Sports Outside the Beltway

Nevada College Recruit Made It All Up

We learn the true story about HS football player Kevin Hart.

RENO, Nev. (Feb 6) – A northern Nevada prep football player who had claimed he was duped into believing he was recruited to play at a Pac-10 school admitted Wednesday he made up the story.

Kevin Hart, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman for Fernley High School, offered a broad apology in a statement he issued through the Lyon County School District. Hart said he had wanted to play football at a Division I school “more than anything.”

“When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality. I am sorry for disappointing and embarrassing my family, coaches, Fernley High School, the involved universities and reporters covering the story,” Hart said.

Lyon County sheriff’s detectives had been unable to corroborate Hart’s claims that he had been duped by a man he paid to help promote him to college football programs.

As soon as I heard not just Cal and Oregon denied recruiting Hart but other schools that had been mentioned, I had the feeling the whole thing was made up. Hart is young, but at 18 he should have known his web of lies would soon unravel.


Oregon St. fires basketball coach Jay John

The school gave him a contract extension three years ago. From AP-

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State fired basketball coach Jay John, whose team is 6-12 this season and winless in the Pac-10. Attendance is reaching record lows at Gill Coliseum and the school has had only one winning season since 1989-90.

Assistant Kevin Mouton will temporarily run the team after the rare midseason coaching change, which was announced Sunday night by athletic director Bob De Carolis. De Carolis did not rule out Mouton as a permanent replacement.

John, in his sixth season, received a five-year contract extension in 2005. Oregon State owes him about $1.1 million.


John did not have a chance to meet with the team Sunday night. He had a record of 72-97 and a conference mark of 26-68, including 0-6 this season. The Beavers, however, showed some grit in nearly upsetting Washington on Saturday.

You have to wonder about the people in charge of OSU’s sports programs. They give a coach with limited results a contract extension, then fire him in mid-season for not turning around a perennial loser. Paying someone not to coach your team seems like a waste of money to me.


Rick Neuheisel UCLA’s New Coach

Rick Neuheisel UCLA’s New Coach Rick Neuheisel has been hired as UCLA’s head football coach.

Rick Neuheisel is coming back to UCLA — this time as head coach. Neuheisel, who quarterbacked the Bruins to victory in the 1984 Rose Bowl and later served as an assistant under Terry Donahue, was hired Saturday as his alma mater’s 16th coach.

The 46-year-old Neuheisel succeeds Karl Dorrell, who was fired Dec. 3 after five seasons on the job.

“Rick has enjoyed great success throughout his career and we believe he is the coach who can take our program to the next level,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said. “His teams at Colorado and Washington continually challenged for conference championships and national rankings, and that is what we are looking to do at UCLA.”

Neuheisel spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, who finish the season Sunday against Pittsburgh. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2005-06, and was promoted to offensive coordinator last January.

He had a 66-30 record as a head coach at Colorado from 1995-98 and Washington from 1999-2002. He hasn’t been in the college game since Washington fired him in 2003 for participating in a betting pool on the NCAA basketball tournament. He sued for wrongful termination from Washington and settled in March 2005 with UW and the NCAA for $4.5 million.

A great hire. He’s had some problems, to be sure, but he’s a superb college coach. And I suspect he’ll be less anxious to leave UCLA, not only his alma mater but a storied program in a great city, than his previous stops.


Arizona coach Lute Olson taking year off

He has been on leave since early November. From AP-

TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson said Thursday night he would extend his leave of absence through the end of this season, citing undisclosed family matters that require his attention.

In a statement released by the university, the 73-year-old Hall of Famer said he plans to return to coach the Wildcats for the 2008-09 season.

“There are personal issues within my family that need to be addressed and I must devote my full energy to that,” Olson said in the statement.

Athletic director Jim Livengood said assistant coach Kevin O’Neill will continue to serve as interim coach for the rest of this season. The 22nd-ranked Wildcats (5-2) are at Illinois on Sunday.

I hope whatever the cause of Olson’s leave isn’t too serious. God bless.


Oregon Ducks QB Dennis Dixon out with torn ACL

Dennis Dixon will have surgery on the left knee that buckled early in second-ranked Oregon’s upset loss to Arizona, spoiling his chance to win the Heisman Trophy. The quarterback tore his anterior cruciate ligament during Oregon’s Nov. 3 victory over Arizona State, according to coach Mike Bellotti, but he had rested it and felt as if he was ready to play Thursday night against the Wildcats.

Now Dixon will miss the rest of this season.


The versatile Dixon was one of the front-runners for the Heisman after he put the Ducks in line for the national title. Oregon had started the season unranked, and was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference.

