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Faces of a new era: Lane Kiffin

first_imgDon’t judge a book by its cover.There might not be a more over-used cliché in the English language. Yet as the topsy-turvy story of Lane Kiffin — a football lifer turned high-profile coach — reaches its next chapter on the steps of the Coliseum, one look at his past doesn’t really tell you where this opportunist is headed.Photo courtesy of USC Sports InformationIt’s easy to label USC’s newest household name as an unproven and somewhat browbeaten coaching caricature. His career path has come full circle but has been anything but the status quo — defined not by playoff appearances and BCS bowl games, but by allegations, press conference antics and recruiting methodologies that would make a tabloid writer or gossip columnist blush.During his initial sojourn at USC from 2001-2006, Kiffin, in his best jack-of-all trades role — as the wide receivers coach, passing coordinator and eventual offensive coordinator — helped build the foundation for the most prolific offense college football witnessed over the past decade. Although Heisman Trophies and BCS National Championships made for thrilling bullet points to add to his quickly evolving résumé, Kiffin benefitted greatly from the experience of growing under Carroll, while also proving that he represented more than a beneficiary of Carroll’s namesake. Kiffin’s influence became etched in the development of NFL talents like Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett, Mike Williams and Dominique Byrd.“As an assistant coach the experience in my mind matched the extremely high level of success I had set out for,” Kiffin said. “My first NFL job I got to work around Tom Coughlin. And then being here for so long with Coach [Pete] Carroll — it was very exciting going through all of those championship runs.”If the book on Kiffin had closed after his time at USC, the literature might not have been top-dollar, but enjoyable enough for a quick read. The same could not be said for his brief time in Oakland.From the day Al Davis made him the youngest head coach in NFL history at age 31 by introducing him as “Lance,” to the underwhelming 5-15 record he accumulated, to his painfully awkward pink slip in September 2008, to the still-ongoing battle regarding his buyout plan, the NFL proved to be an experience unworthy of too much ink in the 35-year-old’s coaching memoirs.“There were so many things going on there, not only being so young and a head coach in the NFL, but being in such a unique place that has a lot of battles you have to go through,” Kiffin said. “It really has prepared me for when things don’t go right or when you have to deal with adversity.”And if Kiffin’s book ever needed a consistent theme, adversity would be a fitting place to start.In 2009, when the Fresno State alumnus accepted the job to become the 21st football coach at the University of Tennessee, unbeknownst to the Rocky Top Faithful, the university’s selection to replace longtime fixture Phil Fulmer would not only fail to live up to the image of his predecessor, but would become one of the most hated men in university history.On the surface, a 7-6 record in a powerhouse conference like the SEC, with a team as undisciplined and green as the Volunteers were last season, would normally be applauded by boosters and alumnus. But when a barely .500 team is led by a man who in 365 days quickly transformed from a play-caller to a nightly news headliner to a potential NCAA rule breaker, anxiety in Knoxville grew.There was the back-and-forth banter with Florida coach Urban Meyer, the late-night arrests of key members of his team and accusations he made derogatory comments to a recruit about a rival school — and the list goes on. Kiffin was no longer perceived as a top-notch leader but as an arrogant rebel rouser — and that was before the night of Jan. 12.We all remember the scene as Kiffin made the cross-country leap to become USC’s replacement after the surprising departure of Pete Carroll.In Knoxville, there was the abrupt statement, the getaway car and the ensuing madness. Riots were started, mattresses were burned, rocks were defaced and the ugliness of fanaticism boiled over on the streets of the stunned and heartbroken town.More than eight months have passed since then, and the Minnesota native is certain he made the right decision. He also says he is proud of the time he spent as Tennessee’s coach.