opposites -- on The View a couple of years ago? Sorry, I missed those (sounds good, but not really).
       Our favorite "pundit" is David Brooks, a New York Times columnist. He and syndicated columnist Mark Shields are regulars for us on the PBS NewsHour each Friday and for big political events.
       Brooks is conservative, but not overly so, and his columns are complex. On television his analysis is usually spot-on, but this campaign, he kept admitting that he was so wrong so often (as were the polls and so many other "experts). David consistently was not happy with either Presidential candidate.
Amy Walter, PBS photo
       Shields has been around forever and he's a liberal who seldom comes out of a left lean.
       Here is who I think provided the best, most balanced analysis of this Presidential race: Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report. She was a PBS regular, a political-panel regular who seemed to be on 25 hours a day. She is knowledgeable and insightful -- and cautioned to the very end that the Presidential race was wide-open. She was as correct as anyone we heard.
       Our favorite reporters/TV pundits are the Washington Post's veteran Dan Balz and young star Robert Costa (who covered the Trump campaign). They were often on talk/news shows. Two words for them: factual and fair.
       Away from politics: Mitch Albom, a sports columnist who ventures off into books and movies and plays on the real world, is always a good read. Dave Barry is the funniest read.
---
       My feeling is that all the honest/dishonest, fair/unfair, lying/truthful perceptions about media just depends on each individual and how they perceive it. There's no right or wrong.
       I don't like the attacks on the media -- especially from politicians. Media positions are jobs, and there are different ways to do the job.
       It is just people's opinions, and you know what they say about opinions.
       If you are right-leaning, you likely think the media is mostly liberal. If you are left-leaning, you think the conservatives are off-base. If you're independent -- and I have friends who are -- you don't agree with the media, period.
       So I've given you a lot of names, and there are many more. If you've read this far, you're tired. And so am I.
       Here's a rule I try to live by: Don't let politics spoil friendships. Friends -- true friends -- are valuable.
       I welcome responses and your favorites/least favorites. Tell me who influences your thoughts. Just be civil  about it. 

        

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A war that's "rigged": Mr. Trump and the media

     A few days ago, I "shared" a post on Facebook and sent out the following message with a link to a speech by Washington Post editor Marty Baron.
Marty Baron, in the Washington Post newsroom, 2013
(photo by Steven Voss/Redux)
     I am converting this to a blog format, and adding a few thoughts about the media and the President-elect who has spent much time badgering it.
     OK, I am a former media person -- or still am, if certain blog pieces qualify for that.
     So honestly, I can't agree with Mr. Trump when he rails about the "dishonest, lying media."
     In my career, I never had anyone accuse me of that -- at least to my face. Had some people express their displeasure to me, directly or on the phone or in a letter or note, but it was rarely ugly. There was one shouting match I remember (no details necessary), and there was one well-known man who yelled at me (I've written about it).
     Look, I made some mistakes in judgement and had my share of fact errors. But if I had heard someone call me "dishonest" or "lying," I don't think I would have been so cool.
     Above all, my goal was to be as fair as I could.
     I was not unbiased when it was a school or team from my newspaper's coverage area playing a team from another area; you are trying to present the story from your area's viewpoint.
     I knew I was doing OK in the "fairness" department when in the early 1970s, a couple of people associated with Woodlawn High School in Shreveport -- my alma mater -- told me, based on what they'd read, how I "hated Woodlawn." True story.
---
     Here is the note I posted earlier ...
         I have had several friends tell me they thought that the media played a huge role in Mr. Trump's rise to President-elect, that they were not tough enough on him early on, that he was given too much "free" time by the media, or, if they were Trump supporters, he was exactly correct in his portrayal of the "crooked" or "rigged" media.
     You have to judge that for yourself.
     My opinion is -- whether you supported him or not -- Mr. Trump used the media brilliantly. He knew from the start that they could not afford to not cover him. So if he said or did something outrageous, it was going to play.
     I know a lot of media people -- some who are liberal-leaning; I know a lot that are conservative-leaning. I have friends both ways.
     (We regularly watch PBS NewsHour, Face The Nation and Meet The Press, and I think the balance between "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints on those shows is very fair.) 
      But from years in newspapers, the media people I know (or knew) were very conscientious and tried to be objective, and they worked hard. And they were simply doing their jobs, with the intent of being fair.
      Sure there are some "self-promoters" in the business, but I would say those people are in the great minority.
      We all take stances that might not be popular, and we receive criticism. That's part of the job. Not many people like to be criticized, but you deal with it best you can.
      Here is the link to the speech by Baron, who was editor of the Boston Globe featured in the movie Spotlight when its investigative team uncovered the Catholic Church's coverup of children being sexually abused by priests.
      Read this speech. Maybe it will give you a different view of the media's role. Maybe not.
      It is, as Coach Adams used to say, "all in the way you hold your mouth."
--- 
      OK, suppose I concede that most of the "mainstream media" -- say The New York Times and Washington Post columnists and reporters, and the major, traditional television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) -- are left-leaning.
      I would say that's because those people are smarter, more studied than the rest of us. Maybe they can figure this out better. So there.
      Think about this, though: Mr. Trump received, what, a total of four newspaper endorsements across the country and the TV media mostly was critical of him. And he won.
So much for media influence making a difference.

