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Archive for May 2013

Islanders won’t sign Chiefs’ Kichton

The New York Islanders have opted not to offer a contract to defenseman Brenden Kichton, their fifth-round selection in the 2011 NHL draft. Kichton, the Spokane Chiefs' captain during the 2012-13 season, won the Western Hockey League's defenseman of the year award this year. He can now reenter the draft, which this year is scheduled for June 30. Read more:

It could always be worse

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If things start going bad for you today, just remember this. The day is probably worse for Gordon Gee. Read on.

Another commitment for Cougars

COUGARS

Make it five known commitments for Washington State in the class of 2014, as multiple outlets reported Thursday that Keith Harrington, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound prospect from St. Petersburg. Fla., has committed to play football at WSU.

As Braulio Perez notes in this story, Harrington plays running back for his high-school team but projects as an inside receiver for WSU. CougCenter adds some analysis here.

Here are some highlights. You can watch a higher-quality clip here.

Vandals add two defensive assistants

Eric Brown and Bam Hardmon have joined Paul Petrino's staff at Idaho, replacing two former Vandals who left after spring practice ended. Brown will be linebackers coach (a position held by Mike Anderson) and Hardmon will be defensive line coach (formerly Patrick Libey's post).

Brown was with UI defensive coordinator Ronnie Lee at Indiana State. He played at Fresno State and is the son of the late Dan Brown, a longtime Bulldogs coach. “He’s probably one of the greatest young minds in college football,” Petrino said in a release.

Hardmon played at Florida from 1999-2002 and spent last year at Charleston Southern. Petrino mentioned Hardmon's “great connections” in Florida and the Southeast as a recruiter. “Bam is a great young coach,” Petrino said. “He’s fiery, he’s excited and he relates well to the players.”

Rowan pulling double duty

Taylor Rowan was a popular member of the 2010-11 Spokane Shock teams. Now, the kicker is back playing for his hometown team.

Rowan makes Spokane his home year round and he holds down a full-time job with an engineering company owned by his father-in-law. Rowan still has NFL aspirations. Spokane signed Rowan a few weeks ago to replace Kenny Spencer, who had a great 2012 season but hasn't been able to match it in 2013.

Rowan has handled kicking duties the last two weeks. More on how Rowan juggles two jobs.

You could see this one coming

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Sometimes you can see a storm brewing from miles away. Other times it hits you before you have time to run for cover. The latest brouhaha in Seattle? It was visible from here. Read on.

Three WSU game times announced

COUGARS

The Pac-12 released its early television schedule today, and with it, three kickoff times for Washington State games this season.

They are:

— 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at USC (FOX Sports 1)

— 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 vs. Arizona State (ESPN)

— 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29 at Washington (FOX)

— WSU's Sept. 14 game against Southern Utah will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Networks, though no kickoff time has been announced yet.

I've seen some consternation over the fact that the Aug. 31 opener at Auburn hasn't been selected for TV yet, but I wouldn't read too much into that. Since it's an SEC home game, the TV information will be dictated by the SEC and its television contracts, not by the Pac-12. So a kickoff time and/or TV listing should be available when the SEC announces its own TV schedule.

Here's the rest of the conference's early TV schedule:

No charges in Mansel Simmons case

COUGARS

Whitman County prosecutor Denis Tracy has declined to file charges against Idaho receiver Roman Runner or Washington State receiver Mansel Simmons for their role in a March 24 altercation in Pullman.

Pullman Police concluded their investigation into the matter last week and recommended a second-degree assault charge for Runner, who allegedly punched Simmons in the face and knocked him unconscious after Simmons ran at him during a skirmish outside a party.

Simmons, 20, was later treated for facial fractures and a severe concussion, and announced in April that he has been forced to retire from football due to his injuries.

He told the Spokesman-Review last week that he believed he was defending himself when he approached Runner, who had previously shown a knife before putting it away. According to a police press release, both men were being held back by friends before Simmons broke free and ran at Runner, then was knocked to the ground unconscious.

Pullman PD Cmdr. Chris Tennant said Tracy determined that Runner, 21, was acting in self-defense when he punched Simmons. Police also recommended a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for Simmons, though Tennant said Tracy concluded that because of a number of factors, including the extent of Simmons’ injuries, he “didn’t feel (a charge) was appropriate.”

