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Archive for April 2009

Simon recommits to WSU


Just got off the phone with Patrick Simon, the senior-to-be at Ephrata High. He made a visit to WSU today and decided to recommit to the Cougars. Read on for an unedited version of what will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

OSU-bound Turbin leads Viks

Here is a feature on Coeur d’Alene baseball standout J.J. Turbin, whose character far transcends his feats on the field and in the classroom.

Here is a column featuring an item on the 16th annual Jack Blair Memorial Washington/Idaho girls basketball game.

April’s shower of WSU news finally ends


Let’s catch up with April here. WSU is about a week away from the end of the school year. The state legislature has cut millions from every school budget and athletic departments are feeling the pinch. There has been more than one spat between UW and Washington State. New Cougar basketball coach Ken Bone, who came aboard early in the month, has filled out his fall recruiting class. The WSU baseball team is in second place in the Pac-10. Spring football drills are over. Anything else? Were we fools to believe April would be a quiet month? Read on.

WSU signs guard


Just when we thought basketball news was settling down, Washington State goes out and signs another point guard. For the unedited version of our story, read on. There is also a note at the bottom.

McCombs lines up with Spokane

Ben McCombs has been an arenafootball2 impact player with Bakersfield, Rio Grande Valley and Central Valley. Nothing changed when he joined the 2009 Shock.

McCombs (No. 99 pictured above) was perhaps the biggest free-agent signing for Spokane, which returned 13 players from last year’s squad. He’s settled in as a starter at defensive end, registering four sacks in four games.

Read more about McCombs’ journey to Spokane below in an unedited article that will run in Thursday’s S-R.

Rummaging through WSU’s Wednesday links


It’s hump day, or as it’s known in our house, the “ah crud, we forgot to put the trash out” day. It’s also a good day to catch up on links in the morning, then hit the links in the afternoon – if it would just warm up a bit. Anyhow, first to the electronic links. Read on.

• UPDATE: Though new basketball coach Ken Bone didn’t feel there was much chance of signing a player at this late date, it looks like it’s going to happen. Former Rainier Beach point guard Reggie Moore is in the process of getting his letter-of-intent in and will be joining WSU in the fall. We’ll have more later.

WSU, UW rivalry takes a turn


If you’ve read the links here last night and this morning, you know University of Washington athletic director Scott Woodward had a few things to say about the demise of Senate Bill 6116. The bill would have given King County a way to ask voters to fund a Husky Stadium renovation, among other things, using an existing tax. Some of the comments were aimed at WSU president Elson Floyd and athletic director Jim Sterk. We were able to run down Sterk today and get a response. Read on for the unedited version of the story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

White takes advantage of opportunity

Back with a Shock notebook, with the first item on Markee White, who made his af2 debut last week and caught 12 passes in Spokane’s win over Stockton.

More on White and other notes below in an unedited article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.

Courageous Kennedy catcher

Here’s a interesting softball story from The Seattle Times by Sandy Ringer about outstanding Kennedy catcher Lindsy Dugan, who, beginning at age 12, contracted Alopecia Areata, which causes total baldness.

Kennedy, the defending State 3A champions are ranked sixth in state in a poll compiled by Ringer. University is ranked third in 4A and Shadle Park seventh in 3A.

High school season at crunch time

Another of my favorite Greater Spokane League coaches, one highly respected by his peers, is calling it quits. Mike Haugen, who coached Gonzaga Prep boys basketball to fourth place in state, is stepping down to concentrate on his passion for history.

I respect both Haugen and Lewis and Clark’s Tom Yearout, a state title football winner who resigned his post earlier, for their candor and introspective analysis during post-game interviews. If things went wrong, they pulled no punches. When things went right, they had a way of explaining why that cut to the heart of the outcome. There were never excuses, both men comfortable in their coaching approach that they seemingly accepted both wins and losses with equal aplomb. There was no bluster, no hyperbole.

The late Dave Holmes once told me he was a boring quote, partly why he was not popular, although immensely successful at the University of Hawaii. When I sat down to discus football with him, I found him fascinating. That is the same with Mike and Tom. They were not only winners, but are good persons. They will be sorely missed.

Also in my Prep Notebook this week: 

Gonzaga, Michigan State talking

A week or so after it was learned that Gonzaga and Duke are talking about a possible matchup in New York City comes the news that the Bulldogs and Michigan State are discussing a two-game series, according to the Detroit News. More here.

It’s not much but here’s a short article in the Dallas Morning News on G.J. Vilarino committing to Gonzaga.

Tuesday morning WSU links


We hope everyone had a chance to read our post yesterday concerning WSU football and the upcoming season. There was also another interesting link last evening. Read on.

Final version of Vilarino

OK, I chatted with G.J. Vilarino, who committed to Gonzaga on Monday. He clarified a few things from my previous posts. He said he’s 175 pounds, not 170 (his coach says he’s 172 or 173, to be precise). And his father Gerry was the one that actually sat down with Calipari after he was hired at Memphis earlier this month.

I plugged in a few of Vilarino’s quotes and modified some of the remaining copy. Read on for an unedited version of the article that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.

(By the way, Vilarino does know Zag point guard Demetri ‘Meech’ Goodson, a Houston native.

“I’ve known him forever, since we were really young,” Vilarino said. “We used to play each other a lot when we were younger. When we got older, it was every now and then.”

Where is WSU headed in the fall?


We’ve got a bunch of stuff for you. There’s a football note, a basketball note and, most importantly, the rough draft of our fall outlook, based on the recently completed spring practices. Read on.

More on Vilarino

Waiting for a call from the latest Zag commitment, G.J. Vilarino, but he has a good excuse. Classes at McKinney High go from 9:15 to 4:20, then he follows a post-classes regimen where he hits the weight room.

Until then, read on for more on Vilarino from his father, Gerardo “Gerry” Vilarino, and his prep coach Wes Watson. By the way, G.J. is short for Gerardo Jr.

