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Key Media Mentions for December 2012

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012

A few recent Media Highlights (December 2012):

Utah State, BYU Handle Crisis the Right Way – ESPN, Dec. 6

If you want to know a real hero in athletics, his name is Mike Williams.

He's Utah State's athletic trainer, and he saved the life of Aggies player Danny Berger on Tuesday.

If you want to know someone who has his priorities straight, his name is Scott Barnes. He's the Utah State athletic director who didn't even flinch about Wednesday night's game at BYU. He decided not to play it.

If you want to know two coaches who have tremendous respect for each other and who were in complete sync on what to do with that game, their names are Stew Morrill (Utah State) and Dave Rose (BYU).

And if you'd like to know a school that understands what is most important in a crisis that didn't directly affect it, it's BYU.

Berger collapsed during practice. He remains at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, where as of Wednesday night, he was "awake, alert and able to communicate with medical personnel and family," according to a Utah State release.

"It was the hardest practice situation in my 27 years as a head coach,'' Morrill said. "Our trainer is a hero. He saved Danny's life. This has been tough on our players.''

Too often we hear about a heroic play in sports, but the term shouldn't be used unless it's heroism in its truest form. A dramatic play, even playing with an injury, isn't heroic. Saving lives on the battlefield, dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack in the seconds after an explosion, running into a burning building or putting your life at risk for someone else is heroism. So, too, is what first responders do every day in dealing with life-saving situations on the road, in hospitals and anywhere else.

Adler Planetarium Names Michelle Larson New President – Chicago Tribune, Dec. 11

Michelle Larson's faculty page at Utah State University displays a picture of her cozying up to a bust of Albert Einstein. Lego Albert Einstein.

That combination, science with a populist face, is a pretty fair summation of what she'll have to bring together in her new job as president of Chicago's Adler Pappointed the ninth leader of the lakefront science museum by its board in a meeting Tuesday.

Taking over Jan. 1 for the retiring Paul Knappenberger, she will become the Adler's first female president and the first female president of the institutions on Chicago's museum campus: the Adler, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Astronomer Maude Bennot ran the Adler from 1937 to 1945, but as acting director.

“I couldn't ask for a better location in which to bring 'em in the doors and turn on their minds,” she said Tuesday in an interview at the Adler before its board made the selection official. “My core value is to interface the scientist — what we do — with the society that we're doing it for.”

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State Pulls Away Late for Win – Chicago Tribune, Dec. 15

The fumble seems trivial now.

But when Utah State senior running back Kerwynn Williams lost the ball in the fourth quarter of Saturday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, he gave the Toledo Rockets a chance to tie the score.

The Rockets settled for a field goal that cut their deficit to 13-9 -- and Williams took redemption to a new level.

Williams rushed for three touchdowns in the next four minutes -- on runs of 63, 5 and 25 yards. After the fumble, he carried six times for 182 yards.

The Aggies rolled to a 41-15 win.

"After that fumble happened, it made me more determined to get it going," said Williams, who rushed for 235 yards in the game and was the team MVP. "I wanted to do something big."

Williams' heroics capped a historic season for the No. 18 Aggies, who earned their first bowl trophy in 19 years. The Aggies finished 11-2 -- a school-record win total. They won their first outright conference title since 1936 and cracked the polls for the first time since 1978. They will finish in the Top 25 for the first time since 1961.

Gary Andersen Headed to Wisconsin – ESPN, Dec. 19

Utah State's Gary Andersen, who guided the Aggies to their first bowl victory in 19 years, will be named Wisconsin's new coach, sources told ESPN.

The earliest a state job in Wisconsin can be filled is two weeks after the job's posting, meaning Andersen can't be officially announced by the school until Thursday.

The school was expected to introduce Andersen at a news conference on Thursday, but a snowstorm might change those plans.

Andersen interviewed with Wisconsin on Monday.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that two sources close to the Badgers program said Andersen was athletic director Barry Alvarez's top choice to succeed Bret Bielema, who left to take the Arkansas job.

Alvarez certainly is familiar with Andersen. On Sept. 15, the Aggies nearly upset the Badgers, but lost 16-14 when kicker Josh Thompson missed a 37-yard field goal in the final seconds.

In four years at Utah State, Andersen was 27-24, including this season's 11-2 mark. The Aggies nearly went unbeaten, losing only to Wisconsin and BYU, 6-3.

Andersen led Utah State to its first bowl victory in 19 seasons on Saturday, a 41-15 triumph over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. 

Utah State Promotes Matt Wells – Sports Illustrated, Dec. 20

Utah State promoted offensive coordinator Matt Wells to head coach Thursday, replacing Wisconsin-bound Gary Andersen.

Andersen took the Wisconsin job Thursday, taking over for Bret Bielema. Bielema left to take the Arkansas job.

Utah State president Stan Albrecht and athletic director Scott Barnes said hiring the 39-year-old Wells allows the football program to continue to build on the tremendous progress made by Andersen during the past four years.

Gary Andersen can build a winner from scratch, but he won't have to at Wisconsin. He inherits a team that's already set up to win at a high level, writes Brian Bennett.

"We're not starting over," Albrecht said. "This is not a step back. This is an amazingly wonderful step forward."

It has been a remarkable rise for a program that had been near the bottom of major college football for years, and stuck in distant third in its own state behind BYU and Utah. The Aggies won nine games in the previous four seasons before Andersen took over. The last football coach to finish his tenure in Logan with a winning record was Phil Krueger, who went 21-12 from 1973-75.

(ESPN, 12/06/2012)
(Chicago Tribune, 12/11/2012)
(Chicago Tribune, 12/15/2012)
(ESPN, 12/19/2012)
(Sports Illustrated, 12/20/2012)
(PR & Marketing, 12/31/2012)

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