Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 1, Page 7 Fall 1993 Blue bombers makes third landing in Delaware The middle of April, 1993, will always be one of the most significant of times for R. Scott and Carolyn Puglisi-Barker, both Delaware '86. Their first child, Zachary, was born April 17. Two days later, the couple became proud owners of the Delaware Blue Bombers-the First State's professional basketball team in the recently formed Atlantic Basketball Association. The top echelon of the Delaware franchise is strictly a family affair. Scott Barker, who has a full-time job as membership director of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, is the team's general manager, head coach, vice president and treasurer. Carolyn is president and secretary of Barker Basketball Inc., the official corporate name. "We're the sole owners of the team," says the coach. "That makes it easy to make decisions. They may not always be the right ones, but at least we make them in a hurry." The couple operates from a home office in Franklin Township, Pa., located off Route 896, about 10 miles north of Newark. They met at the University while he was studying business administration and she was majoring in electrical engineering. In addition, there are other Blue Hen alumni in their families. Carolyn's brother, Mark, majored in electrical engineering and graduated in 1990. Scott's father, Bob, who earned an MBA in 1965 and a master's in education in 1976, is administrator of the MBA program in the College of Business and Economics. His mother, Ellen Lyerly Barker, received her bachelor's degree in nursing in 1979. The couple's entry into the business end of professional basketball came at an ideal time. Carolyn was expecting their first child and was interested in establishing a home-based business so she could be close to her son. Scott had read a newspaper article about the formation of the basketball league. Since he was interested in coaching, he called the league office in Pennsylvania to see if the soon-to-be-awarded Delaware franchise might need a coach. When he found out there was still time to submit an application for ownership, the couple discussed the idea and, within a week, the Barkers were awarded the Delaware team, along with all of the excitement and responsibilities associated with it. Immediately, they were thrown into a new world where they had to apply their organizational business skills, basic marketing techniques and fundamental coaching knowledge. The Barkers had to design logos, mount a publicity campaign, conduct tryouts, locate a playing site, review player contracts, select uniforms, interview concession operators, arrange for insurance and maintain continuous contact with the media. According to Scott, his team marks the Blue Bombers' third appearance in Delaware. The name was first used for a professional basketball team formed after World War II. It also was the name of the Wilmington team that played in the Eastern Basketball League (EBL) from 1963-1971. When the Barkers decided to name their franchise, they allowed the Wilmington News Journal to conduct a survey of its readers. When asked to call in their preference in a choice between the Delaware Diamondbacks-the name suggested by the Barkers-and Delaware Blue Bombers, the traditional team name won out, but not by a lot. One of Scott Barker's most satisfying experiences in the early stages of the operation was the number of excellent former college players who participated in the team's tryouts. As coach, Scott had the responsibility of evaluating the original 50 hopefuls and reducing their number down to 18-which includes 12 for the regular roster and six for the inactive list. Former University of Delaware athletes now associated with the team include: Taurence Chisholm, Delaware '88; Steve Jennings, Delaware '91; Oscar Jones, Delaware '89; Mark Murray, Delaware '93; and Anthony Wright, Delaware '93. Also on the team is current undergraduate Denard Montgomery. Two other players, Donald Dutton and Alain Nana-Sinkam, also attended the University. "I think, as an alumnus of the University, it's exciting to see the University of Delaware represented in such a significant way, with nearly half the roster made up of former Delaware players. I think, as a local person, it should be satisfying to see us take a truly Delaware team out and see how it competes in the region," he says. The league has four teams from Pennsylvania-Pottsville Stingers, Allentown Jets, Scranton Miners and Hazleton Hawks-as well as the Frederick (Md.) Flyers and the Bombers. Scott says the rosters will include some of the best student-athletes in the region. "This league fills a particular niche for those who want to play beyond the college level," Scott explains. "It gives them an opportunity to play professionally, to be visible and possibly get a contract overseas. And, since we play on weekends and there's no overnight travel, it doesn't interfere with their full-time jobs in their selected professional careers." The ABA season runs from November through April. During Delaware head basketball coach Steve Steinwedel's first year, Scott was involved with programs and marketing strategy conducted by the basketball promotions staff. He says he is applying some of the things he learned during that part of his academic training with his new team. When game time arrives, Scott will be on or near the bench, aiming to lead his team to a premier winning season. And Carolyn? "I won't be sitting," she says. "I'll be handling all the logistics, all the operations, the concessions, the ticket operations. I'll be more relaxed when I can go on the bus to the away games and just sit back and watch. All Scott has to do is win a lot of games." -Ed Okonowicz, Delaware '69, '84M The Delaware Blue Bombers' home games will be played at Newark High School. The team's 30-game season, with 15 home games, begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 27, when the Blue Bombers host the Pottsville Stingers. For ticket information and a complete schedule, call (302) 426-9334.