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FurSports.net: Rise and Fall of William Kassius

Posted: October 13th, 2015, 7:09 am
by JWolfman
(( JW's Note: Canon-wise, this is uncharted territory for me. I spoke with various people, including some in the chat room and also with C-Cat briefly for research purposes, but as far as I know, the FBA in the 1970s has been rarely touched upon. If any of you have any problems with this being canon, let me know directly and I will try to make amends. XD ))

FurSports.net Exclusive Report

Like much of the world in comparison to today, the FBA was far different in 1973. Tensions between predator and prey species were still going through violent growing pains in terms of tolerance and civil rights, and the predator species of the world had a lion’s share (pun intended) of the wealth and socialite classes. Although the FBA was growing, there were problems underneath the surface. The first decade had strong favoritism toward domestic species, and by the ‘70s, the sport was dominated by male predator players. According to Ned Underwood, the FBA was created to put prey and predator together not to create conflict but to create tolerance and teamwork amongst each other. Already, his message was being threatened to crumble as a sickness of bigotry seeped in.

At least, that was what William Kassius would tell you.

Primates weren’t considered a dominant species in the FBA by any stretch of the imagination back in those days. Sure there would be the occasional gorilla player that could match the aggressiveness and strength of the top predator players (Drake Mitchman, a retired Center whom played for the Santa Cruz Clefs, come to mind), but they were mere blips drowned out by the canines and felines of the league. So when a ringtail lemur by the name of William Kassius first took notice in the radar of sports media in the late 1960‘s, the reporters treated him with a mix of mild praise and heavy skepticism, if they actually bothered to pay attention to him at all.

He had numerous obstacles that stood in his way. He wasn’t a player for the prestigious Underwood College but rather for Bonaverde University, a now-defunct Ivy League school with an enrollment of 2800 students and known for their engineering and business programs, not sports. It was a school that produced scientists and administration managers, not future basketball star players, and they didn’t even have their own gridiron football program (but they had a rugby team, strangely enough). He was also primarily a shooting guard in the sport, but many felt he lacked the size to really adapt to the brutal and aggressive play that the FBA was known for at the time. Finally, he was a primate in a world still reeling from the turbulent years of the 1960s when pred and prey relations were at a violent low.

During the 1969 and 1970 FCAA seasons, Kassius was a virtual unknown in the media. He played decently off the bench and reserves, but his school was a tiny outsider on the fringes of the FSPN radar, and having losing seasons didn’t help matters either. The star of the team was Henry Sadala, a white-furred wolf that played as a Small Forward primarily, but even he had no ambition of entering the FBA or even pursue a professional basketball career. When James Bonaverde founded the New Hampshire-based college in the 18th Century, he designed the college with religion in mind, not sports (it shedded off the theological programs by around the 1930s). Their athletic program was underfunded in comparison to the FCAA powerhouses, and no one, not even the Bonaverde students themselves, expected any greatness to come from them on the basketball court.

Then before the 1971 FCAA season started, two events occurred that changed everything for Kassius. The first incident was when Bonaverde University hired R.J. Mathias to become the new head coach for the basketball team after the previous coach retired. He actually took his new job very seriously, and pushed his players to reach limits they never thought they could achieve. The second incident was when Henry Sadala suffered a hamstring injury that ended his time as a player for the college, forcing Coach Mathias to completely shift his roster and thus placing Kassius onto a starting role.

For an ambitious William Kassius, it was his perfect chance to shine. With Coach Mathias’ blessing and encouragement, he pushed himself and his teammates to motivate themselves to actually take the game seriously and train harder than ever. The coach introduced new and stricter training rules, and despite a slow start of the season as they readjusted, they slowly garnered victory after victory. The media however still paid little attention to them, as they were in an Ivy League conference of little importance and their 13-point loss against Harvaardwak University at mid-season dismissed much of their surge as a fluke. The team continued to improve however, and little by little, more reporters took notice.

When the news came in that Bonaverde qualified for the primary FCAA tournament of 24 teams, it took nearly everyone by surprise. While the majority of the students celebrated with the team on night outs at the local pub, William stayed at the gym, practicing with Coach Mathias personally.

“Yeah, I could’ve just gone out with everyone else,” William Kassius stated in a 1972 interview with FSPN. “But nah, I stayed behind and practiced. Coach, he was staying behind too, but I expected that. He was a straight shooter, and I don’t think he drank ever in his life.”

Seeded at #5 in their region, their first round opponent was #2 UFLA, one of FCAA’s major powerhouse schools in basketball even back in the early 1970s. With an enrollment ten times as many as Bonaverde’s and boasting numerous athletic championships in sports, UFLA was the heavy favorite to win. One of Bonaverde’s assistant coaches even quipped (which was caught by a reporter’s tape recorder) that the bus carrying the team to the first round game in Dayton, Ohio should keep the motor running while they play so that it would be ready to take the team straight back home as soon as possible. As soon as Coach Mathias heard about it, he sent the coach home and demanded for his resignation immediately.

“There will be no losers amongst us. If you think even for a second that you people will lose against UFLA, I’m gonna buy you a bus ticket home,” Coach Mathias told his team, according to the players. “You boys know me perfectly, I ain’t the sorta wimp that would just slap you all on the backs for a good job done. I ain’t that! You know I ain’t that. Yeah, UFLA is all high and mighty and got all them trophies and shit. But that school is just a team of thirteen. We’re a team of thirteen too, last I counted! So when we play in Dayton against them, we play to win. And we better win, cuz if we lose, I ain’t gonna be slapping you all on the backs for a job well done. I’ll just whip you boys into better shape for the next goddamn season!”

The team took Coach Mathias’ words and his hard-nosed style to heart, and arrived at Dayton with a must-win mentality. Led by the top trio of William Kassius, Mikael Wilson (aardvark, C), and Kris Neesa (cheetah, PG), Bonaverde confronted the UFLA juggernaut head-on and gave them a fight no one expected. With the UFLA-heavy crowds roaring throughout the first half, Bonaverde kept up their pace and was trailing by just five points by halftime.

It was during the second half when Kassius truly took control of the game. With a blitzkrieg run at the start, he downed two three-pointers in consecutive possessions to spark off a 10-3 run that finally quieted down the crowds. With his 22 points, he led the team to the game’s shocking conclusion as they defeated UFLA 72 to 67. Even to this day, thirty-four years later, the game was regarded as a Top Fifty-caliber best FCAA game in history. When the final buzzer sounded, there was sheer bedlam as the tiny Bonaverde section of fans ran onto the court and embraced their exhausted team. Sadly however, of all the moments of that ending, it was the sight of the UFLA players walking out of the court, their shoulders and heads slumped down, that remain fixated as the primary highlight in FSPN reels for many years to come.

