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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, 2011

Wulff out at WSU, who’s going to be in?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Who is the flavor of the month?

A couple years ago, it was Kendall Turner Gill. The former Nebraska quarterback made a name for himself at Buffalo and was hired by the Kansas Jayhawks. Two years later, Gill’s gone, one of 14 college coaches that has been fired.

Washington State’s Paul Wulff became No. 14 on Tuesday when athletic director Bill Moos finally pulled the plug on the former Cougar lineman.

This list might be expanding as I’m typing this, but here’s the coaches who lost their jobs:

Ron Zook: Illinois

Neil Callaway: Alabama-Birmingham

Dennis Erickson: Arizona State

Rick Neuheisel: UCLA

Luke Fickell: Ohio State (Fickell was the interim guy who has been replaced by Urban Meyer)

Turner Gill: Kansas

Rob Ianello: Akron

Mike Locksley: New Mexico (Bob Davie has been hired as a replacement)

Larry Porter: Memphis

Mike Stoops: Arizona (Rich Rodriguez is already in place in Tucson)

Joe Paterno: Penn State

Howard Schnellenberger: Fla. International University

Houston Nutt: Mississippi

Will any of those out-of-work coaches became a candidate at WSU? I’d say it’s doubtful, although Gill is an intriguing possibility who probably deserved at least one more year at Kansas. How do you judge someone after two years?

There’s been a lot of talk about Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech coach, coming to Pullman, but it seems to be there’s better options out there for Leach. He’s already been linked to the Kansas job.

Here’s some other names to consider:

Houston’s Kevin Sumlin was a candidate the last time around when WSU hired Wulff. Sumlin might be the most sought-after guy out there after coaching Houston to a 12-0 record and possible BCS at-large bowl. It’ll take more money than WSU has historically been able to come up with to lure Sumlin, or someone like him, to Pullman.

Mike Bellotti. It’s probably a longshot but the former Oregon coach worked under Bill Moos, the current WSU AD. Bellotti was mentioned as a possible candidate at Arizona before the Wildcats hired Rodriguez, although Bellotti denied it. And his name is coming up again as a possible candiate for the Arizona State job.

Robb Akey. The former WSU defensive coordinator’s the head man at nearby Idaho. He’s a popular guy in the Palouse and the price would be right. But considering his 19-42 record in five years with the Vandals, it would be tough to consider him a serious contender.

The name of California offensive coordinator/offensive line coach and WSU alum Jim Michalczik, a former Port Angeles star, will certainly come up. Michalczik’s getting a lot of credit for getting the Bears’ power running game going again after returning to Cal following a stint with the Raiders. He was originally hired by Steve Sarkisian in 2008 to be Washington’s offensive coordinator/o-line coach, but never made it to Seattle and wound up in the NFL.

And it just might be the right time to throw Kasey Dunn’s hat in the ring. Dunn’s the former North Kitsap star who is now coaching at Oklahoma State. His paid his dues (I think he’s in his 17th season as a college assistant), including a stint at Washington State, where he coached five years (from 1998-2002), serving as the assistant head coach the last two under Mike Price. Dunn also spent a couple seasons working as the running backs coach under Mike Holmgren with the Seahawks.

Larry Fedora is a guy Dunn coached under at Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are 10-2 this season and 32-19 overall in Fedora’s four years. Fedora, 48, was a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and also coached at Florida.

Alabama offensive coordinator and QB coach Jim McElwain is another name to keep in mind. The former Eastern Washington quarterback from Missoula, Mont., coached nine years as an assistant at Eastern before moving to Montana State. His career was tied to John L. Smith, the former Idaho, Louisville and Michigan State coach, for a time. McElwain coached receivers at Louisville and Michigan State, and was later a successful offensive coordinator at Fresno State before spending a year in the NFL with the Raiders.


Wulff update: Fate of WSU coach could be announced today

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Freelancer Howie Stalwick filed this report Sunday morning on the job status of Washington State football coach Paul Wulff:

SEATTLE — Bill Stevens, sports information director at Washington State, said Sunday morning that a decision on football coach Paul Wulff’s future with the Cougars could be made as soon as today.
 “No decision has been made,” Stevens said. “Bill (athletic director Bill Moos) said he will not make a decision until he has met with Paul, and he has not met with Paul yet.”

Wullf and Moos were scheduled to meet sometime Sunday afternoon.

Three sources with ties to the football program, all of whom requested that their names not be used, said Sunday they expect Wulff to be let go with one year left on the original five-year contract he signed with WSU.
Moos did not return multiple phone calls.
Wulff is 9-40 overall and 4-32 in the Pacific-12/10 Conference in four years at WSU. Only the 1979-82 Oregon State Beavers (3-40-1) have lost as many as 40 games in four years in the history of the Pac-12, which traces back to the Pacific Coast Conference in 1916. The 32 conference losses is also a four-year record in the league.
WSU players strongly supported Wulff following the season-ending, 38-21 loss to Washington on Saturday night at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
After the game, Wulff said he’ll meet with Moos “in the next day or two” to discuss his future. Moos, as he did last year, maintained all season that he would wait until the season was over before making a decision on Wulff.
The Cougars, forced to utilize three starting quarterbacks due to injuries, finished the season 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the Pac-12. Wulff’s previous four teams were 5-32 overall and 2-25 in the Pac-10. His first team finished next to last in 2008; the past three teams have come in last.


New vibe for OC athletics? Bree, Rand-ee Corley, Marvin, Tebow & more

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Don’t know if it’s just me, but there seems to be a new winning culture — at least a more positive one — when it comes to athletics at Olympic College. Its men’s soccer team reached the NWAACC finals, its volleyball team advanced to the NWAACC Championships, the women’s soccer team was hanging with the top squads by the end of the year. Softball has been on solid footing for a few years and will remain that way as long as Jessica Cabato’s running the show. Baseball is doing things the right way and the Rangers have become competitive in the best cee-cee division in the NWAACC, if not the West Coast. Now it remains to be seen if basketball can raise its level of play.

It was nice to see Vice President of Student Services Ron Shade on the OC sideline both days during the soccer tournament.

It’s been a while since the college administration has taken a pro-active approach with sports at the college.

OC’s added cross country, track and field and golf programs in recent years and there’s no reason why they can’t be competitive.

Basketball still the face of the athletic program at the two-year college, especially the men’s program. If the Rangers can turn it around and put some fans in the stands at Bremer Student Center, that would go a long way toward making a statement that the school is on the right track.

OC’s women get started on Friday, playing Hood Hood at the Clackamas Thanksgiving Invitational. The OC men start hooping at Pierce on Dec. 1.

Also

Here’s a fan’s take on Marvin Williams, the NBA player fom Bremerton.

A new indoors soccer center is scheduled to open in February in South Tacoma.

Bremerton’s Bree Schaafleaves Friday for Europe to begin another World Cup bobsled season. Schaaf’s and Emily Azevedo, who placed fifth at the 2010 Olympics, are the No. 1 team for the U.S. I’m hoping to talk to Schaaf this week and we’ll tell you how she’s feeling heading into this year’s competition. Schaaf’s still aiming for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. AP writer Tim Reynolds recently tweeted that’d he’d just gotten off the phone with one of the world’s funniest bobsledders, but he couldn’t print most of what Bree said. Here’s a recent Bree tweet from Lake Placid, where she’s been training:

“If only every day we had giant shirtless Russian bohunks at the bottom of the track waiting to move our sled for us, good day today!”

Happy birthday to Randy Corley, the Silverdale rodeo announcer with the velvet voice who turned 60 on Tuesday. Corley will be leaving soon for Las Vegas, where he will help announce the 10-day National Finals Rodeo. He’s also among the finalists for Rodeo Announcer of the Year. Bumped into Silverdale native Clint Corey at Corely’s suprise b-day and the former world bareback champ looks like he could still win some money at the NFR. You always come away smiling after hanging with some cowboys. Most of the folks in the rodeo business are just fun to be around.

