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There’s a Lot of Iron in That 300 Pounds

These days, it seems, uplifting stories are getting harder to come by. Well, here’s one that will be part of the Ironman Triathlon’s taped coverage on NBC Saturday from 1-3 p.m.

Unfortunately, it runs opposite the 12:30 UCLA-USC game on ABC, but there’s always the VCR.

The story involves Darryl Haley, a 34-year-old, 6-foot-6, 300-pound former NFL offensive lineman.

A 300-pounder in the Ironman? Surely a person of such size would not compete in the ultimate endurance test--swimming, biking and running a marathon. Would he?

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If you’re Darryl Haley you would.

Haley, who grew up in Compton, went to Locke High and then on to Utah before spending eight seasons with the New England Patriots, not only competed on Oct. 7 but, amazingly, finished. He barely made it, but he finished. After 17 hours, everybody still running is told to pack it in. Haley’s time was 16 hours 44 minutes.

Haley lives in Mitchellville, Md., where he owns a fitness company, and, no, he has not lost his senses.

So why did he do it?

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He said when the Patriots went to the Super Bowl after the 1985 season, an intestinal condition, a form of colitis, kept him out of the game.

“For me, the Ironman was my Super Bowl,” he said.

How tough was it?

“After I finished the [2 1/2-mile] swim [in 2:13], I knew I would finish,” he said. “That was by far the toughest part. It’s not easy dragging a 300-pound body through ocean water.”

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Haley says he still weighs 300, but, “I have a lot less body fat.”

Will he do it again?

“Absolutely,” he said.

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An iron man of another type is Chick Hearn. Monday marks the 30th anniversary of the last Laker broadcast he missed. On Nov. 20, 1965, a snowstorm in Fayetteville, Ark., where Hearn had announced a USC football game, grounded him and kept from him from making his Laker assignment.

Hearn’s hockey counterpart, Bob Miller, will reach a milestone of his own next Friday when he works his 2,000th King game.

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Somewhat lost in the announcement of baseball’s new television agreement is the arrival of a new major cable player--Fox-Liberty.

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Fox-Liberty, formed by a recent merger, was able to land a four-year national baseball package that begins in 1997 at a reported cost of $47 million a year.

“That was our commencement,” said Peter Barton, Liberty’s chief executive officer.

Steve Bornstein, the president of ESPN, which extended its regular-season agreement with baseball through 2000 and also added postseason baseball, said of Fox-Liberty, “They are a formidable challenger, but bring them on. We’re not going anywhere.”

Harvey Schiller, the president of Turner Sports, said his company, because it has the Braves on TBS, was interested only in postseason baseball.

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Turner has NBA national cable rights tied up for three more seasons after this one and Turner and ESPN have NFL cable rights two more seasons.

But when those rights become available, look for Fox-Liberty to be right there.

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TV-Radio Notes

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Popular Dave Van de Walker, the producer of Dodger radio broadcasts from 1968 until his retirement last season, is in a coma at Glendale Memorial Hospital after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. . . . The San Francisco-Dallas game on Fox last Sunday got a national rating of 21.3, the highest for a regular-season NFL Sunday game since a 22.5 for Chicago defeating Dallas, 44-0, in 1985. . . . Wonder who Fox’s Terry Bradshaw will say has no chance of winning this Sunday, which is what he said of the 49ers last weekend?

The ABC announcers for UCLA-USC will be the “A” team of Keith Jackson and Bob Griese. . . . The game will be broadcast on both KMPC and XTRA. . . . KMPC originally was going to broadcast only weekend USC basketball games, but commentator-packager Mike Lamb reports the station has agreed to carry almost all of them.

Golf department: Today’s first round of the Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks will be on ESPN, with the weekend rounds on CBS. Coverage begins all three days at 12:30 p.m. Sean McDonough, best known for play-by-play, has been added to CBS’ golf broadcast team. . . . NBC has the taped Skills Challenge this weekend, and during Saturday’s show, competitor Peter Jacobsen, who sometimes is also a commentator, says of the media’s coverage of the Ryder Cup: “The media judged the players during qualifying, they judged us when we were playing and they judged us afterward, all quite cruelly.” What does he propose, less coverage?

The Utah-Detroit NBA game tonight at 5 on TNT marks Turner Broadcasting’s first regular-season telecast of a game involving new Piston Coach Doug Collins, a Turner commentator the past seven seasons. . . . Tuesday’s Chicago-Orlando game on TNT got a 3.4 rating, the network’s second-highest. TNT got a 5.1 for Chicago-New York last season when Michael Jordan scored 55 points in one of his first games back.

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Congratulations to Channel 9 sportscaster Tom Murray and cameraman-editor Jodie Mena for an excellent piece on Jerry Quarry, which was shown Monday. It showed Quarry, who is suffering from dementia, with his mother and sister in Atascadero. He shadow-boxed, jumped rope and kept singing the Elvis Presley song, “Just Love Me,” but he was not able to do an interview. However, Murray reported that Quarry is doing considerably better since he was taken off medication. Murray said anyone who wants to help can call the Jerry Quarry Foundation at (909) 927-1005.

Charles Kuralt, former CBS news correspondent, will serve as host of a 90-minute special chronicling the eight-month, around-the-world journey of five disabled cyclists and one able-bodied cyclist at 1:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. One of the disabled riders is David Cornelsen of Huntington Beach. . . . NBC now appears to have the game of the year on Thanksgiving at 1 p.m., Kansas City at Dallas. Fox has Minnesota at Detroit at 9:30 a.m. . . . Maybe you’ve heard of the Classic Sports Network but can’t get it. Well, on Thanksgiving, Prime will carry Classic Sports Network programming, beginning at 4:30 p.m. It will be interrupted at 8:30 for a repeat of Prime’s coverage of the “Greatest 100 Moments in Los Angeles Sports History” affair last Sunday night, a show that was very well done.


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