Notes on Thomas Tyner, Phil Knight, Jace Frye and more


Taking a look at sports issues and items, local and national ...

• Thomas Tyner’s for-the-ages performance in Aloha’s 84-63 victory over Lakeridge last Friday made a big hit on the record books.

The senior tailback rushed for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns in the Class 6A game, setting state records for any classification in both categories. Tyner smashed the yardage record of 508 set a year ago Jake LaCoste of 5A West Albany. Tyner took down a TD mark that had held up since before even Portland Tribune sports editor Steve Brandon was born. Astoria’s Robert Malarkey ran for nine scores against Clatskanie in 1911 — 101 years ago.

The Oregon-bound Tyner moved into third place on the national single-game rushing yardage list, behind only John Giannantonioo of Netcong, N.J., who rushed for 754 yards in a game in 1950, and Paul McCoy of Matewan, W. Va., who had a 661-yard game in 2006.

• Lakeridge’s Tom Smythe went into the record books, too. Never has a high school coach had his team score 63 points in a game — and still lose by three touchdowns.

• Phil Knight’s $125 million gift to Oregon Health & Science University was out of this world.

I’d like to see him dig into his pocket for one other worthy cause — Oregon State track and field.

A $9 million donation would take care of phases two and three of the fundraising project and ensure the return of the men’s program at OSU for the first time since its demise in 1988.

Knight is a UO alum, but he contributed to the OSU baseball program after the Beavers won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and ‘07, helping secure a long-term deal to keep coach Pat Casey in Corvallis.

Beaver fans often complain about “Uncle Phil,” in part out of jealousy because they have no such sugar daddy. Knight has been incredibly generous to his alma mater, but what a PR move it would be to alleviate an uphill fundraising effort and ensure the future of track and field at Oregon’s arch-rival.

It would increase the profile of Knight’s favorite sport in both his home state and nationally. For a while, at least, the Beavers would be the Ducks’ punching bag in dual meets.

Then, down the road, a rivalry might revive like the one between the teams of Bill Bowerman at UO and Sam Bell and Berny Wagner at Oregon State in the late 1960s and ‘70s.

• Oregon State coaches and players are hopeful left-hander Jace Frye will make it back at some point next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in June.

The injury to the 2012 Freshman All-American was a 75 percent “microtear” of the ligament, less in severity than most injuries that require the Tommy John procedure. Normal expectations are for a pitcher to return to action in eight to 14 months.

“It depends on how the guy rehabs and how the body recovers,” OSU coach Casey says. “We won’t let him come back until he’s ready, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets back sooner than later. If anybody rehabs harder than Jace Frye, I want to see it. He does everything plus one.”

Frye returned from back surgery in a month last season and helped the Beavers go 40-20 and make the NCAA playoffs.

• Fall baseball started Monday at Oregon State. Some new names to keep in mind: right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore from North Eugene High; first baseman Gabe Clark and infielder Paul Martinez, both from Riverside, Calif.; infielder Jerad Casper out of Bellevue (Wash.) Community College and utility player Andy Peterson from Santa Ana (Calif.) College.

• Never seen a finish like that in Salt Lake City as Utah beat rival Brigham Young 24-21 last Saturday.

Trailing 24-7 in the fourth quarter, BYU scored a pair of touchdowns to draw within 24-21 and got the ball back on its 6-yard-line with 1:20 on the clock and no remaining timeouts. On fourth-and-12 from the BYU 26, the Cougars converted a 40-yard pass to the Utah 34 with eight seconds to go.

A sideline pass went incomplete, the clock read zero and Utah students rushed the field. A review, though, showed there was one second left. It took 10 minutes to clear the field.

The Cougars then had a 51-yard field goal attempt blocked, but students clearly stormed the field again before the play ended. Utah was flagged for a 15-yard penalty, and the field was cleared again.

With no time on the clock but one play remaining, BYU lined up for a 36-yard field goal to force overtime. The kick hit the left upright and bounced away, no good. For the third time, Utah fans came on to the field to celebrate — this time for real.


• I’ve heard several radio talking heads say Seattle’s Golden Tate ought to be fined for his jarring hit on Dallas’ Sean Lee during Sunday’s game at CenturyLinks Field.

I don’t see why. Tate wasn’t penalized, and in my book, though it was a blindside block that left Lee in a vulnerable position, there was nothing illegal about it.

• I feel really bad for Elliot Williams, who is likely to miss the 2012-13 NBA season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.

The Blazer guard has missed so much time with injuries in his three years with the club, he’s almost envious of Greg Oden’s health.

Williams, 23, is young enough that he can come back. If anybody deserves an injury-free 2013-14 campaign, it’s the young left-hander with the electric legs.

• I’m all for Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s proposal for a football injury report next season. Let the Bill Belichick wanna-be coaches eat their hearts out as they are forced to parcel out information that surely will cost them victories.

• From the it-had-to-happen department: Blazer broadcaster Mike “Tank McNamara” Rice referring to rookie center Meyers Leonard as “Leonard Meyers.”

• Mouse Davis was in Rancho Mirage, Calif., last weekend to watch the West Football Alliance AAA championship game and shoot outtakes for a documentary being made on the coaching legend and his run-and-shoot offense.

The film trailer is due out this fall, says J. David Miller, its producer and coincidentally coach of the SoCal Coyotes, who played in the AAA title contest.

• After winning the men’s 50 singles title at the USTA National Grasscourts in Philadelphia last month, Portland’s Mike Tammen will go for the senior tennis “grand slam” in October when he plays in the National Claycourts in Sarasota, Fla.

Tammen, 54, won the National Indoors in Portland in June and the national Hardcourts in Santa Barbara, Calif., in July. He seems a cinch to finish the year ranked No. 1 in the nation in both singles and doubles. And next year he moves up to the 55s division.

• An MBA scholarship fund is being established at the University of Washington in memory of Don Whitney, the former Oregon State football player who died Sept. 10 of cancer. Whitney worked at UW for many years.

For those who would like to contribute, make checks payable to UW Bothell and send to Office of Advancement & External Relations, P.O. Box 358528, Bothell, Wash., 98011.

• Whitney’s former OSU teammate, Craig Hanneman, is ready for a new challenge. Hanneman, who scaled Mount Everest in May, will make his third attempt at Mount Foraker in Alaska next spring.

“It’s a great climb, but with lots of exposure and cold, nasty weather influenced by the Bering Sea,” reports Hanneman, 63. “Typically, only 10 to 15 climbers try it per year, and three or fewer summit.”