Tracy could not be reached for comment.

Simmons, who has been staying in Phoenix with family and friends as he recovers from his injuries, declined comment Wednesday.

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

A few flakes among all the mud

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Sometimes I have this vision of myself as a gold miner in California, circa 1850. A crusty old guy with a filthy hat, overalls, a bad limp and a pie plate from Marie Calendar's. Bent over the waters of the Internet, I picking up a bunch a mud, swirl the plate over and over again and, Eureka, a couple of nuggets appear in the bottom. Read on.

WSU picks up another commitment

COUGARS

Washington State picked up its fourth known verbal commitment of the 2014 recruiting class, as multiple outlets reported that receiver Zaire Andre of Inglewood, Calif., has said he will play for the Cougars.

Here's a story about Andre's commitment from Scout.com, and his bio from the same site. He's listed as a 3-star prospect.

Interestingly, this Scout.com story notes that Andre committed without taking a visit to Pullman. His highlights are posted below.

CougCenter expands a bit on Andre's commitment.

If this is summer, where’s the heat?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We're officially unofficially into summer. And it is raining outside. But not inside, where it's pretty darn dry. Read on.

Mansel Simmons discusses his recovery

COUGARS

Just a quick post this morning to point you to our long feature on former WSU receiver Mansel Simmons, who is making strides in his recovery from a facial fracture and severe concussion. Simmons gave his first interview last week since announcing his retirement from football.

Here's a link to the story.

A day to remember

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Of all the holidays we celebrate each year, this is the one where the words “happy” or “merry” just don't fit as an adjective. Memorial Day is just that, a day for memories. Memories of those who gave their last full measure, to quote Abraham Lincoln once again, for our freedom. It's a day to reflect, a day to remember, a day to be thankful. Read on.

Mariners sucking the life out of the season

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Really, I am at a loss. It's not that bad, though. Not as bad as an eight-game losing streak. Not even close. But therein lies the problem. It's May, late May actually, and the local major league baseball team is once again in a funk. And there is only so much you can write about a franchise that seemingly every year hits a stretch that ensures a long slide to the lower reaches of the standings. Read on.

So it doesn’t matter who caught the ball?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

An unimportant play in a completely forgettable season. That's what traditionalists – or apologists – might say about another obviously blown call in the Mariners' loss to the Texas Rangers. But there is another view, even if baseball may have trouble seeing it. Read on.

Shock pick up another road win

Spokane got it done on the road again, holding off San Antonio 61-48 on Friday night.

The victory moves Spokane to 5-1 on the road and 7-3 overall entering a two-game home stand.

Erik Meyer had seven touchdown passes and two TD runs. Adron Tennell finished with four touchdown catches, including a pair in the fourth quarter to stall the Talons' comeback.

Game recap below.

There is always a chance potential can be realized

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is hard to be labeled. No matter what that label is. But for a professional athlete, one of the hardest labels to live up to is potential. The word may have claimed another casualty yesterday. Read on.

Rodgers explains decision to leave WSU

COUGARS

The feeling started last season, Jake Rodgers said, and only got worse as the offseason progressed.

The former Washington State offensive lineman just wasn’t having fun anymore.

“It wasn’t working out for me,” Rodgers said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. I guess my heart wasn’t in it, so it didn’t make sense for me to stay here.”

That’s why Rodgers, a Shadle Park High School alumnus, chose to leave the Cougars, and why he’s now “strongly considering” a transfer to Eastern Washington. But WSU hasn’t yet granted his formal release, so he’s yet to have any contact with EWU coaches.

Rodgers started all 12 games last season for WSU as a third-year sophomore, and played every offensive line position except for center.

A nagging shoulder injury plagued him “pretty much the whole season,” and his recovery from that ailment kept him out for the duration of WSU’s spring practices this year.

“I’m sure that didn’t help at all,” Rodgers said of having to sit out the spring. “That was rough for me.”

WSU coaches were disappointed when Rodgers informed them of his decision to transfer, he said, and tried to convince him to stay. As a fourth-year player with legitimate starting experience, he would have either competed for a starting spot or provided needed depth on the offensive line.

But his decision was final.

