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Wednesday, July 23, 2014         

Ferd's Words Premium

Loved your insightful-as-usual annual state-of-the-Big 12 address at Monday's media day in Dallas -- right up until the point where you reached into your golf bag, took out the Big Bertha driver and started whacking the NCAA enforcement gumshoes about the head with it.

For several years now, the University of Hawaii has hung those large green "Protect This House" banners when it plays football at Aloha Stadium.

In announcing deepening budget cuts and a hiring freeze, University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay grimly told coaches and staff in an internal email Thursday, "Suffice to say, these next two years will not be easy."

To the surprise of nobody who has known him, SMU football coach June Jones is still rarin’ back and daring to throw deep.

Derek Jeter couldn't do it Tuesday. Neither could LeBron James while teaming up with Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving in March. Nobody the NHL has put on the ice in years has even come close.

Marcus Mariota stepped onto the stage at the Hukilau restaurant Wednesday and uneasily eyed the expanding Downtown Athletic Club of Hawaii crowd.

It turns out that as Commissioner Bud Selig prepares to leave Major League Baseball he is grudgingly willing to leave the door slightly ajar for Pete Rose on the way out.

Commissioner Mike Slive began his annual state-of-the-Southeastern Conference address Monday in Alabama with a shout-out to his wife on their 46th wedding anniversary. Sweet and sentimental then quickly gave way to calculated and demanding.

Manti Te'o reclined in a beach chair in the middle of a large makeshift photo studio in Waipahu where sand was spread around his feet and props were arranged to give the appearance of a man on his own island.

As a 14-year-old on the way to surfing competitions at Huntington Beach, Calif., Carissa Moore would pause and inspect with awe the hand imprints of the legendary surfers pressed into the concrete along Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

They say that soccer star Lionel Andres Messi is so quick and nimble of foot, especially the left one, that he can dribble in circles in a phone booth. But for him the most meaningful change of direction, one that he is on the verge of with a victory in the World Cup finale Sunday, has been 13 often-arduous years in the making.

The University of Hawaii men's basketball home schedule this season is thin on marquee names but rich with marketing potential for schedule cards.

A good part of sports is about believing in the unlikely and clinging to hope in the face of long odds. In Cleveland the enduring faithful have surely had their belief heavily trampled upon and tested more than most.

When Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji signed his latest deal in 2008, there was little fanfare over what became the longest contract — six years, eight months — in University of Hawaii athletic history.

At first, Haylie Shinsato saw judo only through red, tear-filled eyes. Now, she views the sport from an intensely focused perspective, and, usually, from a medalist's vantage point.

One of the ways the University of Hawaii has been attempting to boost its sagging bottom line is by encouraging fans who already have a season ticket in one sport to add or retain another one.

When parting the cobwebs of nearly 45 years of Aloha Stadium history and lore, you never know what you might find. Just like the Aloha Stadium Authority, which has been given plenty to consider by the Aloha Stadium Comprehensive Site Summary released Thursday.

In five seasons pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers, Chuck Crim enjoyed few nights off. But it wasn't until he saw his numbers etched in a bronze plaque among the first wave of players enshrined on the Brewers' Wall of Honor this month that the former University of Hawaii star realized just how rare they really were.

They say the prestigious Harton S. Semple Trophy weighs about 10 pounds. When it isn't filled to its gleaming brim with beer, that is. The trophy that is toted by a white-gloved custodian before being handed over to the winner of the U.S. Women's Open found another use Sunday night.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota became an exhibit in the landmark O'Bannon vs. NCAA antitrust case Friday. Well, not him, exactly, but his popular and highly lucrative No. 8 University of Oregon jersey.

The most compelling commercial -- in any language -- of this World Cup belongs to the Bank of Chile. It is less an advertisement than an emotional exhortation for La Roja, Chile's team, to accomplish the remarkable.

When Tony Gwynn interviewed for the baseball coaching job at San Diego State, he brought a baseball card instead of a resume. It wasn't arrogance, the Aztecs would learn, but a point of pride.

We like our sports figures to be honest and genuine in their words. We don't want them to retreat behind mindless cliches, preferring that they say what is on their minds and speak from their hearts.