I’ll update the article below after I hear from G.J., who is expected to call at about 7:30.


Handle Extra sports

Here’s a link to a feature story in our Sunday Handle Extra on Timberlake standout jumper Travis Porter.

Vilarino commits to Zags

Kentucky’s loss is Gonzaga’s gain.

Former Wildcats signee G.J. Vilarino, who de-committed after the coaching change at Kentucky, has verbally committed to the Bulldogs, Vilarino’s father, Gerardo, said Monday.

More below.

NFL nearly bypasses Washington schools


Welcome to our Monday morning post, NFL edition. As the draft ended yesterday, we were given another clue just how bad Washington State and Washington were last year. The number of draft picks from the Evergreen State? One, WSU’s Brandon Gibson, and yes we have links for you. Want to know how many players were drafted from the state of Oregon? Well. Maybe you don’t, but we’ll tell you anyway. There were 13 between OSU and UO. Yes, 13. Is it any surprise the combined scores of those two schools’ four games against the Washington schools last fall was 207-50? Read on.

Idaho H-back Williams taken by Redskins

Eddie Williams, the most productive offensive weapon for Idaho last season, was selected in the seventh round (No. 221 overall) of the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon. Williams figured to be plucked a bit earlier had it not been for a knee injury late in the season that required several months of rehab.

The Redskins no doubt are intrigued by Williams’ versatility. He can play fullback, tight end or the hybrid position of H-back. Here’s what ESPN Scouts Inc. says of him.

Fellow former Vandal T.J. Conley wasn’t selected in the seven-round draft. The punter will most likely get a free-agent look.

Shock march on

No. 1-ranked Spokane improved to 4-0 with a 70-51 dismantling of Stockton on Saturday. Here’s our game recap, a Stockton Record report, and write-ups from the PR staffs of the Shock and Lightning.



EWU football: Is it worth the costs?

Eastern Washington’s football team staged its annual Red-White Game at Woodward Field on Saturday.  There were several outstanding individual performances, but all came against a defense that was woefully undermanned because of injuries.

You can read the story on the game that appeared in Sunday morning’s S-R here, and check out the game notes supplied by EWU’s sports information department here.

But the Eastern story that got the biggest play in Sunday’s sports section was this one, which explores the costs EWU incurs in running a football program at the Division I level and poses the question whether it is financially feasible to do so in these difficult ecomonic times.

The S-R also ran this sidebar story on what changes have been made to Eastern’s compliance office after obvious oversights in that previously understaffed department led directly to the sanctions the NCAA slapped on the Eagles’ football program earlier this year.

Happy reading, and be sure to leave any opinions you might have on how valuable the football program at Eastern right here.



Sunday morning WSU links


Just a short post today, mostly because there isn’t much coverage of WSU athletics, other than what you’ll find in the S-R. Read on.

WSU finishes spring drills


Spring football came to an end Saturday in Pullman. If you want to know how it ended, read on for our unedited story.

WSU’s spring nears end


The end is near. Of spring football practice, I mean. Of the Apple Cup at Qwest as well. Of hype about the NFL draft, for this year anyway. Of probity in Olympia too. We’ve got links that cover most of them. Read on.

Vandals put a wrap on spring football

The Idaho football team put the finishing touches on spring camp this evening, and it did so without an organized spring “game” like you might expect. Instead the Vandals put on an exhibition filled with team drills and scrimmages from different spots on the field.

You can read more about it by following the link.

EWU announces basketball signees

Eastern Washington University men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine has announced the signing of four recruits — including three that signed in November, but were never officially announced by the school.

You can read the story the EWU sports information department put out here.

All four new recruits are guards, who will join a roster alread loaded with backcourt-types.  Earlywine expects to sign one more players this spring.  How many of you Eagles fans out there are hoping he’s a big?

Gibson waiting for NFL’s call


With the Apple Cup news exploding on this Friday, just about any other WSU items might get lost in the flotsam. But let’s hope not. We have a story on Brandon Gibson’s draft views on the link. Read on.

Apple Cup deal dead


The proposal to move the Apple Cup to Qwest Field is dead. Washington State and the University of Washington couldn’t reach an agreement on the seating arrangements, effectively killing the possible $10 million deal. Read on.

Shock-Lightning, round two

The Spokane Shock, 3-0 and ranked No. 1 in arenafootball2, today boarded a plane for Portland and then on to Sacramento. They’ll face Stockton, a 59-42 loser to Spokane earlier this month, tomorrow at 7 in Stockton.

Below is an unedited game preview that will run in Saturday’s S-R.



Gonzaga and Duke are apparently discussing a potential Dec. 19th matchup at Madison Square Garden, according to Nothing has been finalized.

Also on the scheduling front, it appears the GU-Memphis series will continue, despite the coaching change at the Conference USA school. 

And I forgot to post Kelly Olynyk making his oral commitment official by signing his letter of intent. More here.

Politics and WSU football


An interesting morning, which probably portends another interesting day. We have links that lead into a discussion, so read on.

Tempo heats up as WSU’s spring winds down


OK, before you start getting all ticked off at me for dwelling on the weather, let me tell you what happened. Just two days after it was 80-something – and I was hiding in the shade of a light tower – a cold front blew in and, before practice ended, there was a light snow shower. The players, wearing shorts, shoulder pads and helmets, didn’t seem to mind too much what with all the running they get to do. But us not-dressed-for-it idiots paid a price. My fingers – and brain cells – are still a little numb. For the unedited version of our practice report, read on.

GU reaches nine-year radio agreement

Gonzaga on Thursday announced a nine-year radio flagship agreement. Details below in a GU release. 

Shock down two WRs for Stockton

I waited until later in the week before talking to Shock coach Adam Shackleford to see if injured receivers Andy Olson (pictured above) and Charles Dillon would be able to play in Saturday’s road game against Stockton.