“They didn’t want me to go, basically,” he said.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Rodgers would be able to play right away at Eastern, an ideal landing spot near his hometown of Spokane, though nothing will be official until after he is released from his scholarship at WSU.

“Getting to see more of my family and being able to play in front of them and everything … having their support means a lot to me,” Rodgers said. “I think (EWU) is a good program.”

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

All atwitter about Urlacher

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Social media is an interesting beast. Sometimes it can bear sharp teeth, ripping into, say, Sergio Garcia, after his ill-advised comments about Tiger Woods and a dinner entrée. And other times it can be a beauty, as it was yesterday when the Chicago Bears' Brian Urlacher announced his retirement from football. Read on.

Charges recommended in Mansel Simmons case

COUGARS

Pullman Police announced in a press release Wednesday that charges will be recommended against Idaho receiver Roman Runner and former Washington State receiver Mansel Simmons for their involvement in an altercation in the early hours of March 24.

PPD recommends a second-degree felony assault charge for Runner, 21, and a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge for Simmons, 20. The Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney will decide whether charges will be filed.

Simmons announced in April that he is retiring from football due to head injuries sustained in the fight. He suffered a severe concussion and multiple facial fractures.

Here's the full release from Pullman Police:

PULLMAN – Pullman Police Detectives have concluded their investigation of an assault that occurred on March 24, 2013 at about 12:50 am at NE Ash St. and NE Maple St. in Pullman. Pullman officers had been dispatched to that location and found Mansel Simmons unconscious, the apparent victim of an assault. Simmons was initially transported to Pullman Regional Hospital and later to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane where he was treated for facial fractures and a concussion.

After speaking with more than a dozen witnesses, investigators concluded that a verbal argument between two groups of men attending a party in the 300 block of NE Ash St. escalated into a brief physical confrontation between Simmons and Roman Runner. Runner was with three other men visiting from Moscow and the group was told to leave the party. As the group complied and attempted to get back to their vehicle parked nearby, they were chased off by a group of about ten to twenty men attending the party. The visiting group later made their way back to their vehicle and was confronted by the local group. At that point Runner displayed a knife in what he described as an effort to protect him from the larger group, and then he put the knife away. Witnesses say both Runner and Simmons were being held back by friends until Simmons broke free and charged Runner. As Simmons charged him, Runner hit Simmons in the face, knocking him to the ground unconscious. Runner fell on top of Simmons and at some point was punched in the face by an unknown person. Runner and part of his group ran away from the scene while one of them remained and called 911. Runner suffered an abrasion on his forehead. Both Runner and Simmons admitted to drinking alcohol that evening prior to the assault.

Investigators will be forwarding the investigation and the following recommended charges to the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney who will ultimately determine what criminal charges, if any, will be filed:

• Mansel A. Simmons (10/22/92, Pullman resident): Disorderly Conduct (misdemeanor)

• Roman J. Runner (07/08/91, Moscow resident): Assault 2nd Degree (felony)

Two potentially related incidents were also investigated by Pullman Detectives. A pistol was found near the scene, but investigators could not confirm if it was involved in the altercation or who may have been carrying it. Also, the vehicle that the Moscow group arrived in was damaged at some point after the assault, but no evidence has been uncovered to positively identify any specific suspect.

A weather guarantee

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Want to know when it is going to rain? Just check with me. If I've scheduled a golf outing, it will rain. Been perfect 100 percent of the time this spring. I'm beginning to think the big guy upstairs doesn't like me. Read on.

Jake Rodgers leaves WSU

COUGARS

An offensive lineman has left Washington State’s football team.

The school confirmed that Jake Rodgers, a fourth-year junior who attended Shadle Park High School in Spokane, has chosen not to play for the Cougars next season.

His transfer destination has yet to be confirmed.

Rodgers started all 12 of WSU’s games as a redshirt sophomore in 2012 and played every position on the offensive line except center. He missed all of spring practice this year while recovering from an undisclosed injury, but figured to compete for playing time if he returned healthy in the fall.

WSU coach Mike Leach touted the team’s bolstered offensive line depth throughout the spring, noting that the Cougars were able to field two full five-man units, something they couldn’t do last year when injuries and defections hurt their numbers.

