Monday, August 30, 2004


The sign on the fence to Long Beach State’s George Allen field says the “Future is Now”. Boy do the folks at the Beach hope that is true.

For the current residents of GA Field, women’s soccer, the future is not quite in clear view. They beat Sac State last weekend but had to accept at 0-0 tie with a USF team that had fallen 3-0 in their opener. The Beach booters are next in action Friday and Sunday when they host the 49er Classic, featuring Iona, Drake and UC Davis.

For the other fall team, women’s volleyball, the future is still clouded by the mix of the healthy and the hurt that will be winding up a three match opening week with Liberty on Friday and then nationally ranked Utah on Saturday. The Flames of Liberty will just enjoy the trip but the Utes figure that this is the year to kick some sand on a perennial power. Should be a great barometer of how good the 2004 ladies of the spike will be.

FAMOUS FAMILY DUST-Cincinnati Red Luke Hudson, brother of Niner v-ball assistant Liz Hudson’s, beat Liz’s non-related favorite pitcher, Randy Johnson last week in Phoenix. Liz limped to her seat after she became the first, and we hope last, Niner injury this fall. She sprained an ankle in two-a-days.

Next up is 49er First lady Sylvia Maxson who will be gone until Christmas doing a sabbatical in London where she can have tea and crumpets. Her abandoned husband President Bob deserves your invite for a home cooked meal this fall.

On the selective memory front our pal Seth Greenberg, who could not remember some legal issues with staff, does remember how to schedule basketball opponents for his Virginia Tech hoop entry. This year Tech is in the ACC but for non-conference fare play a bakery full of Morgan State, Loyola MD, MD Eastern Shore, VMI, James Madison, and Bethune-Cookman.

No longer in the Niner family is academic advisor Don Peters who has spent the past few years cajoling student athletes during the week and yodeling anthems on the weekend. He is going full time in his field of sports psychology.

Too bad Don’s gone I wanted him to counsel USC’s Mike Williams and the Lake Show’s Kobe Bryant. The lads made bad choices and I for one have no sympathy.

Now for the stat-starved Dirtbag baseball fans the number-gatherers at Long Beach State have the summer report. Troy Tulowitzki and Cesar Ramos won gold medals at the World Championships in Taiwan with USA national team and smuggled home a giant Chinese banner to the off campus digs they share behind Vons.Tulo batted .299 in 20 starts at short, scoring 17 runs and tied for the team lead in homers. Cesar appeared in seven contests, going 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA. More summer good news from third sacker Danny Mocny who won all-star honors in the Northwoods League batting .333 with 20 runs and 21 RBIs. Setup guy Brian Anderson was a teammate of Mocny, going 2-3 with a 2.85 ERA.

Big Brett Andrade threw 16.2 innings, posting a 2-1 mark and 4.32 ERA for the Goldpanners while fellow Niner hurler Scott Juneau went 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA over 13 games.

Back to coach talk. V-ball's Brian Gimmillaro will meet and greet along with most of the other Beach skippers at a Fall Coach Chat at Buster's Beach House next Tuesday from 6-8 pm. You can also send in your favorite plays to soccer’s Mauricio Ingrassia, polo’s Ricardo Azevedo, track’s Andy Sythe and hoop coaches Mary Hegarty and Larry Reynolds.

The Crime blotter. Like our favorite indoor Olympian Tayibba Haneef, Alexis Crimes was a multi-sporter in high school and a three-sport athlete for the Eagles, Crimes also competed in track and field and basketball. She was a most valuable in volleyball, track, basketball and academics. And real personable too. She will major in Pre-Medicine.

Closing quote from U.S. Olympic softball pitcher Lori Harrigan to LeBron James, after James joked that he could homer off her. “I told him, OK, my Nike deal against yours, and that shut him up.” –DR. DAN

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Back in the day every fall meant football. Even Niner volley czar Brian Gimmillaro had a soft spot for the frozen tundra when he was a kid back in Buffalo. From 1955 to 1991 the Beach played the pigskin and perhaps was most noted as a cradle of coaches who came by for a cup of coffee or a couple of years on the way to other places.

In 1985 Brian came over the campus to coach women’s volleyball, sharing the stage, for a time, with football. His first couple of years were modest, 18-13, 15-17 then a run of success that culminated in the 1989 NCAA title and Final Fours in two of the next three years. Did the hot new indoor volleyball sport sign the death warrant for the old outdoor game of football? Hard to say but that fall of 1991 would be the last season for the Gridiron Gang and another NCAA Final for the Ladies of the Spike. Game, set and match, status-conscious LBSU fans now had a fall sport that challenges anybody anywhere and usually wins.

