Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TEXAS OFFICALS CALL OFF HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS DUE TO THE SWINE FLU

Texas officials on Wednesday postponed all public high school athletic and academic competitions until May 11 because of the swine flu outbreak.

The move suspends the baseball and softball seasons and eliminates the regional track championships that were to start Friday, said Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the University Interscholastic League. He said league officials acted on the recommendation of public health officials.

"The health and safety of our student activity participants is of the utmost importance," Breithaupt said. "Taking every possible precaution to prevent the further spreading of this disease is an important contribution to the welfare of our great state, and altering the schedule of our events is a way to keep our participants safe."

School officials say 53,000 students are out of school due to concern over the virus, and dozens of schools were closed to be sanitized.

The state golf and tennis championships are scheduled to begin May 11.

The state track meet, one of the largest high school track and field competitions in the country, has been extended from its normal two days to three and is scheduled for May 14-16.

All UIL academic competitions, including a state meet that was to begin May 7, were also postponed and will be rescheduled later.

With 16 confirmed cases of swine flue in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry announced a disaster declaration Wednesday for the entire state. The declaration will allow officials to begin emergency protective measures and seek reimbursement from the federal government.

(This version CORRECTS dates of state track meet to May 14-16, not May 12-14.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IAN JOHNSON WANTS THE VIKINGS TO KEEP HIM AROUND

By CHIP SCOGGINS, Star Tribune

Ian Johnson rarely goes a day without someone asking him about the play and the proposal. In fact, he can't remember a day the past two years when it hasn't come up.

He had no idea he would become part of college football lore, but Johnson's overtime heroics and post game marriage proposal to his cheerleader girlfriend in Boise State's wildly entertaining upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl brought him national celebrity that continues to this day.


"If I see anyone outside of my family, I get asked about it at least once a day," Johnson said.


The streak continued Monday, after Johnson signed a rookie free-agent contract with the Vikings. The running back went undrafted this past weekend and, after hearing from 18 NFL teams Sunday night, signed with the Vikings and will participate in the team's rookie mini camp starting Friday at Winter Park.


Johnson, who rushed for 4,183 yards and a Western Athletic Conference-record 58 touchdowns in his career, said the fact that the Vikings have Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor did not discourage him.


"The Vikings couldn't justify taking a running back [in the draft] with what they have already," he said. "But it's a place I can definitely fit in if I come through free agency. I'm going to be the hardest-working guy out there. I'm going to learn this offense as fast as I can so I will be an asset for this team. I will be the best pickup the Vikings made this year."


Johnson is the most notable of the Vikings' 14 rookie free agents, largely because of his role in one of the greatest college football games ever. After the teams combined for 22 points in the final 86 seconds of regulation, Johnson scored a winning two-point conversion on a Statue of Liberty play in overtime to give Boise State a 43-42 victory over the Sooners.


Then, during an interview on national television after the game, Johnson got down on one knee and proposed to girlfriend Chrissy Popadics, a Boise State cheerleader.

"It was a great game, the perfect finish to a game and the perfect way for me to propose to my wife," he said. "I didn't think about any of the repercussions that would come of it, and they're all good repercussions. But I did not think that moment would still be living on in other people's minds today."
The two got married on July 28, 2007.


"I will always cherish the fact that I can show my kids, 'Hey, this is how I proposed to your mother,' " Johnson said.


One Vikings player who probably won't ever forget is Peterson, who had given Oklahoma the lead in overtime on a 25-yard touchdown run in what turned out to be his final college play. Corner back Marcus Walker, a Vikings practice squad player last season, had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:02 left in regulation.


Johnson said he probably won't break the ice with Peterson by reliving that classic.


"I'm going to try and hold that in my back pocket until I have something better to say," he said.
Instead, Johnson said he wants to watch and learn from Peterson and Taylor.


"There's just so much that those guys do right, I'm going to sit back and be a student of them for a while," he said.
Johnson faces an uphill climb in his bid to make the team, but it's not impossible. Three undrafted rookies made the active roster last season -- Husain Abdullah, Erin Henderson and Darius Reynaud -- and a fourth, Drew Radovich, was in the mix before he got injured.


Johnson hopes to make an impression on special teams initially, but he plans on sticking around. He graduated in December with a degree in business management, but he isn't ready to join the corporate world just yet.

"It's nice to have my degree, but I won't need it for a while," he said. "I'm not done playing football. My job now is to make this football team and to do everything I can to help this organization. That is my No. 1 focus right now."

CATCH ZACH MELLON IF YOU CAN

By John Millea Minneapolis Star Tribune

For Zach Mellon, finishing is easy. The senior track star from Buffalo High School runs fast, turns left and almost always wins.

He holds the Minnesota prep record in the 800 meters and is expected to capture his third state championship at that distance. Last year, he placed second in the 800 at the USA Track and Field junior outdoor championships in Columbus, Ohio. He also anchors Buffalo's stellar 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.

So yes, finishing is the easy part. How he got started is a little tougher to explain.

Mellon has no family athletic background. As a kid, he tried and gave up on football, baseball and tennis. He went out for track in eighth grade and still can't figure out why.

"I went out for track just to do it," he said. "I wasn't really into sports. I just have to say it was just a God-directed thing and he had a plan for it. I don't know. I don't know why I went out, I really don't."

Mellon, who has signed with Wisconsin, doesn't follow sports, can't name all the schools in the Big Ten and says, "I don't even know a lot about runners, to be honest. I'm kind of removed from the running world."

This much we do know: In the past four years, only two high school 800 runners in the nation have topped Mellon's second-place time of 1 minute, 48.64 seconds at the 2008 junior national championships. The U.S. prep record is 1:46.45.

But let's go back to the early days. When Mellon was a ninth-grader, he and three classmates ran a sprint medley relay race in a meet at St. Michael- Albertville. Mellon was the anchor, but trouble began long before the baton reached him. The leadoff man, who was quite nervous, heard the gun and took off without the baton. He had to come back, pick up the stick and begin again.

The Bison were in a big hole by the time Mellon took the handoff for his 800-meter leg. And they won. That's been a continuing theme throughout his career: He almost always hits the finish line first.

"Obviously when we get the stick to him with the lead, we're pretty comfortable," Buffalo coach Scott Palmer said. "And if [the leaders] are somewhere in the same zip code, we're still good."

A little help from his relay friends.

Oddly, two of Mellon's most memorable performances came in runner-up finishes. In the Class 2A 4x400 at last year's state meet, Buffalo was a distant fifth when Mellon got the baton from teammate Tayler Vick, but he blew past runners and came within a half-second of winning.

"It surprised me," Mellon said. "I got done and I was like, 'Dang!'"

Two weeks later, running the 800 at the USATF junior outdoor championships, Mellon was in sixth place with 100 meters left but surged into second, setting the state record.

Mellon's motivation, however, doesn't come from national competition or records. In fact, when asked about his goals, winning as a solo act is not at the top of the list. It's all about we, not me.

His No. 1 goal is winning a state championship in the 4x800. The Bison have gone to state in that event for the past five years, placing second, third, fourth, fifth and eighth.

"I'd love to give my coaches a win, I'd love to give my teammates a win," Mellon said. "I've got three other guys racing there and I'd like to do my part in giving them that, too."

Classmate Kevin Hayes, Buffalo's No. 2 800 runner, calls Mellon a freak of nature, but with a caveat.

"He's a freak of nature, but he definitely works hard," Hayes said. "He puts in the hours, he puts in the time, he does what he has to do and he gets it done every time.

"For me and most of the other kids on the team, having Zach there obviously pushes us. When you're running against someone that good every day, it's going to make you better. Every day we're training with the best runner in the state, so that has to have some advantages."

Profound influences.

For Mellon, being known as the best runner in Minnesota and one of the best in the nation feels strange. He says the attention seems a little foreign.

"It still doesn't feel real, to be honest," he said. "It feels awkward to see my name up there as the best ever.

"Track has been a gift, it's opened up so many doors for me. And it's not even really track, it's the people that have been brought into my life. My coaches, my friends, all those people have helped me figure out some things and stand firm on who I want to be as a person, where I put my heart and where I put my focus. It's been incredible."

PELICAN RAPIDS TYDAN STORRUSTEN PICKS NORTHERN STATE

By John Millea MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

Tydan Storrusten, the three-sport star who led Pelican Rapids to the Class 2A boys’ basketball championship, has made a college decision.