Rodgers’ departure leaves WSU’s roster with five Spokane natives: offensive linemen Elliott Bosch and Joe Dahl, quarterback Connor Halliday, receiver Conner Johnson, and safety Mitchell Peterson.

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

Just catch the dang ball

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Three-run home runs are cool, sure, and oftentimes can be crucial to winning a baseball game. But catching a short flip from the first baseman very well may be more important. Read on.

Police: Mayes traffic accident ‘relatively minor’

COUGARS

Washington State linebacker/defensive end Logan Mayes was cited Thursday for hit and run, though Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant described the alleged traffic accident as “relatively minor.”

Tennant said an eyewitness called the police after seeing Mayes back his vehicle into another car in a parking lot. Mayes allegedly drove away without stopping to examine the damage or leave his information.

After police ran the car's plate number and contacted Mayes, Tennant said, the player admitted that he had bumped into another car and drove away. He was given a misdemeanor citation for hit and run and was released, meaning he wasn't handcuffed or taken to the station.

Tennant said the other car had a cracked taillight lens, but that the damage cost estimate was below the $750 minimum that would require police to file a traffic collision report.

Mayes has a scheduled court appearance the morning of June 4, according to Whitman County District Court records.

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

An unexpected day in Cleveland

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Things you would expect to see in Cleveland: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the house where they filmed “A Christmas Story,” LeBron James haters. Things you wouldn't expect to see in Cleveland: a first-place baseball team, Kevin Costner, Felix Hernandez being knocked around like Eric Bedard. Yet all those unexpected things were available for viewing yesterday. Read on.

You never know what will get you going on a cold spring day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When you sit down every day – and by every day, I mean every day – to write a sports-related blog post, you never know what occurrence will tickle your fancy and set you down the road to the finished product. You'll never believe what got me going this morning. Read on.

Good news, more bad news for WSU

COUGARS

News of another oral commitment broke yesterday — though this one is from a player who plans to arrive this season — but some more bad news also broke for the WSU football team. Keep reading for accounts of both.

3A/4A track regionals

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the 3A/4A track regionals today.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Momentum lasts as long as tomorrow’s starting pitcher

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There was a considerable amount of optimism in the Mariners clubhouse Thursday night. Then came Friday in Cleveland. Read on.

Shock vs. New Orleans VooDoo

The Shock battle the New Orleans VooDoo in the Arena.  Check out S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany's photos from the game in a big picture gallery.

Shock trying to get back on course

Spokane has made some lineup changes in preparation for tonight's game against New Orleans in the Arena. The Shock (5-3) have dropped three straight and slipped from first to third in the four-team West Division. They're 1-2 at home.

More about Spokane's roster moves and a game preview here.

Let’s not get too excited just yet

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is the middle of May, right? Not September or October? Good. After reading about the atmosphere in the Mariners' clubhouse yesterday, I was afraid I had fallen asleep and awoken three or four months in the future. Read on.

Wrapping up WSU news

COUGARS

There are a few news items to pass along this morning from WSU, so click the jump to read the links.

WSU cancels afternoon classes on Halloween

COUGARS

WSU announced Thursday that it will cancel all afternoon classes on the Pullman campus on Oct. 31, which is when the Cougars host Arizona State. It's also a Thursday night. It's also Halloween. Here's the release from the office of president Elson Floyd:

In an effort to increase the number of conference football games given national television exposure each season, the PAC-12 has significantly increased the number of regular-season conference football games scheduled to be played on Thursday and Friday nights.

As a result, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, Washington State University will host Arizona State University in a conference football game at Martin Stadium, affording us the opportunity to share the beauty of our unique Pullman campus before a national television audience in a broadcast carried by one of the ESPN family of networks. This is a rare opportunity for our university. It is also the first time since 2005 that WSU has played a Thursday home football game, so it presents some special challenges.

In an effort to address those challenges, I solicited input from our athletic director as to best industry practices from around the country. I also have reached out to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee as well as the Deans Council for their input on this important issue. After taking all recommendations into account, I have authorized that attendance to all classes the morning of Oct. 31 be made optional at the discretion of faculty and that all afternoon classes that day be canceled as part of our efforts to ensure the safety and ease of travel throughout campus for faculty, staff, students and fans. This closure solely affects the Pullman campus.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support.

