March 29, 1998 in Sports

Letters To The Editor

 

Rhodes needs to go

Why has the Washington State University athletic administration decided to rehire head women’s basketball coach Harold Rhodes following the expiration of his contract, on the heels of a 12-15 record (6-12 in Pac-10)?

While other Pac-10 programs have kept pace with national progress in women’s basketball, Rhodes has failed, year after year, to demonstrate success. In 16 years, he has had only a single winning season in conference play. Counting the preseason, non-conference “marshmallow” factor, he’s had only four winning seasons (183-255 overall record).

There is no way a WSU men’s marquee sport would be allowed to languish for anywhere near this long. The fact Rhodes has made a career of losing suggests WSU doesn’t take this women’s program seriously. While WSU has made a name for itself as a leader in gender equity in athletics, its willingness to settle for Rhodes’ mediocrity belies this reputation.

Dismal attendance records this year showed even die-hard Cougars fans are waning in their support - to wit: At least as many fans showed up to support Stanford as WSU at the Feb. 21 home game. This is a disgrace, and a huge disservice to WSU student-athletes and their fans.

There is no doubt WSU can attract and retain gifted student-athletes and coaches; we need only look at the successful programs of Cindy Fredrick in volleyball and Mike Price in football. These coaches have proved you can win in Pullman.

Harold Rhodes doesn’t deserve “tenure.” It’s time for WSU to signal its intention to launch a national search to replace Rhodes. There’s plenty of deserving talent out there, and the opportunity is right. We need a new head coach who can create a quality WSU women’s basketball program the fans are willing to support.

Melinda Moeur Pullman

Colton pursues dream

I must say I was greatly impressed with John Blanchette’s article in the State B section of the March 4 paper.

I have grown up in St. John and have been a cheerleader for our basketball team. As a senior, I look back over the time I’ve been in school and realize that between the band and cheerleading I have been to the state tournament the past six years. Our community has come to expect it. I do remember all the times I have stayed at the gyms to cheer for Colton. They just always have a hard time. They have always seemed to me to be a team with lots of spirit and heart, but maybe not enough directed toward basketball. That, with a lack of support, has made it difficult for them.

I have enjoyed growing up in Whitman County, where basketball is a greater part of life, especially in St.John-Endicott. It was a heartbreaker this year at our Whitman County tournament to watch Colton lose as LaCrosse-Washtucna ran out the clock.

I want to commend you and say thank you for writing an article that needed to be done. You portrayed all the teams the way they should be seen, as kids who try hard and are far from being losers. You created a wonderfully touching article showing all Colton has gone through and yet it still shows up year after year, (hoping) one day to get to the “big dance.”

And when they finally do reach the State B tournament, I will try my hardest to be there to watch them win.

Stephanie Swannack

St. John-Endicott High School

Let pitching talk

Randy Johnson - get a haircut and think!

Randy has lost the whole concept of having a contract. There probably is not a clause in any contract that says you get an extension for $100 million with one year remaining.

If Randy indeed has Herculean strength in his locks he would shut his mouth, pitch, prove himself and go to the next spot on his horizon.

Remember last year? Greg Maddux pitched for the Braves in the last year of his contract with rumors of trades and retirement following him all season. What did he do? Kept his mouth shut, played out his contract, was in the running for yet another Cy Young award and landed the biggest contract for a pitcher in baseball history.

Golly, Randy. Why don’t you try that? I think your hair tags at your vocal cords!

Brad Hunter Spokane

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