Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ex-Cal coaches already making impact at UW

Wow.

Assistant football coaches Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau arrived at Washington from Cal with a reputation for being outstanding recruiters.

Since they’ve only been on board a couple of weeks, you’d think it would take a year or so before they’d starting making an impact.

Wrong.

Two players who previously committed to Cal —safety Shaquille Thompson from Sacramento and wide receiver Jordan Payton from the Los Angeles area — are following the Cal coaches to Washington.

Thompson announced last night that he was going to be a Husky, and Payton made his announcement on ESPN about an hour ago.

That says a lot about the trust factor that those players have in Lupoi and Kiesau. They’re clearly picking Washington because of the recruiters. The school, the academics, the history of the program, the teammates, the fans, hell, maybe even the head coach … it likely had nothing to do with their decision to head north to Seattle.

Payton admitted on TV that he never considered Washington until the last two weeks.

Personally, I dislike the recruiting game and how it’s evolved over the years. In the early 1990s, I met with sports editors form other Scripps Howard newspapers in Cincinnati. When talked turned to coverage of high school recruiting, I voiced my opinion, telling everybody that we were helping create a monster and I wondered if anybody really cared about wall-to-wall high school recruiting coverage.

Of course, the editors from Memphis, Knoxville and other southern papers looked at me like I was nuts. Anything to do with college football, including the recruitment of high school athletes, was fair game.

And it’s bigger now than it ever was. In fact, can the coverage get any bigger? How do you top what news outlets are doing now? Dawgman.com and sites like it overload us with information, or those who choose to follow this insane — and at times unhealthy — process.

ESPN’s going to have nine hours of coverage on signing day, which is Wednesday, Feb. 1. Nine hours. Five stars, four stars, three stars, two stars, no stars, they’ll be all over it. They only devoted 3 1/2 hours today.

You can find rankings for every college in the country on what kind of recruiting class they produced. Every top recruit is rated. Zach Banner, the offensive tackle who picked USC over Washington and Oklahoma, is rated the 15th-best offensive lineman in the country. For what it’s worth, I think the Trojans have commits from three other O-linemen rated higher.

I just looked up and ESPN ranks Washington’s current crop of verbal commits  No. 9 in the Pac-12. And that includes Thompson, who is a 5-star, and Payton, a 4-star recruit. Thompson’s the third-best safety in the land, and Payton’s the 21st best receiver. Wait a minute, I thought Thompson was the No. 1 safety. Oh, that was another recruiting service.

So if Washington’s got the No. 9 class in the Pac-12, that’s not very good is it? Maybe, maybe not. Check back in three years and see how it pans out. That’s when you’ll really know if the class was any good or not.

AP just confirmed my thoughts. Here’s the lead to a story it just filed:

During college football’s signing day Wednesday, coaches and fans will agonize over those 25 or so guys pledging to each school.
But how those recruiting classes make their mark on the field in a few years will often look very different from those tidy lists released by teams. Consider the consensus top five hauls in 2007: Florida, USC, Tennessee, LSU and Texas. An analysis by The Associated Press shows that, of the 123 high school players who sent in letters to those programs on signing day, only 59 (48 percent) were still on the teams’ rosters as seniors.
Some turned pro early. Some never made it to campus. Many departed at some point for a variety of reasons: disciplinary problems, academics, injuries, or lack of playing time.

Remember Benji Olson and Tony Coats, the dominating South Kitsap linemen who became Huskies. Coats was the high school All-American who all of the recruiting gurus drooled over. Olson was the guy who earned All-American honors in college and went on to an outstanding NFL career.

A  lot these so-called  four and five star players will never live up to the hype. Some of them will transfer to other schools because they’re not seeing the playing field. Other will be average college players, some might even wash out.

What we do know for sure, as it relates to Washington, is that Lupoi and Kiesau must really be good at what they do. They’re personable young coaches who can relate to young players, and I’m guessing, their parents. You win the parents over, and it’s a lot easier to win the kids over.