However there was a strange scene occurring in the Bonaverde team locker room after the game. While most of the players were soaking each other with various non-alcoholic drinks (the school at the time had strict alcohol rules for undergraduates) in celebration, William Kassius sat in front of his locker seemingly fuming at the sudden rush of attention from the reporters and camera-furres in the room. Although he shared his thoughts on the game casually enough at first, when a reporter asked him if he felt confident about going against their next round opponent (Chicago Bay), he literally spat on the floor (the saliva very nearly landing on a shoe belonging to a cameraman) and stood up angrily.

“What is this?!” He yelled at the cameras and reporters, which quickly quieted down the entire locker room. “Where were you people all [censored] season? You people paid little attention at us all season, and now look at you all! You didn’t think we would make it into the tournament and now look at you all! You didn’t think we would beat [censored] UFLA and now look at you all! What are you doing kissing our [censored] when all [censored] season long, you wouldn’t be bothered to look at us! What is this [censored]?!”

He wanted to say more but his teammates, along with Coach Mathias himself, grabbed him by the arm and ringtail to haul him away from the reporters. According to various eyewitnesses, Coach Mathias physically tossed him into a shower stall while wearing all of their clothes still, and with the shower running cold water down Kassius’ head, he cowered as Coach Mathias gave him a verbal scolding that lasted over five minutes, much of it done in high screaming volume. Despite this however, he still placed Kassius back on the starting line-up for the second round game.

The game against Chicago Bay was much more subdued than against UFLA, with Kassius again leading in points for both teams and Bonaverde dispatched them with a final score of 65-59. Although the Bonaverde fans were growing in number and still very much elated about this victory, they didn’t charge into the basketball court like last time. The scene post-game in the locker room was never televised, as Coach Mathias forbid all the reporters and cameras from entering the room. There were some reports of the coach demanding on controlling what his players, especially Kassius, would say to the media, and that was evident by the players’ subdued and seemingly choreographed responses to the media later that night. Kassius said nothing.

The third round was the regional finals for Bonaverde, and this time the team standing in their way was Keokuk A&M, an opponent not even Bonaverde expected to face since they defeated the regional #1 seed Braylor in the second round. In the first half, it seemed like Keokuk’s surge continued to gain momentum as they started with a 20-9 run, and entered halftime with a 12-point lead. As the minutes counted down in the second half, the Bonaverde bench looked deflated.

Coach Mathias wanted nothing to do with that. With five minutes remaining in the game, he stood up with a very sour expression on his foxish-face and grabbed the folding chair he was sitting on, angrily shutting it flat with a sound so loud that fans in the back-row of the stadium reportedly heard it. He called for a time-out but instead of going over the game-plans, he berated the players in front of television crews and fans. Although a few of the bench players cowered notably with their ears laid back, Kassius clenched his jaws as he heard much of the rebuke hurled directly at him from the coach, and it sparked a new fire within him.

Bonaverde rallied and clawed back, answering Keokuk’s points with more points of their own. When they tied the game with two minutes remaining, the crowd were at an all-high frenzy, clearly rooting for the tiny private school. They fed off the cheers and chants, and by the time the final buzzer rang, the score showed 80-76 in favor of Bonaverde. The tiny Ivy League school made it to the Final Four, one of the smallest schools in the history of the FCAA to go this far in the tournament.

The following days leading up to the FCAA Semi-Finals was a roller-coaster of exhilaration for the team. Only Coach Mathias kept his players grounded on their feet amid the media attention, and all the players were treated like rock stars by adoring fans once they arrived at Charleston, South Carolina for their Final Four game against Underwood College. Although the fans supported them with words of encouragement, cheers, and in some cases free drinks at the local bars (when the FCAA weren’t looking), the media once again started to dismiss them due to their upcoming opponents. It was understandable at the time, considering the fact Underwood had greater success on the court than UFLA by far, and were heavy favorites even by the beginning of the season to win the championship. Three of their top players later became some of the top name players of the FBA in the 70s, and some were predicting the ‘Bonaverde-bubble’ will quickly burst.

For the Bonaverde fans and even fans expecting a close matchup, the game was a borderline rout. Underwood College’s vaulted defense stifled Kassius and the rest of his team, while their offense exposed holes and punished them with scoring drives. Coach Mathias’ now-infamous temper rose at various times during the game, but this time he couldn’t spark the team to make a comeback, and Underwood easily steamrolled over them, 93-76, ending their dream of an unlikely championship.

“We were way out of our league,” Coach Mathias told the media with an unusually somber tone in his voice. “Unprepared. Congratulations to Underwood, that school has a damn fine sports program, but I’m not going to settle with just the fact we made it all the way to the Final Four. I told the team that we were in it to win, and we didn’t achieve that. Mark my words... we’ll be back.”

With those words and the cameras flashing, Coach Mathias stood up from his chair and walked out of the press conference room. William Kassius watched him from the side of the room, already in street clothes and his paws in his jacket pockets. He had a steely gaze on his expression the entire time of the press session, and according to some witnesses, he clenched his paws so tightly that the claws poked through the fabric of his jacket.

Many reporters thought that would be the last time they would hear of Bonaverde, with their tails tucked between their legs as they flew back home out of Charleston. They were wrong.

-- End of Part One --

Re: FurSports.net: Rise and Fall of William Kassius

Posted: February 15th, 2016, 9:29 am
by JWolfman
Part Two

In December of 1972, William Kassius was chosen as the team captain once again and with his graduation approaching in the following spring, he knew he had just one last shot at glory on the FCAA court. By this point, Coach Mathias fully implemented a training regimen that came at odds with the University’s athletics administration due to its harsh treatment on the players physically and mentally. He even ‘manipulated’ the players’ class schedules so that they would start at dawn to practice, take the classes at late morning and then afternoon, and then go back to training onward to nightfall. He was a disciplinarian as well as a coach, teaching them to not only train harder, eat healthier, and become stronger and agile, but also forcing them to shed off bad habits and instill a higher sense of social morality. Several of the players quit on the team during the pre-season, complaining about 'Grandpa Matty’ and his hard-nosed style, but Kassius not only took the blows but also began leading the team to be stronger than even their last season team when they reached the FCAA Final Four earlier in March.