      The public decided the election. The public decided they wanted change from eight years of the Obama administration, and they didn't want Hillary.
      Change is, my opinion, the major reason Mr. Trump was elected. The desire for change is why JFK was elected in 1960, and Nixon in 1968, Carter in 1976, Reagan in 1980, Clinton in 1992, G.W. Bush in 2000, Obama in 2008.
      Only one of those Presidents had a consistent "war" with the media. Care to guess? He had to resign because the media investigated and found he really was a crook.           
---
      Also, I am adding a link to another Washington Post piece regarding the media and Mr. Trump: 
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/11/28/trump-has-already-defeated-the-news-media-and-its-unclear-what-we-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.1e09c6c0ace6
      It is an analysis of the Trump movement in total and his use of the media in particular. Fair warning: If you are a Trump supporter, you probably won't like it.
      It is not right when -- with Mr. Trump's anti-media rhetoric stirring up people -- reporters on his campaign, trying to do their jobs, are threatened by crowds. Read another story on that this morning.

      Don't believe everything The Man tells you.
      I post these articles, not as sour grapes -- the election is done; Mr. Trump won it, and no recount or Electoral College flip-flop should change that. I post them because I think they're interesting reads.
       But, please, don't think that all or most people are "dishonest" and/or "liars." That's not right. That is a dishonest appraisal.
 
 
 
          
 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Geaux time for Coach O

Coach O -- Ed Orgeron -- is the man in charge for LSU football.
 (photo from nola.com).
       So LSU is going to geaux with Coach O, and I'm not surprised. I'm OK with it.
       All right, Bebe. Prove your doubters wrong.
       Is Ed Orgeron -- Coach O -- the right guy to head the LSU football program for good? We'll see, won't we?
       He's been very good, but not perfect, as the interim head coach since we (happily and unhappily) said goodbye to Les Miles after game 4 this season.
        (Happily because Les' time as a gambling, successful, kind-of-wacky coach for the Tigers had run out. Unhappily because no program needs or particularly wants a coaching change early in the season.)
        Except for four too-conservative, no-creativity play calls near the Florida goalline at the end of that game two weeks ago, and a stilted offensive performance -- again, no risk taking -- against mighty Alabama, you can't find much fault with the job Orgeron and interim offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger have done.
        Their biggest fault was letting Miles and deposed OC Cam Cameron phone in those plays at the end of the Florida game.
        If one of those inside-the-tackles runs had succeeded, LSU and Orgeron probably would be Sugar Bowl-bound right now. Instead, they'll go bowling with a 7-4 record, a what-might-have-been look at this season ... and a new permanent head coach.
         As soon as word of the announcement came this morning, my Facebook news feed was covered with posts from Orgeron boosters ... and Orgeron detractors.
         You'd think this was a Presidential election. But this is LSU football. This is more important.
         We're paying the LSU head football coach a helluva lot more than The President makes. Even the President-Elect isn't campaigning for this much salary (he doesn't need it).
         Reportedly LSU was willing to pay $6 million or $7 million for Jimbo Fisher to leave Florida State and come back to LSU, and apparently Tom Herman wanted as much or more to leave University of Houston and choose LSU over an offer from Texas.
          (More on the salary aspects in a moment.)
          I never thought Jimbo would leave FSU. I have told friends all along that Texas would outbid LSU (or anyone) for Herman. 
          What really surprised me -- and I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the ESPN crawl early in the LSU-at-Texas A&M game Thursday night -- was that hornsdigest.com (a U. of Texas outlet) was reporting that Herman and LSU had a deal in place that looked to be finalized on Saturday (today).
          Too good to be true. It wasn't.
          In the next 24 hours, more rumors/reports: The Texas university president didn't want to fire Charlie Strong. Herman would wait for a Texas offer. Jimbo had talked to LSU people; he had his offer, and he wasn't coming.
          Meanwhile, the Houston football team was playing at Memphis ... and losing badly, then winning, then finally losing on a late Memphis TD (some teams can do that). What were all these rumors doing mentally to the Houston players?
          "Where does all this come from?" one of my friends asked on Facebook. My smart-aleck answer: "The rigged media." 
          I had inside information about Jimbo and Herman. No, I didn't; I'm kidding. But that's a lead-in to my real answer to my friend's question.
         The public wants to know what's going on. The media wants to tell them. Media people have "sources," usually close to a program or the administration or the boosters. So they talk to someone who has the "inside," has the "scoop," and they trust that source, and they report it online or in the paper or on TV or radio.
          Sometime the source think they know, but they really don't know. Solid reports also might be erroneous reports. And there you have it (or you don't).
---
           Orgeron, with his Cajun background, is the perfect fit that way for an LSU coach. He speaks the language in South Louisiana; he grew up in Lafourche Parish, in the Larose-Cutoff area. I've known some guys, Louisiana Tech football players, from there. Loved hearing them talk.