Shackleford said Thursday afternoon that both receivers will stay home. Olson (knee) and Dillon (ribs), who missed most of last Saturday’s road win over Boise, are both in the 80-percent range. Shackleford wants the two to have more healing time in hopes of returning at or near full strength for next week.

The Shock will go with Patrick Bugg, who had a big night in the victory over Boise, Raul Vijil and Markee White, a 6-foot-7 arenafootball2 rookie from Texas State. The fourth receiver will be Sergio Gilliam, who pulled double duty at receiver and defensive back after Dillon’s exit vs. Boise. Gilliam made five catches, one for a touchdown. Bugg had four TD catches and 117 yards receiving against Boise.

Meanwhile, here’s a link to an interesting article in the Stockton Record last week on Lightning defensive lineman Manuel Wright, the former USC product who was reduced to tears at the Miami Dolphins’ 2005 training camp by then-coach Nick Saban.

I’ll post the game preview Friday.

WSU and the morning links


Not a lot to pass on this morning, but we do have a couple stories. Read on.

Wild Albi soccer twin bill

There was excitement and controversy during Wednesday’s Albi Stadium Greater Spokane League doubleheader.

East Valley won a shootout 2-1 over North Central and with two wins would overhaul the Indians for the top 3A regional seed. The Knights goal in regulation came during a bone-jarring collision between scorer Andrew Mastronardi and NC keeper Garrett Brickey who declared he suffered whiplash while securing the ball.

Ferris beat University 3-2 in a contest that had more than its share of contrversy and secured undisputed fourth place. My story is below.

WSU hires Hironaka


There are now more former Seattle Pacific University head men’s basketball coaches on WSU’s staff than any other college in America. New head coach Ken Bone made that official Wednesday by hiring his former SPU assistant – and SPU’s head coach the past seven years – Jeff Hironaka. The staff now how its full compliment of three assistants and needs just a director of basketball operations to be complete. For more on Hironaka’s hiring, read on.

Shock still No. 1

Spokane (3-0) kept its hold on No.1 in the weekly arenafootball2 coaches’ poll. Only Spokane and Oklahoma City remain unbeaten.

More here.


A new view of softball

Took a departure from the norm to watch Inland Empire League softball yesterday. While it’s difficult to compare, teams from Lake City and Coeur d’Alene doubleheader seemed a little stronger than what I’ve witnessed in the Greater Spokane League. Maybe it was because of my unfamiliarity with them or that I was comparing two teams to the GSL as a whole. The teams had quite a few senior players and it appeared the pitchers threw a tad harder. That said, they were heavily into rise balls.

The Timberwolves Lela Work is headed to Boise State and Vikings Amber Coburn to Delaware State. Also headed to Boise is Viking shortstop Jessica Kraft.

Viks sweep IEL track

The Coeur d’Alene boys and girls track teams swept the Inland Empire League championships Tuesday. Read about it here.

Our Greater Spokane League prep writer, Mike Vlahovich, helped us out by staffing the Coeur d’Alene/Lake City softball twinbill. Read about the split here.

Year winds down at WSU


Let’s see. There is this week of class. Then next week is a dead one. Then finals and graduation. The academic year in Pullman is winding down quickly. As is spring football, with only Thursday’s practice and Saturday’s morning scrimmage left. For the latest, read on.

• UPDATE: The basketball staff at WSU is complete, with another former Seattle Pacific head coach joining Ken Bone. The university is announcing Bone has hired his former assistant, and successor at SPU, Jeff Hironaka. We’ll have more in a bit.

Nice warm day for WSU practice


The last week of spring football began under sunny skies and record heat. A perfect day to stand on the sidelines and watch practice. And a perfect day to practice in helmets, T-shirts and shorts, as the Cougars did. For a look at practice, and a basketball note, read on.

Rice finalist for coaching award

Gonzaga assistant coach Leon Rice is one of 10 finalists for’s 2009 coaches of the year awards, which focuses on rising stars in the industry. More here and here.

Spring is Prep sports’ quickest season

Baseball and softball play as many games in spring as basketball does in winter. Soccer teams play as many matches as wrestlng teams wrestle in the Greater Spokane League. But it all seems to pass so quickly. Already thoughts of district and regional playoffs are approaching. Regular seasons end as early as May 1, just 10 days away. Then it’s state qualifying time.

With half of the sports contested during this seemingly brief window, it’s difficult to keep track of accomplishments, let alone keep up with results. Does it seem to fly by as quickly for you? Today’s prep notebook in The Spokesman-Review, briefly summarized some of the doings.

Morning links out of WSU


The last week of spring football practice starts this afternoon, and we’ll be there. Until then, however, we can give you a few links to peruse. Read on.

WSU adds Allen to basketball staff


Had a chance to talk with new WSU basketball coach Ken Bone this afternoon. He relayed the information he’s hired another assistant coach (former UW player Curtis Allen) and some other information about the incoming freshmen. For a early peek at our unedited story that will appear all tidied up in tomorrow’s S-R, read on.

Handle Extra sports

Here’s a feature on Lake City softball standout Jessica Ross, who continues her torrid hitting. She’s pictured above.

Click the tab below to see this week’s North Idaho Track Honor Roll. I couldn’t link to it from the Handle Extra. I updated the honor roll to include times/marks from weekend meets.

The Coeur d’Alene baseball team swept Lewiston on Saturday as the Vikings dedicated their field in honor of former coach Ted Page.

Some Monday morning WSU links


A quick post this morning, mostly because there’s very little going on. After all, Sunday is at least somewhat of a day of rest for most everyone, including those who cover college athletics. Read on.

Motum still headed to WSU


We just received a text message from WSU assistant basketball coach Ben Johnson, back in communication range after his trip with head coach Ken Bone to Australia. Johnson wanted to relay the news Brock Motum had re-committed to Washington State and Bone. With the news last week of the same feelings by Xavier Thames and Anthony Brown, it means three of the four Bennett-era recruits are still on board to enroll this fall. Read on for a quick story.

