Friday, December 17, 2010

Selling With Passion---Internet Style

If you don't have a facebook or twitter page, it's about time you got one. We are in the midst of the biggest thing that has ever hit this society, it's called the Internet.

You can touch base with people all over the world from your keyboard and mouse, FOR FREE. We will never see anything of this magnitude in our lifetime.

In business, the Internet gives you that much more to talk about. The next time you see someone at a networking event you can ask them how their boat trailer is doing. That's because you saw their post on facebook where they explained in detail how they lost one of their wheels on the interstate.

I have a relative who lives in Norway and he knows more that's going on with our family than I do. And most of them live right here in my own backyard. Talk about powerful.

If you don't promote yourself or your personal brand, nobody else will. You can drip feed the public with anything you want. As one of my clients once said, "somebody will read it".

And it doesn't cost you a dime.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Compassion - Just Sell®... it's all about sales®

Compassion - Just Sell®... it's all about sales®

If you are in sales view this video by clicking the link above! It's startling how sometimes we get caught up in our daily routine and forget the important things in life. Sell with compassion, sell with empathy. It will go a long way.

Happy Holidays to you and yours this holiday season.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Tell Your Story

It seems the holiday functions never seem to dissipate this time of year. They are happening almost every night. Tonight, a night off. This is life in the Tri-Cities, WA. It's where word of mouth spreads like wildfire. That's a good thing. If people are talking about your business, or you, that's what it's all about.

Whether you know it or not, you are building your brand. The more people that know about you, the more people that will come in contact with you, or your product(s). We not only brand our products and services, we brand ourselves. It's Branding 101. If they know about you, more than likely they are going to know about your product(s) or business too.

There is nothing more powerful than telling your story. All of them are unique in their own way. That's what makes all of us so special.

So the next time you have a chance to tell your story, don't hold back. Give it a whirl. Talk about it. Share it with passion. Work it. Live it. Own it.

You will be amazed at the results that will follow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wulff Returning--It's A Good Thing

I'm sure there are a lot of mixed feelings out there on Washington State Athletic Director Bill Moos' decision to bring Paul Wulff back for another year. From my conversations with people in Pullman last weekend, it was overwhelming how many people are in support of Wulff returning.
Although many people didn't see Moos' statement as much of an endorsement, what else is he going to say?

It wouldn't be appropriate for him to say Wulff has done an outstanding job because the wins don't support that. But as Wulff has said following the decision, people inside the football program see the good things that are happening there.

Improvement. Nobody can dispute the improvement in this team this year. The win over Oregon State in convincing fashion on the road confirms that. Corvallis is not an easy place to play either. Critics contend progress is graded on wins, the Cougars definitely fell off in this area but they had a long way to go to begin with, considering what Wulff had to work with.

Recruiting. Wulff and his staff continue to bring in talented players, especially at the skilled positions.

Academics. The Cougars placed more players on the first team Pac Ten all academic team (7) than any other team in the conference. Not much more needs to be said.

Coaching. Change needs to be made on defense. Having co-defensive coordinators doesn't work. They need someone in place that is in charge. Look for a change in this area.

Intangibles. I really don't think Moos had any other choice but to retain Wulff. Why start over? The players are 'buying into his system' and believe in the coaching staff.

Looking Ahead. The Cougars could realistically start the 2011 year 3-0 with a non-conference schedule that includes Idaho State, UNLV, and San Diego State. Three more conference wins and the Cougs are bowl eligible.
Sure, WSU could hire a guy like Mike Bellotti that could generate excitement in the program for the short term. He would come in and say Pullman is where he wants to be and he's excited about building a winner for years to come. He would also say he's not interested in going anywhere.
Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This Is Pullman

I remember I had to write an English paper in college and the last words in the opening paragraph had to be "this is Pullman".

I wrote something like this; "Nestled in the wheat fields of Eastern Washington lies a remote little college town. This is Pullman."

As I approach a big weekend in Pullman for the Apple Cup, I will never forget those words. It really describes what I wanted when I made the decision to attend Washington State University.
I will never second guess my decision, and I will always cherish the friendships I made in my days at Ole' WAZZU.

It's no secret we want to win the game against our cross state rival, the University of Washington. We want to spoil their chances of going to a bowl game for the first time in years. But it's really not about the game. Football is really a side show in this glorious town. Regardless of what people say, there are plenty of things to do. And win or lose, we still have a great time with our Cougar friends.

