Flying Jayhawks cruise Alaska with Scot Pollard

Posted on Aug 12, 2018 in Alumni News and News

For the latest Flying Jayhawks trip, a special guest joined us as the trip’s host. Enjoy the story of the trip through Glacial Alaska, as only former KU basketball player and “Survivor” contestant Scot Pollard could tell it.

I had been to Alaska before but it was just to play basketball. When coaches take you on trips they tend to just give you an hour or two of “local stuff” and the rest is practice, rest, and making sure you’re in your bed when you’re supposed to be! Needless to say I hadn’t REALLY experienced Alaska before.

I can definitely say I have now! Wow! All ten days on board and off of our Oceania cruise ship and in the different ports, our group of flying Jayhawks could not avoid the beautiful scenery even if we wanted to.

Stop 1: Ketchikan

Flying Jayhawks Dana and Sue Anderson “kidnapped” my family and took us on a private fishing boat. All six of us caught our first salmon and a couple of us caught more than one for a total of 10. We didn’t lose one fish which made our captain, Ray, very surprised. The highlight of this day, though, didn’t happen in the water. It happened ON IT. Our captain asked if I would whistle at one of the bald eagles overhead. One was flying away but fairly close as I gave it a really loud whistle. Our national bird and a symbol of our country did a 180 and headed back toward us as my son Ozzy threw a frozen bait herring in the air. The fish landed about 30 feet from our boat and this amazing bald eagle swooped down and grabbed that fish right in front of all of us!

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard

Stop 2: Juneau

It’s the capital of Alaska don’t “Juneau!”? Dad jokes aside, it was really cool to go to a city only reachable by boat or plane. We had originally planned to zip line here, but someone (me!) was too heavy to go. So we scrambled and ended up doing a 12-person canoe trip in a lake which happens to have a glacier running into it.

Highlights: paddling up to about 300 yards away (for safety) from Mendenhall Glacier which was spectacular. Paddling near a waterfall called Nugget falls and getting sprayed just a little with 35 degree water.

Lowlights: Some people don’t paddle much or with everyone else, therefore making it harder to paddle across a two mile wide lake.

Did I mention the water was 35 degrees? Yeah it was cold on the lake despite the 65 degree day.

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard

Stop 3: Haines

Bald eagles, bald eagles, and more bald eagles. Due to our encounter with the bald eagle on the fishing trip, we were a little spoiled but still enjoyed our float trip down the Chilkat River in the Eagle Preserve. We were lucky enough to share a raft with flying Jayhawks Virginia Crane and Joan Treece.

Our pilot was Dr. Scott Ramsey, and if you ever go on this adventure, make sure he’s your guide. Not only was he knowledgeable, but he was funny and put up with our incessant questions and quest for the perfect river rock to take as a souvenir. There are only about 2,500 residents in Haines, and most of them leave for the winter, so there isn’t a whole lot to do there besides fish. And there’s always fishing. If you get bored of fishing, there’s fishing there. They pride themselves on being “salmon snobs” there. There are certain types of salmon they just won’t eat. Here’s a hint: most of that type of salmon is what we eat in the lower 48 states.

Oh yeah, and we saw about 60 bald eagles!

At sea sailing up to Hubbard Glacier: we had to keep our distance from the glacier as it routinely “calves” ice bergs the size of ten story buildings! We didn’t see any that big, but there were several small ones during our visit. This glacier is about 76 miles long and growing! By 2025 it’s predicted that it will close off the bay we were in entirely.

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard

This day was absolutely eye candy. The sky was perfectly blue the entire time, which we were told is rare in that area. The glacier sparkled in the sun, the icebergs we floated past were amazing. One even broke in half right in front of the ship, revealing its center which looked like gemstones. The ice is 400 years old, and has been compressed so much the air is mostly pushed out, which is why it has that color.

After getting an eyeful and filling our cameras memories with pictures, we sailed away to our next stop. The temperature was in the 70’s which meant that in the protected pool area in the top/middle of the ship it felt like 80’s. Of course a few of us got our swimsuits on and enjoyed the hot tub, sailing away from a glacier, in Alaska.

Not a bad day.