WSU’s Caldwell arrested on May 7

COUGARS

Washington State running back Teondray Caldwell was arrested on May 7 on suspicion of assault and burglary stemming from an April 28 incident at a Pullman residence.

KQQQ 1150 AM in Pullman reported that Caldwell and a group of WSU football players were denied entry to a party, and that Caldwell allegedly struck a man sitting on the porch.

A Pullman Police spokesperson said police responded to a citizen dispute on April 28, but the suspect had left the area when officers arrived and the alleged victims did not want to press charges or assist in the investigation.

But after a series of conversations and interviews, police arrested Caldwell, a sophomore from Los Angeles, on May 7 on suspicion of first-degree burglary and second-degree assault.

Charges have not been filed. KQQQ reported that Caldwell is due in Whitman County Superior Court on Friday morning, but it’s unclear whether Caldwell will have to appear. A Whitman County clerk told the Spokesman-Review that an order was issued on May 13th exonerating the conditions of Caldwell’s release, meaning he may not have to appear in court tomorrow.

But the clerk also said it’s still possible charges could be filed.

Caldwell rushed for 229 yards as a freshman last season and served as the team’s primary kick returner. A WSU spokesman said coaches will handle the matter internally, as is customary under coach Mike Leach.

Caldwell wrote on his Twitter page (WSU players were apparently allowed back on the site recently): “All these allegations but none of it is true! Don't believe the media. I'm in good hands.”

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

Want to lend a hand?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You are walking down the street. You come across David Stern's limo, which has a flat tire. He is standing outside the car, holding a dead phone in his hand. No one else is around. Do you: A) pull out your phone and call for help; B) ignore him and walk away; or C) tell him exactly how you feel concerning his treatment of Seattle over the years? Read on.

Zags miss out on another transfer

Gonzaga was hoping to land UNLV transfer Mike Moser, but he ended picking Oregon. Now comes the news that Tulane transfer Josh Davis has chosen San Diego State.

The Zags have been trying to beef up their front court, which returns Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski, but they weren't able to land Moser or Davis.

More on Davis' decision here. He spent a couple days visiting SDSU, committed and then called off recruiting visits to Gonzaga and Ohio State.  

Kibbie Dome to get new video board

The reshaping of the nearly 40-year-old Kibbie Dome continued Wednesday, when the University of Idaho gained approval from the State Board of Education to install a 50-foot wide, 30-foot tall video board on the east wall of the stadium.

The board will be ready for football games this fall and cost $1.15 million, according to the Idaho Statesman. The athletic department's portion of the total is $787,321, all of which is being funded privately.

Athletic director Rob Spear said tonight that two of the five advertising panels on the state-of-the-art board have yet to be sold. The main sponsor is the Idaho Potato Commission, which will have a large Famous Idaho Potatoes banner across the top of the board. Also involved are Blue Cross of Idaho and Commercial Tire. “I’m very confident we’ll sell two panels,” said Spear, noting that sponsors are paying for the advertising rights over five years but will be able to keep their name on the board for 10 years.

The Kibbie Dome in recent years has undergone a major facelift, getting translucent light panels on both ends, a new club room (surrounded by suites and premium seats) and a new press box. Spear has also pushed through a new weight room, updated lockers and meeting rooms and an outdoor practice field.

“It’s night and day from where it was before,” Spear said.

Nothing’s over until we say it’s over

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I'm pretty sure it was Yogi Berra who said, “it ain't over until it's over.” Or something akin to that. Whatever. That saying has a double meaning today. Read on.

Top this Franklin

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There have been some weird baseball injuries over the years. Joba Chamberlain on a trampoline with his son. Josh Outman throwing up and straining a muscle. Luke Scott pulling a hamstring in a home run trot. But last night I may have outdone them all. Read on.

WSU picks up a commitment, plus other notes

COUGARS

Most college football news that originates in the month of May is centered around recruiting, and that's the topic of today's morning post. Keep reading.

WSU’s Toni Pole cited for making false statement

COUGARS

Washington State defensive tackle Toni Pole was issued a citation late Saturday night for making a false statement to a Pullman Police officer.

