The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for November, 2008

Kelly’s 108 Golf Holes Away From His Goal

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Troy Kelly’s golf career started 24 years ago. He was six, at the time the youngest player to start competing in Washington State Junior Golf Association Tournaments.

 

Next week, the best golfer to come out of Kitsap area since the late George Bayer will be among 163 golfers trying to earn PGA Tour cards during the final stage of qualifying school. The tournament starts next Wednesday (Dec. 3) and runs through Dec. 8.

Kelly, now 30, is in the final stage of this tournament for the second time in three years. He’s 108 holes away from achieving his lifelong dream. The top-30 finishers earn their PGA Tour cards and the next 50 will earn full-time status on the Nationwide Tour. The rest earn at least part-time Nationwide status.

Do you recognize any of these names? Notah Begay, Bubba Dickerson, Scott Dunlap, Jason Gore, Robert Gamez, Hunter Haas, John Huston, Neal Lancaster, Frank Lickliter and Olin Browne.

They are among the golfers Kelly will be competing against. All are looking to regain Tour status, and if you’re a professional golfer, tour status is the goal. You don’t need to win on the PGA Tour to make a decent living. A top-10 finish in a single tournament could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ten golfers in the Nationwide Tour, the so-called minor leagues of golf, earned more than $300,000 last season.

 

So it’s easy to understand why this tournament is considered one of most pressure-packed, nerve-wracking sporting events in the world. ‘

 

Kelly’s been here before, so the nerves shouldn’t be so bad. Plus, he now lives in La Quinta so he’ll have somewhat of a homecourse advantage. Sounds like there will be a healthy contingent of local golfers down in the Palm Springs area next week to follow Kelly.

 

The Golf Channel will televise the final three rounds on Dec. 6-8: Saturday, 1-4 p.m., Sunday, 1-4 p.m. and Monday, 12:30-4 p.m.

 


Good Night for OC Athletics

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Just got back from Olympic College’s auction/dinner – a fundraiser for the school’s athletic teams. The event drew over 300 and if there were any glitches during the evening, no one seemed to notice.

Lisa Gangel, weekend sports anchor for KING-5 television, was the keynote speaker. The former division II basketball player talked about breaking in as a sports broadcaster at Butte, Mont., and how tough it is to cover Seattle sports these days, even poking fun at the Seahawks – this with her boyfriend, defensive end Patrick Kearney – sitting just a few feet away.

Seattle comedian Fred Northcup, the master of ceremonies, turned auctioneer and kept the program moving with some witty banter.

I’m not sure how much money was raised – the final tally will be announced later – but this was a good event for a good cause. State junior colleges are limited on how much scholarship money they can provide athletes and this is a good way for the community to show its support for the athletic programs at the college. I think the college is just scratching the surface as to how big this event can be in future years.


CK Assistant McKinnis Has Grey Cup History

Friday, November 21st, 2008

I got call earlier this week from a Calgary, Alberta, radio station, which was trying to locate Hugh McKinnis.

“No problem,” I said. “He’s out on the practice field with the Central Kitsap football team.”

McKinnis’ smile could probably light up Silverdale Stadium Saturday night if the lights go out. He’s an assistant coach for the Cougars, who take on Rogers of Puyallup in a Class 4A state quarterfinal football game.

I wrote a story about McKinnis in 2006 prior to the Seahawks-Steelers Super Bowl game. Here’s the condensed version:

McKinnis played in two Grey Cups with the Calgary Stampeders, losing 23-10 to the Montreal Aloutettes in his rookie season in 1970. The hard-running fullback, who grew up outside of Pittsburgh and played three years at Arizona State for Frank Kush, led the Canadian Football League in rushing with 1,135 yards that year.

Calgary and Montreal will meet again in Sunday’s Grey Cup, which is why the radio station was hunting for McKinnis. In 1971, the Stamps  beat Joe Theismann and the Toronto Argonauts 14-11 for the title.

McKinnis still wears his CFL championship ring.

“It’s stuck,” he told me. “I can’t get it off.”

McKinnis played three years in Canada, earning first-team all-CFL honors and rushing for 3,292 yards and 22 touchdown. He jumped to the NFL after Cleveland selected him in the eighth round of the 1973 draft.

McKinnis lasted three years with the Browns, gaining 514 yards in 1974 while sharing duties with Greg Pruitt as Cleveland’s featured back. McKinnis dislocated his elbow in ’75, and was left unprotected in the ’76 expansion draft.

The Seahawks swooped in and grabbed the back who patterned his running style after his idol, Jim Brown, and Franco Harris.

He started the first game in Seahawks history, sharing a huddle with Jim Zorn and Steve Largent among others, but a knee injury suffered in that game left him as the short-yardage guy. A serious hamstring injury limited him during his second season, and he was released. He returned to Canada, playing briefly for the B.C. Lions, but returned to Seattle to work for Boeing.
When Boeing started laying people off, McKinnis accepted a job with a Bremerton beer distributor. The job turned out to be a 23-year career with the Jennings Corporation.

And now he’s trying to win another championship, this one with Central Kitsap.

 


Williams Keeps Raining — and Making — 3s

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

If Bremerton’s Marvin Williams keeps hitting big threes, he’s going to start changing the minds of all those who don’t think he was worthy of being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. He’s starting to get more and more national pub. Here’s an ESPN.com story after he scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds — and, oh yeah, made the game-winning 3-pointer — in Atlanta’s 91-87 win over Washington on Wednesday. He’s now 13-for 23 from beyond the 3-point line this season. A year ago, he only made one, and it was a cast from halfcourt.


Six Things for Hawks’ Fans, Plus Six Trivia Questions

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

There’s six weeks left for the Seahawks during this lost season. Seattle football fans however, can take solace in the fact that there’s still some things to look forward to. And I’ve thrown in a trivia quiz — one for each of the remaining games just to see how much football you really know:

 

Nov. 23: Washington Redskins come to Seattle. OK, you’ve got to admit that you’re a little bit interested in the return of Jim Zorn and Shaun Alexander. Zorn, hired to be the Skins offensive coordinator, has evolved into a pretty leader of a pretty good team. Trivia question No. 1: Alexander and Clinton Portis have rushed for more than 8,500 career yards each, althougth Alexander has just 22 of his 9,453 this season. There’s only been one other team in NFL history who had two backs in the same year who with more than 8,500 career yards apiece. Name the team and the players.

 

No. 27 (Thanksgiving): at Dallas. It’s Thanksgiving. It’s Dallas. That’s worth beating a drumstick about. Trivia question No. 2: This will be the third time Seattle’s played the Cowboys on Turkey day. They met in 1980 and 1986. Do you know the scores of those games?

 

Dec. 7: Patriots visit Qwest. No Tom Brady, but the Hooded One – Bill Belichick – will be here and so will that Brady-like quarterback, some guy named Matt Cassell. Trivia  question No. 3: Who has more 400-yard passing games in their career, Cassell or Brady?

 

Dec. 14: at St. Louis. OK, maybe there’s not a lot to look forward to this week … except a win!!!! Trivia question No. 4: Before Jim Haslett, there was Scott Linehan. Before Scott Lineham, there was Mike Martz. Before Mike Martz, there was Dick Vermeil. Who coached the Rams before Vermeil?

 

Dec. 21: The Jets roll into town. Brett Favre plays another game against his old coach, Mike Holmgren. It’s the next-to-last game of Holmgren’s career in Seattle. Favre? He’s probably got 10 good years left. Trivia question No. 5: What’s Favre’s middle name?

 

Dec. 28: at Arizona. The Hawks close out the season in the desert. How long will it take Mike Holmgren to re-consider his motorcycle ride into the sunset? His hometown 49ers will be calling. Will he listen? His 17th season has been his toughest. I don’t think he wants to

go out this way. Trivia question No. 6: The 12th Man didn’t make

 

much of a difference this season, but the Seahawks’ loud, boisterous crowd – the noisiest in the NFL – has enticed opponents into more false starts than any place in the league. What’s the record for false starts at Qwest Field?

 

 


Quiz Answers

1.     Raiders. Marcus Allen and Eric Dickerson.

2.     1980, Cowboys 51-7; 1986, Seattle 31-14.

3.     It’s a trick question. They both have one. Cassell threw for 400 yards in an overtime loss to the Jets last week.

4.     Rich Brooks, the former Oregon coach, was Rams head coach in 1995 and ’96.

5.     Lorenzo. Go ahead, look it up.

6.     In a 2005 game at Qwest the Giants were hit with 11 false start penalties because of the crowd noise.

 


What If …

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Some things to ponder on a Saturday afternoon:

What if the Seahawks had opted to match the seven-year, $49 million offer sheet on Steve Hutchinson that allowed the all-pro guard to go to the Minnesota Vikings following the 2005-06 season?

Losing Hutchinson was the start of the decline of the Seahawks. Their running game, with a healthy Shaun Alexander or not, has never been the same. It did free up some money to sign outside linebacker Julian Peterson, a playmaker who’s certainly earned his money. But the Hawks, with Hutchinson, might still be a playoff-calibre team. He’s that valuable.

What if International Speedway Corporation had built an 80,000-seat speedway on 950 acres south of Bremerton National Airport.?

Construction on what would have been a $250,000 million track would have likely started this year, and we’d be looking forward to an opening in 2009 or ’10. With the downturn in our economy, the jobs created would have been a good thing. But with NASCAR experiencing a decline in popularity, you wonder if ISC would have been able to produce a major NASCAR race or lure an IndyCar-type race to the facility.

What if Willie Bloomquist came to the ballpark and the manager wrote his name in the lineup every day. What kind of statistics would he produce?

I’m convinced, and I’ve written this before, that if he was on the right team, the current free agent infielder/outfielder would have the same sort of impact David Eckstein has had for all these years. He’s a better athlete than Eckstein. He runs better, throws better, and with steady at-bats, I think he’d hit .290-.300 with 45 stolen bases. Because of the way he plays, however, I do wonder if his body would hold up for a full season.

What if the Seattle SuperSonics were still playing at KeyArena? Would you really care about this team?

