Awards set stage for all things sports
State stars drawn from all over share stories, jokes, predictions
It’s the biggest story of the week, other than the 56th annual Oregon Sports Awards held Sunday night at the Tiger Woods Center at the Nike Inc. headquarters in Beaverton. A little football game will be held Sunday in Phoenix. So, who wins the Super Bowl? “I’d like to say the Giants, just to say the Patriots didn’t go perfect,” says Derek Anderson, the former Scappoose High and ex-Oregon State quarterback who plays with the Cleveland Browns. “You have to go with the perfect team,” says Steven Jackson, his former OSU teammate and now running back for the St. Louis Rams. Eccentric Portland State coach Jerry Glanville picks “no one.” “I know so many guys on those teams, you’re rooting for guys you coached with,” the ex-NFL coach says, adding that New England headman Bill Belichick coached with him in Detroit and New York offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride served under him in Houston. How does an NFL team go undefeated? “Talent and scheme,” Glanville says of the 18-0 Pats. “And intelligence. It’s the one thing nobody talks about with them. They don’t make mental errors.” • Anderson, between golf outings at Illahe Hills Country Club in Salem, will be talking with his agent, who has been negotiating the QB’s new deal with the Browns. After earning the NFL minimum of $435,000, and a $50,000 signing bonus in 2005, Anderson probably will be a million dollar quarterback. “It’ll take the stress out of the week-to-week grind,” he says. “You can just play and relax.” But he won’t be buying a mansion or a new vehicle — “I’m fairly plain.” Besides, Anderson and his wife, Lisa, live near his version of paradise — a golf course, Illahe, which the father of ex-Beaver teammate Bill Swancutt runs. Anderson, a 4-handicap, says he would play golf every day if he could; he played last Saturday in the rain and cold. “I got addicted to it my sophomore year in college, and I’ve got a whole room full of clubs and stuff,” he says. Anderson says learning to play at the NFL level wasn’t difficult at all. He just needed more time than he got with Baltimore. “It’s not rocket science,” he says. • Jackson made the trip from his Las Vegas home for the show. He’ll start training again in March, hoping to stay injury-free next season. He missed more than four games in 2007 with groin and back injuries, and came up well short of his stated goal of 2,500 all-purpose yards. “And our offensive line went through a series of injuries,” he says. “It was unprecedented what I had to go through, but I still eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing, and it gives me hope for next year.” • Two Oregon State coaches — baseball’s Pat Casey and football’s Mike Riley — were finalists for the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year Award. Glanville announced the winner as “Pat Riley” before correcting that to “Pat Casey” in the next instant. Casey came to the podium to accept the award and quipped: “Coach Riley, do you want to cut this in half?” And host Ahmad Rashad noted that “at this point, (Miami Heat coach) Pat Riley would take any kind of award.” • Glanville began by reminding the crowd that the Slats Gill award goes to the outstanding coach, administrator or organization, then cracked, “I never have known any outstanding administrators.” And, referring to his role as the presenter, Glanville deadpanned: “I guess this means I’m not going to win.” • Host Ahmad Rashad opened the show by raving about all the 2007 accomplishments of Oregon athletes and teams, but he said there was one exception to the high quality. “Clyde Drexler on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” Rashad said. “He set the rumba back 100 years.” • Glanville said (jokingly) that he wanted Nike founder Phil Knight to set up a time for him to talk with the Tiger Woods Center’s namesake. “I followed him in college (at Stanford), and I couldn’t believe how he could turn his hips that quickly,” Glanville says of Woods. “I was in pro football at the time. I thought he could play corner. His hip rotation is so fast, I think he’s in the wrong sport. I want to meet with him, and I’m going to tell him to leave golf.” • Former Portland State football coach Tim Walsh and Glanville exchanged pleasantries before the show. Walsh, who left PSU to be an assistant at Army, says he had talked with Glanville during the past season. “I didn’t know him at all,” Walsh says, “but now we have a lot in common.” The Vikings went 3-8 in Glanville’s first year. Walsh left PSU partly because of how budget constraints and lack of commitment by the university adversely affected the Viking program. “If you haven’t done this job here … until you’re here a year, you don’t understand,” he says. “They say University of Oregon is a tough job; ask Mike Bellotti to come here and coach. This is a tough job. “The only advice I gave (Glanville) was once you know what the obstacles are, you’ll find your way around those things. But it won’t happen overnight.” Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey says, “I haven’t taken three seconds to think about it” — Oregon restarting baseball after 26 years without it. “I’m only thinking about Oregon State,” he says. “I’m worried about (nationally ranked) Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State. I worry about the next guy on our schedule.” • On Opening Day, Jacoby Ellsbury receives his World Series ring. “It’s supposed to be bigger than in ’04, and those are massive,” he says, alluding to the historic Boston win over St. Louis in the World Series. “I won’t wear it much, except at big events like this.” The former Oregon State star says he will have to battle Coco Crisp to be the BoSox center fielder and possible leadoff hitter. An offseason of training has helped him add weight and strength. “I’m a gap hitter, and I hit the ball hard down the line and to the opposite field,” he says. “With my speed, I just have to put the ball in play. “But after this offseason, I’ll have a dimension to my game nobody has seen. I can definitely hit double-digit home runs. The last thing that comes to a player is the power. With added strength and power, I don’t have to change anything, but those balls that were doubles and triples will now be home runs.” • It took Lake Oswego’s Kevin Love six takes in the basement of Gill Coliseum on Saturday to record his video acceptance of the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year Award. He wanted to make sure and thank various relatives, former coaches and teammates, wish the L.O. team good luck and say he wanted to win the national championship with the Bruins. “And, I’m majoring in communications,” he lamented, in the middle of the takes. “I had a speech class and got an A-plus. Sorry I stumbled over my words.” • Former Blazer Chris Dudley, a merit award winner, says he has spoken with the former Gonzaga star and oft-injured NBA player Adam Morrison about his diabetes, and Dudley wants to enlist him someday to help spread the word about the disease. “I really like Adam, and he’s trying to get his career going,” Dudley says. “He’s being a great role model, being very open about diabetes. It’s huge for kids out there, for people to know he has diabetes. It’s very difficult to play in the NBA with diabetes. I think he’ll eventually do well.” • Bowler Shannon O’Keefe, a finalist for women pro athlete of the year, came to the show from Milwaukee, Wis., where she works with the U.S. Bowling Congress. She and her husband and much of the USBC will be moving to Arlington, Texas, to be closer to the Bowling Proprietors Association of America headquarters. She will live and train near a state-of-the-art bowling facility. “Gets me out of the cold weather,” she says. “It’s definitely the right move for the USBC.” • Former Olympic champ Dick Fosbury recently visited Beijing as part of his work as president of the World Olympians Association and to work on contracts for the construction of the Olympics Reunion Center. He reports that Beijing organizers are on schedule with their facilities and planning for the 2008 Olympic Games, but pollution remains the hot topic. “They have air pollution problems,” he says. “The city is in a basin, and the country uses coal-fired power plants. They’re in transition to clean up the air, but they’re faced with the challenge that all the urban cities have. “I’ve talked with a couple high jumpers, and they’re only running 50 to 60 feet (to jump in Beijing), so it’s no big deal. I’m sure it’s an issue for any distance runners.” Fosbury, a civil engineer who lives in Ketchum, Idaho, has been very impressed with Beijing’s infrastructure and China’s changing landscape. “It’s been a closed society and that’s why these games will help change the world,” he says. “The Olympics will be a success, but the political system — as they adapt and accept capitalistic ideas — you will see even more change.” • Henley High junior Taylor Wallace captured the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year Award for women after dominating her distance races in 2007. She was Gatorade’s Oregon female cross-country runner of the year. She didn’t lose to an Oregon runner all season and won the Class 4A state title by 65 seconds. Last spring, she won state titles in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters. “She’d like to do the 800, too — that’s her favorite race — but she puts that aside so her teammates can run it,” Wallace’s mother, Joanne, says. Taylor Wallace, a 5-10 post, also is an all-conference basketball player. She is averaging 19 points and 18 rebounds per game this season. She has a 28-inch vertical leap. “Colleges are interested in her with basketball, but she knows she can go further with her running,” her mother says. “She would love to go to U of O, or at least stay in the Pac-10.” Her brother, Garrett, a Henley senior, was an all-conference cornerback who will be the team manager for the California Golden Bears next season. • Linfield College’s softball team shared the George Pasero Team of the Year Award with OSU baseball and the UO men’s cross-country team. All three won national titles. The Wildcats’ first women’s crown came with a team full of Oregon-bred players. Thirty players have turned out for this year’s team — 22 from Oregon and one from Vancouver, Wash. The list includes Sherwood’s Jenny Marshall, an NCAA Division III All-American second baseman. Linfield has lost only two starters and will add a junior varsity team. The Wildcats, who were fourth in the 2006 national tournament, have been doing it with a part-time coach. Jackson Vaughn also is on the Linfield football staff. In six seasons as Wildcat softball coach, his teams are 198-64.