Sunday, October 30, 2005

Notes on a napkin still wet from Wilma

Greetings from the deep and drying out South. This once a month schedule makes column-izing challenging--sorting out, tossing out and resetting the table.

The items that follow are diverse and flavored by the view from a safe distance, Florida, but enhanced by my CIA operatives still around town

We start with college football, skipping pro football since there is nothing with-in a tank of gas from Second Street.

The college set down here of course has fascination with USC and UCLA and the Pac 10 but are skeptical, largely based on strength of schedule. They note a new national college football wire has the Pac 10 as only the fifth best conference in the USA—behind, in order the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and the Big 12. Don’t shoot the messenger.

CSU chancellor Charles Reed, in the news with the naming of a new LBSU president, was a student-athlete at George Washington University. That is background to the information that Reed he has a background with the family of his new Niner leader King Alexander who comes to the Beach from Murray State where they have a full menu of sports, basketball being a consistent point of pride.

Basketball here of course is said to have so worried the 49er faithful that it forced the early departure of an athletic director and, perhaps, a president. The new guy followed his father, Kern Alexander, a distinguished scholar in the area of international banking, as president of Murray State. The Reed connection goes back to Dad’s 17 year career as an educational finance expert in Florida including time as a top advisor, along with Chancellor Reed, to then Florida Governor Robert Graham. And to close the sporting circle, job one for a chancellor in Florida is to meet and greet the movers and shakers at some sort or game or contest. Expect the same.

While nobody in the Big West is sending shivers down the net of the 2005 NCAA volleyball elite, the run for the conference crown is a three way race and the spoiler for one or more teams will be Pacific, unless the Tigers beat everybody and win the crown themselves. SLO, UCSB and of course the Beach all go to Stockton early this month.
I do miss being in the Mid during volleyball matches but the inter-net broadcasters leave their mike open during time outs and you can hear fans in the stands and Smitty on press row just as if I was there myself.
I know that the college to pro to college chat is surrounding Pete Carroll these days but the guy they call Darth Visor down south, Steve Spurrier, appears ready to lift the other USC, South Carolina, off the mat and playing ranked teams to boot. The Gamecocks gutted out a win at Tennessee over the weekend.

Still skinning the pig, I wonder if Air Force coaches now feel that those BYU kids run faster because they have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir piped into the dressing room?

It is easy to enjoy the spikes and blocks of the big people but the amazing play of the queen of the backcourt, Heather Laudato, is the glue that keeps Niner volleyball together during the tough times. A senior on a team of baby-boomers, Heather might just lead this bunch to the sweet sixteen this year.

Last add, board gaming. How about that chess match in the Mid Saturday night featuring Brian Gimmillaro and Kathy Gregory. More combined trips to the scorer’s table than trick or treaters at your front door. Oh yes, I know Brian and the Queen brought teams with them but I would buy a ticket to see these two characters play tidily winks at center court. Great competitors who hold nothing back.--DR. DAN.

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