Storrusten has accepted a full-ride basketball scholarship at Division II Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. Tydan was a candidate for the Minnesota Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football awards and also plays baseball. He will play basketball only at Northern State, where Don Meyer is the winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball.

Storrusten averaged 25 points to help the Vikings complete a perfect basketball season, and he scored 34 in the state championship game against St. Bernard’s.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ASHLEY ELLIS-MILAN NAMED GOPHERS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM MVP

FROM THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

Ellis-Milan, a 6-2 junior center from St. Paul who averaged 11.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, also was voted as the Gophers' Most Improved Player.

Senior Emily Fox was honored with the Golden Gopher Award.

Senior Kay Sylva received the 2009 Coaches Award, and junior Brittany McCoy got the
Defensive Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Scholar Award.

PAIR OF SIXTH GRADERS NAMED SAINT PAUL’S FASTEST KIDS!

After a series of 100-meter heats held at Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University on Saturday morning, a pair of sixth graders from Sheridan Elementary School and Nova Classical Academy were named Saint Paul's Fastest Kids!

Jamal Collins from Sheridan won the boys' race with a 100-meter dash time of 13.199. Collins wants to be a video game creator when he grows up and his favorite subject in school is science.

Jeanne Bart of Nova Classical Academy won the girls' 100-meter dash in 15.581. Bart wants to be a soccer player when she grows up and her favorite class in school is physical education.

The race featured the top boys and girls in fifth and sixth grade from participating schools in Saint Paul.

The goal of the event, organized and run by Hamline senior Freya Fritzer (North Oaks, Minn.), was to promote fitness and athletics at school, as well as to give youth a chance to compete and visit a college campus.

Prior to the start of the race, the participants warmed up with Piper sprinters and were given a demonstration of the starter pistol.

Participants received a complimentary t-shirt and sports drink. After the race, the fastest girl and boy in each heat had the chance to throw a t-shirt into the stands.

For a complete photo gallery of the 2009 Saint Paul's Fastest Kid! activities, go to this page: http://saintpaulsfastestkid2009.shutterfly.com/

Sunday, April 26, 2009

PIPERS SWEEP SCOTS IN BASEBALL

The two teams entered the game with identical overall and conference records, but after a sweep by scores of 8-4 and 5-1 over Macalester College, the Hamline University baseball team continues to stay near the top of the MIAC standings.

Macalester opened the first game with a five-hit, four-run first inning, as they led off with a pair of singles and a pair of doubles.

Brett Bugielski (Fy., River Falls, Wis.) took over the Piper pitching duties in the second inning and Hamline’s offense took over the scoreboard in the third.

Tres Humerickhouse (So., Farmington, Minn.) helped the Pipers take advantage of two Macalester errors by knocking in three runs with a triple. J.D. Modrynski (So., Lakeville, Minn.) added an RBI single later in the inning to tie the game at 4-4.

The Pipers added a pair of runs in the fourth on a Macalester error followed by an RBI-double from Dan Kaczrowski (Sr., St. Anthony, Minn.) and a sacrifice fly from Lincoln Hughes (Jr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.).

Hamline added another pair in the sixth as Bill Sand (Sr., White Bear Townshipship, Minn.) drive in two runs on a single. The Pipers tallied two hits in that inning as the Scots committed their fourth error of the game for the final 8-4 score.

Bugielski earned the win and upped his record to 5-1 as he threw the remaining six innings of the game. He struck out three batters and scattered three hits. James Murrey (Jr., Western Springs, Ill.) took the loss on the mound for Macalester, giving up five hits and striking out three batters.

Humerickhouse was 1-for-3 with a walk in getting the three RBI and scoring two runs. Kaczrowski was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI in the opener.

In game two it was the Pipers who struck first, scoring a run in the bottom of the opening inning. Macalester tied the game with a single run in the third.

The Pipers then scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They continued to build on their lead in the sixth. With two outs and runners on first and second, the Scots intentionally walked Kaczrowski to load the bases for Tony Rogers (So., St. Michael, Minn.). Rogers stepped up and drove in two runs with a double to the gap in left center for the 5-1 Hamline win.

Kaczrowski was 3-for-3 with two runs scored in game two to finish the day 5-for-7 at the plate. Rogers and Hughes both went 2-for-4 as they tallied all of the RBI for the team. Rogers had two RBI and Hughes drove in the other three Piper runs.

Matt Mullendore (So., Amery, Wis.) threw a four-hit complete game on the mound for the Pipers in game two, upping his record to 5-3 as he fanned five Scots and walked just one.

With just over a week remaining in the regular season, Hamline improves to 19-15, 10-6 MIAC and remains in the top four in the standings with the two-game sweep. The Scots are now at 17-17, 8-8 MIAC. The Pipers now head to Northfield on Wednesday, April 29, to take on St. Olaf at 2:30 p.m.

UNIVERSITY OF CROOKSTON MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM SIGNS SIX PLAYERS TO LETTERS OF INTENT

BY Chris Vito - Assistant Sports Information Director

University of Minnesota, Crookston Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Oseth announced today the signing of six student-athletes to Letters of Intent for the 2009-2010 season. Junior college transfers Mike Larsen of Salt Lake City, Utah and Darin Weeks of Green River, Wyo., along with incoming freshmen Kyle Kreklow of Delano, Minn., Kyle Risinger of Minnetonka, Minn., Broderick Schmidt of Marion, S.D. all have signed national letters of intent while Andrew Scott of LeSueur, Minn. has signed an institutional letter of intent to round out the 2009 recruiting class for the Golden Eagles.

Mike Larsen, a 6’9 sophomore power forward from Salt Lake City, Utah, averaged ten points, five rebounds and shot 44% from the field at Western Wyoming Community College. He helped lead his team into the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IX Tournament. Larsen also garnered first team all state averaging 13 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior at Riverton High School. Larsen will major in business at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

“Mike Larsen is an outstanding shooter,” says head coach Jeff Oseth. “He has established himself as one of the premier face-up big men in the area. He is an extremely versatile player with all the tools to make him a special player at UMC. Mike is a very smart basketball player that has good size and length to contribute immediately. We are extremely excited to have Mike join the Golden Eagle family.”

Darin Weeks, a 6’2 sophomore guard/forward from Green River, Wyo., joins the Golden Eagles after a very successful season at Western Wyoming Community College. Darin’s 14.4 points and four assists per game were good enough to earn him second team All- Wyoming Community College Athletic Conference, as well as NJCAA Region IX All-Tournament Team. He shot 46% from the floor, 44% from three-point range and 72% from the free-throw line last season. Weeks will major in biology at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

“Darin is as tough as they come,” says Coach Oseth. “He is a great shooter with the capability of exploding to the basket at will. He has proven himself at the highest levels making important contributions to his team. He is an incredible person with great character and we are very much looking forward to working with Darin.”

Kyle Kreklow, a 6’7 guard/forward from Delano, Minn., is a three-year varsity starter and four-year letter winner at both Blaine and Delano High Schools. He was named to the Wright County All-Conference team and was team MVP for Delano H.S. Kyle averaged 13.6 points per game while shooting 50% from the field and grabbed 8.5 rebounds per game.

“Kyle’s upside is huge,” says Coach Oseth. “He played the point guard for his high school team, so he has good ball skills. However, he has the ability to play a multitude of positions. He has great size and length for both the guard and forward positions and he sees the floor extremely well. Kyle comes from a great basketball family as both his older brothers play college basketball, so he has a great understanding of the game. We’re extremely excited that Kyle has chosen to join our basketball family here at UMC.”

Kyle Risinger, a 6’1 point guard from Minnetonka, Minn., was a large contributor to Minnetonka High School’s 2008 Class AAAA State Championship team as a junior. He was named All-Conference in the Classic Lake Conference his senior year and was All-Conference Honorable Mention as a junior. A three-time team Defensive Player of the year, Risinger also excelled on the football field where he was name St. Paul Pioneer Press First Team All-State and First Team All-Conference. This past season as a senior, he averaged 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds per game.

“Kyle is as tough a competitor as there is,” says Coach Oseth. “He is physically ready to compete at the collegiate level. Kyle competed and succeeded in one of the toughest conferences in the largest class of basketball in the state. He has been very well-coached at Minnetonka High School by Head Coach John Hedstrom. He has a great ability to create for others and is an excellent defender. We think Kyle can contribute right away on the court, as well as be a team leader off the court.”

Broderick Schmidt, a 6’10 forward from Marion, S.D., is a three-time team MVP. He averaged 18 points, ten rebounds and five blocks per game during his senior season. Broderick is a three-time all-conference selection. He comes to UMC with a 3.9 GPA and was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society.

