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The connection between Jim Leavitt and a Wizard of Oz Munchkin is a Marshall Grad


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I had mentioned on twitter that I would have to tell this story leading up to the bowl game. Its not anything big, just little pieces of our USF history that seem to get lost over time. 

It was June 1996 and Jim Leavitt wasn't yet a household name in the Tampa Bay region. He was hired as the first football head coach at USF about 6 months prior, but without a team or games, most of our community were still relatively unaware of the program he was going to build.

Tom Bunevich was a Marshall Grad who was the king of the Tampa Bay area baseball card show circuit. At least once a month there would be a baseball card show in a mall with autograph signing guests that Tom was behind. In June of 1996, Tom's show was at the Tampa Bay Center Mall, the current location of the Bucs practice facility. This mall was at its peak, full and lively. History would remember this mall for two unfortunate reasons: tennis phenom Jennifer Capriatti was arrested in this mall shoplifting and this mall upset the African American community based on how its stores treated fans during the annual FAMU vs. Bethune Cookman game that used to be played in Tampa every year. Most of Tom's shows would have baseball Hall of Famers or current top stars signing autographs for a nominal fee. This show was different, the autographs were free, but the guests weren't exactly household names. First was 78 year old Karl Slover who back at the age of 21, standing 4 foot, 4 inches, played the role of 4 different Munchkins in the legendary film, The Wizard of Oz. (Slover would pass in 2011 at the age of 93). The second guest at the show was USF's own Jim Leavitt, signing autographs and talking football with anyone interested. 

Notes: Tom Bunevich became a long time USF season ticket holder, while he is a Bull in my book, I hope to run into him at the bowl game, and I have no issue if he is decked out in Marshall gear. I worked that card show that weekend, I had just started selling season tickets and this was the first time I got to meet and say hello to Jim Leavitt. I still have the photo coach signed and the index card I got Karl Slover to sign that weekend. 

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One more off the wall story about Marshall. Years ago, USF played at WVU and UCF played at Marshall one night apart. My dad and I went to both games, but we left the UCF - Marshall game because it was raining pretty heavy. 

Anyway, right after that trip, I learned what I missed in a little town near Huntington WV. I am kicking myself that I didn't go to Billy Bob's Wonderland, which is like a family fun center (pizza and video games).

Billy Bob's has something from my childhood that I want to revisit. Everyone knows about Chuck E Cheese, well, when I was growing up, they had a competitor called Showbiz Pizza, and Showbiz had the best animatronics show out there, it was a band of animals playing rock songs, called the Rock A Fire Explosion. Well, Billy Bob's has the last one of these in working order. 

If anyone remembers what I am talking about, here is the link: http://billybobswv.com/about-us.html 

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2 minutes ago, Mike Stuben said:

One more off the wall story about Marshall. Years ago, USF played at WVU and UCF played at Marshall one night apart. My dad and I went to both games, but we left the UCF - Marshall game because it was raining pretty heavy. 

Anyway, right after that trip, I learned what I missed in a little town near Huntington WV. I am kicking myself that I didn't go to Billy Bob's Wonderland, which is like a family fun center (pizza and video games).

Billy Bob's has something from my childhood that I want to revisit. Everyone knows about Chuck E Cheese, well, when I was growing up, they had a competitor called Showbiz Pizza, and Showbiz had the best animatronics show out there, it was a band of animals playing rock songs, called the Rock A Fire Explosion. Well, Billy Bob's has the last one of these in working order. 

If anyone remembers what I am talking about, here is the link: http://billybobswv.com/about-us.html 

If two grown men go to a place like Chuck E Cheese sans children they should probably be arrested on the spot.

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2 minutes ago, puc86 said:

If two grown men go to a place like Chuck E Cheese sans children they should probably be arrested on the spot.

Pizza and video games, I'll apologize to no one. 

I take my wife to Chuck E Cheese at least once a year to play the games, win tickets and redeem for Air Heads candy. It is $20 well spent. 

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1 minute ago, Mike Stuben said:

Pizza and video games, I'll apologize to no one. 

I take my wife to Chuck E Cheese at least once a year to play the games, win tickets and redeem for Air Heads candy. It is $20 well spent. 

🤔 a man and wife sans children may raise eyebrows but not lead to the immediate incarceration like a man alone or a traveling band of men. Maybe try Dave and Busters or rent some children for the day.

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2 minutes ago, puc86 said:

🤔 a man and wife sans children may raise eyebrows but not lead to the immediate incarceration like a man alone or a traveling band of men. Maybe try Dave and Busters or rent some children for the day.

Hey hey hey, we all don't have Dave and Busters money. And, renting some children for the day may also get one arrested. 

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1 minute ago, Mike Stuben said:

Hey hey hey, we all don't have Dave and Busters money. And, renting some children for the day may also get one arrested. 

You can’t rent children anymore? I can’t keep up with this ever changing world.

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15 minutes ago, puc86 said:

If two grown men go to a place like Chuck E Cheese sans children they should probably be arrested on the spot.

I know at least one couple who go to Chuck E Cheese when one of them starts feeling the urge to have a child.
Takes care of the urge for quite some time.

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Mike, also one in Kansas City now.  It's a cheap plane ride when you need the fix.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Mike Stuben said:

Hey hey hey, we all don't have Dave and Busters money. And, renting some children for the day may also get one arrested. 

Lowry Parcade

https://lowryparcade.com

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