Archive for the ‘Ken Bone’ Category

The Goodell, The Bad, and the Ugly

July 14, 2009

Hello Followers. I hope that you are well.

Well, since my last incarnation, there have been a bunch of happenings on the WSU Cougar front.

And for me, the most important development has been Teddy Miller’s agreement to double down on our little wager from the year past (But alas, the wager doesn’t look as good for me as it did before we lost our entire defensive backfield to suspension).

That all said, those of you who have followed this blog know that in all forms and spirits, I adore Theodore Miller as a sportswriter and blogger.

And for that reason, I thought it appropriate for you to see the most recent Man Collage—we’ll call it the “Sacred Homage”–that I have made of Ted in relation to a couple of other notable male specimens of the entertainment world.


As you can see, Ted has managed through the years to develop a visage that reflects both the sassyness and allure of William Hurt without sacrificing some of the good-natured manliness of NFL Commissioner and recent Mountain Climber Roger Goodell.

Any way that you cut it, I find the above picturesque combination of style, substance, and raw leadership to be quite high in Carma. For his solid contribution to college football sportswriting–and for his immense vision in pumping up this blog, I give Ted four solid Carma Chameleons.

Excellent work, Ted. I’ll look forward to having you on this blog for a double interview around the 1st of the Year when we edge UCLA for 8th place in the Pac.

Have you seen all the stuff about Cougar hoops lately? Rochestie lights up the summer league for the Los Angeles Fakers, Klay lights up the international stage for the Gold Medal U19 team, and Motum makes a case for being the most intriguing in-coming freshman in the Pac-10 conference on the same stage. Want proof? Andy Katz recently suggested on espn.go.com that our very Cougars have a chance to finish third in the conference next year!

But what is even more significant than the prediction was Ken Bone’s quote in the interview that accompanied the Katz column. When asked about his thoughts about the talent left to him by his predecessor, Bone was particularly sassy. In fact, Bone went so far to say that the talent that T-Bone left him was so great that Bone felt that Tony Bennett deserved to have a place on his staff a la the Tricky Dicky years:

Yep, Bone thought so much of Bennett that he thought T-Bone’s previous accomplishments merited a spot as an ASSISTANT coach at WSU. Call it a joke, call it brashness, call it whatever you want to call it, but I call it Carma.

Welcome aboard, Kenny Bone, a whopping FIVE Carma Chameleons for you, my brother.

Finally, a fun-d-raising update for the faithful. As you all know, we have been involved in a very, very positive and loving effort to bolster the financial fortunes of our athletic department.

But currently, we are in the midst of a bit of phone tag in the “you’re it, I quit” variety.

That said, we think it is important for the faithful to have complete confidence that we will have an official link for you by the start of kick-off against Notre Dame.

With that in mind, I am quite happy to announce that I am completely confident that our entire effort can raise at least one-hundred-twenty-five-dollars-and-sixty-two cents for Martin Stadium renovation, Phase VIII.

WSU Athletic Department, I love you with all of my sincerity and believe entirely in all of your recent and authentic efforts. But, in addition to being a lover, I am also a business man with many wives, kids, and 17 Rolls Royce’s.

For that reason, only 1 Carma Chameleon for you this week, my brothers.

And to the rest of the faithful, until next time, I bid you a harty “Coug-de-L’Amor.”

Kaddy Reports From Columbia River Cougar Club

June 17, 2009


Our own Kaddy was able to take in the Columbia River Cougar Club function a few weeks ago and got some good time with some of the coaches. Check it out (and as always, a big thanks to Kaddy for the recap!):

Well, that time of year for the Columbia River Cougar Club dinner-auction-fundraiser to support Cougar Athletics came and went. This year the event was held on Friday, June 5 at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel, as usual.