DUST DEVILS-You are lucky to have me still making notes on my napkin because I was almost a winner in the longshoreman lottery. All of this Athens news of course still makes me sad that while softball is crushing the world our baseball team ain’t even in town. As for the baskets, well my sports bar buddy was taking in the telly when he saw first synchronized swimming and then synchronized diving. He quipped, “Geez too bad we don’t have any synchronized basketball.” Amen.

Tattoo info, that was an angel on Misty May’s shoulder, a tribute to her late mother, Barb May.

Last add Athens is the name George Beckstead, a member of the LBSU gymnastics teams of 1959 and 1960 that won the conference championships. His Athens footnote was that George as panel chairman in charge of all Gymnastic judges, was suspended for his group’s scoring error in the men’s competition. Beckstead has remained friends with his college coach, Ken Bartlett.

Speaking of problems, I can solve one big health issue with my plan to have the Medfly trained to eat West Nile mosquitoes.

While school at the U doesn’t start until next week look for some changing places on the Dirtbag roster. A couple of late transfers coming in and perhaps two pitchers, Kenny Maiques and Ross Stout, heading out, perhaps to area JUCOs.

Soccer had their warm-up weekend and now gets ready for the real kicking and screaming when Sac State comes to town Friday at 5 in a TV contest. Yes TV, to which I had to ask Coach Mauricio Ingrassia if this was a good idea, you know, let opponents have a chance to scout the Niners? “Why not, we need all the good exposure we can get.” Translated, win the hearts and minds of soccer moms and dads who have been sending their talented off spring elsewhere. And how did Mauricio rate his club after a come from behind 1-1 George Allen Field tie with Biola? “I think maybe Coach Allen guided that goal into the net for us.” And on his first entry as a D-1 Coach, “maybe we were a little timid at first but our goal is to improve every half and we did that.”

Talk about long side outs, how about this long baby out for former Niner Nique Crump, one of the most resilient Niners during her playing days from 1994 through 1997. She and her husband, ex-Beach water polo star Jeff Colyer, are proud parents of a baby girl, Morgan. And speaking of Labor Days she spent 22-hours before the young winner appeared.

In the notes from the Sideline Spiker kickoff was that Erika Chidester is still cautious about that surgically repaired right shoulder, enough so that coaches may alter her swing, let her hit left side and use super freshman Alexis Crimes as the new monster in the middle.

And think about this opening night for December’s NCAA volleyball Final Four. Misty and Kerri take a ceremonial first serve from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.—DR. DAN

Monday, August 16, 2004


College athletic directors in the late summer remind me of my teenage years back in West Virginia when the circus would come to town.

For weeks prior to the greatest show on earth unpacking in Parkersburg the excitement would build with a poster here, a publicity photo there, and soon enough the canvas and ropes would arrive. Today’s AD know that feeling, and know that they must keep sixteen or so plates spinning on skinny budget sticks.

You see each plate represents a different sport, complete with coaches, boosters and oh yes, student athletes to please. Soccer for women not only has a new coach but also a impressively large group of walk-ons. Volleyball for women doesn’t welcome walk-ons and in fact is looking for enough tape and Tylenol to get through this rebuilding year.

And on it goes--a shining and already spinning piece of china for ladies hoops where the head coach openly talks about a twenty win season. A heavier and more fragile plate for men’s hoops where the biggest, and most critical, crowds observe the show. Golf and tennis are reigning conference champions so for the time being no need to keep a finger in the dyke and baseball and softball had impressive post season runs.

The Greatest Show on Earth, well for 2004-2005 the Beach ringmaster will be happy with just filling some seats and not breaking too many spinning plates.

NAME GAME DUST--I was researching the returning Niner baseball players who are winding up their work in the summer in college baseball leagues and hopefully they will bring back some team logos because they are really neat. For example in the Cape Cod League Beach boys rooted on the Cotuit Kettleers and the Wareham Gatemen.

In the Northwoods league they obviously sipped too much cider last winter because the following are team names so clever our champion cheer squad would have trouble remembering. Try on the Alexandria Beetles (featuring slugger Danny Mocny), Madison Mallards, Mankato Moondogs, Rochester Honkers, St. Cloud Riverbats, Thunder Bay Border Cats. Waterloo Bucks and, chew on this one, the Wisconsin Woodchucks.