“Broderick’s length and athleticism allow him the opportunity to do a wide variety of things on the court,” says Coach Oseth. “He’s an extremely hard worker and a total team player. He has the potential to be an excellent player in the NSIC. He comes from a great family and we’re looking forward to working with Broderick over the course of his collegiate career. We’re thrilled to have him join the Golden Eagle family.”

Broderick is the son of the late Dr. Bradley Keith Schmidt and Pamela Rose Schmidt.

Andrew Scott, a 6’9 center from LeSueur, Minn., has agreed to an institutional letter of intent. Scott lead his LeSueur-Henderson High School team in blocks and rebounds his sophomore and junior seasons. An anterior cruciate ligament tear during the football season of his senior year prevented him from playing basketball this past season.

“Andrew has great size for an incoming freshman,” says Coach Oseth. “At 6’9, 240 pounds and still growing, he has the potential to be able to play inside in the NSIC. We think that, when healthy, Andrew could be a top post player in our league. We’re very pleased that Andrew has decided to play his collegiate basketball at UMC.”

The six signees join third team All-Metro selection Damarius Cruz of Plymouth, Minn., Wisconsin State All-Star Mike Boebel of Marshall, Wis. and Andrew Albers of Kimberly, Wis. in the Golden Eagles 2009 recruiting class. Cruz, Boebel and Albers signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period last November.

MINNESOTA PUMP AND RUN TAKES ON THE WISCONSIN SWING IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME THAT ENDS IN OVER TIME

In the championship game in the 17U division it was the Minnesota Pump and Run taking on the Wisconsin Swing. Minnesota Pump and Run started the game out playing in a zone defense. The Pump and run continued to want to push the ball up the court. They wanted to get the ball up the court as fast as they could.

For Pump and Run Carlos Emmory had a couple of nice dunks in the first half, he has rally played well in this tournament. He has been strong with the ball and he hasn’t made any dumb decisions.


The first half went back and forth. Neither team was able to come out with a commanding lead midway through the first half.


Josh Gasser for the Wisconsin Swing has played well in the first half. He has been able to make some shots and has played aggressive defense.


Both teams have played extremely well in the first half. Neither team was able to go out on a run. Steve Tucker hit some key shots in the first half for Pump and Run.


The Sting really put it to the Pump and Run in the first half. They have played strong in the first half. Both of these teams went at each other in the first half. The Pump and Run team was not able to go on their runs that they were able to do in the previous games.

At half time the score was Minnesota Pump and Run 27 and Wisconsin Swing 34.


As the second half got underway the Minnesota Pump and Run came out on fire. They came out with a lot of confidence. Carlos Emmory hit a few good three pointers. There was a lot more intensity shown in the second half.


Carlos Emmory has played really well he has had a few nice dunks in this game. He didn’t care who was guarding him he just took the ball hard to the basket.


The Pump and Run were able to go on a little run in the second half. Both of these teams didn’t give up. The Sting played very well in the game.


The game went back and forth throughout the game. With 53 second on the clock Pump and Run had a 54-52 lead. Chip Rank hit a three point shot with 23 seconds left to go in regulation that made the score tied at 56 apiece. The score was tied at 56 at the end of regulation.

There was a 2:00 over time period. Pump and Run tried to stall in the overtime period. They passed the ball around the three point arc. They made the Wisconsin Swing come out and guard them from the outside. With 5 seconds left in first over time fowled Marquis Manson Jonathan Crockett. He went up and he made his free throws. Minnesota Pump and Run was able to come away with the 60-56 overtime victory.

MINNESOTA PUMP AND RUN TOOK CONTROL OF THE BARNSTORMERS EARLY

The Minnesota Pump and Run took on the Barnstormers. Both of these teams were able to get of these got up and down the court in the first half.

The Minnesota Pump and Run was again lead by Dyami Starks in the first half. He did a good job of leading his troops in the first half. Steve Tucker also had a nice half. He was able to get up and down the court with ease. `

Aaron Anderson was also able to make some shots in the first half. The Pump and Run team looked so fluent in the first half. They were just able to run their stuff. The Barnstormers didn’t give up in the first half. They kept on fighting and didn’t give in.

At half time the score was Minnesota Pump and Run 47 and Barnstormers 29.


As the second half got underway the Minnesota Pump and Run came out on fire. They didn’t give up. Everyone was playing together. They were able to make a majority of their shots that they put up. They were really playing well. The Minnesota Pump and Run just couldn’t be stopped.


The Minnesota Pump and Run was in control the whole game. They didn’t back down. They were able to come away with the 79-43 victory.

17U MINNESOTA PUMP AND RUN TOOK ON BIG GAME SPORTS

In the first game on Sunday morning it was the Minnesota Pump and Run against Big Game Sports.

Big Game Sports came out playing man to man defense. They also looked to get the ball out of the net and get it up the court.


Pump and Run started playing zone on the defensive end. They were able to double the guy on the wing. Dyami Starks showed some spark early in the game as he was able to beat his defender off the dribble.


Pump and Run was able to get the ball inside to their big guy, who was able to go up strong to the basket. They usually
posted Kevin Noreen in the low block. Big Game Sports didn’t have any one of their size who could battle with those two.

For Big Game Sports Jamar Franks was able to make some nice moves. He played good defense while he was out on the court. He was usually matched up against one of Pump And Run’s guards.


Dyami Starks was able to come up with some nice shots in the first half. Pump and Run was able to build a cushion at the end of the first half as they were able to just drain shot after shot.


In a half that has been pretty much one sided the Pump and Run took a 45-22 lead over Big Game Sports at the half.

As the second half got underway both teams came out fired up ready to play. Pump and Run continued where they left off in the first half as they continued to dominate. Big Game Sports didn’t step down they continued to play hard throughout the contest.


We had a rain delay with 11:29 left to go in regulation. The roof was leaking over the court so there was a stoppage in play as the officials cleaned up the court of the water. After some tape was placed on the floor to add some traction for the players we were back to action with the game and score way out of reach.


The second half was just like the first half as the Pump and Run boys were able to come away with a land slide victory over Big Game Sports. The final of the contest was Pump and Run 67 and Big Game Sports 47.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

WHITEWATER FOOTBALL COACH APOLOGIZES TO STUDENT PAPER

By Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater head football coach Lance Leipold on Thursday apologized to the campus newspaper and to a student journalist, just a day after he said he would ban student reporters from covering his team.

In a statement released by the school, Leipold, a two-time national coach of the year, said he apologized to the Royal Purple, the student newspaper, for his use of inappropriate language to a reporter and his banning of the newspaper from covering the team.

Leipold said he would cooperate with the paper in the future.

In an email to student reporter Christopher Kuhagen, who wrote a story about Leipold in the campus newspaper, Leipold offered the apology. And he acknowledged that the reporter, the UW-Whitewater campus community and alumni expect and deserve better from the head football coach.

The furor erupted after Leipold was angered by an editorial written by Michael Daly, the paper's managing editor. The editorial was about an incident involving three members of the football team.

Paul Plinske, the school's athletic director, said Leipold's behavior was unacceptable.

"I am disappointed that Coach Leipold responded in this manner," Plinske said in a statement. "This is by no means a reflection on Warhawk athletics. Instead, it is an instance where an excellent coach allowed his passion for the program and his team to get the best of him. Coach Leipold knows his behavior was unacceptable."

Asked if Leipold would be formally reprimanded for his actions, Plinske wrote in an e-mail that, "It's a personnel matter that will be taken up with the Chancellor when he returns to campus from meetings in Madison."

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer said in the campus statement that he supported Plinske, adding that he thought the relationship between the football program and the student newspaper can be repaired.

"Lance Leipold admitted that he behaved poorly and he has apologized. It is my hope that we learn from this situation and move forward," Telfer said. "The Warhawk football program is one of the best in the nation and we want to focus on continuing to improve the program. Coach Leipold understands that the program needs the support of the entire campus community, and that includes the Royal Purple, to be successful. I know we can put this unfortunate situation behind us."

According to a story in the
Royal Purple, the campus newspaper, Leipold took the action after becoming angry over an editorial titled, "Spoiled athletes need reality check."

Leipold then initially decided that no one from the student-run newspaper could call anyone associated with the football program unless he approved. And he said coaches or players would not be allowed to answer questions from student reporters during the 2009 season.