A look at the 2014 World Cup, from "A" to "Z." A -- is for "La Albiceleste" or the "white and sky blue" in Spanish, Argentina's nickname from its distinctive uniforms.

Sure, March is when madness overtakes the NCAA and January is when football crowns its champion, but history tells us that June is when the foundation of college athletics tends to undergo seismic shifts.

Kenneth Mortimer's "ah-ha" sports moment as University of Hawaii president came when the 28-4 Rainbow Wahine basketball team was denied a 1993 NCAA tournament berth.

Whether the University of Nevada-Las Vegas football team beats Hawaii or not, their Nov. 22 game at Aloha Stadium has already made the Rebels winners at the bank.

Baseball is one of the few widely visible sports where the have-not schools still have a chance to contend for a championship. A slim one, but a chance nonetheless.

It started innocently enough in 1984 when Mark Stewart went to sign up a 6-year-old son for soccer in Kailua. And now, 30 years later, he's left to marvel at how he has ended up with nearly 500,000 kids.

For the 10th time in 12 years the University of Hawaii athletic department expects to end the fiscal year with a deficit. Spot a trend here?

Bruce O'Neil was home in Oregon, looking at the Pacific Ocean and listening to an "Iz" CD when his cell phone buzzed Monday. "And, thinking about Hawaii," O'Neil added.

Famous for his front-and-center role in the NFL Draft, where he announces the next team up for a selection, it is Commissioner Roger Goodell's turn to make a decision. And a lot of eyes are on him in the Jim Irsay case.

The late University of Hawaii athletic director Stan Sheriff once observed that when "that damn Cougar roars, you can feel it all the way (here)."

University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has All-Pac-12 center Hroniss Grasu in front of him this season and, now, Lloyd's of London behind him.

Ever since Colt Brennan providentially landed in our midst, we've been waiting for the next big passer to drop into the University of Hawaii huddle from the heavens. Or, in the latest installment, from Los Angeles.

The Academic Progress Rate scores for UH, announced Wednesday by the NCAA, suggest a turnover in athletes is the biggest barrier to the athletic department reaching its avowed goal of breaking into the top 50 percent of Division I institutions in the APR.

The last time the University of Hawaii men's basketball team went to the NCAA Tournament, Predrag Savovic was awarded its Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award.

Watching the names of the quarterbacks come off the board in the NFL Draft, you had to wonder.

When Troy Buckley was a baseball coach at Santa Clara University, he could ask parents with rousing enthusiasm if they wanted their sons to be Broncos.

The University of Hawaii had a pretty good haul at the American Volleyball Coaches Association Sand Volleyball Championships over the weekend, and the Rainbow Wahine's head coach didn't do badly, either.

There is so little tradition being preserved in University of Hawaii athletics that when another piece of it, no matter how small, gets summarily discarded, you have to shake your head.

Three of the major ingredients that have helped the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl endure for 12 years are its Christmas Eve date, exclusivity and a tie-in with the University of Hawaii.

Their budgets and head-coaching records are almost as far apart as their campuses, but today, Hawaii's Norm Chow and Washington's Chris Petersen have more in common than just their Aug. 30 season opener.

For much of his 33 years in the NBA, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, in warped word and deed, symbolized what was once known as the "billion dollar boys club."

One by one, we're hearing NBA owners weigh in with outrage on the repugnant, racist comments alleged to have been made by dean of their lodge, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling.

There is a number the University of Hawaii football might want to carry with it into both Saturday's final spring practice and the next few months leading to fall camp: 21.5.

The gap between University of Hawaii athletic teams and their well-heeled foes figures to grow even wider after Thursday. By leaps and bounds, not to mention smoothie bars and bison burgers.

The standard measures of the growing success of the men's tennis team, of course, are the Sea Warriors' 20-0 record, Saturday's second consecutive Pacific West Conference championship and a No. 3 ranking in NCAA Division II.

Can somebody here beat Cal Poly, please? If you have followed the University of Hawaii's fortunes since joining the Big West Conference especially, you might have begun to wonder.

Watching quarterback Jeremy Higgins flip a pass to receiver Quinton Pedroza as linebacker Jeremy Castro tries to break up the play this spring makes for a revealing snapshot of the changing look of the University of Hawaii football team.

