FanWatch: UVa Still No. 1 For Pezhoo

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Robb Fish (Pezhoo) supported the Hoos in a V-Sabre T-shirt with his family at the Epcot Center.

Robb Fish, Pezhoo on the message boards, remembers some plays from the 1990 football season like they just happened last season. Among Virginia fans, he’s likely not alone as that team ascended to the nation’s No. 1 ranking behind an explosive offense and defense with names like Shawn Moore, Herman Moore, and Chris Slade.

Fish looks back at his student days fondly as a fan.

“I guess the big thing from a UVa fan’s perspective was that ‘next year’ really did arrive. We had Shawn, Herman, Terry Kirby, Chris Slade, everyone coming back from a team that went 10-3 and played in a New Year’s bowl,” Fish said by email. “I remember big plays from that year more than a specific game. Herman had a crazy catch over the middle against Duke where he thought he’d get hit and spun but no one was there, then he made a couple people miss and kind of staggered into the end zone from about 30 yards out. He torched NC State with a bomb down the sidelines (83 yards – I just looked it up.) Slade had a big sack and forced fumble against Clemson. … Against Navy I think Shawn had two passes that totaled 100 yards just in the second quarter. It just seemed like we scored from everywhere.”

The high-flying offense rolled up points that season with 442 points in 11 games before the Sugar Bowl. Some scores from early that season as UVa rose to No. 1 included 59-10 over Kansas, 56-14 over Navy, 59-0 over Duke, 63-35 against William & Mary, 31-0 over NC State, and 49-14 over Wake Forest.

It was a great time to be a student and a football fan Fish says.

“I remember walking along the Lawn to a morning class and passing an admissions tour and the guide said something about the University of Virginia and I added, ‘home of the nation’s No. 1 football team.’ It was so cool to be able to say that. For three weeks Charlottesville with our little stadium was the center of the football universe. Just amazing,” Fish said by email. “The drop in the rankings and losses were tough, but at that time bowl bids were wrapped up really early so the Sugar Bowl was kind of married to us. So gearing up for that huge bowl game was fun.”

Fish also recalls switching majors while at UVa. He flipped from Engineering to History.

“All my engineering classes transferred to the College. I had a strong interest in History, and the way they teach it at UVa, it’s not what happened when so much as what led to the big events and why. The resulting critical thinking and writing skills have been very valuable in my career in finance,” Fish said by email. “When I was 18 I wanted to get an Engineering degree, then eventually get an MBA. I ended up getting the MBA and pretty much having a career similar to what I hoped for, just a different path. My advisor told me when I was 20 that my college major wouldn’t really impact my life that much. I didn’t believe him at the time, but he was right.”

Beyond his time at Virginia, Fish finds a lot of other things interesting. A History major and a job in finance are the tip of the iceberg. He enjoys travel and has been to “four continents and more than 20 countries” for example. He likes to read, the EA Sports NCAA football video game “on which the Hoos have won about 30 titles” (some fans may remember message board write-ups on a dynasty run for the Cavaliers a few years ago), and movies. The upcoming Man of Steel movie is high on his summer list.

Fish, who is also “looking forward to fishing and camping this summer,” took some time to answer The Sabre’s FanWatch questions.

  • Name: Robb Fish
  • Sabre Username: Pezhoo
  • Age: 42
  • Residence: Stevens Point, WI
  • Occupation: Finance Manager
  • UVa Ties (degrees, family members attended, season tickets, anything like that): I graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in History. On Fall Saturdays, if you ask either of my daughters (ages 4 and 2) what day it is, they will respond “Gameday!”

FanWatch 15

1. Why did you choose your user name?

When I was in undergrad my friends and I were all taking Spanish – pez is Espanol for fish. The hoo part is obvious to Sabreites.

2. What is your favorite thing about Or what is your best Sabre memory?

My favorite thing about The Sabre is probably the off-topic board. Virginia graduates are smart, well-spoken people with an endless variety of experiences. You can put almost any request for advice on that board, from what to see on a three-day trip to Florence to how to get your air conditioning working on your car without going to the dealership and you’ll get good advice. You have to weed through all the smart-aleck answers as well, but most of them are worth reading too!

I’ll also say that pretty much anything JHoo writes is a must read.