Jones shines in Eagles’ scrimmage

Taiwan Jones, a cornerback-turned-running back, staged a coming out part of sorts on Saturday during Eastern Washington University’s second spring football scrimmage.

You can read the story that appeared in Sunday’s S-R here, and check out additional details from EWU’s sports information department here.

And anyone who witnessed the scrimmage and wishes to weigh in on how Jones and EWU’s other young running backs are progressing can do so here, as well.

A cup of coffee and WSU links


What a beautiful morning. As I look out from the dining room I can see buds on the plants, a little yellow bird flitting around the new growth and sunshine everywhere. Another perfect day in the Northwest. As I look around the Net I see a few links here and there about WSU. We have them on the link. Read on.

From the scrimmage to Qwest, a newsy spring day at WSU


Thought we would have a scrimmage story for you this afternoon and we do. What we didn’t expect is having a chance to talk with athletic director Jim Sterk concerning the Apple Cup proposal – along with the other reporters here – and we have a story about that as well. Read on for the unedited versions of both.

Offensive line impresses in UI scrimmage

The Vandals completed their third scrimmage in absolutely beautiful Palouse weather Saturday morning. The biggest storylines? The offensive line and running game looked the sharpest, particularly Deonte Jackson and Princeton McCarty. Two defensive linemen (Oga Faumui and Fonomanu Sekona) left the scrimmage on crutches with knee injuries. And Robb Akey made it clear Nathan Enderle is the No. 1 quarterback — for now. 

Read on for more.

Talking WSU football in April


Another day, some more thoughts on the probable Apple Cup move. Say whatever you want about the idea, it sure has people all over the state talking about Washington State football in the middle of April. How often does that happen? Read on for the Saturday morning links.

Unbeatens square off in Boise

Spokane puts its unbeaten record on the line against Boise, which is also 2-0 on the young season, on Saturday at Qwest Arena in Boise. It’s the first road game of the season for the top-ranked Shock.

Read my unedited preview below.

Everyone one has an Apple Cup comment


As one might expect, the links today are going to take you to a variety of opinion and commentary on the possible Apple Cup move. And it’s possible possible isn’t the right word. Maybe probable would be better. Anyhow, there are links on the link (sounds like an explosion in a sausage factory) so read on.

WSU hears it about Apple Cup


Well there’s been a day to let the news soak in. To organize. To try to influence the decision. And we had a day to talk with the WSU football players about the possibility of playing the Apple Cup in Qwest Field instead of Martin or Husky stadium. Read on for the unedited version of the story that features their responses, and some other comments.

Does Apple Cup belong at Qwest Field?

More on Apple Cup move for WSU

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:40 A.M.; 1:30 P.M.

What do you think is the most commented-about story on the web around the state of Washington right now? Could it be the possible move of the Apple Cup to Qwest Field each year? Newspaper and fan sites around the state are bubbling over with comments, about two-thirds to three-quarters them against the move, as far as we can tell. For more on the agreement, read on.

Apple Cup about to move to Qwest full time


Some pretty big news out of Pullman tonight. WSU, the University of Washington and First & Goal, the company that runs Qwest Field, are near an agreement to move the Apple Cup to the Seattle facility every year, starting in 2010. You can get more in our story.

Daye makes it official

Back with my unedited article on Austin Daye’s decision to enter the NBA draft. Here’s the best link I’ve found that has an assortment of mock drafts as well as other draft info.

Read on.


Daye will submit name for NBA draft

Gonzaga sophomore forward Austin Daye will submit his name for the NBA draft, but doesn’t plan on hiring an agent, The Spokesman-Review has learned.

Daye is expected to make the announcement official later today.

By not hiring an agent, the 6-foot-11 Daye keeps open the option of returning to Gonzaga for his junior season. Jeremy Pargo declared himself eligible for the draft last April and went through the pre-draft process before electing to return to Gonzaga for his senior season.

Daye averaged 12.7 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds. He made 47.7 percent of his shots, 42.9 percent on 3-pointers, and blocked a GU single-season record 70 shots.

UPDATE: Daye made his decision official in a GU release Wednesday afternoon. I’m working on an article for Thursday’s S-R and will post it around 5 p.m.

Shock remain No. 1

Spokane continues to stay atop the arenafootball2 coaches poll. The unbeaten Shock (2-0) visit No. 5 Boise (2-0), which climbed five spots from last week, on Saturday. Arkansas (3-0), coached by ex-Shock coach Chris Siegfried, is No. 2.

A slightly taxing WSU post


Some news and notes for tax day, which, by my reckoning, should be a national holiday, complete with parades, a special dinner and free major league baseball on the tube. Read on.

A different day at WSU


Practice is over for the day and I’ve put my story together for tomorrow. I had intended to write about one thing, but the news of the day necessitated shifting gears and putting together a notebook. Read on.

Shock notebook

Back with a Shock notebook. Topics of the day include Andy Olson’s knee, Adam Shackleford’s review of the Tri-Cities game and the af2 schedule that has Spokane facing Boise, Tri-Cities and Stockton three times each for the second straight season.

Read on for the unedited version of an article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.


GSL baseball not quite like last year

Having watched a handful of Greater Spokane League games and corresponding with followers of other leagues, it is becoming apparant how special last year was, even if the GSL didn’t advance anyone to the state’s Final Four. Pitching is average at best, which will make for interesting and unpredictable outcomes and unless the rest of the state is comparable, it’s difficult to imagine local teams advancing far. That said, University is ranked fifth among State 4A teams in the latest coaches poll and sixth by Tom Wyrich at The Seattle Times.. The caveat? Southridge from the Columbia Basin Big Nine is No. 1 and Richland No. 3 and vice versa at the Times. That’s a tough region nut to crack.

Cheney and Clarkston are 5th and 10th in 2A and Lakeside is 7th in 1A as voted by coaches.


