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Date Posted: Thu, April 11 2019, 15:49:00
Author: Griff
Subject: Cage Club

To address the many comments below about the Cage Club.

I was the last president of The Cage Club. TP and I would meet/talk routinely. He assigned Tim Paul to me to meet with and talk to when he wasn't available. If you remember when he first got the job, he would send me weekly reports during the off-season and game reports during the season to post here.

He absolutely hated the structure of the Cage Club. Despised the lunches. Viewed them as being a bunch of old guys asking nonsensical questions that just dragged on and on. He brought me in, to clearly change the demographic. He wanted younger, upbeat professionals who would bring energy and money to a stale and lethargic fan base.

I distinctly remember a pre-game Cage Club event that my wife (at the time) and I put together at Cole's prior to the UB game. We had a tremendous turnout. He and assistant Rob Norris showed up an hour or so before tip-off and he came up to me, shook my hand, and said "Riles get me the "f" out of here as soon as you can". So I introduced him, he talked for two minutes and they left.

Then the focus turned to the "Coaches Circle". X number of dollars to join - I forget now. But I do remember him sending me an email saying that he was offering all Coaches Circle members an opportunity to be measured by his NYC tailor and buy a $1500 suit for a $1000. That's when I knew things were dramatically changing.

From there, the losing started and continued. And he started getting upset about posts on this board. I told him that I had to allow people to post legitimate issues and that I could only censor things so much otherwise there was no point to having the board that he had initially embraced. He didn't like that.

So as the relationship started to deteriorate, I was in Washington D.C. for business the same weekend they were playing at James Madison in their opener. I called and left him a message and told him that I was going to the game and would appreciate comp tickets as he had left for me for road games 10-15 times prior. I showed up at the arena and wasn't on the will call list. So I bought a ticket and sat in the end zone. I never talked to him again. I do remember Harold Washington going off that day (a fond memory) but of course, they lost on their way to his last season and a 5-25 record. And that was the end of The Cage Club. Baron came in the next year and he just kind of stayed to himself. No one reached out to me and it wasn't like I was in some official capacity with authority, so that was just it.

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[> Re: Cage Club -- BBall man, Fri, April 12 2019, 4:50:57

You have done major work for the Griffs and we thank you for your efforts. This board is another one of your efforts. The Cage club guys have been ignored due to coaches circle.
Somehow we need to refocus our efforts. That is hard to do in the current climate.
There seems to be little we can do without support from the admin.
The school is in the midst of lagging enrollment and major financial promblems which does not help

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[> [> Re: Cage Club -- griffsfan, Fri, April 12 2019, 10:38:50

The Cage Club without the help of school administration ran first class banquets and luncheons.These cage club events are missed.

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[> [> Re: Cage Club -- alum, Fri, April 12 2019, 11:45:42

I agree with the positive comments regarding all you do on this site, Griff. So much of the glue that keeps fans in touch with the program. I also want to offer a positive comment about the fall cocktail party that the AD and coaches have put on for the last several years. It has been a great way to see fellow alumni/fans, and to hear from the AD and coaches.

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[> Re: Cage Club -- Franklin, Fri, April 12 2019, 11:26:01

Yes, THANK YOU Griff for running this board and your past work with the Cage Club. The Cage Club I enjoyed from Macarchuk to MacDonald was a fun gathering of diehard fans and the friends they would bring to games. After they converted the upstairs game-day gathering room we had for a short while to workout space, the Club was given a classrooom in the basement of the KAC that we all bitched about cuz it was so small. A few devoted Club officers & their wives would pick up a few cases of beer and some pretzels and folks donated a $1 or $2 per beer before tipoff, at halftime and/or after the game . Coaches almost always made a post game appearance, had a beer (don't believe Belein had one very often, if at all. But he still showed up), and talked about the game just played, refs, recruiting, scheduling, etc. Each session was pretty damn impressive...like a "town hall" meeting. Any funds that were left over from the beer & pretzels was turned over to the head coach. This lasted roughly 20 years. Man, I miss that room and those nights talking Griffs basketball with fellow alumni & fans. Even as the Blue & Gold Club arrived to benefit all sports at CC, the Cage Club was still a designated program to support men's basketball.