Will Thompson and Payton be Washington’s two headline recruits this year?

Nah.

I think it’s become pretty clear that the two best recruits were hauled in by head coach Steve Sarkisian.

Their names? Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau.

About the snow, the Huskies and ‘Scoreboard Baby’

Like a lot of you, I couldn’t make it out of my driveway today. I’ve got a pretty long and steep hill to climb out of and only made it about three-quarters up when my car, which has all-wheel drive, started sliding off the road. Tried twice and got the same results.

Fortunately for me (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), I was able to hook a ride with a neighbor, who buzzed up the hill and dropped me off at work.

My boss said he’ll give me a ride home, so I won’t be taking a midnight stroll on the slick stuff.

Speaking of snow, here’s a plug for the latest Art Thiel column. The former P-I columnist and founder of Sportspressnw.com is fed up with people complaining that Seattleites don’t know how to drive in the snow.

“If the hardy-har-hars in Los Angeles and elsewhere, including transplants here who often laugh loudest, want to argue, go ahead and take your Lexus to the top of Queen Anne Hill the next time Danger Jim Forman puts on his yellow parka. I’ll meet you at the body shop and you can tell me how it went.”

It’s fun read. Let me know if you like it. It can be found here.

It’s hard to imagine, but a little over a week ago, I was sitting on a beach in Australia and it was about 90 degrees.

Now I’m kicking back in the office, catching glimpses of the Husky-Cal game and waiting for our designers in Texas to start knocking out the pages of Friday’s sports section.

These Huskies are pretty good as individual players, but I don’t know how good they are as a team. Cal seems to be slicing through the UW defense pretty much at will, and until the Dawgs fix that, they’re only dreaming about making it back to the NCAA tourney.

On the 13-hour flight from Sydney to San Francisco, I finally read the book “Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity.” If you’re a fan of college sports, Washington Husky sports in particular, it’s a must read.

It’s an expose on the 2000 University of Washington football team. A dozen of the players on Rick Neuheisel’s squad were arrested sometime during their career — Jerramy Stevens multiple times. Seattle prosecutors seemed to look the other way. Evidence was pretty strong that Stevens should be charged with rape, but it never happened even though he later settled a civil suit with the fraternity that the girl belonged to. Curtis Williams, the player who was paralyzed during a game at Stanford and eventually died, was treated as a folk hero — but nobody seemed to know about his long history of violence toward women and other crimes.  It’s a chilling tale of big-time college sports right in our own backyard, written by Seattle Times investigative reporters Ken Armstrong and Rick Perry. The book’s been out a while, but it really makes you think about that winning at all costs mentality that’s so prevalent in our society. The title? Scoreboard Baby. Neuheisel uttered those words when he was the head coach at Colorado. After his Buffaloes beat Oregon in the Aloha Bowl, Ducks coach Mike Bellotti said the better team lost, Neuheisel replied, “Scoreboard, baby.”

Here’s another good read that came out while I was down under. Rick Anderson of the Seattle Weekly writes about Mark Brunell, the former Husky QB who has been forced to see sell his three Rose Bowl rings to pay off debts. Brunell has earned more than $75 million as an NFL quarterback, but has had to file for bankruptcy.

I just looked up, and the Huskies are making a run at the Bears, but will they run out of time?

Snow means early deadlines. And that damned scoreboard page, baby, better be on time.

Poulsbo loses a pair of legends: Lindley Smith, Chet Gausta die

Two of the nicest gentlemen to grace the Kitsap sporting scene — both from Poulsbo — died  over the weekend.

Lindley Smith, the father of Babe Ruth baseball in the North Kitsap area, was 90 when he passed away. He helped a lot of NK baseball players get started in the game and spent a lot of time developing and improving Snider Park, where a field is named after him.