Tax day is also a basketball letter day


How was everybody’s Monday? Mine, you ask? Well, I got my civic duty done yesterday. Yes, I finished my taxes and sent Uncle Sam his portion of the family income. In other words, my day was an abomination. But enough of that. On to the Tuesday links and news. Read on.

Handle Extra sports

Here’s a feature story on Coeur d’Alene pitcher Amber Coburn that appeared in Sunday’s Handle Extra.

Also, here’s the first North Idaho track and field honor roll, which was published in Sunday’s Handle Extra.

Burgess: Star on court and in court

Happy Easter and hope you have a few minutes to read this article on Gonzaga legend Frank Burgess, authored by former S-R staffer Dave Boling in today’s Tacoma News Tribune. (Burgess is pictured above during the retirement ceremony of his No. 44 at the McCarthey Athletic Center in 2005).

Shock, Fever, Burn, Cowbells

A follow-up post to Spokane’s 62-32 win over Tri-Cities on Saturday. Find the game story I posted last night here, game stats, game photos from Dan Pelle and John Blanchette’s column that brings together cowbells, Gene Frenkle and armpit farts. Tri-Cities coach Richard Davis declined to talk to me after the game, but he did vent about the disputed fumble call on a shovel pass here.

Finally, here’s an Idaho Statesman recap and a Shreveport Times article on Boise’s road win over Bossier-Shreveport Saturday. Spokane visits the Burn this Saturday.

(Spokane’s Ben McCombs is pictured above pressuring Tri-Cities’ quarterback Joe Ayoob, a recurring theme during Saturday’s game).



A WSU link hunt for Easter morning


Given the surprising overlap of seasons – the spring football workouts were scheduled long ago; the new coach taking over the basketball offices was not – Holy Week was a lot more complicated this week than we ever could have expected. But it’s over now, Easter is upon us – with few little kids on the cul-de-sac, there doesn’t seem to be any one out on an egg hunt; pity – and WSU’s athletic world should settle down. We do, however, have a few Easter morning nuggets for you. Read on.

Shock thump Fever, improve to 2-0

Not the prettiest game of all time, but the Spokane Shock managed to put away Tri-Cities 62-32 on Saturday night at the Arena.

Read on for an unedited game story.

Serious injury mars EWU’s first spring scrimmage

Eastern Washington University’s first spring football scrimmage was cut short Saturday afternoon because of a seriouis leg injured suffered by cornerback Will Edge.

It was hard to see what happened to Edge from the sidelines, but as soon as the pile cleared away, his teammates started frantically calling for trainers while Edge was lying face down on the field in obvious pain.

You can read an early unedited version of the story that will appear in Sunday’s S-R.  I will update the post later this evening if I receive additional information on the severity of the injury.



Busch will leave EWU

Chris Busch, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound junior forward, who averaged 4.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and just over 15 minutes of playing time per game for Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team last winter, has decided to transfer.

“It was just a mutual thing between Coach (Kirk Earlywine) and me,” Busch said of his decision. “We both felt this wasn’t the right fit.”

Busch, who missed Eastern’s first nine games because of academic issues, played at both Merritt College and Santa Rosa Junior College in his home state of California prior to coming to EWU.  Because he will be a fifth-year senior next fall, he plans to transfer to either an NCAA Division II or NAIA school and already has recruiting visits planned to Colorado State-Pueblo and Alaska-Anchorage.



QB Morales leaves Vandal program

Unlike many spring sessions, there was actual news that came out of Idaho’s Saturday morning scrimmage. Redshirt freshman Justin Morales, who was battling for the starting quarterback gig, has left the program and will transfer, coach Robb Akey said.

It was clear something was up when Nathan Enderle and Brian Reader took almost all the snaps in the scrimmage (with Logan Bushnell also taking a few). By all accounts, Morales was impressive last year in fall camp. But with Reader coming on (and having three years of eligibility left), Morales “essentially” made the decision on his own, Akey said.

Read more below in my story filed after the scrimmage.

Meet WSU’s new coach, Ken Bone


We sat down with Ken Bone early Thursday – and by early I mean if I had a 9 a.m. class, I still could have made it – to get to know the new Washington State men’s basketball coach. On the link you’ll find the long version of the feature that resulted, our way of introducing the new coach to our readers. Read on.

WSU runs through first scrimmage


Washington State held its first official scrimmage of the spring this morning, with a light rain giving the proceeds a fall-like feel – and keeping the crowd in Martin Stadium to a minimum. Check the link for the unedited version of our story for tomorrow’s S-R.

Thriller between Valley rivals

It sounded like the Central Valley-University Greater Spokane League baseball game, won by the Bears 5-4 in the 10th inning, had a little bit of everything. There were five home runs, five doubles, bang-bang plays on defense and maybe a misstep or two before the outcome was decided on winning pitcher Scott Simon’s sacrifice fly. Simon pitched the distance..

I missed it, was at the U-Hi-CV softball game, won by the Titans 7-6. But the two baseball teams are at it again at CV today, 4 p.m., and I’ll be there. Hopefully the game can be just as thrilling.

Charity game off; GU scheduling update

Sounds like Dan Dickau’s charity basketball game in Spokane has run its course. More on that and a GU scheduling note or two below.


Spokane entertains Fever

Spokane returns to the Arena to face its closest rival, Tri-Cities, on Saturday in game two of the arenafootball2 season. Read on for an unedited preview of the game that will run in Saturday’s S-R.


Take to the links this Friday, WSU style


It may be Friday, and your thoughts are on the weekend, but before you check out mentality today, take some time and read the links. They’re worth it today.

Thomas making most of chance at WSU


Now we turn our attention back to spring football. Today we have a short feature on walk-on Shane Thomas from Spokane, who is holding down a starting corner spot right now. For the unedited version of the story, read on.

