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High school coaching isnt about money

It came out the other day that Frank Geske, who coached the Tigard football team to the state championship, earned a coaching stipend of $5,850 this fall. If you count up the time a coach puts in throughout the year, that's probably close to $2 an hour after taxes.

Geske's not alone. There are thousands of high school coaches in Oregon, and none of their coaching salaries equal what Rasheed Wallace makes in a day Ñ roughly $46,500.

Coaching in the high school ranks is a labor of love. Compensation doesn't much come in green stuff, but in building relationships and helping youngsters work toward their goals. A holiday salute to all of you who serve our kids so ably.

• Wallace was wrong about a lot of things in his celebrated interview with the daily last week, but none more than when he declared so pompously, 'Fifty percent (of the fans) hate me, and 50 percent love me no matter what I do.' The percentage of devoted followers is much lower than he realizes, even if he does come up with a big performance now and then.

But Mr. T was right on one count: Though he has only four technicals so far this season, Wallace hasn't altered his act with referees much. 'I still say the same things I said before,' he said. 'I still do some of the same things I did before. I haven't changed, and I'm not going to change. Why should I?'

One senior NBA official acknowledged last summer that the referees have been directed by 'superiors' to have a slower trigger toward Wallace's outbursts. On some nights, the poor guy can't buy a T, no matter how profane his mouth is.

One more thing: An apology -isn't an apology if it begins with: 'If I offended anybody É'

• No mistake about it, NBA Commissioner David Stern was steamed at Wallace for his inflammatory comments. According to league sources, Stern was on the phone with Blazer President Steve Patterson for an hour on Friday, lobbying for the club to suspend or release the volatile veteran.

Patterson wasn't pleased with Wallace, either, but he cites First Amendment liberties. Besides, any disciplinary action would have been challenged by the players' union. And Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland, was prepared to enlist support from the likes of Johnnie Cochran and Jesse Jackson had the league or Blazers come down on the $17 million man.

The Blazers are more than open to dealing Wallace before the February trade deadline, as long as they take back players with good behavioral records and short-term contracts. There is a decent chance something will get done.

• During her Rose Garden concert last week, Shania Twain opened by wearing Joey Harrington's Duck No. 3 jersey, then closed by wearing Bill Walton's Blazer No. 32 for her encore. And drummer J.R. Blair went the distance wearing Zach Randolph's red No. 50.

• Portland State had another setback with its talented but underachieving center Seth Scott. The Vikings have suspended -indefinitely the 6-10 senior for violation of team conduct.

• Glencoe High hotshot quarterback Erik Ainge appears headed to Tennessee. Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer and offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey were in town last week to court Danny Ainge's nephew. Their pitch: Senior QB Casey Clausen departs, so the job could be Ainge's as a true freshman next fall. And the 6-6, 205-pound slinger is being told he can become the next Peyton Manning before he moves on to the NFL.

• If NFL scouts tell Steven Jackson he will go in the top half of the first round in next April's draft, he is gone Ñ and there are early indications he will go that high. Given that NFL running backs typically have shorter careers than other players, the 6-3, 235-pound junior probably will play his final game for the Beavers in the Las Vegas Bowl.

If Jackson goes that high in the draft, he would be Oregon State's highest pick since Terry Baker was the first selection in 1963.

• Long overdue: A showdown between Oregon and Gonzaga on the basketball court. UO's Luke Jackson suggested as much last summer when he told the Trib's Jason Vondersmith that Gonzaga-Oregon is 'the biggest rivalry nobody knows about.' Except it's not a rivalry if the teams don't play.

And by the way, Oregon State should be begging the 'Zags for a game. You gain a lot more by playing Gonzaga than you do beating up on Division III Willamette.

• Tonya Harding will be back in the ring Jan. 24 in Boise to fight neophyte Beth Westover on a card that will feature Playboy centerfold Mia St. John.

Paul Brown, Harding's trainer-manager, says of the 19-year-old Westover: 'She has had some amateur fights and is an Ultimate Fighter and karate fighter, so she will be a capable opponent.'

Brown's plan for his Vancouver, Wash.-based pugilist still includes a fight in late February or early March in Portland, at Memorial Coliseum or the Oregon Convention Center.

Contact Kerry Eggers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .