KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sometimes, there would be one shiner. Sometimes, there would be two. The cover story was the same, regardless:
"How'd you get that black eye?" Todd Raleigh would ask.
"Fell down the stairs," Greg Holland would reply, grinning sheepishly.
The first time, it worked. But as a Western Carolina Catamount, Holland seemed to fall down the stairs a hell of a lot more than the average undergrad.
By the third time, it went more like this:
"How'd you get that?" Raleigh would ask.
"Fell dow..." Holland would start.
"You didn't fall down the stairs," his coach would interject. "I ain't stupid."
"When you defend your teammates, and you're a bulldog, it's hard to turn off that switch," Raleigh says now, chuckling at the thought of this 5-foot-10 kid with a 6-foot-8 John Wayne streak.
Then he recalls one of the more legendary post-stair-falling exchanges, this one after the coaching staff got word that a group of Western Carolina baseball players had recently scrapped w...