"The door is shut," Leipold said Wednesday. "Go cover soccer. I have (head coach) Greg Henschel's number. I'm sure that will be fun."

Now Leipold has backed off.

Last December, Leipold's Warhawks, a perennial national football power, were in the NCAA Division 3 national football championship game, but lost to Mount Union, 31-26.

Leipold's record over two seasons is 27-3.

In the editorial, Daly wrote about an incident he said he witnessed on campus in which three football players attempted to work out, independent of their team, without handing over their student IDs. According to Daly, one athlete cooperated, another eventually did show his ID, and a third refused until police were called.

Leipold said the three athletes were disciplined for their actions. "The situation was handled within the program and apologies were made," Leipold wrote in an earlier e-mail to the newspaper.

2009 ROOSEVELT GIRLS FALL LEAGUE

2009 LOCATION: Midtown YWCA

Register today to ensure your team gets the competitive edge before the official 09/10 season begins
League play starts Saturday, August 29 and runs five consecutive Saturdays - with a single elimination tournament the final Saturday


Registration is only $400*/team and is limited to the first 12 teams.

Teams already committed include: Hopkins, North, Roosevelt, South and Southwest

Midtown YWCA Address: 2121 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Space is limited to the first 12 teams so RSVP today by e-mail or phone to: coachwilliams44@gmail.com or 612-236-8511

* Registration includes 10 reversible jerseys and guaranteed competition in nine fall games. Teams will play 2 games per Saturday with a minimum of one game during the final, single elimination tournament.

TY LAWSON AND WAYNE ELLINGTON ENTER THE NBA DRAFT AGAIN

By AARON BEARD , Associated Press

North Carolina juniors Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington will enter the NBA draft, ending their college careers a few weeks after leading the Tar Heels to the national championship.

Lawson and Ellington announced their plans at a news conference Thursday afternoon. Both players declared for the draft last year before ultimately deciding to return to school.

Lawson was a second-team All-American and unseated Tyler Hansbrough as Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. He was second on the team in scoring at nearly 17 points per game, and closed his career with 21 points and a championship game-record eight steals in the 89-72 win against Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit.

"It's hard to leave Carolina because of all the great memories and things you learn in college," Lawson said. "All the fun I had with my teammates made it a hard decision. It's just tough leaving here."

Ellington was third in scoring at about 16 points and was named most outstanding player of the Final Four after scoring a combined 39 points against Villanova in the national semifinals and against the Spartans on April 6.
"Winning a championship definitely had a lot to do with it," Ellington said. "There's no better way to go out. It's something that's very hard to achieve and we worked for it."


It's a familiar scenario for North Carolina. After winning coach Roy Williams' first national title in 2005, the Tar Heels lost four underclassmen to the NBA and their top seven scorers overall.

This time, they're losing their top four scorers, with the graduation of Hansbrough — the ACC's career scoring leader and the program's all-time leading rebounder — and Danny Green. Still, things should be a little more settled this time.

Deon Thompson will be back for his senior season after averaging about 11 points per game along with talented big men Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller. North Carolina also expects to have versatile senior Marcus Ginyard, who started every game during the team's Final Four run in 2008 but played just three games this year before opting to redshirt after a slow recovery from foot surgery.

In addition, the Tar Heels add a recruiting class ranked first nationally by Scout.com, which includes the top-ranked power forward in John Henson.

STEPHEN CURRY TO SKIP HIS SENIOR SEASON

By MIKE CRANSTON , Associated Press

The big schools didn't want Stephen Curry, then were helpless in stopping his sweet-shooting stroke as he put tiny Davidson into the national spotlight.

Now after three seasons and plenty of records, Curry is taking his game to the NBA, presenting more intrigue in how the skinny, baby-faced guard with the great genes will fare at the next level.


The nation's leading scorer announced at on-campus news conference Thursday that he's skipping his senior season to enter the NBA draft. His father, former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, attended the announcement, along with his mother, Sonya, and Davidson coach Bob McKillop.


Curry said he will hire an agent, ending any chance that he'll return to campus and perhaps break Pete Maravich's NCAA Division I career scoring record.


"I think I'm mentally and physically ready to make that jump," said Curry, who believes he'll be selected somewhere between seventh and 20th overall. "This is a dream of mine since I was a little kid."


The lightly recruited Curry burst onto the national scene a year ago in helping Davidson of the unheralded Southern Conference get within a missed a 3-pointer of the Final Four.


The 6-foot-3 Curry moved to point guard this season and averaged 28.6 points. He had 15 games of 30 or more points and three of 40 or more as teams couldn't find a way to stop him.


Still, the decision tore at Curry's stomach much more than he expected. Two days after scoring 26 points in Davidson's loss to Saint Mary's in the NIT, Curry said he'd quickly make up his mind after speaking with his parents.


Dell Curry told his son he'd likely be a lottery pick and probably wouldn't improve his draft status by waiting a year.


But the younger Curry wavered because of his desire to get his college degree. Davidson does not have a summer school program, and he unsuccessfully tried to get school officials to bend with a policy that requires seniors to take the majority of their classes on campus.


"During the whole process, some days I would say, 'I think I'm going to stay,'" Curry said. "Then some doubts would come in and I'd say, 'I'm going to leave.' Then more doubts would come in and I would keep going back and forth."

Curry told school officials Wednesday afternoon he would announce his decision on Thursday, but didn't tell McKillop or his father what he'd do.


The uncertainty captivated the region, with four Charlotte-area television stations broadcasting the news conference live. Curry said he finally made up his mind 90 minutes earlier while "eating an omelet" in the school cafeteria.


"It took me that long to figure it out," Curry said. "I decided to sleep on it last night. I was at peace this morning and that's what I was looking for."


Despite a weaker supporting cast than a season ago, Curry shot 45 percent from the field in 2008-09, including 39 percent from 3-point range. He was voted a first-team Associated Press All-American.


He finished his college career with a school record 2,635 points, which ranks 25th in NCAA Division I history, and 414 3-pointers, fourth on the all-time list.


If Curry had returned for his senior season, he would have had an outside shot at breaking Maravich's four decade-old record of 3,667 points.


"He's become the face of college basketball. He's become the face of Davidson basketball," McKillop said, tears in his eyes. "As special as he has been to us, he will be equally special in the NBA. I've been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him these three years."


While Curry was perhaps the best shooter in college basketball, there are questions about how successful he'll be in the NBA. Curry will have to beef up his slight frame to withstand the rigors of an 82-game schedule. He's also still adjusting to the move to point guard, a position he'll likely have to play be a starter in the NBA.


Curry struggled at times when facing taller defenders with long arms, a likely nightly occurrence at the next level. But his lightning-quick release, surprising quickness, high basketball IQ and late growth spurt will make lottery teams take notice.


"He's shown that he can play and he's ready," Dell Curry said.


Curry has plenty of high-profile fans, too. Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James attended a Davidson NCAA tournament game last year and sat courtside in December when Curry scored 44 points in a win over North Carolina State.


"He's like a (Richard) Hamilton in our league. He never stops moving," James said after that game. "He's the type of player that's hard to guard no matter how big you are. Guys in the NBA don't want to continue to chase guys like that."


The major schools ignored Curry in high school because he was just 5-foot-9 in his junior year. He reached 6-feet as a freshman at Davidson and grew three more inches. After getting an MRI on an injured ankle in February, Curry said a doctor told him his growth plates showed he could sprout another two inches.

His father had a similar late growth spurt at Virginia Tech. Dell Curry then spent 16 years in the NBA, mostly with the Charlotte Hornets. He works in the Charlotte Bobcats' front office.

Stephen Curry said he'll finish classes this semester, then begin a rigorous workout program. He'll attend the NBA pre-draft event in Chicago next month, then work out for a handful of teams based on the results of the draft lottery.


"If you look at my body compared to some point guards and (shooting) guards, I have a lot of work to do," Curry said. "But if you saw me my freshman year, people were saying, 'Who's this kid in sixth grade walking around in college?'"

PREP PLAYER GETS EXTRA INNINGS AFTER HEART ATTACK

By John Millea of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Mike Spillman of Cannon Falls is back playing baseball, after a heart attack nearly killed him.

Mike Spillman was finally back in action, playing high school baseball after months of waiting for doctors to give him the go-ahead. In his first at-bat of the season earlier this month, the junior from Cannon Falls lashed a run-scoring double against Kasson-Mantorville. He later advanced to third base, sliding headfirst into the bag.
"When he did that, the fans were gasping," Cannon Falls coach Bucky Lindow said.

The fans weren't gasping at Spillman's speed. They were gasping because he has a pacemaker in his chest.
It's quite a story: A teenager collapses, is brought back from the brink of death and returns to playing the game he loves.

Seeing Mike on the baseball field is a relief for his family. The hard part came in September, when he nearly died.
"I don't even think about it, because he's safer now than he was without the pacemaker," Penny Spillman said of her son.

Mike, 17, collapsed in the school gym during a pickup basketball game. Gym supervisor Ross Peterson, who is a physical education instructor, and students Joel Willenbring and Demetre Growette administered CPR. A police officer quickly arrived on the scene and used the school's automated external defibrillator to jolt Mike's heart into rhythm.

"They brought me back," Mike said quietly last week, sitting in the home dugout at John Burch Park in Cannon Falls, located between the Twin Cities and Rochester.

An ambulance took him to the local hospital and a helicopter transported him to St. Paul Children's Hospital. He was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that forces the heart to work harder than normal.

The disease affects an estimated one in 500 Americans and is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30. Doctors told Gary and Penny Spillman that only one in 10 people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy survives cardiac arrest.

Basketball player Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount University died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 1990, and the disease claimed the life of Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics in 1993.

The Spillmans have no family history of the disease, and Mike's parents and three older siblings have all been tested and cleared.

Doctors barred Mike from playing basketball because of the stress it would put on his heart. He gave up football a couple of years ago, and it's out of the question now. But when he was cleared to play baseball, "You should have seen the smile on his face," Gary said.

Mike wears a lightweight protective shirt under his baseball jersey. The shirt, designed for in line skating, provides padding over the chest.

"If I take a line drive or a one-hopper into my pacemaker, it won't damage anything," he said.

The pacemaker, which also is a defibrillator, was implanted beneath his skin above the heart. Mike said
the pacemaker usually kicks in when he's in deep sleep and his heart rate slows. The defibrillator provides a backup system in case of cardiac arrest.

Mike, who plays third base and first base, is a heads-up ballplayer, Lindow said. "He's one of those guys who really understands the game," he said.

Spillman has received great support from his friends. While he sat out the basketball season, the rest of the team wore wristbands with the word "Moo" on them, an ode to the Spillman family dairy farm and Mike's nickname: Milker.

"He's no different [with the pacemaker]. He's still Mike," said classmate and baseball teammate Dan Venn. "He's a good kid. He's fun, he likes being goofy, but he works hard and does everything he should."

Mike is involved with a program called Anyone Can Save A Life, administered by the Minnesota State High School League and the Medtronic Foundation. His story is one of several on the website
www.anyonecansavealife.org. The public relations commitment is important to him.

"He told us, 'I don't want to read about the next kid who goes through this,'" Gary said.


Mike has been warned to stay away from large magnets or large collections of magnets, which could disrupt his pacemaker. The only such place he could think of is a store at the Mall of America that sells only magnets. His buddies don't mind giving him a hard time about it, either.

"They say they're going to buy me a gift certificate," he said with a smile.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TWIN CITIES ELITE TOOK ON THE NEXT LEVEL

The Next Level (TNL) took on Twin Cities Elite (Elite) in the 17U division. TNL came out with a lot of energy to start the game out with. They started the game in a full court press. They looked to get the ball out of the net and run with it.

Elite started in a full court press. They wanted to create a lot of havoc for TNL. They also came out with a lot of energy. Elite played a strong man to man defense to start the game out with.


Devon Terrell Knope played with a lot of enthusiasm in the first half. He was all over the floor. He really did a good job defending the ball.


Each team looked to push the ball up the court. TNL did a good job of getting the ball out of the net and getting the ball up the court.


Both teams looked a little rushed mid way through the first half. They were both taking bad shots and not getting back on the defensive end. For Elite Derek Jahner really played well. He was able to make a few good the Elite team in critical times in the first half.


It was a physical first half as each team was able to really go after each other. Neither team gave up in the first half. Everyone was diving on the floor after loose balls.

Jasper Duberry came up and hit a nice three point shot right in his defenders face. That gave his team some confidence in the first half. At half time the score was TNL 37 and Elite 32.


We will have to see what the second half brings. Each of these teams was very scrappy in the first half. Both of the teams came out fired up to play in the second half. Spencer Cummings for TNL really played aggressively. He went up strong with the ball and didn’t let his defenders go after him. He finished tough shots in the middle of the lane.



TNL put the press on the Elite team early in the second half. The press kind of bothered the Elite team but they were able to battle back and keep playing strong.


Devon Terrell Knope continued to play aggressively in the second half. He was looking for the open shot. He was able to hit that shot most of the night.

For Elite Josh Pratt came up with some nice moves in the second half. He had a nice dribble drive for a pretty layup midway through the second half.


Both of these teams kept going after each other throughout the game. This game came down to the wire, each team playing very aggressively. The Elite team went on a run to close out the game but that wasn’t enough. TNL was able to hold on and come away with the 72-66 victory over Twin Cities Elite.

P.R.I.D.E. YOUTH ORANGE TOOK ON MIDTOWN KINGS

Pride Youth took on the Mid Town Kings. As the game started both teams were able to make their shots. The Mid Town Kings started the game off in playing in a zone defense. They played zone most of the first half.

PRIDE Youth also started the game off playing in a zone defense. Each team was able to trade off baskets early in the contest.

In the first half for PRIDE Youth Robert Henderson was not afraid to go to the basket. He had nice quick first step and he was using that to his advantage as he was able to blow past his defenders.


Both teams played strong aggressive defense in the first half. Neither team was able to go on a run in the first half. The score at half time was PRIDE Youth 28 and Midtown Kings 27.


As the second half got underway both teams continued to push the ball up the court. The game also continued to be a dog fight was each team was trading baskets.


PRIDE Youth came out and played half court zone defense in the second half. They also were able to slow the shooting down on the Midtown Kings.


Midtown Kings tried some trapping in the second half. They were successful in creating turn over’s midway through the second half.


Chad Fahning continued to work hard on the low block. He was able to be a force in the low block.

Both teams just went up and down the court mid way through the second half. There didn’t seem to me much rhythm and flow for both teams, for about 5 minutes in the second half.

PRIDE Youth seemed to be playing with a lot of energy in the second half. PRIDE Youth was able to gain confidence in the second half and they went on a run mid way though the second half and they didn’t look back.

The Midtown Kings kept fighting the whole game and they didn’t back down. They tried to make a comeback in the second half.

In a game that went up and down the court PRIDE Youth was able to come away the hard fought 61-54 victory over the Midtown Kings. The Midtown Kings did make a run late in the game.

P.R.I.D.E. YOUTH ORANGE COME A WAY WITH THE VICTORY OVER THE OLD SKOOL SONICS

The Old Skool Sonics took on PRIDE Youth. Pride You was able to get out to a fast start and they were able to find the basket in the early goings. Jeff Probert got off to a strong start. He looked good in the low block. He was looking to score from the low block in the early goings.

Both teams looked to get after each other in the first half. Chan Gooding looked to push the ball up the floor and he was one of the leaders out there on the floor for PRIDE Youth. PRIDE Youth switched up between a man and zone in first half.

The Old Skool Sonics were to frustrate PRIDE Youth in the first half. They were able to hit their shots and play good defense in the first half. The first half went back and forth. Both teams were able to find their shots as the first half went on.

The Old Skool Sonics were able to slow the pace of the game down. They were able to frustrate PRIDE Youth in the first half.

Each team battled after each other the lead changed hands a few different times but at the half time break PRIDE Youth had a 28-25 lead.

PRIDE Youth came out looking to attack the basket from the get go. They didn’t want to waste clock time they wanted to get the best shot that they could.

The second half was a sea saw half. Both of these teams went back and forth and were able to score points. Neither team was going to give up.

Chan Gooding kept his good dribbling skills as he was able to dribble right past his defenders. Both of these teams really gave it their all the whole game.

PRIDE Youth really got there shots together in the later part of the game. They were able to hold off a good Old Skool Sonics team. In the end Pride Youth was able to come away with the 55-49 victory over the Old Skool Sonics.

P.R.I.D.E YOUTH ORANGE TOOK ON JAGUARS 14U

PRIDE Youth looked to get the ball up the court from the get go. They wanted to really look to run the court as soon as the game got started. Chan Gooding from PRIDE Youth came up with a nice three point shot to start the game. He looked to push the ball up the court.