            The players love Coach O; they've responded to him. He's a motivator, a loud, gruff character. The players told everyone they could, after that 54-39 debacle-of-defense victory against A&M, they wanted Coach O for the job.
             Players are loyal to the coach they know. Look how they carried Miles off the field after last season's victory at home against A&M. And Miles was "embattled" then. We've all seen cases of players sticking up for their coaches who are under fire.
             Orgeron has a stellar background as an assistant coach and recruiter in high-profile programs such as Miami and Southern Cal, and he's been in the NFL (Saints, for one season), and he twice now has been a fairly successful interim college head coach.
             But he was a flop as a college head coach (10-25 in three years at Ole Miss) -- and that is one item that his critics always mention. Saw it again repeatedly this morning.
              Two points: (1) It was a decade ago (2005-07). Orgeron says he's learned from that, grown a lot, learned to delegate more. (2) Bill Belichick was fired from his first head coaching job, a so-so tenure with the Cleveland Browns (1991-95). Now he's the NFL's resident genius, certainly one of the most greatest coaches ever, whether you like him or not. I can cite baseball managers who were from fired multiple times to World Series champions/Hall of Famers. Start with Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.
            So as I've heard many times this week about President-Elect Trump, let's give him a chance.
            No doubt, Orgeron will have to find an offensive coordinator who can teach and guide quarterbacks and call the right, most effective plays. We all know that offensive staleness and limitations, good-to-average (not great) QBs, and screw-ups have kept LSU from Alabama-level type success the past few years.
             But, except for the Alabama game, LSU's offense looked much more versatile and efficient with Orgeron and Ensminger in charge. They discovered that tight ends are eligible receivers more than once a game. And the LSU offensive line -- suspect at times -- has done a better job, although running backs Leonard Fournette (when not injured) and Derrius Guice don't always need a lot of help.
             The shame of the Florida game was that QB Danny Etling managed the game well and Ensminger called good plays ... except at the end. But Florida's defense should be given credit, too.
             Don't know what Ensminger's role will be now. People keep mentioning bright-boy Lane Kiffin -- Orgeron's coaching buddy -- as a possibility for offensive coordinator at LSU. I would be shocked if he left Alabama for LSU in the same position. Why would he?
           Money? Outside of Texas, who is willing to pay more money in college football than Alabama?
            My buddy Glenn Guilbeau, who does a great job covering LSU athletics for the Gannett newspapers in Louisiana, repeatedly made the case for LSU hiring Jimbo Fisher, no matter what the cost. He also thought LSU should have paid whatever for Herman. He thinks LSU "settled" for Orgeron and has to pay him a mere $3 million per year.
             I don't think it's "settling" and I certainly think that all the coaching salaries are obscene when education in general is in such financial need everywhere. But that's a different topic.
             Long-range, national championship potential year after year, I can't blame Tom Herman for picking Texas over LSU. Florida State is at least equal, if not a better spot, than LSU.
            But those of us from Louisiana love our state, our schools and our Tigers (split allegiance for me with Louisiana Tech). We've got pride in our programs.
             So maybe Orgeron is a risk. Nick Saban wasn't a special coach before his five years at LSU. 
            The last time LSU elevated a defensive line coach to head coach, that guy had the job for 19 years, took the Tigers to six major bowls (two victories each in the Sugar and Cotton Bowls, two Orange Bowl losses) and 13 bowls overall (his best team, 9-1 in 1969, didn't go to a bowl), and he now has a football practice facility named for him.
            "Cholly Mac" -- Charlie McClendon -- had been a nine-year LSU assistant when promoted in 1962 after Paul Dietzel joined the Army.     
             The last time a Louisiana native son was named LSU head coach, one of the school's greatest players, he lasted four years. Jerry Stovall's 1982 Tigers went to the Orange Bowl; he was fired after the next season.
            The last time an LSU assistant coach was promoted to head coach, defensive coordinator Mike Archer, he lasted four years. The program was somewhat in disarray after that, and two what proved to be mediocre hires later (Curley Hallman and Gerry DiNardo), it took a then-big money hire (Saban) to eventually bring LSU back to yearly football prominence as it had been in the early McClendon years.
              Les Miles, for all his foibles, kept it there. He was entertaining and the players and even media appreciated him. But his last five seasons, watching his Tigers also was exasperating.
              And so we have Coach O. From a media standpoint, for what it's worth, he's not smooth or polished, pretty stilted actually. But he is charming, in a way. His media presence doesn't really matter if he can he recruit, get his kids to play and to behave properly on and off the field, and get them to go to class and prepare for their futures (in or out of football). 
              And ... and ... and ... if the Tigers can win a lot -- most -- of their football games.
              We'll see. He has his chance, and it's his dream job. "It's bigger than life," he said today.           
                        

