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.
• Tuesday was an interesting day around the Inland Northwest, what with the Mariners' winning streak going the way of the dodo bird – the eighth inning, with the tying runs on base and nobody out, showed the danger of having young guys throughout the lineup as Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager did nothing because they tried to do too much – and Washington State filling the open spot on its basketball coaching staff. The Cougars didn't have to go far – in one sense – to find a new assistant, with Ray Lopes moving the eight miles from Moscow down the highway to Pullman. But the distance between his career and the one of the coach he's replacing, Jeff Hironaka, couldn't be wider. Lopes is a lifelong Division I assistant, working for Kelvin Sampson in Pullman and Oklahoma before getting a head coaching job at Fresno State. Though he was successful with the Bulldogs, he was ultimately as unsuccessful as one can get, being forced to resign in the midst of an NCAA recruiting violation investigation that resulted in a probation for Fresno and a three-year show cause penalty for Lopes. After kicking around pro basketball while that time ran down, Lopes returned to the college game with Don Verlin and the Vandals four years ago, serving as an assistant coach once again. While the recruiting window for the fall is just about closed, the one for 2013 is wide open. That's the year when Ken Bone and WSU will find out if the addition of Lopes to the staff helps in recruiting, Bone's stated reason for moving Hironaka to a behind-the-scenes position.
• Washington State: Besides the Lopes news, which Christian Caple covered in this blog post and short story for the paper, there is a lot out of Pullman. … As we promised Monday, here is Bill Morlin's story on Dale Ford's disappearance as in ran today in the S-R. … John Blanchette has some thoughts on Lone Star Dietz (at left) finally making the college football hall of fame. … CougCenter has some thoughts on the Lopes hire and passes along video after WSU's 1-0, 10-inning win over Gonzaga, the Cougars' final home game of the season. … Klay Thompson was an NBA All-Rookie first-team selection. … Oregon State's most important football game this fall? The game with WSU. … Larry Scott helped the Pac-12 cash in and now he's doing the same. … Now this is funny. And cool.
• Gonzaga: The WCC has always produced a strong group of starting pitchers and this year is no exception. St. Mary's has a starter that will probably go high in the draft.
• Preps: Jim Meehan covered the first day of the 4A and 3A golf tournaments, with Lewis and Clark's girls and Mt. Spokane boys having the best shots at a team title. … Central Valley and Cheney prepare for the soccer state semifinals. Jessica Brown has the story. … Jess also has an advance of the 3A and 4A state softball tournament which necessitated a trip to the shoe store.
• CCS: The Sasquatch won the NWAACC track titles again. The women won their ninth consecutive title, the men their eighth.
• Mariners: Hector Noesi (at left) has been darn good at Safeco this season, but darn good wasn't good enough Tuesday night as Matt Harrison was great against the M's offense. … Franklin Gutierrez is back with the M's for an extended workout and then will head to Arizona for a personal spring training. … Kyle Seager's little brother is a draft prospect. … Steve Kelley has had enough of Chone Figgins.
• NBA: Seattle taxpayers were polled about the new Sodo arena project and gave it support – but were adamant they didn't want taxpayer money used even though the taxpayers will own it. Good thing the plan doesn't call for taxpayer funding other than the city and county using its bonding capacity to help finance construction.
• The sun is doing its part right now, peaking through the clouds as we write. Hope it continues. Until later …