Sports Outside the Beltway

Cal hires Ex-Stanford coach Mike Montgomery

Knowing how much Cal and Stanford like each other, this news can only be seen as a sign of the apocalypse.

BERKELEY, Calif. – California has turned to its biggest rival to find its new basketball coach, hiring former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery on Friday to replace the fired Ben Braun. Montgomery was to be officially introduced at a news conference on campus Saturday, the school said.

Montgomery, who spent 18 years with the Cardinal, has been out of coaching since August 2006 when he was let go after two seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. He has announced college games and been an assistant athletic director at Stanford while still collecting money from the final two years of his contract with Golden State.

Braun was fired last week after 12 seasons as coach when the Bears missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. Montgomery made the tournament his final 10 years at Stanford, winning at least one game each time.

Whether Montgomery could continue that streak at Cal would depend heavily on the decision leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Anderson makes about the NBA draft. Anderson said Thursday he would test the waters by declaring, but would not sign with an agent to leave the option open of returning to school for his junior year.

I never thought it was fair to judge a college coach till he is able to bring in his own recruits.

Montgomery was successful at Stanford, including a final four appearance 10 years ago. Because of that and his over 500 career lifetime wins, I see Montgomery having a reasonable chance at doing well at Cal. I just wonder what diehard Bear fans think about having a former Stanford Cardinal in their midst. Guess it won’t matter if Cal basketball gets invited to the NCAA tournament consistently under Montgomery.


Investigation looks into HS Football player opting for school that didn’t recruit him

What an odd story.

It looked like an American dream come true, but now somebody’s going to experience a nightmare.

Students, television and newsprint reporters packed the gym at Fernley (Nev.) High School to hear offensive lineman Kevin Hart give a verbal commitment to play football at the University of California. He chose Cal over Oregon.

“They really sold me,” Hart said, according to USA Today. “Coach [Jeff] Tedford and I talked a lot, and the fact that the head coach did most of the recruiting of me kind of gave me the real personal experience.”

The only problem … neither Cal nor Oregon recruited Hart.

Now, it’s a “law enforcement investigation,” said Fernley football coach Mark Hodges, according to the newspaper.

“This is involving law enforcement and may involve other departments, other than the NCAA, that are bigger than local,” Hodges told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I would love to tell you everything I know, but I can’t at this time and I’m not even sure what I know.”

It was unclear whether Hart was duped by persons impersonating recruiters or if he was staging a hoax himself.

In High school I once heard some baseball players bragging they had a teammate thinking he was being scouted by a pro team. I don’t know if it was true or not.

Hart’s story is certainly bizarre. Justin Lawson at the Reno Gazette-Journal writes-

As I see it there are two scenarios that can play out in this one: Someone duped this kid into thinking that he was being recruited by these two schools or we’ve all been duped.

I don’t want to believe the latter because I just can’t see a high school athlete doing that to his coaches, teammates and friends. The first scenario could open up a lot of discussion for everyone from the NCAA down to the NIAA because if someone is impersonating a representative of these schools, then every high school athlete needs to be aware.

I don’t want to believe the second scenario either. Then sometimes a small lie can get out of control. Like in this recent story. In Hart’s case it looks like we’ll have an answer soon.


NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #12 – Buffalo Bills – RB Marshawn Lynch

The Buffalo Bills have selected Cal RB Marshawn Lynch with the 12th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

What the Experts Say: Profile:

Marshawn Lynch Photo Cal Uniform Evaluation: A solid running back with a complete game, Lynch is an athletic football player with good instincts. Has shown consistent progress in all aspects of his game while remaining a dominant feature back. Top fifteen choice who could quickly break into a starting lineup at the next level.

