Schonely to have surgery; Ramsay scores with pen; Parrott hits it off with tennis stars; Jacobsen up to the Challenge; hoop coaching greats rank area's top middle-schoolers
This, that and another few things on the sports docket this week ...
• Bill Schonely goes into the hospital Tuesday to have a new defibrillator inserted into his chest.
'Keeps me ticking,' says the Trail Blazers broadcasting legend, 82, whose current apparatus has lasted for seven years. 'If I have any problems with my electrical system, it lets us know.'
Prayers be with you, Schonz.
• Pat Casey may yet decide to hang it up as baseball coach at Oregon State. He hasn't made that decision yet, though, despite what you may have heard in talk radio or read on the Internet.
• Jack Ramsay's new book, 'Dr. Jack on Winning Basketball,' has plenty of stuff Trail Blazers fans will be interested in.
There are many observations about the 1977 NBA championship team, some insight into his initiation into the triathlon at age 53 (he continued in the pursuit for 20 years), along with details on his participation with the Naval Combat Demolition Unit (the forerunner to the Navy SEALS) during World War II and the cancer that he has battled for the past 12 years.
Ramsay, 85, could have used a better proofreader (he misspelled the names of Larry Steele and Don Schollander). I wish he had included even more about his own upbringing and the early parts of his coaching career. But I enjoyed his thoughts on the game's greatest coaches and players.
And there were little nuggets, such as the revelation that Portland's fourth-round pick in the 1976 draft, Jeff Tyson (anybody remember him?), showed promise of making the championship team's opening-night roster before leaving training camp in order to enter medical school.
• Portland's Travis Parrott recently completed a memorable World Team Tennis season with the New York Sportimes.
The former University of Portland standout played men's doubles four times with John McEnroe and mixed doubles five times with Martina Hingis.
Parrott, 30, was 1-3 while paired with McEnroe, still feisty and competitive at 53.
'It was a lot of fun,' Parrott says. 'I was expecting it to be a little more intimidating. When I played against him (in WTT action) a few years ago, he was pretty hard on his partner. He has maybe calmed down a little bit, and we had a couple of chances to practice, so I got comfortable with him on the court.'
Parrott and Hingis, 30, scored a couple of impressive victories, beating Leander Paes and Serena Williams, then knocking off Bob Bryan and Wimbledon doubles champion Kveta Peschke.
'It was a blast playing with Martina,' Parrott says. 'She is very easy to get along with and has a really good eye for the game. She doesn't have that many weapons, but she's so smart and can pick apart an opponent's game.'
It was Parrott's second WTT season.
'It's different than playing on tour,' he says. 'The team format, makes it feel more like college. It's really cool for us (tour players) to be able to play with and against some of the greats of the game like McEnroe, (Bjorn) Borg and (Pete) Sampras. It's an experience I will never forget.'
Parrott, ranked as high as 25th in the world in doubles in 2009 but now at No. 124, says it took him a year to recover fully from surgery to both hips in February 2010. Since his return, Parrott and Philip Polasek beat the world's No. 1-ranked duo, Bob and Mike Bryan, in a tournament at Acapulco, Mexico.
The Portland resident, who teamed with Carly Gullickson to win the mixed doubles at the 2009 U.S. Open, will need a wild card to gain entry into both men's and mixed doubles at Flushing Meadows this year. If he gets into mixed, he'll need to find a partner.
'Carly is getting married,' Parrott says. 'I asked Martina, but she'll be in Japan.'
• Parrott's father, Portland promoter Brian Parrott, wants to put together a tennis/music event in Portland sometime in the next year.
The senior Parrott's idea: Travis Parrott and McEnroe versus the Bryans at Memorial Coliseum. Then a battle of the bands, featuring groups that include McEnroe and the Bryans at the Crystal Ballroom.
• Brian Parrott hasn't given up on the idea of a combined Davis Cup/Federation Cup event in Portland in the future.
The idea: Run the final four of both the men's and women's premier nation-vs.-nation competition at the same venue over a nine- or 10-day period.
'We're the only U.S. city with two arenas big enough to stage it (the Coliseum and the Rose Garden),' Parrott says. 'The Davis Cup finals are hardly noticed in the U.S., but you could get it on TV in the fall and it would be huge. You could get it to where the Ryder Cup is.'
The International Tennis Federation has resisted suggestions of changing its current format of independent Davis and Fed Cup tournaments, with semifinals and finals months apart. Parrott has a lunch scheduled with U.S. Tennis Association executive director Gordon Smith; the topic will surely come up.
• The American Sports Council - formerly known as the College Sports Council - has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the U.S. Department of Education, challenging the application of Title IX's three-pronged test to high school athletics.
The ASP alleges the use of gender quotas to enforce Title IX at the high school level is unconstitutional, becuase it violates the Equal Protection Clause.
The action, the first of its kind, was prefaced by the filings of hundreds of copycat complaints against high school in the Northwest based solely on proportionality.
'Not only is the interpretation not supported by law, it has the potential to destroy much of what is so good about the uniquely American athletic system - one that produces the best scholar-athletes,' ASC chairman Eric Pearson says. 'This pattern of legal intimidation needs to stop.'
• Expect the U.S. women's soccer team to make an exhibition game appearance at Jeld-Wen Field during a tour of cities across the country, probably in the fall.
• Ran into Peter Jacobsen at Portland International Airport last week. He is pumped for the first Umpqua Bank Challenge Aug. 28-30 at Portland Golf Club, which will feature Arnold Palmer and 11 other Champions players in the inaugural event patterned after the old Fred Meyer Challenge.
'We'll start with 12 players, but we'll get to 16,' Jacobsen says. 'It's a money thing for now. We'll build it up and hopefully make it bigger in the future.'
• Two of the greatest high school basketball coaches in Oregon history, Nick Robertson and Barry Adams, are keeping busy.
Robertson, 70, and Adams, 73, are two of four co-directors of the Elite Ballers Camp, which recently concluded its second year at Multnomah University in Northeast Portland.
The three-day invitation-only event features 64 boys and 32 girls - sixth-to-eighth graders - from Oregon and Southwest Washington.
The emphasis is on fundamentals, Robertson says. Eight coaches provide instruction and have control of teams that play games with referees and statistics-keepers. There are also four counselors and a character-building session with a motivational speaker who emphasizes academics.
The camp coaches and directors rate the top 10 boys and girls at each position and post the results on their website.
'It's a way for Barry and me to keep in touch with the game,' Robertson says. 'I don't want to work every day in basketball, but I love to be in contact with youth. We had some phenomenal kids this year who you're going to hear about in the future.'