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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. Enjoy!

Meet: Pat Huggins:

Veteran writer covering many sports for the Lebanon Daily News

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 have covered?
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 well!


~Dell Jackson



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