After winning the first five games of the season, Bonaverde was standing on top of the Ivy Group (currently Ivy League) standings for the first time in its history of basketball. With their stunning upset over Brown Dog University, they also accomplished another new first: an actual Associated Press Top 24 Ranking. During a 1975 FSPN interview with William Kassius, he laughed when asked about his response to the news:

“When we heard from the radio that they gave us that ranking, oh man... we all wanted to come out and party that night. Now since this was Ivy and all, we were all dressed up in nice slacks and white shirts and ties, all ready to go to the party when we got a call from Coach. He practically told us that we will be practicing at the gym instead. So we did and we practiced until midnight. We were too tired to party afterwards and that was that. No partying.”

Bonaverde held on to the #24 Ranking for two weeks, but despite having a record of 11-0 at the time, the media in charge of coordinating the rankings finally dropped them in late January. They claimed that it was because Bonaverde was playing against too-weak opponents, but it was a demoralizing blow to the team. Coach Mathias infamously bashed the media and their reporters during a press conference after the news broke. The profane-riddled accusations of conspiracy and game-rigging among the media didn’t go over well with the Bonaverde athletics department, and they suspended Coach Mathias for the next three games. The suspension was originally set for the remainder of the season, but after Bonaverde lost the next three games and their place on top of the Ivy Group, they gave in and reinstated him back to his position.

Although the media attention on Bonaverde was considerably better than the previous season, it was still from mostly local sources. Despite the university’s success, they were still huge underdogs as they approached the game against their biggest opponent in the season: Pack Territory University. After defeating UFLA, Lapine State, and PredTech earlier in the season, PTU was considered by the national media to be the favorites to win the FCAA championship, and ranked #1 in the polls. It came to no surprise then that they considered the game against Bonaverde as a throwaway game to extend their undefeated 16-0 record. Led by the 7'3“ 310-pounds (of pure muscle according to his fanbase) grey wolf named Xavier Carsodo, their system of stifling defense and brutal offense had steamrolled over their opponents in the season, and also they were scheduled to face Bonaverde at home court and thus in front of one of the FCAA’s largest and most boisterous crowds.

“Yeah, it was intimidating to go to their home stadium and walk through their hallways that has banners and framed photographs showing their storied basketball history,” William Kassius stated in the 1975 FSPN interview. “They’re one of the biggest powerhouse teams in the FCAA, come on now. That guy Carsodo is in the FBA now, doing the same [censored] he was doing in PTU.”

By now for Bonaverde, they’ve learned that 'losing’ was not in Coach Mathias’ vocabulary and for many hours in the week preceeding the game, he forced the team to watch tapes of PTU games, nitpicking over the strengths and weaknesses of their strategies. However even he admitted that PTU would be the strongest team they would ever face, even in comparison to last season’s Underwood. With a much stronger and influential recruiting system, PTU boasted bigger and taller players, with an aggressive style that borderline on intimidating their opponents.
The first half of the game was what most people predicted it was going to be: PTU bullied the smaller Bonaverde players around, shoving them for position and roughly creating holes in their defense. By halftime, PTU led the game 45-28, and the PTU home crowd smelled blood as they anxiously look forward to yet another win for their brutal team. The Bonaverde players retreated to their locker room but while they expected yet another tirade from their hard-nosed coach, Mathias did something that took them by surprise according to William Kassius in his story to FSPN.

Due to no media presence in the locker room, there was no recorded evidence about what happened, but according to Kassius, Coach Mathias simply stood as he looked at his sitting players. He seemed disgusted by their looks as most of them were staring at the floor in disbelief about their poor performance in the first half of the game, and then finally he cleared his throat. When even that failed to avert their attention back to him, he sighed and grabbed an empty folding chair, throwing it onto a wall. That startled the players and once they finally looked back at him, he began to speak.

“Look at you people. Did someone die around here? Did you all just find out that you are all butt-[censored] [censored] because you can’t find a woman to [censored]? What were you doing out there on the court, flopping around like a bunch of losers? Were you people even listening to me the past week about this game?!” As he grew more agitated, he paced in front of his players and clenching his canine jaws. “I didn’t spend many hours training you, molding you, [censored] helping you just so that you can get pushed around by a buncha [censored] bullies! All the crap I’ve been giving you, all the exercises we’ve done, all the [censored] I put you all through, and you losers have learned nothing! Absolute-jack-nothing! Pathetic! What I saw out there was pathetic! Is this the best you got?!”

He grabbed his own hair, threatening to rip them out from the roots as he bared his fangs. “Well I ain’t gonna stand around and watch you embarrass yourselves. I’m done. I’m done with this [censored]. Those players in PTU? They won’t have to do a [censored] thing to win now. You losers will just beat yourselves, and that’s what you’ve done. Beating yourselves. I’m not going to stick around and watch you do that. I’m done and I’m out. [censored] this [censored]. [censored] all to [censored] Hell.”

With that, he turned and kicked the door on his way out of the locker room. Everyone in the room, from the players to the trainers and coaching staff, looked at each other in bewilderment. They’ve all seen the coach meltdown before, but never to this caliber and he never walked out on them before. The awkward silence lingered for another minute before finally William Kassius stood up. With all eyes focusing on him, William frowned and clasped his paws.

“We still have the second half to go... are we going to beat ourselves up as Coach said we were, or are we going to fight back?” He frowned, shaking his head. “We’re not losers. We need to prove Coach wrong... and we need to do that tonight.”

His teammates nodded in agreement, their coach’s words burning fresh in their minds. One by one, they stood up from their chairs and with William leading the way, they exited the locker room and walked back toward the court. With their head coach missing, the assistant coaches took over his duties.

In the second half, the Bonaverde players scrapped their old strategies and attacked PTU in different ways. While they were generally smaller than their opponents, they began to use that to their advantage, dragging out the shot clock as long as possible before making their shots and snipe more quickly at PTU’s ballhandling. When PTU continued to use their brute force, Bonaverde simply dodged them and turn their momentum against them, stripping the ball out of their paws before they could make their own shots. They forced PTU to commit 13 turnovers in the second half, almost breaking the FCAA record for a single half at that time and shot after shot, they chipped away at PTU’s lead. PTU’s brutal strategy also backfired on them, as most of Bonaverde’s comeback came in the form of successful free throw shooting.