                      

                              

Friday, October 28, 2016

A knee injury, USC ... and then Dr. Dossett

      (Third in a series)
      College football did not turn out as well as Drew Dossett had hoped it would. A damaged left knee cut short his career at the University of Southern California.
      Dr. Andrew Dossett's medical career has been a huge success, and still is, as we've expressed.
      So why USC when, in 1978 and early 1979, he could have chosen to attend college on a football scholarship wherever he wanted?
     He knew he would follow a pre-med curriculum, being a doctor had been in his mind for years and he had the grades it would require. So football was a factor -- and Southern Cal had been the national champion (split with Alabama) in '78.
     But why not LSU, which -- as always -- wanted any blue-chip prospect in Louisiana to stay near home? Sure, the Tigers could use a 6-5, 230-pound inside linebacker who could run and tackle, and was tough ... and smart.
     "Charlie Mac [McClendon] was a lame-duck coach," Dr. Dossett recalled earlier this week, and that proved true (1979 was the last of his 18 seasons as LSU head coach). But there was another reason.
     USC provided a "chance to punch out of the South, and I took it. I wanted to broaden my horizons. I knew I wanted to return to the South eventually [to live and work]. But I was never going to LSU."
     But he would be back on the LSU campus soon -- on the opposing team's sideline. 
     As his senior football season at Jesuit High in Shreveport ended, in the Class AAA state semifinals, and recruiting heated up, he had offers from "every major university in the South, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC ... "
     LSU was not even on the "visits" list. That included Ole Miss, SMU, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma and Southern Cal.
     "USC seemed like the right school," Dossett remembered. "I was interested in the city (Los Angeles) and the academics, and it was a good football program."
     Actually, it was better than good. The Trojans had a talent-laden roster (see below); a bright, young, personable head coach (John Robinson); a coaching staff that, Dossett recalls, "was pretty remarkable"; and a history of success, including Rose Bowl victories under Robinson in 1976 and '78.
      The '78 team's 12-1 record included a 24-14 victory over Alabama in Birmingham. Two games later, USC lost at Arizona State 24-14, and that cost it a unanimous national title.
     After the season, USC was voted No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, but the United Press International poll made Alabama No. 1 and USC No. 2. ("The coaches voted for Bear Bryant, imagine that," Dossett noted.)
     Still, Drew loved what he saw and felt at USC, and he signed the scholarship papers.
     Two months later, his football future was badly shaken.
---   
      Playing volleyball in a P.E. class at Jesuit, "a freak accident" shattered his left knee. Torn ACL and a number of other problems -- Dr. Dossett, orthopedic expert, can detail them.  
      It looked as if there was no way he could play as a USC freshman in 1979 ... but he did.
      Dr. Billy Bundrick, the best-known orthopedic surgeon in North Louisiana, did the reconstructive surgery. Six months later, Drew Dossett was a special-teams regular for the Trojans.
      He would have preferred to redshirt, as many college freshmen do in athletics. But that particular year, Drew said, the NCAA rule was that freshmen could not redshirt.
      "They [the NCAA] twice came to our house to check out our recruiting process," Dossett said, "and they told us about the rule. I didn't want to waste a year, so I worked hard at the rehab -- three workouts a day -- and I was back. But I felt like I was only at about 70 percent."
Drew Dossett, University of Southern
California freshman linebacker-special
teams player, 1979 (USC photo)
      He was a young player among an accomplished, talented team.
      USC had four eventual Pro Football Hall of Fame players -- offensive linemen Anthony Munoz and Bruce Matthews, cornerback Ronnie Lott, and running back Marcus Allen. Tailback Charles White was the Heisman Trophy winner that year; Allen, his fullback, won it two years later at tailback. 
      The entire secondary -- Joey Browner, Dennis Smith, Jeff Fisher (future NFL coach) and Lott -- played significantly in the NFL. There were familiar NFL-players-to-be -- tight end Hoby Brenner and offensive linemen Keith Van Horne and Brad Budde.
      The coaching staff, among others, included three notable future Dallas Cowboys assistants -- Norv Turner, Paul Hackett (later also the USC head coach) and Hudson Houck.
      Turner, still coaching in the NFL, remains a good friend of Dossett's ("when our daughter was in college in San Diego, she rented one of his houses"), as does Houck, who is in a group with Dr. Drew that annually attends the Masters.
      Munoz was 6-6, 280 pounds -- "the biggest guy ever," Dossett recalls. "Now that's the tight end [in the NFL]."
      Matthews provided Dossett a light moment in their freshman year -- a reminder that he was from the South.
      "I was walking across campus one day, and I saw Bruce," Drew recalled. "He asked where I was headed. I said, 'I'm fixin' to go to lunch.' He said, 'Wait, fixin' to? What is that?'
      "It was the first time I realized that wasn't proper grammar."
---
      USC did not lose a game that season. Because it was his only season, Drew Dossett never played in a losing game at USC. But there was one tie. It was costly.
       Ranked No. 1 nationally for six weeks in a row, the Trojans had a 21-0 lead on Stanford at halftime. Then, as Dossett remembered, Turk Schonert -- subbing for John Elway at quarterback -- hit enough passes to save a 21-21 tie for the Cardinal.
       USC won the rest of its games, including a 42-23 rout at Notre Dame, and the Rose Bowl, 17-16 against Ohio State and gambling QB Art Schlichter.
       But Alabama went unbeaten (12-0) and was voted national champion, the last of its six national titles under "The Bear." USC finished No. 2.
       One game was special for Dossett, USC's fourth game that season -- Sept. 29 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. He told his teammates how raucous the crowd could be at LSU, and the game that night proved him right.
       It remains a legendary one. (See links below)
http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=204803448
http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2009/09/players_and_fans_cant_forget_t.html
          The Tigers were ranked No. 20 and big underdogs to No. 1. But LSU's defense was dominant for three quarters and was trying to protect a 12-3 lead.
       But the Trojans' famed toss sweep took hold and two fourth-quarter TD drives won it for them.
       Many LSU people have not forgotten a "phantom" facemask call on a third-down incomplete pass that helped keep alive USC's late 79-yard drive for the winning touchdown that came with only 32 seconds remaining.
       It was arguably the best game of McClendon's last season at LSU (7-5 record), although the Tigers later lost only 3-0 to Alabama in a heavy rain.
 