The Jaguars were able to make shots in the first half. They were able to defend well. They just looked and played more aggressively in the first half.

PRIDE Youth continued to push the ball in transition. Even though they did have a hard time finding the basket in the first half they didn’t get down on themselves.


At half time the score was Jaguars 31 and PRIDE Youth 15.


As the second half got underway Pride Youth stepped up the intensity on both ends of the court, they were diving on the floor for loose balls and they were really looking for their shots. They kept pushing the ball up the court in transition.


Chain Gooding did a good job running the offense for PRIDE Youth. He was able to take control of the point guard spot but his team had trouble finding the basket.


PRIDE Youth was able to go on a small run in the middle of the second half. They were able to slow the game down and play at the tempo that they wanted to play at. The Jaguars went to sleep on both ends of the floor towards the end of the second half and that’s when PRIDE Youth was able to make their run.


The Jaguars let PRIDE Youth back into this game. They made this game interesting in the end. The Jaguars were able to come away with the with the 53-47 victory. This was a hard fought game on both ends of the court.

MINNEAPOLIS HUSTLERS TAKE DOWN THE MIDTOWN KINGS

The Midtown Kings Took on the Minneapolis Hustlers. Both of these teams really got off to a fast start. They really pushed the ball up the court. The Kings started the game out in a full court press. They were able to fluster the Hustlers early in the contest.

In the first half both of these teams were able to get the ball up the court. In a half that started out fast the Hustlers were able to take a commanding 35-16 lead at half time.

The Hustlers continued to make shots in the second half. They were able to take it to the Kings. The Hustlers didn’t give up the whole game. The Kings just looked tired the whole game. They didn’t seem to have any energy.

In a game that was pretty lop sided throughout the whole game the Hustlers came away with the 55-29 victory.

MPLS HOOPS TOOK ON P.R.I.D.E YOUTH GRAY

In the first game of the day it was MPLS Hoops taking on PRIDE Youth. Both teams looked to push the ball up the court in the early goings.

MPLS Hoops was able to find the basket easily in the first half they climbed out to an early 10-2 lead with 9:00 left in the first half.


Pride Youth tried to double the ball when the ball reached the low post. They were a little taller than the MPLS Hoops team.


MPLS Hoops played a zone defense in the first half they were able to slow down PRIDE Youth on the offensive end.

Both of these teams battled in the first half. Each was able to make runs at each other. PRIDE Youth went on a run as the first half came to a close.


At the half time intermission the score was MPLS Hoops 27 and PRIDE Youth 17.

As the second half got underway both teams came out with a lot of intensity. Both teams looked to pick up the pace.


MPLS Youth kept pushing the ball up the court. They were able to keep making shots throughout the second half. PRIDE Youth didn’t back down in the second half as well. They knew that they were in a dog fight the whole game. They played that way the whole game.


Both of these teams played a hard fought game in the end MPLS Hoops was able to come away with the 52-40 victory over a very tough PRIDE Youth team.

OFF TO THE COLIN POWELL CENTER I GO FOR TOURNAMENT ACTION

On a sunny morning I head over to the Colin Powell Center where there is spring basketball taking place. In the first game it was the Minnesota Select taking on Hoops Training.

Both of these teams got out to a fast start in this contest. Select was able to get out to a 7 point lead 17-10 7:30 left in 1st half. They were able to find Dan Flesher in the middle of the lane where he would just tip the ball in because he is so tall. (Don’t have official height).

Select looked to push the ball up the court as quickly as they could. They were getting most of their shots in transition. In the first half Minneapolis Select was able to find their shot and make them.

Both teams kept up the pace in the second half as they did in the first half. Select was able to find the basket most of the game. Even though Hoops Training was able to give them a scare in the second half Select was able to come away with the victory by the final of 56-43.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

BENILDE-ST. MARGARET’S TOOK ON HOLY ANGLES IN BOYS LACROSSE

Both of these teams were able to get the ball up and down the field. Holy Angles was able to get the first goal of the contest on Luke Mc Mamara. He also scored the second goal of the contest. Both teams have played really aggressive in the first quarter.


After the first quarter the score was Holy Angles 2 and Benilde-St.Margaret’s 0. Both teams kept going after each other.


Benilde-St.Margaret’s was able to get there first goal of the game coming midway in the second quarter. Christian Horn got a goal midway through the second quarter. Ryan Butts got a goal for Benilde-St.Margaret’s midway through the second quarter.


Ryan Butts got another goal at the end of the second quarter.


As the second half got underway Taylor Topousis got on the boards early in the third quarter, he was able to score the first goal of the second half for Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Bailey Dodds


Cullen Hurley from Holy Angles was able to get a goal late in the third quarter.


Benilde’s Mike Hoff got a goal at the end of the third quarter.


Michael Mamalakis scored two goals for Holy Angles late in the contest. Benilde-St.Margaret’s was able to hold on to the 11-5 victory.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

DEVON TERREL KNOPE LOOKING TO IMPRESS COLLEGES THIS SUMMER

Devon Terrell Knope who is currently attending Burnsville high school but is looking to transfer to Lakeville South next year. His family will move into the Lakeville South district. This summer he will be playing with the TNL Express. He hopes his play this summer will impress college coaches.


Currently he has been getting looks from different colleges. Some of the different schools that are looking at him are Iowa, Wisconsin Green-Bay and Wichita State; he is also getting some looks at some different Division 2 colleges.

ATTENTION COACHES PLAYERS AND MANAGERS

Hello I am trying to put together a list of names of people that are planning to either play or manage basketball next season.

Please email me your name and what school/team you are currently with and what school you have signed with. My email address is
stevenmgr@hotmail.com


THANKS

JACQUES LEMAIRE OUT AS MINNESOTA WILD HOCKEY COACH

BY MICHAEL RUSSO MINEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

The Jacques Lemaire era in Minnesota ended Saturday night.

Lemaire, the only coach the Wild has ever known, made it official after a bittersweet 6-3 season-ending victory over Columbus: Lemaire coached his final game with the Wild.

"I think it's time for the players to get a new coach and myself to look for other stuff," Lemaire said. "I always said there'll be a time. There comes a time that you know it's the right time to go, and I know this. I had a great time, man. I had eight great years."

Lemaire, 63, said this is not a retirement. He said he is not "tired of dealing with players" and still has a love for coaching and a drive to maybe coach elsewhere.

"It's exciting. It's an exciting job," he said. "I was behind the bench just before the game there, and I felt I was getting really tight because it's something I've done for 15 years and I like it and I have to go.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I want to stay in the game, but I don't know what I'm going to do."
In the past, Lemaire said he would only coach in another city if he had a relationship with the general manager like he had with Wild GM Doug Risebrough.

Lemaire is a former teammate of Canadiens GM Bob Gainey, and the Habs have an opening. Asked if he would return to Montreal, where he coached two seasons from 1983 to '85 and played 12 as a Hall of Fame center, Lemaire laughed.

"I won't start to mention any teams because I'm still under contract in a way," Lemaire said. "But I'll be looking for a job. I don't know what type. But I'll be looking."

Asked if he would want to stay with the Wild in another capacity, Lemaire said, "I don't think it'll be the case."
Lemaire, a winner of 11 Stanley Cups, brought with him credibility when he was hired in 2000. NHL coaches usually have three-year shelf-lives. Lemaire lasted nine, including the lockout.

And from Day 1, despite the Wild fielding a team that on many nights was less talented than its opposition, Lemaire somehow got it to compete almost nightly.

No expansion team since 1991 won more games in its first eight seasons than Minnesota (293).

"He set the bar really high for all of us," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "His ability to take a mid pack team and have them compete every day at a high level is to me more impressive than taking a good team and making it great. If you give him a top team, he'd win all the time.

"To me, he's one of the best coaches in the league -- ever."

Veteran winger Andrew Brunette said it will be weird to no longer see Lemaire running the Wild bench.
"He's meant everything to this franchise," Brunette said. "Keeping it competitive from the start, just the system he put in place, the accountability, the development, he did a heck of a job here. It's going to be sad. Every time he's behind the bench, you've got a real good chance of winning."

Who's the Wild's next coach?

Risebrough declined to comment after the game. A news conference is expected in St. Paul on Monday.
It's been speculated that Houston Aeros coach Kevin Constantine will be Lemaire's heir apparent. But there are other quality coaches out there, from Peter Laviolette to Guy Carbonneau to Tom Renney to Wild assistants Mario Tremblay and Mike Ramsey. But maybe others become available in the coming weeks, such as MacTavish, Buffalo's Lindy Ruff and Dallas' Dave Tippett.

