Swarthmore College recently held a tennis clinic with tennis star James Blake with the kids from the Chester Boys and Girls Club. The tennis program was sponsored by the Philadelphia Freedoms and the Loomis Racquet Academy, organized by Jeremy Loomis, Swarthmore College women’s tennis coach.
Blake was selected to play for the Philadelphia Freedoms this season. The Freedoms are owned by Billie Jean King and compete in the World team Tennis League. The clinic provided the youngsters from the Chester Boys and Girls Club a chance to learn the game from Blake, who is one of the game’s terrific players.
Rodale Books acquires memoir by NBA legend Earl Monroe
Rodale Inc. recently announced the acquisition of NBA great Earl Monroe’s memoir, Earl The Pearl: My Story, written with bestselling author Quincy Troupe. The book will be published in April 2013 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Knicks’ last NBA championship.
Monroe, former Bartram High and Winston-Salem State basketball standout, is among the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players. He is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame player whose style and flair made him a major attraction to younger players including Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. A sensational ballhandler who could break his man down with breath taking moves, Monroe changed the way the game of basketball is played and his influence can still be seen with today’s stars such as Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Deadline for Lincoln Hall of Fame nominations extended
Lincoln University’s Athletic Hall of Fame has extended its deadline for nominations to July 31. The hall of fame induction will be a regular event to take place in conjunction with the football season. The first class will be inducted during halftime of the Lincoln-Johnson C. Smith University football game on Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. For more information, go to www.lulions.com
Cheyney ‘C’ Club to hold golf tourney
The Cheyney University “C” Club will hold the Wade Wilson Golf Tournament at Penn Oaks Country Club, 140 Penn Oaks Drive, in West Chester. The event will be held on August 27. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Tee time is at 8 a.m. The golf tournament is the club’s biggest fundraising event. The club is comprised of alumni athletic supporters that have shown a great commitment to the school’s athletic programs. For more information, go to www.cheyneycclub.com
Bobby Jordan named Drexel basketball assistant coach
James “Bruiser” Flint, Drexel head basketball coach, has named Bobby Jordan as assistant coach. Jordan has been on Flint’s staff the last two years as the team’s operation assistant. He replaces Ashley Howard who accepted an assistant coaching position at Xavier University.
Jordan has been around the Dragons’ program for the last six years. He stayed at Drexel following his playing career in 2010 when he took the operations position. He was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office and assisted with team travel and academics.
He was a four-year letterwinner on the basketball court at Drexel. He originally walked-on the team as a freshman and eventually earned a scholarship. Jordan graduated from the school with a degree in sports management and is currently enrolled in graduate school, where he is working on an advanced degree in the same field.
Jordan was an All-Catholic League selection at Roman Catholic. He was also a Markward Award winner.
St. Joe’s women’s basketball adds Pierce as assistant coach
Saint Joseph’s has named Jada Pierce as assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. Spending the past two seasons at Army, Pierce brings more than 15 years of successful coaching including helping three schools earn NCAA tournament berths. Pierce played her scholastic basketball at Central High where she was an All-Public League star. She brings a lot of coaching experience to Saint Joseph’s.
Temple to open basketball season at Kent State
Temple will begin the basketball season playing on national television as the Owls will face Kent State on the road for a noon game on November. The game is part of the 2012 ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon which includes 11 men’s college basketball games all aired on ESPN.
NEW YORK — His eyes red, James Blake's voice never wavered as he talked about civil rights and history and diversity.
He embraced the symbolism of starting his last tournament on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, an African-American tennis star inspiring young players. It was just past midnight when his match, and career, ended.
Blake was always comfortable sharing his rousing back story. He was also proud that his game was bigger than that.
He walked off the court at the U.S. Open for the last time as a singles player early Thursday morning after blowing a two-set lead and losing in a fifth-set tiebreaker. The 33-year-old American fell 6-7 (2), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) in the first round to Ivo Karlovic.
Afterward, he talked about tennis, but also causes dear to him. Blake has joined Athlete Ally, an organization working to end homophobia in sports. He lamented an athletic culture "where you're too often seeing a lot of macho sort of showboating when everyone should feel comfortable."
"Sports is a great equalizer," Blake said.
He condemned the law prohibiting gay "propaganda" in Russia, which is hosting the Winter Olympics next year.
"I think everyone at this point, when you look at numbers, someone in your circle, whether it's a family member or a friend, is gay, transgender, or bisexual," he said. "You should appreciate that those people are valued members of society, people that are doing something good in the world. They should feel comfortable to live their lives. I think any sort of policy that discriminates against them, that excludes them, is completely unfair in today's day and age. That's why I say we're 50 years out and there are still things going on that are discriminatory."
Blake had announced Monday that this would be his last tournament, ready to spend more time with his wife and young daughter. He couldn't quite extend his stay another round. Blake will still play doubles.
He rallied from down a break in the final set to force the tiebreaker, but couldn't overcome the 6-foot-10 Croat's big serve at the end. Karlovic closed out the victory in 3 hours, 24 minutes with his 38th ace.
Blake threw his sweat bands, white shirt and black hat into the stands at Louis Armstrong Stadium, where the fans stayed late to try to will him to victory.
"That ovation makes me realize that everything I did, every bit of hard work, was worth it," he said in an on-court interview, his eyes welling up.
Blake had won 11 straight first-round matches at Flushing Meadows since losing in his debut in 1999. He has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world in his career and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals.
"I'm proud that I have the rest of my career to look back on as some pretty good matches, some pretty good wins," he said. "Hopefully this won't be my lasting memory, is that loss, up two sets to love, two tiebreakers in the fourth and fifth, losing both of those. Pretty much in my hands at times, and I was the one that I felt like I gave them away."
Blake ended his career 4-15 in five-set matches.
"I definitely won't sleep a whole lot tonight," Blake said. "I'll be thinking about opportunities I had."
Karlovic hadn't been any better — he came in 3-13. His one previous comeback from down two sets? It also was against Blake, at the 2009 Davis Cup.
The 34-year-old Croat has been ranked as high as 14th but had to qualify for this year's U.S. Open. He will next face ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka.
Other players lauded Blake this week for his friendliness and tenacity. His career could have ended nearly a decade ago, but he kept making memories.
In 2004, he slipped on the clay during a practice in Rome and slammed into a net post, which broke vertebrae in his neck. Later that year, his father died from stomach cancer. Then an illness temporarily paralyzed part of his face.
By 2006, he reached his highest ranking. In 2007, he helped the United States beat Russia in the Davis Cup final, the Americans' first title in 12 years, the country's longest gap between victories.
Entering this year's U.S. Open, though, he was ranked 100th. His record is 9-14 this season.
He won 10 singles titles, most recently in 2007. Twice he reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, truly a hometown tournament that seemed to bring out his best play.
Blake was born in Yonkers and went to high school in Connecticut, then attended Harvard before turning pro in 1999.
He lost in the quarters at Flushing Meadows to Andre Agassi in 2005, and to Roger Federer the following year.
The Agassi match was probably his most memorable, and it played out like the final one of his career: He won the first two sets, then lost in the fifth-set tiebreaker.
The avid poker player was asked to describe his career in those terms.
"I got to (No.) 4 in the world, so I had to have some pretty decent cards," Blake said. "I definitely did the best I could with them. I played them the way I could. I made mistakes. No doubt about it. If you're a poker player, you're going to lose pots, but you try to minimize the losses." -- (AP)