Now the school needs to get its act together
Ironic, isn't it, how things have changed with Jerry Glanville's arrival at the South Park Blocks?
Portland State took the big leap that will serve as a shot of adrenalin to a football program that was hardly noticed despite decent success at the Division I-AA level.
A couple of weeks ago, we were chewing on the news that the contract signed by PSU officials to play San Diego State next season includes a disclaimer clause for financial obligations if the Vikings were to drop football or have insufficient travel funding.
'That's something our lawyer determined was necessary,' says Dan Bernstine, the Portland State president.
Why, if there are no plans to drop the football program?
'I'm telling you, it was something the lawyers required,' Bernstine says. 'Lawyers prepare for every eventuality. I wouldn't read into that at all as a lack of commitment to supporting athletics or any indication we're planning to drop the program.'
'Then why doesn't any other university have (the clause)?' wonders Tim Walsh, who resigned two weeks ago to accept the offensive coordinator job at Army after 14 years as Portland State's head coach.
Just signing a contract with a Division I-A opponent has been an exercise in adversity at PSU. When Teri Mariani, the school's interim AD, signed a contract to play California last season, 'It took an arm and a leg to get that signed,' she says.
Nobody else seems to have problems getting contracts signed like Portland State does. I understand the need to protect yourself, but …
'It's very difficult getting contracts and recruiting procedures through,' Mariani says. 'Our institution seems to be much tighter about some of those things than everywhere else. I talk to my counterparts at Oregon and Oregon State, and they just laugh at the hoops we have to go through to get things done.'
Walsh has had to raise funds for items such as a coaches' computer system and a meal program for the players. Assistants don't have complimentary autos or auxiliary funds through camps like many of their Big Sky brethren.
'But there are things that could be done that aren't financial,' Walsh says. 'The financial part of it isn't as important as the morale in the athletic department or the feeling about athletics on campus.
'(PSU coaches) do the extra work in order to achieve the success we've had. Everything we did was in support of the university as an academic institution. I'm not sure we were respected for that by people on campus. As a coach, I'm an educator. I don't teach just football; we're teaching life skills. A lot of people want Portland State to be a status quo place. I wanted it to be better.'
Surely, Bernstine feels the same way. He got a little lucky with the hiring of Glanville. Now the PSU president must ride the crest of the wave Glanville's hiring has created, not just paying lip service to the importance of athletics at the school, but acting on that credo, too.
• Preparation for the move of the Tradition - a major event on the Champions Tour - from Portland to Central Oregon is going smoothly, reports Mike Lee, vice president of Peter Jacobsen Productions and tournament director for the Tradition.
'The Central Oregon market is extremely enthusiastic,' Lee says. 'My phone rings constantly with companies interested in getting involved as sponsors, as well as individuals who want to get involved as volunteers.
'The venue itself is on the radar screen with the pros. They're all familiar with Crosswater and its reputation as a world-class course. Dana Quigley, Tom Purtzer, Jim Thorpe - those guys cannot wait to play that course. So many of them are into fishing and the outdoors. It's a resort destination, and they can bring families, relax and play at a truly championship venue.'
Lee says the Tradition has retained most of its Portland-based sponsors.
'I'm optimistic we'll be able to expand from a sponsorship standpoint,' Lee says.
• Pat Casey is nothing if not a relentless ambassador for college baseball.
Last week, the Oregon State coach drove through a snowstorm from Corvallis to Klamath Falls to speak at a banquet honoring close friend Dave Steen - the longtime Klamath high school coach who has helped with camps at OSU - that evening. The next day, Casey left K-Falls at 8:15 a.m. and arrived in Corvallis at 3 p.m., just in time for the Beavers' practice.
'Good cause; great guy,' Casey says.
• More good news for the BlazerDancers: Ione Chaco, Marlene Kanehailua, Kristin McCollom, Betsy Seamon and Mindy Davis will be part of an NBA tour for an event called 'Jam Van China' in Guangzhou, China, on March 30 and April 1.
• Ryan Leaf must be working on his image. The second pick of the NFL draft and one of the biggest QB busts ever is now an assistant coach at NCAA Division II West Texas A and M. Recently, he took on the additional role as men's golf coach at the school.
'He embodies many of the qualities we look for in coaches,' AD Michael McBroom writes on the school's Web site. 'Coach Leaf understands the concept of team golf, and more importantly, understands how to build a team mindset and to get a group of young men to work toward a common goal.'