I met my wife in Pullman and we always like to stay at the Cougarland Hotel. It sits on the side of a hill downtown, within walking distance to the only breakfast place in that part of town, and of course the watering holes known as the Office and the Sportspage. The Sportspage is where all the coaches hang out, and older alums like ourselves. We will ALWAYS run into Coug friends that we know.

Pullman breeds character, it really does. When you check in to the Cougarland Hotel and they hand you a remote, you know you landed a room with a TV. It's just one more thing to talk about with your friends over a bubbly one.

Sometimes the simple little things mean so much.

You see, it's the small things that make this place so special. Heading across town is no big deal if you've had too much to drink. You just give Big Cat Taxi a call and you can go wherever you want for only $6 bucks. And you can bring all your friends.

This is Pullman.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple Cup Thoughts

I've been going to this game since 1968. I was 9 years old then. That was then, and this is now.

It's still as exciting of a week as ever.

Things are a lot different now for both programs. The Huskies aren't the powerhouse they were in the Don James era when they manhandled teams with their mammoth offensive line. They always had a dominating defensive tackle. Ball control and the kicking game were two key components that won many games for them.

Boy have times changed.

The Huskies enter this year's Apple Cup game hoping to land a bid in the Alamo Bowl, Sun Bowl, or perhaps the Holiday Bowl, not long ago going to the number two team in the Pac Ten Conference.

Not this year.

With Oregon on it's way to the national championship game and Stanford, say what?, possibly headed to the BCS Championship Series, one would think this is a changed conference, especially with the new additions making it the Pac 12. Oregon, a former doormat in the Pac Ten Conference along with it's sidekick Oregon State, has progressed into the premier program in the conference, and perhaps the west coast. Chip Kelly is changing the game with his high powered, quick strike offense that drives defenses crazy, especially when the fourth quarter arrives.

Then there's Washington State. The team with really no identity and still many questions loom over the future of head coach Paul Wulff. In his weekly talk show, WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos still refrains from answering questions about the future of Wulff. After an impressive 31-14 win over Oregon State in Corvallis on November 13Th, the Cougs have been waiting for their arch rivals to arrive in Pullman. The game features a new twist now with the resurgence of the Husky program generating two wins over UCLA and Cal in successive weeks. It used to be expected and is now treated as one of the two biggest wins in school history. "God's play" is what people are calling the one yard touchdown run by Chris Polk as time was running out in the victory over Cal last weekend. Husky fans bombarded the field like they were headed to their first Rose Bowl.

When the final bell rings Saturday, there's a few scenarios that could unfold. We will finally find out the future of Paul Wulff and whether he will be able to fulfill the final year of his four year contract. Will the Huskies go to a bowl game for the first time in years?

Back in Anne Arbor, Jim Harbaugh will be named the new head coach at the University of Michigan, leaving Stanford for his treasured job.

And Paul Wulff will be packing his bags, for another recruiting trip for the 2011 season.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Devel-ish Weekend

Who would've thunk it. The WSU Cougars dropping a tough one to the Arizona State Sun Devils 42-0. Not me. After a couple weeks of great improvement the Cougs ran into Dennis Erickson and the Devils, a coach many think is on the hot seat at ASU. After a slow start and a 50-17 thrashing by California the week before, it was time to find out just what Erickson is made of. Coug fans found out the hard way. It was a good Ole' fashioned ass whooping. Sorry about the french, I couldn't resist.

Erickson had his team ready and showed why he's landed the big name jobs and outlandish salaries in his very successful coaching career. This might have been a game he needed the most after a discouraging 3-4 record coming in. "We needed a win", he said. Well, he got one and it couldn't have come at a better time.

More importantly, I was able to take in all that the valley of the sun had to offer. I was greeted with good friends, warm temperatures, great restaurants (I highly recommend Dick's Hideaway but you'll never find it. Brilliant marketing on the name by the way), drinking establishments, drinks by the pool, morning walks, and real estate that is almost too good to pass up. Not to mention a sports bar that rivals Hooters, only better. I see now why Erickson took the job at ASU. I also found out how brutal some of their fans are after a few of the Cougar faithful were escorted out of the stadium. Who knows why. I think maybe they were having too much fun. I guess you aren't supposed to stand up during a game at Sun Devil Stadium. Win or lose us Coug fans always do. Some of us fall down too.

