It was, seemingly, a huge day yesterday for Husky fans. The hiring of former Idaho head coach Nick Holt as defensive coordinator was such a big deal that Fox Sports Northwest televised the press conference – twice. Read on for more on that and some basketball notes.
• I was working so I really don't remember, did FSNW televise the press conference when Pitt's Chris Ball was hired as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at WSU last year? Forget that, did the network televise Paul Wulff's press conference? Well, if it didn't, it's only fair. Holt will be making quite a bit more money than Wulff over the next three years and money is how we grade everything these days (Wulff's five-year contract earns him $600,000 in base salary and guaranteed incentives; Holt will make an average of $700,000 if he's at UW for the entire three-year contract).
But for those of us who remember the two years Holt spent at Idaho, and the strange way he ended up at USC – quitting only because he wanted to help his old buddy Scott Linehan with the St. Louis Rams, we were told, then turning south to SC in a couple days when Pete Carroll called – we have our thoughts about the strength of this hire. One of those who remembers is former Vancouver sports writer Nick Daschel, who now writes for Buster Sports. He has this commentary. It's a nice counterpoint to the columns coming out of Seattle, like the one from Steve Kelley, Art Thiel's piece and another from John McGrath.
• Well enough of that. Let's move on to the season which is underway. Space problems kept the story I posted yesterday afternoon from appearing in today's paper, but you can find the unedited version here. Those same problems kept me from writing anything further about the furor over in Seattle concerning Caleb Forrest's slap of Darnell Gant and the subsequent double technicals, so I'll share some stuff with you here and then we'll move on.
I asked WSU coach Tony Bennett yesterday if he saw what led up to Forrest's technical. His answer: "No, but it was brought to my attention when I saw the tape. I think there was some back-and-forth going on between he and (Gant). I don't know if (that was) why he got the technical, but he lost his head. You know, he kind of smacked the guy in the back. And the one thing Caleb, you know he's a good kid and I've been around him know for four years, he immediately apologized and after the game he apologized to coach Romar and I believe it was Gant, that's who it was. But I didn't, at that point, it was like a minute something, so I think, like I said, it was back-and-forth and he lost his head."
I then asked if there is any chance there could by any more punishment. Could the Pac-10 suspend Forrest for a game? "Not that I know of," Bennett answered. "Like I said, I've handled it with him and we've talked about it. I think the ref was right there and, like I said, I think he ... assessed a double technical. It was, obviously, something you don't condone and he shouldn't have done."
Later, in his Pac-10 conference call, Bennett was asked about it again by Tacoma News Tribune writer Don Ruiz. His answer was really similar, if not in as much depth. The Times' Bob Condotta put Bennett and others thoughts in the paper this morning with this story, which was supplemented by this blog post.
• In other Pac-10 news, the Times' Bud Withers had his conference notebook and the P-I's Dan Raley points out Cal coach Mike Montgomery was in the hunt to replace Marv Harshman many years ago. Daschel looks at the Pac-10 week ahead, the Tucson Citizen's Steve Rivera examines Arizona's plight and the Mercury News' Jon Wilner wonders if Cal is NCAA bound. And Oregon State's win, according to multiple sources, earned coach Craig Robinson a phone call from the President-elect. It also earned former coach Jay John, now a Cal assistant, a blast from one of his former players.
• Well that's it for this morning. We'll be back tomorrow. Till then ...