I have a few memories that make me smile. One was when Friday girls first started, I think there was some potential fallout from sponsors but someone (I think it was Boardhost) put it to a vote and it was saved. Democracy in action! There was also the time I went online and all the text was Carolina Blue. That got everyone’s attention for the upcoming game. A final one was 9/11 – by mid-afternoon there was a huge American flag over the message board. I still remember that, almost 12 years later.

Chris Slade and Bryant Stith helped make UVa sports exciting back in the early 1990s.

3. What is your favorite Cavalier sport and why?

I follow football and basketball very closely. I have a hard time choosing between the two because I like football more as a sport but basketball has three times as many chances to see your team in action. Football is the ultimate team game and seeing everyone work together on a big play is great. In basketball you can watch a kid like Joe Harris come in, coming across the country to try and build the program and watch him develop into what he has become and that’s just so much fun over the years. If you forced me to choose I’d pick football, but I think UVa has a better chance to make the Final Four than the National Championship game.

4. Who is your favorite Cavalier athlete (past and/or present) and why?

I’ve had many favorites over the years. I arrived on Grounds in fall of 1988 so it’s 25 years ago now. But Bryant Stith, because he’s my age, because he maximized his talent, because he was all class, because I talked to him on the Lawn in our caps and gowns, because he had a successful career in the NBA and afterwards, I’ll go with Bryant. Thomas Jones is a close second. I think those guys are pretty similar, height and weight aside!

5. Who is your favorite Cavalier coach (past and/or present) and why?

I have to mention Coach Welsh here, he took UVa from a wreck of a program to a consistent winner. He was underappreciated by most, including me. But I am REALLY excited about Coach Bennett. I just love everything the guy stands for, and people around the country are starting to talk about Virginia basketball. It seems like the proverbial “next year” Hoo fans always talk about might actually arrive in the not too distant future.

6. If you could trade places for a day with any current Cavalier pro athlete, who would it be and why?

This is something I’ve never even thought about, so it’s pretty funny. Our NBA options are pretty limited and I like football more anyway. So that leaves me with Matt Schaub, Chris Long or D’Brick (D’Brickashaw Ferguson). I have the utmost respect for offensive linemen, but that wouldn’t be my fantasy, plus you have to play for the Jets. Chasing quarterbacks would be fun but the Rams aren’t a consistent winner. So I’m going with Matt Schaub. Playing quarterback in the NFL, in a football crazed state, for a playoff team? That would be a good day.

7. What has been your most memorable Cavalier sports moment so far?

For a game I saw in person, probably beating Duke in basketball in 2001. That was obviously a ridiculously good Duke team, and everyone remembers the Adam Hall dunk, but U-Hall was incredibly loud and the game was close from start to finish (as I recall.) Beating Clemson at home in 1990 was great too, but I don’t recall the game itself being that great. I really hope to replace this with a memory of the Hoos winning the ACC Championship in hoops before too long!

Robb Fish (Pezhoo) takes a carousel ride with his family.

8. You’re the coach in this scenario: the Hoos just scored a touchdown to cut the lead to one (say 28-27) in the ACC Championship Game with less than one minute remaining in the game. Do you kick the extra point for overtime or do you go for two? Now, depending on your answer, picking from any Hoo in program history, who is your kicker or whose number are you calling to try to score the two points? Why?

The Hoos finally made a BIG game? This is crazy, but we’re not Alabama, we have to cash in on the opportunity before us. I’m going for the win, and I really like our chances because I’m having Shawn Moore throw the alley-oop to Herman Moore. Did that ever get stopped? For three years I don’t think it did. Hoos win! Ugh, but this is Virginia. Now we gotta stop the return and play defense. … I gotta sit down. Here we go. …

9. You’re the coach Part 2: the Hoos are in a tie game in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament with less than 10 seconds to go and you have the ball coming out of a timeout. Who, again picking from any Hoo in program history, are you going to for the last shot? Why?

Hmmm, Mike Scott was almost automatic his last year. Bernie Floriani never missed a field goal or free throw attempt in his time with the team (research that one!) But I was a History major at one time, so although I never saw him play, I’ll go with Jeff Lamp. I’m pretty sure Jeff Lamp has a note in the record book about how many game winning shots he hit in his career. Singletary had that great shot against Duke, but on volume, I think Lamp is my choice.