I happened to be on the auction committee this year, and let me tell you, it was a LOT of work. I had no idea how much went into these events. Usually I just show up for cocktail hour and silent auction, everything is laid out on the tables, marked with descriptions, and away we go. Not so much this year. First of all – the soliciting of businesses and Cougar supporters for stuff to auction off is an event itself. If you know of anyone that needs some cold-calling experience, have them volunteer for a fundraising auction. One thing I learned by calling on local businesses is that many of them receive calls EVERY DAY for items to be donated…sometimes 5 a day. I had no idea. Needless to say, many of your calls go unanswered or unreturned.

When all was said and done, however, the event turned out to be pretty successful, with all things considered (i.e. economy, job market, general apathy, etc). Attendance at the Vancouver event was pretty close to last year, with about 175. We expected a slightly lower number this year, so that was good news. I don’t yet have the dollar amount raised, but it was definitely down this year, which was also expected. Many people don’t have the extra cash to spend this year, understandably. To give you an example, I purchased two sideline passes for the SMU game in Pullman for $150! These normally go in the $500-600 range.

Read on for more…

I do have to say that this year was the most fun I’ve had at the event. We had a great table, and the auctioneer actually said we were his favorite table, as well. The primary reason for this had to do with the amount of alcohol we drank, and the fact that our table bid on almost every item in the auction, sometimes bidding against ourselves without knowing.

Coaches in attendance this year were Paul Wulff, Todd Sturdy, Steve Broussard, Chris Ball, and Malik Roberson for football. Donnie Marbut was there to represent baseball, Ken Bone for men’s hoops, and Brian Holsinger for women’s hoops.

Cougar celebrities in attendance were Jason Gesser, Gary Rogers, and Drew Dunning. Jack Thompson golfed at the tournament the next day, but couldn’t make the auction.

I had a chance to speak to talk to Donnie Marbut quite a bit, and he was very impressive. He had a chance to speak on stage, and probably the coolest thing he said was that, although the baseball program has many of their own needs, the most important thing that Cougar fans and supporters can do right now is to get Phase III done.


He pointed to Coach Wulff and said that when we have a successful football program, the rest of the sports share in that success (hint: $$). I thought that was incredibly unselfish of him, and showed his ability to see the big picture in terms of Cougar Athletics. In addition to Marbut, Wulff, Bone, and Holsingers also spoke, and all did a good job.

Jason Gesser spoke from a former student-athlete point of view, and emphasized the importance of providing scholarships.


Gesser has got to be right there with Jack Thompson as one of the quintessential ambassadors for WSU. I hope that he someday gets the chance to coach at WSU, which is his dream job. He is the new Head Coach for Eastside Catholic High in Issaquah, for those of you that don’t know already. I made a point afterwards to ask him to send all D-1 talent to Pullman, and he guaranteed they would all end up at WSU (uh-oh, please no recruiting violations!!)


All in all, it turned out to be a great event, as it always is. If you haven’t had a chance to attend one of these fundraisers, you really should. They happen every year in Seattle, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Olympia/Shelton, and many other locations – all with the goal of raising much needed money for Cougar Athletics.

Finally, and just like last year – I have a pic with our friend Todd Thrasher, who organizes this event, and his trusty sidekick volunteer, Michele, one of the great Cougar supporters!


That’s it for today. As always, GO COUGS!

Washington….What?

April 21, 2009

Happy Tuesday to y’all. Not a ton of Coug news, as we wait for the Apple Cup announcement which will come any day now, but we’ll get to it.

First of all, not Coug-related, but still something to mock. Anyone see the epic DISS of the worst MLB franchise on the planet? You know, the Washington “Natinals”?


Just awful. Seriously, how does that happen? This is what outsourcing gets you? Maybe some obscure independent league team, you might see something like this. But an MLB franchise, in an official MLB game? Amazing. But hey, the Nats responded to the insult and actually won a game last night. They are now 2-10 on the young season, and crept to just 8 1/2 games out of first! Here they come.

Some other random stuff on a slow Tuesday:

It broke yesterday, but Curtis Allen was hired by Ken Bone. We heard rumors of this after Bone was hired, and now it’s official.

