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Marshall's Big Green fund-raiser a blast

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

I had a blast Wednesday night at the Big Green Scholarship fund-raiser for the Marshall Thundering Herd. It was great sharing time with the talented mentors -- football coach Bob Pruett and basketball coach Greg White -- as well as the voice of Marshall sports, former All-Pro wide receiver Sonny Randle.

QB Byron Leftwich told me that Marshall would "shock the nation" in September when his team faces Florida.
The banquet was held at the school's basketball arena and over 600 fans and boosters were in attendance. They donated mega-dollars to the school's scholarship foundation.

I got to spend some time with a number of the school's athletes. I was very impressed with Byron Leftwich, the brilliant young quarterback of the Thundering Herd. He told me that Marshall would "shock the nation" Sept. 1 when his team goes into Gator Country to face Steve Spurrier's highly touted Florida squad.

I also shared time with the 1-2 hoop tandem of 6-foot-9 Tamar Slay and 6-foot-10 power player J.R. VanHoose. All I can say is Tubby Smith and his Kentucky team have to be ready as Marshall meets the 'Cats in the NABC Classic at the start of next season. The Thundering Herd kids will be ready and this won't be Cupcake City.

VanHoose will be excited to return to the Bluegrass State. He was Mr. Basketball in Kentucky but was bypassed by the Wildcats when it was time to give out scholarships. It should be exciting for him when he goes to Rupp Arena.

White and Pruett have done a superb job of creating enthusiasm for their respective programs. You can feel the excitement on campus for both programs.


People want to know what life is like in the offseason for me. After my visit to Marshall, I flew down to Miami to give a motivational speech to Merrill Lynch financial advisors as part of a seminar held at the beautiful Doral Country Club.

Next week, I will visit Alex Rodriguez down in Arlington. I am looking forward to attending a couple of Texas Rangers games. Anyone who knows me realizes I am a baseball fanatic.

I was thrilled when A-Rod invited me to see him and spend a couple of days. It should be loads of fun, baby!

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