The $5,152,000 question now that the Pro Bowl won't be here in January is: What will the Hawaii Tourism Authority do with the money it saves?

No matter how deep her struggles, how ragged her putting or how many cuts she missed, Michelle Wie always seemed able to talk about closing the gap on winning as if it was right around the corner even, when her body language said otherwise.

To watch Tui Unga go about the opening of spring drills at the University of Hawaii has been to glimpse a lot of what you think a tight end should be.

Last year, in the midst of a 16-35 season gone quickly sour, fulfilling ticket requests was the least of University of Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso's problems. Now?

Quarterback Taylor Graham was asked, time and again, about his health as spring practice opened at the University of Hawaii.

University of Hawaii football coach Norm Chow says it is hard to put a price on the considerable experience that the newest assistant, Wayne Moses, brings to the Rainbow Warriors.

The University of Hawaii men's basketball team chases victory No. 20 Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center -- and a lot more, if you are coach Gib Arnold.

Early last fall when a visitor noted the life-sized mannequin in the display window of the campus Duck Store modeling his popular No. 8 jersey, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota lowered his head, humbly.

The picture took some getting used to and it wasn't the quality of the video streamed from Chris Petersen's Seattle press conference. No amount of fiddling could make up for -- get this -- Petersen in a purple sweater.

It hasn't been easy to be a San Francisco Giants fan in Hawaii these past few seasons, even with two World Series banners. But this year it is getting more frustrating for the enduring faithful.

Last season, debuting University of Hawaii women's basketball coach Laura Beeman probably deserved to be the coach of the year in the Big West Conference. This season she looks to be doing an even better job.

A while back Kansas State's Bill Snyder offered rookie head coach Norm Chow some sage advice on a key part of turning around a struggling program.

A little more than a month ago, the prospect of another letter from the NCAA regarding the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex would have sent shivers through the University of Hawaii administration from Hawaii Hall to the quarry. Today, UH officials await one, hopefully.

The more you see the University of Hawaii men's basketball team succumb to the top teams in the Big West Conference, the more you have to wonder if the Rainbow Warriors are being betrayed by their choice of nonconference schedule.

This is a big game for the University of Hawaii -- not just because the Rainbow Warriors figure to be staring up at 7-foot, 6-inch Mamadou Ndiaye all night.

You need only look at the University of Hawaii's future nonconference schedules to see where the Rainbow Warriors line up in college football's hottest debate of the moment -- the proposed defensive substitution rule.

Every day of quarterback Max Wittek’s high school football career at Mater Dei brought him face to face with Colt Brennan. Never mind that they played at the Santa Ana, Calif., football powerhouse billed as “Quarterback High” nine years apart, the reminders were frequent and hard to miss.

On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 2012, three Miami Dolphins offensive linemen "jokingly threatened to harm" an assistant trainer of Japanese ancestry "in retaliation for Pearl Harbor."

The visitor's roster featured first baseman Mark McGwire, who would lead college baseball in home runs, and imposing 6-foot, 10-inch pitcher Randy Johnson, who led the nation in making batters nervous.

At the NFL Draft combine this month, teams will time Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam in the 40-yard dash, measure his vertical leap, assess his agility and check his blood pressure. But make no mistake, it will be the NFL that will really be tested.

Beating the University of Hawaii has apparently been a whole lot easier for Joe Callero than explaining his growing mastery of the Rainbow Warriors. Callero is the head basketball coach at Cal Poly and he has had UH’s number, which, right now, is a head-shaking 5-0.

Like a kindergarten teacher, athletic director Ben Jay will sit down and essentially write report cards for each of the 14 University of Hawaii head coaches whose contracts he is recommending for extensions.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Saint Louis School admitted brothers Tommy and Ron Lee, but not their younger sibling, Cal. It would not be the last the school saw of Cal, however.

When rumors that Reggie Theus might become the basketball head coach swept the Cal State Northridge campus last spring, it was: Gentlemen, start your search engines.

Decades ago, prescient NCAA leader Walter Byers foresaw that college athletes might not be content with just tuition, books, room and board in exchange for their labors and would come looking for — shudder — compensation or a voice in association affairs.

