March 29, 1998 in Sports

Falcons Show Interest In Rypien

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Mark Rypien’s career appears to be coming full circle. The former Washington State Cougar hopes to land with the Atlanta Falcons, possibly later this week.

“The first money ($5,000) I ever made was as the offensive player of the game at the Senior Bowl,” Rypien said. “Dan Reeves was my coach there.”

Reeves, Atlanta’s coach, is interested in making Rypien his No. 2 quarterback. If Rypien does sign, it would give the Falcons three Pac-10 QBs - ex-Washington Husky Chris Chandler is the starter and former Oregon Duck Tony Graziani is a backup.

“It looks pretty promising,” Rypien said.

Rypien, who turns 36 in October, played with St. Louis last season. He spent his first seven NFL seasons with Washington, followed by one-year stays with Cleveland, St. Louis, Philadelphia and St. Louis again.

“Dan Reeves is a guy who wants to win,” Rypien said. “Not that (Rams coach) Dick Vermeil doesn’t, but he wants to build with youth.”

For obvious reasons, Rypien’s plans hinge on the health of 2-1/2-year-old son Andrew, who had surgery in Spokane Monday to remove a brain tumor. Andrew had a tumor removed from essentially the same spot last July.

“He was in surgery for 5, 5-1/2 hours on Monday and he came home Wednesday,” Rypien said. “It’s pretty amazing how resilient he is.”

Same goes for the Rypien family, who have admirably handled the situation with love, support and humor.

“We’re very optimistic,” Mark said. “We say our prayers.”

Panhandling

You’re familiar with a coach describing a player as “a coach on the field.” Post Falls High’s Luke Tatman knows the feeling. Tatman is a senior, but the bearded, sturdily-built first baseman could pass for 30.

“I was a little slow getting off the bus for our season-opener against Riverside,” PF coach John Pettoello said. “My kids were already on the field. Their coach comes over to Luke and says, ‘Welcome, coach, to Riverside Field.’ Luke looks back and says, ‘No no, coach, I’m not the coach.’

“That’s happened to him five or six times. I’ve seen it a couple times. We laugh about it.”

Before Wednesday’s game, a Coeur d’Alene player asked Tatman, “Hey coach, which one of your bathrooms is open?”

Playing baseball helps Tatman adhere to his motto. “I participate in athletics in order to avoid work,” Tatman said in the Trojans’ fall sports program. Wise, for any age.

Former Idaho athletic director Oval Jaynes has considered hiring former UI women’s basketball coach Julie Holt at Tennessee-Chattanooga. UTC’s coach recently resigned.

“I wish she’d come, but it’s about a 6-hour drive” from Louisville, where Holt’s husband, Nick, is an assistant football coach, Jaynes said.

“Too far,” Julie said. She looked into a job at Bellarmine College, a small school in Louisville, but the timing wasn’t right. “I don’t have the heart for it right now,” Holt said.

Golf, of course, is a four-letter word. Several four-letter words were apropos on a foul-weather Thursday - namely wind, hail and cold.

Sandpoint and Priest River played a three-way match with Cheney at The Fairways west of Spokane. Said Sandpoint coach Mike Keough: “Aside from the 38-degree temperatures, 30- to 40-mile-an hour winds and hail, it was a real good day.” It was a four-club wind at times, but that didn’t deter Priest River’s Luke Baker from shooting 78.

Sandpoint’s Erin Brannigan, who attends North Idaho College, survived a serious car accident and won two matches - on the same day - at the U.S. Intercollegiate Racquetball Championships earlier this week.

Brannigan’s car was totaled - as was the other vehicle - in an accident about three blocks from the courts in Phoenix. Incredibly, neither driver was injured. Brannigan’s first match was delayed, but he still won and he added a victory that evening.

Grad report

Former Coeur d’Alene Viking Todd Hughes has started every game for Santa Clara. The sophomore left fielder is batting .311 and is second on the team in stolen bases (13), runs (27) and hits (37).

Front row

Ricks College visits NIC baseball for games Thursday (2 p.m. single), Friday (1 p.m. doubleheader) and Saturday (11 a.m. single).

Rumor de jour

Highly successful Lewis-Clark State College coach Mike Divilbiss was expected to interview for the Idaho women’s basketball job at the Final Four this weekend in Kansas City, Mo.

UI assistant A.D. Kathy Clark is at the Final Four.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: Cut in Spokane edition

Cut in Spokane edition

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