Have you checked out the Oklahoma City Thunder roster? Johan Petro, Mouhamad Sene, Earl Watson, Chris Wilcox, Damien Wilkins, Robert Swift. All of those guys are still on the roster. By the way, the Thunder’s had five homes games, and two weren’t sellouts.

What if you wanted to check out some live music in the Kitsap area and didn’t know where to go or who to listen to?

Stop by MD’s Sports Bar at the North Perry Avenue Mall (formerly Ammiratto’s Air Show Pub) on Wednesday night to catch K.W. Miller, one of the best secrets around. If you like the blues and southern rock, you’ll like K.W. and partner Jack Parker (the Dubs also play in the Rocky Point All Stars and Tumbleweed, the group formed by MxPx’s Mike Herrera).

What if you only had three television channels available? What would you pick?

For me, it would be CNN, ESPN and HBO.

What if Jake Locker never lives up to the potential he has shown?

With two years left, and and a new coaching staff coming in — the fifth in 10 years for the Huskies — and a new system to learn, it’s possible we might not ever see the quarterback we thought he’d become. It’s a real possibility. Man, wouldn’t that be a shame.


Rick, Rick, Rick and More Rick

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

This is the week Rick Neuheisel returns to Husky Stadium, and there’s a been a lot written and said about the former Husky coach this week.

This is a guy who once stood on stage and sang in the beer garden after a Kitsap Stampede rodeo performance — a guy who flew recruits (South Kitsap’s Ryan Cole included) to his house on Lake Washington in a by-plane. There’s a lot to like about this guy. And, as I said before, I think, given time, he’ll rebuild the UCLA Bruins into one of the Pac-10′s elite programs..

Of course, there’s a lot not to like, too. As candid as Neuheisel was during his time at Washington, he wasn’t always forthright.

I don’t know if there’s ever been a more loved/hated sports personality in Seattle.

Personally, I think he got a raw deal. He shouldn’t have been fired for participating in an NCAA basketball pool. Would the Huskies have returned to elite status under his rein had he not been fired? We’ll never know. I know the old guard – guys of the Jim Lambright regime — didn’t have much respect for him.

Here’s a couple links on Rick. This story by John Boyle of the Everett Herald details how some at Rainier Beach High, including current Husky Vonzell McDowell, see Neuheisel in a positive light.

And here’s an interesting piece by Rick Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times. Dufresne’s not sure he’s ever seen a more conflicted homecoming than this one.

Here’s another link. This one is about Derrell Daniels, former Husky who now works for Neuheisel. Daniels knows his coach made some mistakes when he was at Washington, but he says Neuheisel has learned from those mistakes.

 


Marvin Gets It

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the summer and some think the NBA’s salary cap will be reduced because of downturn in our economy. Regardless, Marvin’s probably in a pretty good situation. The Atlanta Hawks appreciate his all-around, selfless game and it’s hard to imagine that this young rising team won’t offer this young rising star a lucrative contract next summer.

Marvin knows how important it is to have a good year. Here’s a good read on the Bremerton High grad, who is still all about his family.

A lot of people forget that the Marvin and the young Hawks took the champion Celtics to seven games last year before losing in the first round of the playoffs. Williams missed the first game of the season, serving a one-game suspension for a hard foul he committed in that Boston series.

In his first game back this year, he struggled: two points, five rebounds and two blocks in a win over Orlando.

“My timing was all messed up,” Williams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was my first game back, and I was just off. But it’s not anything I’m worried about. I’ll be fine.”

And he has been.

He hit all three of his 3-point attempts in a win over New Orleans last week, including a big one inside the final three minutes to give Atlanta an 83-74 lead.

Marvin scored 16 points Sunday night in a win over Oklahoma City, hitting another big 3-pointer — this one giving the Hawks an 80-77 lead in a game they won. Atlanta’s off to a 5-0 start and Williams is a big part of it.


Latest on OC Dinner and Auction

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Olympic College will hold its third annual Ranger Dinner and Auction on Nov. 21 at Bremer Student Center.

The event starts with a 6 p.m. social hour and silent auction.

Seattle comedian Fred Northrup will be the master of ceremonies and KING 5 weekend sports anchor Lisa Gangel will be the keynote speaker.

The Outback Steakhouse will provide a three-course dinner.

Individual tickets are $30. Business sponsors can purchase a table for 10 for $250. Call (360) 475-7443 if interested in buying tickets or donating items for the auction. For more information, call athletic director Barry Janusch at  (360) 475-7458.


Super Agent Scott Boras Talks Willie B. Up at GM Meetings

Friday, November 7th, 2008

This was news to me, but Port Orchard native Willie Bloomquist is now represented by high-powered agent Scott Boras. I’ll try to run Willie down in the next day or two, but it sounds like he might be hunting at his brother’s lodge in Montana and out of cell phone range. Meanwhile, here’s a link to a blog item that was posted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer this week.

And here’s another link to a story written by Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune after Willie became a free agent.

And while we’re at it, here’s a free plug for Joe Bloomquist’s Missouri River Lodge and X-Treme Fly Fishing business in Wolf Creek, Mont.


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