As PTU saw their double-digit lead drop down to single digits, nervousness thickened the air around their bench and especially on their home fans. The noise level notably lowered in the second half, and as less and less cheers filled the air, the boos swooped in to replace them. With a minute left in the game and PTU still clinging to the lead but by just four points, their star player Xavier Corsodo made his final mistake in the game and fouled out. The foul call deflated the air out of the team and their fans, and their confident smug faces disappeared long ago. Two more free throws by Bonaverde power-forward Salem Wast pushed their deficit to just a single-possession.

After a PTU jumper shot struck off the rim and Bonaverde’s center Jason Resie grabbed the rebound, the coaches quickly called for a time out with just eleven seconds left in the game. Kassius later recounted: “We huddled together during the time out and I told them to give me the ball. Have faith in me and give me the damn ball. Have faith in me and I’ll take care of everything.”

As Salem West grabbed the inbound pass, the clock began to tick down. His teammates and their opponents scrambled throughout their end of the court for position, and with three seconds to go, he lobbed the ball to the taller white fox Jason Resie. When PTU quickly swarmed around him for a triple-team, it proved to be their fatal mistake as Resie immediately saw Kassius wide open at the arc and over-head passed the ball to him. With just a second or even less of time to react, Kassius caught the ball and jumped for a shot. The ball arched in the air as the buzzer sounded and cleanly entered the basket with a swoosh sound that broke the silence of the arena.

Kassius screamed and ran down the court with his arms spread out wide before his teammates mobbed him, piling onto him with a mass of Bonaverde jersey-wearing relief and sheer joy. The crowd surrounding the court however wanted none of that and the chorus of boos grew louder and louder. Several PTU players yelled at the referees, believing Kassius was either too late on his shot release or his feet were on the 3-point line and thus shouldn’t be counted as the game-winning three. The referees however stood firm and held their decision intact, infuriating the crowd even more. Then the beer and soda started flying.

“Yeah, we got beer thrown at us as we were heading down to the locker room,” Kassius later remarked. “We didn’t care though, we were all happy as [censored] and we didn’t hear all the booing. We were just cheering among ourselves, as we should.”

When the players dressed up and walked toward their bus on the parking lot, they noticed Coach Mathias still sitting on the front passenger seat. He sat there the entire time of the second half, and since he refused to hear updates, he still had no idea that his team had even pulled off the unspeakable upset. When he looked over at his players at the bus’s door with a sour look on his face, his players stood just outside the door still smiling.

“Hey Coach!” Kassius yelled. “We won the game!”

It didn’t even faze the old coach at all. “Good. Now get in the [censored] bus.”


End of Part Two

Re: FurSports.net: Rise and Fall of William Kassius

Posted: May 10th, 2016, 7:32 pm
by JWolfman
Part Three


“Looking back, if you want to know the exact point where William Kassius' downfall began, it would have to be from Bonaverde's President,” a former collegiate teammate of Kassius informed me during a phone interview. “It all began from inside his office.”

In 1973, the Bonaverde basketball team was running their best season thus far. Under Coach Matthias' supervision and with William Kassius at the helm, the Bonaverde Saints constantly found themselves either on top of the Ivy Group conference or close to it, changing hands with their Ivy rival Harvaardwak University. With their upset against PTU, their media profile increased tremendously and William Kassius became a household name in the Northeastern United States almost overnight. Unfortunately however, not everyone was happy about it, even within Bonaverde itself.

Winston Salandas had been the President of Bonaverde University since 1955 and over the course of 18 years he steered the university toward a scientific and business management direction that produced many of the nation's best minds in their respective fields. With deliberate micromanagement, he personally handpicked professors and assistant staff to support the foundation of his plans, and with overzealous ambition, he created a reputation of high prestige for Bonaverde as a scientific and business school. Unfortunately the school's other programs suffered as Salandas shifted funding away from them and onto the science and business fields. Archaeology, history, and even music and theater programs saw a decline as they were neglected and the sports programs were no exception. The Bonaverde Gymnasium bore the scars of neglect and age, and visiting teams feared going to Bonaverde simply due to the fact the visitor locker room had malfunctioning showers and toilets seemingly broken on a permanent basis.

President Salandas saw the media attention on the school's basketball team over the past few years as an unwelcome intrusion. He routinely dismissed interviews with sports journalists, never spoke about them in public speeches, and never even congratulated the team or acknowledged them when they clinched a spot in the FCAA tournament the previous year. He often claimed that he didn't even know Coach RJ Matthias in a personal level, simply because when it came to sports, it was one thing he didn't even bother to micromanage on and often left the sports decisions to a small committee of department heads. However he knew about AJ Matthias' hard-nosed and sometimes abusive tactics on the players, and while he probably secretly supported his brand of discipline, he knew it was risky and controversial. He dismissed the complaints about him however, until one day on February 12th he was forced to make a decision on Matthias' fate once and for all.

Wesley Reiss was a freshman gray fox for Bonaverde in 1973, playing for the basketball team as a Shooting Guard but mainly in the reserves as he barely had court game time. He was unassuming, very polite toward others and came from a very wealthy family but he held a secret as teammates later revealed in interviews.

“Yeah, we knew he was gay months before everyone knew about it,” William Kassius stated after the scandal. “Some of the guys wanted to mock him for it but he was really a cool guy, very nice and [censored], so we struck a bit of a deal with him. He carry our bags, we keep his 'secret' the way it is. But when Coach found out about him, oh damn… crap hit the fan.”

On February 10th, 1973, the Bonaverde basketball team were doing their practice drills at their gymnasium when they heard screaming from the locker rooms. The players stopped what they were doing to watch Coach Matthias drag Wesley Reiss onto the basketball court by the arm and threw the fox onto the floor in front of the astonished team. The coach was fuming, but that wasn't what startled the players. What was startling was their teammate Reiss was dragged out to confront them while completely naked. As soon as Matthias threw him to the floor, Reiss huddled up into a shivering ball, trying hard to cover his nakedness with his folded legs and arms. He appeared damp, as if he was dragged out of a shower.

“[censored]! Piece of [censored] [censored]!” Coach Matthias screamed and literally kicked him on the lower back. He glared back at his players, his eyes widened in fury. “You know what I saw in his goddamn locker?!” He pulled out a magazine from his pocket and held it up in the air for everyone to see. “A [censored] mag full of naked men!” He threw the adult magazine down onto Reiss and then kicked him again.