It was great to get away from the cool air and the same political advertisements here in Washington State that have plagued so many of us over the past month or so. Mud slinging, thrashing, lies, and someone always gets the short end of the stick come election day. And here in Washington State it's usually the people that live outside of King County. Maybe it's time to open a satellite office.

I'm thinking Maricopa County is a good place to start.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

December 4th Could Determine Wullf's Fate

Washington State University Athletic Director Bill Moos has to be feeling the heat right now. But after all, this is what he signed up for. He had to know at some point he would have to make a coaching change at his Alma mater. I'm sure he didn't think it would be this quick.

Or did he?

Many of the cougar faithful are falling off the bandwagon, in a hurry. The status of the WSU football team is giving a lot of people an uneasy feeling. The losses are mounting and getting old. So are the excuses. When a coach continually blames the players for "being too young and inexperienced", you know you have an accountability problem. Isn't it the coaches' job to get them ready, young or experienced? Last time I checked it is.

It has become Bill Moos' challenge. In 17 years as an athletic director at Montana and Oregon, Moos had only one losing season in football. I'm sure he doesn't want to live through very many more, especially at Washington State. He was instrumental in the hiring of Paul Wulff, he played a key role on the selection committee. Moos wants Wulff to succeed just as much as anyone else, but then again when you start losing your fan base, and the losses keep coming, it may be time to make a change. Or is it?

Paul Wulff has stuck to his game plan on how he is going to run his program. He continues to recruit hard for the best players available, and quality young men. There still is an interest on the part of some of these blue chip high school players, the most recent coming out of the state of Florida, who enjoyed his recruiting visit thoroughly despite the lopsided loss to USC.

So if you are the athletic director at WSU what do you do? Do you hang on and give him his four years? The first year probably doesn't really count because Wulff had less than two months to recruit, given the fact he was hired so late in the process. And it's no secret WSU doesn't have the funds to buy out a guy like Rob Akey, who just signed a new extension at Idaho.

I look for the WSU team to be much improved the rest of the year. Special teams continue to be a huge bright spot in this young season. And more importantly for Cougar fans, the Huskies are struggling too. This weekend's game at USC will be another big challenge for Steve Sarkisian's Huskies.

Many football experts say to retain your job in college football you must beat your rival. John Cooper found out the hard way during his time at Ohio State against arch rival Michigan, he's obviously no longer the coach there. In 1975, the Huskies came back from 13 points down to beat the Cougars 28-27 when Spider Gaines caught a fluke pass from Warren Moon after the ball bounced off the helmet of a Cougar defender in Don James' first Apple Cup.

Exit Cougar Coach Jim Sweeney.

Paul Wulff's career record is 1-1 against the Dawgs. Mark your calendars for December 4Th in Pullman.

It very well could determine Paul Wulff's fate.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Men Of Troy Might Have Their Hands Full

This very well could be the biggest game of Paul Wulff's career so far. His Cougar team hosts USC at Martin Stadium this Saturday and Cougs from near and far will be watching this one with a keen eye. Will his team compete and show the improvement that is needed for him to retain his job?

There are a lot of people in the WSU fan base that have had enough. Die-hard Cougs that would just as soon see him go. On the other side of the coin, there's also a lot of other coaches out there watching just as closely as the dying WSU fan base. Paul Wulff has slowly built a foundation that has not succeeded with wins on the field, yet. The team still believes in him and the morale is still high. If there's one thing he has done well it is keeping this team focused on the task as hand. He is confirming with his team the positive things that are happening, even though they are few and far between. The Cougars finally competed for 60 minutes last week on the road against SMU. If by chance Wulff is not retained, whoever takes over the job can be a hero in a heartbeat. Winning five games in their first year might just catapult them into an even bigger job, like say, Weber State or Ball State for that matter.

When the Cougars take the field on Saturday you can expect all the "wrinkles" will come out of Paul Wullf's playbook. Maybe a flea flicker on the first play instead of the patented dive play we've seen the first three games of the season. We all know the Cougars don't have the talent or experience that the other teams have so why not throw the entire kitchen sink at the opposing teams and see what happens. The fan base is dying and this just might be what they need to get some excitement generated again in the cougar nation.

