Thursday, October 10, 2019

Where Are They Now: Tom Tupa

Jim Gehman
Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 08:00 AM

A person gets one chance to make a first impression.

Tom Tupa’s first impression on head coach Bill Parcells was couldn’t have gone much better, and eventually – 11 seasons and four teams later – led the quarterback/punter to join the Jets as a free agent in 1999.

“Coming out of (Ohio State in 1988), I took a few visits before the Draft, and one was to the Giants. That’s when Parcells was there and we hit it off pretty well,” Tupa said. “I ended up getting drafted to, at the time, the Phoenix Cardinals. They were in the same division as the Giants, so I would see him a couple times a year and we’d always talk before games.

“As I moved through my career (as a quarterback for the Cardinals and then play almost exclusively as a punter with the other teams, I became a free agent in 1996). Parcells was at New England and he signed me. We went to the Super Bowl that first year, and then he ended up leaving and went to the Jets. 

“The following year when we played them, I was kind of giving him some crap about signing me and then leaving. He was laughing and said, ‘Well, maybe one of these days I’ll see you again.’ Sure enough, when I became a free agent from New England, I ended up signing back with him (and became a Jet).”

Much like with Parcells, Tupa made a good first impression with the Jets fans, when in his first game with the Green & White, the 1999 season opener against the Patriots, he was pressed into action at quarterback after Vinny Testaverde ruptured an Achilles tendon in the second quarter.

“A rule was in place back then where they could save a roster spot and add someone to it position-wise. So, I was always listed as the second (quarterback),” Tupa said. “When he went down, I didn’t realize I was going to be playing all that much. I thought I might go in for a few plays until they got the next guy ready, Rick Mirer.”

Although Tupa had taken snaps under center in practice running the scout team, he hadn’t attempted to throw a pass during a game in three years. Playing quarterback until Mirer was eligible to enter the game in the fourth quarter, Tupa completed 6 of 10 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

“Yeah, I ended up going in and things went pretty well there for a while,” he said. “It was a little bit of a shock obviously; I’m not going to lie. But I think overall, it went pretty well.”

While that went “pretty well,” Tupa’s contribution as a punter went great. Averaging over 45 yards per punt, he was named first-team All-Pro and selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

“I had a year or two in New England where I thought I may have had a chance, but you come in second in the voting or whatnot. I just ended having a pretty good year. A lot goes into that, obviously,” Tupa said. “The long snapper, coverage teams, and all those sorts of things come into it. It was just one of those years where you kind of got on a hot streak and it just kept going game to game.”

With the Jets for three seasons, Tupa played for that many head coaches: Parcells, Al Groh and Herm Edwards. What are his fondest memories from those days?

“We had such a good group of guys there with Vinny (Testaverde) and Wayne (Chrebet), Curtis Martin, Kevin Mawae,” Tupa said. “Unfortunately, there were a couple bad instances. The worst one was we were there when 9/11 happened. That was one thing, our team going downtown and helping out with whatever we could.

“As far as playing, I think one of the most memorable moments was that ‘Monday Night Miracle’ game (in 2000) where we came all the way back against Miami. Basically, the whole stands had emptied out because it was such a deficit going into the fourth quarter, but we rallied back (by scoring 30 points and won in overtime, 40-37).”

As part of the NFL 100 celebration, Tupa was named to the Jets’ all-time team, which will be honored during a pregame ceremony when New York hosts the Dallas Cowboys on October 13.

“I think that’s special when the fans appreciate what you were able to do for the team,” Tupa said. “Coming from the fans, that’s pretty special. It’s a great honor. I’m glad that they acknowledged what I was able to do for the team and what the team did for me. I’m pretty proud of that.”

Tupa is also proud that he was able to play 17 seasons in the NFL from 1988-04; with the Jets, Cardinals, Colts, Browns, Patriots, Buccaneers and Redskins. 

Whomever said, ‘You can’t go home again’ wasn’t talking to Tupa. Because following his playing days, he and his family made their way back to his hometown of Brecksville, Ohio, where he has been the city’s director of recreation since 2006.

“I always wanted to coach the kids as they were coming up through the little leagues and high school,” Tupa said. “So, when I moved back here, the mayor asked if I wanted this job. I told him my first thing was that I wanted to be able to coach my kids. And he said, ‘No problem.’