Congrats to Russ Shiplet for being named the coach of the North Kitsap 13-year-old Babe Ruth team that will play in next summer’s World Series at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds and Events Center. Russ Barker, Brent Stenman and the rest of the host North Kitsap Babe Ruth crew are working hard to make that event a success.

The Clink will be a happening place this weekend. Apple Cup on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., followed by a 1:05 p.m. Seahawks game vs. Washington on Sunday. Predictions anyone? Huskies slither in with a 6-6 6-5 record, and seem ripe for an upset. This is Washington State’s bowl game and the Cougs have got the win-one-for-the-coach thing going for ‘em. This is a tough Apple Cup to predict. Gonna hold off on that one for a day or two. As for the Seahawks, they’re on a bit of a roll and the Redskins are scuffling after a 3-1 start. The Skins have lost six straight and winning in Seattle will be difficult. I like the Hawks to win easily, something like 27-7.

“Perhaps (Tim) Tebow will be the exception, a leader so rare he causes us to rethink what is plausible in pro football and gets an entire franchise – directed on the football side by John Elway, one of the greatest and most talented quarterbacks in NFL history – to invest in defying conventional wisdom on a weekly basis.” I don’t think so either, and neither does the guy who wrote that, Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports!

The thing that amazes me about Tebow is nobody gets a good lick on the Denver QB. Defenders are usually blowing snot bubbles and their eyes bugging out of their head if they think they’ve got a shot at beheading an enemy quarterback. But when Tebow’s out there on the loose, he’s the one delivering the blows.

Remember Norm Johnson, the Silverdale resident and former Seahawks kicker? Norm, once again, will flip the coin and be involved at the Dec. 3 Army-Navy flag football game at Silverdale Stadium. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Norm.

After Arkansas upsets LSU this week, it looks like it’ll be LSU vs. Alabama for the BCS national championship. But Auburn could upset Alabama, and then Stanford and Andrew Luck, which don’t seem so dominant anymore, are suddenly back in the BCS title picture. College football’s tougher than usual to figure out this year. USC might be playing the best football in the country right now, but can’t go anywhere.

And, in case you missed it, East-West Alumi Game III is coming Dec. 27. Want to play or get involved? Get hold of Rick Walker.

 

 


Crawford brings NBA stars to UW for Dec. 15 game

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

No SuperSonics, no NBA, but you’ll have a chance to watch some of the league’s stars on Dec. 15 at the University of Washington. Here’s the AP story on Jamal Crawford’s charity game:

SEATTLE — Former Seattle area high school star and current Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford has announced plans for a charity basketball game to be played at the University of Washington on Dec. 15.
Crawford made the announcement on Tuesday and said players confirmed for the event include Kevin Durant, John Wall, Brandon Roy and Jason Terry. Along with Durant, Nick Collison and Jeff Green were announced as participants. All three played for the Seattle SuperSonics before the team moved to Oklahoma City.
Other notable players include Baron Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, Spencer Hawes, Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy.
This will be the second charity game to take place in the Seattle area this year after a similar event in July at KeyArena.

It’s possible Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, a teammate of Crawford’s with the Hawks, could participate. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything.


John Daly goes Tin Cup; runs out of golf balls, leaves course

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Johnny ‘B Good’ Daly turned into the John Daly of old on Thursday at the Australian Open.

The golfer who has provided us with most of the sport’s most controversial moments over the last decade had another knucklehead episode down under. Reach about it here.


Blogger apologizes for being so mean to Willie Bloomquist

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

If it seems like I’ve been writing a lot (OK, more than usual) about Port Orchard native Willie Bloomquist, it’s because I have.

Willie’s been in the news a lot lately, and he’s a local guy and a good guy. He’s beloved by some, but despised by a lot of baseball followers on the internet who don’t respect what he brings to a team. Somehow, he’s hung around the big leagues for 10 years, which should answer any doubts you might have about his ability. The guy can play a little bit.

