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Archive for May 2012

Cave gets second chance

Ryan Cave is back with the Shock after a two-week suspension, thanks to a vote by his teammates. More on Cave's return and the Shock remember former teammate Johnie Kirton in our weekly notebook

Three touchdowns enough for M’s

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When Tony Romo took the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch yesterday before Texas' game with the Seattle Mariners, little did he know the Rangers would have to go for two late in the game. They converted it, but by then they were down by three touchdowns. Read on.

Some surprises for a Wednesday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Isn't it nice to wake up on a typical Wednesday and be surprised a little? You know what I mean. Maybe you make every light on the way to work. Or you drive through McDonald's and see the Rolo McFlurry is back on the menu (OK, maybe I'm the only one who thinks that's a neat surprise). Or you find a bunch of interesting stories on the web, making your morning pass a bit quicker. We can take care of one of those items for you today, the last one. Read on.

A late start to the week

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Good morning and welcome to your work week. Yes, I know it is a Tuesday. But thanks to the holiday Monday, you probably didn't have to drag yourself into the office until today. So it's a short week. And a light day of links. Read on.

Thank you

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is one thing I like to do each Memorial Day. I reread the Gettysburg Address. It's my way of saying thanks to those the day was designed to honor. Fittingly, Abraham Lincoln wrote the speech and delivered it in 1863 as part of a ceremony to consecrate a cemetery, honoring the thousands who fell on the Pennsylvania battlefield just a few months before. It's not long, taking Lincoln only a couple minutes to deliver, but it's full of iconic phrases that still resonate through the years. However, the one that always hits me on this day concerns the sacrifice made by those being honored. “That from these honored dead,” Lincoln wrote, “we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” The last full measure of devotion. Wow. Read on.

Another gem-filled Sunday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We've reminisced here before about Sunday papers, how they were always little magazines crammed full of stories to read. But there is one other aspect of that we may have forgotten to touch upon, though we will this morning. They were – and still are – at their best when they bring you an unexpected story or two. A little gem at the bottom of a mound of the predictable. It's that aspect we celebrate today as our blog is sprinkled, like a ruined doughnut, with colorful stories you probably didn't expect on a crowded weekend. Read on.

Summer’s opening weekend

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Summer unofficially begins this weekend. Schools not out around here, sure. And it's still cold in the morning at times. But according to lore, Memorial Day Weekend is the kickoff to summer. Fine by me. It's time to get into that summer mode. Shorts every day. Flip-flops instead of shoes. An ice chest ready to be filled – and drained – each day. The barbecue. And baseball on the radio. Read on.

WSU links, and the best catch you’ll ever see

COUGARS

It's been a while since we greeted you in the morning, so we'll go ahead and pass along some links today that we thought you might enjoy. Plus some non-WSU video — with a Cougar-related backstory — that is just too incredible not to share. Read on.

Happy holiday weekend

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is Friday of a holiday weekend. Seven really exciting words, no? With Memorial Day coming up Monday, there is a chance to get out and enjoy all that the Northwest has to offer (if you live outside the area, I'm sorry – in more ways than one). Watch out for the wind today, it may get Mary Poppins bad. If you want to stay inside and read our morning report, we promise not to blow you away. Wait, that didn't come out right. Read on.

Keefe lands with Utah

I'm guessing ticket sales are about to go up for the Spokane-Utah game on June 16. Here's why:

 

Former Spokane head coach Rob Keefe is the new defensive coordinator for the Utah Blaze, one of the Shock’s West Division rivals.

Keefe, 31, was fired as Orlando’s offensive coordinator after four games this season. Keefe, along with current Blaze offensive coordinator Matt Sauk, helped Spokane win an ArenaBowl title in 2010 but Keefe was fired after a 9-10 campaign in 2011.

Utah (6-4) is coming off an 86-70 loss to Arizona. Secondary coach Mike Brown was fired to make room for Keefe. Spokane (5-4) entertains Utah on June 16.

Utah has several ex-Shock players, including Shaun Kauleinamoku, Antwan Marsh, Caesar Rayford, Antonio Narcisse, William Mulder and Al Phillips.

 

Shining a light on a Thursday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

After the past few days, any sunshine is appreciated. Even the diffuse stuff we're getting now. Let's shine some light on the Inland Northwest's sports news, shall we? Read on.

It’s not a dry day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Remember that old ditty you used to sing as a kid about the rain? Something about it staying away and coming again another day? Well, if we could remember all the words we would be singing it today, as we have to head out to the golf course to catch up with the 4A boys golf – and we don't want to get wet. Read on.