STRENGTHS: Acceleration, Balance, Tackle-Breaking Ability


Biography: Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year last season after posting 203/1,245/9 on the ground and 31/311/4 receiving. Posted nearly identical numbers of 1,246 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Marshawn Lynch Photo Civies Pos: Explosive ball carrier with terrific size and speed. Runs with good lean, has a burst of speed and does not go down without a fight. Makes defenders miss and possesses outstanding open-field skills. Picks his way on the inside and weaves his way through the traffic. Possesses the speed to cut the corner yet consistently runs north/sound. Strong, breaks tackles and is very tough to bring down. Puts his shoulders into opponents and falls forward when tackled, delivering a blow. Solid pass-catcher who shows himself to be a downfield receiving threat. Gives effort blocking and picks blocking assignments.

Neg: Not overly creative nor is he truly an elusive ball handler. Stands to improve his route-running at receiver.


Buffalo placed need over value with this pick. Lynch has shown flashes of developing into a difference maker. He’s big enough to carry a heavy workload and his speed should make him a homerun threat in the NFL. In other words, he can pound the ball inside turn the corner as an outside runner. There’s also reason to believe he’ll emerge as a dangerous receiver out of the backfield so he compares favorably to Peterson in a lot of ways. However, Lynch isn’t on the same level as Peterson. He isn’t as shifty as Peterson in the open field and, more importantly, there are concerns about his character stemming from an off-the-field incident with a woman.

In addition, Lynch, much-like Peterson, has had some problems staying healthy so this is a bit of a reach and Buffalo may have been better served taking a corner. However, running back is clearly a need and this could prove to be a great pick if Lynch pans out.


California Rugby Starts 125th Season

Rugby is still an obscure sport for most in the country, relegated to a side show status at most parks played purely by amateurs and retired professional players. In the college ranks rarely do the teams get school support as an athletic program (usually because of insurance costs and Title IX compliance) however; the Cal Bears are one of the lone exceptions. This year marks the beginning of the teams 125th season and the quest for a 23rd National Title, in the past 24 years Cal has posted a 391-64-5 record and 18 national championships.

Of course in 2001 Cal was involved one of the most embarrassing moments in rugby when Stanford University forfeited to Cal because the team was “very afraid to get injured”. Committing the cardinal sin of rugby led to Stanford’s demotion to Division 2 (where they promptly won a national title) as well as being the laughing stock of the entire rugby community.

If you’re interested in an opportunity on US soil to see world-class rugby being played at the USA Sevens Tournament in San Diego on February 10-11th is a perfect opportunity.


Tennessee Stuns #9 Cal

The California Golden Bears took their #9 preseason rankings to Knoxville yesterday, hoping to roll over the pitiful Volunteers of last year. Instead, they got taken to the woodshed.

Relief replaced misery on Rocky Top. Nine months ago, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer was grim as he answered questions about a 5-6 finish, his first losing season and a bowl-less holiday for his Volunteers. He may have been one of the most relieved — but least surprised — among the 106,009 people in Neyland Stadium who watched the 23rd-ranked Vols’ 35-18 win over No. 9 California on Saturday. “We expected to win this ball game and be Tennessee,” Fulmer said.


Tennessee Whups #9 Cal Photo Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem (3) beats California's Thomas DeCoud (4), Worrell Williams (1) and Desmond Bishop (10) to the end zone as he scores a touchdown in the second quarter of their college football game on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) For at least a week, Fulmer will be spared from speculation about how many games he needs to win to keep his job. Fulmer described last year as an aberration, and the Vols might have proved him right.

Tennessee had been 0-6 against top 10 teams in Neyland Stadium since 2000, and many fans stayed to the end. After all, their last glimpse of the 2005 Vols was in an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt.


For the Golden Bears, it was a shocking blow at the beginning of a greatly anticipated season. Cal’s ranking was its highest since 1952. Many believe this could be the Bears’ year to challenge Southern California for the Pac-10 title, and they still could with this loss outside conference play. But any run at a national championship was likely dashed.

Tennessee has long been a top program in what has traditionally been the most powerful conference in college football. They weren’t going to stay down for long.


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