Besides the game day room, we had organized road trips (even if it was one van), well attended luncheons and first class year-end banquets in classy restaurants.

Then Parrotta arrived along with something called the "Coaches Cirle." I am sure the Coaches Circle has invested heavily into the program, but it's members and what they do has nothing to do with what the Cage Club did. Sure the Cage Club its share of larger donors, but it also had a grass roots group of $25 and $50 guys who were rabid fans of the Griffs. I once saw a list of Coaches Circle members and remember thinking "I don't know these guys."

So now we appear to have an aging fan base with little student support and a coaching staff that couldn't possibly be further disconnected with its fan base. Good times.

I wonder if anyone in the school's administration is paying attention. How do we build up our fan base, make attending games fun? This past season was draining and depressing. The atmosphere around the program leaves a lot to be desired. Simply rooting against UB's recent success isn't really much fun. Oh, well. Too bad Parrotta didn't offer the Cage Club guys a break on $200 suits. I might have taken him up.

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[> [> Re: Cage Club -- Cager, Sat, April 13 2019, 8:47:38

I for one miss the Cage Club luncheons etc., but on a positive note I think having the pre game buffet, and the availability of beer and wine at the buffet, and at half time is really great, and why more fans don't participate is a mystery. I know there were several games this past season where the team let wins slip away, but to say the season was depressing is nonsense. I'm hoping RW lands a couple of guys who can flat out play in the next few weeks, and if that happens The Griffs could be at the top of the conference again next year. I'm excited, and Go Griffs!!!

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[> [> Re: Cage Club -- GoldenGriff32, Mon, April 15 2019, 4:29:44

I completely agree with Franklin. We would get ist hand knowledge about the program. I remember 1 time hearing Nick on the radio talking about how great this player was and how he scares him. Asked Nick about him at the Cage Club room and Nick tells me how much that player sucks. Before the Bona scandal came out, Mike Mcdonald knew about it and knew not to recruit Terrell. The Den is really nice but nothing will ever replace the CC room.The Den should be open after, to talk about the game,and have a beer. A coach should come down and talk about it and answer questions.

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[> Re: Cage Club -- BfloGriff, Fri, April 12 2019, 14:25:18

Now the past becomes clearer. Thanks Griff. I recall the banquet at Montante. TP and Mrs. TP and some others (asst. coaches?) were at a table selling tickets. I didn't know there was a coup de Cage Club taking place before my eyes. Unfortunately neither JB or RW had a clue about reinstating it. Apparently their get up and go had got up and went or neither knew it existed. As the most recent President, you are still the President. Any volunteers to get it up and running again? If there are BfloGriff will join in.

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[> Re: Cage Club -- 1180, Fri, April 12 2019, 16:10:28

Even though TP hated the idea of pregame parties and glad handing students and alumni, at least he took the time to do so. At a minimum, he understood the importance of getting students to the games, and playing table stakes with alumni so they had the illusion of inclusion.

Reggie and co. couldn’t even be bothered to try. And further - go out of their way to distance alums by personally threatening physical violence, and having their significant others, children, and extended family members verbally assault fans. Feel free to stop by my seat (the same seat I’ve had for a decade) to see the video evidence.

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[> Re: Cage Club -- Linwood Larry, Sat, April 13 2019, 4:09:08

I remember that little classroom used by the club because my buddy Rick invited me to go at a couple of halftimes back in the Mac era. It may have been modest but I thought it was pretty cool. Sometimes the little things can make a big difference.

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[> Re: Cage Club -- L82Griff, Sat, April 13 2019, 5:05:39

DO NOT bring back any sort of clubs or group activities while King Phillip is coaching the Griffs!

They will literally spin it to say that he has brought the basketball community back to Canisius then before you know it there is an extension signed and we are stuck with this guy for 8 more years.

The only acceptable clubs which are acceptable are the paper bag fan club, and the terminate Reggie club.

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