San Francisco wouldn’t have offered him a two-year, $4.6 million deal if they didn’t think he could play. That Bloomquist, who tested the free-agent market this year, took a lesser deal (he agreed to a two-year, $3.8 million deal late Tuesday) to stay in Arizona tells you a lot about Willie Ballgame.

Slowly, painfully, some of the guys who’ve dissed on Willie throughout his career are starting to come around.

Jeff Sullivan, formerly of Lookout Landing (a Mariners’ blog) and now of mlb.sbnation.com, offered this apology to Bloomquist.


Silverdale’s Talbot wins offshore race on a tragic day at Key West

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Congrats to Kyler Talbot of Silverdale, who won the first of three races that he will compete in during the annual Key West Offshore Powerboat Championships. Talbot competes in the superboat stock class. He was the world champion a year ago.

You can take a ride along with Talbot and throttleman Joey Gratton in this YouTube video from a race at last year’s world championships. Pretty cool. You get an idea of what it’s like out there on the open water.

Unfortunatley, tragedy marred the races on Wednesday. A driver and a throttleman from Missouri died, racing later in the day, died after a violent crash. Here’s the link to my story with an eye-witness account from Bremerton’s Jon Jennings, part of Talbot’s crew.

I’ve been told there’s a fairly sizeable group from the Bremerton/Silverdale area following Talbot this week. It’s an expensive hobby, but the excavator from Silverdale has already shown that he’s one of the best offshore drivers in the world.

Here’s hoping for a safe and triumphant week of racing for Kyler.

 

 


Bloomquist, D-Backs agree to 2-year deal

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Port Orchard native Willie Bloomquist got his wish afterall.

Bloomquist will return to the Arizona Diamondbacks after agreeing to a two-year, $3.8 million contract late Tuesday night. This coming after the Diamondbacks and Bloomquist’s agent, Scott Boras, had exchanged some heated words over the the weekend.

Hey, it might be baseball on the field, but it’s business first and foremost.

Bloomquist turns 34 on Nov. 17. Nice early birthday present. Nice reward for a hard-working guy who can play every position. Nice peace of mind for him and his family, who live in Scottsdale, to know that he’s going to be in the place he wants to be for the next two years.

Nice piece of the puzzle for the Diamondbacks. If Stephen Drew isn’t ready at the start of the season because of serious ankle surgery, they know Bloomquist can be an everyday shortstop. He proved it in 2010.

 


Kirby, we’ll miss ya

Monday, November 7th, 2011

If you follow the Mariners in our paper or online, then you’ve seen Kirby Arnold’s byline a lot. The Sun has had a contract with the Everett Herald for several years. Other than Associated Press reports, most of our coverage of Seattle sports — Mariners, Seahawks, Huskies, etc. — comes from The Herald.

Kirby’s covered the M’s the last 13 years, but he announced Tuesday that he’s retiring. We’ll miss his game stories, notebooks and columns. Kirby was the sports editor in Everett for a long time so we’ve communicated a bunch over the years and when I get over to an occasional M’s game, he was always helpful and always reached out to ask how I was doing and how things were going at The Sun. He was a real pro, and one of the nicest guys I’ve come across in our business.

Here’s his final blog.

 


Bloomquist’s agent, Scott Boras, and D-Backs not seeing things the same way

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

The Willie Bloomquist saga took on a new twist when it was reported over the weekend that his agent, Scott Boras, accused the Diamondbacks of not communicating with him concerning re-signing the free agent infielder from Port Orchard.

Boras said Bloomquist, who can play everywhere, has drawn interest from several teams.

It appeared to be a lock that Bloomquist would return to the Diamondbacks. He played at Arizona State, lived in the area and, was a valuable piece of the puzzle that helped the D-backs win the NL West and advance to the postseason this year. Now that might not be the case.

Here’s a story with the latest news on Bloomquist’s situation.

In this Q&A I did with Bloomquist, he made it pretty clear that he wanted to return to the D-backs.


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