“I think your job as a head coach when you come in is to improve your roster and make sure your players are doing a great job academically and we did both of those, so I feel good about that,” Kiffin said. “I don’t feel good about the timing, but I couldn’t really control that. When your dream job becomes available and is offered to you, sometimes everything doesn’t turn out perfectly.”While even the most cynical of Kiffin’s doubters would have a hard time criticizing why he made the move from Tennessee to Los Angeles, the newest chapter in what has become a can’t-put-the-book-down type of read hasn’t been all California dreaming.Throw in a NCAA-instituted two-year bowl ban and the loss of potentially 30 scholarships for institutional instability during the reign of Mike Garrett, and the “dream job” Kiffin took amid mass hysteria suddenly becomes a challenge of unforeseen proportions for a man who has a meager 12-21 lifetime coaching record.But though media pundits and talking heads portray the coach as a cocky and conceited self-promoter, Kiffin barely bats an eye at the criticism, believing that this job presents him with a career-defining opportunity.“This is a completely different job than I have had before, and if you study it or pay attention to it, you will see a very different approach,” Kiffin said. “We need to graduate players and coach our players really well and recruit really well, and that’s it. We don’t need to do anything outside of that.”While Kiffin has made news outside of this self-imposed realm of simplicity in recent weeks — both for the nature in which he recruited former Tennessee Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola for the team’s offensive coordinator position, and for reports that the NCAA will increase its probe regarding recruiting violations that took place during his time with the Volunteers — USC’s coach seems unmoved by the hoopla.Write what you want about him, convict him in the court of public opinion or publish editorials bashing him for why he does what he does. Just don’t expect a reaction.“People ask me all the time, ‘How you deal with this’, or ‘This just happened, aren’t you just consumed by it all, aren’t you overwhelmed?’” Kiffin said. “And I’m really not. I take it one day at a time, and just do what I do, which is coach. I just go to work, and have always enjoyed my job. And obviously when you are at your dream place for the profession that you love, you enjoy it even more. I love every second of every day, and every day walking in here regardless of what is going on.”Although the initial chapters in his story might depict a brazen figure that seems comfortable masking his inabilities with trash talk and unconventional ideology, Kiffin is undoubtedly comfortable in his own skin, and doesn’t believe his past will threaten a program looking to regain its glory.“Kids since the fourth grade have watched USC play in BCS games every single year until last year, which is better than any marketing any person or coach could dream up,” Kiffin said.For those out there hoping Kiffin’s final pages will be full of angst and more tumultuous turns, don’t go looking for that lame-duck status to be thrust upon him just yet. Although former USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett might have been the hand that plucked him from Knoxville, USC’s coach has supporters in all the right places.“I know from multiple conversations with both of them [Athletic Director Pat Haden and President C.L. Max Nikias], they are extremely behind our program and our staff,” Kiffin said. “Usually for a head coach, when an athletic director changes or a new president comes in who didn’t hire him, it can be a scary situation. But this is very unique, because Max having been here for years and Pat being involved for years and not coming from another A.D. job where maybe he has his own guy, I have already felt their support.”Although support has poured in from the upstairs corridors of Heritage Hall, for this story to go from nightmarish to Hollywood-esque, it will take uncommon undertakings on the part of Kiffin in his first year: specifically, the task of motivating high-caliber athletes to compete, despite the fact there is no holy grail to obtain.But again, Kiffin isn’t hitting the panic button as the season closes in on the Trojans.“I just don’t think [USC football players] go to practice or to a seven-on-seven and say, ‘Boy if I do well today I am going to get to the Rose Bowl,’” Kiffin said. “Maybe some other places where players are motivated differently, that could be more of an issue. I don’t foresee that here.”For now, the uncertainty of the days that lie ahead will surely captivate a university, a community and a nation of naysayers who question whether this man is the right fit for one of the most sought-after positions in sports — a position that the coach believes the last 1,000 days has more than aptly prepared him for.“I don’t feel there is a job in America in this profession that I would feel too much weight on,” Kiffin said. “Think about the last three years and what I have been through.”Where will the next three years take this whirlwind tale?Keep reading. Regardless of what you think you know about Lane Kiffin based on his cover, the chapters soon to come will surely surprise you.last_img read more