WSU hires Ray Lopes as assistant basketball coach

COUGARS

Washington State announced that Ray Lopes will be its newest assistant men's basketball coach. Read on for more.

A wide range for the morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's an eclectic mix we present for you this morning, with links ranging from New Jersey, where former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison had a tryout with the Nets, to Tampa, where the Bucs said goodbye to Kellen Winslow and sent him to the Seahawks. Read on.

Solving a Palouse mystery

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Mondays are never easy. It's a day of searching, especially this time of year. Trying to find enough to link is pretty dang hard. But thanks to a guy we've known – and learned from – for years, we have a great piece of reporting to pass along. Read on.

History in the making

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's been a long time since a Spokane college baseball team has been to these heights. Fifty-two years. That's the last time a team from the Lilac City has headed off to a college world series. But it will happen next week. Read on.

A nutty day in baseball

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As I said on the radio yesterday, my father used to invoke the blind-squirrel-acorn theory often when I was young (usually right after I did something he approved of). That philosophy came to mind last night with Kevin Millwood's complete-game shutout victory in Colorado. Was it like a vision-impaired rodent stumbling into a nut, or was it the beginning of something good? Read on.

Cleveland maybe, but not Philadelphia

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For quite possibly the first time in my life, today I would rather live in Cleveland. At least there the major league baseball team battles through adversity and has an ownership that will spend a bit of money to help its team compete. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have trouble saying such things with a straight face. Read on.

Hironaka, Peters and some links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — For a regular ol' Thursday in mid-May, yesterday was pretty heavy on WSU news of the basketball variety. Oh, and Mike Leach apparently shot a bear. Read on.

Shock first half hinges on Soul outcome

Spokane is nearly halfway through the AFL season. The Shock reach the midpoint after Friday's home showdown with No. 2 Philadelphia and there's a lot at stake. Read more in my game preview that will run in Friday's S-R.

Richard Peters won’t play for WSU this season

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone confirmed today that center Richard Peters, who signed as part of WSU's 2012 recruiting class, will not make it into school. Read on.

Jeff Hironaka moves to new role

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — WSU officially confirmed today that former assistant basketball coach Jeff Hironaka has accepted a new role as the team's director of player development/special assistant to the head coach, a move made in order to allow coach Ken Bone to hire a new assistant with broader recruiting reach. Read on for more.

An odd look for college football

A GRIP ON SPORTS

College football in August. A good thing or bad thing? Discus among yourselves. I'm still trying to figure out if Larry Bernandez was actually in Felix's uniform last night. Read on.

Links on a Thursday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — This is why we toil through the winter months out here — it's mid-May, and I'm writing this in the middle of the night with the screen door open and a nice breeze blowing through the apartment. Ahh, summer weather in spring. Read on for some more reading material.

Pino enjoying third stint with Shock

Chris Pino, one of the more talented and popular players to ever wear a Shock uniform, is back for his third stint with Spokane. See what he left behind to return to the AFL in my notebook that will run in Thursday's S-R.

WSU’s opener against BYU moved to Thursday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The Mike Leach era at Washington State will begin two days earlier than originally planned. Read on for more.

Test your news knowledge, win Shock tickets

Are you keeping up with the news? Try our news quiz and you are automatically entered in our random drawings for three sets of two Shock tickets. Click here for the news quiz.

Not a lot to scream about today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday we didn't write a lot due to back problems. Well, after a trip to the doctor and pharmacist (who I presumed was a Cougar because almost every pharmacist around here is a Cougar), we're doing a bit better. A bit better, as in we can actually sit at our computer and type without screaming. Read on.

We’re backing out of our daily grind

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I don't want to sound like a wuss, but this isn't easy today. Read on.

Checking back in with some WSU links

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — Heading back to the Palouse this morning, but wanted to put this post together first because there are a few links out there worthy of your attention. Read on.

A warm start to the week

A GRIP ON SPORTS • ADDITION: 9:25 A.M.

Really, could there have been better weather to celebrate Mother's Day? The sun was shining, the temperature rose into the high 70s and the weeds seemed to almost pull themselves. OK, I was exaggerating a bit on that last part, but it was nearly perfect. And if you live outside of the Inland Northwest and your day was cloudy and blah, I'm sorry for gloating. Read on.

Idaho receiver McRoyal killed

University of Idaho wide receiver Ken McRoyal was shot and killed at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning at a Los Angeles party, according to a Los Angeles TV station. UI confirmed McRoyal's death, but provided no details.