“That kind of sealed the deal right there. I was able to coach the kids all the way through high school. Those moments are obviously something we’ll never forget.”

Tupa and his wife, Beth, have four children. Tom, who works in the San Francisco 49ers scouting department. Tim, who works in the Los Angeles Chargers scouting department. Tyler, a redshirt junior wide receiver at Ohio University. And Emma, a sophomore at Ohio University, who plays on the volleyball team.

Nearly $120,000 raised at the 7th Annual Team Jack Foundation Radiothon presented by The Home Agency on September 26.

October 9, 2019

Elwood, Neb. – On Thursday, September 26, 2019 nearly $120,000 was raised for child brain cancer research at the Team Jack Foundation’s 7th Annual State-wide Radiothon. The day-long event was presented by The Home Agency, based in Elwood, Nebraska, and was aired on over 25 stations throughout Nebraska and beyond.
The Radiothon is a special event broadcasting stories of families affected by child brain cancer as well as those of popular figures like Rex Burkhead, Coach Jovan Dewitt, Dick Vitale, Matt Davison, Dr. Don Coulter of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and many more. The objective of the Radiothon is to not only raise research funds for child brain cancer, but to also raise awareness for the disease and the need for research funding.
This year’s Radiothon was hosted by The Home Agency in Elwood, Nebraska, population 690. Leading up to the event and throughout the day, the community came together to support the cause. The pre-kindergarten class walked down their Pennies for a Purpose donation totaling over $272 and the Gothenburg Lady Swedes Volleyball Team stopped on their way to a game with a donation of over $400. A visit from the entire K-12 Elwood Public Schools and the community-wide bake sale were other highlights of the day. In addition to their presenting sponsorship, Jim & Sharri Baldonado supplied every student at Elwood Public Schools with a Team Jack Nebraska t-shirt.
“On behalf of The Home Agency, the village of Elwood and the Baldonado family, we would like to all say thank you for letting us host the 2019 Team Jack Radiothon here in Elwood. People are still talking about it and how much fun it was. We are already talking about what we can do different next year to make it even better, as we are hoping we can host again,” said Jim Baldonado, owner, The Home Agency.
With about 90 minutes left on the air, a caller pledged to give $10,000 if an additional $10,000 could be raised prior to the radiothon’s end. The radio host, Kevin Thomas and the Foundation put out a plea on the radio and online and the phones rang non-stop. The matching $10,000 in donations was raised bumping the day’s total to over $105,000 for child brain cancer research! In the week following the radiothon, donations have continued to be made bringing the overall event total to nearly $120,000.
The fantastic result of the 2019 campaign is thanks in large part to The Home Agency, the Jim & Sharri Baldonado Family, the Elwood community and surrounding area as well as the entire state of Nebraska. Since 2013, the annual Team Jack Foundation Radiothon has raised more than $530,000 for child brain cancer research.
About the Team Jack Foundation
The Team Jack Foundation’s mission is to raise research funds and awareness for pediatric brain cancer. Childhood brain cancer affects nearly 4,600 children each year and is the leading cancer cause of death in children. Each year less than four percent of U.S. federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research, with even less spent on child brain cancer research. The Team Jack Foundation has raised over $6.5 million for pediatric brain cancer research and has invested in eight research projects nationally. The Foundation is working with world renowned researchers, directly, to develop relevant and impactful research initiatives. For more about the Foundation and funded research, visit

Katie Smith headliner at OSU Alumni scholarship fundraiser

Katie Smith headliner at OSU Alumni scholarship fundraiser

MOUNT VERNON — OSU Knox County Alumni Club is holding its annual scholarship fundraiser on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Glenn A. Gallagher Center. Katie Smith is the Keynote Speaker along with live and silent auctions and a visit from “The Best Damn Band In the Land.”

Katie Smith (born June 4, 1974) is an American retired professional basketball player who played most recently in the WNBA. Her primary position was shooting guard, although she sometimes played small forward or point guard. She is the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball, having notched over 7,000 points in both her ABL and WNBA career. In 2016, she was voted one of the WNBA’s “Top 20 at 20.” She was named head coach of the New York Liberty in October 2017. On March 31, 2018, Smith was named to the 2018 class of inductees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

There will be a tailgate dinner at 6 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 for the silent auction.

