Monday, June 05, 2006


By former presidential edict, summer time at Long Beach State was an occasion to grab a book or two and relax from all of those “character building” contests on the court, field, or in the pool. Bob Maxson started the book report tradition but his predecessor Steve Horn loved to read as well and both men would lecture the faculty in the fall on the best of their summer reading.

“Character Building” is the term we use when flat out winning doesn’t happen enough. All of this is a preamble to my suggestion that the long awaited arrival of the new Director of Athletics Vic Cegles might be the time to turn some pages from a couple of tomes that don’t resemble a media guide.

Harry Lewis’s new work Excellence Without a Soul discusses higher education and athletics and reminded the Wall Street Journal’s Vincent J. Cannato of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. Cannato and I both like the “pleasantly maverick views when Lewis defends the benefits of college athletics”. Now this is where we get on the sporting track because these chaps contend that “far from being an over commercialized distraction, (college athletics) are a "source of joy" and embody an "ethos of self- sacrifice, perseverance, drive [and] endurance." Welcome Mr. Cegles to your new post at LBSU and we urge you to lead us in finding more joy and less self sacrifice. Oh yes, and if you need some money, just ask.

ALLERGY-FREE DUST—After last weekend’s NCAA baseball regionals delivered a delicious menu of surprises, the science of selection was pretty well exposed. There were 34 at-large spots and although the Dirtbags didn’t get one some of the underdogs did a fine job against the over dogs. The 49ers finished only 29-27 but went 3-0 against Irvine and played one of the toughest schedules in the country, including 21 games against ranked opponents.

Another oddity in the baseball biz was that Pepperdine, small stadium and small crowds got to host but then the Waves featured a big booster, Pamela Anderson and the best the Beach could offer was Houston Bob and Elvis Joe.

Another item on the Vic Cegles AD to do list is to worry about that NCAA mandated Academic Performance Report that grades all the schools based on how many student athletes are really students. Do poorly and a program could lose scholarships so we pass on this secret from my old Florida room mate and current South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier. “"What you do is find a senior walk-on who's going to graduate and you put him on scholarship for his senior year."

Finally, in addition to TV viewing the Road to Omaha this weekend we recommend the final day of the 2006 Division I Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento on Saturday. It is a CBS show starting about 9:30 a.m. and the Beach has a pair of excellent triple jumpers in the field, Ronald Carter and John Temidara. The lads are ranked #1 and #3 in the NCAA West Region.

Last free advice for Vic to pass on to his charges comes in our closing quote from a coaching pal of mine who gets plenty of in-game advice from parents and boosters. He says, “The best coaching job is an orphanage and the second best is a prison (no road games).”—DR. DAN


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