ed note: Something new for our viewers: LLhoops will be bringing
to you some of the media/followers and basic fans of LL hoops. He/she
gets the 5 question interview that our LL coaches get- media style.
Meet: Pat Huggins:
Veteran writer covering many sports for the Lebanon
Fun to follow on his twitter account @phuggsports
1) Can you give our fans a brief background
of your career covering sports?
Sure, I've been a full-time sportswriter with the Lebanon Daily News
for 15 years, starting in late January 1999. Before that I was a part-timer
or stringer for about a year and a half. I also did some stringing covering
local government meetings for a few years after graduating from Elizabethtown
College in May, 1991. Covering sports was always what I was interested
in the most, though. There have been plenty of ups and downs in this
business, but overall I feel very blessed to have been able to make
a career out of covering and writing about sports. I had a blue-collar
job I didn't particularly enjoy before breaking into the business, so
I try not to forget how fortunate I am, even on days when I'm doing
my share of complaining.
2) Which boys bball schools are best this season in the LL?
I've covered more girls' hoops than boys' this season, but it looks
to me that the balance of power is in Section One with Hempfield, Cedar
Crest and McCaskey. And one of those teams won't even make the league
playoffs. Also, Lebanon is scrappy, and Manheim Central seems to be
on the rise. But I would expect the league champ to be from Section
One. Then again, I've been wrong plenty of times before.
3) What are some of the more memorable games you
I've been lucky enough to cover a great many memorable games, and terrific
teams and players. But it's hard to beat the experience I had covering
the Annville-Cleona boys' basketball team's Class AA state title run
back in 1999, in my first two months on the job.
That team was simply amazing, winning TWO games it actually trailed
with no time on the clock - in the Eastern Semifinals against Reading
Central Catholic and in the state finals (a double OT win) against Quaker
Valley. The memory of A-C's point guard then, Mark Brandt, making three
free throws with no time on the clock to force overtime against RCC
will stay with me forever. Unbelievable pressure, and he never blinked.
Same for Isaac Custer in the state finals, when he sank a pressure-packed
free throw of his own with all zeroes showing to keep A-C alive. No
team will ever win a state championship the way that one did. Guaranteed.
Another note on that team: I've done stories on the anniversary of that
run a few times over the years - including in December - and each and
every time I've contacted the players and coaches from that team they've
always responded incredibly quickly and been generous with their time
and thoughts. Great people, through and through.
More recently, the Lebanon Catholic girls' upset of heavily favored
Steel-High in the district finals two years ago stands out, as does
the Lebanon Valley College women's basketball team's run to the Elite
8 in 2011.
4) How does the Lebanon Daily News use twitter
and Facebook to help with coverage of local sports?
We use it in a number of ways: To inform readers/fans/followers of coverage
plans and breaking news, as well as by posting links to stories, columns,
blogs, etc. It's also a great way to interact with local sports fans,
something I try to do a lot on my personal Twitter account. I also try
to post as many updates as I can from games I'm covering, so those who
can't get there can stay up to date. Overall, it's been a great tool
to enhance our connection with readers. Plus, it can be fun, too.
5) LLhoops has found that the twitter scene has made the press media
a bit more friendly towards the web media. What are your thoughts on
social media and coverage of HS sports?
I think it's definitely here to stay and has added quite a bit to the
things we already do to cover local sports. I think it also helps people
relate to each other better. From social media contact, readers can
see that we're not just robots churning out stories, but also regular
people with personalities and a sense of humor. Overall, a good thing
as long as it's used appropriately.
6) Have you seen any changes in schools as far
as keeping coaches and influence parents have on coaches in HS sports?
Unfortunately, not a lot. I think too many parents (not all, but too
many) continue to interfere with the teams that their children are members
of and that can have an adverse impact on everyone. Parents should be
involved, but there is a difference between being involved and interfering.
Coaches are not perfect, and should always be held to high standards
of conduct. But the overwhelming majority are in the business for the
right reasons and should not be subjected to parents constantly looking
over their shoulders. Parents should parent, coaches should coach.
Also, I believe that sometimes administrators will side with parents
over coaches in a dispute, just to avoid a messy situation. I think
that tends to drive a lot of good people out of the business because
they feel they're not being appropriately supported. Just my two cents.
Bonus: We know you are a huge sports fan as well
as covering local sports. What are your favorite local teams? and what
have been your fondest memories of those team?
Huge Phillies fan here, through good and bad since I was a kid. Obviously
the two World Series they've won (1980 and 2008) have been the highlights,
but even the bad seasons have had their share of fun and memorable moments.
That doesn't mean I don't yell at the TV a lot when things aren't going