As Cardinal Stritch football players begin preparations for the 2008 season, they have two White Knights to thank for helping the program rebuild its momentum.
One source is from within — new head coach Andre Hampton. The other is from a relatively new media source — ToledoSportsRadio.com, an internet broadcasting operation owned and operated by 1981 Stritch graduate Mike Jamieson.
Hampton's football career is impressive. A native of San Bernadino, California, Hampton came to the Buckeye State to play college football for Ohio State. He assisted the Buckeyes in their victory over Texas A&M in the 1999 Sugar Bowl championship.
After leaving the Buckeyes, Hampton played and coached at Ohio Northern University, where his teams set school records for most wins in a season and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III national playoffs. He also served as an assistant at Defiance College and most recently, at Central Catholic.
Jamieson cares about Stritch athletics so much, his broadcasting operation plans to carry play-by-play coverage of every Stritch football game for the second straight season. He and Stritch athletic director Chris Fahim have commented on the new discipline Hampton brings to the Cardinal program.
"Coach Hampton brings great attributes to our program that will help instill hard work, character, discipline, and family within our student-athletes," Fahim, a former Stritch gridirion coach, said. "His passion for football will help create enthusiasm for our program, and help restore a sense of pride for all who are affiliated with the Stritch family."
Jamieson commented on his Wednesday evening regional sports talk show, "A Three-for-All," on how Hampton's enthusiasm was being reflected "in the eyes" of Stritch players in summer camps. Bringing a Buckeye to the helm could help Stritch become a small-school football power someday, school officials believe.
"His commitment to forming disciples, encouraging hard work, and emphasis on the total education of a young person make him the perfect person for this important job," stated Father David Reinhart, school president. "He brings the attitude, skills, and enthusiasm that are always welcome at Stritch."
Hampton has told Stritch fans in a school release that he promises to earn the players' respect, if nothing else.
"Respect is not given, it is earned," comments Hampton. "I have no doubt that once I've earned their respect, the young men of Stritch will meet and exceed the high standards of excellence that will be demanded of them."
Another White Knight
Stritch's second White Knight, Jamieson, doesn't know how internet broadcasting can help the Cardinals on the gridiron, but it's important for him to remain involved with his alma mater.
Jamieson, whose daughter is currently a freshman at Stritch, was an All-City League basketball player while leading the Cardinals to the Class AA districts. A self-described skinny, 170 pounds “when dripping wet," 6'6 center, he averaged six points a game, but was the one player who could "handle the (taller) City League players."
His senior year, Stritch defeated Libbey, Central, and Waite, but lost by big margins to St. John's and Scott. In the district, Stritch's season ended against a powerful Willard team after Jamieson got into early foul trouble.
"I've had a love for the game. I'd do anything in my entire life to be coaching basketball," Jamieson said. "I've been coaching CYO for 15 years, and I've made it real clear to all the guys over at Stritch that if you ever have anything, I'd be real happy to go over there and even be the ball-washer."
Instead, Jamieson wants to become Stritch's most exclusive media source. Jamieson also plans to broadcast Stritch basketball, and is as impressed with current cage coach Jim Sheehy as much as he is with Hampton.
Sheehy graduated from the Oregon Catholic high school one year ahead of Jamieson.
"There is one thing about Jim Sheehy probably not many people know. He's probably one of the shyest, most soft spoken guys ever put on this earth," Jamieson said. "One thing that Jimmy has always been able to do when he played is, and granted he was a scorer, but he was so defensive-oriented. That is what he's turned that team into and that's his style of basketball. It's just so different today — all 3's and everything like that and he runs some real nice offenses."
Jamieson hopes to expand his sports coverage to Clay, and in the future wants to provide the opportunity for other local prep fans to get involved.
"It doesn't cost anything to do it, and its great public relations. The big thing is when we go out of town. With Stritch last year, we went to Edon, Ohio and it worked out great. They are archived, too, so if people want to listen to them afterwards," Jamieson explained.
"Our goal with this thing is to have 10 different people with laptops and headphones, and we'll put the software on their computer for them and maybe someone will want to do all the Start games, and someone will want to do all the Eastwood games, and so on. They can come to my site, and it can save some money. I want to promote this site the best we can. I have advertisers, where it kind of goes back to old-school radio. We put their logos and everything on our website.
"No one has to change anything on their computer. They click on the link, and boom, we are there. It’s CD quality. Mine is FM-quality stereo. If you listen to it when we do our show, its incredible how clear you can hear it."