Not one of the players dared to speak up. How could they, when Coach Matthias' temper was already known to be legendary? Instead they watched as he continued to mock the freshman player. “I can't believe such a pussy boy is in my team! He can't find a girl so he just wants to slam his [censored] down another guy's [censored]! I will NOT have such girly [censored] in my team!”

He pointed a finger at one of the players. “You! Grab his clothes in the locker room, I'm kicking this [censored] out!” As the player ran into the locker room to grab Reiss' duffel bag, Matthias roughly grabbed the gray fox by the arm and pulled him up to stand. Reiss was crying and bawling, covering his privates with his free paw while Matthias dragged him toward the exit and threw him through the doors. He continued to berate and kick at him and then after the other player nervously handed the coach the duffel bag, he threw the bag directly onto Reiss' head and then roughly closed the doors shut. Reiss' now former teammates stood in complete shock, silenced by what they just saw. While their coach had physically shoved his players before in anger, they had never seen him physically harrass a player like this.

Even years after the incident, William Kassius was hesitant to talk about it, as evident from a 1979 interview with a local Arizona sports journalist. “I was scared as hell. I didn't want to speak up because I knew that if I did, I would become Coach's next target. None of us wanted to defend Wesley… we didn't want to be attacked. I can remember every damn word Coach Matthias said to him. I don't think I'll ever forget it.”

Within the next 24 hours, Wesley Reiss' family filed a lawsuit against Bonaverde University and angrily spoke against Coach Matthias to the national press. They sought $5 million and for Matthias to be fired, but herein lies an even greater tragedy about the treatment of homosexuals in the 1970s. Here is part of the transcript of their lawsuit statement to the media, as said by Wesley's father Thomas:

“My son Wesley is a good man, a decent man that only wants to be friends with everyone he meets. What Coach Reynolds-James Matthias had done with him is nothing short of barbaric and childish. He accused my son of participating in the ugly sin of homosexuality, and thus he tried to tarnish his name and the name of our family. He has tried to destroy his name for reasons unknown even to us, and I firmly believe justice has to be done. I am demanding that Bonaverde University make reparations for this crime of slander, and for Coach Matthias to be released immediately from his duties.”

While the press barely noticed it at the time, one could read between his lines and reveal an ugly truth about the statement: he wasn't angry that Coach Mathias mistreated him and threw him out of the team because of Wesley's homosexuality. He was angry because Coach Matthias dared to slander his name by accusing him of being a homosexual. News of the lawsuit quickly reached the Office of the Bonaverde President, and for someone who cared little about sports, President Salandas acted quickly and rashly.

On February 12th, President Salandas issued an official statement to the public that he had sent release papers to Coach Matthias effective immediately. Within 48 hours after the incident, RJ Matthias was no longer the head coach of the Bonaverde basketball team, and while it seemed appropriate due to the circumstances surrounding the controversy, the news were ill-received by the players.

For years since his arrival, Coach Matthias hammered a harsh but effective discipline onto the players. Because William Kassius was Captain of the team, he received the harshest treatment and William turned to respect him heavily for it. However William was almost always an egoistical person, believing the hype heaped onto him by fans and brown-nosing friends, and often hated the press when they dared not to talk about him or his team. Coach Matthias always brought him back down to earth, but with him gone, who was left to rein William back? Many reporters signaled the scandal as the true beginning of William Kassius' downfall, but sadly they often ignore an even greater tragedy.

Wesley Reiss was found dead just two weeks after the incident in his bathtub, the water filled with blood due to his slit wrists. He was only 18 years old.

End of Part Three

Re: FurSports.net: Rise and Fall of William Kassius

Posted: May 31st, 2016, 10:35 pm
by JWolfman
Part Four

With Coach Matthias' sudden departure, Joshua Rennels, the team's assistant coach, was promoted to take his place but it became rapidly clear that he was unsuited for the job. He had none of Matthias' bite or even his bark, becoming quiet even when his players went against his strategies on the court. The players caught onto his weaknesses and lack of assertiveness and they began to look up more at their captain William Kassius than at their timid new coach. By this point of the 1973 season, Kassius had already become used to this leadership role, but without a Coach Matthias figure to hold him down, he became even more outlandish and boastful about himself.

After Bonaverde's victory over Harvaardwak which secured their place atop the Ivy Group division for the remainder of the season, Kassius refused to shake paws with his rival opponents and instead walked straight to his team locker room, pumping his fists at the booing Harvaardwak home crowd and even hurled loud taunts at them. As reporters focused mainly on him, one of them asked him about the criticism already piled onto him for his conduct post-game.

“I'm 21 years old!” he replied, his voice already at a yelling point. “I'm just 21! Ya know, I'm already getting sick and tired of people telling me what to do. William, don't go out past your curfew. William, keep your mouth shut. William, you're embarrassing your college's integrity as an Ivy school. Well [censored] that. I'm 21 years old, I don't want to act like I'm 30. I want my parties, I want my women lined up in front of my door, I want my music played up high all night. I can't believe I'm not even getting paid to have fun and win games! I deserve a million dollars to go out there on the court and just do what I need to do! And yeah, you can quote me on that, I just said it!”

Kassius' behavior outside the court had inevitably crept into the court as the team approached the 1973 FCAA Tournament. As more victories piled up and their seeding in the tournament already considered to be secured, his confidence rose to perhaps intolerable levels. During pre-game introductions, he would dance his steps onto the court. He yelled back at referees and coaches. His elbows would land more frequently onto the faces of opponents, especially if the opponent was a predator which was the dominant type in basketball back in those days. During time-out huddles, he would often be seen just zoned into his little world, not listening to the coaches. Even back at their practice gymnasium at Bonaverde, he would arrive for practice sessions late, knowing he would get away with it due to the timidness of the coaches.

Just five days before their scheduled First Round game against Furda College, Kassius was approached by three men of important status within the university: Bonaverde President Winston Salandas, Dean of Athletics Markus Frewan, and Head Coach Joshua Rennels. They met in an otherwise empty conference room within Bonaverde University's administration building and according to Kassius himself, the meeting took only ten minutes.

“They told me that I was going to be suspended for the remainder of the season,” Kassius said about the fateful meeting in an interview with a Miami Herald journalist in 1975. “Three grown men, all of them predators in fancy suits, almost surrounded me while I stood there listening to them ramble on and on about how I was ruining the integrity of the university or some [censored]. I couldn't believe it, and it happened just a week before the team was going to be in the first round of the Tournament.”