Despite the name on his jersey from his playing days….a good move, getting a young, hungry, up-and-comer who has the energy required for an assistant post at WSU. Most of you already know, but Allen was on Bone’s bench the last four years at Portland State, so he’s clearly one of Bone’s guys. As the press release says, Allen worked primarily with the guards and had a focus on the defensive end of the floor, and is regarded as an “outstanding recruiter”.

There is still one bench spot left, according to Grippi’s story yesterday, and that should be shorted out in the coming days. But so far, so good. And as far as Allen, well, we can’t help but think he will help with the whole Puget Sound recruiting thing, something that was always a challenge under the prior regime?

Moving on, per Ted Miller, Pete Caroll is writing a book. Sounds pretty cool:

According to a press release, the book will “include previously untold details and anecdotes about USC football, as well as Coach Carroll’s advice for building teams that stick together and consistently outperform expectations. He will also discuss leadership off the field, based on his charitable work with kids on the toughest streets of L.A. And he will show how the five principles of the Win Forever philosophy can be applied to any kind of endeavor.”

We love Pete Carroll around here. We’ve never made that a secret.

But as motivating and full of leadership advice that he might be, as rock-star cool as he seems? I don’t know about you, but I sure would like a behind the scenes tell-all, Reggie-Bush-Gate style! He’d certainly move a ton of copies. Maybe after the NCAA is done with them?

Something called Sloshspot.com ran a list of the top 20 athletes you want with you in a bar fight. Some pretty good names here?

I’m not a huge hockey guy, but even I know that Bob Probert is one mean dude. Per the article:

According to hockeyfights.com, with over 200 recorded career fights, Bob Probert is widely regarded as the best hockey fighter of all time. His single season record for fights was 23. NHL players learned quickly that Probert was not to be messed with, and that he was better to have on your side than to oppose. The same principle proves true in the barroom floor, Probert is a fighter no one wants to mess with.

Hard to argue the choice? But who do YOU choose?

That’s it for today. Enjoy your Tuesday, and GO COUGS!

Monday Links

April 20, 2009


I guess we could continue to beat the already-dead horse about the Apple Cup….but I think you, us and everyone else with an opinion has weighed in. There really isn’t much left to say as we wait for the shoe to drop.

With that, might as well see what else is going on…links-style. And believe it or not, there are some things happening other than the move of this game.

From Grippi, the Cougs had a scrimmage on Saturday, as spring ball enters the last week. It sounded like things went alright, although the ranks are awfully thin right now. Tardy with one carry before heading to the sideline with ice on his left leg? James Montgomery didn’t even play? Tons of linebackers, like Andy Mattingly and now Louis Bland, several defensive backs, etc, all out? Levenseller and Lobbestael still not part of scrimmage action? Wonderful.

Well, at least Kevin Lopina is getting a lot of reps, and with the thin running back situation, there were a lot of throwing opportunities. Lopina turned in some fairly decent numbers – 12-for-17, 162 yards, plus the only offensive TD of the scrimmage. 162 yards? That would be good for Lopina’s third-best total from all of last season (174 yards at Baylor, 167 vs. UW). So it is fair to say he’s playing pretty well given the extra opportunities.

But it is also fair to say that overall, the entire team is far from full strength, and maybe even a shell of the team that we will see in the fall. No offense to the current players who are out busting their butts on the field right now, but everyone knows they are missing some pretty key parts to this thing.

Moving on, from the same Grippi – WSU recruit Brock Motum has reaffirmed his pledge to Ken Bone, Ben Johnson and WSU! VERY, very good news here. The 6-9 Aussie will be ready to roll next fall.


Talk about a productive beginning for Bone – three of the four recruits, all regarded as the most important three of the four, all decide to still come to Pullman? No defections on the current roster? Retaining Ben Johnson? It’s ALL GOOD right now. And don’t forget, our own Kaddy met Ken Bone a week ago, and you can read all about it here.

Read on for more…

Meanwhile, off the field, UW is getting new Field Turf. Big deal, right? We already got ours a couple of years ago, as did Qwest Field last year. But the difference? PAINTED END ZONES! That’s right, UW is getting gold end zone paint, not just the green with their name colored in. So I ask, WHERE ARE OUR CRIMSON END ZONES!?!? Not a big deal, but still. I heard one time that painting the end zones a solid color was actually pretty expensive, over 100K or something crazy, so that’s part of the reason we don’t do it.