McRoyal, a senior-to-be and former walk-on from the Los Angeles area, posted on his Facebook page that he was in LA to visit his 2-year-old daughter. “It’s a devastating loss,” coach Robb Akey said. “We’ve lost a brother, a teammate, a family member. But, more importantly, a momma lost her son today.”

More details to follow.
  

A Mother’s Day story

A GRIP ON SPORTS

So what's a blogger to do on Mother's Day? Tell a story about mom? Would that be present enough? It's going to have to be. Read on.

Time to ask forgiveness

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As most of you know, I'm a big Felix Hernandez booster. The guy can pitch, it's as simple as that. But yesterday evening, I found myself quietly rooting for Hernandez to fail. Don't judge me. Read on.

WSU links on a Saturday

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — There's just enough news to link to on this Saturday that we'll put together a morning post for you. Read on.

Shock pull out overtime victory

It wasn't exactly how you draw it up.

Spokane survived a sloppy, penalty- and turnover-filled game to pull out a 68-62 win over New Orleans on Friday night. Some of the uneven play was to be expected with Spokane working in seven new starters and losing standout receiver Brandon Thompkins to injury for most of the game. Some miscues simply couldn't be explained, such as a New Orleans' receiver getting behind three defensive backs for a 28-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the first half and Spokane messing up a potential game-winning PAT.

The Shock won it overtime when Terrance Sanders made his second interception of the game, to go along with two kick returns for TDs. Sanders' OT pick and 31-yard return set up Kyle Rowley's game-winning 1-yard TD run.

My unedited game story is below.

Report: Wulff hired as assistant with 49ers

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — Over on the west side of the state for a few days, and the WSU news keeps coming — Cougfan.com is reporting that Paul Wulff has been hired as an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers.

I've spent the last couple hours trying to track down some details, but messages left for both Wulff and the 49ers have not been returned yet. According to Cougfan, Wulff didn't want to go into much detail about the position, so little is known about what his duties might be.

I'll update when I can obtain more information.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

Shock finally back home

It's been a while since Spokane played an AFL home game. It was April 14 when the Shock thrashed Milwaukee. The Shock then had a bye, defeated Jacksonville on the road before losing big at Utah last Friday.

Now they're back home with several new faces on the roster. More on tonight's game with New Orleans.

Lighting up your day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When I started this morning, the temperature outside was in the mid-30s. Now it is in the mid-40s. Oh the power of sunshine. Now if the sun could only make up for no Mariner game and little other news to link. Read on.

A new basketball recruit?

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There are a few reports circulating today that 6-foot-10 center James Hunter, who played at Gillette (junior) College the past two seasons, has committed to play at Washington State.

Maybe it’s just a short-term lease

A GRIP ON SPORTS

One of the definitions of ownership is “legal right of possession; proprietorship.” Sounds like what the Mariners have over the Tigers right now. Read on.

Leach talks mustaches, other musings

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have a few WSU-related links to pass along. Continue reading if you want to continue reading. We'll keep it short.

Spokane makes more moves

The moves keep coming for the Spokane Shock. The team put OL Palauni Ma Sun (knee) and DL Jonathan Williams (shoulder) on injured reserve and signed three players, including two who have worn Shock jerseys in the past.

Spokane is bringing back LB Levi Madarieta, who played on the Shock's 2006 arenafootball2 championship team before joining the Boise Burn, and DL Mike Alston, who was on last year's squad. DL Chris Tucker also signed with Spokane.

Shock trying to get healthy

Spokane is one beat up football team.

The team practiced Tuesday at the Arena with the number of sidelined players (11) chasing the number that suited up (20). There were several new faces and probably will be a few more before the Shock take the field against New Orleans on Friday. The practice was sloppy and head coach Andy Olson gave the players time to reflect on that fact afterward with some extra conditioning.

More here.

Get out your No. 2 pencil

A GRIP ON SPORTS

A little known fact: I grew up next to a major league baseball pitcher. A former Mariners pitcher. And, from time to time, I would spend a few days with him in Seattle. Once, while driving to the Kingdome, he made a statement that resonated through the years last night, following the last out of the M's loss, an out that prompts a little baseball etiquette lesson. Read on.

This and that from the Palouse — again

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — No major news on the WSU landscape on Tuesday, but there turned out to be enough to put together a post, pass along some notes and some links, then be on our way. Read on.

Shock busy with transactions

Spokane made changes to nearly 1/3 of its roster Monday, most notably signing OL Chris Pino (a familiar name to Shock followers), putting LB Beau Bell on injured reserve and placing WR Adron Tennell and DL Brandon Sharpe on league suspension.

