In the late 1990s, the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Amateur Hockey Association hired Kimberly Knight, a local accountant whose son played in the program, to help keep its books. By 2001, she was treasurer of the organization made up mostly of parents and volunteers who annually raised significant funds. Three years ago, the association was shocked to learn its bank account had been cleaned out, and an investigation revealed Knight had stolen $934,000. Knight’s sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of felony embezzlement? Probation, $75,000 upfront in restitution, and a monthly payment of $1,500 to the association. Steve Delsohn reports on how a hockey mom embezzled nearly $1 million dollars and might never spend a day behind bars.
“You can’t continue to run a small nonprofit as if it’s a backyard lemonade stand. We find ourselves in very difficult circumstances financially. This is a woman that stole 98 percent of the assets of this organization.” — Mike Reid, new Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association VP
“Not to detract from what my client did and obviously she did wrong, but that opportunity was enhanced specifically by the lack of oversight and the lack of financial skills that the directors exercised.” — Michael LeGris, Kimberly Knight’s attorney
Darryl Dawkins Goes to College
College GameDay (Saturday 11 a.m., ESPN)
Thirty-five years ago, 18-year-old Darryl Dawkins became the first high school player to skip college, get drafted and go directly to the NBA, paving the way for the likes of Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The 6-foot-11 Dawkins was expected to become the next Wilt Chamberlain, but became more famous for his nickname, “Chocolate Thunder,” his dunks and his exuberant personality. The perception by some was that Dawkins never took the game seriously, and that his maturation was hampered because he did not attend college. ESPN.com’s Tom Friend reports on Dawkins, now back in school as a basketball coach at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Pennsylvania.
“I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t look back and say, There’s Chocolate Thunder, there’s Darryl Dawkins, I want to do like he did.’ No. Do like I say. I took the lumps and bumps to be able to tell you, ‘Do like I said.’” – Darryl Dawkins
“School is tough these days at this age, school is tough. This is the right time for Darryl Dawkins to come to college, at 53. Going to get my books in order, probably going to wind up taking a class or two eventually at ‘L Tri- C’ because if your guys see you taking a class and you getting there besides coaching, they could follow.” – Darryl Dawkins
ESPN.com (early next week)
Excerpt from piece by ESPN.com’s Tom Friend:
“The year 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of Darryl Dawkins becoming the first high school player drafted into the NBA… It wasn’t always easy for Dawkins, who underachieved with the Philadelphia 76ers and became known more as a dunker than a dependable basketball player. The irony, 35 years later, is that Dawkins is finally in college – as the first-year, tough-minded head coach of Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, Pa. He is already a larger-than-life figure at the school, and, when President Obama visited the campus for a town hall meeting in December, Obama sought out ‘Chocolate Thunder’’ so they could take a picture together. So this story is how Darryl Dawkins finally pulled himself together, got serious and went to school.”
Colts Fan Takes Autographs to a New Level
NFL Countdown (Sunday, 11 a.m., ESPN)
Matt Ellis, a 38-year-old human resources staffing specialist from Indiana, so loves the Indianapolis Colts that a few years ago he set out on a mission to get an autograph from each member of the Colts Super Bowl XLI-winning roster. Ellis’ task is well underway – he has 34 of the 53 autographs he has been seeking. But Ellis doesn’t display the prized signatures in a scrapbook or a picture frame — he wears them. In a most unusual display of fan devotion, Ellis has the autographs penned on his body and then turned into tattoos. Chris Connelly has the story.
“For those people out there that think I’m crazy for getting these permanently inked on me, it’s about the journey that I’m going through. The moments that I get to share with each and every single one of the Super Bowl champs out there, it’s that one-on-one time that I get to cherish with them. I’ll forever remember those moments.” – Matt Ellis
Saints: The Soul of New Orleans
NFL Countdown (Sunday, 11 a.m., ESPN)
New Orleans is jazz music in the French Quarter, beignets at Café du Monde and a city rebuilding in a post-Hurricane Katrina world. The soul of New Orleans is in its defiant, beating heart — its football team. With the Saints hosting their first NFC Championship game and one game away from their first Super Bowl the soul of this city is very much alive, as ESPN.com & ESPN The Magazine senior writer Wright Thompson, a Gulf Coast native himself, found out.
Rex Ryan’s Swagger Leads Jets
The Jets say their revival has everything to do with Rex Ryan. Elizabeth Merrill reports.
Welterweight Champ Andre Berto