Next up is the name of Long Beach that is curiously missing in that national volleyball coach’s poll. For the first time since they put up nets the Niners were not ranked in the Top 25. In fact only three teams on the schedule are and none higher than number 16.

That slot belongs to UC Santa Barbara who returns Megan Blackshire (Jr., MB, 6-0, AVCA All-West Region honorable mention, All-Big West 1st Team); Kristin Nelson (Sr., L, 5-9, All-Big West 1st Team); Olivia Waldowski (So., MB, 6-3, Big West Freshman of the Year); and Janine Sandell (So., OH, 5-10, All-Big West Freshman Team).

The two other ranked opponents are number 24 Utah who was 22-9, 12-2 Mountain West last year,has five starters back and number 25 Notre Dame, last year 23-7, 11-1 in the Big East.

The other September entry is Beach soccer. A web expert from UCSB who goes by the name of “Auxerre Gaucho Redshirt” had some nice words about the new, and we hope improved, LB entry.

“The 49ers made the best possible hire in luring former Cal State Fullerton men's standout Mauricio Ingrassia to replace retiring Peter Reynaud. LBSU has the conference's best midfielder in Allison Weigand, although she usually plays wherever she is most needed. Nearly everyone else is back, too, and there's a huge crop of redshirts ready to go, too.”

Finally our closing quote came to mind trying to figure out what time it is in Athens so I can look for Long Beachers on the tube. Anyhow the creator of Peanuts, Charles Schultz, as usual had the best and last word. “Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.” –DR. DAN

Monday, August 02, 2004


Excuse the sand falling out of your Gazette today, it is time for my semi-annual Florida report and I had to pack this column off in a hurry.

Most of what they do in August in Florida is dream of September. Not because it is any cooler or less humid, it’’s because this strange game called football kicks off next month.. Now the incoming freshmen at the Beach probably aren’’t sure if a football is grown, pumped or stuffed but old timers at LBSU still get misty-eyed remembering the brown and gold.

Around here every news stands is five deep in football magazines, and depending where you are in the state the cover boy could be a Gator, Cane, or Seminole. Miami and Florida State are both in the Top Ten nationally and Florida U is lurking in the Top 20. The first big contest of the year of course is that September 6 national TV Monday night showdown at the Horseshoe in Little Havana known as Miami’’s Orange Bowl. Not a place that Seminoles like and a structure that creaks and groans more than the Coliseum or Wrigley Field. And that’’s just game one of at least a dozen Dixie tilts that will decide who plays USC for the national title, yes indeed, held back here in the Sunshine state.

Of course the pro football fans also have their day in the sun, is there anything but sun here in the summer? So of course when the Dolphins fair-dreadlocked runner Ricky Williams, he of the preference for a puff of weed more than the NFL would like, bolted for the Far East leaving millions of dollars behind the locals were nearly rendered speechless. That’’s when talk radio comes to the rescue and the best of the Ricky one-liners was the fellow who said, "well I have smoked a lot of dope myself so I know where he’’s coming from, but I wonder what will happen when he comes out of his haze?" To which the announcer said, "Ricky will probably say, I did what?"

REALLY ROAD DUST--Back on the travel beat the Sixth Man’’s boosters aren’’t promising any national titles but the Beach basketball team wants some passionate fans to follow them as they travel to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 41st Outrigger Hotels/Rainbow Classic, Dec. 20-23, 2004. Reservations are being accepted now at 562-799-1335. The opener is with host Hawaii and then the tourney continues with all sorts of other stalwarts including Georgetown, Oral Roberts, Clemson and the like.

Also on the move is the other half of that German volleyball connection of Doering and Fleig. Doering ditched the Beach a year early for graduate study back in the homeland and nowMelanie Fleig, who had a red shirt year, is said to have transferred to Long Island University. The 2004 Beach team will open with nine straight home matches kicking off on September 1st versus Northeastern.

Moving in to town is a new men’’s hoop helper, Anthony Stewart, who’’s last address was Columbus State Community College where he spent the past four years as an assistant coaching, among others, current 49er Shawn Hawkins. Columbus State was 86-36 in his four years as an assistant. Meanwhile number three guy Reggie Howard takes over the Associate Head Coach title, replacing Bill Carr who left in June to become the head men s basketball coach at UC San Diego.Confused, me too, so it must be time to get back on the boat and catch the one that got away.–– DR. DAN