I'm heading out to Shock practice in a couple minutes and I'll post a notebook later tonight.

More on Monday's moves below.

Karnowski makes it official

Przemek Karnowski, the 7-foot-1 Polish center who verbally committed to Gonzaga last week, followed up by signing his letter of intent. He's the likely replacement to Robert Sacre.

His commitment to GU is partly the result of assistant coach Tommy Lloyd's overseas connections and diligence — he's been recruiting Karnowski for two years. Head coach Mark Few joined Lloyd on a trip to Poland. The Zags have signed several European players over the last few years — Elias Harris (Germany), Mathis Monninghoff (Germany), Mathis Keita (France) — but this was believed to be Few's first recruiting trip to the continent.  

More here.

As it turns out, Illinois State hired Dan Muller (not Ron Judson, as reported by the Pantagraph newspaper on Monday) as its head coach. GU's Ray Giacoletti was one of the finalists.

We present an alternative today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's going to be the nicest day of the year in the Inland Northwest today, so if you can, get out and enjoy it. If you can't, say because you have to something mundane like working to support yourself and loved ones, well, sit in front of your computer and read today's post. It's almost as good as being outside in sunny, 70-degree weather. Almost. Read on.

Recapping a busy day on the Palouse

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Sometimes, slow days can be a relief. But we've had a number of those this spring, so yesterday's events were a welcome change. Read on for a summation.

Bud Nameck: ‘The bottom line is, Bob is the play by play guy’

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Had a phone conversation earlier this evening with Bud Nameck, who will move from the sidelines to the booth for Cougar radio broadcasts this football season. Here's a partial transcript of our chat.

Details of new WSU radio format

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Lots of information coming your way after the jump, but here's the gist — Bill Moos announced on 710 AM in Seattle today that the Cougars' radio broadcasts will now be done by a three-man crew, with Bob Robertson still calling the play-by-play, and Bud Nameck and former WSU receiver Shawn McWashington alongside him helping out. Jessamyn McIntyre, currently a producer at 710 ESPN, will report from the sidelines. And the bigger news for those of you on the west side — WSU football and basketball games will now be broadcast on 710 AM (KIRO), which Moos called the new voice of the Cougars.

Running around on a Monday morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We're going to get right at it today, not because there is anything earth-shattering to relate or any incredibly important place for me to go. No, we're getting right at it because we're running late today and want you to have your morning update. Read on.

Every day is big now

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:40 A.M.

Sunday mornings were always a chore – and a joy – growing up in the newspaper world. The papers were huge, and when your family made its living making sure those papers were in folks' driveways first thing in the morning, that was a chore. But the papers were huge, which made them a joy to read. Times have changed. Read on.

• UPDATE: Now I don't make it a habit to read obituaries, but today while eating breakfast I spied the picture in this one and decided to read it. As it was intended, it made me laugh, which makes it worthwhile to pass along just for that. But there's an even bigger payoff in Larry McKay's obit, if you are a Mariners' fan. You have to read all the way down to the penultimate paragraph, but it's worth it. This is the type of sendoff I want.

Recover with our links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — If your Cinco de Mayo involved a few too many Coronas, nurse your headache by taking in our Sunday morning links. There aren't many, so you might want to take some Advil, too.

At least it’s not limbo

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Though I make jokes about it occasionally here on the blog, I really don't yell at the radio or television much. Usually it's more of an under-the-breath mutter about this or that. But that changed last night in the seventh inning of the Mariners' game with Minnesota. And the screaming was cathartic. Read on.

Walden’s exit marks a new WSU era

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The news of Jim Walden's departure as a member of WSU's radio team was the main topic of conversation around these parts yesterday. We have our coverage of that below, plus our usual dose of links. Continue reading.

Shock lose big in Utah

Spokane's struggles against the West Division continued Friday night when Utah hung an 84-63 loss on the visiting Shock.

Game recap below.

Idaho AD: retaining FBS status a priority

With Utah State and San Jose State's move to the Mountain West official — and other WAC schools off to Conference USA and the Sun Belt — Idaho athletic director Rob Spear spoke with reporters for 25 minutes this afternoon. He laid out four options for the Vandals, with an emphasis on retaining FBS status.

Read on for more.

Walden out as color commentator

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We spoke with athletic director Bill Moos this afternoon and put together the following story about the end of the Jim Walden era in the Cougar broadcast booth. Read on.