       His left knee hurting, Dossett decided to take his redshirt year in 1980. When he hurt it badly again in spring practice in 1981, the USC team doctors "retired me." They told him, as he would tell Michael Irvin and Prince Fielder years later, that it would be in his best interests to not play again.
       "I was OK with that," he said. "I was scared to play. I was a shell of myself. The knee was unstable. I didn't feel like I had a leg under me."
       So he turned to academics, for good.  He graduated in four years with a degree in exercise physiology, summa cum laude with a 3.92 grade-point average. 
---
       He always wanted to be a doctor. When he was still in grade school, a visit to a young, smooth Shreveport orthopedics doctor, Carl Goodman, inspired him. "I told my mother, I want to be like him," Drew recalled.
       After USC, the road to a profession began at highly recommended University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. A huge jump in out-of-state tuition caused a year's delay as he established Texas residency.

       Once he finished med school, he did an orthopedic residency in the Parkland Hospital chain. Then, recommended by Dr. John Conway -- who had been the Texas Rangers' team doctor for 15 years -- and following his route, he returned to Los Angeles for a one-year fellowship in spine surgery, studying under Dr. Robert Watkins at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.
      Watkins, Robert Kerlan, Frank Jobe (developer of Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery) ... big names in athletics injury treatments.
      Jobe, Drew says, in fact offered him a job. But the aim was to return to Dallas.
      Watkins inspired his choice to be a neck/spine specialist. "I thought I wanted to be a sports medicine doctor," Dr. Dossett said, "but from a technical standpoint, the neck/spine surgery was much more difficult" and the challenge was appealing.
      Now his reputation is established, and growing, and the Carrell Clinic Spine Center opened on Oct. 3.
 ---
       Dr. Dossett's left knee continued balky and tenuous for years. "I could dunk a basketball off either leg when I was a kid," he said, "but after I hurt it, I could never dunk off my left leg again."
       After 10 operations -- 10 -- a knee replacement five years ago was a relief. He's in shape, saying, "I've been 225 to 230 pounds since I was 16, my wife has me eating the right things, and I exercise [stationary bike] on a regular basis."
       Better yet, he can play as much golf as his busy schedule permits. With an 8 handicap, he's a good and willing player.
       He remains in touch with his old friends from Jesuit/Loyola College Prep, such as tonight's 40th anniversary state championship reunion in Shreveport.

       "He is the man," said John James Marshall, the senior quarterback of the 1976 Flyers. "To think that in a field like that, he's that good. He's that in demand. He has athletes from all over the nation coming in to see him."
       LCP assistant principal Tony Rinaudo, like so many others associated with the school, is an admirer.    
       "He is a genuine person, a classy person," said Rinaudo. "He always was like that as a student, and he still is."
       Marshall says the key to Dr. Dorsett's success is "he was driven. Drew wanted to be the best at whatever he did."
        At Jesuit, Marshall added, "He knew he was good. The talent was there, but he wasn't braggadocios, he got along with everyone. You knew he was going to make something of himself.
       "... Even after he got hurt at USC and had to quit football, he just turned to academics and then medicine, and made the very best of it.
       "... I'm a big, big fan of his. I've liked him since he was a sophomore.
        "He is very driven."
 ---
        The Cowboys' connection with Shreveport-Bossier includes cornerback Morris Claiborne (Fair Park High/LSU) and, from Haughton (in east Bossier Parish), the rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott.
         "Nice young man," said Dr. Dossett of Romo's current (and maybe permanent) stand-in. Drew said when he introduced himself to Prescott, he told him that Haughton was Jesuit's main rival when was a Flyer in the 1970s. "He laughed at that."
         Prescott, he added, "is up to the challenge. He is one of those guys who gets it. The game's not too big for him."
         He declined to offer an opinion on the Romo-or-Prescott question. "That's for other people," he said. "It's not my responsibility."
         Helping Romo -- and many others -- mend and prepare to play, that is his task.
         And it's not time to tell Romo that he need not play any more. "It's an L1 fracture, and it's healing properly," Dr. Dossett. "Once he's healed, he'll be fine." 
         So you might spot Dr. Drew at Cowboys' games in the bench area among the big guys. Hopefully you won't see him on the field. If you do, you know the hurting Cowboys are in good hands.

Before the 2014 baseball season opener, Dr. Dossett and his staff
wished the Texas Rangers well. (Facebook photo)


Thursday, October 27, 2016

For a five-star linebacker, high school football was a dream

          (Second in a series)
Drew Dossett, with Jesuit head coach Tony
Catanese and the 1978 high school
 All-America plaque.
       Dr. Andrew Dossett has been one of the Dallas Cowboys' lead team physicians since 1999, so he's never been to the Super Bowl with them.
       But when he was Drew Dossett in the late 1970s, he knew what winning football was like. He experienced it. He's won a Super Bowl of sorts (a state championship) and a Rose Bowl.
       In high school (Jesuit of Shreveport), when he was a starting linebacker as a sophomore, his team won the 1976 Louisiana Class AAA state title. Two years later, when he was a much bigger senior also playing tight end, his team made it to the state semifinals.
       And not only was he chosen the "Outstanding Defensive Player" on the 1978 Class AAA All-State team, he was among the nation's top college recruits.
       If recruiting services and ratings had existed in 1978-79 -- too soon -- he likely would have been a five-star recruit.
       Southern California, then a powerhouse program and a co-national champion as he was being recruited, was his college choice.
       In his only season (freshman, 1979)  before a knee injury ended his playing career, he never experienced a loss (one tie), he did hear the fury and noise an LSU Tiger Stadium crowd could direct at an opponent (in this case, the nation's No. 1-ranked team), and the last game he played in was a Rose Bowl victory. 
       Not bad for a kid -- the doctor-to-be -- who wasn't sure he even wanted to play football, and before the state championship season, wasn't expected to be a starter.
---
       The Dossett family lived in the South Highlands neighborhood, Ontario Street. Three blocks from Betty Virginia Park in Shreveport and close to the city's oldest public high school, Byrd.

