Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The 2007 New Year’s column featured some real and imaginary resolutions from the 49er faithful but, sadly, I have to report that few of those promises were actually kept.

But some of that is okay. Niner hoops for example opened their season losing four of their first six so the New Year prayer was get to the Big West Final. Instead, Larry Reynolds hired guns shot down every team in their way until they got blitzed in March by Tennessee and in April by the NCAA.

Ironically, that was all darkness before the dawn of the Dan Monson era where, despite an empty cupboard, the team’s extra effort and sound fundamentals has the frothing fans wanting to build out the Pyramid then restart football.

Many of us old timers still have that picture of a full Pyramid on opening night against Detroit Mercy but these days there are plenty of good seats available. And as one of the web wags remembers, “I was there and the noise was deafening. Unfortunately, some of the folks waiting in line for food that night are either still there or dead.” Ouch.

Baseball a year ago was picked somewhere in the middle of the pack but actually won enough games to host a regional. Alas, the home-cooking wasn’t enough, the team fell out and very recently their stellar recruiter and pitching coach Troy Buckley bolted for a pro spot with Pittsburgh. The good news for the new year is that there are a ton of returnees and a pre-season Top Twenty ranking.

Although they haven’t made it back to Omaha for many a year, opponents still circle any date with the Dirtbags. For example, the Wichita State boosters are coming to town and hope to fill the Golden Sails and Blair Field the end of February. Their package is just $675 a person, double occupancy for all the flights and fun.

More traveling news comes from a couple of unknown Niners who made the telly over the holidays. That would be Amazing Race competitors Jennifer Parker and Nate Hagstrom. They are billed as the fussing and fighting college couple but very athletic. Nate played for the LB volleyball team before turning pro and Jen, a current LBSU student, is a former gymnast and cheer person for the Clippers.

Which is our segue to the fact that she wears a BEACH shirt which you can now get along with sporting tickets at the LBSU store in Belmont Shore.

For you hardwood faithfuls this week the featured foes are UCSB and SLO. Santa Barbara comes in today (Thursday) to play the fighting Lady Hegarties at 7:00 PM before playing Cal Poly in the Mid Saturday at 5 PM. The men reverse the sked, playing at UC Santa Barbara tonight and Saturday at SLO.

Back to our baseball beat, if you are a techie you should get to know new Niner assistant Andy Rojo, who comes to campus from Riverside Community College. At RCC Andy set up what experts say is the most sophisticated video system in college baseball today. He looks at his kids from every angle, arm slot and position, head tilt, extension, circular motion, opening, strides and a bunch of other stuff I don’t really understand.

Last add if you penetrate the Niner campus somewhere between the pool, the engineering building and the soccer field is the home of arguably the most successful LBSU sport playing in the worst facility--the ladies of Long Beach State tennis. NCAA Tournaments in five of the last six years etc. but the better high schools have better digs.

That is then and now, but the future is going get bright real quick. Associate AD David Benedict says the tennis program has lined up a $1.25 million naming sponsor plus another $50,000 donation and is driving for more dollars. And keep this quiet, when the new student rec center is built on the Palo Verde side I will have a great view from my exercycle on the second floor. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

’08 DUSTING—before we get too deep into the up coming I want to share some look back, at least so I can deduct some travel expenses… I just got back from that Men’s Volleyball Tourney in Clearwater…The four USA entries were Lewis, Ohio State, Pepperdine, and LBSU playing four teams from Canada…our VB guru Andy Read called it the “southern version of the Can-Am that we have gone to in Alberta, Canada for several years”…it is hard to tell how good the Canadian teams are but they start their official play in October so they had that advantage on the US teams…I really like the Niner freshman setter—Mike Klipsch—he is a big fellow, 6-4, and you know the extra benefits that brings. I also like the freshmen hitter Kyle “Shark Boy” Friend (from Florida I might add) who was a great hitting partner to veteran Paul Lotman who won the tourney MVP award…the 49ers went 4-0 and now head to the Elephant Bar Tournament at UCSB…the Beach boys start with USC on Friday at 1pm and then it is all TBA…you might also catch super fans Vince and Kay Beck who made the cross country jaunt to support their boys…and of course a nice handful of parents…our closing quote is a belated salute to the late Stu Nahan who was always generous to us with his time and a great baseball pal of the PT legend Gordie Verrell...Gordie recalled that he and Stu (“the only TV guy I really liked”) roomed together one year for Dodger spring training in Vero, “Or as one of said, we roomed with each others’ suitcase”…no further info from me—DR. DAN