USC is on probation and they aren't as big and talented as year's past. They've struggled early in the season. I expect them to come out flat on Saturday. The brash and cocky Lane Kiffin will have a really hard time getting this team up for Washington State. They have nothing to play for.

I chose Pullman over going to Lake Chelan this weekend. I chose football over wine tasting and hanging out at my favorite place?

For some reason I have a funny feeling I made the right choice. Look for the Cougs to cover.

What a thrill that would be.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Great Day In Pullman

Sometimes you learn a lot from your significant other, in this case my wonderful wife Kathy. It was hard getting her to go to the WSU-Montana State game on Saturday, given the current situation with the Cougar Football Program. She started to 'buy in' to some of the things she's been hearing from her die-hard Cougar friends, many of them abandoning ship and giving up on coach Paul Wulff and his staff.

As the Cougs fell behind in the second quarter and later at halftime, I gazed around at the 26,000+ fans who showed up for the non-conference game with the Bobcats. It was a perfect day for football. My friend Jim, a loyal MSU fan and graduate, sat next to us with his two young sons. It was huge for them and a great bonding experience. For a Montana State fan, this is big time football. Earlier in the day, his oldest ran 45 yards for a touchdown in a grid kids game.

I appreciated how great it was to be back in Pullman again. My wife and I met there and it will always be a special place for both of us. We also enjoyed watching Emily Walden (former coach Jim Walden's daughter who we went to school with) lecturing some guy next to her for not supporting the coach. Knowing her, I'm sure she got the best of him in this one. He left a short time later.

Despite the lackluster performance by the Cougars, and the nay sayers that continue to haunt Paul Wulff and his program, I found the day real enjoyable even before the Cougars came back to take the lead. My wife summed it up best. "Thanks for buying the season tickets hon", she whispered in my ear.

She couldn't have said it any better.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Embarassing Loss by Cougs

On the first play of the game the worst possible thing happened setting the tone for the rest of the game. It was not what Paul Wulff or his Cougars needed. James Montgomery never got the hand off from Jeff Tuel and Oklahoma State recovered. The Cougars never recovered after that. It sounds like a broken record doesn't it?

It very well could be a long season again, given the 65-17 drubbing this time to Oklahoma State. WSU was once again outmatched in every aspect of the game. The only improvement I saw was punt coverage, it was pretty strong. Nowadays, if you want to head to the NFL from Washington State, you best try out for punter, you will get a lot of looks.

What was the worst part of the latest debacle? Tackling. There was none. In 43 years of actively watching college football, that very well could be the worst tackling (or lack thereof) performance I have ever seen. It comes down to fundamentals.

When Paul Wulff arrived at Washington State one of the first things he noticed was the team's lack of fundamentals. He said it would change. Was it poor tackling or were the Cougars matched up against a team with much more strength and athleticism? I think it's probably a little of both.

Wulff and his team need to show significant improvement this season, not so much in wins but being competitive in each game if he is to retain his job. The Montana State Bobcats are next on the schedule and the Cougs need a win badly.

Given what I saw on Saturday, It's not going to be easy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two Guys With A Lot In Common

I knew I had a lot in common with Fred Couples. Both of us grew up playing junior golf in the Seattle area. Neither of us wear a glove when we play golf. In addition to golf, both of us played soccer and baseball growing up as youngsters. But the biggest thing we have in common is both of us have had blow ups on that darn par 5 second hole at Sahalee.

In the Father-Son golf tournament years ago, I chunked four balls in the water and took a 13 on the par-5 hole. It was that same hole that cost Fred Couples the 2010 US Senior Open. After choosing to lay up from the right side after his tee shot, Fred proceeded to chunk a lob wedge into the lake that guards the green. He finished with a triple bogey, and it was that mistake that cost him his first major as a senior player.

On a much smaller scale, my Dad and I finished second that year in the Father-Son. Maybe I should have gone for the green too. It still eats at me to this day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Northern Ireland Here I Come

I'm headed to Northern Ireland. Hopefully, sooner than later.

After watching Graeme McDowell win his first major, it makes me want to go to his homeland and see what it's like. He was so impressive the way he handled himself in one of the toughest set ups in all of golf. I knew early he was the guy to beat.

Unflappable, he rarely missed a fairway on this day. While Dustin Johnson was shooting himself out of the US Open early, McDowell continued to hit fairways and leave himself in the right spots to win a major. Phil was being Phil with those common errant shots, bad decisions, and just being the Phil we've all grown to love. No wonder he hasn't won a US Open yet. Tiger isn't in form, which kind of breaks my heart. Ernie Els is getting closer but still seems a bit tentative in his game. But this day belonged to Graeme, short in stature but obviously carries a big heart, and savvy smarts to go with it. In all his interviews he just seems to say all the right things. Just think how much fun he would be in one of those pubs in Northern Ireland. Maybe he'll give me a blow by blow of his stellar round at Pebble Beach.

I can't wait.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pac-Something Poses Some Interesting Questions

Now we know why Pete Carroll took the Seattle Seahawks head coaching job. The writing has been on the wall for some time now and came to a head today. USC will be punished with a two year ban, and more importantly, 10 scholarships for the next three years. This definitely levels the playing field for others in the Pac Ten, especially Colorado, who just accepted an invitation to join the Pac Ten. Others are soon to follow like Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. When USC can only recruit 10-15 players per year for the next three years, that is a huge boost for others in the Pac-Something. It also puts a scar on the Pete Carroll era. Yeah Pete, the Seahawks job wasn't about the money was it? Things started to stick so you needed to go. Hello Seattle.

So what does this mean for WSU and UW Fans? For the loyal Cougs, it means it's time to step up. If you haven't helped your school lately now is the time. I really think WSU may be at a huge advantage, given the latest circumstances. Who would you rather go see play, Colorado or Idaho? Texas A&M or Baylor? Oklahoma or San Diego State? Some of those schools were on the non-conference schedule but you get my point. Some of these new schools in the conference will mean a huge spike in ticket sales for Martin Stadium. This is why the stadium expansion is so important. Let me correct myself, this is why we HAVE to expand Martin Stadium.

For UW fans, well I won't even go there. They already entertain some of these schools and as hard as it is for me to admit it, Seattle is a big attraction and always will be, specifically Husky Stadium. I can say that because I grew up there. I saw the likes of Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Michigan, Michigan State, and Miami, just to name a few. If you want me to name some of the players I can do that too. When it becomes a conference game it's an even bigger draw.

So buckle up, there's some big news a comin'. The new schools will have to make adjustments to travel schedules, new recruiting territories, new surroundings. For Husky and Cougar fans they are already in place.

My name is Tom and I'm a Cougar. I like what I'm seeing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Best Of The Best

I was fortunate to be a part of the last coach to beat legendary coach John Wooden. It was in 1975 when Marv Harshman's Huskies knocked off UCLA 103-81 in Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Up in the rafters I was sitting behind a post. It didn't matter, I was experiencing history and loving every minute of it.

We lost the best of the best. There's nobody better and never will be. John Wooden taught the fundamentals of life and basketball better than anyone. There was a reason why he made his players use the backboard. There was a reason why he taught them the right way to put on their socks. There's a reason why he won so many games.

But the one game he excelled in more than anything was the game of life. And what's more important than that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

2010 Tri-Cities Cougar Golf Classic Shines Bright

Now that the dust has settled on the 25Th Annual Tri-Cities Cougar Golf Classic, it's time to reflect on what a special day it was. With presenting sponsors Sterling Savings and Sun West Sportswear, the tournament returned to its roots at beautiful Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland. The die-hards of old turned out in forces playing golf and waiting to get a sneak peek of what to expect in the coming years. New Athletic Director Bill Moos was the featured guest and he didn't disappoint. As usual, Moos had a few stories to tell and kept the sellout crowd in stitches. Those in attendance included legendary quarterback Jack Thompson, who was accompanied by his son Tony, a former tight end for the Cougars. His main target in college, current receivers coach Mike Levenseller was also there, as well as longtime Tri-City Americans' coach Don Nachbauer (pictured above second from left).

It's a new era in Cougar athletics. Moos reminded the Cougar faithful that he only had two losing seasons in football in 17 years as an athletic director at Montana and Oregon. He increased fund raising tremendously at both schools and set the tone for what they are today. He plans to do the same at WSU. And given the way he worked the room and turned some heads, it won't take long.

Cougar fans haven't seen many standing ovations of late, but they got plenty at Meadow Springs. Hats off to Tournament Chair Tammy Mulholland, who put on a very successful event in its first year back at Meadow Springs, and she accomplished what the tournament was set out to do; raise money for the athletic department, generate enthusiasm, and make sure everyone had a good time.

