Swept Away

Skin Powder Bulletin!

With all the zeal of a cigar-chomping CEO, Beisner has led the charge (with plenty of support from the likes of Fox News bloviator and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas) against new restrictions on fossil fuels.

The 'Pipe gets it. Global warming ergo opening the gates of hell ergo apocalypse ergo the imminent assumption of a seat next to Jesus for Beisner, Kennedy, and the rest. Pity the poor sinners driving low emissions cars.

Bubblicious

It's time to buy, buy, buy! See that guy on the street corner hawking condos with a sandwich board? That means boom times for real estate, readers! Get in while the market is hot! A 1/1 condo conversion for $300,000? What a steal!

You say you're selling your own condo? Hold on, let your equity grow like a big soufflé. Maybe there won't be the double-digit increases of the recent go-go years, local real estate sages (and the daily newspapers) concede. But look for a "soft landing."

"It's not a case of the sky is falling," West Palm Beach housing analyst Brad Hunter told the Sun-Sentinel recently. "It's just a case of slowly coming back to a normal market."

Gotcha, Brad. But what's that loud leaking sound, like air seeping out of a balloon? The numbers are worrisome:

Lovin' the Small Time

Around this time last year, Matt Doherty watched in a television studio as his old team rose through the NCAA ranks to seize the national basketball championship. That would have been the University of North Carolina, whose five starters were recruited by Doherty during a couple of star-crossed seasons as the team's coach. By the time Doherty's alma mater reached the top (as Doherty himself had done as a player 23 years earlier, alongside Michael Jordan), the former AP Coach of the Year had stepped down, turning over the reins to Roy Williams.

Feeling burned by the national spotlight, burdened by the high stakes of major college sports, and bruised from harsh criticisms coming at him from all sides, Doherty took a job coaching unheralded Florida Atlantic University, a program that could pay him a salary only 20 percent of what Carolina had. The Owls were just 102-234 at the Division I level, and they were coming off a 10-17 season.

What's not to like?

"I get to coach and do what I believe is right and not feel the scrutiny and the second-guessing," Doherty told the 'Pipe recently.

The results so far have been good, though not scintillating. The team's record of 14-6 is strong enough to land a No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament after FAU was projected to finish sixth. A recent ESPN.com column named Doherty among the ten most successful first-year coaches nationwide. Home attendance is up 125 percent, to 1,210 a game. Of course, that means fewer people saw FAU at home all season than attended any single game at North Carolina. But Doherty gets to be his same old hyperactive self. At FAU's penultimate home game, the squad held off a late charge by Eastern Tennessee State University; Doherty, who sounded hoarse from the opening minutes, could be heard all over the gym, calling plays, shouting encouragement, literally jumping off the ground — a sight to behold, considering he's six-foot-eight and in his mid-40s and has a bad Oreo cookie habit.

When a team loses, as Doherty's often did at Carolina, histrionics make a coach appear unglued. When a team wins, they make a coach look energetic. Even in the relative obscurity in which FAU toils, the team looks more and more like the product of a turbo-powered maestro.

"The thing here that's been nice is the parental support," Doherty says. The coach benched players Paul Graham and Brent Crews during the season, he says, and both times, the parents met him after the game to thank him. "Some of these players haven't been as spoiled" — here the coach catches himself — "er, pampered at a young age, and the parents value more the opportunity that the players have." Win three games in three days this week in Johnson City, Tennessee, and those opportunities will include the program's second-ever NCAA Tournament berth. Otherwise, it's back to the recruiting trail, taking tall kids to the beach to convince them to attend school in Boca.

— As told to Edmund Newton

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