September 23, 2010 in Sports

Lee: Covering preps with unbiased eye

By The Spokesman-Review

I got to thinking about something the other day.

I’ve had sort of a midlife change of directions in this job (I turned 49 years old last month, my final birthday). I might be this newspaper’s first lead Greater Spokane League writer who can’t be accused of a neighborhood bias.

I don’t live near Ferris. I don’t live near Lewis and Clark. I don’t live near University, Mead or Central Valley.

Heck, I don’t live in Spokane. I don’t even live in the Evergreen State. Therefore, I can’t be accused of liking one school more than another.

I live in Coeur d’Alene. What my new job affords me is the opportunity to cover teams in a town where I don’t have a vested interest.

I go from an area where I was accused of bias before – largely because my children attended one of the schools in Coeur d’Alene and not the other – to an area where I can’t be accused of having a personal preference.

That’s refreshing on the west side of 50.

• Randy Ryan has been the face of the Greater Spokane League the past 14 years.

This is his final year. He has submitted his resignation effective at the end of the year. GSL principals have put together a job description and will soon be accepting applications.

I suspect Ryan’s replacement will come from within the GSL. I know of at least three administrators who could retire from their current positions and do what Ryan has done.

Ryan, who turns 61 on Saturday, retired as an administrator in 1996, but he needed another job while he waited for his wife to conclude her career.

“I had to keep working to keep domestic tranquility at home,” Ryan quipped.

Ryan’s wife, a teacher trainer for the Spokane School District, is retiring after this year. The Ryans will then start traveling.

His replacement will continue to serve the dual roles he has as GSL secretary and the District 8 secretary.

• Before Ryan goes, there’s some work to do.

He’s still upset that Columbia Basin Big Nine administrators decided to play hardball with their 3A boys and girls state basketball berths this year.

The reclassification shuffle gave CBBN more 3A teams than the GSL (8-4). That meant the GSL was guaranteed just one state berth.

So Ryan, after talking with GSL boys and girls basketball coaches, offered the league’s lone state berth in a playoff against the No. 3 CBBN team so the GSL’s district runner-up could get an opportunity to play for a state berth. The CBBN declined.

Ryan has asked the CBBN to reconsider. Ryan encouraged the GSL boys and girls coaches to call their coaching friends in the CBBN to get them to reconsider. They’ll find out the answer early next month.

“That’s something we would not have done to them,” Ryan said. “Our philosophy has always been to get the best teams to state. I thought we made a very fair proposal to them. We hope they reconsider, but I’m not going to count on it.”

• The WIAA will announce at the end of the month where the new regional state tournaments will be held.

Ryan secured Spokane Falls Community College as a site for the 4A or 3A tourney. In the CBBN, Richland has been offered up as a site.

It’s likely that the WIAA will select SFCC as the 4A site and Richland as the 3A site, Ryan said. It’s not likely that Richland would be selected as the 4A site because the WIAA wouldn’t want to hold the first round of state at the site of a potential participant.

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