In eight short years, Matt and Erenia “Ernie” Pool have achieved total domination of the foodie circadian rhythm. First, they captivated early birds with the instantly iconic Matt’s Big Breakfast. Then they snared night owls with The Roosevelt. For the coup de grâce, they opened Giant Coffee: a gilded cage for cuckoo caffeine lovers. Along the way, the couple has been profiled on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and earned spots on countless Phoenix “Best Of” lists, from PHOENIX magazine to CNN. We caught up with the sweet, humble Pools over lattes and macchiatos at Giant Coffee, where they reflected on their burgeoning empire.
CEILING-SMASHING ROUNDBALL LEGEND Ann Meyers Drysdale moves a little slower nowadays, her knees stiffened by a lifetime of trips up and down the basketball court. But her steely blue eyes still reflect the intensity that made her the best women’s player on the planet in the late 1970s: a four-time All-American at UCLA, the first player drafted by the Women’s Professional Basketball League, and the only woman ever to sign an NBA contract (she got a tryout with the Indiana Pacers in 1980).
Archery superstar Brady Ellison returns to the Summer Games with a No. 1 ranking and a renewed thirst for Olympic gold.
It should come as no surprise that the most popular book-turned-movie this year, The Hunger Games, has inspired a new crop of young athletes. And they’re armed.
USA Archery reports record-setting enrollment in their youth divisions, with the number of cadets (ages 15-17) peaking at nearly every national event in the past two years. Maybe Hunger Games’ bow-wielding heroine, Katniss Everdeen, inspired them. Or maybe the football team was full. Regardless, Glendale native Brady Ellison can say he joined the sport before it was cool.
A year ago, Ian Kennedy was largely unknown to rank-and-file Arizona Diamondbacks fans. The D-backs were coming off two straight last-place finishes in the National League West, and few players were generating breakout buzz.
Things couldn’t be more different this year. As the team kicks off its 2012 season, Kennedy takes the hill as one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, and expectations for both him and the Diamondbacks are the highest in years.
Auto Dealership Owner
Interviewing Tex Earnhardt feels a bit like stepping onto the set of one of his iconic TV commercials. Dressed in his trademark Western garb – boots, blue jeans, long-sleeved printed shirt and wide-brimmed hat, which he immediately removes to reveal an impressive silvery mane – Earnhardt looks and sounds like the same straight-shooting cowboy he plays on TV. Then there are Hal and Jim Babe, Tex’s sons and fellow TV pitchmen, who are roped in for a cameo appearance after Tex spots them walking down the hallway. The only thing missing is one of the massive longhorn steers that Tex sits on when he declares, “And that ain’t no bull.”
Sports show host
In a medium that typically features men yelling at other men about men, Karen Frye stands out. She’s the creator and host of Girlfriends Talk Sports with KFrye, an online sports-talk show in which she and two lady co-hosts dish about everything from college booster payola to players’ tattoos to UFC. Her qualifications? She’s spent 28 years raising Suns center and power forward Channing Frye.
When people think of today’s boxing elite, images of Floyd “Money” Mayweather burning $100 bills, or Manny Pacquiao and his bustling 200-person entourage, can’t help but come to mind.
Life is a little different for 19-year-old Jose Benavidez Jr. The reigning prince of Arizona boxing is rousted from his modest west Phoenix apartment every day at 4 a.m. by his father-trainer, Jose Sr. They run up South Mountain, then head to the iconic Central Boxing Gym for a grueling workout.