Another Monday batch of "David’s Appetizers," assorted musings and observations on the sports scene:
Conway’s Bryce Molder reports he’s elated after Matt Kuchar, his former roommate at Georgia Tech, won The Players Championship, his first significant tour victory.
It’s nice that the two golfers, both accomplished as amateurs and college golfers, have maintained their relationship in the high-pressure world of professional golf.
"I could not be more excited for Matt and his win," Molder said. "It’s hard to be close to anyone on tour as our schedules are all so different. But he is one of my better friends and we try to play practice rounds as often as we can. We played nine holes on Wednesday before the tournament, and it was pretty clear that his game was in good shape."
Did what Kuchar accomplished give Molder an added dose of confidence since he was slightly ahead of the former Conway High star in turning pro?
"I don’t take a lot of confidence from his recent success, as I have already learned that I am headed in that direction," Molder said. "It is pretty clear that most players now don’t peak out until their mid-30s, which has clearly been the case for him. He is a great Players champion and there is no one more deserving."
According to Lance Taylor, the executive director of the Arkansas Activities Association, the summer high school all-star games returning to Conway in 2013 is a done deal.
Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas have hosted the weeklong series of games and accompanying coaching clinic since 2002. The contract is up this year and the AAA executive board will award a new contract in June.
That official vote appears only a formality. Most of the state’s coaches are for it as well as AAA officials.
One reason is location. One is UCA has the facilities and Conway has the motels to handle the statewide events.
Another is cost. Holding the coaching clinic in northwest Arkansas has become increasingly expensive for the AAA and members of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association, which incorporates much of the clinic costs into their fees.
Two things have happened, both retirements. The driving forces behind the UA getting the games a decade ago were Dick Johnson, the athletic director at Fayetteville High, and Frank Broyles, the AD at Arkansas. The two teamed to promote the games in northwest Arkansas, gain key sponsorships and arrange special deals for coaches.
Both are now retired and the current administrations at the UA and Fayetteville apparently don’t have the zeal or desire to make a concerted push to keep the games. Keeping the all-star games in northwest Arkansas has become a major financial challenge for the AAA, coaches and fans across the state.
Buzz Bolding, retired Conway athletic director who still has the passion for major events in Conway, apparently started the push to return the games to central Arkansas. And Bolding, who was a master of building partnerships and coalitions at Conway High, has done it again, bringing Conway officials and community leaders UCA officials, and fellow state coaches together to make an extremely attractive offer to bring back the all-star games, which have grown within the last decade into a weeklong series of event. The Brewer-Hegeman center at UCA will be used for the coaching clinic.
There have been two major coaching changes at Conway Christian School.
Shane Davis, who has built the Eagle baseball team into a 2A state power in a short time, is leaving after this season to become head baseball coach and girls basketball coach at Greers Ferry West Side.
Brittany Newberry, who led the Lady Eagle volleyball team into the state tournament last season, is leaving to become an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Central Arkansas.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)