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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WSU makes another change in coaching staff

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is a truism in college sports these days that everyone seems to want to ignore. But it happens more often than not. Read on.

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• Who hires college coaches? Who fires college coaches? Yep, the athletic director, with help on the big hires from the president or chancellor, of course. And athletic directors like to make successful hires, don’t they? It’s an unwritten rule in college athletics that folks the current athletic director hires always have a longer leash than those that were already in place when the new AD came aboard. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you hire someone at your job, they are your “guy,” no matter their gender. But the people who were installed in their jobs before you took over? They are the other guy’s guys, so to speak. Heck, if you haven’t experienced this phenomenon at your place of work, you’re lucky. It happened at the S-R back at the turn of the century, with a new editor making mass changes among the manager corps. It’s what it is, and there is no reason to cry about it. It’s also part of the reason yesterday’s change in the baseball program at Washington State wasn’t all that surprising. Donnie Marbut (pictured) preceded Bill Moos at WSU – at least this Moos tenure as athletic director. He was hired as baseball coach by Moos’ predecessor, Jim Sterk, and there are not many of Sterk’s coaching hires still working in the same job in Pullman. Again, it’s not unusual. Any boss wants to be comfortable with the key people working for him and usually that means installing hand-picked choices in key spots. Mike Leach, Ernie Kent, track coach Wayne Phipps, soccer coach Todd Shulenberger are all Moos hires. And soon the same can be said of whomever the baseball coach will be. Why Marbut was let go after a decent season, one in which the Cougars peaked their head above .500 and stayed there, can be debated. Let’s just say a couple events occurred over the weekend that put my antenna on high alert. The first was the news Scott Brosius was leaving his alma mater, Oregon’s Linfield College, to seek “a new coaching challenge within the baseball world.” Here’s a former pro, a Northwest guy who has won a national title – albeit Division III – who wants to coach at a higher level. I wondered at the time if there was going to a be a Pac-12 opening soon. Not that Brosius will be the Cougars hire (there is an opening at Arizona as well and, if baseball coach Pat Casey is named AD at Oregon State, possibly one with the Beavers) but it just struck me as interesting. Then came Jacob Thorpe’s Sunday story on Marbut’s fund-raising for a new baseball clubhouse. As long as I can remember, the Cougars have been trying to figure out how to scrounge up the money to build the much-needed facility. Moos’ original plan was to tie it into a new indoor football facility next door, getting a bit more utility from both. Such a fund-raising effort is not, in itself, bad, but Marbut’s comments about the frustrating pace of change and perceived lack of financial support probably were. Not that Moos picked up Sunday’s paper, read the story and decided, “this guy’s gotta go.” He doesn’t work that way. But did it help Marbut’s cause? Nope. And now WSU will have a new baseball coach for the first time in more than a decade.

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• WSU: Jacob has the story on Marbut’s firing and a sidebar and names that might be considered to replace him. ... Jacob also had a blog post yesterday on athletic revenue and spending in the Pac-12. ... ESPN.com looks at the defensive lines for the fall.

• Whitworth: With Marbut out at WSU, baseball coach Dan Ramsay, who resigned to take a position with the Cougars, rescinded his resignation and will return to the Pirates.

• Shock: Spokane has some experience on defense, but also some key rookies. Jim Meehan has more in his weekly notebook.

• Seahawks: Before OTAs started yesterday, there was an outcry about who wouldn’t be there. One of the most important names was quarterback Russell Wilson. The immediate leap was made to Wilson’s contract situation. This was a protest. Nope. Wilson was with new tight end Jimmy Graham at the funeral of a close Graham associate. Now that’s a leader. ... For a practice that included no hitting, and a lot of players missing, there were a lot of pronouncements made. ... Pete Carroll had things to say afterward. ... Yes, there were some signings and the like. ... The new defensive coordinator was in the spotlight as well.

• Mariners: If it were not for Kyle Seager – twice – today’s column may have focused upon a blown save by Fernando Rodney – and Robinson Cano. But Seager pulled the M’s fat out of the fire in a 7-6 10-inning win. ... Austin Jackson returned and made a couple of crucial defensive plays that other M’s may not have made.

• Sounders: The Sounders host Colorado tonight in CenturyLink, the second of two matches for the organization. ... Sigi Schmid has to juggle a schedule that includes three matches in nine days. ... I wonder if FIFA will now break all ties with U.S. Soccer after this news.

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• Back on the radio for a few days while someone takes a fishing vacation (you’ll know who when you tune in). You can listen here from 3 to 6 p.m. if you like. Until then ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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