- Steve Brandon
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Roosevelt drops baseball coach
Roosevelt made a Cinderella run at a state playoff berth in baseball this spring, but that wasn't enough for the Roughriders' administration. The school has dumped coach Jack Russell after seven seasons.
'Part of me feels like I had my heart ripped out and was stabbed in the back,' says Russell, whose 10-man team went 7-9 in the PIL and would have made it to state if it had beaten third-place Benson in the regular-season finale.
'We're hoping we can improve the numbers and the program,' says Cal Szueber, Roosevelt athletic director.
Russell says he was told that 'I didn't work well with low-income students,' but he remains on the Roosevelt staff as a security monitor.
He has applied for the Benson job vacated by Rob Herder, and he is coaching an American Legion team this summer with Cleveland's Casey Dyer and Rob Bachofner. The team consists of players from Cleveland, Franklin, Roosevelt and Marshall. The group has formed the Portland Baseball Club and will play host to the 2007 Legion AAA state championship at Mount Hood Community College.
• Roosevelt has hired Craig Woods, former Cleveland and De La Salle coach, as its new girls basketball coach. The Roughriders were 1-17 in the PIL last season and finished the year with only 13 total players in their program.
The school continues to look for a wrestling coach, after being guided most of last season by a volunteer assistant.
• Szueber, who also is the school's football coach, says Roosevelt will add a freshman football team next season. 'We've had 31 freshmen sign up to play,' he says.
Senior Isaiah Johnson, who led the PIL in rushing last season, is drawing attention from major colleges, including Oregon and Arizona State, according to Szueber. 'On defense, we're moving him from outside linebacker to free safety. We think he's going to get less punishment there,' Szueber says.
• Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne might give standout defensive lineman Myles Wade some playing time on offense next season, either up front or at fullback,
'We're going to be a four-wide receiver team and throw the ball,' Pyne says, 'but if he can help open some holes for us …'
The 6-3, 310-pound Wade, who will be a senior at Central, told the University of Oregon last week that he'll sign a letter of intent with the Ducks.
The Rams figure to have a formidable defensive front next season, with Wade at one tackle, Kevin Frahm (6-3, 245) at end on the other side and tackle Zach Ka'Ahanui (5-11, 245). Frahm has committed to Oregon State, and Ka'Ahanui was honorable mention all-MHC last year as a freshman.
Central, 5-4 in 2005, will have depth in the form of 25 seniors, including two other potential Division I players -Joe Martin, a top ground gainer, and Jaden Kaufman, who probably will switch from running back to safety.
Eight defensive starters return, and Pyne plans to start 22 different players. 'We're going to load up on defense and put our best athletes there,' he says. That list includes Barry Hood, a fullback-linebacker who was second in the state wrestling meet in February at 160 pounds. 'He'll play at about 185 pounds, and I hand-timed him at 4.5 seconds in the 40 last week,' Pyne says.
At QB, Pyne will choose between juniors Nick Green (6-2, 195) and Jacob Haas (6-5, 200). 'Nick is a good athlete with a live arm and he runs well,' Pyne says. 'Jacob can really sling the ball, and this will be his third year at Central.'
And tight end Demetrius Geis 'might be our best all-round player,' Pyne says.
• Rob Kennewell's adventure as boys baseball coach at Grant and boys basketball coach at Parkrose lasted one year.
Kennewell has stepped down at Parkrose; he'll continue to teach and coach at Grant.
Parkrose's move to the new, Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference will put the Broncos into a league with St. Helens, Wilsonville, Sherwood, Hillsboro, Glencoe, Century and Liberty. Gone will be the shorter road trips to Central Catholic, David Douglas, Reynolds, Barlow, Centennial, Gresham, Sandy and St. Mary's Academy.
'The new schedule would not be conducive to my teaching schedule,' says Kennewell, who has two sons, ages 3 and 4, to consider, as well. 'Bus times would be earlier, and the nights would be later.'
Kennewell took a trip to New York last week to see his beloved Yankees. While there, he got to see Alex Rodriguez hit a walk-off home run that beat Atlanta.
Anthony Stewart will take Kennewell's place as Parkrose coach.