Skagway grad redshirts in football at Syracuse

By CHARLES BINGHAM
The Juneau Empire
Stan Bush of Skagway went to Syracuse University to learn how to be a sportscaster.
He didn’t expect to write his own “Rudy” story.
Despite coming from a high school with no football program and having no experience besides flag football games, Bush completed a 6-week tryout program last winter and was one of four players invited to become walk-ons with the Orangemen. Bush, a redshirt freshman, dresses as a wide receiver for Syracuse home games – he wears No. 83 – and would have traveled with the team if Syracuse made a bowl game. Unfortunately, the Orangemen had their bowl hopes dashed with a 6-6 record, despited finishing the season with a win over Notre Dame.
When asked how he compared his story to Rudy’s, Bush said there’s one important distinction his story has with that of Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger, the mid-1970s Notre Dame walk-on player featured in the movie “Rudy.”
“He had more football background than I do,” Bush said. “I feel like I have more potential.”
When he attended Skagway School, Bush played basketball and ran cross country. His only football experience came in the occasional flag football game.
While in high school, Bush developed a love of sports journalism. He submitted newspaper stories to the Skagway News and Juneau Empire, and he helped call Skagway games for KHNS radio. In order to pursue his dream of being a sportscaster, Bush chose Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Journalism, which produced Bob Costas, Brent Musberger and other prominent announcers.

Our man Stan Bush in pads. SU Athletic Dept.

He thought he was done with competitive sports when he entered Syracuse in 2002.
“When you get out of high school sports, you get out of the competitive mode,” said Bush, who is a sophomore academically. “I was looking to be competitive every day. I saw they were allowing walk-ons and I decided it was something I wanted to do. I was going to the gym two times a week to lift and play basketball, and I talked to some of the guys about what I’d have to do.”
In mid-January, Bush and about 20 others took part in a tryout camp that lasted until the end of February. Bush said he’d get up every morning at 5:30 so he could walk a half-mile to catch the bus. Then he’d run for an hour with the team before heading to class. Three times a week there were afternoon practices. Since he made the team, he’s added film sessions and other team commitments.
“I was too short to play basketball, especially on a team that won last year’s national championship and had the No. 3 (NBA) draft pick (Carmelo Anthony),” Bush said. “I always felt I could play.”
Now that he’s on the team, Bush is part of “an army of wide receivers.” In practice, he runs their upcoming opponent’s offense against the first string defense.
He hasn’t seen any game action yet, but he feels with work he might eventually make the traveling roster in a couple of years. Besides football and his classes, Bush also has been volunteering with the student television station so his schedule is full. He said making the team has given him an added perspective that will help his broadcasting.
“It’s been an incredible learning process,” Bush said. “When I was going through the tryout process we didn’t watch film. My playbook is the size of the Yellow Pages. We’ve got 135 plays in 45 formations with 18 pre-snap movements. As a wide receiver you have to know the playbook almost as well as the quarterback.”
Growing up in Skagway, Bush didn’t have the opportunity to play high school football. But he doesn’t regret it. His family moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., after Bush graduated from high school, and during the summer Bush was a conductor for a tourist train in Santa Cruz. Bush said he’d like to get back to Skagway, but it’s difficult with his current schedule.
“Being in Skagway offered me some incredible opportunities,” Bush said. “I got to do a lot that I might not have been able to do if I’d grown up somewhere else. I was a sports broadcaster on the radio, and Jeff Brady (the Skagway News publisher) let me write sports stories for him. I really got to do a lot.”

Wang gets win at State
Skagway exchange student Kevin Wang was able to post one win at the ASAA 1A-2A-3A State Wrestling Tournament.
Wang dropped his first match in the 119-pound division by a pin to Jordan McCaughey, who went on to finish fourth in the tournament.
This put Wang in the consolation bracket, where he won with a pin over Zach Scribner of Valdez.
“I used a head roll and pinned him in the second round,” Wang said. “I was ahead 13 points when I pinned him.”
In his next match, Wang was pinned by Landon Shuster of Kotzebue and eliminated from the tournament.
It was a great experience for the exchange student from Taiwan, who had never wrestled before this year.
“It was pretty cool, the top three in every region were there,” Wang said. “It was cool that I could compete with those people.”

Alumni hoop games canceled; first action at home vs. Hoonah Jan. 7
Activities director Barry Beckett said there will be no alumni basketball games this year, as players on each varsity squad will be away from town on holiday breaks, and not enough will be in town to have a team.
“It’s good that they will be able to go off with their families,” he said.
The game would have been held on Dec. 27. Now the first chance to see the varsity teams in action will be Wednesday, Jan. 7 against Hoonah. Skagway will then play in the Don Hather Tourney Jan. 8-10 , finishing its conference series against Hoonah on the final night. A preview of the 2004 varsity season will appear in the next issue.