Washington State senate bill SB6116 has moved out of committee. It now heads to the senate, where they will vote, then if it passes there, to the house. If it passes all phases, then it becomes reality. Why point that out? Because SB6116 is the bill that has the stadium “language” in it, where not only would Key Arena get the long-desired renovation funds, but the door also opens for Husky Stadium. There is thought that the momentum is building behind this thing, and could be passed this week by the senate. From there it must pass the house, or, it could be “tacked on” to another house bill, such as house bill 2252. Should be interesting.

Here’s a question for you. If the bill means the Seattle Center and Key Arena get a major overhaul, but, UW gets their money to renovate their stadium, what do you think from a WSU angle? I know the NBA has been out of sight, out of mind for many of you. I know I survived without the league this winter. Would have been nice to have the NBA back, but with college hoops keeping some interest, and then with the return of Griffey to the M’s, things have blended nicely. As much as I loved having the Sonics in town, I have to admit I didn’t miss it a whole lot. Now part of that was by design of the prior ownership, where they did every possible thing they could to alienate the fanbase and get the hell outta dodge, on their way to “paradise” in OKC…you know, Oklahoma City? The center of the basketball universe? The Thunder sure put them on the map.

Anyway, it’s a double-edged sword. Having Steve Ballmer own the Sonics in an updated Key Arena and a major Seattle Center overhaul would be a great thing for Seattle and the NW. But it also means UW wins in their tax money grab, and they get their $300 million palace on the lake. We’ll see what happens, but it should be an interesting final week in the legislature.

Around the PAC-10:

USC had a scrimmage on Saturday, and their QB battle is still seriously ON. FOUR high school All-Americans are competing for the job?? Wow, tough times at Troy.

Oregon State is talking about money, and what might or might not be cut in these trying times. Even with Reser Stadium naming rights, a renovated stadium, and all their donors, they are struggling just like anyone else right now. It’s a good read to see how our state cousins in Corvallis are fairing.

The Quacks had a scrimmage on Saturday as well (seems like everyone had scrimmages Saturday) and it went “just OK” according to Chip Kelly. Jeremiah Masoli had a big day though, three TD passes plus a 51-yard run. Anyone who watched Oregon late last year and the improvement in their offense as Masoli grabbed that job can see that they got pretty scary by the end of the season. Who knows what they can do with a full season of him leading the offense, but he looks born to run that system.

Cal had their spring game on Saturday. The defense sounds clearly ahead of the offense, and threw a lot of blitzes at the O. Kevin Riley was “okay” according to their recap, but maybe a little indecisive if not disappointing?

UW had a scrimmage too – did we mention everyone had a scrimmage Saturday? – and they took a big step towards an undefeated 2009 with a running game so dominant, so brilliant, it blinded those who dared to stare directly at it….OK, not really. But they did churn out 174 rushing yards. LOOK OUT LSU!

Locker played OK – 10-16 for 133 yards (hey, LOPINA WAS BETTER!) – but he sounds like he is starting to get more comfortable in the pro-style offense.

“He’s starting to understand the nuances of the position within our system,” Sarkisian said. “I thought he was much more comfortable today than he’s been the entire spring. The one pick was a miscommunication between him and (Aguilar), I thought the rest of the day he had a really good day. He felt comfortable, distributed the ball well, had great huddle presence, had good command at the line of scrimmage, I just though he handled the day well.”

OK, it must be said – Is it me, or are they serving up super-sized helpings of hype to anyone who cares out there? I guess the change from the closed off, angry, guarded Ty Willie to the Twitter King in Sarkisian, with his arms wide open to all comers, is a big part of it. But the media seems to be playing along. Whatever. We’ll see soon enough if it’s the real thing.

That’s about it for a Monday. Enjoy it, and GO COUGS!