When news of the suspension reached the public, there was a near mutiny from within the basketball team. President Salandas claimed the suspension was justified due to Kassius' behavior, and with the college still reeling from Wesley Reiss' suicide, they couldn't tolerate any more regression of what the college considered to be their moral values and wanted to teach Kassius a lesson. However the basketball players almost revolted against Coach Runnels, distancing themselves from him. Even though they remained favorites against their first round opponent, the situation looked dire.

Furda College squeaked into the Tournament by winning a regional tournament and often regarded as a team with no stand-out player and just above-average at best. Very few analysts gave them any chance to move on from the first round, and their entry into the 1973 Tournament turned out to be their first and last time there to this day. A tiny religious (Baptist) school located in South Carolina, Furda's team was led by a junior underclassman wolf named Derrike Venaka, whom inspired to be a pastor in his future, not a professional basketball player.

But when Bonaverde entered the court against them in the first round, they were a team without a proper Captain on a rudderless, sinking boat. Although William Kassius stayed with the team, he sat on a seat directly behind them, keeping silent while dressed in a tee-shirt and bellbottom jeans, a direct affront to Bonaverde's strict dress codes. Coach Runnels, his reputation ruined, was completely ineffective as the team failed to put their smaller opponents away, and Furda College rolled ahead with the upset, defeating Bonaverde 63-58. As the Bonaverde team slumped their heads and walked out of the court, the cameras caught Kassius simply shaking his head and walked out via a different exit without his now-former teammates. When the school turned his back on him, he turned his back on the school.

“The team was utter [censored] without me,” Kassius remarked to the reporters soon after the game. “Coach Rennels is crap, Coach Mendels (assistant) is crap, Salem, Nathan, Xavier, Frederick (his teammates on the starting roster) were all crap. I knew all along that they couldn't be good without me, and this game proved it. President Salandas said that he wanted to teach me a lesson. Well I don't know what the hell kinda lesson he was trying to teach me, but he ain't gonna hold me back anymore. I know that I still have one more year left before graduation but I'm not going to stay. I'm declaring for the FBA Draft this year, and ain't nobody gonna stop me!”

That statement, widely circulated in newspapers around the country, finalized Kassius' bridge burning with not only his college but also his history with the school and the success brought forth with them, all of his friends at the college, and even with his parents whom wanted him to graduate. For Kassius however, becoming one of the few 'prey' players to enter the 1973 FBA Draft was more than just a dream for him. It was a stepping stone in his efforts to fight back what he regarded as a corrupt social system.

It was also the next chapter in his spiral toward disaster.

Re: FurSports.net: Rise and Fall of William Kassius

Posted: August 14th, 2018, 7:54 pm
by JWolfman
Part Five

There were various factors on why William Kassius' entry to the FBA Draft in 1973 garnered a lot of attention from the national media. This was still an era where domestic and predator rule the basketball courts, so William's entry as one of the few prey species players took notice. Leading a small college such as Bonaverde into the top tournament of the sport also gave him attention, but also the controversies around his departure and how he verbally burned bridges with his college and his teammates. William behaved like he has a chip on his shoulder and always felt he has something to prove to the predators that laughed at him and the critics that questioned his maturity.

During the FBA Combine, he posted marginally decent numbers on his agility, speed and jump height, but most of the limelight was on a different player at the time: Jason Fennesin. A senior out of Pack Territory University, he not only scored 45 points against Furda College, the same college that knocked out Bonaverde in a tremendous first-round upset, but also led PTU to the FCAA Basketball Championship. William regarded him as a spotlight-hogger, a gray wolf that became fearsome only because he was willing to bulldoze through defenses like a bull in a china closet. When his words about him reached Fennesin, the wolf simply laughed and called him a fruit-sucking poser. On the very last day of the Combine, the two draftee players confronted each other at a parking lot and in front of a group of reporters, William lightly shoved him on the chest and openly promised that every time they face each other in the FBA, he would always score thirty or more points against him.

On the day of the FBA Draft, the general managers, the owners, and their coaches congregate together in their 'war rooms' where they make the decisions on who to draft. It was the day the prospective players dress their best for their potential employers and the cameras, and it was no exception with William Kassius. Back when the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, William flaunted a $102 Izod suit, and upon hearing criticism of his attire choices, he dismissed it using the specisim card.

“It's not like I wore much differently than the other people here,” he remarked to a reporter, defending his choices. He never did reveal who bought the suit for him, but rumors persist to this day that it was a 'gift' to him by a sports agent. “They're just hating on me because I'm a lemur.”

While such accusations of bigotry may be exaggerated in this case, he was not just the only lemur in the entire 1973 FBA Draft class, but also the only primate. The prey species only took up one-third of the class, and female players were still regarded as a novelty act in the sport. Of all the expected first-round players, William was only one of four prey species, and by the end of the day, there would be just three in the first round picked.

Jason Fennesin was the first overall pick, and he would later have a respectful career with the Tucson Demons for the remainder of the 1970s. The second pick went to a red fox named Patrick Bogard, a decent player that stayed in the FBA until 1983 but plagued by injuries throughout his career which many felt could have been much more memorable. Then it was the St. Paul Mayors' turn.

“If I don't get picked in the first round, I ain't gonna settle for second round,” William famously remarked as he waited for the Mayors to make their decision. “If I don't get picked in this round, I'm done. I'll be done with this place.”

Ned Underwood, the Commissioner of the FBA, walked onto the platform and stood behind the podium. “With the third pick of the 1973 FBA Draft, the Saint Paul Mayors select… William Kassius, Shooting Guard, from Bonaverde College.”

William stood up from his chair and pumped his fists in celebration. The reactions from the crowd however was more mixed, but he seemed to ignore the minority of boos as he stepped onto the platform and posed with Ned Underwood with a jersey of the Mayors. He finally achieved his dream to become a FBA player, but with it came a huge responsibility. The Mayors were champions just a handful of years ago, but when the Montana Howlers took over, the Mayors slid further and further to the basement. Now as the team's top pick, not only was he expected to either start or become a force from the bench, but also carry himself into the team's long-term future. However, his first words after being picked signaled an omen on what to come.

“St. Paul made the smart choice to take me into the team, and I'll do everything I can to take the lead of the team. They had their glory days back in the 1960s and I want to bring them back there again. They've been struggling lately but now that they have their faith in me, I'll take them back to the championship games, count on it.”