Shock face division rival Utah

The standings and AFL rankings tell the story. Arizona, San Jose and Utah are 5-2; Spokane 3-3. Combined record: 18-9. In terms of rankings, Arizona is No. 2, San Jose is No. 3, Utah is No. 5 and Spokane is No. 10 — four in the top 10 in a 17-team league, all from the West Division.

Spokane can make up some ground on the top three tonight if it can pull off a road win over Utah. Not only would Spokane close in on the Blaze, it would move closer to Arizona or San Jose. Those two tangle in Arizona tomorrow in Arizona..

It'll be a tough task against Utah's high-powered offense, led by 6-7 quarterback Tommy Grady. More on the matchup in my game preview here and another in the Salt Lake Tribune. In-game updates at twitter.com/srjimm.

 

Memories from Pullman

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Over the course of covering Washington State football for five years, I dealt with a diverse group of players. There were small ones, big ones, tall ones, short ones, fast ones and not-so-fast ones. They all sort of melded together in the memory banks after awhile. But one guy stood out for something he used to do on the sidelines at practice. And now that guy is in the news again. Read on.

Mike Leach’s best quotes of the spring, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With news getting leaner by the day — though we do have some — we're going to have a little fun this morning by passing along Mike Leach's five best quotes of the spring. Read on for the list, as well as some links.

Early May is basketball season, right?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's put aside the dropped pop ups, the 14 strikeouts, the game-deciding home run that was helped over the wall. Let's put the Mariners aside today and focus on something else. Heck, it's May 3, right? So let's focus on college basketball. It seems appropriate. Read on.

A bit of news from the Palouse

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — After a one-day blog hiatus, we're back with a small news item and some links around the Pac-12. Read on.

More on Karnowski

It's been a day filled with phone calls, e-mails, texts, etc., trying to gather more information on Przemek Karnowski, who committed to Gonzaga on Wednesday. I was fortunate to exchange emails with the 7-foot-1 center from Poland.

Karnowski is the main item in a Gonzaga notebook that will run in Thursday's S-R. GU assistant Ray Giacoletti will interview for the Illinois State job on Thursday and the Zags are working on an agreement to face Kansas State in the Battle in Seattle this winter with the two teams meeting the following season in Kansas City or Wichita.

A couple of additional items on Karnowski. He signed his email Przemyslaw Karnowski. I'm told that Przemek and Przemyslaw is along the lines of, in my case, Jim and James. The 'P' in Przemek is almost silent so it's roughly pronounced — and don't hold me to this! —  “Shemick”. He was coached early on by his father, who stands 6-2.

Karnowski is still completing some paperwork, but an official announcement from Gonzaga could come as early as tomorrow. He also has some academic work to finish up, but no problems are anticipated.

Healing Franks enjoys coaching job

Stanley Franks would rather be playing football. However, a horrific injury put an end to his playing days — at least for the short term — so Franks accepted a position as defensive backs coach with the Spokane Shock.

More on Franks' injury and how he's adapting to the coaching profession here.

Making a little progress

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There was a lot of response yesterday to my thoughts on remaining a Mariner fan. To be honest, I appreciate the advice, but have yet to make up my mind. It isn't a results-based analysis, so the fact the M's lost again yesterday isn't really a factor. It's more about the process, which starts at the top and filters down to the field. Read on.

Zags land Karnowski

Good morning. It's been a good morning for Gonzaga, which learned earlier today that 7-foot-1, 280-pound Polish center Przemek Karnowski has committed to the Bulldogs. He is the first recruit of the 2012 class.

Karnowski recently visited Gonzaga and Cal. He had an opportunity to visit Duke but he declined.

The left-handed Karnowski can score on the low block and is considered a quality passer.

Karnowski tweeted: “In the next season I will play in Zags uni!”

More later.

UI remarks on conference changes

It's been a wild past few days for conference realignment. All signs point to the WAC losing Utah State, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and soon-to-be members Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. That would leave just Idaho and New Mexico State as football-playing members.

In response, UI released a statement this evening in which it said it was “disappointed in the recent changes that are driven not by tradition, academic quality, competitiveness, or the student experience, but by money.” 

Read on for the full statement.

Is it time to bail?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It just may be time. Time to sell my allegiance. Time to give up being a Seattle Mariner fan and start rooting for another team. Time to root for a team with an ownership that wants to win consistently and is willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Or is it the wrong thing to do? Read on.

May day, May day

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As the calendar turns, we have a bit of WSU news for your Tuesday morning, plus our usual dose of Pac-12 links. You know the drill.

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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