       Young Drew went to Catholic schools -- St. John's four years (grades 3-6) and St. Joseph's one year (7th grade) -- but, he says, he was trouble for the teaching nuns and "I wore out my welcome." It was "suggested" he transfer. So he was at a public school, Broadmoor Junior High, for one year (8th grade).
       Once he went to the all-male Catholic high school, Jesuit, in ninth grade, he was home.
       Anthony Catanese that fall (1975) was 26 and in his first year as head football coach. A tough starting defensive lineman on the 1966 Jesuit team that lost 7-0 in the Class AA state final, he had returned to the school as an assistant coach [to school legend Tony Sardisco] in 1971.
       Dossett, said Catanese, was "a model student. All the teachers were always complimentary of him. He never was a problem, never had any trouble with him. He was great in every facet of the school."
       Catanese's biggest problem was convincing Drew he needed to play football.
       "I almost quit that year [1976]," Dossett remembered. "I really liked basketball. That's what I wanted to play. I went to talk to Catanese, and he said, 'No one from this school ever gets a basketball scholarship.' "
       Sure, Catanese remembers the meeting. "I couldn't let that happen," he said, laughing. "He could have been very good in basketball. He had great touch on his shot, he could run the court, he had the athletic ability. But what is he going to do in college at 6-4 or so? I thought he'd have a better future in football."
      Still, Drew wasn't convinced. Credit a football save to Sports Illustrated.

       Encouraged by his grandmother to read the magazine, given a subscription by his family, he was a devoted weekly reader of SI. A 1976 article on Pittsburgh Steelers middle linebacker Jack Lambert -- the fierce budding star a year out of Kent State -- made the difference.
      The emphasis on Lambert's training and his toughness was Dossett's motivation to stay with the sport.
      "I decided I would play as hard as I could, do the best I could," he said, "and it was like a switch came on."
      Still, in August he was a second-team linebacker. Then he excelled in 7-on-7 drills, did well in a preseason scrimmage and when a prospective starter was injured, a series of personnel moves made Dossett a starter.
      "We plugged him in early," Catanese said. "He was a lot leaner, but he had a great sophomore year. He could move so well laterally, and stuff the run inside."
      He was the only sophomore to start for the Flyers in the regular season. But he was a fit for a dream team.
---
      That team, that magical season, that defense (nine shutouts and one field goal-only game), a 14-0 record and the state championship remains a sweet memory for Dossett and his teammates.  
       They will have a 40-year anniversary reunion Friday and Saturday in Shreveport, and they can identify with this season's Flyers. Loyola College Prep, as the school is known now, is 8-0 and aiming for the same district title (1-AAA) as the '76 team won.
       After that, who knows? If it works out like it did in 1976, the Flyers will be determined, disciplined ... and blessed.
       "Great team, great senior leadership," Dr. Dossett recalled this week. "Gene Mack (All-State tackle) was the heart and soul of the team, Paul Cordaro a tough running back, Vincent Glorioso a 140-pound offensive guard, Steve Scott a clutch kicker."
       And a young rangy linebacker making tackles everywhere, freed up by the old-timey wide tackle six defense (three-man secondary) designed to stop the run. And, most games, it did.
        "He was gangly, really skinny," the team's quarterback, future sportswriter/sports editor John James Marshall, said of Dossett. "But we knew he was talented, no one thought he shouldn't be out there. ... He had a nose for the ball, and he hit hard."
        "I remember seeing a sophomore who fit right in," said Tony Rinaudo, a former star halfback for the Flyers in the mid-1960s, later an assistant coach, head coach for eight years, athletic director and for the last decade an assistant principal at the school. "Never had seen a player who could fly laterally like he did. His speed laterally was just incredible. Sideline to sideline, he was just like a gazelle."
        After a season-opening shutout, the Flyers gave up 14 points in each of the next two games against Class AAAA opponents. In the next eight games, through the first round of the playoffs, Jesuit gave up three points total. 
        The Flyers escaped plenty, winning half their games by seven points or fewer. 
         The final shutout (7-0) came in the state championship game vs. North Louisiana rival Winnfield. Again, the Flyers shut down a high-powered offense, and one Jesuit offensive play settled it.
       The Flyers had two first downs in the game, but one was a screen pass from Marshall to Greg Page, who took it 62 yards for the score. Dream season completed.
       It was a bookend play for Page, who in the season opener intercepted a Hail Mary pass by Airline and, after the clock ran out, returned it 63 yards for a TD and a 6-0 victory. 
        Scott, Dossett's partner at linebacker, kicked nine field goals during the season, one providing a foggy 3-0 playoff-opening victory. The defense intercepted 35 passes, an average of 2 1/2 per game.
         Even Drew finally made an interception.
         "The one thing he didn't do was intercept a pass; he had so many chances, and he'd drop the ball," Marshall recalled. "We were all ribbing him about it."
        But in the state semifinals, at football-mad Lutcher, a Mississippi River border town upriver from New Orleans, the Flyers intercepted the All-State quarterback four times -- one by Dossett -- in a 17-7 victory.
        Years later Marshall got that game film, copied a clip of the Dossett interception, and sent it to him.
         As a junior in '77, Dossett was bigger and faster, and played some tight end, too. The team wasn't as talented, leadership wasn't as good, and the record was 5-5.
         But as a senior -- now grown to 6-4 and 225 -- Dossett excelled and the Flyers, after an opening one-point loss and a tie, rolled off 10 consecutive victories and into the state semifinals.
         "That team vastly overachieved without as much  talent," said Catanese, who left coaching after the 1981 season and has operated Shreveport Gymnastics ever since. "But we had [halfback] Scott Pendleton, Drew and [fullback] Mike Camden, and that was great leadership."
          Then Pendleton (concussion) had to miss the semifinal game against familiar rival Lutcher and Dossett left early with a knee injury (foreshadowing his future). The Flyers lost 20-0. The final record was 10-2-1.
           (The next week Lutcher edged defending state champion Haughton -- the school which, 35 years apart, gave us Joe Delaney and Dak Prescott -- 12-7 for the state title.)
           Asked if he could foresee how good a player Dossett would be, Catanese said, "I always thought he had that ability. He had the size, the smarts, mobility, toughness. He had everything.
           "And he had great leadership qualities. Sometimes kids with talent like that aren't leaders. But he had it."
           With the end of Drew's high school career came the all-star honors -- including All-American. The recruiting scene followed. It was a busy time for Drew; so many major schools were interested.
            Soon, however, came the day that really changed his football life.
            Next: An injured knee, USC ... and the medical field.           