Volleyball: Four straight wins propel Wisconsin toward series with Minnesota

first_imgThe No. 15 Wisconsin volleyball team put on a show this weekend during their East Coast road trip consisting of matches against Rutgers and Maryland.For the seventh and eighth time this season, the Badgers (12-4, 4-2 Big Ten) refused to allow either opponent to win a single match in each of the 3-0 shutout victories.Head coach Kelly Sheffield approved of his team’s performance in the successful campaign.“We got a great weekend again from Lauryn Gillis and Romana Kriskova,” Sheffield said. “For those two, the numbers just keep getting better and better.”As the pair’s numbers have been increasing, so have the numbers in UW’s win column.Thanks to last weekend’s performance, UW is powering forward holding a four-game winning streak, including a victory over a strong conference rival, No. 13 Illinois. The Badgers have now clawed into a three-way tie for third place in the Big Ten standings.As of this week, the Big Ten has eight of the top 25 teams in the entire country, which has led to an excitingly unpredictable and competitive season.Wisconsin’s next matchup will certainly be a challenge as the Badgers look to make it five in a row.Wisconsin will host No. 11 Minnesota (13-3, 5-1) this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the UW Field House.When asked about the talent of the Minnesota team during Monday’s news conference, Sheffield described the upcoming battle as a big challenge.“They’re probably playing as well as anyone in the country,” Sheffield said.Similar to the Badgers, Minnesota has been playing well as of late and is also riding a four-game winning streak heading into Wednesday’s night duel.Sheffield said the team’s confidence has grown over the last few weeks.“Confidence is a powerful thing, and when you have it you feel like you can conquer the world,” Sheffield said. “When you watch them, this team believes in themselves.”Wednesday night’s game will be the first meeting of a two-game series between the Badgers and the Gophers. The second game will be at Minnesota and is set to start 8 p.m. Saturday night.last_img read more

Castle of Good Hope celebrates South Africa’s diverse heritage

first_imgDuring Heritage Month, Cape Town’s Castle of Good Hope launched a legacy project that highlights 350 years of South African history, from colonial and indigenous perspectives.The Castle of Good Hope, South Africa’s oldest building, has seen its fair share of history, dating back to the 17th century. (Image: Castle of Good Hope)CD AndersonThe project is a collaborative effort between the castle and the Ministry of Defence and Department of Military Veterans to encourage young people to have an interest in and understanding of South African history.Completed in 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is South Africa’s oldest surviving building. Over the years, it has been an important landmark for civilian and military life in the city, as well as an ongoing testament to more than 350 years of tumultuous but significant South African history. The building is currently a cultural hub, offering art and cultural exhibitions, guided historical tours and the curation of historically significant artefacts.At the official launch of the legacy project on 22 September 2017, castle management CEO Calvyn Gilfellan announced that detailed timeline murals depicting the history of the castle and South Africa would be installed at almost 300 South African schools, taking these important events, people and aspects of the country’s history to young people directly and offering a contextual appreciation of how South Africa developed as a country over 350 years.Statues of famous prisoners amaHlubi king Langalibalele‚ Zulu king Cetshwayo‚ Bapedi king Sekhukhune and Khoisan freedom fighter Doman at the Castle of Good Hope. (Image: Castle of Good Hope)The original timeline mural will be exhibited at the castle itself, joining other popular exhibits that were set up during the castle’s 350th anniversary commemorations at the end of 2016. These include the Department of Military Veterans’ Centre for Memory, Healing and Learning and a set of statues depicting amaZulu, amaHlubi and BaPedi kings Cetshwayo, Langalibalele and Sekhukhune, as well as Doman, a 17th century Khoisan resistance leader, all of whom were once imprisoned at the castle.Also part of the project is an online interactive tour of the castle and its history: a 360° view that takes anyone in the world on a virtual tour around the buildings while giving them a history lesson along the way.Watch an introduction video to the Castle’s 350 Years in 360 Degrees exhibit here: Speaking to SABC News at the launch of the project, acting director-general in the Department of Military Veterans Max Ozinsky said it was important to memorialise the often overlooked history of the castle. “The colonial history of the castle and the country is well known… [but it is often forgotten] that many leaders of resistance were [imprisoned] at the castle… and many important military decisions regarding the country’s colonial wars were made in these rooms.”The school mural project, Ozinsky added, was aimed “to show South African history from all sides”. The timeline not only highlights the conflict between colonial rule and indigenous resistance, but also times of collaboration and co-operation between these forces for the good of the country.The installation of the murals in schools will be handled by SchoolMedia, a marketing company that provides positive brand marketing to South Africa’s young people. It is the brainchild of young South African entrepreneur Khethi Ngwenya.At the launch at the castle, Ngwenya told SABC News that during research for the mural’s timeline, collaborators realised just how much of the country’s early history was missing from the existing history curriculum taught in South African schools, but he added that hopefully highlighting these historical events and the important players would change that.For more information on the Castle of Good Hope and its exhibits, visit the website here.Source: SABC News, Castle of Good Hope, South African History OnlineWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Report from the Passive House Conference in Maine