A Pullman PD spokesperson said police were called about a noise complaint earlier in the night and issued a warning to Pole, who provided a false name and birth date.

When police responded to another noise complaint at the same address later that night, the same officer recognized Pole and realized that he had given them a fake name earlier. He provided his real name the second time, and was written a ticket for making a false statement to police.

Pole's alleged crime is a gross misdemeanor. The fourth-year junior is a native of Union City, Calif.

A WSU spokesman said the team will handle the matter internally.

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

Time travel can be fun

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Last night I ate a steak for dinner and watched an episode of “Columbo” prior to hitting the sack before 10. It's official. I have become my father. Read on.

Baseball dominates the links

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We're back, this time with our usual morning blog post. And if you love baseball, today's the day to read. Read on.

A Mother’s Day gift of memories

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We'll be back soon with links, but we promised you a special Mother's Day report. Here it is. And thanks to everyone who responded. You made our day. Read on.

Shock blow lead, fall to Orlando

There is no such thing as a sure thing in arena football, as Spokane found out the hard way Saturday night.

Spokane blew a 13-point lead — with possession of the ball — in the final minute. The result: The Shock lost a game it seemingly had won as Orlando pulled out an 83-82 victory at the Arena.

My unedited game story is below.

Shock vs. Predators (May 11)

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Shock's home game against the Orlando Predators on Saturday. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Is it really time to think about football season? Yes it is

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:05 A.M.

The second Saturday in May doesn't seem like a traditional time to be thinking about professional football, but it is. At least it is this year. Read on.

Today we practice the KISS formula

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We're going to keep it simple today. There is a reason for that. Read on.

Light WSU reading on a Friday

COUGARS

There are a few WSU stories out there worth passing along today. Read along with us.

Shock acquire WR Brandon Thompkins

   Spokane has acquired wide receiver Brandon Thompkins from Utah in exchange for defensive back Josh Ferguson and defensive lineman Julian Miller.

   Thompkins had 76 receptions, 26 for touchdowns, last season with Spokane. In four games this season with Utah, he had 27 csatches for 345 yards. He didn’t play in the Blaze’s win over Spokane last Saturday.

   The addition of Thompkins (pictured above in a 2011 Spokane game) gives the Shock options for Saturday’s home game against Orlando. Shock receiver Kamar Jorden has a tryout at the Indianapolis Colts rookie minicamp this weekend.

   Ferguson, a former Spokane player, was released by Utah last week and claimed by the Shock. He’s been on the refused to report list. Miller, an AFL rookie, hasn’t played in a game.

   Spokane also signed former Shock defensive lineman Jon Williams and defensive back Antareis Bryan.

  

Joe Salave’a mic’d up

The latest mic'd up video from WSU Athletics features defensive line coach Joe Salave'a:

Maybe the VCR was broken

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Baseball is all about tradition. But even baseball has embraced the idea of instant replay to help officiate, albeit slowly and in a quite limited way. After what happened last night, however, maybe it's time for baseball to go back to a simpler time – or move forward. Read on.

Back in the mix

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Well, that's better. Read on.

Akey files suit against Idaho

Former Idaho football coach Robb Akey has filed a lawsuit against the university and the State Board of Education in an attempt to claim a lump-sum media payment withheld from him when he was fired in October.

Akey confirmed the lawsuit Tuesday night to The Spokesman-Review. He declined to go into the specifics of the suit, only to say “Ray Charles could see” what he was seeking from his former employer.

If Akey had finished the 2012 season, he would have received the second of two $105,000 media payments as part of his roughly $375,000 salary. But he was let go with four games left on the Vandals' schedule.

Shortly after he was fired, Akey told the S-R, “If I had coached four more games, they would have had to pay me a third of my salary. You lose a third of your salary it affects your ability to feed your family, so it’s a little disappointing.”

His contract stated that he would receive the second half of the media payment “provided (he) has fully participated in media programs and public appearances” through the team's final regular season game or postseason appearance. 

Akey, whose record was 20-50 as Idaho coach, will be paid his base annual salary of $165,796 through the end of 2014 if he doesn't find a job before then.

Idaho athletic director Rob Spear told the S-R that his department doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Moser picks Oregon over GU, UW

Former UNLV forward Mike Moser, who was considering Gonzaga, Washington and Oregon, has decided to transfer to Oregon.

