Stan Bush of Skagway went to Syracuse University to learn how to be a sportscaster.
He didn't expect to write his own "Rudy" story.
Despite coming from a high school with no football program and having no experience besides flag football games, Bush completed a 6-week tryout program last winter and was one of four players invited to become walk-ons with the Orangemen. Bush, a redshirt freshman, dresses as a wide receiver for Syracuse home games - he wears No. 83 - and would have traveled with the team if Syracuse made a bowl game. Unfortunately, the Orangemen's bowl hopes were dashed last weekend when they lost to Rutgers to drop to 5-6 with one game remaining against Notre Dame.
When asked how he compared his story to Rudy's, Bush said there's one important distinction his story has with that of Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger, the mid-1970s Notre Dame walk-on player featured in the movie "Rudy."
"He had more football background than I do," Bush said. "I feel like I have more potential."
When he attended Skagway School, Bush played basketball and ran cross country. His only football experience came in the occasional flag football game.
While in high school, Bush developed a love of sports journalism. He submitted newspaper stories to the Skagway News and Juneau Empire, and he helped call Skagway games for KHNS radio. In order to pursue his dream of being a sportscaster, Bush chose Syracuse's Newhouse School of Journalism, which produced Bob Costas, Brent Musberger and other prominent announcers. He thought he was done with competitive sports when he entered Syracuse in 2002.
"When you get out of high school sports, you get out of the competitive mode," said Bush, who is a sophomore academically. "I was looking to be competitive every day. I saw they were allowing walk-ons and I decided it was something I wanted to do. I was going to the gym two times a week to lift and play basketball, and I talked to some of the guys about what I'd have to do."
In mid-January, Bush and about 20 others took part in a tryout camp that lasted until the end of February. Bush said he'd get up every morning at 5:30 so he could walk a half-mile to catch the bus. Then he'd run for an hour with the team before heading to class. Three times a week there were afternoon practices. Since he made the team, he's added film sessions and other team commitments.
"I was too short to play basketball, especially on a team that won last year's national championship and had the No. 3 (NBA) draft pick (Carmelo Anthony)," Bush said. "I always felt I could play."
Now that he's on the team, Bush is part of "an army of wide receivers." He hasn't seen any action yet, but he feels with work he might eventually make the traveling roster in a couple of years. Besides football and his classes, Bush also has been volunteering with the student television station so his schedule is full. He said making the team has given him an added perspective that will help his broadcasting.
"It's been an incredible learning process," Bush said. "When I was going through the tryout process we didn't watch film. My playbook is the size of the Yellow Pages. We've got 135 plays in 45 formations with 18 pre-snap movements. As a wide receiver you have to know the playbook almost as well as the quarterback."
Growing up in Skagway, Bush didn't have the opportunity to play high school football. But he doesn't regret it. His family moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., after Bush graduated from high school, and during the summer Bush was a conductor for a tourist train in Santa Cruz. Bush said he'd like to get back to Skagway, but it's difficult with his current schedule.
"Being in Skagway offered me some incredible opportunities," Bush said. "I got to do a lot that I might not have been able to do if I'd grown up somewhere else. I was a sports broadcaster on the radio, and Jeff Brady (the Skagway News publisher) let me write sports stories for him. I really got to do a lot."
Northern Arizona senior offensive left guard Matt Cary (Juneau-Douglas) has started every game at left guard this season as the Lumberjacks made the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. The Lumberjacks (9-3) routed top-ranked McNeese State 35-3 in Saturday's opening round of the playoffs. They will play Florida Atlantic in the quarterfinals this Saturday.
Western Washington junior tight end Rick Carte (Juneau-Douglas) was a unanimous first-team selection to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference football team. Carte had 17 receptions for 158 yards and five touchdowns this year. He also made the academic all-conference team as a business management major. Carte tied a school record with three touchdowns in a 34-20 victory over Humboldt State on Nov. 1.
Minnesota-Crookston sophomore center Bret Russell (Juneau-Douglas) was with the Golden Eagles for his second season.
Eastern Oregon University had two Southeast players (both Juneau-Douglas) on the roster - redshirt freshman Brett Fairchild was listed as a quarterback, but he changed his number to a defensive lineman's and only appeared in the defensive stats, while redshirt freshman Jake Miller was listed as a tight end but also only showed up in the defensive stats.
Orange Coast College sophomore Jake Dutton (Juneau-Douglas) played running back for the Pirates this season after being a wide receiver last season. Sophomore Emil West (Juneau-Douglas) was an offensive lineman for the team.
Valley City State University freshman Mike Loucks (Sitka) was a defensive lineman for the Vikings. Loucks is one of 20 Alaskans on the roster for the North Dakota-based team.