first_imgThe North American Passive House Network held a two-day conference in Portland, Maine, this month. The well-attended conference drew attendees from all over the U.S., as well as from China, the U.K., and Germany.Because it was a four-track conference, it was impossible to attend every session — a frustrating fact for attendees. Many of the experts who gave presentations at the Portland conference have written for, or been featured in, Green Building Advisor; among the familiar names were Matthew O’Malia, Chris Corson, Dylan Lamar, Malcolm Isaacs, Nabih Tahan, Peter Schneider, Graham Irwin, Marc Rosenbaum, Tim Eian, Jesper Kruse, and Phil Kaplan.With so many smart people gathered together under one roof, the conversations in the hallways and at the lunch tables were almost as valuable as the presentations. Like most people who attended the conference, I learned a lot while I was there.It was exciting to see so many consultants, designers, and builders present their latest projects. These construction professionals are doing excellent work. At the Portland conference, they talked about their mistakes, presented information on new methods, and shared data. In many cases, Passivhaus builders are discovering new, less expensive ways to build excellent buildings — including some of the best homes being built in North America today.Dr. Wolfgang Feist, the founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, gave the conference’s keynote address on Monday morning, September 22.According to my notes, Feist made five important points:At the beginning of his address, Feist repeated one of his points at least three times. Referring to the Passivhaus standard, he told the audience in Portland, “The background of this is science. … It’s about science. … It’s a concept which is based on science.”He named five scientists whose work helped smooth the way for… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

10 months agoLyon ace Depay: The challenge Mourinho made me…

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Lyon ace Depay: The challenge Mourinho made me…by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveOlympique Lyon ace Memphis Depay has revealed Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho offered the carrot of buying him back when he was sold two years ago.Depay failed to settle in at Manchester United during his two years at the Old Trafford club, but has his career back on track at OL.Talking to The Times, Depay said: “When I left, I said to Mourinho ‘you will see me at the top’. “He said ‘OK, I hope that and I hope we will buy you back one day.’ I never had a bad relationship with him.” On his relationship with Louis van Gaal, who brought him to Manchester United, the Dutchman said: “We didn’t fall out, it was just a miss-connection with each other.”As a team we didn’t play great football and some things I don’t understand – if you have talented young players, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and the others, they need freedom.” last_img read more

Seatrade Enters Slot Charter Agreement with HapagLloyd

first_imgzoomFor illustrative purposes; Image Courtesy: StreamLines Specialised reefer transporter Seatrade, and its affiliated company StreamLines, have entered into a cooperation deal with Hapag-Lloyd commencing with a slot charter agreement on the US East Coast to Europe trade.As from April 13, 2018, the company started offering weekly services for reefer cargo in containers, from the ports of Savannah, Charleston and Norfolk, into London, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bremerhaven and Le Havre.Seatrade informed that the transit times in this deal offer a continuation of the fast direct and dedicated service.“Through this cooperation agreement with Hapag-Lloyd, we will continue to provide USA reefer cargo shippers and European receivers with the highest quality of service and customer care together with fast transit times and first-class equipment,” Seatrade said.They added that the agreement allows an expansion of port options and provision of multiple vessel calls weekly, giving shippers even more frequency and flexibility.last_img read more