10. The Mount Rushmore question: Which four Hoos have to make UVa’s Mount Rushmore in your opinion? You can include Thomas Jefferson as an honorary fifth member too so he can keep his mountain slot!

My four would be Dawn Staley, Thomas Jones, Chris Slade, and Herman Moore. That’s not a super distribution across the 25 years I’ve been a Hoo fan. Two of them were in my class at UVa, and I overlapped with Moore and Slade by three years.

But Dawn took the women’s basketball team to back-to-back-to-back Final Fours and graduated as the school’s leader in points (since fallen to No. 2, but Dawn could have scored A LOT more if she wanted to) and assists. She was No. 2 in rebounds when she graduated as a 5’5″ guard. Not a bad post-college career either with three Olympic Gold medals. All class too.

Thomas Jones lived up to all the hype – 1,303 yards as a junior making a HUGH leap from his second year when I wanted Antoine Womack instead. Then he had a monster senior year. He could have won the Heisman if Maryland hadn’t bottled him up somehow in the season finale. You’ll never see a better college back in my opinion, maybe as good but not better. Power, speed, and wiggle.

Slade finished as the all-time sack leader and he would turn to the student section after a sack and we’d all scream his name. First-class guy the time I talked to him on his way to class too. Oh, by the way, our All-Americans go to class at UVa. I love that.

I had Bryant Stith on this list but I realized I left Herman off, and I can’t do that. Herman dominated games from the wide receiver position back when that wasn’t done. He’s falling down the list on receptions now, but look at the average per catch (22.0) and career TDs (27.) He played three years, the first one as a No. 2 receiver to John Ford. I thought he’d be Jerry Rice in the NFL, and if he ever played with a QB, he might have been.

11. Have you given in to the smart phone revolution yet? If so, what phone are you using? Do you have a favorite app that you’d recommend to fellow Hoos?

Wow, I am what Marketers call a late adopter! I didn’t even have a cell phone until 2005 when my fiancee physically took me to the store. I will probably have one in the next 12 months, probably an iPhone that’s a generation behind whatever is new to save money.

12.What was the first concert you attended or what has been your favorite concert experience?

I’m not a super big concert goer. I’ve seen Van Halen a few times, Buffet a few times. I’ve seen several comedians including Bill Cosby, which was great. I’m actually going to see Huey Lewis & the News next month as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Sports album. How that album is 30 years old and Michael J. Fox is on the cover of AARP magazine is beyond me.

13. What was your first car and what do you remember about it?

I wanted a sports car but shockingly in 1992 after graduating with a history degree I had no job! I bought a 1982 Mazda RX-7. My first sports car. It was not super practical. I was living in Minnesota and a light, rear-wheel drive car wasn’t the best choice. I loved the rotary engine though – it just kept getting stronger and stronger. Nice car.

14. What’s your favorite book or magazine and why?

I’m in Finance so I like reading Money magazine, but that’s boring for the general populace. A book everyone should read, in my opinion, is Travels by Michael Crichton. He travelled all over the planet getting ideas for his novels and did some fascinating stuff. There are a lot of life lessons in there. I’ve given it as a gift to several close friends. Everyone loved it.

15. Your choice: Do you have a famous quote that you’ve always liked and why do you like it? or What piece of advice would you give to current students/young people?

I don’t know how famous it is, but a quote I’ve always liked is “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.” It’s funny but it also says if you don’t like what you’re seeing you have to a make a change. Just plodding along every day might get you somewhere, but you don’t get exposed to new things or get information to help you make decisions.

For advice to young people, and I think this builds on that quote, the pace of change in today’s world is so rapid. It’s accelerating with Globalization, and the way people are living their lives is pretty different from how things were 20, maybe even 15 years ago. That’s both exciting and scary at the same time. A company with stellar prospects right now might be gone 10 years from now. As a young person today you really need to be able to roll with the punches and accept change, be it where you live, what company you work for, what job you have, all of it. You have to keep your head up so you can see things coming and react. Unfortunately the days of burrowing in at a big corporation, working your way up the ladder, living in the same house for 20 years and retiring with a pension are gone. It’s going to be a wild ride and being adaptable, in my opinion, is going to be a very important skill to have.

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