Monday, October 29, 2007


Just like all responsible parents, the moms and dads of the LBSU sports department had their coaches spread their collections from Halloween Trick or Treating on the big table in the conference room.

Using our hidden camera we saw what seemed to go on. First in were basketball coaches Dan Monson and Mary Hegarty, the handsome couple on 49er brochures, billboards and pocket schedules. You could not have missed the high energy promotion called Monson Mania in which the new hire made a two county, two month tour of happy hours to meet and greet. He hopes that in February he can still find some smiling faces as the clipboards rebuild the empty LBSU locker room.

Ironically the extra effort to sell Monson and men’s hoops has been parlayed into a quiet campaign you might call Helping Hegarty. By rule (Title IX and similar) colleges are required to spread the marketing money between the sexes. Therefore despite coming off the worst season in the history of Niner women’s hoops, the Beach brass has put a shiny face on this year’s ladies team. You have a feeling that if the mirror cracks again changes will be made.

Both Ms. Mary and Mr. Monson presented well at Big West Media day but were picked toward the back of the pack by the coaches and media. Actually two media liked the men’s team to repeat as champs but you know us folks in Florida are experts in filling out our ballots and therefore I plead not guilty.

All by himself and worn out as much from the back room as the back nine, men’s golf coach Bob Livingstone dropped off his “retirement” letter but will coach his kids until the end of the spring, when the Big West Championship and NCAA playoff selections take place. One name that came up during the last search was Virginia Country Club pro Jamie Mulligan but he now has lucrative coaching deals with several PGA pros—translated time and money conflicts.

Next up and arriving at the treat table at the same time were volleyball coach Brian Gimmillaro and soccer coach Mauricio Ingrassia. Forgetting the scary costumes, this was a meeting clearly where the devil was in the details. It looks fairly clear that both skippers will find the winding road that leads to post season. Cal Poly will get the Big West automatic in volleyball but the Niners have enough wins to be selected as an at large.

In soccer, there is a more complicated set of details but the Beach will get in the BWC tourney, Friday November 9 and Sunday, November 11, but it may be played at Fullerton’s former football stadium which, well, isn’t busy with American football. It would take some luck for the conference to get more than the tourney champ in the NCAA field. For both the volleys and soccers maybe going on the road with a healthy “bunker mentality” will prolong the post season parties. The NCAA Volleyball Tournament field is revealed November 25.

TROUBLE AHEAD DUST. This from the Seth Greenberg file. New this season are coaching behaviors the NCAA said will earn a quick 'T'. “Addressing an official disrespectfully, trying to influence an official's decision, using profanity or abusive language, and objecting to an official's decision by rising from the bench or excessively using gestures that either demonstrate officiating signals or displeasure with officiating."

And we will close this month’s report with some info on the NCAA disciplinary sword hanging over men’s hoops. Beach insiders say that when the final verdict comes down the university will get only a 48 hour advance notice before it is released to the media. All the pleadings are in and at the moment the hope is that whatever happens comes after the November 14 signing date. Film at 11.—DR. DAN

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I know that it’s still early in the term but this late in the season it is time for a pop quiz. Can you spell The Rookie Of the Year without TROY? I think not and our favorite Dirtbag Mr. T, Colorado’s sensational shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has had a great infomercial for that award winning 15 of the last 16, four hits in the 13 inning playoff win over SD and sterling defense in the shocking game one win over Philly.

Now I can’t say this for sure, but I think that Tulo may owe me a diet drink next time we meet. You see when I make those forays into Florida I keep my Dirtbag on. One of the local heroes in my other town of Merritt Island is Clint Hurdle, manager of the Rocks and the guy who makes out the lineup with our boy Troy as the QB. So I went to this fund raiser for a disease his daughter has and said I hoped that he would keep Tulo in his mind on opening day. He peeked over his cap and growled, “are you one Snow’s guys?” I confessed I was but that I had also spent many a lovely weekend with all the T’s in Tulo’s family (his siblings also start their names with the T). To cement the point I reminded the skipper that my sister in law Christine had a crush on him in high school but chickened out on the day Clint brought his bonus money ride to the MIHS campus. She said, “I was afraid that my mom would get mad at me for getting home late!”

