Mark May at Little Rock Touchdown Club Part 2

Wally Hall wrote a fine article on the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting yesterday that I got to attend. It was moving when Mark May got choked up responding to a question about the Penn St scandal. Wally refers to that.


ESPN analyst starts LRTC talks with bang

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LITTLE ROCK — Mark May was funny, entertaining, educational and thought-provoking.

About what you would expect from one of ESPN’s most respected studio analysts for college football.

What surprised, though, was when he choked up with emotion over what Penn State allowed to happen to innocent victims.

May attracted almost 300 to the season’s first meeting of the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday.

Usually two or three weeks before the Monday kickoff of the LRTC, David Bazzell meets with the founding members and business is discussed but not the speakers.

Baz teases the founding members until the yearly news conference at Metropolitan Bank.

At that news conference, the press packets with the list of speakers is not passed out until after it is announced to the crowd.

What is amazing is that going into its ninth year this nonprofit football-loving organization has been treated to some great speakers, and this year will be no different.

Baz was able to kick off this season of Monday lunches with the always honest May, who is outspoken, critical, funny at times and always willing to call out Lou Holtz.

Holtz is the former college coach, including a great run at Arkansas, who won a national championship at Notre Dame in 1988, but May has a long football resume, too, as a great player.

After earning first-team All-America honors and winning the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman, he was the 20th pick in the first round by the Washington Redskins, with whom he earned two Super Bowl rings as part of the “Hogs,” the highly respected offensive line.

“He sees things as a coach, I see them as a player,” he said. “And I know how to push his buttons.”

May said he made a remark about Notre Dame that upset Holtz so much that he told the 6-6 May: “You are going to get your a++ kicked in the parking lot by a 152-pound old man.”

May was exceptionally polite and friendly, smiling and taking time to sign the multitude of things he was asked to autograph.

He couldn’t have fit in better if he had been wearing a Razorbacks golf shirt.

Of course, he talked about the Razorbacks, quarterback Tyler Wilson and how this could be a “very special season.”

Before the lunch, he also addressed the Hogs’ tough schedule and said they won’t be favored against Alabama, South Carolina or LSU, and those games could define the season.

He also said he thought Arkansas State Coach Gus Malzahn was a great offensive co-ordinator, but when asked about the Red Wolves’ chances against Oregon, he rolled his eyes and groaned.

After May retired from the NFL, he planned to take a year off, but his agent called him and said he had him a job as the radio analyst for Pitt football games.

“I told him I didn’t know anything about radio, and he told me I better start learning,” May said with a laugh.

That led to two years on TNT as an NFL studio analyst on Sunday nights and then a game analyst before TNT lost the television rights. Then CBS grabbed him for three years of NFL coverage.

Then he joined ESPN and found his passion: college football.

In 2001, he and Holtz, who are the only on-air talents at ESPN who do not rehearse, started their public debates.

They go at it hard and heavy with honesty and discerning ideas and opinions.

Just like Mark May did Monday.

Sports, Pages 15 on 08/21/2012


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