Many of the state's college football coaches attended last week's National Football Coaches Association convention in Orlando, Fla. So did another eight or 10 high school coaches from the area. Among them was Lake Oswego's Steve Coury, who was wearing two hats.
Coury and partner Jim Mendenhall are regional representatives for FieldTurf, which is being used by most of the major West Coast schools that have synthetic turf, including Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Brigham Young, Utah and Nevada-Reno.
'There are always high school coaches sniffing around to promote themselves Ñ in a good way Ñ to further aspirations of coaching at the next level,' Coury says. 'It is the place to rub elbows. There are graduate assistants from just about every college in the country there, too. It's a good place to hear some big-time coaches talk and to get interviews for jobs.'
Not everybody gets jobs, of course. It can be a frustrating thing for coaches out of work.
'You see them hanging out around the hotel lobby, looking for somebody to talk to,' Coury says. 'I mean, when I was coaching at the University of Pittsburgh, it was kind of depressing, and I had a job. I remember Jim Fassel had just been named head coach at Utah, and he invited me up to his room to chat. I had to sneak my way up, because he had been inundated with aspiring coaches who wanted to talk to him.'
• Lake Oswego High freshman basketball standout Kevin Love already has received scholarship offers from UCLA and Oregon, says his father, ex-NBA forward Stan Love. Sonny Vaccaro also has contacted the Loves and offered Kevin and older brother Collin spots in next summer's prestigious ABCD camp at Madison, N.J.
• Portland's Phil Knight ranks third on Sporting News' 'Power 100' list naming the most powerful people in sports. The University of Oregon owner, er, Nike CEO, ranks third behind ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Immediately after Knight on the list: Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, ACC commissioner John Swofford and NBA commissioner David Stern. First athletes mentioned: Yao Ming, 25th; Tiger Woods, 26th; and LeBron James, 28th.
• Check out features on Blazer Zach Randolph and ex-Blazer Jermaine O'Neal in this month's Slam magazine.
'Good article,' Randolph says. 'I liked it.'
• Rob Ramsay hasn't given up on his dream of a return to the big leagues.
The 6-5 left-hander from Vancouver, battling back after a pair of surgeries as a result of a cancerous brain tumor, was released by San Diego after pitching last season for the Padres' Class A affiliate in Lake Elsinore, Calif. Pitching primarily in middle relief, Ramsay was 3-1 with 3.57 ERA in 27 games, allowing 77 hits with 19 walks and 44 strikeouts in 68 innings.
'I thought I pitched really well,' says Ramsay, 30, who lives in Pullman, Wash. 'I am basically trying to reinvent myself as a pitcher. I don't have the old velocity. I used to average between 88 and 90 (mph) with my fastball. Now I'm mostly in the mid-80s.
'I used to go with four pitches, but now I am mostly a fastball/changeup pitcher. I have had real good command with the changeup. If I get behind in the count, I can drop that in there. It gives you an advantage.'
Ramsay will work out for pro scouts Thursday in Pullman, trying to get at least an invitation to somebody's spring training. His health report is good, and his weight is at about 240.
'I have been able to add a little weight, even with all my treatments,' Ramsay says. 'My last five MRI scans have been clean. I don't have to do any more of the IV-drip chemotherapy, just take seven pills a day. I'm pretty confident I will get picked up by somebody. Hopefully the workout will give me some bargaining power.'
• Bill Moos' name is being tossed about in Seattle as a replacement for the retiring Barbara Hedges as athletic director at Washington, and Oregon's AD isn't denying interest.
Moos spent his early childhood in eastern Washington, went to high school in Olympia, played football at Washington State and got his start in athletic administration there, and he considers the state of Washington home. His parents live in Wenatchee and his oldest daughter graduated from Washington. Plus, there would seem to be an opportunity to make a little more money.
'The Washington job should be and could be one of the premier jobs in the country,' Moos tells The (Eugene) Register-Guard. 'It has elements of appeal to me both professionally and personally. I have my signature on a wonderful period of time here at Oregon, and that means a lot to me. That would be a tough call.'
• Look for the Pac-10 not to renew its affiliation with the Silicon Valley Classic and pick up the San Francisco Bowl as a replacement Ñ a smart move, indeed. The Pac-10 athletic directors' bowl committee, which includes Moos and Washington State's Jim Sterk, will meet Feb. 9-10 to discuss possibilities. The Seattle Bowl, if it re-emerges for next season, could be a contender, but players, coaches and fans would prefer a couple of winter days in San Francisco to Seattle, hands down.
• Controversy bolts to Tonya Harding like steel to a magnet. Former promoter Brian Young of Memphis, Tenn., has filed suit against Boise's Bank of America Center, matchmaker Mo Smith and Harding's current trainer-promoter, Paul Brown, claiming the Portland pugilist is still bound to a four-year contract for exclusive rights signed with Young a year ago.
Brown's attorney, Terry Slomensky, says Young is not trying to block Harding's Jan. 24 fight in Boise but is seeking to force an out-of-court settlement.
'It is a tactical ploy,' Slomensky says. 'And Tonya is not named in the suit. Isn't that interesting?'
Brown says Harding (3-2 as a pro) will fight in Boise, but not against the boxer he previously had agreed would be her opponent Ñ Boise's Beth Westover, 19. At the time of the agreement, Brown says, Westover had no pro fights. After she fought and won in Tacoma last month, though, Brown changed his mind.
'I am not going to get Tonya in a shootout with a 19-year-old girl from Boise and take the risk of a hometown decision,' Brown says. 'Since (Westover) has the experience of a four-round fight now, that is not the opponent we want. Besides, they tried to screw me. (Westover) wasn't supposed to participate in any type of media event, but they went behind our backs and got her a fight. Had I known, I would have gone (to Tacoma) and scouted her.'
Young's reaction? 'I am not going to comment on the Tonya Harding case,' the promoter says.
• Nice comeback by former Jefferson star Michael Lee. After sitting out six months with a broken collarbone, Lee returned Wednesday and scored a career-high 16 points to lead Kansas over Kansas State 73-67. 'I don't think we win the game without him,' Jayhawks coach Bill Self says.