Kaddy Meets Bone

April 15, 2009

So in the furor over the Apple Cup sellout, what better time to divert our attention to the new hoops coach?? Timing is everything, right??

Seriously, while football is on the brain at the moment, our own Kaddy took time out from his busy schedule to press the flesh with the new guy, Ken Bone, earlier in the week. Check it out (and as always Kaddy, THANK YOU!):
 
I had the opportunity to attend the Portland Trailblazer game for WSU Alumni night on Monday, 4/13.  The Blazers were playing the OKC Thunder, and luckily Kyle Weaver had been called back up, so us Cougs could watch him play (he played like crap, by the way…oh well.) 
 
There was a social gathering before the game where Cougar fans had a chance to speak with Jim Sterk and meet our new b-ball coach, Ken Bone.
 
The first thing that came to mind when I saw Ken was that this guy is really tall!  He had to be at least 6-6, maybe 6-8  The other thing I thought when I met him was that he looked tired.  When I asked him how crazy the last week had been, he held up his PDA and said "this thing hasn’t stopped."  His phone was constantly ringing from calls and buzzing from e-mails.  Welcome to the Pac-10, Coach.
 
The most refreshing thing I noticed about CKB is that he flipped the switch and turned it on when he spoke to the room.  He was funny, comfortable, and a very genuine speaker.  He talked about his pending move from Vancouver to Pullman, and said that yes, he was actually looking forward to the move (few chuckles from the crowd).  He also said that his 10-year old daughter was fired up to move there, and asked if he would take her fishing.  However, his 14 and 16 year old girls didn’t quite have the same level of enthusiasm, but Coach was quick to note that he had been recruiting kids his whole life, and he was 100% sure they would come around.
 
Coach also fielded some questions from the audience, and did a good job.  One question was regarding the current players, and did he think any of them consider leaving, mostly Klay Thompson.  Coach said he and Klay sat down and spoke for about 40 minutes in his office, or rather, Coach spoke, since Klay doesn’t talk much, and he left feeling very good about the future of the program.
 
The next question was about the recruits. Thames hadn’t yet recommitted, although he would later that evening, and Coach said he felt very good about that possibility.  He and Johnson were headed to Australia for a quick 24-hour trip there to meet with Motum and his parents.  Bone also spoke about the reason for Chadwick’s release…I guess it was ultimately up to him.  Coach said that the only reason Chadwick considered WSU was because of his parents’ relationship with Tony.  Chadwick’s dad was the pastor in the church Tony attended, and his dad wanted him to go to WSU to be under the guidance of Tony.  So, with Tony gone, they felt comfortable in giving the release.
 
Another question came from a guy in the crowd, and he asked how involved Bone was in recruiting Brockman to uw.  The guy said he heard that WSU might have had a chance at him, had Bone not been involved.  Coach said he was very involved, but the biggest factor was that Bone’s older brother was Brockman’s coach in high school, so that really gave them the leg up (pun intended).
 
All in all – I was impressed.  It’s hard to compare anyone to Tony, because he breathes charisma, and not many people have that ability.  That said, I think our basketball program is in good hands, and we should all look forward to the future.
 
Go Cougs!

Coug Hoop Assistants Abandon Ship?

April 9, 2009


Per Grippi, the assistants under Bennett are starting to go over the rail. First Ron Sanchez made it official (although nobody is surprised, given that Sanchez accompanied Bennett to Virginia for his press conference, etc!). We also already heard that Mike Heideman would be moving on, based on his long-time relationships with the Bennett family. And Grippi also re-confirms that Mark Woodley is going in another direction.

So who’s left? As of right this moment, Ben Johnson.


Will he stay or will he go? And does it REALLY MATTER?

First of all, the two assistants you used to hear the most about in terms of recruiting ability were Ron Sanchez and Ben Johnson. Losing Sanchez hurts, absolutely. He has been regarded as a big reason for Xavier Thames, and a hope that Thames will still honor his commitment if Sanchez were kept around. But Sanchez leaving seemed like a foregone conclusion from the moment Bennett took the job. But it isn’t the end of the world. Truth be told, the common man such as myself heard more about Johnson than any other assistant over the years. Some WSU beat writers (Grippi??) actually thought Johnson could be a candidate for the WSU head coaching position, even if Jim Sterk and Elson Floyd didn’t.

