WASHINGTON, D.C. - On a day when the Bowl Championship Series national championship game dominated the headlines on ESPN.com, the worldwide leader in sports, an emotional and moving feature on Gallaudet University's women's basketball team stole the show Thursday. Gallaudet, a NCAA Division III program, was one of the four main features on ESPN's women's basketball home page. The Bison (7-3), in the midst of a fantastic start to the 2009-10 season, are sandwiched in between stories on perennial college powerhouse University of Tennessee and a conversion with University of Southern California coach Michael Cooper.
The lengthy feature, a rarity for a Division III program on ESPN.com, penned by reporter Mark Simon dives into the success Coach Kevin Cook and the Bison are having in his third season at Gallaudet. The seven wins earned by the Buff and Blue thus far this season are the most in 11 years. The story titled "Sign of Success" profiles Cook and his path to Gallaudet and his tenure here where he has had to learn American Sign Language so he can coach and teach basketball to Deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes. The feature also shows how Cook has had to overcome personal adversity while at Kendall Green. Three Bison are quoted in the story as Simon interviewed juniors Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) and Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) and senior Brittainy Payne (Pine Hill, N.J.).
The last time Gallaudet women's basketball grabbed ESPN's attention was in the late 1990's when GU Hall of Famer Ronda Jo Miller helped the Bison advance to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 round. At the time Simon was a reporter for D3hoops.com and covered Gallaudet's thrilling victory over The College of New Jersey.
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