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Still a star, not on the field but in his own field

April 22, 1995: Texas Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez, who will miss up to three weeks because of a herniated disc in his lower back, was re-examined by the team's spine consultant in Dallas. Dr. Drew Dossett reported that Gonzalez made improvement but still has soreness.
---
August 21, 2002: Cowboys receiver Raghib Ismail will have neck surgery today to repair damage from a collision with a teammate last week in practice. ... Dr. Dan Cooper described the injury as a huge herniated disk. ... Ismail will have the disk removed and the two vertebra around it fused together. The operation will be performed by Dr. Drew Dossett, who was responsible for the same procedure on many pro athletes, including former Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston.
---
August 10, 2016, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: An emotional Prince Fielder announced on Wednesday that his 12-year baseball career is over after doctors recommended that the slugger stop playing after a second cervical spinal fusion surgery. Dr. Drew Dossett of Dallas, the Rangers’ spine specialist, confirmed the recommendation and performed surgery July 29.
---
September 1, 2016, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: (headline) Tony Romo likely to be out first 8 weeks for Cowboys. (in story) The compression fracture to Romo's L1 vertebra must fully heal before Dr. Drew Dossett clears Romo's return.


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys/article99446612.html#storylink=cpy
***

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/mlb/texas-rangers/article94910092.html#storylink=cpy
      Dr. Andrew Dossett -- Drew to those of us dating to Shreveport in the late 1970s -- doesn't need or want the type publicity his profession brings.
      He'd just as soon athletes remain healthy.
A too-familiar scene: Dr. Drew Dossett (left) escorts Cowboys
quarterback Tony Romo to the dressing room after a 2015 season
 Week 2 injury (broken collarbone) in Philadelphia.
      But he is ready to serve as team physician -- and the neck-spine-back specialist -- for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. And that's just a small part of the job.
      He is a big man, in every sense -- as a husband and father and friend, professionally, and physically. At 6-foot-5 1/2 and 230 pounds, he even stands tall on the Cowboys' sideline among the giants now playing in the NFL.  
      Dr. Dossett is trim enough to look as if he could still play football. Then again, he is 55 years young.
      "The [NFL] players are Tarzan," he says and then jokes,  "I might look like Tarzan, but I am more like Jane."
      He can empathize with the athletes and their injuries. He was quite a football player in his day, those late 1970s -- a star linebacker at a strong program in high school (Jesuit of Shreveport), an All-American, one of the nation's top recruits, and then for one season in college with one of the country's top teams (Southern Cal).
      When Dr. Dossett has to tend to the injured athlete -- say Tony Romo -- he knows the feeling. Devastating and repetitive injuries to his left knee took him out of football before his sophomore season at USC. Visions of perhaps playing in the NFL one day were gone.
      He's in the league, though, through medicine. And it is easy to say he's in a select league of knowledge and respect in his specialty nationally.
      If there are athletes -- high school, college, pro -- with back, spine or neck issues, anywhere in the South or anywhere period, good chance they will be treated by Dr. Dossett of Dallas. 
      Cowboys and Rangers fans might know this: He has operated on Romo twice, Prince Fielder twice, Bobby Witt, Rusty Greer, Jay Novacek ... and that's just a partial list. Roy Oswalt, then pitching for Philadelphia, came to Dallas to be checked by Dr. Dossett when he was having issues.
      Not long after beginning his residency, he joined the Rangers as assistant team doctor in 1994. He's been to spring training regularly.
      And his first prominent athlete he treated: "When I just started my practice, I cut my teeth on Juan Gonzalez." 
      Then the Home-Run Derby champion, owner of a new contract from the Rangers, $30.7 million -- huge for the time -- the young outfielder  "ruptured a disk in his back tying his shoes in spring training," Dr. Dossett recalled. Rehab worked, preventing an operation, and Gonzalez went on to further stardom in Texas (two-time American League Most Valuable Player).
      Another Rangers' star, a Hall of Famer, he treated: catcher Ivan Rodriguez. "Pudge had back issues," Dr. Dossett said. "I took care of Pudge for a long time."
      He was a consultant with the Cowboys for three years, then became one of the team doctors -- with W.B. Carrell Clinic partner Dr. Dan Cooper, the lead Cowboys' physician -- in 1999.
Dr. Drew Dossett
      He has been a consultant with the Dallas Stars since 1996, and with the Dallas Mavericks, and the New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Texas A&M, Baylor, etc.
       He is one of Shreveport's great success stories, similar to Terry Bradshaw (from football to broadcasting and entertainment) but not as well known.
       And while he might not even be the best-known orthopedics doctor from North Louisiana treating athletes -- that is Birmingham-based Dr. James Andrews, who pole vaulted from Homer High to LSU to renown as a surgeon -- Dr. Dossett is nearing the level of Dr. Andrews' acclaim.