So the focus is now on Johnson, and whether or not he’ll follow the Bennett’s as he has done in his past. Or will he stay to build something greater in Pullman, and maybe one day get a head gig himself, ala the “benefactor” as BH refers to him?

Now before you freak out, I wonder if we are just too close to it to see things clearly? I mean does it really matter which holdover assistants a new head coach actually keeps? I know there is a ton of interest in what this incoming recruiting class is going to do, and some of it very likely could be tied to which assistants are kept and so on. But can you let a few kids hold a program hostage by trying to dictate who should be kept? Of course not.

Think about it for a second. So many times you see a new coach come in. Do they always simply inherit the current assistants? No. Not in college hoops, college football, NFL football, MLB, or the NBA. Sure, a few might be kept around, such as Levy and Steve Broussard last year in the football program, and for good reason. And without a doubt, Johnson would be a good “get” for Bone, for a variety of reasons. It would be a better situation if he is kept, for recruiting, sure, but for just the idea of helping Bone settle into the WSU job. But for the most part, in all sports where a new coach is brought in from the outside, the head guy wants “his guys”, not force-fed the prior staff.

And it’s not like Bone is coming alone. He’ll bring a key assistant or two with him, and he’ll probably hire one from somewhere else as well. There is already talk of four or even five assistants that will be behind Bone in the pecking order, so give the guy a chance. Don’t simply assume he’s already failed at this because the majority of the Bennett assistants are moving on. There could be so many reasons we’ll never know about as to why an assistant leaves, from as extreme loyalty to Bennett, to another job offer elsewhere, to even just the simple fact of it’s time to move on down the road.

One name already mentioned is former UW player and current PSU assistant Curtis Allen. Per Bob Condotta at the Times, Allen will likely be asked to follow Bone to Pullman. Sure, Allen is a former HUSKY hoopster, but he’s also well-regarded by Bone, enough so to likely get an offer to be a part of his staff in Pullman. You can read Allen’s coaching bio here. Allen is young, and he’s a Tacoma product. Think that will help just a little bit in recruiting the west side? It sure couldn’t hurt to try and mine some gold in the Puget Sound area, an area that the Bennett’s never could make any progress.

And about Allen and the former UW tie? Get over it. We joke about it all the time, but it really doesn’t matter. Just like former WSU footballer Johnny Nansen is coaching for Steve Sarkisian’s staff in Montlake, it means nothing. See, not every former player can go back and coach at their alma mater! There simply isn’t enough room on the bench. Even the UW head man Lorenzo Romar served some time on UCLA’s bench.

Meanwhile, Cougfan broke last night that “one recruit is secured, three to go for Bone”. While the story is premium, we can’t list the name….but it is a player regarded as “an all-state SWING MAN”. By that description alone, you can probably figure out who it is.

In that same breath, it’s not over yet with Xavier Thames. Again, per Cougfan, Bone will sit down with Thames on Saturday to go over the new direction of the program. Bone has his work cut out for him, but if he can persuade Thames to stick with it, well, we can consider it an early win.

Oh yeah, spring football is still going on. There’s this from Grippi, saying that the team was pretty flat on Tuesday. Oh well. They are in the “dog days” of spring. This happens during fall camp as well. The initial surge is over, but they still have work to do.

One last thing – FACEBOOK. We actually figured out a way to set up a true “WSU Football Blog” group on Facebook. Hoorah. Go to Facebook and search for WSU Football Blog and you’ll find it. We’ll be putting up photos, link to our current stories, etc. And if you have some photos you want to share, basically anything WSU-related? Send them on and we’ll post them on Facebook. E-mail to: wsufootballblog@yahoo.com. See, setting up a WSU Football Blog group, that was the intent all along with Facebook. I just had no idea what I was doing.

That’s it. Enjoy your Thursday, AND GO COUGS!