Anyhow, he had a nice car then, is a nice man now, and deserves all the fall fun that he and that T man can get. Oh, and my brother is happy that his wife passed on that ride.

Just like the other spring sports, Diamond Dust uses the fall for individual workouts, just keeping the fingers as loose as the rumors we report on. So let’s get going with an autumn edition of the wildly Popular Notes on My Napkin.

In my wish book I would hope that the sometimes too passionate supporters of Long Beach State would just take a deep breath before they form an angry mob wasting hours, and message board mega pixels, trying to find the pitchforks/torches/nooses aisle at Lowes or Home Depot. Think about last Saturday for example, if fans fired every prominent football coach that lost—and believe me they have suggested it, the unemployment line would be pretty long.

Getting upbeat again, there are a ton of Ex Dirtbags for you to scoreboard watch with this week and as much noise as folks make about Fullerton and Irvine the path to the pros does start at Blair Field. Once again the Niner baseballers will be pitching rich and questionable on the matter of hitting.

In case you missed it the team begins fall ball October 11 with 22 free sessions at Blair field including games with the U of San Diego October 26 and 27. The fall games are in response to the contraction of the spring season by the NCAA, a move to level the competition fields for the Northern Schools, or at least let the snow blowers rest.

The Beach lineup isn’t listed but the feature guys will likely be Shane Peterson, 1b/of, who last starred over the summer for Hyannis in the wood bat Cape Cod League and Danny Espinosa, ss, who globe trotted with Team USA .Peterson ranked fourth in Cape batting (.338) and walking (25) nearly as often as he struck out (27). Scouts said that Peterson has more than enough speed and arm strength to be a full-time right fielder in pro ball. As for pitching, well you heard of the Indianapolis 500, well we have the Long Beach 18, ten of the new kids are pitchers and there are eight returning bull pen talents led by Manny McElroy, Andrew Liebel and Bryan Shaw.

Coming indoors, volley boss Brian Gimmillaro told the Century Club that one of his goals this year is for the Beach to keep its 21 year streak of making the NCAA tourney. The guy rooting against that is Penn State’s Russ Rose who also has taken a team to the party every year since 1986. At a recent coaching clinic Brian asked Russ what he was always writing on that clip board during games. “Notes to your wife” Russ quipped.

Meanwhile, the 49er Hall of Fame has been cancelled for this fall to resume, we hear, next year with a more “on-campus” flavor. The fund raising golf tourney however will go on at Old Ranch on November 12. The other hot buttons among the 49er faithful are the all-sports pass (gone the way of the dinosaur?), the limiting of booster groups to no more than two events per year, and none of those parties to feature student-athletes. I don’t have a dog in this fight but I report the growling from others.

Last add nay-sayers. Remember the folks who said the San Diego State would go broke keeping football? The Aztecs drew 53,110 in a recent win over Portland State last weekend. LBSU had a its largest football crowd of the year last Friday, that would be soccer football, with almost 1500 crammed onto the bleachers and grass at George Allen Field. The team has won five of their last six and hits the Big West road this weekend.

Now those of you that want one more chance to be a maniac, that day will be next Wednesday when O’Malley’s Bar in laid back but beach basketball happy Seal Beach hosts the final round of Dan Monson Mania starting about 5:30 pm. The coach and his kids then legally start practice the following Friday, October 12 at 7 pm. Party there too!

Last of the good news, golf alum John Mallinger, class of 2002, made 15 cuts in 25 events this year. He had four top 10 finishes including three 3rd place finishes. Oh yes, John banked about $1.6 million this year.

Thanks for stopping by but I require rest so finish the chili and hit the lights on your way out.—DR. DAN