Thursday, April 08, 2010


Forty Niner Fans, especially the inter-net based and biased, like to change coaches like a kid with breakfast cereals. Today we take a short survey of the LBSU skippers and offer our unscientific mid-term report.

If you start with the best current season record you begin with the determined and talented women’s tennis leader Jennifer Hilt Costello. Last weekend her team clinched their third straight Big West regular-season championship with road wins at Cal Poly and Santa Barbara and improved to 7-0 in Big West play. Jenny was bloodied but unbowed in her fight for NCAA eligibility of an extremely talented freshman. Insiders say Klaudia Malenovska can beat anybody on the Niner courts, coaches, players and maybe even generous benefactor Terry Rhodes. The net queens will be home on Sunday against St. Mary’s. BTW, the team won the LBSU GPA award with a 3.51 in the fall and 3.31 in the spring. Smart swingers.

Next up is Andy Read, the interim head coach of men’s volleyball. Andy was drafted to hold down the store while Alan Knipe is globe-trotting with USA volleyball. As a career assistant, Andy is more like a Robin to Batman, a Poncho to the Cisco Kid, or Jimmy Olson to Superman but he gets a high grade for involving his whole roster and winning eight of matches in the really tough MPSF.

Kim Sowder of women’s softball is a legacy, a connect to the Niner College World Series teams and a trainee for years under successful Pete Manarino. In the highly competitive recruiting wars for softball, all the BCS schools are pouring big money into the sport, Kim gets her share and has a break even season going now last year The 49ers finished the campaign with a 40-17 record and were ranked 22nd, and Sowder was tabbed the co-Big West Coach of the Year.

Mike Weathers is one of those coaches that needs to ignore the net, where the fickle fans second guess every steal, swing, and pitch. Over the weekend Mike got win number 301 and the Dirtbags won their fifth series of the year. He and his team are at UC Davis for the weekend tied for third in the Big West pennant chase. One of the sub plots in the UOP series was the presence, in different dugouts, of two of Mike’s former assistants, (and possible successors) Don Barbara in his orange Tiger stripes and Troy Buckley in the Niner black and gold. Mr. Offense and Mr. Defense, gotta believe if you had a full load of scholarships that these two guys could deliver the hardware.

On the inside, the basketball franchise has great coaches with recruiting whizzes Dan Monson and Jody Wynn, both of whom got byes in the recent conference tournament. President Alexander and AD Vic Cegles both love their hoops and shower the programs with whatever they can. As sports psych guy Don Peters likes to remind us, it is now all about getting to the next level.

Finally what can you say about the lion of LBSU, Brian Gimmillaro. With 25 seasons, BG joined still another Hall of Fame, the AVCA, to add to his three National Championships, eight Final Fours, 13 NCAA Regionals and 23 NCAA Tournaments. The only cloud on the horizon is the recent fascination with his sport by the big bucks BCS football factories. Recruiting is tough but when the athlete comes to the Beach the training is superb.

Now that covers the big seven of the LBSU coaches. Left are the five track teams, two water polos, two golfs and one soccer rounding out the sporting buffet of the Beach. These coaches have lowered expectations but unlike the Big Seven they get less second guessing and coach critiquing.

Name Drop—A former Rand McNally exec, Nancy Yoho, is President of the CSULB Alumni association, and a geography grad back when a lot of the new countries weren’t even on her maps. She took in the Saturday baseball game and noted that more than 34,000 grads are members of the Association at the friendly lifetime fee of just $49.—DR. DAN


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