---
      Do a search on Facebook for "Dr. Andrew Dossett" and you will find a dozen thank-yous for his work -- surgery and rehab -- in treating people who were hurting, severely limited in movement, and maybe faced with the threat of paralysis. There are notes from a rodeo bronc rider, a barrel racer, and ordinary folks. 
       "Most of my time is spent treating people like you," he said earlier this week. "Athletes, the high-profile cases, might be 5 to 10 percent of my work, but 90 percent of the heartbreak is with everyday people."
       Dr. Cooper, a specialist in reconstructive knee and shoulder surgeries, said Dr. Dossett gives the Cowboys "a nationally recognized expert in athletic spine injuries, with lots of credentials. There are only two or three guys like him in the country. That's a value that we can really rely on."
        Plus, Dr. Cooper added, "Number one, he is a true friend, a loyalist as someone working under me [with the Cowboys], especially in the early days when I joined the team.
        "Drew taught me about football. He knows the game, how it is to train, the weight room. He totally gets the culture of what it takes, and he conveyed that to me in the early days. He understands the coaches, understands the players, what it takes to rehab after an injury. A lot of people don't realize what it takes. Drew gets it."
       "You don't play football for your health," Dr. Dossett said. "Nothing about it is healthy. The mass and velocity of the game creates such a force, and the players are just so much bigger, stronger and faster today."
       More potential work for the doctors.
       But his loyalty is to the profession, not entirely to the team or the athletes.
       One of the first Cowboys players to hear from Dr. Dossett that it would be in his best interests to end his career, after the 1999 season, because of a spinal injury was Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin. This past August, the same message was given to the large Rangers first baseman, Prince Fielder.
       "Drew understands the gravity of it," Dr. Cooper said, "and he has the fortitude to tell people what they need to hear. Some might try to talk him out of it, but he won't waver."
       About Irvin, Drew offers what he calls a "Dossett-ism": "Never make a decision that ends both of your careers." (Think about that.)
       On Fielder, "You have to do what's best for him, and in this case, it was that he not play anymore. You have to look after the best interests of the player, not the best interest of the team."
---
Drew Dossett, Jesuit High
School linebacker
       Dr. Dossett will be with the Cowboys for their Sunday night NFC East showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. But he will spend Friday and Saturday back in Shreveport to see his mother and to attend the 40th anniversary reunion of his high school's state championship football team.
       The school, founded in 1902, was all-male Jesuit High when Dossett attended (1975-79) and is now coed Loyola College Prep, still located on Jordan Street as it has been since 1938.
       In the 1976 season, linebacker Drew Dossett was a developing star, for most of the season the only sophomore starter on a senior-heavy team. With an almost unyielding defense -- eight games in a row without giving up a touchdown -- the Flyers went 14-0, joining the 1967 team as unbeaten state champs.
       His loyalty to the school and to his teammates is one reason the reunion is happening, just as it did in 2006 at the 30-year mark.
       John James Marshall was the senior quarterback of the 1976 team, later a talented sportswriter at the Shreveport Journal (full disclosure, we were co-workers there, 1982-87) and then the paper's final executive sports editor. He is back at the school dealing in media relations, publications and alumni functions.
       The '76 team had a 30-year reunion in 2006, and Dossett was an instigator of that, Marshall said. "In mid-September [this year], Drew called and said, 'Are we doing this again?'  
       "We think the world of him," Marshall added. "He always cares about the school, he calls, he stays connected."
       Going to Jesuit, Dr. Dossett explained, "was the most formative thing I've ever done. No question about it. The Jesuits (Catholic order) have been educating kids since 1515. It is the most egalitarian education you could ever receive.
       "It is about being fair, about doing the right thing, making the right decisions, even if it is, say, at 3 a.m.," he added. "If you're fair, if you do what's right, it works out."
       He is such a believer in the Jesuit teaching that four sons -- he and wife Natalie, married for 10 years, have a combined six children (four his, two hers) -- attended Dallas Jesuit High School.
       More education: One child is a sophomore at University of Georgia, one is a freshman at University of Alabama, there are graduates of Georgia, University of San Diego and University of Colorado, and the oldest son is a graduate of the Naval Academy and a Navy SEAL, with an MBA from the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) who now works for Google.
       The Dossetts lived in the Bluffview area of North Dallas. But we know Dr. Drew is also at home with the Cowboys, Rangers, etc., and this weekend, back home in Shreveport, where his journey began.
        Next: A football star, a career cut short