Tuesday: Ever sit around with friends and play conversational games? You know what I mean, asking each other questions like, “What was the best TV comedy of all time?” or, “Who was better, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron?” and then arguing about your answers?
One of our favorites has to do with local high school basketball coaches. Whenever that question came up – “Who is the best high school basketball coach in the area?” – I wouldn’t hesitate. My answer was always Jim Redmon at Lewis and Clark.
Redmon was my choice. Look, a big part of coaching high school sports is getting the most out of each and every practice. And I’ve always felt Redmon, who has won four state titles at LC, did just that. The fact Redmon won four 4A titles tells you he’s a darn good game coach.
Still, my buddies always would want to know how I felt Redmon would fare coaching boys. Pretty darn well, I said, because he’s a great teacher of the game and that translates to girls, boys, robots, whatever.
Now we’ll get to find out if I was right. Lewis and Clark hired Redmon to be its boys coach. I know Redmon has thought about making the change before – he’s coached boys in the AAU ranks in the past – and this must have been the right time.
Good for him. And good for the Tigers. Next year will be interesting. And, if I know Redmon, successful.
Wednesday: If you have spent any time at all in Washington State’s ancient football locker room, you would understand why some upgrades of the Cougar facilities were needed.
The problem with the facilities just a few years ago was simple: They were getting old and there wasn’t enough money being contributed to the program to make changes.
Enter the Pac-12’s new media contract. And revenue sharing. In the past few years athletic director Bill Moos, with the full backing of president Elson Floyd, has put together $125 million worth of mortgage debt on the premium seating building on Martin Stadium’s south side and the football operations building.
So what did WSU get for its $61 million, the budgeted cost of the operations building? In this day and age of college football, exactly what the Cougars needed to stay in the Pac-12 arms race.
The five-story building is not a completely self-contained home for the football program – there will not be any classes in the place and the academic support folks will stay in Bohler for now – but it’s close.
You have 30 minutes to get in a workout between classes? There is always going to be room available. You hungry? Instead of a quick trip to the new Taco Bell, there are always going to be healthy items in the nutrition center. The ankle a little sore? There is enough space in the training room that waiting shouldn’t be an option.
All in all, it’s a building designed with the football player in mind. But it’s more than that. And it’s that extra-added attraction why it’s worth the money. Washington State is still going to lose recruits to other schools. Everyone does. But the facility excuse won’t fly now and shouldn’t for a couple of decades. That’s a positive.
Martin Stadium’s new look is also a positive, with the building given it a polished feeling, something that’s always been lacking. That’s a positive as well.
But there is one more positive that has nothing to do with football. With the 105 or so football players and all the support staff needed to keep them humming pulled from Bohler, that old building may finally stop feeling like an overstuffed handbag. Baseball players, golfers and rowers will all benefit from the new building even if they never step foot in it.
The stress on the Bohler training room, the weight room, the office space, will ease considerably over the next few months. The other sports will have space to spread out. That’s a benefit for the entire department.