In golf they call it "moving day," that critical point at which fortunes either rise prominently or fall precipitously on the tournament leaderboard.

Quarterback Philip Rivers said his fifth Pro Bowl Sunday "felt a lot different" from the first four. "This is the first time I got touched," Rivers admitted, smiling. Not only touched, but really pressured and, get this, even sacked.

Of the 88 players in the NFL Pro Bowl, it would be hard to find one relishing the entirety of the experience more than Indianapolis' Matt Overton.

The gathering of about 1,000 on the beach at Lanikuhonua applauded as Cam Newton's selection was announced at Wednesday's NFL Pro Bowl draft, drowning out the waves pounding the Leeward Coast.

When Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy was selected to the Pro Bowl, he offered a prayer. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles thanked the fans. But when teammate Evan Mathis got his invitation to Sunday's Pro Bowl, he ... called off Tonya Harding?

Invariably before the morning sun could peek into Manoa or teammates and coaches trudged up the hill, a solitary figure could be seen on the dew-dampened University of Hawaii football practice field painstakingly catching passes from an automatic machine.

On the way to clearing out his locker this week after 13 years on the University of Texas football coaching staff, Duane Akina was asked what looms next.

It is way too early to be alarmed about the University of Hawaii men's basketball team's fortunes in Big West Conferences. Or, is it?

Brian Stuard first glimpsed the Waialae Country Club golf course and the Sony Open in Hawaii as a wide-eyed high schooler from in front of the family television in Jackson, Mich.

Oklahoma State, Georgia and Wake Forest have been known to turn out PGA Tour golfers as if on assembly lines.

Officially, it is known as Bachman Hall, the administrative headquarters of the University of Hawaii system. Unofficially, it has a reputation as a black hole, the labyrinthine ivory tower at University Avenue and Dole Street where contracts have been known to disappear for months, if not die slow deaths altogether.

It was altogether fitting that when University of Nebraska-Omaha guard CJ Carter's last-gasp shot missed the basket, it was Isaac Fotu who hauled in the rebound and gave the ball a high, jubilant toss at the final buzzer.

If there was a team that deserved to put up its sneakers, kick back and relax a little during this holiday season, it was the University of Hawaii women's basketball team.

As the University of Hawaii men's basketball team heads into 2014, guard Garrett Nevels served up a vivid reminder why it is a new year in more ways than one for these Rainbow Warriors.

As much as he might grimace when his fractured right hand takes a hard blow, there is apparently something more painful for the University of Hawaii forward Isaac Fotu.

They wore the familiar blue and white uniforms and ran out of the locker room labeled "Boise State," but this was not the Broncos football team we're used to seeing at Aloha Stadium.

By all reports, Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks are enjoying their time in the islands this week — and that’s too bad.

This is where it finally starts to get interesting for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team. After whipping up on the folks from the Big Sky, Pac-West, Southland and Ohio Valley conferences (average margin of victory 24.2 points), the Rainbow Warriors (7-2) wade into the promise of some stiffer competition in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

Job One in the University of Hawaii athletic department right now, athletic director Ben Jay pledged to a Board of Regents committee Wednesday, is meeting fiscal guidelines imposed by the Manoa Chancellor's office.

Devon Kell walked on at Oregon State, but the Beavers are giving him a memorable ride home today. Five years and 51 pounds after he set out from Hilo devoid of any major college football scholarship offers, Kell returns today a compensated mainstay of the defensive line and poster player for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl-bound Beavers.

When he was 16 years old, David Matlin stood in a television truck in Detroit and told the astonished ABC production crew that the sportscaster on the air, Howard Cosell, was wrong.

Leon Rice knew about the blue turf, the Bowl Championship Series appearances, the well-stuffed football trophy case and all the rest when he took the men's basketball coaching job at Boise State.

When University of Hawaii volleyball coach Dave Shoji says he appreciates the animated students who show up at Rainbow Wahine matches, he isn’t just mouthing empty platitudes from the coaches’ handbook.

When the Big West Conference reopened its membership doors to the University of Hawaii in 2012, it was the league’s volleyball faithful who did most of the celebrating.

Once upon a not-so-distant time as an offensive coordinator, Norm Chow made a comfortable living picking on defensive coordinators.


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