WSU gives Chadwick release


A quick post to update you on some basketball matters. We were out at spring football, so we couldn’t post this unedited version of our Friday story until now. Read on.

January selected high in pro draft

Lewis and Clark graduate Briann January, a two-time Pac-10 Defender of the Year  at Arizona State, was selected even higher in the Women’s National Basketball Association draft than projected. January was selected sixth overall, by the Indiana Fever, during today’s draw. January graduated from LC in 2005 following a four-year starting career for the Tigers. The Sun Devils reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament this year before losing to national champion Connecticut.

For Hughes it’s business as usual

New Lewis and Clark football coach Dave Hughes doesn’t expect a whole lot of change when he assumes the reins of the Tigers program. The program has always had a collegial approach with input from the entire staff. He’s just taking his turn doing the administrative bookkeeping tasks. “I’ve had meetings all week,” Hughes told me. He got his start as an assistant at Rogers before becoming an assistant at LC. But you can read all that in my Prep Page column in today’s S-R.

Track (and Field) is where it’s at

Dave Trimmer wrote his preview story and capsules today in The Spokesman-Review as the Greater Spokane League season gets underway. The sport showcases a wealth of talent, many of the athletes multiple sport types. His focus is on Central Valley’s Brad Whitley, one such three-sport standout who is a runner at heart. The Bears and Mead, last year’s one-two boys finishers, square off at Rogers today.

Showdowns in GSL

The Valley is the place to be today and tomorrow for area baseball and softball fans. Greater Spokane League baseball unbeaten University hosts Central Valley at 4 p.m. today while leaders Titans and Bears square off at CV in softball. CV and Mead baseball teams each have a loss behind the Titans. CV, U-Hi, Mead and Shadle Park all have a loss in softball.

 I also had a quick preview of the Great Northern and Northeast A Leagues in softball today in The Spokesman-Review. Colville will be favored in 2A, but any of four teams look to contend. Lakeside should have the 1A upper hand.

Colville beat Pullman, the GNL baseball favorite, last night. I did the GNL preview last week. Lakeside is off to a good start in the NEA, this week beating defending champion Freeman convincingly.


Sanchez leaving WSU


One of the unanswered questions of the past week is the fate of Tony Bennett’s staff and the makeup of Ken Bone’s. For some news on that front, read on.

Shock notes

I attended part of Shock practice today and put together a notebook that will run in Thursday’s S-R. The unedited version, which discusses the Shock’s pass protection, the organization’s decision to ban artificial noisemakers and the team’s new five-year lease to use the Arena, is below.


Zags 13th in final ESPN/USA Today poll

Gonzaga (28-6) was ranked 13th in the final ESPN/USA Today poll. The Zags were 0-3 against teams in the top 10 (No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 UConn, No. 9 Memphis) and 0-4 against teams in the top 25 (No. 24 Arizona).

The Zags were 11th in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll.

It was a crowded Tuesday at WSU


The Ken Bone Era is underway at Washington State University. Let the sophomoric jokes begin. Wait, they already have. Want proof? Just tool around the WSU blogosphere. Couldn’t see that coming, could you? Oh well. Maybe it will die down by October. Anyhow, we have links. Read on.

Sunny skies, workmanlike practice at WSU


We didn’t get a lot of time at football practice today, but we did have a little. So we deferred to coach Paul Wulff about how it went. On the link you’ll find the unedited version of tomorrow’s S-R story. Read on.

Eastern opens spring practice with optimism

Eastern Washington University opened spring football drills on Tuesday under sunny skies in Cheney.  WIth their postseason fate still uncertain for next fall, the Eagles seem determined to not only improve on last year’s 6-5 record, but to prove to the NCAA they are worthy of posteason playoff berth whether they are eligible or not.

You can read an unedited version of the first-day-of-practice story that will appear in Wednesday morning’s S-R below. In addition, I’ve included this link to more information on EWU’s spring practices, and this link to the advance story that ran in the S-R on Sunday.



WSU introduces Bone


Just wanted to give you a spot to comment if you had a chance to watch the introductory press conference with Ken Bone. We’ll be back later with our story about it, but until then this post is yours.

• UPDATE: We’re back with the unedited version of our story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. Read on.

Finances concern at WIAA meeting

A quick pass through the WIAA Executive Board meeting in March indicates a district-wide concern about the economics of high school sports. State tourney revenue didn’t meet projections due to a decline in 2A and 3A class basketball attendance. However, the wrestling/gymnastics tournament showed an increase.

Travel pooling, league realignments, cutting schedules or middle school sports and state tournament changes were all talked about when district representatives gave their reports.

Here are some areas I highlighted:

Today WSU throws Bone a party


In another week the hoopla will have all died down. Sixty-degree days will be the norm. Spring football will be hitting the dog days. Normality will return to the campus. But today Washington State will throw a welcome-to-Pullman party for Ken Bone, the Cougars’ new basketball coach. They’ll let him step in front of the television cameras and the rest of the assembled Eastern Washington media and give Cougar Nation a chance to meet the guy who’ll be on the bench next season. Then, when everyone’s packed their gear and headed for the airport or 195, Bone will get down to work. He’ll start filling his staff, talking with returning players, re-wooing recruits, finding a house, all that quiet stuff one does after taking a new job. But today is for the noise. Before we put in the ear plugs – heck, I’m too old for a party – let’s do some linking. Read on.

WSU will introduce Bone Tuesday


It’s over. As you read here first, Washington State has made its hire. Ken Bone will be the guy who has to replace Tony Bennett. Or gets to if you prefer. I had a basketball coach friend who always said, “You don’t want to be the guy to replace the guy. You want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the guy.” But Bone is the former, and he’ll be introduced to everyone tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. in a WSU press conference. We’ll be there. Read on for an unedited version of the story we’ll have in tomorrow’s S-R, though it may be updated before then …

UPDATE: We’ve added some comments Bone made to the Oregonian before he left Portland. They are interspersed in the story.