William's statement sounded ambitious enough, but in the predator-heavy years of the early 1970s, it sounded preposterous. For the veteran players already in the Mayors, it sounded even ridiculous, that this rookie would proclaim to be the savior of the team before even his first practice. Rookies back then were supposed to be humble and 'pay their dues', to learn from the veterans that believe they know better, and to simply shut their mouths. It became wildly evident that William's words on Draft Day came back to haunt him when he first arrived at the Mayors practice facility to meet his teammates for the first time.

“Only one of the assistant coaches shook my hand that day,” he said in a newspaper interview later in 1975. “Coach Drake Pollard didn't shake my hand and he just gave me a warning that I have to keep my mouth shut because some of the players are already jealous of me. I was like, 'Really?' and I haven't even met them yet! The first practice I had with them was brutal, with elbows flying and I even got gut-checked. At practice!”

The Mayors' locker room leader and captain was a male leopard named Mason Zollner, whom was starting his eleventh season at the time. Although his career did not earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame, he was considered a decent player and part of the 'Originals' that played for the FBA during its first few years. He was a grizzled type, rough and easily adjusted to the predator-heavy playstyle of the FBA and had little patience for this prey-species hotshot rookie that already promised to a national audience that he would 'lead' the team to championships. He was known to cuss and openly yell at his teammates when he sensed them to be underperforming, and William's Draft Day statements rubbed him the wrong way.

William later recounted in that same 1975 interview: “I think it was after our third practice session in our first week at the team camp, and I was all sore as [beep] when Mason came over to me and told me to grab all the practice shirts and towels into the cart and haul it to the laundry rooms. I told him that I wasn't gonna do that [beep], as we got towel boys to do that for us. The idiot literally reached over and grabbed me by the shoulder to push me against the wall, and keep in mind, that [beep] is about a foot taller than I am and he bared his [beep] fangs close to my face. He said that if I ever talked back to him again, he would tear my [beep] throat with his teeth and spit it out. Our teammates were all watching in the background, all giggling and [beep]. They didn't give a [beep] about me.”

His first FBA game was in the preseason against the Santa Cruz Clefs when he stepped in from the bench during the second quarter. Although he scored nine points with three of five shooting and several free throws, Coach Pollard pulled him back to the bench after nine minutes and didn't bring him back onto the court for the remainder of the game. Broadcasters noted that he had a sullen look on his face as he sat on the bench, waiting for his moment to return playing that never came.

Things soured quickly during the 1973 regular season. Coach Pollard refused to pull the trigger and start William, and instead gave him minimal minutes off the bench and never during clutch times. Then on January 5th, Coach Pollard simply pulled him out of the game entirely and kept him out until March 19th. Several stories circulated on why, as Coach Pollard explained it was because he was disappointed with William's laziness at practice, but William had another different story. “It was because I complained to Coach Pollard in his office about how Mason was treating me,” he stated in an interview segment of the topic. “I basically said that Mason shouldn't be screaming at me and slamming elbows onto me and ordering me around with coffee runs, but Coach simply told me to tough it up, and then he benched me for over two months.”

Unfortunately that interview occurred while he was still under contract with the Mayors, and in response the Mayors fined him $1000 for behavior violating team policies. He would show up at practice late, and while he would show up for team meetings to go over game tapes, he always kept silent and never contributing. To make matters worse, the long dry stretch out of the court included a game against the Tuscon Demons which has a much-hyped rookie of their own: Jason Fennesin. William pleaded with Coach Pollard to activate his status so that he could play against his perceived FBA Combine rival, but when Pollard once again kept his status on the deep reserves, William simply didn't even suit up for the game. He sat on the bench dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, sulking and in a slouched posture on the chair as he watched Jason Fennesin score 17 points against his team. In response to his violation of dress code, the Mayors fined him another $500.

“He didn't listen during the team meetings,” one of the assistant coaches remarked in a 1978 FSPN interview. “He felt he knew more than the coaches do, so he didn't listen to us. Coach Pollard spoke to me about how frustrated he felt with William to the point where he wanted to bench him for the rest of the season, but unfortunately he didn't last long enough to accomplish that.”

On March 24th, the Mayors were going nowhere with a 15-41 record and finally the team administration decided to give Coach Pollard his release papers. Tyson Reels replaced him the next day, fueling speculation that the Mayors already had the replacement lined up while Pollard still had his job, even though there was no evidence to support it. Coach Reels apparently had more faith in the ringtail lemur, and gave him more court minutes in the remainder of the season. On the very last game of the season, William finally has his chance as a starter for the first time, though it was a throwaway game against the Tucson Demons, whom were already set to play in the post-season.

Despite his boasts during the FBA Combine, William struggled to guard with the convincingly stronger and faster Jason Fennesin, but the worst highlight occurred during the third quarter when William tripped and fell backwards, landing on his ass as Jason cleanly dribbled around him for an easy lay-up shot. William gestured wildly to the referees for a foul call even though video replays showed that Jason didn't even touch him. William only managed to score 11 points in his starting debut, while his rookie rival scored 32.

With the Mayors already eliminated from the playoffs, the atmosphere inside the locker room after the game was tense. The team wanted to win for Mason Zollner who announced his retirement after this season, but while most of the players shook hands with him and wished him well for his future, William sulked in the background, visibly throwing his jersey into the laundry basket and not even approaching Mason for any reason. Finally as the players and coaches were preparing to leave the locker room, William stood onto his bench and yelled at them to have their attention. Although there were no video evidence of his speech, one of the coaches, realizing William might say something that could be 'interesting', secretly grabbed his tape recorder and activated it. It wasn't until 1978 when the coach released the tape to FSPN when it was revealed to be much more than just a speech.

“Hey! Look around us! Look at us, here we are, kicked out of the playoffs, and you people are shaking hands and wishing each other well? How about we all just admit that we sucked? I could have made a difference this season but instead that old stupid Pollard benched my ass and I didn't play much anyway! I should have been practicing my ass off in drills but instead I was pushed around by you people, making stupid laundry runs, fetching the goddamn coffee, and carrying your goddamn luggage! Like what the shit, you guys?!”

According to eyewitnesses, the rest of the team glared back at him but Mason decided to make one last statement to this rookie before his retirement. The leopard approached him and growled. “Get yer ass down from the bench, boy.”

The lemur frowned and looked down at him from his platform. “I'm sick and tired of your old ass, Mason. Go to some old folks home and--”

Mason Zollner's final action as a FBA player was pushing William Kassius firmly off the bench seat. William's body flopped onto the dirty laundry cart, tipping the entire thing backwards with him and his body became tangled with dirty socks, shirts, and underwear. Mason turned back to his teammates as they burst out in laughter, and William, blushing in embarrassment and anger, simply sat up on the floor and threw one of the socks back at them. His own teammates and coaches simply shook their heads and left the locker room, leaving William alone amid the stink of their dirty clothes.