Drawing comparisons to Vince Young, Dixon completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,136 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. The senior from San Leandro, Calif., also ran for 583 yards and nine scores.

Thursday night’s 34-24 loss to the unranked Wildcats knocked the Ducks (8-2, 5-2) out of the national title picture. Oregon was ranked behind LSU and ahead of Oklahoma and undefeated Kansas.

Dixon’s left knee crumbled as he tried to plant on an option carry with about 5 minutes to go in the first quarter against Arizona (5-6, 4-4).

Why should Dixon’s knee injury take him out of contention for the Heisman? It would seem rather silly if it did, for I’d be judging his credentials for the Heisman based on his play for the year, before he got hurt. That’s the way it should be.


University of Arizona’s Lute Olson taking leave of absence

The coach of 1997 NCAA Champs issued a statement today.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona coach Lute Olson is taking a leave of absence for unspecified personal reasons.

In a statement issued by his public relations firm on Sunday, the 73-year-old Hall of Famer said the matter was not health related.


Olson said he wanted to “reassure everyone that this isn’t a health scare, but rather a personal matter that needs my undivided attention.”

The specific reason was not given.

“I want to thank everyone in advance for their support and prayers and request that the media respect my family’s privacy during this time,” he said.

Assistant coach Kevin O’Neill will assume Olson’s duties in his absence.


Olson has a 780-280 record in 34 seasons as a major college coach. In 24 years at Arizona, he is 589-187 with 23 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. His Wildcats have won 11 Pac-10 championships, reached the Final Four four times and won the 1997 NCAA title.

If I were to take a guess, it is that Coash Olson or a close family of his(wife, child, grandchild) has a serious medical issue. No matter what the reason, I wish the coach well and look forward to his return.


Former 49ers coach Bill Walsh dead at 75

He is an NFL coaching legend.

SAN FRANCISCO – Bill Walsh, the groundbreaking football coach who won three Super Bowls and perfected the ingenious schemes that became known as the West Coast offense during a Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 75.

Walsh died at his Bay Area home early Monday following a long battle with leukemia, according to Stanford University, where he served as coach and athletic director.

Walsh didn’t become an NFL head coach until 47, and he spent just 10 seasons on the San Francisco sideline. But he left an indelible mark on the United States’ most popular sport, building the once-woebegone 49ers into the most successful team of the 1980s with his innovative offensive strategies and teaching techniques.

The soft-spoken native Californian also produced a legion of coaching disciples that’s still growing today. Many of his former assistants went on to lead their own teams, handing down Walsh’s methods and schemes to dozens more coaches in a tree with innumerable branches.

Walsh went 102-63-1 with the 49ers, winning 10 of his 14 postseason games along with six division titles. He was named the NFL’s coach of the year in 1981 and 1984.

I got to see the first of Walsh’s three Super Bowl wins in person. My father knowing Cincinnati Browns owner Paul Brown’s brother-in-law(Ironically Walsh was an assistant under Brown once), who when not able to go to the game, gave the tickets to Dad instead. The game, a 26-20 49er win, was a pretty good one so far as the Super Bowl is concerned.

Walsh also coached at Stanford in addition to supplying the NFL with a large number of head and assistant coaches. Many of whom are still working today. Bill Walsh will still leave his mark on Pro football even after his passing. RIP.


Washington State Basketball Coach June Daugherty hospitalized for cardiac arrest

Her condition has been upgraded from critical to serious.

SEATTLE – Washington State women’s basketball coach June Daugherty was upgraded from critical to serious condition Wednesday, a day after going into cardiac arrest while at a medical clinic for a checkup.

The 50-year-old Daugherty was “doing as well as can be expected,” said Mike Daugherty, her husband and the team’s associate head coach.

The Daughertys are the parents of 13-year-old twins.

Fired by Washington, Daugherty was hired last month at Washington State. She took over a program that has not had a winning season since 1995-96. She replaced Sherri Murrell, who resigned April 5 after a 27-114 record in her five years as coach.

Daugherty coached Washington to the NCAA tournament the past two seasons and in six of her 11 years with the Huskies. She was dismissed by Washington on March 18, one day after the Huskies lost their first-round game in the NCAA tournament to Iowa State.

At Washington, Daugherty compiled a 191-139 overall record and a 113-85 Pac-10 mark. Daugherty coached from 1989-96 at Boise State, where she had a 123-74 overall record.

Only last year Army women’s basketball coach Maggie Dixon passed away at age 28. Please say a prayer for June Daugherty and her family.


2007 NFL Draft Grades

NFL Draft Logo 2007 Below are some expert analyses of Day 1 of the 2007 NFL Draft. I’ll update the list over the next couple of days as more roll in.

Note: Bumped to top from 6:54 am April 29.

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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.


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