Monthly Archives: December 2011

UCLA still interested in Sarkisian; Do you hate the Angels now?

The Los Angeles Times reported today that UCLA is still interested in talking to Steve Sarkisian, but the Washington football coach hasn’t shown any interest in the Bruins’ vacant job. Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable and former Seahawks coach Jim Mora have also been mentioned as candidates.

Washington, by the way, got another verbal committment for the class of 2012 over the weekend when linebacker/fullback Ryan McDaniel said he was going to play for the Huskies. He’s from Torrance, Calif., same as UW coach Steve Sarkisian. Defensive end Cory Littleton of Mount Miguel High in Spring Valley, Calif., committed later in the week. That pushes the 2012 class to 19. Five of the 19 verbals are in-state players. Here’s the complete list.

Washington State also has 19 verbal committments, four from the state. There are no QBs on this list, but you know that’s going to change with Mike Leach coming to Pullman. This might be a good spot for Jake Heaps, who has decided to transfer from BYU. After sitting out a year, he would be a junior in eligibility wherever he lands. Between Heaps and promising freshman Connor Halliday that would give the Cougs some pretty good depth at that position.

Former Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck and Husky QB Jake Locker, now teammates with the Tennessee Titans, ham it up for’s Kenny Mayne, a former quarterback at Wenatchee CC and Pacific Lutheran University. Funny stuff.

The Angels spent $331.5 million to sign slugger Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson. Everybody always complains about the Yankees buying pennants. Well, is it now time to start hating the Angels like so many people hate the Yankees?

Former Garfield and University of Washington star Brandon Roy is reportedly contemplating retirement because of knee injuries that have limited him. Even with bad knees, he was a force, averaging 19 points over five NBA seasons. If the Portland TrailBlazer gives it up, he’ll still go down as second-greatest basketball player born and raised in Washington state. The greatest? NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton.

Tragedy for Lee family

News has been circulating in the community about the death of Debbie Lee, the mother of accomplished Kitsap golfers Erynne and Katie Lee. I haven’t talked directly to the family or seen an obituary, so I’ve been hesitant to report the news but after talking to several people I feel confident that what information I have gathered is accurate.

Our thoughts are with Erynne, Katie and their father, Brian. Our staff has had enough interaction with the girls and the family over the years to know how painful this loss must be and our thoughts are with them at his difficult time. Brian and Debbie sacrificed so much for Erynne and Katie, two of the sweetest girls around. You could always tell much much they appreciated the love and direction their parents provided.

When asked about her parents financial committment following an exhibition against the guys in October, 2010, at Kitsap Golf & Country Club, Katie Lee said:

“My sister and I, we always have to keep that in mind. We can’t let ourselves get off track to like fool around. We know our dad and mom are always working hard and we have to pay back for what they’re doing right now.”

Debbie and Brian Lee pushed their daughters to be successful on and off the golf course, but they weren’t pushy. And there’s a difference.

Here’s what I’ve been able to put together about Debbie Lee’s death:

Debbie Lee died last week in South Korea. Her memorial service was held over the weekend in the Los Angeles area, where the Lee family resided before moving to Kitsap County. Debbie was in her mid-40s.

