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Old 05-20-2009
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Danny Burk Danny Burk is offline
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****The second installment of the interview blog is a sit down chat with Mr Twister himself, Andre Morgan. Andre is one of the more colorful characters on the message boards and speaks his mind on a wide range of topics. He is very knowledgeable in the sport, and takes part in the broadcasts done by IllinoisMatmen and the IHSA.

DB: Can you give a little background about yourself and your life??
AM: I have lived for over half a century (52) and that in itself is an accomplishment that I am very proud of. I have been married to my wife Nicole (always 16) for the last 26 years, my oldest son Sergio (27) is a college graduate and admissions counselor and my younger son Mario (21) is a communication and business double major (and a wrestler) at Nebraska - Omaha. I am a special education teacher for the Chicago Public schools since 1987. That is just my day job but I do so much more. I am a licensed football and baseball official. I work a lot of college baseball and it is my real passion. I graduated from Governors State but also attended Lewis University and Chicago State, playing and coaching baseball at both schools. I have been a high school head baseball coach at two schools. I have locally scouted for two Major League teams, the Mets and the Expos. I also played two years of college golf but have not touched my clubs in the last 12 years. I don't know why? I had the special joy of being in a major motion picture, Hardball (with Keanu Reeves) with my son. I even had a trailer with my name and star on it. I am a former coach of football and baseball. My soph football team won the CPS city championship my first year as a head coach. I was also a member of the Homewood-Flossmoor defending football state championship staff in 1995. I have coached baseball on the college level and that was a great time in my life. I am an accomplished artist/photographer and as a teenager won many painting and drawing national contest. I majored in Art Education, and Graphic Design is my specialty. In both high school and college, I was the editor of the newspaper and that skill has transferred into my working as a reporter at the Chicago Sun Times. I have umpired twice in Sox Park (the Cell) and have coached and played in the old and new Sox Parks. I have broadcast / reported from the press box of the new Soldier Field and worked the sideline of the Chicago Sting as a pro photographer. Sometimes I feel like Forest Gump because I have crammed so much into 52 years. Suffice to say, I have done many things that I wanted to in life.

DB: How did you get involved with wrestling?
AM: My first involvement with wrestling was in the fall of 1971. On the last day of football practice, the coach told us we had to join either the wrestling team or the track team. I looked in the wrestling room and after watching for five minutes I went and joined the track team. I never gave wrestling another thought for the next 23 years. One day back in November of 1994, my son Mario (age 6) was watching WWF wrestling on t.v. I said to him, “You know that is fake wrestling, it’s not real. wrestling.” He replied, “Yes it is.” I asked him if Hulk Hogan could stand on top of a table with a chair and drop down on his face with the chair and he not get hurt or bleed. He said, “Yes, look at the t.v.” So at this point, I stopped the discussion and told him to get his coat and we drove to the Harvey Twisters practice. The first year he went 18 & 4 and he has been wrestling every year since. Once he got involved in wrestling I discovered that I loved the sport. What I really like is the training and commitment that has to be put in to even be remotely successful. I also love the fact that this is a no excusses type sport. When you toe that line it is you and your competition and no teammate can save you. You either get the job done or you don’t. I just have so much respect for a wrestler on so many different levels. I never could of done it. I do feel a need to give back to the sport for what it has given my son, my family and myself. That is why I do what I do in the wrestling community.

DB: Who are the 3 best Harvey Twisters of all time?
AM: Although I have not seen every Twister in history and based on many discussions at Harvey I feel it is Tony Davis, Joe Williams and Steve Williams. The order is debatable of course and my preferences based on his killer (when wrestling) mentality are Steve, Tony then Joe. I loved Stevie’s ability to pin and dominate his opponent with showmanship. He is the most intense wrestler I have ever been around. If I could wave a magic wand and make my son like any wrestler, it would be him.

DB: If you could watch one dream match of any 2 wrestlers in the history of Illinois high school wrestling, who would it be?
AM: In their prime of course I would like to see Bill Weick against Mike Poeta. I often wonder about the wrestlers from other era’s and how such a match up would turn out. Weick has been on so many great levels and had success at every stop – h.s. champ and NCAA champ. Poeta is like the new style wrestling generation and for me I would love to see the contrast.

DB: If you could have dinner with any 3 people (alive or dead) in the wrestling community, who would join you?
AM: Henry Cejudo, Joe Williams and Dave Ganaway

DB: How often did you hang out with Keanu Reeves while filming the movie "HARDBALL"??
AM: Every day for two and a half months, I was with Keanu on set. We talked a lot, although he is really a quiet person. He was very approachable. Making that film was a once in a lifetime opportunity (I still get checks four times a year) that I was able to share with my son.

DB: Who are the 3 best "non-Twisters" to ever wrestle in Illinois?
AM: Garret Goebel (best big man), Mike Mena (best small school) and Jordan Blanton (best combination of class A and AA). Of course, there have been decades of other wrestlers that easily could qualify, but these are wrestlers I have seen with my own eyes.

DB: UNO vs NIU - who wins?
AM: You already know who I am riding with. UNO ’09 DII National champs beats NIU ‘09. I know for a fact that UNO would not care or be intimidated by a school’s DI status. The Maverick’s considers their starting lineup DI in talent and skill. The UNO team had developed a serious killer mentality by Feb. They were very balanced and it would be hard to get the necessary 5 wins plus bonus points to beat them. I would love to see the Deshazior vs Garcia match at 133. Two pinners that always look to finish you off. And no one beats Meneely at 157. And I give the edge in coaching to coach Denny, the 3x NCAA Coach of the Year.

DB: If you could commentate for one match in the history of Illinois wrestling, which match would you choose?
AM: Without question it would be Tony Davis vs Reggie Wright, 1995. Next would be Ben Gerdes vs Mark Bybee. I was on the broadcast for the next two – Blanton vs Benifiel and Blanton vs Spangler.

DB: Where do you see wrestling throughout the state in the next 5-10 years?
AM: In my mind it really all depends on how this three class system works out. If it does not spur growth (schools adding wrestling) then it was a failure. If wrestling participation increases then the state will get better. If not, then I am afraid a decline will happen. Wrestling will always be popular north of I 80. But south of there, priorities are different. The seriousness seems different to me. Illinois must add more quality DI programs. And at this point we have no DII opportunities for our wrestlers. Why is that? And at the beginning level (IKWF/IESA) the numbers are great but I am worried about he parents. The win at all cost scares me. If the "everyone is a state champ" mentality does not change, when do we teach that losing is a part of sports and life? Seems like sometimes parents will do anything to win. Yet in 10 years I would love to see Illinois as a top 3 state with participation and teams on the increase. I would like to see us send a real team to Senior Nationals and Fargo. Above all, I want to see the state finals from the quarters to the finals on live t.v. Now I know I am asking a lot but I can dream can’t I.

Thanks Andre.

Last edited by admin; 05-28-2009 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 05-20-2009
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Luvwrestling Luvwrestling is offline
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Nice job, guys.
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Old 05-21-2009
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agdfan agdfan is offline
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Great interview!!
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Old 05-21-2009
FoxesFan FoxesFan is offline
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Danny, keep up the good work.
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Old 05-21-2009
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mckbln mckbln is offline
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Nice interview!
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