Gausta, remembered for hauling in the king of king salmon — a state-record 70-pound, 8-ounce lunker near Seiku in 1942 — died at 95. Gausta was also one of the top all-around athletes of his era while growing up in Poulsbo. He was offered a basketball scholarship to Washington State, but turned it down to go to work.

 

Here’s a story written on Gausta that was written by Chad Gillespie, our freelance hunting and fishing writer at the time.

North Kitsap’s bringing a 13-year-old World Series to Kitsap County this summer, and I’m sure Smith would have been popping his buttons. Brent Stenman, one of the tournament directors, said they were planning for Smith to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Smith and Gausta were both inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

Some Husky-Cougar basketball links

Here’s some stories you’ll find on our site or in the morning paper about Washington’s 75-65 win over Washington State on Sunday in Seattle:

Scott M. Johnson’s game story centered on Terrence Ross, who showed why’s projected to be the the Pac-12′s best NBA prospect by some, going off for 30 points to lead Washington to a rousing comeback victory, and the technical on coach Lorenzo Romar that seemed to inspire his team.

Jim Moore, the Go 2 Guy — who writes a weekly Monday column for us — took his 7-year-old twins to the game. Needless to say, they left disappointed.

Howie Stalwick’s sidebar pointed out Washington’s dominance on the glass was a big difference in the outcome. Of course, the Cougs have been winning a lot of rebounding battles lately.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Time writes about Ross, who scored 26 of his 30 points in the second. “He’s a freak athlete,” said teammate Abdul Gaddy.

Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune captured the postgame video and audio.

Also

Scott Johnson pointed out that Snohomish High School boys basketball coach Len Bone sat two rows behind the WSU bench. Bone is the older brother of Cougars coach Ken Bone, and he’s also the father of UW team manager Kegan Bone. … Jon Brockman played for Len Bone at Snohomish. … Ken Bone was the head coach at Olympic College for the 1885-86 season. … Will DiIorio’s playing time has decreased from earlier in the year. He’s played in 12 of WSU’s 17 games, but just one conference game. He averages just 8.3 minutes, 1.3 points and 1. 4 rebounds. The walkon 6-foot-5 sophomore from Bainbridge didn’t get in Sunday’s game.

Notes from the Kitsap Hall of Fame banquet

Got back to town this week in time to attend the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.

The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable put on a first-class event and I’m not saying that because I’m a board member.  I didn’t have anything to do with the banquet.

Dan  Haas did a great job as the MC and the banquet room at the Baymont Inn was perfect for the size of the crowd. I didn’t get an exact number, but would guess there were about 200-225 people in attendance.

Terry Mosher’s writing the mainbar, concentrating on the two teams that were inducted — the 1983 South Kitsap state championship baseball team and the 1921 Suquamish baseball team that featured Louie George, the pitcher who made the “clam ball” famous.

Here’s a few odds and ends that I picked up:

Rill: Surrounded by good people
BREMERTON — The 24th annual Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet was nearing closure when one of the last inductees, former South Kitsap and University of Washington football star David Rill, delivered a message to his daughters, McKenzie, 14, and Elle, 11, who were seated in the back of the room at the Baymont Inn on Saturday.
“When you guys look back, don’t remember me being up here,” said Rill, an inside linebacker who became the No. 2 all-time leading tackler in Husky history during his career. “Remember all the people in this room who chose to be surrounded by good people.”
The class of 2011 — the induction ceremony was pushed back from its orginal date in October by the sponsoring Kitsap Athletic Roundtable — will be remembered as a classy group.
Helen Sturdivant said her late husband, the outgoing and friendly E.L. “Sturdi” Sturdivant — a four-year football starter at Washington State in the 1940s, a coach, educator, administrator, community activist — would have enjoyed chatting it up with fellow inductees.
“He was a man of high integrity as a husband, a father, a grandfather and as a friend,” she said, summing up her feeling for the man who was previously inducted into Hall of Fames in his hometown of Montesano and at Humboldt State College, where he was an assistant coach on an NAIA national championship team.
Sturdivant passed away in November of 2010. He was 85.

