Monday, September 03, 2007


Thanks for stopping by, I just cooked up this back to school edition of Notes on My Napkin.

We start with what now looms as the most important women’s volleyball match since that awful December 2001 afternoon in San Diego when the 49ers, their feelings hurt over the snub of Cheryl Weaver and Brian Gimmillaro for player and coach of the year, lost the NCAA title to Stanford.

Since then the program has been in a funk, recruiting has been a struggle, and talent like Ali Daley, a Big West Freshmen of the Year, bolted for UCLA where she leads the Bruins in kills, hitting percentage, you name it. Despite returning eight seniors, the 2007 Beach bunch has wobbled out of the gate and comes into the Pyramid Thursday to face No. 8 Washington at 2-3 on the season. UW (6-0) has not lost a game this season but if LB wins that match the ship is righted and the team should tomahawk chop Florida State on Saturday night. Lose and well, you finish that sentence.

Next item has to do with the comings and goings of student athletes. In baseball three Niners from last season will transfer, pitchers Andre Lamontagne (to Oral Roberts) and Russ Lowell (to LMU) and outfielder Kyle Morgan to San Francisco. Meanwhile Arizona hurler Brett Lorin will join the Dirtbags.
In basketball three new guys should at least let coach Dan Monson exhale, Greg Plater, Brian Freeman and Brandon Johnson are coming south from Monson’s Washington and Oregon roots to join the handful of Niner returnees. The kids are in open gym now and start organized practice in mid October,

As engaging as Monson is, and he will have a dozen or so “chats” around town this fall, the hottest coach on campus is clearly Mauricio Ingrassia of women’s soccer. He won the conference regular season last year and said that would help recruiting. It did. Freshman Lindsay Bullock got the lone goal as the Beach whipped talented Utah 1-0 Sunday morning. Friday afternoon two more rookies sparkled. Kristen Kiefer scored a goal and an assist, while Mariko Strickland had two assists in a 5-0 win over CS Bakersfield.

Unbeaten and un-scored upon, the team went on the road this week for contests at ACC powers Clemson and Wake Forest. Big timers Oklahoma and Baylor come to campus in mid September. Mauricio won’t complain but he would prefer to have some semblance of a real stadium and not have to play “the best team we ever have had on campus” at 9 a.m. with a Blues Festival cranking up right behind the field.

Maybe Mauricio should ask just departed Fullerton baseball boss George Horton to have him up for lunch. George, or George of the Jungle as we used to tease him during pitching changes, is a1978 graduate of CSUF, with a master's degree from Cal Lutheran. A real degree or two (plus those CWS titles) got him the Oregon job last week. Our coach, Mike Weathers, a close pal of Horton', told the media "To give up what he had at Fullerton, there had to be a lot of financial gain." Gain, I’d say so, Nike founder and Chief Executive Phil Knight, just donated $100 million to the Oregon athletic program.

Now I really like UCI’s Dave Serrano but I was saddened when his mail order diploma surfaced a couple of months after being named the national coach of the year. Maybe all my years as an academic clouds my judgment, but coach you are supposed to be a role model for athletes to finish their student games not just their baseball games. Both Serrano and Horton’s likely successor Rick Vanderhook are using bachelor degrees from Trinity University in Spain. The Trinity catalog says “the award is based on your previous experience”. And credit worthiness if you get my drift.

Last time I was in the “big house” (Michigan Stadium not prison) was when Long Beach played football and needed body bag games to pay the bills. Last weekend Appalachian State got the check ($400,000) and the check mark.

Our closing quote came to me last Saturday at the old but improved Coach’s Sports Bar. College football filled the screens but also in the joint was a birthday party where the participants were a host family for a Long Beach Armada player. On a recent weekend morning the player joined the family for breakfast and popped open a Michelob (“hey it’s my poor man’s coffee”) to which the lady of the house said, “Not here and not before noon.” That’s it for a while, finish the tamales and hit the light on your way out.–DR. DAN.


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