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard

Stop 4: Icy Straight Point in Hoonah

This was my favorite stop. This island features tides that change up to 30 feet four times a day. When our ship docked at 7 a.m., we were able to walk the gangplank to the new dock to get to land. Within an hour, the tide dropped so much that the gangplank was unusable and guests had to board tenders (lifeboats) to get to shore until the tide returned later in the afternoon. We boarded a tram to take a ride through rainforest (yes, rainforest. The Tongass National Park in Alaska is the largest national forest in America. It is also Earths largest temperate rainforest. And my kids thought they were just on this cruise to have fun.) Our team stopped near the “beach” which was a rocky shoreline. We looked for rocks and chatted with the locals from our tram. Then we headed back to where we started for a show.

The natives here are the Tlingit tribe. They were natives of a different area across the bay, but according to their oral history they were pushed off of their native land by a glacier and had to settle here. The show was performed by high school aged descendants of the tribe, mostly full blooded members, and narrated by an elder member. Because they hold their history sacred, we were not allowed to video or take pictures of the show, which I thought was very special. They danced, we danced, we listened, and we enjoyed their wonderful history.

This place was also home to the world’s largest “ZipRider” which is a harness version of zip lining. Guess who wasn’t allowed to go again? Yep, the giant guy. Not only was I too heavy but the girl working it said it didn’t matter because I was too tall as well. Giant problems…

On our walk back to the ship we stopped to talk with our fellow Jayhawks who had settled down near the ocean with a pitcher of beer to muse about the show we had just witnessed. My son was skipping rocks into the ocean just ahead when three whales breached about 25 feet off shore right in front of him! We ran down, cameras in hand and got a picture of one of the whales flukes (tails). This shows how close to shore they were.

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard
How were they this close, you ask? Many years ago glaciers carved deep trenches in this area. This made it so that just off shore the ocean floor can be as deep as 800 feet!

From learning about a culture I didn’t know existed to their land and its climate to whales popping up to say hello just a few feet away, yeah, definitely my favorite stop!

Stop 5: Sitka

Sitka was founded by Russians. Although my family was annoyed, other people at least tolerated the giant guy who wouldn’t stop talking with the bad Russian accent. We spent most of the day aboard a boat spotting whales, otters, sea lions, dolphins and yes, more bald eagles. Due to our earlier experiences with both the eagles and the whales, we were again a little spoiled on this trip.

Although it was nice, we wish we had spent the day in Sitka learning about the city and its history. We didn’t have enough time to do so after our trip due to needing to be back on the ship so our Sitka experience was limited.

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard

As you might guess, I won best dressed at the Big 12 discussion panel.

The topics included the NCAA, the big 12, television and its impact on amateur athletics, as well as AAU and its effect on basketball specifically (I hate it). There were great points brought up and debates had.

Last stop: Victoria BC

We boarded a bus and got a wonderful tour of some highlights of Victoria on the way to the Burchart Gardens. The area used to be a rock quarry once upon a time and once the limestone was all taken out was abandoned. Well the Burcharts of the early 1900’s wouldn’t have that and created this: “The sunken garden”.

I never thought I would appreciate walking through several different gardens and so many flowers, but it smelled wonderful and the sun was shining (every day of this trip but one!), in fact I was wearing a tank top and shorts! On the way back our bus went through downtown and next to the bay which made us wish we had more time to spend in that beautiful city. Therefore, like Sitka, it will probably be a future stop for the Pollards.

It made a great last stop though and provided a great “frame” for our trip. (Sorry, one last dad joke).

Glacial Alaska Scot Pollard

If you haven’t considered a trip with the Flying Jayhawks, do so. If you have considered it, pull the trigger. You will not regret it. We had a blast getting to know our fellow alumni and experiencing the wonders and history of Alaska with them. Oceania cruise line is the best cruise line I’ve been on from the food to the service to the accommodations. A trip with perfect weather, venues, nature, and travel companions? Yes, sign me up again! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

The Flying Jayhawks trip “Big 12 Glacial Alaska” took place July 13-23, 2018, and was hosted by Scot Pollard! View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.

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Trio of famous Jayhawks to call Final Four action

Posted on Mar 29, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Rob Riggle unveiling Charlie Hustle shirt | Kansas Teamcast announcers

Jayhawks, your wishes have been granted: You can watch the the Final Four with announcers who love the Jayhawks as much as you do.

