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


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