A GRIP ON SPORTS
Is there some sort of Inland Northwest vortex that we haven't heard about? It seems as if everyone in the news today has a connection to the area. Read on.
• Well, not really. But it is odd how I kept finding stories this morning with ties to our area. The biggest one, of course, is Oregon State hiring former Ferris High player and Montana coach Wayne Tinkle to take over its basketball program. Tinkle's roots around here run deep, including the ones planted at Gonzaga, where daughter Elle plays for the Zags. There was some thought Washington State might turn to Tinkle after Ken Bone was let go recently, but replacing one former Big Sky coach with another might not have gone over too well in Pullman, despite Bill Moos' connections to Missoula. So the Cougars turned to Ernie Kent, leaving Tinkle there for the Beavers to take. Montana has produced a few successful coaches – Jud Heathcote, Mike Montgomery and Utah's Larry Krystkowiak come to mind without any research – for bigger schools, so OSU isn't taking that big a gamble. Still, there is a bit of a letdown in Corvallis after Ben Howland's name was bandied around early. But, really, if Howland wasn't going to leave the beach at Santa Barbara for Pullman, who would think Corvallis would be able to entice him away? So the Beavers are casting their lot with a hard working, old-school type of coach who was once named the sexiest college basketball coach in the country. Now that even trumps being the President's brother-in-law, doesn't it?
• There are a couple of other stories below that have connections to our area, including an NFL piece with a Gonzaga tie and a couple high school stories from the west side of the Cascades that lead us back to Inland Northwest.
• WSU: Speaking of Pullman, it's pretty quiet down in the Palouse, though the football operations building is about done and ready to be occupied. I wonder if Mike Leach is going to have a Geronimo-themed open house for the place? ... If you love statistics, ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has you covered today. ... Like controversy? Jon Wilner covers that as well, looking at the new Pac-12 championship game and the Ed O'Bannon suit.
• Gonzaga: The NFL connection has to do with the Packers' newest cornerback, former GU point guard Demetri Goodson. It's good to see his Packer teammates did some research and wisely challenged Goodson to a game of "Horse." Shooting was never his strong point. ... Former Zag two-sport star Scott Morgan is headed to a Hall of Fame.
• Chiefs: A former Chief earned his moment in the spotlight last night, though it didn't go as well as he would have liked.
• Preps: The soccer playoffs are getting closer and closer to the final four, so Jim Allen breaks down all the local teams' upcoming matches for us. ... Former Ferris High girls' coach Art Rojas has stepped down after a successful stint in the Portland area. ... Nick Lucey, who was a graduate assistant at WSU almost every year I was there, is now a high school coach on the West Side.
• Seahawks: Though the Hawks' draft wasn't highlighted by stars, Tacoma's Dave Boling – a former S-R staffer – sees five starters emerging from the group some day. ... The Hawks signed some of their rookies. ... Who will be the team's starters this fall?
• Mariners: The M's had the day off to travel but Art Thiel connects us to new leadoff hitter James Jones (pictured). ... Brandon Maurer is trying to hang on to his big league spot. This is his second shot and could be his final one if he doesn't come through. ... Robinson Cano thinks the M's will be contenders this season.
• That's our short and sweet report for this Tuesday. Man, college football season can't here quick enough. Wait, I don't mean that. I love summer. Want it to last as long as possible. Until later ...