More importantly, my sister is engaged. Yep, Marian. The one woman in my life who I have and will always defend until the death. Sissy and I have been really close ever since I left for college. We had the typical brother/sister relationship prior to that. We'd yell and scream at each other, thinking it would solve all our problems. It didn't, and we realized talking and communicating would do so. We've been great friends ever since.
So when I heared she was engaged, I wasn't surprised. She's one of my best friends ... I knew what was up. She's got herself a good man too. I haven't spent a lot of time with the guy, but so far he seems like a good enough guy. He loves my sister and treats her well ... that is all I want. As long as he continues to do that, we'll all be great friends. I'm thrilled and happy for the both of them. I look forward to spending more time with them as a couple. Who knows, maybe we'll be the lame little family that always vacations together. Well, the cool little family that always vacations together.
Before i head back to NC for the holiday break, I leave you with a "letter to the editor." Most of you know I spent some time at NIU, working with the Huskies during a period of time where they were the team to beat in the mid-majors. Coach Novak, who is retired now and will be inducted into the Miami University Hall of Fame in February, means so much to so many people. Ward, Flip and I had a special bond with the old ball coach, and the below letter really speaks to how we feel about his retirment from NIU. I credit Ward for his words ... although, as good as they are I feel like i should credit someone else. Regardless, they are powerful words that speak volumes for the people who worked with Joe at NIU.
Michael, thanks for sharing this with the world. Maybe ... just maybe, you aren't such a stupid bastard after all ....
The family of Northern Illinois University football coach Joe Novak has left a lasting impression.
It was October 2001, and I was packing up to take my first full-time job, as assistant director of the Huskie Club at NIU. Family and friends had no clue where NIU was. It took all of us a while to figure out how to pronounce DeKalb.
I settled in at the ripe age of 23, leaving my family behind. I recall meeting Joe Novak and wife Carole at the Kishwaukee Country Club for the coach's weekly show breaking down the previous opponent and giving a scouting report for the upcoming opponent. I remember introducing myself to him, telling him I was here to assist in raising funds, and he offered a gentle smile and said, "We can always use more money."
DeKalb and its people were very special to me and my wife. I was up there with two fellow North Carolinians who both started their careers in athletics at NIU and were welcomed warmly by the Novak family as well. At this time the Huskies were getting ready to achieve unprecedented success. Through 2002, 2003 and 2004 with the successes of his program, no Southern friends of mine had to ask me where DeKalb was. NIU was on the map.
Between coaching and recruiting, Novak and a former major gifts officer were flying all across the U.S. to raise the needed funds for the Yordon Center. Nobody wanted that facility more than he, and this was clearly not for his personal gain but to ensure that Huskie athletics would have the necessary facilities in order to achieve successes for many years to come. As a matter of fact, during his conference Monday he was still selling the fan base and Huskie donors on the need for an indoor practice facility.
Coach Novak and his wife are indeed role models for many people outside football. I certainly have always looked up to them both. They spoiled us with dinners and friendships. We have managed to stay in touch, and I have selfishly looked forward to the day they would settle in North Carolina. We look forward to your arrival and treating you to Pirate football games, sweet tea and barbecue, and good ol' Southern hospitality ... and don't worry, people will know in North Carolina what you did for NIU football.
Happy Holidays to you all. The jaylowe.com awards wil be presented the second week in January. Look out, suckas!