expressing concerns about his safety and purchasing a gun. A month later, police arrested teammate Carlton Dotson for his murder.
In August 2003, Bliss resigned under pressure after secret recordings conducted by assistant coach Abar Rouse revealed that Bliss told at least one player such damning words as “I think if we can prove that Dottie (Dotson) and Dennehy were selling drugs we’ll be out of the woods” and “we can get out of this. There’s nobody right now that can say that we paid Pat Dennehy. Because he’s dead.”
More than a decade later, Bliss’ public contrition about the reason behind his resignation contrasts with what he says to Pat Knodelis, the Austin resident who directed “Disgraced.”
“He (Dennehy) was selling drugs,” Bliss told Knodelis in the film. “He sold to all the white guys on campus.”
“Patrick Dennehy was selling drugs?” Knodelis responds
Bliss: “Oh yeah, he was the worst.”
Kondelis: “No, I never found that out at all.”
Bliss: “I know, but I’m telling you. But that’s why, but you’ll never be able to use it.”
After a decade-long exile from a coaching career also marked by academic scandals at SMU, Bliss now coaches at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma. Rouse, his former assistant who played for Baylor, never coached again in a telling circumstance that reveals how loyalty matters more than ethics in big-time college athletics.
“I know what fake redemption looks like, and I know what real redemption looks like,” says Rouse, who is now an educator in the Texas prison system.
And so do those who have now seen “Disgraced.”
“Disgraced” will show again March 14 at 9:30 p.m. at Alamo Ritz 1 and March 16 at 1:30 p.m. at Zach Theatre. It will air on Showtime later this month.
German wrestling film reveals universal truths, without the sentimentality: A muffled grunt while straining against an opponent. The smack of skin against a plastic mat. The shouts of encouragement from coaches perched on the edge of a nearby chair.
First-time German director Anna Koch lets the senses form the soundtrack in “Win By Fall,” a documentary following a group of young female wrestlers in the German state of Brandenburg that made its North American premier Sunday at the South By Southwest Film Festival.
Like most sports, there’s a universal language of sorts to wrestling: The athletes fret over weight, they suffer injuries in training, and the coaches have cauliflower ears. But the differences between youth wresting in the U.S. and in Germany are noticeable.
Like most European youth sports, the German wrestlers live and study at academies away from home. They undergo group psychological-analysis sessions, a uniquely Teutonic way of working on team chemistry.
The filmmaking itself also contrasts with the industry standards here in the States. In a U.S. documentary, a significant win comes with uplifting music meant to direct our emotions.
In “Win By Fall,” such a triumph arrives with hugs, tears and — perhaps most of all — relief.
But the anxieties and accomplishments will resonate with athletes and sports fans regardless of nationality, and isn’t that really the point?
“Win By Fall” will show again Thursday at Alamo Ritz 2 at 6 p.m.
Dave Bliss resigned under pressure as Baylor’s men’s basketball coach in 2003.