Carlson toughened Murphy up
Former Bremerton High and University of Washington basketball player Al Murphy said you knew you were in good with coach Ken Wills (he referred to Wills as “The Man”) when Wills let you borrow his car to go to dances or events. “He let me use it three times,” said the former director of payrolls for Boeing. “(Wills) treated me so, so good. He prepared me for the University of Washington.”
Murphy also paid homage to former classmate Jim Carlson, who was in the crowd. He said Carlson was “very influencial,” in toughening him up. Murphy  said he kept getting knocked to the floor during practices.
“Carlson told me to stick up for myself,” he said. “You don’t have to hurt ‘em; just be firm.”

Motorsports a team sport, too
John Flesher, one of the original founders of the Handlers Car Club who went on to become one of the Northwest’s top drag racers in the 1960s, said “motorsports back in those days wasn’t really thought of as a sport — it was just something kids played around with. My father changed his mind once I started bringing home a lot of money.”
Like other sports, it took a team to succeed, he said, and the late Frank Cooper and Larry Cain, who was in attendance, were his team.
“They were very instrumental in any success I had,” he said before personally thanking Cain from the podium.
Flesher said Connie (Cornelius, also known as Con) Fox, the father of the Fox boys — Leon, Tom, Jim and Bob — “taught me more about cars than just about anybody I can think of.”
Harry Penor, 79, was another inductee from the motorsports world.
“I think was born with a wrench in my hand,” said the man who made a deal with the Kitsap County Airport to use an old runway as a dragstrip. He later bulldozed an entry to the strip at the end of the Old Clifton Road and it continues to serve as the main entrance to what is now Bremerton Raceway.
Penor still belongs to the Saints Car Club in Port Orchard.

Establishing a program
Ed Amick, the father of wrestling at North Mason, remembers the Bulldogs practicing in the school cafeteria when it formed its first team in 1964. They had to remove the chairs and tables, go get the mats, tape them together, then put everything back together after practice.
The Bulldogs were later banished to a small stage in the gymnasium. He couldn’t blow his whistle, because it would stop the basketball team from whatever it was doing. Coaches and wrestlers often rolled off the narrow stage on to the gym floor, said Amick, a Hall of Fame wrestling coach who is still involved the sport, assisting his son, Ed, at North Kitsap. Amick left early to get back to the Bainbridge Invitational, where NK was competing.

Also
Gary Eaton, recipient of the Dick Todd Officials Award, is being inducted into the Kitsap County Bowling Hall of Fame next Saturday. Eaton, 74, still carries a 200 average and plays on a Portland-based 70s and older slowpitch team. “I’m not going to be able to live with him,” joked his wife Debbie. … Jan Hauschel thanked her longtime friends and bowling teammates — Alison Eoff and Kristy Whitcher — for attending Saturday’s festivities. Those three were part of a squad that won seven consecutive state team titles in a row and a national team championship. … The talented June Griebel (Fike) earned 10 varsity letters during her high school career at South Kitsap, lettering in volleyball, basketball, track and field, tennis and cheerleading. In addition, she was a standout fastpitch player for the Bremerton Legionettes in the summer. … Former South Kitsap coach and athletic director Steve Reischman accepted on behalf of former SK heavyweight wrestling champion Jim Cutchall, who lives in Oklahoma, where he wrestled collegiately before a neck injury ended his career at the end of his sophomore season. “If I had to compare him to someone, it would be Yogi Bear,” said Reischman. “He was a ho-ho (happy go-lucky kind of guy).” … Former South Kitsap and Major League Baseball player Jason Ellison, now living in Issaquah, was in Arizona and unable to attend. One of a select few players to start as a sophomore for Elton Goodwin, a lot of people forget that the ultra-tough and athletic Ellison — 20-0 in three years as a pitcher at South — placed seventh, third and third in three state wrestling tournaments. .