Archive for the ‘Johnny Nansen’ Category

What’s With the Benedict Arnold Stuff?

December 15, 2008

First we had Marvelous Marv Harshman, the long-time hoops coach. Harshman coached WSU from 1958-1971, and then went to UW from 1971-1985. Harshman always gets talked about as a UW coaching legend, but you don’t ever hear a whole lot about his time at WSU. He did his best work at UW and really put their program on the map, so it’s somewhat understandable. I think they were still working on this whole “electricity” thing when Marv was on the WSU sideline, playing games with peach baskets, a stuffed leather ball and under the soft flicker of candlelight.

Then it was “Benedict” Dick Baird, the former WSU team captain who went on to coach for many years at UW. Baird was a pretty good player in his day, an all-coast linebacker his senior year and he blocked a punt in a 9-7 Apple Cup win….when he was eligible. Few know that Baird missed the Apple Cup his junior year due to “too many trips to Idaho” when the drinking age was 18. Baird has fallen so far into the abyss that he sheds tears about the UW football team on the KJR airwaves and gets into spirited arguments with Hugh Millen. Yes, actual tears. But Baird did put in a ton of time at UW as a coach and recruiting coordinator, and WSU is clearly in his rearview mirror. Can’t fault a guy for making a living, can you?

Then we had Bob Condotta of the Times, the former Coug who writes/blogs daily about the UW football and hoops teams for the Seattle Times. We called out Bob earlier this year and he had to address the UW masses on his blog for being a Coug. Oh well. Again, just a guy trying to follow his passion and get paid doing it. Maybe he’ll unseat the Northwest CHAMPION, Vince Grippi, someday??

But now, news breaks that Jim Michalczik and Johnny Nansen will coach at UW? The hits just continue.

Nansen played a little bit for WSU, and has bounced around the coaching ranks since the late-90’s. He’s still a young guy climbing the coaching ladder. I remember him as a hard-hitting linebacker/safety type who was a pretty good player.

But the big name here is Michalczik. This is the same Jim Michalczik who teamed up Paul Wulff, Mike Utley and Chris Dyko on that 1988 Aloha Bowl team, one of the best offensive lines in school history. Jim Michalczik is going to be the new offensive coordinator AT UW!?!?

Michalczik told the Contra Costa Times Sunday night that “professionally, it was an offer I couldn’t turn down.”

I wonder what coach Wulff is thinking right about now? What will Utley think about this?? One can’t imagine they are real happy about this. Here’s a guy they went to battle with up front every week, and now he’s going to wear the purple-n-gold sweatsuit, recruiting against Wulff and WSU. It’s got to hurt a little bit.

That said, Michalczik could make a pretty big impact at UW. Even though Michalczik will be the offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian will still call the plays. But Michalczik is regarded as a very good offensive coach in this league. Not so much for his offensive coordinator chops, but as an offensive line coach, Cal has churned out some very good linemen in his tenure. Cal has had six first-team offensive linemen the last six seasons, all under Michalczik. One of the staples of what Cal does is produce outstanding offensive lines, particularly in the running game. Week in and week out they are known for having a strong, tough, physical offensive line. Anyone remember what Cal did to the WSU defense in week two? Yikes.

So, Coug fans, does it bother you to see former Cougs go to UW for employment?

Moving on, there was another “turncoat” this weekend, but of the different variety. Casey Locker, cousin of UW’s Jake Locker, pledged to WSU. Locker is a 5-10, 175 lb safety from Ferndale who was player of the year in their conference. He’s regarded as a two-star recruit who chose WSU over UW and Boise State. Here’s a good link to ESPN, including some video on the kid making some plays. Probably not a top-shelf player, but might be a decent contributor in the secondary and on special teams down the line? Hard to say what he’ll do, but he looks like he could make some sort of an impact.

Big recruiting weekend for the Cougs, but we haven’t seen anything break – yet. Hopefully the frigid temps didn’t scare anyone away, but I guess we’ll see how things shake out over the next few days.