Cleveland State says it's launching a new era of men's basketball, and there are a few early reasons to believe it. The Vikings followed last year's 8-22 season by replacing rumpled coach Rollie Massimino with former Michigan State assistant Mike Garland. Along with him has come a new pipeline to Michigan talent: Already, Garland has lured Walt Waters, an all-state center last year.
The Vikings, who last sniffed success with their improbable 1986 NCAA Tournament run, return home Saturday to take on a North Carolina team that's also fallen on hard times: The Tar Heels have slipped from the ranks of the Atlantic Coast Conference's elite and have installed former Kansas coach Roy Williams to lead the turnaround.
Saturday's game is a homecoming for Carolina's Jawad Williams, the All-American junior forward who was named Ohio Player of the Year in his days at St. Edward High School. The Vikings and Tar Heels meet at 4 p.m. at the CSU Convocation Center, at 2000 Prospect Avenue downtown. Tickets range from $8 to $12, available by calling 216-687-9292. -- Matt Leavitt
The Turkey Trot gets wings a-flappin'.
Cleveland's downtown Turkey Trot offers a preemptive strike against the cholesterol-intensive feasting that follows. The 22nd annual event, which draws nearly 3,000 runners each year, features a one-mile fun run and a competitive five-mile race -- for which the first 50 men and 50 women finishers win . . . pumpkin pies.
This year's course starts and ends at the Convention Center and winds through the streets of downtown. "It's a family tradition," says Dan Crandall of Hermes Sports, which organizes the event. "Whole families run this race together." The fun run starts at 8:55; the five-miler is at 9:30 a.m. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. at the Cleveland Convention Center (500 Lakeside Avenue). It costs $20 to participate. Call 216-623-9933 for more information. -- Fred Wright
It isn't winter till the toboggan runs are open.
There are few snowy thrills that rival those of Cleveland's toboggan chutes. Stretching out 700 feet, with an initial vertical drop of 70 feet, the icy shafts are as fast as they are potentially puke-inducing. The Chalet Recreation Area's chutes open Friday and stay open through February 29. Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8, $6 for kids (season passes are available for $35 and $25). It's in Mill Stream Reservation, between routes 42 and 82 in Strongsville; call 440-572-9990 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
Three of the Cleveland Metroparks' golf courses -- Shawnee Hills, Big Met, and Mastick Woods -- are open for action on Thanksgiving. Dawn-to-dusk play means you can tear into the greens before and after you tear into the turkey. Shawnee Hills is at 18753 Egbert Road in Bedford (440-232-7184), Big Met is at 4811 Valley Parkway in Fairview Park (440-331-1070), and Mastick Woods is at 19900 Puritas Road (216-267-5626). Call the courses for additional information. -- Michael Gallucci