Teach an old coach new tricks? You bet
Jack Ramsay is keeping busy. The Hall of Fame coach will be at the Rose Garden before the March 6 Trail Blazer-Utah game to sign autographs with the release of his fourth book, 'Dr. Jack's Leadership Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in Basketball,' published by John Wiley & Sons.
'They approached me about doing a book on leadership,' says the coach of the 1977 NBA champion Blazers, who just turned 79 and continues to work as an analyst for ESPN radio. 'I wanted to do a book on my experiences and the people I have worked with in the NBA. So we combined the two.'
Ramsay, by the way, wrote every word of the book himself.
Another book involving a Portland legend, 'The Life of Johnny Pesky, Mr. Red Sox,' is now out, written by Bill Nowlin and published by Rounder Records.
• In the spirit of Dick Vermeil, Joe Gibbs and the rest of football's coaching codgers, Don Read, 65, and Chuck Solberg, 68, are keeping their hands in the game, too.
'These guys don't seem to know when they are over the hill, and maybe I don't, either,' jokes Read, a former Oregon, Portland State and Southern Oregon coach who now lives in Rockaway, N.J. 'I can't seem to turn loose of football.'
Read retired several years ago after a successful run at Montana, where he won an NCAA Division I-AA championship. He moved to Castle Rock, Colo., where he was a substitute teacher and volunteer coach at Douglas County High for four years.
Then, after son Bruce was hired as special teams coach of the New York Giants before the 2002 season, Don moved to New Jersey to be close to his son and two grandchildren. While substitute teaching at Morris Knolls and Morris Hills high schools, Read became acquainted with the football coaches of both schools. Soon, the two coaches had asked him to help. He even staged a clinic for the district and got the rival coaches together to assist.
'I don't do much, but it's fun,' Read says. 'I enjoy looking at film, helping a little where I can, being around the coaches and the kids. It's just a way to keep busy.'
Solberg, who retired three years ago after 11 years coaching at Lewis & Clark Ñ the final five as head coach Ñ leaves next week for Oslo, Norway, where he will serve as defensive coordinator for the Trolls club team, which will represent its country in the Scandinavian Championships in July.
Vacationing in Norway last summer, Solberg was offered the opportunity to help coach the Trolls. He flew back in January to spend two and a half weeks working with the players, then signed on to work the season, which begins in April.
'One minute I'm thinking it's a good deal, the next minute I'm thinking, 'What the hell am I doing?' ' chuckles Solberg, who won two state titles during his decade coaching at Corvallis High. 'But Oslo is a neat city, I will see some beautiful country, and they were so dang nice to me, it was hard to tell them no.'
• Oregon State's baseball team is 6-0 after winning tournaments in Surprise, Ariz., and Arlington, Texas. It's the best start for the Beavers since the 1962 team won its first 18 games.
'We have played well,' coach Pat Casey says. 'We have pitched really well, which has been important because we haven't hit as well as we can.'
The Beavers get a big test in a tournament at Riverside, Calif., that opens today with a game against a Cal-Riverside team that beat Southern Cal last week. Saturday, OSU faces 20th-ranked Washington.
'The bar will be raised,' Casey says. 'We'll see if we can make that jump.'
Baseball America magazine has four Beavers ranked among the top 50 players in the nation at their position and class year. Ben Rowe is ranked 13th among senior righthanded pitchers, Jake Postlewait is 40th among senior lefthanded pitchers, Jacoby Ellsbury is 29th among sophomore outfielders and Dallas Buck is 33rd among freshman righthanded pitchers.