University of Washington junior Michael Kohan (Juneau-Douglas) rowed in the Huskies' women's varsity eight boat at the end of the fall season. She rowed in the three seat as Washington took fifth place in the women's varsity eight division in the Head of the Lake Regatta in Seattle on Nov. 9. She rowed in the seven seat as the Huskies' junior varsity eight boat won the Portland Loop Regatta on Oct. 24.
Stanford University freshman shortstop Joe Ayers (Juneau-Douglas) went 2-for-3 with a double as the current Cardinal squad won Stanford's fall alumni game 17-4 on Oct. 19. In old-timers alumni game, former State of Alaska attorney general Charlie Cole hit a double as the 1953 College World Series team won 12-2.
University of San Francisco freshman Zach Kohan (Juneau-Douglas) tried out for and made the Dons' roster as a walk-on infielder. Freshman pitcher Evan Scandling (Juneau-Douglas) also tried out, but didn't make the team.
University of Colorado sophomore alpine skier Sarah Fischer (a Juneau resident who attended Rowmark Academy in Salt Lake City) was featured as a model in the Nov. 4 issue of Ski Racing magazine (http://www.skiracing.com), where she demonstrated several of the Buffs' exercises using medicine balls.
Montana State University junior Hilary Turner (Juneau-Douglas) is on the alpine ski team for the Bobcats.
Former University of Alaska Juneau ski coach Tom Olson is in his 13th year as head coach at Whitman College, leading the Missionaries to six straight U.S. Collegiate Ski Association combined national titles from 1995-2000.
Auburn University senior Derek Gibb (Petersburg graduate, family lives in Juneau) took third place in the 100-yard freestyle and was on Auburn's B team that took second place in the 200-yard medley relay during a 149-77 dual-meet victory over Alabama on Nov. 21. In a dual meet with No. 7 Michigan on Nov. 7, Gibb helped top-ranked Auburn claim a 130-108 victory and was a member of the Tigers' winning 400-meter medley relay team. Gibb took fourth place in the 50 free at last year's NCAA meet, won by Auburn, and competed this summer in the World University Games.
Colby College freshman Weather Potdevin (Juneau-Douglas) was a member of Colby's winning 400-yard freestyle relay team during a victory over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Nov. 22.
Linfield College sophomore Annie Fox (Juneau-Douglas) was the Wildcats' second-fastest sprint freestyle specialist last season as a freshman.
University of Tampa sophomore Teri Jo Hasbrouck (Petersburg) is a butterfly-backstroke specialist for the Spartans.
Western Illinois senior Travis Watson (Sitka) is a breaststroke-individual medley specialist for the Leathernecks.
Former Sitka resident Roderick Wilmont (who finished high school in Miramar, Fla.) scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Indiana University during a 73-58 loss to Vanderbilt on Nov. 24. Wilmont, who lived in Sitka for five years and left after his freshman year at Sitka High School, is a redshirt freshman guard for the Hoosiers.
Shoreline Community College freshman guard Devin Edenshaw (Hydaburg) scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists during a season-opening 88-78 loss to Green River Community College on Nov. 22.
Junior guard Mitch Snyder (Skagway) is a recent transfer to Dickinson State University in North Dakota. Last year, Snyder played for Peninsula College in Washington, averaging 12.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game.
Freshman guard Karl Stedman (Sitka) is playing for the College of the Redwoods Corsairs.
University of Alaska Fairbanks features two Southeast players on its women's team - junior guards Adrienne Taalak (Mount Edgecumbe) and Courtney Mason (Juneau-Douglas/Skagway) - and two Southeast players on the men's team - freshmen swingmen Bryan Hamey (Juneau-Douglas) and Darren Edenshaw (Hydaburg). Mason was one of 47 UAF students honored for their academic performance in the "Nanook Walk" on Nov. 5. Mason is an elementary education major.
Central Washington University sophomore wing-forward Amber Beardslee (Petersburg) is playing for the Wildcats after transferring from the University of Portland two years ago.
Linfield College sophomore Ryan Monagle (Juneau-Douglas) is a member of the Wildcats' men's basketball team.
Whitman College senior Casey Nelson (Ketchikan) is a power forward for the Missionaries' men's basketball team who averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds a game last season.
Gustavus Adolphus College freshman Alex Sadighi (Juneau-Douglas) was a member of the school's tennis team this season.
Former Juneau resident Seva Iwinski (who now lives in Marietta, Ga.) is a sophomore on the Texas A&M tennis team during the fall season. Iwinski played both singles and doubles for the Aggies last spring when they made the NCAA Tournament.
The Juneau Empire's College Corner feature runs periodically during the school year and is compiled by sports editor Charles Bingham from school Web sites and tips from readers, coaches and parents. If you know of any other college athlete from Southeast Alaska who should be included in the feature, please let us know. You can fax information to 586-3028 (attention Sports), or you can e-mail the information to firstname.lastname@example.org (please do not send text attachments).