Friday, June 7, 2013.
During the Chris Ault era, despite all the coach’s accomplishments, Nevada didn’t spend much time on the college football homepage at SI.com. But there it was yesterday, a photo of new coach Brian Polian and a feature on the metamorphosis of the Wolf Pack program. Let’s just say Polian has done some redecorating around Nevada’s offices. “It was all good stuff,” Polian told SI.com. “But there was no rhyme or reason to it. It was just, ‘Hey, this was a really big win, here's a four-by-two foot collage of it, we're going to jam it up on the wall.’” One thing Polian is not going to shuttle is Ault’s Pistol offense. “How dumb would that be?” Polian said. “People say, ‘Are you going to change The Pistol?’ No. Why would I? It works.” The piece was good pub for Nevada. And Pack fans were happy to see nary a mention of new century nemisis Boise State.
At Bronco Stadium, the midfield logo has been cut out of the blue turf and has presumably been rolled up and trucked to the person who paid $7,000 for it at the Boise State Foundation Auction last month. And the new horse head logo is being sewn in during the lull before high school camps begin. There’s been a lot of talk about the fact there’s no written “Boise State” to flash all over national TV anymore. But at this point, after 14 years of a rather incredible run in football, the horse head will tell viewers everything they need to know.
The Montreal Alouettes opened their first training camp under Dan Hawkins this week. Hawkins has been hopping around the field in Lennoxville, Quebec, in his big straw hat, delivering high-decibel motivation. “Dan definitely shows a lot more emotion,” said veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo in the Montreal Gazette. Calvillo turns 41 in August and is less than 12 years younger than Hawk. “We’re still trying to get a feel for him and the entire staff,” Calvillo said. “They’re blowing whistles, telling us to run this way, and we don’t know what we’re doing.” Last week I mentioned the Boise State alums playing for the former Bronco head coach. The roster also includes former Idaho standout Aaron Lavarius—plus Steven Lumbala out of the University of Calgary, brother of former Vandal and current B.C. Lion Rolly Lumbala.
Rocky Mountain High centerfielder Mason Smith was not selected in the first two rounds of the Major League Draft last night and thereby didn’t make “Idaho position player history.” But that doesn’t mean Smith isn’t still in a good position as the draft continues today. If you average several of the draft forecasts, Smith is generally rated in the 80’s or 90’s among this year’s draft prospects, and only the top 73 went last night. He has a fall-back plan, as a scholarship awaits at the University of Utah.
The Chicago Cubs took University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant with the second overall pick in the draft. That’s significant in light of the fact that the Boise Hawks have had every Cubs first round draft choice of the past 10 years come through Memorial Stadium, including last year’s top selection, Albert Almora, and supplemental first round pick Pierce Johnson. But Bryant is the No. 2 pick, and the Cubs would like to get him on the fast track to the majors. It’s likely he’ll skip Boise. Bryant led college baseball in home runs this season with 31. He was also tops in runs scored, walks and slugging percentage.
Gary Stevens would be happy to turn back the clock a dozen years when he rides Oxbow tomorrow in the Belmont Stakes. Before his upset win at the Preakness three weeks ago, Stevens’ last Triple Crown victory was aboard Point Given at the Belmont in 2001. He had won at Pimlico that year, too. The key right now is, Grandpa Gary is healthy—and very, very happy. Stevens probably felt more like a grandfather in 1999 than he does now. That’s when he first retired from horse racing due to debilitating knee pain. That lasted only 10 months, but he hung it up for good in 2005, thanks to the knees. Now he seeks his 4,910th career victory tomorrow. Stevens’ peeps at Les Bois Park will be watching anxiously—the track will again take a break in the middle of its Saturday card to show the Belmont.
Boise State’s Igor Hadziomerovic has been named to the Australian Boomers men's national team that will compete in the Sino-Australia Challenge beginning tonight in Perth. Hadziomerovic and the rest of the Boomers will take on a Chinese team that includes 10 players who represented China at the 2012 Summer Olympics, including two with NBA experience. He joins New Mexico forward Cameron Bairstow on the Boomers roster. Hadziomerovic hopes to make the Aussie team for the World University Games as well. Also, incoming Bronco freshman Nicholas Duncan helped the Australian Emus to three wins during a six-game European tour in preparation for the upcoming FIBA U19 World Championships.
There’s a second Boise State All-American at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, this time a second-teamer as Daveon Collins finished 11th in the 200 meters yesterday. Matt Post competed in the hammer and Marisa VanderMalle in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at Hayward Field but just missed second-team All-America honors. Emma Bates, who finished third in the 10,000 meters in school-record fashion Wednesday night, runs the 5,000 tonight.
Word that both athletes who ended up in last year’s amazing dead heat will be back tomorrow adds intrigue to the 6th annual Ironman 70.3 Boise. A pair of New Zealanders, Callum Millward and Matty Reed, could not be separated by a photo finish and shared the 2013 title. Now we’ll see how Millward and Reed do over the full 70.3 miles’ worth of swimming, biking and running after the race was shortened by 41 miles last year due to weather. It will be almost 30 degrees warmer tomorrow than it was then.
Hailey’s Ryan Casey is back to defend the championship he won in last year’s inaugural North Fork Championship. The second edition of the world class kayaking event gets underway in earnest today on the Payette River north of Banks. The 36-year-old Casey, who has been running the North Fork since he was 19, used his “home rapids advantage” in 2012 to conquer the tortuous whitewater of Jacob’s Ladder and all its imposing features, including Ocean Wave, Rock Drop, Taffey Puller and Golf Course.
This Day In Sports…June 7, 1998, 15 years ago today:
The Utah Jazz break the record for fewest points in an NBA game since the inception of the shot clock, losing 96-54 to Chicago in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Jazz eclipsed the mark of 55 points set earlier in the season by the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls’ 42-point margin of victory was the highest in NBA Finals history. Chicago, led by Michael Jordan, would go on to win the NBA championship in six games.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)