Bone accepts WSU basketball job


UPDATE: Washington State University has a new basketball coach. Portland State’s Ken Bone accepted the position today, The Spokesman-Review has learned. Sources close to the situation said Bone, 50, has been the focus of the week-long search to replace Tony Bennett, who left after three years as WSU coach to take the same position at the University of Virginia.

Bone has been at PSU for four years, posting a 77-49 record and taking the Vikings to the NCAA Tournament as the Big Sky Conference’s representative the past two seasons. If Bone accepts the position, and all indications are he will, it will mean athletics director Jim Sterk has dipped into that conference for his last two major hires, football coach Paul Wulff (Eastern Washington) and Bone.

Sterk came to WSU from Portland State, but his path did not cross Bone’s there. They were both, however, at Seattle Pacific during Bone’s tenure as Falcons’ head coach, though only for a single year. At the NCAA Division II school, Bone posted a 253-97 in 12 seasons between 1990 and 2002. Bone left SPU to assist Lorenzo Romar at Washington before taking the Portland State position. We’ll have more on this soon …

Stockton elected to Hall; Arizona hires?

It’s been rumored for a couple of days, but today’s it’s official: Gonzaga great John Stockton has been elected to the Hall of Fame, and he’s joined by his former coach, Utah’s Jerry Sloan. Here’s S-R report and A.P. article. (Picture is from Stockton’s election to the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He’s holding son, Samual, and pictured with Jack Spring and Ed Sharman.)

I almost hesitate to post this because there’s been more speculation about this job than any I can remember in a long time, but it looks like Arizona has finally found a coach. Xavier’s Sean Miller. According to, Miller turned down the Wildcats on Sunday night, but reversed his decision this morning. Here’s a link, one more, and yet another. Here are a couple of blogs that show just how crazy this search has been: One here, other here.


Another day in Paradise, WSU style


Spring is here. Too bad there isn’t a spring football practice scheduled for today. Being outside would be a good thing with the sun shining and the temperatures hitting the high 60s. But no. It’s another day of hitting the phones, trying to get you the latest on the basketball coaching search. Read on.

• UPDATE: University of Alabama-Birmingham coach Mike Davis decided to withdraw his name from the Washington State men’s basketball coaching search. The former Indiana coach interviewed Saturday in Detroit and told friends he was expecting a decision soon. But Monday morning Davis decided to drop his pursuit of the WSU position. We’ll have more on this later. Also, here’s a quote from Ken Bone on the opportunity. And coreyb, thanks for the link on Stew Morrill.

Another WSU search update


We’re calling it a night. One of the candidates expressed the opinion WSU’s search for a men’s basketball coach would come to a conclusion tonight, but as far as we can discern, that hasn’t been the case. Which, of course, doesn’t mean the job wasn’t offered to someone today. It just means we aren’t privy to the decision. Of course, if it was offered and the coach that received said offer wanted to contact us, we would be more than … OK, that’s just not going to work. Anyhow, we put together a short story with some developments we could verify. Nothing major, but a couple of interesting tidbits from near and far. Read on.

Great day for WSU to interview candidates


It’s Sunday in the Northwest and it may just be the most beautiful day of the year thus far. Days like these are the reason most of us live here. That and our jobs. And our families. And the mortgage. Anyhow, it’s another perfect day in paradise. And another day in Washington State’s basketball coaching search. Is this the final day? Probably not, but it could be. There was talk, from athletic director Jim Sterk the night Tony Bennett left, that he would like to have a new coach in place in a week, two at the most. It will be a week at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Read on for links.

UPDATE: Just a heads up that we’ve been working on a story for tomorrow’s S-R and don’t want to post it until we’re sure there won’t be any more changes tonight. We’ll get it up when we can.

More on WSU coaching search


We’ve been working the phones tonight trying to run down as much as we possibly can on the search for a new basketball coach. Check the link for the unedited version of the story we will have in tomorrow’s S-R..

Vandals’ first scrimmage in the books

Idaho is still working out the kinks, but the football club flashed a few promising signs Saturday in its first scrimmage of the spring. The passing game is clicking — with Nathan Enderle (in photo above), Justin Morales and Brian Reader at quarterback. And the offensive line seems to be jelling, with a host of runnings backs benefitting.

Of course, the passing game’s success is coming against a Vandals secondary that was much-maligned last year. And the O-line is working against a defensive line that still very much a work in progress.

Oh, yes, it’s spring — which means it’s hard to make any definitive statements. 

For more on the Vandals, keep reading for a story that will run in tomorrow’s S-R.

WSU closer to hire


A quick post to update you on the basketball coaching search. Jim Sterk, John Johnson and Anne McCoy are on their way back from Detroit having finished their interviews there, according to a source. We are sure they interviewed UAB’s Mike Davis along with at least two others, Portland State’s Ken Bone and, according to the Birmingham paper, former Phoenix Suns coach Terry Porter, though when and where is still unclear. We have been told one other possible candidate, but we haven’t been able to confirm it so we’re not passing that on until we are sure. If we get anymore tonight, we’ll pass it on. You can find pretty much the same information here.

WSU’s Lobbestael bouncing back


Let’s get back to football for a while. The Cougars worked out in Martin Stadium this morning, allowing fans access to the day’s workout. They ended it with a 35-minute scrimmage matching ones vs. twos. One observation: It’s tough to tell whether the Cougars are going to be improved – I’ll leave that to smarter people than I – but it is obvious they are more physical. The hitting today was at a level I don’t believe I saw in any practice last season. These guys like to pound each other. On the link you’ll find the unedited version of my feature on quarterback Marshall Lobbestael’s knee injury and his rehabilitation. Read on.

About those stats ….

Here’s our game coverage of the Shock’s 59-42 season-opening win over Stockton. First, my game story and John Blanchette’s column. I don’t know why the stats I tried to post four times last night didn’t work — probably some coding issue — but I’m hoping they’re at the bottom of the game story link.