When William didn't appear at the team's final meeting before the official start of their off-season, the Mayors fined him $500 yet again. Over the course of his rookie year, he was ejected three times from the game despite his limited minutes due to arguing back to the referees, and averaged only 3.4 points and was on the court for an average of less than ten minutes a game, once the long stretch of being in the deep bench is discounted. During the off-season however, his attitudes toward the FBA became noticeably negative. He turned to hate the rampant bigotry of the predators on the court and how the referees seem to turn a blind eye toward any aggression against him. With the checks the Mayors gave him, he splurged on a brand new house, a 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood which cost almost $8000 at the time which made it one of the most expensive cars in the market, and enough expensive suits and shoes to fill three walk-in closets. He constantly traveled to Las Vegas to enjoy gambling and their nightclubs, and visited California for their beaches and women. One time he openly stated on television that he preferred those locations due to the climate, which was a jab toward the Mayors' city of St. Paul which has their cold snowy winters. When the comments made it to the St. Paul papers, the backlash from fans was so much that the Mayors forced him to apologize via a written statement. However one major cause of his downfall was that his wealth and fame brought a good number of unscrupulous people around him. They whispered in his ears on how good he was on the court, how the predators were pushing him down, and above all else, how broke they were and thus needed his money.

By the time the Mayors resumed training camp, William returned looking out of shape and it showed during the first week. He felt miserable and wanted to go back to his nightclubbing, and openly snapped back at even the trainers. For some reason, either because they couldn't find another team to trade players with him, or they didn't want to admit that drafting him was a failure, the Mayors administration basically told Coach Reels to make William Kassius as one of the key components of the team's starting roster, and it was not something Coach Reels actually wanted to do. However he was loyal enough to swallow his pride and gut instinct and gave William practically anything he wanted. When William started to show up at practice late again, Coach Reels turned the other cheek. When he skipped team meetings, the Mayors decided not to fine him. However his teammates quickly took notice and they squabbled among themselves, pushing William away even further. Some of them wouldn't even look at him in the eye in the locker rooms, and to make matters worse, William treated their behavior as mere jealousy to his own sense of superiority over them. His entourage grew, and with it came louder whispers to his ears that would puff his ego even larger.

However now that the Mayors were giving him the court minutes he 'desperately' wanted, his criticisms about the Mayors and the FBA decreased. He no longer complained about the team although he openly expressed disappointment when his teammates refused to praise him. During the 1974 FBA Preseason, William averaged close to 11 points a game, a remarkable improvement over his rookie year but only because he had more time on the court to make more shots.

“He was such a ball-hogger,” his teammate Thomas Efferies recalled in a 1981 FSPN interview. “He didn't trust us, so whenever he possessed the ball, he would try to keep it as long as possible and then make his shots. He only made like less than a quarter of his shots but he kept shooting and shooting, so he would end up with double-digits in points which he would constantly boast about after the game.”

The situation between William and his teammates only worsened and it finally came to a head on January 27th, 1975 when the Mayors faced off against the Biloxi Mudpuppies. After weeks of internal drama and distrust, his teammates finally protested by simply not giving him the ball. Countless times when William yelled for the ball once he's open, his teammates looked the other way and passed to different players. It came to the point where his only chances to possess the ball came out of steals and rebounds, and even the Mudpuppies took notice by relaxing their guard on him to increase their defense on the other players. It was widely regarded as one of the most embarrassing games to watch in FBA history, and it resulted with Coach Reels' termination from his duties.

Facing reporters after the game, William unloaded his fury onto the coaching staff and threw his teammates under the bus. He accused them of speciest bigotry, and he lamented on how much he worked hard to improve the team but 'they refused to give him a chance'. This only pushed himself away from his teammates, and finally the Mayors gave up on him. Once again, William was benched to the deep reserves, and this time he was benched for the remainder of the season. His behavior continued to worsen, skipping practice and team meetings, and the Mayors finished the season once again outside of the playoffs.

For the first time in his career, William became a free agent once his contract expired. However he still remained confident that a different team would pick him up. He boasted that if given the chance, he would become the biggest star in the decade, but only if he was given the chance. However none of the other teams bit his bait… all except for the Mayors. They decided to give him a single-year contract extension, but it was a minimal contract in monetary value, at just $20,000 a year at a time when the highest paid players raked in $400,000 in average. He felt insulted, and believing he should be paid more, he dismissed the offer outright. However no other offers came, but instead of changing his mind and accepting the contract offer anyway, he decided to call it quits.

William felt betrayed and humiliated by what he deemed to be a corrupt and highly bigoted basketball league. He blamed others and sarcastically remarked that if he was just a dime-a-dozen predator player, he would still be playing in the FBA. After two seasons of being elbowed and pushed around in practice drills, yelled at by coaches and angry teammates, embarrassing plays on the court and now shunned entirely, William began to turn against the FBA. He wondered why his talent, which made him shine in college, was being so tarnished and overshadowed in the FBA. He turned to hate the Mayors, the city of St. Paul, the FBA, and finally the sport of basketball itself.

Although William permitted interviews about the FBA after his retirement, his last official interview with a reporter was in 1983 with a local newspaper, which was mostly a lament by the bitter ring-tail lemur. Even eight years after his retirement, he complained about how he was mistreated, and he hated the moniker of 'draft bust' by the sports journalists. His entourage fled from him, taking much of his money with them, and he finally filed for bankruptcy in 1976. He married Belinda Tracy in 1980, got a job as a construction worker that became his career, and finally their only child, Narkissa, was born in 1992.

Bonaverde College closed its doors for good in 1988 and the only remains of it were bricks stored in a warehouse owned by the Bonaverde Historical Society. A shopping mall and grocery store took over its place. R.J. Mathias passed away on June 5th, 1985 and upon hearing the news about his beloved coach, William closed himself in his bedroom, refusing to come out until the next day. Today, William Kassius is a cautionary tale among FBA circles, often the butt of jokes as a draft bust and just a mere footnote in FBA history. His daughter Narkissa not only became a player for the FBA, despite his severe objections, but earned a FBA championship ring with the Tallahassee Typhoons. But according to Narkissa herself, he still has yet to congratulate her on the achievement.