Tickets are available through Oct. 12. Stop by Mohican Sports Medicine to reserve your tickets.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

New York Giants: Asafo-Adjei is a True Warrior

written by Brittany Sirabella 
October 9, 2019

May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (78) speaks to media during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants offensive line has come under much scrutiny and criticism over the past few seasons. While there could be improvements, what could help the New York Giants, could be the return of offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei.

Asafo-Adjei was drafted this past Spring in the 2019 NFL draft by the New York Giants in the seventh round, the 232nd pick overall.  Sadly, after suffering a concussion during the preseason, Asafo-Adjei was placed on injured reserve.

The rookie, who hails from West Chester, Ohio, went to Lakota West High School and was honored in 2014, with the Anthony Munoz Foundation Offensive Lineman of the Year award.  Asafo-Adjei played on the offensive line and defensive line and also played on the wrestling team for a season.
Asafo-Adjei decided to commit to the University of Kentucky after offers from schools such as Louisville, Florida, Ohio State and Nebraska.  At the University of Kentucky, he set a record becoming the first Kentucky Wildcat member to rush for 1,000 or more yards for three consecutive seasons.
Earning his degree in community and leadership development, Asafo-Adjei has taken his education to heart.  Asafo-Adjei is constantly helping others and working hard to improve the lives of those less fortunate.  His dream, after life in the NFL, is to coach young kids to be good athletes, but even better people in general.  Asafo-Adjei’s days to charity and philanthropy date back to his collegiate days in which he met with ill children at the hospital, interacted with members from the Special Olympics and also went to Ethiopia where he was quite active, painting a school, handing out necessary items to those who lost their significant others and just being a light in the darkness those less-fortunate faced.
Asafo-Adjei also has a clothing line full of official inspirational merchandise called Geni Merch.  Through the website, you can purchase shirts that say, Warrior, Pray First, Blessed and Geni!
Asafo-Adjei has been an inspiration to all since his high school days and will only continue to be a beacon of hope and light both on and off the field!

Matt Kroul Joins ANF Wall of Honor

Football 10/8/2019


IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Without doubt, Kinnick Stadium is the most popular venue in Iowa on seven fall Saturdays. From Sunday to Friday, however, that distinction could belong to Kroul Farms, located south of Mount Vernon.
Whether you're looking for pumpkins, tomatoes, firewood, flowering plants, eggs, or other produce, chances are, it's available at Kroul Farms. While you're there, you might recognize a former University of Iowa football player.   

Matt Kroul, who played on the Hawkeye defensive line from 2005-08, has experienced the rewards of laboring at both Kinnick Stadium and Kroul Farms. His life has transitioned from farm fields to football field and back to farm fields. After his college and professional football career, he now resides in Solon with his wife and three children and manages most aspects of the family farm.
When Iowa football takes on Penn State on Oct. 12 in the annual America Needs Farmers Game presented by 
Iowa Farm Bureau, Kroul will be recognized as its eighth ANF Wall of Honor recipient.
"I enjoy the whole adage of reap what you sow and the work you put in is what you get," Kroul said. "Some days aren't fun, some plays or games won't go well, some workouts don't go your way, but, especially this last six months and the way farming is, just adapt, overcome, and succeed."
Previous Wall of Honorees are Aaron Kampman (2018), Chad Greenway (2017), Dallas Clark (2016), Robert Gallery (2015), Bruce Nelson (2104), Jared DeVries (2013), and Casey Wiegmann (2012).
When Kroul was growing up, the family raised 150 beef cattle and farmed nearly 500 acres of row crops. By the mid-1980s (Matt was born in 1986), the farm crisis reached its peak and the Krouls looked for a more profitable way to utilize their land. With rolling hills near a river bank, theirs wasn't prime row crop ground.
"We jumped into pumpkins, sweet corn, tomatoes," Kroul said. "We diversified in a way and didn't beat our head against the door with corn and soybeans. They are still a valuable part of what we do, but we use these other options to maximize our acres."
A four-time member of Iowa's football leadership group, Kroul started a school-record 50 consecutive games. He made 238 tackles with seven sacks and was named team captain (2008), Academic All-Big Ten, second-team All-Big Ten (2008 by media) and honorable mention All-Big Ten (2008 by coaches and 2007 by media).
From 2005-08, the Hawkeyes played in three bowl games, and capped a nine-win season in 2008 with a 31-10 victory over South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl.
From 2009-11, Kroul was a member of the New York Jets, playing six games in 2010.
"Coach (Kirk) Ferentz is one of the best at preparing young men for life after college, not only if you have an opportunity in the NFL," Kroul said.
In Kroul's case, that meant life in the NFL and life as a farmer.
"Farmers are farmers for a reason," Kroul said. "They like being their own boss, it's your own schedule, and you get out of it what you put into it. Agriculture and football are cut from the same cloth. It is the root of what Iowa is all about, and that is agriculture and the Hawkeyes."
"We couldn't be more pleased to have Matt join the ranks of the ANF Wall of Honorees," said Iowa Farm Bureau President and farmer, Craig Hill. "Farming is a calling and the farmers I know have the same passion that Matt does in putting in the effort to take care of the land and participate in your community. He's a great role model with a winning attitude."
Matt and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters (Leighton, age 4, and Jacie, 1) and a son (Brady, 3). The Krouls intend to pass down the farming work ethic…soon.
"They are just getting to where they can keep up," Kroul said. "Hopefully I have some pumpkin and tomato pickers soon."
About the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is the largest statewide, grassroots farm organization in Iowa, celebrating more than 100 years of creating a vibrant future for agriculture, farm families and their communities. For more information, click 