When KU plays Villanova in the Final Four Saturday night, tune in to TNT to watch the Kansas TeamCast. It will feature familiar faces Dave Armstrong, Scot Pollard and Rob Riggle breaking down the action.

TeamCast presentations are telecasts tailored to the schools participating in the Final Four national semifinals. The concept brings local flavor to the game with additional cameras and team-centric replays, custom halftimes, comprehensive team and player storylines and more.

Armstrong, ’83, will serve as the play-by-play announcer, which he’s done for the Jayhawks since 1993. He’s also served in the same role for multiple professional sports teams.

Pollard, d’97, partners with Armstrong as the color analyst. He’ll provide a unique perspective after a four-year career as a member of the Kansas men’s basketball team. Pollard finished his career in KU’s top 5 in rebounds and blocked shots and spent 12 years in the NBA.

Riggle, c’93, rounds out the team by reporting from the sideline on head coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks. (No word yet on how serious the KU actor and comedian will take his job.)

The regular telecast will be available on TBS, with Villanova’s TeamCast airing on truTV. Tip is expected to be 7:49 p.m. CDT Saturday night, or 40 minutes after the conclusion of the Michigan-Loyola Chicago game which begins at at 5:09 p.m.

If Scot Pollard’s enthusiasm in a video he posted to Facebook is a preview, the trio of Jayhawks are sure to have a fun night—as will we!

Visit the ’Hawks ’n Hoops postseason hub for more information, and don’t miss additional Final Four coverage from Lawrence, San Antonio, and alumni networks around the country.

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Jayhawks in the News | June 16

Posted on Jun 16, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

#KSProud: Deaf Derby native defies odds with audiology doctorate from KU | KWCH.com

Derby native Casey Combs walked across the stage at KU earlier this month, as she earned her Doctorate in Audiology. Casey is profoundly, or totally for a more practical term, deaf.
Read full article and watch video

What a journey: Bryan Sperry is a former KU football player & World War II veteran | Four States Home Page

Bryan Sperry made national headlines two years ago at the KU football alumni game scoring a touchdown. The World War II veteran also spent 35 years at Pittsburg State as a math professor.
Watch video.

A step toward greater diversity: New business school camp reaches out to under-represented populations | LJWorld.com

The Summer Venture in Business program is open to high-achieving 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade minority students or those who would be the first in their families to attend college. Former KU student body president Stephonn Alcorn and his Student Senate coalition had proposed such a camp last year as one way to help increase campus diversity.
Read full article.

Devonté Graham and current Jayhawks edge KU alumni team 82-75 in scrimmage | Kansas City Star

The alumni team included Ben McLemore, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Perry Ellis and Keith Langford, to name a handful of former KU stars.
Read full article.

Tom Eblen, mentor to a generation of KU journalists, remembered as ‘old-school teacher’ | LJWorld.com

Tom Eblen, who mentored a generation of journalists as general manager and news adviser for the University Daily Kansan, died Saturday at age 80 in Prairie Village. As general manager and adviser of the Daily Kansan, Eblen oversaw the newspaper’s business affairs and provided lasting advice to students on writing and editing.
Read full article.

Scot Pollard tells Bill Self ‘my ’97 team would dominate any of your teams’ | Kansas City Star

Former KU big man Scot Pollard tells current Jayhawks coach Bill Self that his teams would beat Self’s more current teams at the KVC Hero Luncheon on Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Watch video.

Rock Chalk Roundball Classic turns into ‘KU Day’ at Lawrence Free State High’s gym | Kansas City Star

Perry Ellis was one of the many fan favorites participating in an exhibition game that featured more than 40 former KU players and coaches including 12 members of Kansas’ 2008 national title squad.
Read full article.

Former KU vice chancellor dies at 91 | University Daily Kansan

Robert Cobb, a University faculty member and administrator for over 30 years, passed away last week at the age of 91. In his time at the University, Cobb was an English professor, department head, dean, executive vice chancellor, professor emeritus and more.
Read full article.

Kings host College Player of the Year Frank Mason for second pre-draft workout | ABC10.com

The Sacramento Kings hosted a second pre-draft workout on Wednesday with last season’s National College Player of the Year – Kansas’ point guard Frank Mason III. Upon arriving in Sacramento on Tuesday, Mason caught the attention of social media for inviting a Jayhawks fan to meet him at his downtown hotel.
Read full article and watch video.

Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | September 23

Posted on Sep 23, 2016 in Alumni News and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our weekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

University graduate achieves success through body painting | University Daily Kansan

For Elsa Rhae, body painter and 2013 University graduate in film and media studies, her senior year involved one fateful decision: which elective to take in order to fulfill her degree. Rhae, c’13, was featured on the cover of issue No. 5, 2014, of Kansas Alumni magazine.
Read full article

Good news liberal-arts majors: Your peers probably won’t outearn you forever | The Wall Street Journal

Andy Anderegg, g’10, is featured in this article as a liberal arts success story. After receiving a master’s degree in fine arts from KU, Anderegg landed a job as a writer at Groupon and quickly climbed her way up the ladder.
Read full article

Kevin Harlan made a call for the ages Monday of a fan running on the field | Kansas City Star

Kevin Harlan, a KU School of Journalism alumnus, was a trending topic on Twitter and in sports blogs after his memorable call during the Rams-49ers game Monday, Sept. 12.
Read full article and watch video.

University alumnae show off design work in Iowa State exhibition | University Daily Kansan

An interactive exhibit created by Allison Metzger and Catherine Reinhart will be shown at the Iowa State University Design on Main Gallery in Ames from Oct. 1 to 31. The exhibit was funded through an Indiegogo campaign.
Read full article

Governer Sam Brownback Makes Judicial Appointment to the 21st District Court | Public

Grant Bannister, l’97, of Manhattan was appointed as a district judge in the 21st district court. He is currently in private practice as a partner with Knopp & Bannister PA.
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Scot Pollard has ties to his character in feature film “The Profit” | University Daily Kansan

Former Kansas basketball player and ex-NBA star Scot Pollard, d’97, has been teammates with many people, but now he has teamed up with filmmaker and University film professor Kevin Willmott for a feature film titled “The Profit,” which premieres at Liberty Hall Sept. 24.
Read full article

Stephanie Quincy wll chair Quarles & Brady Labor & Employment Group | AZBigMedia

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP named Phoenix partner Stephanie Quincy, l’91, as chair of the Phoenix office’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. Quincy was named to the 2014 list of “Top 25 Women” in Arizona by Southwest Super Lawyers.
Read full article

Throwback Thursday Podcast: Micah Brown | Kansas Athletics

Take a stroll down memory lane with Brian Hanni, the voice of the Kansas Jayhawks, as he catches up with former football player Micah Brown, c’09, as part of his Throwback Thursday podcast.
Read transcript or listen to podcast

Becky Mandelbaum wins the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction | University of Georgia Press

Becky Mandelbaum, c’13, has been named this year’s winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and her collection of short stories will be published by the University of Georgia Press. Mandelbaum’s Bad Kansas will be available from the UGA Press in fall 2017.
Read full article

T-Rob goes to Hollywood: Former Jayhawk signs with Lakers | KUSports.com

The Los Angeles Lakers and former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, ’13, agreed to a one-year deal; Robinson joins a full roster that includes fellow Jayhawk Tarik Black, who, in July, signed a two-year, $13 million deal to stay in Los Angeles.
Read full article

College basketball: New assistant, former Jayhawk Aaron Miles likes FGCU atmosphere | Naples Daily News

Former KU point guard Aaron Miles, c’05, is settling in as an assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he’s working under former KU men’s basketball assistant coach Joe Dooley.
Read full article

Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawk bond continues after college

Posted on Feb 17, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Scot Pollard originally didn’t want to attend college anywhere east of California.

He took a few recruiting trips, and he verbally committed to Arizona. Then, he made a trip to Kansas.

“Late Night,” he says. “Come on, you just cannot touch walking in that building, there’s nothing like it in the whole world.”

And if you’ve ever been in Allen Fieldhouse, you know what he means. Fortunately, the atmosphere at the University of Kansas convinced him that this was the place to be, and Jayhawk fans for years have embraced the colorful character that is Scot Pollard, black fingernail polish and all.

That bond continues beyond college.