Constantine might be the eventual guy, but with such a critical decision, one would think Risebrough will do his due diligence and conduct an all-out search.

Tension with players. In recent days, Lemaire has looked like a man with one foot out the door. He admitted Saturday he made his decision awhile ago.

Lemaire's assistants ran most every morning skate the past six weeks. And Friday morning, with the Wild nine hours from playing its gazillionth biggest game of the season against Nashville, Lemaire addressed the media with his car keys in his right hand.

There had been clear tension behind the scenes.In recent days, players stood up to Lemaire in the locker room. At one point during a practice huddle Thursday, one veteran actually cursed at him in front of his teammates.
Players were disenchanted he didn't use Marian Gaborik on a 4-on-3 overtime power play in a must-win vs. Vancouver on March 31. In Dallas in March, players were furious the coaching staff took the bus back to the hotel while a dozen of them were left at the arena.

He has been in a rift with 20-year-old James Sheppard, one that came to a head in February when Sheppard asked Lemaire to loosen his grip.

"There's not one guy I didn't have friction with, except maybe Bruno -- we were always on the same page," said Lemaire, meaning this was not abnormal in a coach-player relationship. "But the other guys, there's always something. And sometimes when you like a guy it's worse, because you want him to grow, and then you're on his [butt]."

Players also didn't like being one of the NHL's few teams that practice in the road city after flying, and they didn't like how few days off they get.

Lately, Lemaire has voiced frustration during unsolicited rants to the media.

Two weeks ago, Lemaire snapped at how some Wild players were not taking seriously their "responsibility to get prepared." But then he added, "I'll take some blame ... because I'm not perfect."

Out of nowhere last week, Lemaire seethed about players complaining he doesn't give enough days off. Then, he seemed to inadvertently reveal a run-in he had with a player: "Us, we never get optionals. Us, never get days off. That's what I hear from them: 'We don't get days off.' When I gave them a day off, they went like this, 'Are you sick?' That's exactly what they did to me. 'Are you sick?'

"... I told him, 'Would it be nice just to play 82 games? Would that be nice? No practice. Could go shopping, could go check my insurance, shop for new cars?' That'd be a great life. But I don't know if it would work, though. Lot of L's."Interesting, eh? Who's "him?"


I loved dealing with Lemaire. Selfishly, I wish he'd return just for the quote. The guy is hysterical. I've covered a ton of coaches, and I've learned more from him than anybody.

I can't imagine hockey without Lemaire, or Lemaire without hockey.

But it was time. Injuries, especially to Gaborik and Brent Burns, killed the Wild this season, but Lemaire also lamented often how he just couldn't get this group to play the way he wanted until it was too late.

Jacques Lemaire-coached teams are built to play anybody tight, yet in December and March, this version of the Wild routinely found itself down 2-0 or 3-0. That tore him apart.


Listening to Lemaire after those games, you could sense it was tearing him apart.


"We had one line all year. We tried at times to make two lines. It didn't work," Lemaire said. "We went with one line and we had our defense, lucky we had those guys [Marek Zidlicky and Marc-Andre Bergeron], that brought us more offense. We're not far from last year, don't forget this, in goals for, and we didn't have Gaby and we lost [Brent Burns]."


This is huge off season for the Wild. It just didn't make sense anymore to continue going year to year with Lemaire, especially with the perception that his defensive style was inhibiting the Wild from reeling in the big fish like other hockey hotbeds.


He seemed to indicate he was told it was time for a change.


"I had to make [this decision] for certain reasons," said Lemaire, declining to clarify.

Michael Russo • mrusso@startribune.com

Saturday, April 11, 2009

LARSEN HAS GRAND FRIDAY AS PIPERS DEFEAT COBBERS

Sophomore Heidi Larsen (Andover, Minn.) used her first home run of the year to drive in four runs as the Hamline University softball team swept Concordia College, 6-2 and 5-3, on Good Friday in Saint Paul.

In the opening game of the twin bill, Concordia put a run on the board in the top of the second and again in the top of the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. The Pipers cut the lead to one when they hit three singles in the bottom of the fourth.

Hamline had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth with two outs with a dropped pop-up kept the Pipers alive and allowed pinch runner Cortney Bailey (So., Blooming Prairie, Minn.) to score. Larsen then stepped to the plate with the scored tied at 2-2 and blasted a grand slam over the left field fence for the 6-2 Piper advantage.

Ashley Anderberg (Jr., Circle Pines, Minn.) was 3-for-3 at the plate in the opener.

Jessalyn Weaver (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) earned the complete-game win for the Pipers on the rubber, striking out six and walking one as she improved to 8-3. Kesley Jones (Fy., Billings, Mont.) struck eight as she took the loss for the Cobbers.

In game two, the Cobbers took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the third before the Pipers put four runs on the board on four hits. Mixed in with those hits was an RBI-single by Grace Weinreich (Sr., Wahkon, Minn.) and a three-run home run by Erin Farley (So., Saint Paul, Minn.).

The Cobbers scored two more runs in the fifth, answered by the Pipers with another of their own in the bottom of the inning on a hit and an error for the 5-3 win.

Larsen went 2-for-3 in the second game with a pair of singles while Sophie Davidson (Jr., Saint Paul, Minn.) was 2-for-4.

With the pair of wins, the Pipers improve to 15-5, 8-2 MIAC. The Cobbers fall to 5-13, 0-4 MIAC. The Pipers will next host UW-Stout in a non-conference double-header at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 13.

HIGH SCHOOL BOARD'S HASTY VOTE ON TRAVEL IS REVERSED

FROM JOHN MILLEA, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

The issue of out-of-state trips initially was tabbed only for discussion. After a discussion period, it was rejected.

For a few minutes Thursday morning, major changes were approved for high school sports in Minnesota: a ban on out-of-state travel and new limits on practices, scrimmages and jamborees.

But then parliamentary procedure came into play and nothing changed after all.


Cost-cutting was a major theme during the Minnesota State High School League board of directors meeting in Brooklyn Center. But most of the economic measures were listed under the "discussion" segment of the agenda, not the "action" category. That's where the confusion began.


After a proposal was approved to stop out-of-state travel and limit off-school practice sites, scrimmages and jamborees, a recess was called. When the board reconvened, a series of parliamentary maneuvers was taken and in the end, the previously approved changes came up for another vote and were defeated.


"We had a discussion item we were trying to move to an action item," said board president Mark Kuisle, athletic director at Rochester Century. "We got bogged down, where we voted on it before we made it an action item. So we went back and cleaned it up. Once we did that, the board decided we want a little bit more input and to clean up the verbiage."


The board will revisit that proposal in June. Several other major policy shifts will be topics at that meeting, including:


• Having basketball drop from four classes to three, wrestling and golf from three to two, and eliminating most consolation-round events in team and individual sports. The board asked MSHSL staff to study those possibilities as ways to save money for the MSHSL and schools.


• Moving the golf season from the spring and making it a summer or fall sport.


The board also discussed extending spring sports seasons a week or two deeper into June as a way to avoid bad weather and keep athletes and coaches/teachers from missing too much class time.


The board approved previously announced changes in class and section assignments for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years, and also voted to institute background checks for officials and referees. Under the new policy, applicants to become registered officials cannot have been convicted of a felony crime involving: a minor at any time; the use, possession or sale of a controlled substance within the past 10 years; the use or threatened use of violence against a person within the last 10 years; a sexual offense within the last 10 years; gambling within the past 10 years.


According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, background checks are currently done in Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Friday, April 10, 2009

STUDENT WARNED OVER FACEBOOK FOR WOOING PROSPECT

BY JUSTIN POPE

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—College sports fans, be careful of the company you keep on Facebook.
You might get yourself—and the program you support—in trouble.


That was the lesson this week for Taylor Moseley, a North Carolina State freshman who expressed a common-enough opinion on campus when he started the Facebook group called “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!!”

More than 700 people signed up for the group encouraging Wall—a local standout and the nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit—to pick the Wolfpack by national signing day next week.

But the NCAA says such sites, and dozens more like them wooing Wall and other top recruits, violate its rules. More than just cheer leading boards, the NCAA says the sites are an attempt to influence the college choice of a recruit.


Moseley got a cease and desist letter from N.C. State’s compliance director, Michelle Lee, warning of “further action” if he failed to comply. In an interview Friday, Lee said that people who act as boosters but fail to follow recruiting guidelines could face penalties such as being denied tickets or even being formally “disassociated” from the athletic program.

