Check out our post at Raycom Television Sports’ new Maryland team page, on our all-time Terps’ mens’ basketball team:
We’ll be blogging there much more often as basketball season nears and begins.
Big man also starred for Dale Brown at Utah State:
It’s not too late to thank Ed Epps
By Craig Hislop
Friday, September 11, 2009 2:37 AM CDT
It’s one of his cherished memories.
The moment Ed Epps put Aggie basketball “on the brink” with a wonderfully timed 22-foot jump shot. Tonight as a Washington, D.C. television station airs a live, call-in program about his life, he hopes to last long enough to watch it.
In a slow, hideous spiral, stomach cancer is sucking the life out of Ed. He was supposed to be gone months ago. The disease was discovered in June of 2008.
In his native D.C., he’s coached kids his entire professional life — Adrian Dantley among them — and was still going to work in November when the lousy disease took over.“He had gastric bypass surgery to cut out the cancer,” his sister Rita said Wednesday, “and that’s when the trouble began. He bled on the table; a two-hour surgery went six hours. He went into intensive care, he contracted a virus which left a whole in his stomach, so they treated him for that.”
The last week of August in 2008, he was transferred to a nursing home for rehab, got back to work in November, starting his first round of chemo and radiation at the same time.
“But by then the cancer metastasized to his liver, which is what he is battling now,” Rita said.
Recently Ed had been running a basketball program on Sundays after mass for kids who didn’t necessarily have fathers in their lives. His two sons, Shawn and Denny, helped him.
Severe abdominal pains started in March of this year, and he’s gone progressively downhill since. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds playing alongside Aggie stars Marv Roberts and Nate Williams in the day, Ed rests now in a nursing home in Annendale, Va., at barely 135 pounds.
“Doctors have told us there is nothing they can do,” Rita said, “they’re all amazed he’s still alive.”
Glenn Harris, who once officiated playground games in DC’s Urban Coalition leagues where Epps became a legend, will host tonight’s show on News Channel 8. When Harris and Dantley visited the Leewood Nursing Home in Annendale recently, they realized there was little time left.
Ed had been in Hospice care, but was forced to leave that facility and the family had no money to place him elsewhere.
As an Aggie assistant coach Dale Brown recruited Ed to Utah State. He has since retired in Baton Rouge after a very successful quarter century as LSU’s head coach. When told of Epps’ needs, he promised to pay all expenses for Ed’s care, several thousand dollars a month.
All of this unfolds 39 years after the drama of March 1970, when Ed’s jumper with 13 seconds left beat Santa Clara, 69-68, and put Utah State into the West Regional Championships against UCLA. One game from the Final Four.
Two days later Ed helped get the Aggies out of the gate against the Bruins, scoring 10 points in the first half, but an injury slowed Williams and the Aggies weren’t able to stay with UCLA.
I guess the point of all this is to let you know, if you remember Ed’s Aggie playing days and that quirky little left foot hitch kick on his jump shot, call tonight’s TV show at 6 o’clock mountain time (703-387-1020) and tell Ed he’s your hero.
Everybody likes a thank you note.
I promise you, he’ll be watching.
Craig Hislop is a longtime Cache Valley broadcaster, who can now be heard weekday mornings on KVNU. He is among a number of Cache Valley freelance writers whose columns appear in The Herald Journal as a part of an effort to expose readers to a variety of community voices. He is not an employee of the newspaper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember former Richard Montgomery player and longtime St. Albans Coach Bob Brown? I see he resurfaced at Bullis (his brother Tom’s alma mater):
DCSportsFan.com named him Assistant Coach of the Year in the area.
When college basketball season starts (and probably a little before, given the nature of preseason forecasts, recruiting news and such), I’ll be blogging about Maryland University hoops here: