News and Notes 6/19

Jeshua Anderson did it – he’s now the NCAA champion in the men’s 400m hurdles. This is huge news for the Cougar faithful and yet another confidence builder for Jeshua going into the Olympic Trials which take place in Eugene starting June 27th.

Pre-emptive Damage Control – Remember the Seattle Times’ massive expose on the Huskies’ last Rose Bowl team? Well, in an effort to be more fair and balanced, they may be out to do the same for the Cougars. The evidence is this e-mail from AD Jim Sterk that is making the rounds:

Dear Cougar Family,

First, let me apologize if any of you receive this email in duplicate. We have tried to hit as many Cougar supporters as possible with this and some of you may appear on duplicate lists.

The purpose of this email is to alert you to a Seattle Times story that is scheduled to appear either later this week or early next week. From our understanding the story is an in-depth look at the WSU football program, perhaps focusing on negative issues that have occurred over the past few years. My belief is they may combine the off-field incidents of some of our players with the recent APR news as the focus of the story.

I, along with the entire coaching staff and athletic administration, evaluate each and every incident involving our football program in a very serious manner. Although the attitude and behavior of our football student-athletes is not in a crisis situation, there is room for improvement. I believe Paul Wulff has put in place a process to positively impact the culture surrounding Cougar football and that change is already noticeable. While there are no quick fixes, the program is heading in the right direction.

I appreciate your continued support of Cougar Athletics and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue.

Sincerely,

Jim Sterk

Director of Athletics

The fact that this e-mail came out says two things:

1. The Times told WSU about the article before it was even published, perhaps to allow such a response from Sterk

2. The article likely contains some damaging information about WSU athletic programs – most likely football.

The big question is, can the Seattle Times reveal anything we don’t already know? The APR mess has opened up all sorts of discussion already regarding academic issues and most disciplinary issues have already been covered in detail by a variety of sources.

Is it an appeal to the Washington fans that threatened to cancel their subscriptions after the Times tore apart their program under Neuheisal? Possibly. A newspaper is still a business, and an article or series of articles surrounding the Cougars might appeal to some of Seattle’s unhappy customers. Still, from a PR standpoint, this seems to come at an advantageous time for WSU, with the Sonics’ trial dominating local sports news in Seattle and the NBA draft coming up to give Cougar fans a chance to swell with pride over Weaver and Low.

There’s a new Cougar football commitment from linebaker Darren Markle – a position where depth is always welcome. It is the second verbal for Wulff’s class of 2009, with the first being DE Geoff Meinken from Lynnwood. Markle is highly touted as well. Scout.com has him as the 32nd ranked MLB in the nation and lists him as a 3-star player. A huge get for the Cougs and another early victory for Paul Wulff, who already seems to be outworking his predecessor on the recruiting trail.

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Stadium Way on Vacation

Hi once again, Coug Nation. I will be on the exact opposite side of the country for a few days attending my grandfather’s 90th birthday celebration – which incredibly enough takes place on father’s day. I’ll be back in the good ole Northwest on Wednesday (6/18). If I have access to a computer down there I may be able to send out a post or two, but I can’t guarantee anything.

About those Sterk Rumors floating around – it appears Jim Sterk may be a possible candidate for the opening athletic director position at Notre Dame. ND lost their former director, Kevin White, to Duke, who had lost their AD to LSU a few weeks ago. The carousel goes round and round.

It only makes sense that with all the success Sterk has brought WSU – most notably in basketball with the inspired Bennett and Bennett hiring – that other schools would be interested in bringing him on board. However, with the high profile of the Notre Dame job and the continued commitment Tony Bennett shows to Wazzu, I have a hard time believing Sterk wants to leave Pullman anytime soon. Anything can happen, but I have to believe all rumors right now are just that – rumors, and nothing more.

With the blog on a very brief hiatus, allow me to point you in a couple of other directions to get your Cougar sports fix:

WSU Hoops – for, obviously, hoops coverage

WSU Football Blog – for football info

Cougfan – for all-around Cougar news and the opportunity to make fun of other schools on the message board

Spokesman-Review Sportslink – where Vince Grippi breaks down all the WSU happenings as they occur. I’ve always liked Grippi’s work, and it surprised me today when he revealed their code of ethics states that he shouldn’t use opinion on the website. It’s a shame, because Spokesman beat writers are often some of the most informed Coug followers on the planet.

Enjoy the weekend everyone – it looks like the weather will improve, although at this point I don’t think you can rule out the possibility of snow in August.

News and Notes 6/9

Which is more messed up?

Option A: Husky assistant coach Chris Tormey bugging a WSU recruit the morning after he publicly announces his verbal commitment to Wazzu. Granted, the article I linked sensationalizes the story a little bit, but for the most part it’s a fair criticism. If this is modern recruiting, I think it’s time to force colleges to back off.

Option B: Oregon, a state with documented budget problems, giving the green light to a $200 million basketball arena for the Ducks (yes, it’s Nike money, but c’mon). Last I checked U of O still has some of the worst dorms in the nation, and OSU is concerned about the future of their dental program. But the locker rooms are glistening!

De’Angelo Casto has graduated from Ferris high school in Spokane, meaning the future Cougar forward is on track and eligible for arrival in Pullman. Get excited. (foreshadowing for the video of the week)

Electronic Mail

If you want a more anonymous way to reach Stadium Way, give us a buzz at stadiumway@hotmail.com. You can send suggestions, comments, or just some good ol’ fashioned hate mail. The content doesn’t have to relate to the Cougs either, it could be sports in general, or links to some of the amazing accomplishments people have made on the internet. If I get enough response, I might just be able to start a mailbag column. Which would rock. So do it.

Also, this week’s Buzzin’ The Palouse is up at Cougfan.com. This one’s more football-oriented with a discussion of Jed Collins, other Cougar draft hopefuls, Rowing, Baseball, and more. This article is subscription-only, so if you don’t have a CF.C account you won’t get to read the article in its entirety. But my shameless plug for the site is this: it’s basically a non-profit website where the money from the Scout.com network and subscriptions go right back into the content and making sure the forums don’t crash.

Anyway, check out the article if you have some free time. Hope you like it.

Offseason Video of the Week

This might be a recurring segment. It might not be. Either way it’s something you can watch to waste some time.

Video courtesy of kapoleicoug on YouTube. Music is “Boom” by POD, which was also Bret Boone’s intro song for Mariner games. Brings back memories. It’s also one of the greatest music videos ever.

Some Quick Notes for Monday

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Glenn Johnson, the PA announcer/Communications Professor/Mayor of Pullman/all around great guy who was hospitalized with stroke-like symptoms earlier today. It appears the prognosis is good, and I certainly hope that the worst is over for Glenn.

Also, in case you missed it, and I may touch on this some more for my Cougfan article this week, women’s basketball player Kali Bennett (no relation to you-know-who) became the fourth Husky to leave the University of Washington following the 2007-08 season.

Buzzin’ the Palouse on Cougfan

If you get a chance, head on over to Cougfan, where my first article is now up for the reading – with some thoughts on basketball recruit Nick Witherill, Tony Bennett, the lack of respect Wazzu is (still) getting from the national pundits, and the new volleyball coaching staff.

It’s free content over there, so check it out. It’s a different venue from what you’ll see here – mainly in that unlike the blog, my writing for Cougfan is edited by actual professionals. Also, it gives me a chance to get a little closer to the world of Cougar athletics, as evidenced by the quote we obtained from Ben Johnson regarding Witherill. Hope you all like it – feedback is always welcome.

And if you’re coming over here from Cougfan, well, thanks for clicking on the link. I’m on the forums there as washingtonstatecougars (original, huh?) where I share my usually sober thoughts on Cougar athletics.