“The unique family atmosphere that you have when you go to the University of Kansas…it’s really grown even more, because everywhere I go in the whole world, and I’ve been around the world, I’ve stayed in a lot of different places, I’ve had some very unique experiences, it’s just different being a Jayhawk,” Pollard, d’97, explains.

He describes attending a Pacers game last year when Ben McLemore played. “I don’t know if I’ve ever shaken Ben McLemore’s hand, but he knows who I am, and I know who he is, and we know we have that common bond,” he says. “We’re in a family of Jayhawks.”

Jayhawk fans will have another opportunity to watch Scot Pollard—he’s a contestant on season 32 of the popular reality show “Survivor,” which premieres Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. CT.

Watch our latest video below:

 

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One Bad Game: Paul Pierce remembers ’97

Posted on Mar 31, 2015 in Alumni News and News

In a blog post titled “One Bad Loss” Paul Pierce shared his memories of the one that got away in 1997, and for Pierce, ’99, KU’s epic upset loss to Arizona still stings.

“Our team was just about unstoppable that season — we started the year 22-0,” Pierce noted. “ESPN was calling us the national title favorites. Our only loss during the regular season was against Mizzou in double OT, and we beat them by double-digits the next two times we faced them.”

The 1996-97 Jayhawks featured a line-up many consider the best in KU’s storied history, including future NBA stars like Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz and Scot Pollard, along with Jacque Vaughn, Jerod Hasse, Ryan Robertson and Billy Thomas to boot.

“We entered the 1997 NCAA tournament that year as the No. 1 overall seed and won our first two games convincingly. In the Sweet 16, we were set to face No. 4 Arizona. We had beaten them the previous season in the Sweet 16, so I felt like we were ready.”

But fate has a funny way of manifesting itself, and as KU relished the role of Cinderella in ’88, it would experience the madness of March in ’97 running headlong into eventual NCAA Tournament Champion Arizona, which had a date with destiny. Despite a thrilling comeback, KU would fall by three points, as a last-second shot clanged off the rim. As bad as the loss was for the rest of the team to take, it might have been harder on Pierce. Like all champions, Pierce wanted the ball in that clutch situation, and he remains haunted by those final seconds in which he never touched the ball.

Roy Williams in the UDK via kualumni.org

A University Daily Kansan clipping captured the heartbreaking loss

“Coming all the way back from a big deficit and me not having a crack at the final shot made it hurt that much worse. I just remember crying in the locker room after that game. All of us were crying — the entire team was completely devastated. To us, it was a wasted season.”

KU Alumni and fans also shed tears along with Head Coach Roy Williams, who would call it the most painful loss of his coaching career. But as Pierce concluded, that’s why they call it March Madness.

“The tournament is unforgiving. If you have one bad game, that’s it. Throughout my career I’ve had many losses, but all these years later, this is one that still stings.”

Pierce’s full post, including pictures and video clips, can be read online at theplayerstribune.com. Danny Manning’s reflection on the ’88 championship, titled “It’s Over,” was featured earlier this year.

– David Johnston

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Student leaders experience Rock Chalk Ball firsthand

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 in Alumni News and News

SALB members help out at Rock Chalk Ball 2014Student Alumni Leadership Board members had a blast working the 19th annual Rock Chalk Ball. This year’s theme was Jayhawks and Juleps, and seersucker suits, bright colors and derby hats were all on display. SALB members spent the night manning the auction tables and interacting with KU alumni.

“This year’s Rock Chalk Ball was so fun,” said Rachel Volk, SALB’s vice president for alumni relations. “I enjoyed being able to help organize this event for SALB members.”

Not only is Rock Chalk Ball a lot of fun, it’s a great opportunity for SALB members to see the strong community of KU alumni. With more than 900 Jayhawks in attendance, SALB members met all sorts of KU celebrities.

“I am a huge Celtics fan, so being able to meet Scot Pollard was the highlight of my night,” SALB member Madison Flint said.

Another KU celebrity students enjoyed talking with was Dean Neeli. She has so much enthusiasm and support for KU that being in her presence makes students feel empowered.

At the end of the night SALB members headed back to Lawrence and put another Rock Chalk Ball down in the books. It was a night to remember, and we can’t wait to see what next year’s event has in store.

–Autrin Naderi, vice president of communications, Student Alumni Leadership Board

SALB members at Rock Chalk Ball 2014

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