My short article for Wednesday's S-R is below.

The interconnected nature of the Net

A GRIP ON SPORTS

This time of year, when the flowers are blooming and the sun shining, an off day for the Mariners really cuts into our links for you. But we'll make do. Read on.

WSU news to pass along

COUGARS

Sometimes, a warm spring day produces some football news. Yesterday was one of those days. Keep reading.

Jorden receives invite to Colts minicamp

   Spokane Shock wide receiver Kamar Jorden said Monday he’s been invited to a tryout at the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie minicamp this weekend.

   Jorden has 48 receptions for 587 yards and 15 touchdowns – second on the Shock in all three categories behind Adron Tennell. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound AFL rookie spent time in training camp last year with the Minnesota Vikings.

   Jorden leaves Thursday morning for the three-day camp. He will miss Spokane’s home game vs. Orlando on Saturday night. Jorden could return to the Shock as early as next week, but that will depend on the outcome of his tryout.

  

It’s a (near-perfect) morning in May

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As I looked out my window today, all I could think of were the lyrics to a Three Dog Night song. Isn't that sad? Read on.

Bloomsday is a part of Spokane, sort of like the river

A GRIP ON SPORTS

All over Spokane, people are pulling themselves out of bed, rubbing their eyes and putting their running shoes on. It's Bloomsday, the day the Inland Northwest pays homage to fitness – and sweat. Read on.

Some quick WSU links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Not a lot going on out here, other than the whole graduation thing. But we do have a few WSU links to pass along on a slow Sunday morning.

Shock drop second straight

Spokane struggled again on offense but had a chance to pull out a road victory against Utah.

But the Shock misfired on a fourth-down pass in the closing seconds and the Blaze escaped with a 52-48 upset victory.

Game recap below.

Shock back on road to face Utah

Spokane tries to bounce back from its first loss when it takes on Utah tonight in Salt Lake City, the Shock's fifth road game in seven outings.

It's a key game, as the West Division standings show: Spokane 5-1, Arizona 5-1, San Jose 3-2 and Utah 2-3. Spokane is coming off a disappointing loss to Tampa Bay, Arizona is on the road to face No. 1 Jacksonville (6-0). San Jose, which appears to be back on track with Russ Michna at quarterback, entertains 1-4 Cleveland.

Here's my game preview and one from the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah has signed ex-Blaze and Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman

Are minor sports major to you?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Are non-major collegiate sports important to you? I ask because tonight my alma mater, UC Irvine, plays for its second consecutive NCAA men's volleyball title. Read on.

Days off aren’t often off days

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It only seemed as if the Mariners were going to play for 162 consecutive days. They actually do have a few off days, though, as far as I can recall – at my age, recall isn't total anymore – they had just one in April. But they had Thursday off. All they had to do following Wednesday's game was to travel from Seattle to Toronto and get situated for a road series that starts tonight. But don't worry, they'll be home in time for Mother's Day, and that's important. Read on.

Chiefs trade Fiddler, draft 10 players

A busy Thursday saw the Spokane Chiefs select 10 players in the annual Western Hockey League Bantam Draft and trade Todd Fiddler, who led them in goals scored during the 2012-13 season. Read story

Mike Breske mic’d up

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Meant to post this yesterday, but here's a video from WSU Athletics with defensive coordinator Mike Breske mic'd up during one of WSU's spring practices.

Now that’s better

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Who were those guys? You know, the ones who inhabited the Mariner uniforms the past week or so? Read on.

Five questions with Andrew Furney

The links are slowing down, but we do have this Five Questions segment with WSU kicker Andrew Furney.

Chiefs’ Kichton earns big honor

Brenden Kichton became the first player in Spokane Chiefs history to be honored as Western Hockey League Defenseman of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet in Calgary, Alberta. Read story

May is the beginning of the best stretch

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is the first of May. The fifth month of 2013. The beginning of the best time of year. Read on.

It’s May, and these are links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Depending on which time you looked out the window yesterday, it was either snowing or it looked like a perfect spring day on the Palouse. Which, of course, means it's finally May. I think. Keep reading for a few links.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) 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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John Blanchette (@SRjblanchette) John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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