Your humble blogger appeared on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network yesterday afternoon to discuss the evolving story of a possible NCAA investigation of the men's basketball program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
You can hear the conversation by going to the Finebaum Web site, scrolling to the Daily Show Downloads for 3/11 and clicking on Hour No. 2.
Finebaum's show long has enjoyed stellar ratings, and he has been hailed as the most influential sports show host in the Southeast. Sports Illustrated labeled the Finebaum show one of the top 12 sports shows in the country.
On a personal note, Paul and I go back a long way. We've been friends for almost 30 years and worked together for 11 years at the late Birmingham Post-Herald. We joined forces on several big stories, including an award-winning piece on the recruitment of former University of Alabama basketball star Buck Johnson.
The public often sees the bombastic, critical side of Finebaum. But I know him as a nice guy and good friend. Heck, he even drove me home from the oral surgeon's office and checked in on me regularly after I had my wisdom teeth removed many years ago.
I had the pleasure of meeting Paul's late mother several times, and she was a real trip and a genuine character. Mrs. Finebaum was a voracious reader and had a keen mind and sharp wit, with a serious New York influence.
She also was a big sports fan and loved Gene Bartow, who led Memphis State to the NCAA Final Four and later would start the athletics program at UAB.
I can remember her fixing us lunch one day at the Finebaum home in Memphis and saying, "Rahjah, have some mustahd."
"No thanks, Mrs. Finebaum, I don't need any mustard."
"Rahjah, I said have some mustahd."
"Oh OK, on second thought, mustard sounds good," I said.
I had some mustard. And I enjoyed it.
I often hear people compare Finebaum to various talk-show hosts. But I know that the biggest influence on his career has been Gloria Finebaum. Listen closely to his show, and you can hear her influence in most every syllable.
For good measure, Finebaum played a major role in introducing me to the young woman who would become Mrs. Schnauzer.
The Bomber and the Schnauzer know how to work a story, and we're going to be working the UAB story in the coming days.