Tuesday, July 01, 2008


One of the blessings of summer in California is that it is cooler than say, Florida. Also our off-season-one-Dust-per-month schedule promises no long philosophical treatises - just a napkin full of notes. So go ahead, put these hot links on your grill and enjoy the fireworks.

First up, let’s unload the raisin truck from Fresno. Finally some FSU good news on the sports pages, as opposed to the bad news from the courthouse. In the same week that the baseball team treated the Red Wave to a national title their former women's basketball coach reached a $9 million settlement deal on a discrimination lawsuit. Similar circumstances had Fresno paying their former volleyball coach $4.52 million and $3.5 million to a former athletic administrator.

Fresno’s improbable baseball journey began in our LB regional and reminded me of the hypochondriac who told St. Peter “I told you I wasn’t feeling well.” I said at that the Bulldogs looked like a pretty tough four seed. That leads us to our opening quote, this from Fresno’s NCAA Coach of the year Mike Batesole on why folks overlooked FSU. "We were talking about Omaha in March when we should've been talking about March in March. But I knew this was a good baseball team when we beat Long Beach State in Long Beach.”

Speaking of LB and baseball, there are still three sessions of the Dirtbag kid’s camp open: Session II - July 7-11; Session III - July 21-25; and Session IV - August 4-8 plus a High School Showcase July 14-16, all on the Long Beach State Campus Field. Sign ups still open.

Remember “The Hat” that LB alum Paul Goydos made famous at the PGA Player’s Championship? Well it is going up on the wall at Legends in a shadow box with a sign that says “THE HAT”. Very selective about his tourney stops, Goydos scorched the Buick Invitational last weekend, 11 under par but alas on a course where the winner shot 19 under. Paul did stuff another 35 grand in his golf bag but his finest quality may be the glowing infomercial he delivers on the values of his alma mater, for athletes and just regular folks. Very refreshing.

On the home front more than a dozen returning Niners are scattered around the country for summer ball from the prestigious Cape Cod League to Alaska, Northwoods, Texas and West Coast Collegiate Leagues. At the Cape is prized lefthander Adam Wilk, Danny Espinosa’s heir apparent at shortstop, Devin Lohman, and Sunday starter Jake Thompson. Last add locals, when the tough minded agent Scott Boras finally makes the deal with Toronto for Andrew Liebel insiders expect him to head up to the short season Auburn (NY) Doubledays where Cal hitting star David Cooper is on the roster and hitting .339.

Now to the always in motion coaching carousel. First there is former Dirtbag, some say the original hitting star, Don Barbara, who comes to Pacific after three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Sacramento State. Don served as the Hornets' hitting coach, infield coach, third base coach and recruiting coordinator and before that was for seven years a coach at LBSU where he ran the offense from third base and, as a player (Division I Hitter of the Year in 1990 after batting .474) made the 49er Hall of Fame. Gone from UOP is another former LB assistant, Steve Pearse, who spent five years in Stockton, but as a former Fresno State player and assistant no doubt will surface again soon.

Next on the shift list is women’s basketball aide Jason Flowers who will take the same post at UC Riverside. The open question is whether his wife, Olympic softball star Tairia Flowers, who now works with the Niner softballers, will be back in the black and gold. She previously worked at UCR.

Last in this list is Rick Vanderhook, who assisted at Cal State Fullerton for 21 seasons, has ended his year off taking a deal to be an assistant baseball coach at UCLA. Should add a little salsa to the mix when the Bruins play the Nutwood Nine next year.

Good guy and recently retired golf coach Bob Livingstone is working with Del and Marty Walker's son Jimmy and his wife Darlene, in the creation of the Del Walker Intercollegiate Endowment. Contact Bob at (boblivy@gmail.com ) or by phone at 562-225-5547. Bob also passed on the news that Mr. Goydos, a playoff runner-up to Spain's Sergio Garcia at THE PLAYERS Championship, posted rounds of 65-66 to finish at 13-under par and gain medalist honors at Dearborn Country Club and entry into the British Open, golf's longest running major championship. After celebrating his 16th year on the PGA TOUR the British was "my number one goal for the year," he said. "If nothing else happened this year, I wanted to play in the British Open. A lot of other good things have happened on top of that, but this really has been my number one goal."

Closing the napkin we are pleased to report on the news that 49er athletes scored extremely well in the NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) data. Every LBSU team met or exceeded the standard score of 925 and four teams post perfect scores of 1,000 in the 2006-07 academic year: men's cross country, men's volleyball, women's basketball and women's volleyball.

That was the top of the charts! The bottom? Well, a bunch of big timers will lose scholarships: in football: Orange Bowl champion Kansas, Washington State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Akron, UAB, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Hawaii, Idaho, UNLV, New Mexico State, North Texas, Temple and Toledo. In basketball Colorado, Kansas State, Purdue, Seton Hall, South Carolina, USC and Tennessee were among the 53 Division I programs cited. Worst of the CSU’s is San Jose State (punishments for baseball, football, men's basketball, men's cross country, men's soccer, and women's basketball teams)

Finally back to baseball where next season there will be two new West Coast baseball programs, one at CSU Bakersfield, a BWC wannabe, and Oregon under Fullerton escapee George Horton. Which leads us to our closing quote, “A baseball is round, but it comes in a square box.” See you again in August—DR. DAN