Like Bill Moos, she didn't disappoint either.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Saturday Reunion

It was a reunion of sorts at Willows Run Golf Course on Saturday. I was back together with old friends at a familiar place, the golf course. I've never played very well in the spring, and this year is no exception. It was the typical spring round for me, missed greens, missed putts, and missed opportunities. But this day wasn't about golf, or score. It was about spending time with old friends. I spent five hours with a guy who was a fixture in Seattle sports for a long time. Donald "Slick" Watts hasn't changed a bit. He still has that huge smile, and he's still in remarkable shape. Although he has given up the game of basketball for tennis, he still finds plenty of time to knock the rock around from time to time.

We talked about Tiger Woods, we talked about Butler's run in March Madness--we even talked about NBA salaries and how they've sky rocketed. It's hard to fathom the kind of money LaBron James is making, or Kobe Bryant for that matter. We didn't talk about his days as a Seattle Supersonic. He's not like most former professional athletes, who still feel the need to live in the past and their glory days. He still runs basketball camps with his son Donald Jr., the head basketball coach at West Seattle High School. In July, Slick will turn 59 years young.

It's hard to believe it was that long ago he was running up and down the court in that trademark headband. Few people will forget Donald "Slick" Watts. After Saturday, I know I won't.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Place Like Home

He is probably the most celebrated Husky receiver ever. He could single handily take over a game. And he's back in Seattle. Reggie Williams got the break he needed when the Seahawks decided to give him a try out with new coach Pete Carroll. Carroll obviously sees the value in this kid, still only 26 years old with a four month old son. He is also engaged and has promised to turn his life around. He is a former number one draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he admits it just wasn't "a good fit". I agree. Who wants to be a receiver for a team that mostly relied on ball control, defense, and the kicking game. The Jags grind it out with the running game, which doesn't give you many chances as a wide receiver, so you better take advantage of the opportunities when they arise.

Well, that opportunity is here for the former Husky star. Reggie Williams is relishing it. And there's no place like home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Unfortunate Couples Retreat

The 74Th Masters was well represented with players from the Northwest making some noise, in one of the most exciting weekends you will ever see at the Masters. And once again Seattle's own Fred Couples excited the crowd with some remarkable play. It might have been nerves that shattered his chances for another green jacket but we can't downplay the gutsy performance by Phil Mickelson. Lefty picked up his third green jacket, joining an exclusive group that includes Gary Player and Nick Faldo to name a few. Faldo has said on numerous occasions that nobody swings it better than Freddy, a swing that hasn't changed since his glory days at O'Dea High School. Couples got off to a great start with birdies on two of the first three holes, but it was an unfortunate double bogey 5 on number 12 that started his fall on the leaderboard. This shot found the water in Rae's Creek, he wasn't as lucky as he was when he won his first green jacket when the ball was hit in the same place but managed to stay up. It was the third iron shot in a row that Couples missed to the right, ending his chances of a second green jacket at 50 years of age.

Another Seattle native, Ryan Moore, dazzled the crowd with a hole-in-one on number 16 to finish in the top 16 and earn another trip to the Masters next year. The top 16 and ties earn invites for the following year. Ryan might have received an invite anyway, showing his respect for the game by sporting a tie. Moore closed with a final round 68, two shots better than Couples' final round 70.

I have a sneaking hunch we haven't heard the last of Fred Couples at the Masters. There's a reason why people call him "Boom Boom".

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My First Spring Training

It only took 50 years but the wait was worth it. I was able to spend my first spring training in the valley of the sun. My good friend Jeff Parker was a great host, but even better tour guide. He definitely knows where the hot spots are, and he found us the cheap beers too. A 24 oz. Corona for only six dollars and change, now that's a bargain.

The biggest thing I got out of this was the acquisition of Milton Bradley by the Mariners. Or was it an acquisition? The dude definitely sports an attitude. He was a big gamble in a lot of people's eyes, and this game proved the point. The attitude reared it's ugly head. He had a terrible error in this game resulting in two runs scored and two other runners left in scoring position. Now when you go to spring training with a guy who hangs out there every day you learn the tricks of the trade. You spend the first three innings or so on the third baseline. And the boys around us were getting their money's worth with the taunting of Milton Bradley. As the beer kicked in it got worse. Some of these spring training fans are relentless. Bradley had enough after a couple innings and made a less than desirable gesture toward the fans on his way off the field. They start practice early at around 8:00 am and then play a game at 1:00. By the time the six or seventh inning comes around the veterans start to file out after a long day at the office. That is when our tour guide Jeff informed us it's time to move to the first baseline to watch the veterans leave. Bradley left by himself two innings earlier. It was a tough day all around for Milton. As Ken Griffey Jr. was filing out with his wide smile my friend Jeff asked him why Milton wasn't hanging around with his teammates. Griffey covered the side of his mouth and snickered, "dentist appointment".