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The 2019 ‘Spirit Of Nashville’ Award Nominees

 Posted October 7, 2019
 In Nashville

It’s finally here – the much heralded ‘Spirit of Nashville’ Award that nobody seems to be able to define. We have our list of the 2019 Spirit of Nashville nominees finalized, and folks – I am here to share that list today (the ballot is embedded below, so if you don’t care about all of this nonsense, just scroll to the bottom and vote). 
First things first, a brief introduction to who we are. We’ve found in the past that because some of the nominees shared this news on their social media accounts, we had a ton of people coming to the site (to vote for Paul Heggen and WKRN’s Good Morning Nashville) who didn’t actually know who or what we are.
In short, we’re a content/media company. We’re kind of inappropriate. But, we have about 25K-30K readers/listeners each month (we’re babies) – people come here to read our coverage of Nashville, the Tennessee Titans, movies, independent professional wrestling, and really any sort of viral content.

The best way I can describe it is that the SoBros Network is the Ke$ha spectrum – when we get serious about our writing, we are as good as “Praying,” but when we let loose, we are as fun as “Tik Tok.”
I’ll go ahead and address the elephant in the room while I’m at it, because I know people that have been on the SoBros Network train for years are probably confused as hell right now. Yes, this award used to be called the ‘SoBro of the Year’ Award. But, we found that people were kind of confused by the fact that people who aren’t SoBros were winning the award. So, branding/marketing and all that.
On to defining what exactly this award means…

It’s like a lot of what we do – shrugging and saying, “I dunno, let’s just do it.” Sometimes, this award is a way for us to recognize individuals who are doing exemplary work in the Nashville community. Some people deserve an extra pat on the back for all they’re doing and what they mean to their respective community (it isn’t always Nashville-based).

Sometimes, it’s based purely on performance. Look at how much success a person attained in a given year and give that a big shout out. Did someone win a championship? Is their name popping up all over the place? Do they have a smooth, silky voice they use to predict the weather on television? Do they make hilarious jokes about the potholes on 440? These are just a few examples.
It essentially sounds like there are no rules to being nominated for this award, and that’s certainly not NOT true. But, the general consensus is that being nominated for this award comes from having a successful year and being of strong character that matches the core values of our company. Those values would be:
1.     Create Fearlessly
2.     Uplift Others
3.     Be Humble
4.     GSD (Get Shit Done)

You represent that spirit, we’re going to take notice.




Who’s going to get the disco ball trophy in 2019?


Nominations were made by the SoBros Network staff after exhaustive discussions and even a little high jinks.


3HL – I still remember sitting in my car about to head into my shitty retail job the first day that Brent, Blaine, and Clay took the air for the first time. All due to respect to the other shows in the market, but 3HL was the shot in the arm that Nashville sports talk needed. This nomination is long overdue – they’ve long been the paragon of fun, casual sports talk in town.
Mickey Ryan replaced Clay in 2014, and after some shuffling around at 104.5 a year or so ago, Blaine jumped ship to the Wake Up Zone. His seat was filled by Dawn Davenport (who was nominated for this award last year), one of the most accomplished sportscasters in town. Throughout it all, the show never lost its good-natured and fun spirit.

