Monday, April 09, 2007


Thanks for checking in on this just-before-tax-time, right-turns-only edition of notes on the new basketball boss press release. That press conference of course ended 18 days of wild guessing, dissing, praying and promoting of coaches from across the street and across the country.

As reported elsewhere, the winning recipe, as selected by the Cal State head chefs King Alexander and Victor Cegles, was the 45 year old Washington born, Idaho bred son of a coach, Dan Monson. He had 11 years in the building and two years in running the wildly popular Gonzaga program and six years and seven games trying to fix the mess at Minnesota. “I had been to two of these new coach press conferences before but this is the first time I said I was really happy.”

“I am not here to make this another Gonzaga but continue the great Long Beach tradition.” That notion seems to have caught on since his cell phone traffic which dropped from a hundred a day to three or four after he left the Big Ten job for the Big West is filling up his voice mail again. “We are going to take our time hiring assistants because we are going to build a program not just a season.” That one season approach got the Beach to the Big Dance last month but at the price an NCAA inquiry that has months more to run.
MONSON SEASON—One of the passionate LB partisans recalled the well known JFK quote, “A rising tide lifts all boats” in the future hope that a new coach will result in winning conference championships, filling the Pyramid, and setting a high bar for all the campus sports. Unspoken is that the present athletic budget has a serious shortfall, tuition and fees are going up there is a new salary package (six years $200,000 plus incentives tied to player academic performance, post season appearances and ticket sales.) That leaves a question. This time next year will the Athletic Ship of Long Beach State be “Rising with the Tide or Bailing Water?”

Now two looks at jewels, starting with the diamond variety. The baseball Niners beat Oral Roberts two out of three last weekend and slick fielding shortstop Danny Espinosa won even more admiration. For three straight games the Golden Eagle’s radio guy Geoff Haxton watched Espy go deep in the hole, stop the baseball, turn and throw bullets around Blair. Finally, Haxton let out a big sigh and said, “That guy rips the heart out of a team.” The Beach will host Northridge this weekend amid the roar of Grand Prix engines and Big West umpires.

The other precious stones are those organized by LBSU’s DeDe Rossi and her Jewels of the Night fund raising team who are heading down the home stretch for the May 19th edition of their “eat, bid and be merry” event. Fifty of the hottest restaurants will be dishing out the grub, the Surf City All Stars will be playing cool music and the 49er athletic department will be making money on upwards to 1,000 donated auction items. Call Pat West (just back in town from watching grandson Travis Ramsey play for the Maine Black Bears in the NCAA Frozen Four hockey tourney) to donate an item or make your reservation at 562-985-4662.

We close with an item from our book club. The title is Watching Baseball Smarter by Zack Hample who admits he is obsessed but clearly is one of the most talented of the stat geeks. His book gives you the “ ins and outs of pitching, hitting, running, and fielding, the difference between a slider and a curveball, how good hitters use iPods and enough other stuff to get you through a couple of rain delays. Whatever rain is.—DR. DAN


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