My first spring training, and definitely not my last.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Hump Day To Remember

You know the beers will be flowing in Pullman come late Wednesday afternoon. The local bars will be rocking because a good ole' boy is coming home. Bill Moos will be formally introduced as the new athletic director at Washington State, his Alma mater. It only took WSU president Elson Floyd 10 days to replace Jim Sterk, who left to take the same job at San Diego State. Sterk saw the writing on the wall and bolted south. Moos was hired as a consultant and Sterk knew it was a matter of time when the pressure would be just too much. WSU will get exactly what they bargained for, a man who knows how to raise money, something I believe was lacking under Sterk. Moos also brings charisma back to WAZZU, something that has disappeared since Mike Price left for Alabama. WSU has the smallest athletic budget in the conference and when you lack in funds and resources, you better make up for it with someone who can work a room and get it done.

Give props to Elson Floyd. He found his man.

Monday, February 15, 2010

There's a Moos in the Palouse

This will go down as the bench mark for Elson Floyd's tenure at Washington State University. It's a matter of time for the WSU president to name Bill Moos as the new athletic director, or something similar for the time being. The former Oregon AD has a non-compete clause in his contract not allowing him to take a job at any other BCS school. He would give up close to 1.9 million dollars if he does. Obviously WSU officials are confident they can put ink to this deal. President Floyd sent out an inter-office letter today indicating he invited Moos to campus Wednesday to meet with athletic officials and participate in a public forum. It's all but a done deal. And what a deal it will be for WSU boosters and fans, especially with the renovation project for Martin Stadium. Moos was instrumental in building the University of Oregon athletics department to what it is today. He changed the landscape of Oregon athletics, and as far back as 2003 he facilitated more than $160 million in improvements, which includes 12,000 new seats, 32 new suites, a new club at Autzen Stadium, and a new press box. There is no better fit for the Cougar Nation. Moos began his athletics career in 1982 as assistant athletics director at Washington State University. He was also associate athletic director from 1988-90. Moos was also an all Pac 8 lineman in 1972.

Bill Moos was raised on a wheat and cattle ranch in Eastern Washington. He knows the landscape, much like former Cougar AD Jim Sterk, who resigned to take the athletic director position at San Diego State. According to sources, Floyd and Sterk were never on the same page. Well, that page has been turned now.

I can hear it now, "there's a Moos in the Palouse".

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Night With Cougar Football

I keep referring to him as one of the guttiest quarterbacks I have ever seen. He helped beat UCLA with a broken leg, ultimately leading the Cougars to their last Rose Bowl. Despite the attention he has received both as a former football player and now as an analyst on Fox Sports Northwest (last time I checked it was the Husky Network), Jason Gesser remains humble and determined to promote WSU Football to the great northwest. Gesser delivered an impassioned speech that resulted in a standing ovation from the 200+ people who attended "A Night with Cougar Football" at Meadow Springs Country Club--an event designed to raise money for scholarships. Glenn Johnson, Mayor of Pullman and Public Address Announcer for football and basketball, did a masterful job as Master of Ceremonies. Gesser said it was the family atmosphere, similar to the one he was raised in, that made his decision to attend WSU an easy one. Following his recruiting visit to the U-Dub, three different Husky players from Hawaii told him Montlake wasn't the best place for him. Too much of the "me me" going on they said. He obviously made the right choice.

Things are changing in the Palouse. The Cougar faithful are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel after listening to Gesser, wide receiver Gino Simone, and redshirt freshman cornerback Nolan Washington, a real funny character to say the least. All three brought with them new life to the Cougar Program. There hasn't been much to celebrate the last couple years, and many close to the program are very aware of how one sided the outcomes have been. Embarrassing, humiliating, down right awful to say the least. But I can honestly say there's something that can be said for people who stick to their plan and believe in it. Head Coach Paul Wulff is one of those. The kids are believing too. WSU is recruiting quality people, like Simone and Washington. After raising $35,000, the alumni are obviously buying in too. The grade point average last year was the highest in the history of the school. Although we grade coaches on wins and losses, these are some of the things that are often times overlooked. Good things are happening in Pullman. Just ask these kids.