WSU coaching search in Michigan


Quite a bit to get to, so let’s get right to it. Then we’ll head out to Rogers Field for a morning practice with the football team. Read on.

Shock cruise in af2 opener

Spokane opened its 2009 arenafootball2 season in familiar fashion, thumping Stockton 59-42 at the Arena.

Read on below for my unedited game story that will run in Saturday’s S-R. (I’m going to try something new here. I’m going to post stats below the game story and see if I can get it coded correctly. OK, four attempts later, it didn’t work. So I’ll try to link to the stats Saturday morning!).


WSU to interview Davis


Sources in Pullman and Birmingham confirm Washington State University will interview current Alabama-Birmingham and former Indiana University men’s basketball coach Mike Davis on Saturday for the Cougars open head coaching position.

Davis has been at UAB for three seasons, amassing a 60-38 record there. This season, the Blazers finished 22-12, 11-5 and third in Conference USA. They received an NIT bid, losing in the first round at Notre Dame. Before taking over from Mike Anderson at UAB, Davis succeeded Bobby Knight at Indiana in 2000, taking the Hoosiers to the 2002 NCAA championship game, where they lost to Maryland. After a 19-12 record in 2005-06, Davis resigned at Indiana. The Hoosiers were 115-79 in Davis’ six years.

Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk and associate athletic directors John Johnson and Anne McCoy are at the NCAA Final Four in Detroit. The interview with Davis will take place there.

Morning links from WSU


A couple of links for you this morning, but not much more than what’s already been on here for a while. Read on.

WSU moves indoors for a day


Washington State moved practice indoors today, thanks to the morning snow, which threatened to make Rogers Field a mess. The two-hour-plus workout attracted quite a few spectators. Read on for the unedited version of our story.

Shock finally take the field

The Spokane Shock have watched the 24 other arenafootball2 teams play games. Now it’s their turn. Spokane opens its 2009 season against Stockton on Friday at 7 in the Arena. Read on for my unedited preview.

One name to keep an eye on: Defensive linemen Jonal Saint-Dic, a Michigan State product who is essentially a roster freebie as an international player. Head coach Adam Shackleford said Saint-Dic won’t play tomorrow, but he has a chance to make an impact down the road.


Bennett talks about his decision to leave WSU


I don’t like being coy, but working in a competitive arena, didn’t feel like I could say much more this morning. Late last night I was able to talk with former Washington State University basketball coach Tony Bennett about his decision to leave the Palouse and head to Virginia. I’ve put together a story based on his answers to our questions. I also have some more SportsLink-only material. Read on.

Catching up with WSU news


We’re going to do this quickly this morning because we have a lot on our plate today. We will have an exclusive interview for you today that we put together past deadline last night. And then there’s all the other stuff going on at Washington State, from a coaching search to spring football. We have links for you if you read on.

An injury at WSU


We have a couple of stories in tomorrow’s paper, one on football and one basketball related. Read on for the unedited version of each, along with some web-only notes.

Source says Few isn’t Arizona bound

The rumor mill went into overdrive Wednesday and it involved Gonzaga’s Mark Few. First, there was internet speculation that Few had accepted the job at Arizona. Then came a report that the Arizona’s job was Few’s if he wanted it. Then came a report that Few had declined and the Wildcats were focusing on Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel.

UPDATE 8:30 P.M.: By early evening, several media outlets were reporting that USC coach Tim Floyd was in Tucson visiting with Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood. ESPN Radio 620 in Phoenix, citing multiple sources, reported that Floyd was Arizona’s choice. Here are some of the evening links: KTAR radio in Phoenix, Los Angeles Times,, and (Note that the links listed in the extended post are from earlier today).

Read on for an unedited article I filed for Thursday’s S-R. This story could change, obviously, with the next phone call, so I’ll update it as necessary. 

Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth told me nobody had called him to ask for permission to speak to Few, but the A.D. admitted that is a common courtesy that many schools simply ignore.


As Bennett moves on, WSU searches for future


Another interesting day dawns in Pullman in this, the post-Tony Bennett era. Bennett will have has introductory press conference in Charlottesville, Virginia today – makes one wonder what Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia, would think of all this – and he’ll be off and running with his new job. Here in Pullman, the athletic department senior staff is working the phones as they move forward in hiring a replacement. And, lest we forget, the football team is on Rogers Field this afternoon building the foundation for the fall. Read on.

Oregon keeping Kent, Arizona looking

Oregon has decided to retain head coach Ernie Kent for at least one more year, though he’s being asked to make staff adjustments, according to the Register-Guard in Eugene.

The Ducks apparently made a run at Gonzaga coach Mark Few, but he had several reasons for staying put. Despite boasting a highly rated freshmen class, Oregon went 2-16 and finished last in the Pac-10 by four games. The Ducks are in rebuilding mode. Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny, a good friend of Few’s, will only be the job for a few more months before former football coach Mike Bellotti takes over as A.D. Oregon will have a new basketball arena for the 2010-2011 season, but many still consider the job the fourth or fifth best in the conference.

Few’s name will continue to surface for high-profile jobs. Arizona likely has Few on its list, but this article in the Tucson Citizen reports that the Wildcats appear to be pursuing blockbuster names in college coaching with a wide-open wallet. We’ve heard Pitino, Calipari, Pearl, Izzo, etc.

The Wildcats’ job is one of the best in the country. Arizona has tradition, with 25 consecutive NCAA trips and a national title under Lute Olson, but the next coach might be in for a couple of tough seasons as the big three of Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger and Nic Wise — all juniors — figure to be NBA bound, leaving the cupboard fairly empty. There is also an NCAA investigation hanging over the program’s head (sounds a little like Indiana a year ago). And, as interim coach Russ Pennell said in this article, Arizona has basically had three difficult years recruiting because of coaching uncertainty.



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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.


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Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpe) Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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