Sports Outside the Beltway

Jim Harbaugh 49ers New Coach

Jim Harbaugh, the most coveted coach on the market, is leaving Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers.

AP‘s Janie McCauley:

A person with knowledge of the situation says Jim Harbaugh is leaving Stanford to coach the San Francisco 49ers.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Friday because the team has yet to announce the hire.

The team has scheduled an afternoon news conference in San Francisco.

Harbaugh, who will replace fired coach Mike Singletary, also had been considering an offer from Stanford to stay put.


Jim Harbaugh agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract to become the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Friday, according to team and league sources.

The 49ers announced a news conference scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, but did not indicate the reason.

Earlier Friday, a source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Stanford was the favorite to retain Harbaugh’s services.

On Thursday, Harbaugh met with top Stanford officials — including university president John Hennessey — so that the school could make its best offer to try to retain him. The university reportedly increased an offer it had made to Harbaugh in December.

The 49ers met with Harbaugh Wednesday, and a source said that on Thursday night, after news broke that Harbaugh would not go to the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco was willing to increase its offer.

This makes great sense.  While he’s a Michigan grad whose best days as a pro were with the Chicago Bears, Harbaugh’s a California guy.

The Stanford job is a much better one than the newly vacant Michigan one.  Sure, it’s his alma mater and it’s one of the storied programs in the history of college football.  And it would pay more.  But the expectations are unreasonable and he’d have to uproot his family.   Stanford is already a top program.  If he wanted to stay in college, Stanford was the obvious choice.

And, yes, $7 million or whatever from the Miami Dolphins would have been a sweet deal.  But that would have engendered all manner of animosity from other coaches, fuming that a first-timer was making all that money.  And expectations would have been through the roof.   The fact that they were openly courting him while Tony Sparano is still the coach didn’t help matters.

He can take over the 49ers, a franchise with a proud history of its own, without moving to a new house.  His kids can stay in the same school.   And, while $5 million isn’t $7 million, it’s not exactly chopped liver.


2010 NCAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

Here it is-

2010 Women's bracket

Like with the Men’s tournament, I’ll take a shot at making some guesses predictions in the women’s also.


Are you ready for some bowling? II

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this afternoon, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Note- I gave the shortened name version of all the upcoming games. Also I listed what broadcast network would be televising the game and what time they would be coming on the air. All times are Eastern Standard.

Dec 19

New Mexico- Fresno State vs. Wyoming 4:30 p.m. ESPN
St. Petersburg- Central Florida vs. Rutgers 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 20

R+L Carriers New Orleans- Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 22

MAACO Las Vegas- Oregon State vs. BYU 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 23

Poinsettia- Utah vs. Cal 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 24

Sheraton Hawaii- Nevada vs. SMU 8 p.m. ESPN
Dec 26

Little Caesars- Marshall vs. Ohio 1 p.m. ESPN
Meineke- Pitt vs. North Carolina 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Emerald- Boston College vs. USC 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 27

Music City- Kentucky vs. Clemson 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 28

Independence- Texas A&M vs. Georgia 5 p.m. ESPN2

Dec 29

EagleBank- UCLA vs. Temple 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Champs Sports- Miami vs. Wisconsin 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 30

Humanitarian- Bowling Green vs. Idaho 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Holiday- Arizona vs. Nebraska 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 31

Armed Forces- Houston vs. Air Force Noon ESPN
Sun- Oklahoma vs. Stanford 2 p.m. CBS
Texas- Navy vs. Missouri 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Minnesota vs. Iowa State 6 p.m. NFL Network
Chick-fil-A- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Jan 1

Outback- Northwestern vs. Auburn 11 a.m. ESPN
Capital One- Penn State vs. LSU 1 p.m. ABC
Gator- West Virginia vs. Florida State 1 p.m. CBS
Rose Bowl- Ohio State vs. Oregon 4:30 p.m. ABC
Sugar- Cincinnati vs. Florida 8:30 p.m. FOX

Jan 2

International- South Florida vs. Northern Illinois Noon ESPN2 South Carolina vs. UConn 2 p.m. ESPN
Cotton- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 2 p.m. FOX
Liberty- Arkansas vs. East Carolina 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Valero Alamo- Michigan State vs. Texas Tech 9 p.m. ESPN

Jan 4

Fiesta- Boise State vs. TCU 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 5

FedEx Orange- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 6th

GMAC- Central Michigan vs. Troy 7 p.m. ESPN

Jan 7th

BCS National Championship Game- Texas vs. Alabama Jan. 7 8 p.m.

Some random notes on the above 34 games

*- 19 of the 34 games are not scheduled till Dec. 31st or later. I guess college football fanatics are expected to flip channels very quickly on those 3 days(Dec 31-Jan 2) when 15 games are being aired.
*- What a downer must it be for Oregon State players and fans. A few weeks ago they were one win from a Rose Bowl trip. Instead they lost to Oregon and are playing in a minor bowl before Christmas.
*- The NFL network televises a college football game. I guess that’s the cable sports equivalent of the Sci-Fi channel showing wrestling….
*- The bowls are now set where now certain conference finishers are locked into the same bowl games every year. I understand why the current system is done, but I prefer the day when bowl games would have greater variance from year to year. The Peach bowl would usually invite a ACC or SEC school but they could be creative, like when they invited Army and Illinois. Wouldn’t a SEC team against BYU or Wyoming be nice for a change?
*- Bobby Bowden’s farewell game is against the same school(West Virginia) that he left before coming to Florida State. I do know FSU and WV have played at least twice previously in bowls during the Bowden-Florida State era.


Former Olympic swin coach Richard Quick dead at 66

He coached women’s and men’s teams at the college level where he won national championships with three different schools. RIP.

Auburn swimming coach Richard Quick, who won 13 NCAA titles with three schools during a career that spanned four decades, has died of cancer. He was 66.

Auburn said in a statement on its Web site that Quick, who coached men’s and women’s teams at the school, died Wednesday. His family told the Austin American-Statesman that he died in Austin, Texas.

Quick had been diagnosed in December with an inoperable brain tumor.

“While he lost a valiant battle against a cruel disease, Richard was an inspiration to countless people who were touched by his steadfast faith and amazing courage in the face of tremendous adversity,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said.

He won one title at Auburn, seven at Stanford and five at Texas. He also led the U.S. Olympic teams in 1988, 1996 and 2000 and was an assistant coach at the 1984, 1992 and 2004 Games.

Quick’s women’s teams at Texas won five straight titles from 1984-1988. The Stanford women’s team won the title in his first year there in 1989.

Auburn’s men won the championship in 2009 and Quick was named NCAA Coach of the Year for the sixth time.

“Richard will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of swimming, but more importantly, he will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and teacher,” Jacobs said.

Quick coached at Auburn from 1978-82 and returned there in 2007. In between, he coached the women’s teams at Texas and Stanford. He also served as the men’s head coach at Iowa State during the 1977-78 season and the women’s head coach at SMU in 1976-77.


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.


Lopez twins both turning pro

This news comes days after Stanford was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

The Lopez twins are going pro together. Stanford sophomore Robin Lopez is joining his 7-foot brother Brook in entering the NBA draft. The brothers made their announcement to The Associated Press on Monday through their mother, Deborah Ledford.

It was expected that Brook would declare himself eligible for the NBA, but Robin was not so certain. They were prep stars in Fresno, Calif., and came to Stanford together. Now they will depart as a tandem, too.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me because I really enjoyed my two years at Stanford,” Robin Lopez said in a statement released to the AP. “I have always hoped I would have an opportunity to play in the NBA and I feel now is the right time to make that dream a reality.”

Brook Lopez, a third-team All-American and a first-team Pac-10 selection, averaged 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds to go with 56 blocks this season. He scored the game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds left in an 82-81 victory over Marquette in the second round of the NCAA tournament to put Stanford in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.

Both Brook and Robin will hire agents and thus forgo their remaining two years of college eligibility, their mom said.

Since I rarely follow basketball(Pro or college) I am clueless as to the chances the Lopez brothers have of sticking in the NBA. To be honest, I would stay in college. Especially since its Stanford.

There has been a history of twins, identical and non-identical in professional sports. Hardcore golf fans will know golf Hall of Famer Curtis Strange has an identical twin brother Allen. In the NHL right now there are the identical Sedin brothers, Daniel and Henrik who play for the Vancouver Canucks. In baseball there were the Canseco brothers and the O’brien brothers.

If Robin Lopez can’t make it in the NBA, he can always caddy for Michelle Wie. SI reported recently that the two of them are dating.(Hat tip- ROK Drop)


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.


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.


Michelle Wie Gets Accepted to Stanford

From AP-

Michelle Wie celebrated her first victory of the year — she got accepted to Stanford. The 17-year-old senior at Punahou School in Honolulu said Tuesday she would enroll in the fall, dispelling any talk she would concentrate exclusively on her professional golf career once she finished high school.

Photo Michelle Wie Accepted at Stanford Michelle Wie, of the United States, laughs after pulling her hat down over her face whilst waiting to play a shot on the 16th fairway during a practice round before the start of the Women's British Open golf tournament at Royal Lytham and St Annes golf course in Lytham, England, in this Aug. 1, 2006 file photo. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) “No one really believed me,” Wie said from Orlando, Fla., where she is working with swing coach David Leadbetter. “Now that I got into Stanford … it was one of my dreams, and I want to go through with it. I definitely want to go there and really try to graduate.”

Wie has been mixing school and tour golf since she played three LPGA Tour events at age 12. She turned professional in October 2005 and earned close to $20 million this year from endorsements, earnings and appearance money overseas.

And while she still hasn’t won on the LPGA Tour — she had three close calls in the majors — Wie said her nerves were never more jangled than waiting to see if she had been accepted. She got the news Friday.

Wie’s grandfather, an aunt and an uncle went to Stanford, and that was her first choice all along.

“I got an e-mail on Wednesday telling me the directions to find out online, with a password and pin code,” she said. “I think they do that on purpose. They enjoy making people suffer for two days. I was counting down the days — Friday at 1 p.m. was like doomsday. I was really stressed out. I had stomach aches, and Thursday I couldn’t eat anything.”

After a final exam Friday morning, she asked to be excused from English, bringing two friends to the computer lab to punch in the code and she if she had been accepted.

“They screamed, I screamed, we were reading the letter out loud, and everyone gave us these weird looks,” she said.

I’m happy for Michelle and wish her well in school.

It’s incredible, but I couldn’t find any errors in the above Doug Ferguson story. Has he finally learned to fact check?


Jim Harbaugh Hired as Stanford Head Coach

Former Bears QB Jim Harbaugh has been hired to replace Walt Harris at Stanford.

Stanford hired former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh on Monday to take over its struggling football program. Harbaugh had spent the last three years as head coach at the University of San Diego, a non-scholarship Division I-AA program. He led the Toreros to a 29-6 record, winning 27 of his final 29 games at San Diego. The school planned to formally introduce Harbaugh at a news conference Tuesday. Phone messages left for Harbaugh were not immediately returned.

Harbaugh has the tough task of turning around the Cardinal, who set a school record for losses in a 1-11 season this year that led to the firing of coach Walt Harris. Stanford has won just 16 games in the past five seasons under Harris and Buddy Teevens, and have to struggled to compete in the Pac-10 since Tyrone Willingham left for Notre Dame following the 2001 season.

The first challenge for Harbaugh will be recruiting talented players who can meet Stanford’s stringent academic requirements. Harris and Teevens both struggled in that aspect of the job.

Harbaugh was a star in college at Michigan, finishing third in the voting for the 1986 Heisman Trophy award. But he does have ties to Stanford, where his father, Jack, served as defensive coordinator in 1980-81. Harbaugh spent his final two years as a prep player at Palo Alto High School before going to Michigan.

In all honesty, I didn’t realize Harbaugh was coaching these days. A former NFL quarterback has a huge advantage in recruiting, though, because it gives him instant credibility with blue chip athletes who are dreaming of a pro career.


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