Paul Wulff needs time. I hope the administration gives it to him. Then we will learn that like Gesser, they too made the right choice.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Peeping Toms of Social Networking

When I first joined Facebook a year or so ago it was a chance to reconnect with old friends and former colleagues I haven't seen or heard from in awhile. Whether it be old classmates, friends, former co-workers, coaches, or even teachers, it was a fun way to 'catch up'. I think it's safe to say this is exactly what it was originally designed to accomplish. I have been fortunate enough to re-kindle some old acquaintances because of social networking. But I think it may have gotten a little out of hand. Now it's filled with what I refer to as 'peeping toms', people who constantly monitor what everyone else is doing but very seldom post or respond themselves. One friend told me, "it's like they are peeking in your window". It's kind of unsettling if you ask me.
I guess my thought is if you are going to engage in social networking, be social. Interact. Respond to people's comments, and have fun doing it. Enjoy what it is designed to accomplish in the first place. If not, then you shouldn't be on there in the first place.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A "Voice" I Remember

He tagged Fred Brown "Downtown". He put the Seattle Supersonics on the map. He was Seattle sports. Bob Blackburn, longtime voice of the Seattle Supersonics was remembered Sunday as family, friends, and colleagues jammed into First United Methodist Church in Bellevue for one last salute to this honorable family man. As people were filing into the church, his booming voice was heard one last time as he delivered another perfect game in the final minutes of the replay of the Sonics' 1979 NBA Championship win over the Washington Bullets. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

"Bob was a legend", those words from a legend himself, Lenny Wilkens. Wilkens talked about how he became neighbors with "Voice" after he was traded to the Sonics from the St. Louis Hawks. He later guided the Sonics to the NBA Championship as their coach. No legend myself, I was fortunate to grow up in Woodridge, an old school neighborhood just east of downtown Bellevue. It was a dream neighborhood where locking doors was few and far between. I was friends with Bob's son Dave, a quick witted multi-sport athlete who afforded me the chance to learn and choose who my childhood idol would be. It wasn't Spencer Haywood or Bob Rule. It wasn't Dick "The Duck" Snyder, or even "Leaping'" Lee Winfield. It was a man who inspired me to enter the broadcasting profession. His work ethic, drive, passion, and attention to detail is what peaked my interest. The Sonics had a 7:30 game one evening and I asked him what time he needed to leave for the Seattle Center Coliseum. "Four fifty-eight", he responded.

I knew then that Bob Blackburn was my idol.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh For Pete's Sake

Department of redundancy department. The Seahawks have done it again. They've hired another good looking coach (excluding Mike Holmgren). He is going to bring them to the promised land. No more 5-11 seasons, no more Superbowl debacles. Just good ol' fashioned smash mouth football with former USC Coach Pete Carroll. Please. One of the remaining Seattle newspapers did a poll and the majority of readers (those Huskies that could read) didn't think it was a good hire. Why? Because most of them are Huskies and don't like the fact the Seahawks hired someone from USC. I agree. Remember Barbara Hedges? You know, the lady that was so infatuated with Rick Neuheisel that she decided to hire him. She turned on him just as quickly when he fell in love with the San Francisco 49ers without letting her know. Maybe he should have consulted Tiger on the best way to handle this. Don't get too excited about Pete Carroll. His motivational ploys that worked with USC won't work in the pros. His athletes with the Seahawks aren't as good as the ones he had at USC.

For Pete's sake.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Tiger Thing

I'm sorry, I just can't get off this Tiger thing. I can't stop thinking about Jack Nicklaus' comments about five years ago when he said Tiger's life would change when he started to have a family. Boy was he right on. But what we didn't realize was how much the world revolved around Tiger, and still does. Just ask him. I really question how much remorse he really has. People will soon forget when he sets foot on the links again. Everyone knows it's the best therapy for him. All he needs is a win and this will all be water under the bridge.

Let's just hope it's not the one at Rae's Creek at Augusta. I can just hear Jim Nance now. "Tiger is back".