Adam Kissel, director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said the NCAA can impose rules on its member colleges. But universities—especially public ones—can’t enforce them if it means punishing students in any way for expressing an opinion.

“A student doesn’t lose First Amendment rights because of a contract the university signs with (the NCAA),” he said.

Moseley, the student, didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the group has been renamed “Bring a National Title back to NC STATE!” and features a photo of Wall.

Though Lee sent Moseley the tough warning, even she finds the rule exasperating. The NCAA, she says, simply isn’t keeping up with the technology reality.

“I think nationally the NCAA needs to address further Facebook and how these groups play a part in recruiting,” she said. “Is it realistic for us to be able to monitor them? What harm is a group like this causing? But as the legislation stands right now, this is the position we have to take.”

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said the group considers its rules “technology neutral.” A Facebook page is simply a high-tech way to try to influence recruits.

The NCAA’s concern is “intrusions into a high school student’s life when they’re trying to decide where to go to college,” he said. He said the NCAA is keeping up with technology, noting new rules on text-messaging from coaches.

Christianson said the NCAA expects institutions to act as N.C. State did, reaching out to the creators of such groups to “educate” them about the rules. He added he was not aware the NCAA had ever initiated any action related to a Facebook group or notified an institution about one.

But dozens of Facebook groups are still up in plain site for current recruits, including Wall, and other top undecided basketball players such as Xavier Henry and Lance Stephenson.

Wall, a 6-4 play maker, averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists for Raleigh Word of God this past season. He’s the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, and among the last top players yet to commit. A Facebook search reveals groups including “Bring John Wall to Baylor,” “John Wall Belongs at UNC” and “John Wall, come to DUKE!!”

There are at least four groups encouraging Wall to pick Kentucky. Through an athletic department spokesman, UK head of compliance Sandy Bell declined to comment on whether the department has taken any action in response to such groups.

Facebook did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Kissel, of the education rights group, and Aden Fine of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that while the NCAA—a private entity—could pursue sanctions against a student like Moseley (such as denying him access to an entirely NCAA-run event), it was troubling that the letter and threatened sanction came from the university.

“The school is potentially finding themselves in a tricky situation, because of the NCAA rules, but that doesn’t mean public universities can censor lawful speech,” Fine said.

Christianson dismissed the free speech argument, saying courts have upheld the NCAA’s right to set recruiting rules for members.

“We don’t see it as a free speech issue. What we do see it as is a recruiting issue,” he said. “We want to be sure that we limit that level of intrusion that comes into their lives.”

TRAVIS BUSCH AND KEVIN PAYTON TO FORGO SENIOR SEASONS

University of Minnesota men’s basketball head coach Tubby Smith and the Golden Gopher basketball program today announced that guards Travis Busch and Kevin Payton will forgo their final season of eligibility at the University of Minnesota. Both players are seniors academically and are on scheduled to graduate this spring.

“We are grateful for what Travis and Kevin brought to the University of Minnesota during their time on campus,” said Tubby Smith. “We are proud that both will leave the university with a degree and wish them the best of luck in their life after college.”

Busch, the winner of the 2005 Minnesota Mr. Basketball award, transferred to the University of Minnesota after spending his freshman season at Cal Poly. He leaves having played 50 career games in two seasons, averaging 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. Busch established most of his individual career highs this season, including scoring 13 points against the University of Louisville in the Stadium Shootout at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Busch is well-known for making one of the most memorable passes in Gopher history, as he connected with Blake Hoffarber on a three-quarter court pass with 1.5 seconds left on the clock against Indiana in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.

Payton, a native of Camden, N.J., played in 67 career games at the U (17 starts) and averaged 1.5 points, 1.7 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 13.9 minutes per game. After spending the 2005-06 season as a red shirt, Payton played in all 31 games (13 starts) in 2006-07 and established career-highs in points (12 vs. Penn State), assists (9 vs. Arizona State), rebounds (7 vs. North Dakota State) and minutes (39 at Alabama-Birmingham).

The Gophers wrapped up the 2008-09 with a loss to the University of Texas on Mar. 19 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Gophers since 2005 and the 15th overall appearance for a Tubby Smith-led team.

The Gophers finished 22-11 on the season, the 16th-straight season a Tubby Smith-led team reached the 20-win plateau. It is the longest active streak in the nation and the third-longest streak in NCAA history. Minnesota reached 20 total wins for just the ninth time in school history while Minnesota’s 21 regular season wins is the second-most in school history behind the 24 victories in 1976-77.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

MIAMI BEATS BEMIDJI STATE IN NCAA HOCKEY

WASHINGTON — Where's Bemidji? That's so yesterday.
Here's the latest question from the Frozen Four: Where's Miami?

Well, when it comes to hockey, it's in the Midwest.

"It certainly is not in Florida," Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. "I sure hope everybody's enjoying this back in Oxford, Ohio."

A Miami school will play for an NCAA title, and it's not the Hurricanes from down South. The RedHawks, in the first national semifinal game played by any sports team in the university's history, beat fellow upstart Bemidji State 4-1 on Thursday night to advance to the championship of the Frozen Four.

"It puts Miami on the map," left wing Justin Mercier said. "To establish ourselves as a perennial powerhouse, we need to make it to more Frozen Fours. It has to start somewhere, right?"


Stunning upsets in the first two rounds made Bemidji State — the small university located in a northern Minnesota town better known for its place in the Paul Bunyan legend — the darlings of the week, much as George Mason was at basketball's Final Four three years ago. GMU even loaned its "Green Machine" pep bard to the green-clad Beavers and played a chorus or two of "Livin' on a Prayer" — Mason's unofficial theme song during the 2006 run — in an unsuccessful attempt to rally the school's kindred spirits in the third period.


Yet, while Bemidji State had the funkier name (pronounced, as the sports world knows by now, beh-MIDGE-ee), it was Miami that had the three-goal burst in the second period that essentially settled the game.

Miami (23-12-5) will face the winner of Boston University and Vermont, who played later Thursday, in Saturday's title game. Bemidji State (20-16-1) will head home with a George Mason-like feeling — good enough to make its sport's biggest stage, but not good enough to win once it was there.


"A lot of people were pulling for us; we knew that going into the game," BSU defenseman Cody Bostock said. "It's a feel-good story for a lot of people out there. It's something special to be a part of. You want to thank everyone out there.


"Unfortunately, tonight we came up on the wrong end, but it's been a good run. The time of a lifetime. Something I'll never forget."


Had the Beavers not been here, Miami would have been carrying the banner for the underdogs. The RedHawks, who not long ago used to call themselves the Redskins, might be best known among sports fans for producing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Only one Division I hockey school — Alabama-Huntsville — is further south. Oxford's population of 22,000 could almost squeeze into the Verizon Center, although Bemidji's 14,000 or so would fit with room to spare.


"I think it just puts an exclamation point on what coach Blasi has been building since he got to Miami," Mercier said. "He really had a vision and when I was being recruited here to Miami, I really believed what he was doing, and in what he was doing."


Tommy Wingels, Alden Hirschfeld and Bill Loupee all found the net during the second-period barrage, scoring more goals against Bemidji State in 7 minutes than the Beavers allowed in the first two rounds, when they shocked the college hockey world by beating Notre Dame and Cornell.


Wingels also had an empty-net goal in the third. Freshman goalie Cody Reichard made 24 saves for the RedHawks.


Both schools were not only in the Frozen Four for the first time, but both were No. 4 seeds in the regionals — the lowest rung of the 16-team tournament. As might be expected from the newcomers, the first period was more of a shake-the-nevres, feeling-out process than anything else.


Wingels started the scoring by beating goalie Matt Dalton stickside from the left circle early in the second period. The goal ended a streak of 10 consecutive successful penalty kills for the Beavers.


Wingels then supplied the backhand pass to Hirschfeld to make the score 2-0. Matt Read pulled Bemidji State within one with a power-play goal about a minute later, but Loupee restored the two-goal lead a minute after that when he camped next to the crease and got his stick on the puck, deflecting it off a sprawling Dalton and into the net.


Bemidji's fans had come out in force, dominating one corner of the rink with signs and cheers and the borrowed pep band, but the crowd couldn't rally the Beavers one more time.


"Obviously when you lose, it stings, but you have to get over it," Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. "But after you reflect back and you look at it and, you know what, you're proud that you were able to participate in an event like this."