Bussin’ with the Boys – Is anyone more emblematic of our ‘create fearlessly’ mantra than the team at Bussin’ with the Boys? Taylor Lewan and Will Compton are hilarious, relatable dudes who create a comfortable environment for their guests that brings out some of the best interviews out there. Call it ‘guys being dudes’ if you will, but this is one of the best podcasts going right now. Plus, we’re big Matt Neely guys on this website. This will technically be Lewan’s third consecutive nomination for this award.

Jason Martin – Big time props to JMart for blazing his own trail as apart of the 104.5 The Zone brand. With the advent of The Big 6 on weeknights at 6PM (Nashville time), and The Big 6 Blog, Martin is becoming one of the brightest stars in the region. I don’t know that you’ll find a more trusted source of all things pop culture, either. Of course, being the wrestling brand we are, I have to give a shout out to Squared Circle Radio here, too.

Nectar: Urban Cantina – They are our reigning “Best Overall Spot in Nashville” award recipient, so that gets ’em an automatic bid in the ‘Spirit of Nashville’ discussion. But, having the best tacos in Nashville (I will die on that hill) helps too.
My recommendations on the current menu would be the buffalo cauliflower taco and the veggie fajita taco. But, if you’re not feelin’ tacos, you can always go with the trusted burrito bowl. It’s worth stopping by every couple of weeks though to see what the specials are – this week, I ate a splendid pork belly taco. Not to mention, Nectar has some of the best homemade margaritas in town.
Lelan Statom – Statom has been “the godfather” of the Nashville meteorology scene for quite some time now, but this year, his efforts were rewarded when the National Weather Association named him the Broadcaster of the Year. He’s worked at NewsChannel5 for over 26 years – at this point, Lelan’s as synonymous with Nashville as hot chicken.

Jim Wyatt – Call it a ‘career achievement’ nomination if you will, but no one can deny the work that Gentleman Jim has put in covering the Tennessee Titans for what feels like forever. He is the gold standard of Titans coverage. We’re all better for the weekly #britches updates.



J.R. Lind – I’ve been calling him the best writer in Nashville for a while now, and I stand by it, especially when I’m a few deep and run into him at Tailgate. Sure, he’s an A+ #NashvilleTwitter follow, but it’s the advent of J.R. Spewing on the Nashville Scene that firmly entrenches him as a ‘Spirit of Nashville’ nominee.

Dennis Kelly – I’m not kidding. We’re going to keep nominating Dennis until he wins this damn thing. So, this is on you, Nashville. It’s 2019, and it is STILL a scientifically proven fact that if you put Dennis Kelly on the field, your team could score a touchdown. Plus, we found out this year that his professional wrestling finishing maneuver would be the jackknife powerbomb. Talk about a real journalism scoop…all kidding aside, Touchdown Dennis Kelly has been a stalwart of the Titans offensive line, and played admirably in the team’s 2-2 start. The Titans are fortunate to have a guy like him handy.

Brett Ison – This is the second consecutive nomination for “The Pitbull,” but 2019 was an even better year for him than the one that earned him the nod in 2018. He held Nashville-based Southern Underground Pro’s Bonestorm Championship for the entirety of 2019 up until losing the title yesterday (10/6/19), and has defeated a who’s who of independent wrestling in the process. Ison is truly Nashville’s champion.



Jurrell Casey – It’s time to start puttin’ Casey in the conversation among the greatest Titans of all time. I called him the Titans MVP of the 2018 season. But, the fact is, he’s been a game-wrecker along that defensive line for A LONG time. He’s perennially underrated in the grand landscape of the NFL, and is a credit to Nashville. This one’s a no-brainer.

Eddie George – Eddie George is a rare breed – one of the last few true Renaissance men out there. I saw him take the stage at TPAC earlier this year for a stirring performance in Topdog/Underdog. But, he also had his jersey retired in Nissan Stadium this year as well. There will never be another like him in two-tone blue.

Amy Adams Strunk – As far as owners go, I just don’t think it gets any better than Ms. Amy. She has become one of the most beloved figures in all of Nashville sports. Not to mention, she had a big time hand in the uniform release party a year ago that ended up going a long way in getting the NFL Draft in Nashville in 2019. Give her all the game balls.



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