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Morning links: what’s going on at Utah

Both of Utah's coordinators have taken positions elsewhere and it sounds like coach Kyle Whittingham may soon follow.

Defensive coordinator Kilani Sitake took the same position at Oregon State while offensive coordinator Dave Christensen will head to Texas A&M as the running game coordinator.

This article explains that tensions are high in the Utes athletic department and even Whittingham may be looking for a change of scenery after 20 years in Salt Lake City.

Two Pac-12 teams play their bowl games today. Previews of those games and other links are after the jump.

Chiefs will take shot at 5-game winning streak

The Western Hockey League returns from a nine-day holiday hiatus on Saturday with the Spokane Chiefs, on a 4-game winning streak, hosting Tri-City. Read story

WCC opens with big one for GU, BYU

The WCC begins with a big one for Gonzaga and BYU on Saturday in Provo. Here's my preview that will run in Saturday's S-R and another from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Zags begin WCC with tough stretch

We took a tour of the WCC, where Gonzaga is favored to win the title for the 14th time in 15 seasons.

What was the best of 2014?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I have one hope. I hope every one had a marry Christmas. … Wow. Talk about an interesting typo. I meant a “merry” Christmas. Even if the sports landscape was devoid of anything except NBA games. Read on.

It’s been a wonderful season for the Seahawks

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is Christmas Eve. The day to give an angel its wings. And to watch “It's a Wonderful Life.” That is the 30-for-30 on Richard Sherman, right? Read on.

Morning links: Sitake moves within Pac-12

New Oregon State coach Gary Andersen wasted no time making his presence felt in the Pac-12.

On Tuesday he hired away one of the Pac-12's most highly regarded defensive coordinators in Utah's Kilani Sitake, as well as defensive line coach Ilaisa Tukai. This is noteworthy for Washington State fans because the Cougars are in the market for a defensive coordinator and Sitake is a good one who was known to be open to a change of scenery and obviously didn't mind staying in the Pac-12.

It also means WSU and Utah will be potentially fighting over the best remaining candidates. Maybe, say, Utah State's Todd Orlando.

As always, follow the jump for some links.

WHL notes: Former billet inspires Red Deer player

This week's Western Hockey League notebook honors a special billet. Read story

Linebacker Tana Pritchard leaves WSU

On Tuesday linebacker Tana Pritchard became the second WSU defensive player to leave the program in as many days.

Pritchard has reportedly already graduated and will have one season to play no matter where he ends up. After starting the first three games of the season, Pritchard saw his playing time steadily diminish and ended the year No. 3 on the depth chart at the WIL linebacker position.

Corner Kevin Griffin and linebacker Darryl Monroe have also left the program since the end of the season. But with five junior college defenders in the 2015 recruiting class, the Cougars should be able to plug those holes.

Follow the jump for more on Pritchard's departure.

There’s another ground floor being built in Cheney

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It seemed as if last night was a good night to watch a college basketball game live. It was. Read on.

Morning links: Washington State welcomes a kicker, says goodbye to a cornerback

WSU will travel to New Jersey next season and the Cougars are already making some headway in the Garden State.

The Land of Hope and Dreams and Springsteens yielded a kicker for the Cougars on Monday, as Jarry Jones of Stanhope accepted an offer to join the Washington State football program as a preferred walk-on.

But WSU also lost a player yesterday, cornerback Kevin Griffin, who has left the program.

We have more links after the jump.

Whitworth defeats Wells College 84-43

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered Whitworth's game against Wells College.  Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.

Northern Kentucky rains in 3s, sends Idaho into Big Sky play with 81-68 loss

After its fifth try, Idaho has yet to win a game outside of the Palouse. Idaho fell 81-68 to Northern Kentucky on Monday night. The Norse completed a season sweep of Idaho, having also won 79-74 at Memorial Gym on Nov. 29. 

Again, defending the 3-point shot doomed the Vandals. The Norse only shot 35.3 percent from beyond the arc, but that was off 12 makes. Idaho allowed Northern Kentucky to get 64 shots off, 34 off them from deep.

Much like Idaho's last road trip, it was a single player who went off in the second half that downed Idaho's hopes of victory. Tyler White sank four second-half 3s to keep the Vandals at bay despite scratching at the lead throughout the second half.  

 

 

Kevin Griffin leaves Washington State football program

I can confirm that freshman cornerback Kevin Griffin has left the Washington State football program, as indicated on his Twitter account.

Griffin played in three games this past season and made his first and only start in WSU's win at Oregon State. He finishes his career at WSU with two tackles.

Follow the jump for more.

Bill Pierce’s almanac: In 1932, classwork trumps state tournament appearance for Gonzaga High

Gonzaga High School made some history in 1932. In the six previous seasons of the Spokane City League, only two schools had come away with the city title, Lewis and Clark and North Central.

At the beginning of the season, Coach John “Puggy” Hunton wasn’t sure how well his team would fare, but as the year progressed, the Bullpups became the team to beat. Their success was led by Pat Devlin, John Molitor and John Reilly.

With their narrow 23-22 victory over NC to end the regular season, the Bullpups guaranteed their first league title, finishing at 7-2 to Lewis and Clark’s 5-3. The win also qualified them for their first trip to the Washington State Basketball Tournament in Seattle, or so they thought.

Five days after the win over North Central, Gonzaga administration officials made a decision the Bullpups would not be participating in the State Tournament.  The Gonzaga faculty was concerned that players would be absent from classroom work for too long.

A week later, Lewis and Clark accepted an invitation to the State Tournament, taking the place of Gonzaga. Coach E. L. “Squinty” Hunter saying, “Our task is to represent the Spokane District , we were not the city champions this year, but we finished close to the leaders and believe we can make a worthy showing at Seattle.”

LC did indeed make the most of their unexpected trip, losing only a semifinal contest to eventual state champion Ellensburg, to take third place.

It was probably no consolation to the Gonzaga team watching from the sidelines, knowing they had defeated the Tigers twice in league play, and no doubt wondering how they would have done on the bigger stage.

It wasn’t until 1946, fourteen years later, that the Bullpups finally made their first State Tournament appearance.

 

Looking back at the San Jose St. game

Yesterday, the Cougars trounced San Jose State, 82-53.

Our story from the game can be read here.

Our follow-up post is after the jump.

Seahawks’ win makes our days a bit brighter

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I don't know about you, but today seems a little brighter to me. There seems to be a bit more sunshine. And it JUST seems as if it will be lighter, longer. Do the Seahawks really have that much power, or is it just a quirk of the calendar? Read on.

Morning links: that was Sparta

The Washington State men finished out the semester on a high note, handily beating a depleted San Jose State squad.

Here are postgame videos of Ernie Kent and some players.

There was more that happened yesterday, and I'm assuming you were all caught up in the Seahawks game. But don't worry, there are some links below to help you catch up.

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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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