According to golf pro Ted Naff, who has worked with both Lee sisters as a swing coach, Debbie Lee hadn’t been feeling well and she flew to South Korea to get checked out. She had a heart attack, followed by a stroke while in a Korean hospital on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1, and never came out of a coma. Her daughters flew to Korea at one point to be with her.
While her husband, Brian Lee, introduced the girls to golf, Debbie was there for every step of their  journey.
If the girls were playing a practice round at the Kitsap Golf & Country Club, or hitting balls on the range at Gold Mountain, she wasn’t far away.
“She was unbelievably involved and sort of did everything for them,” said Scott Alexander, director of golf at Gold Mountain Golf Club. “It’s a very, very close family. It’s a tragedy.”
“She’d drive them out to the course and was always there for them,” said KG&CC pro Al Patterson, who put together a pair of fund-raising exhibitions for the Lees. (Brian Lee returned the $300 donations that were awarded to both daughters after UCLA’s compliance office ruled that Erynne couldn’t accept hers; Patterson said UCLA told him the club could make a donation to the Lee family, which is OK with NCAA rules).
Naff said he met Debbie Lee when he was teaching a beginning golf class at Olympic College.
“She came up one day and said, ‘I’ve got a couple daughters who have some talent. Would you look at them?'”
Erynne Lee, currently a freshman at UCLA — her mom and dad both graduated from UCLA — is ranked No. 14 among women college players in the country and tied for No. 39 overall among women amateurs by Golfweek Magazine. She qualified for the 2008 and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. She reached the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Amateur, and the quarterfinals of that tournament in 2010 and 2011. She’s been the Washington State Golf Association Women’s Player of the Year three of the last four years, and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s Women’s Player of the Year twice.
Katie Lee, a junior at Central Kitsap, has already played in a U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Girls.
Both sisters have talked about their desire to eventually play on the LPGA Tour.
Erynne and Katie placed 1-2 at the Washington State Women’s Amateur this summer. Erynne and Katie were first and fifth at the Class 4A state high school tournament last spring, helping Central Kitsap to a second-place finish.
Debbie Lee was there for almost every shot at every one of her daughters’ tournaments.
“She was very involved, no question about it,” Naff said.
Naff, who caddied for Eyrnne Lee at her first U.S. Women’s Open in 2008, said he’s talked to both sisters since their mother’s death.
“It’s very sad of course,” he said. “But they’re pretty well adjusted, stable kids. They are dealing with it as well as anybody possibly could.”


Adrian, Villwock, Cox nominated for Seattle Sports Star of Year award

The 77th Seattle Sports Star Awards banquet will have a local flavor to it this year.

Among the nominees are Bremerton swimmer Nathan Adrian, unliminted hydroplane champ Dave Villwock, a Port Orchard native, and Stephanie Cox, a member of the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team who is married to Port Orchard native Brian Cox. The Eastern Washington football team that won a national title a year ago is also nominated and defensive tackle Renard Williams from South Kitsap was a big part of that team.

The winners in four categories will be announced on Jan. 25 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Fans may vote for their favorite nominee in the Professional, Male, Female and Sports Story of the Year categories online at  The public is encouraged to vote through Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. Pacific time, and may vote once every 24 hours.

Nominees were selected by the Sports Star of the Year Committee, which is comprised of local sports historians, media and representatives of all major programs and franchises. Since its creation in 1936, there have been nearly 100 Sports Stars honored at this event.

Tickets are available to the public, and cost either $75 (includes the pre-show reception with complimentary beverages and heavy appetizers and the opportunity to mingle with the sports celebrities) or $35 (show only). Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 206-215-4747.

 Nominees for the Sports Story of the Year:

  • Eastern Washington Football wins NCAA FCS National Championship
  • Seahawks stun the Saints in NFC Playoffs
  • Sounders FC wins third straight US Open Cup
  • Locals Hope Solo and Stephanie Cox lead the US Women’s Soccer team to the World Cup Final
  • University of Washington Crew wins third National Title in last five years

 Nominees for Professional Sports Star of the Year:

  • Jason Terry (Dallas Mavericks)
  • Brandon League (Seattle Mariners)
  • Dave Villwock (Hydroplane Driver)
  • Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Earl Thomas (Seattle Seahawks)

 Nominees for the Male Sports Star of the Year:

  • Chris Polk (University of Washington Football)
  • Chris Williams (University of Washington Golf)
  • Isaiah Thomas (University of Washington Basketball)
  • Jeshua Anderson (Washington State University Track)
  • Nathan Adrian (University of California Swimming)

 Nominees for the Female Sports Star of the Year:

  • Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga University Basketball)
  • Jenn Salling (University of Washington Softball)
  • Julie Woodward (Seattle University Women’s Soccer Head Coach)
  • Maddie Meyers (Northwest High School Runner)
  • Queen Underwood (USA Boxing)