Archive for May, 2009

Back to UH for Timmy Chang

May 30th, 2009
By dreardon



Jason Kaneshiro and I ran into Timmy Chang today at the PIAA Combine at Saint Louis.

The NCAA record-setting quarterback says he has retired from pro football (he played for Winnipeg of the CFL last year), and will return to UH this fall to complete work on his bachelor’s degree.

“I’m hangin ‘em up,” Chang said.

Chang will also work as a student assistant in the athletic department’s compliance office.

–By Dave Reardon

Houl, Valdez likely assistants to Takahara-Dias … Don’t forget Friesen

May 27th, 2009
By dreardon



Dana Takahara-Dias was announced today as head coach of the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team.

Takahara-Dias was among eight finalists  who had in-person interviews.

Two former assistants, Da Houl and Serenda Valdez, are expected to join her staff. The third spot remains open.

The other head coach finalists were Gavin Petersen, Joan Bonvicini, Mark Trakh, Patrick Harrington, Jennifer Gross, Jennifer Young and George Wolfe.

General speculation last night and today has run toward Takahara-Dias, although another source indicated otherwise (but citing third-hand information). Last week I was told Takahara-Dias was a shoo-in for the job, then she said she was no longer a candidate, and then she interviewed yesterday. At 2 p.m. today, two very good sources told me it’s Takahara-Dias.

***

I should have mentioned diver Emma Friesen in today’s column about Annett Wichmann, in which I called Wichmann UH’s most successful athlete. Friesen, like Wichmann, has numerous WAC championships to her credit. She also has an NCAA championship. That deserves mention at any opportunity. Friesen was also honored as the WAC’s top athlete last year.

Friesen is clearly an under-appreciated athlete.

Others?

– By Dave Reardon

Trapasso contract extended 1 year, Petersen seen at UH in interview garb

May 26th, 2009
By dreardon



Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan cited increased attendance and a continually improving non-conference schedule in rolling over baseball coach Mike Trapasso’s contract today, through the upcoming 2010 season.

Donovan and Trapasso met today and emerged with the agreement, giving the coach a ninth season after two four-year contracts.

Billy Hull is on top of this and will have more later, online today and in tomorrow’s print edition.

***

On the women’s basketball front, I saw current Idaho and former UH assistant Gavin Petersen at the lower campus offices today in a coat and tie.

Donovan told Brian McInnis this afternoon there are eight finalists for the job.

–Dave Reardon

One year extension for Trapasso? … NMSU and Fresno State for crown

May 24th, 2009
By dreardon



Three people with very close ties to the University of Hawaii baseball program told me that coach Mike Trapasso will receive a 1-year extension upon completion of his 4-year contract June 30. We first reported this possibility several weeks ago, but the latest buzz about one more year came after UH’s 10-3 loss Saturday to Fresno State in the WAC Tournament, ending UH’s season.

Trapasso has coached eight seasons at Hawaii, taking the team to one NCAA regional. That’s not good enough for some powerful backers of the program who would like to see a change. Many fans are disappointed by the way the team slumped down the stretch after being nationally ranked during the middle of the season.

If the contract is indeed extended a year, expect some lofty goals that must be met in order for Trapasso to continue on at UH after 2010.

I wrote about why I think UH doesn’t owe Trapasso another year, in Sunday’ Further Review column. It hits this web site at 1:30 a.m. Hawaii Time.

***

New Mexico State held on to beat San Jose State 10-9 in Saturday’s late game. That set up two chances for the Aggies to beat Fresno State today for the tournament championship and automatic NCAA regional bid that comes with it. They meet at noon, and again 35 minutes after the first game if the Bulldogs force a final.

–By Dave Reardon

Big day for Wade, At least one more for Trapasso, notes from the tourney

May 22nd, 2009
By dreardon



UH sports sure needed some positive news, and got it with today’s presentation of Charlie Wade as the new men’s volleyball coach.

Wade brings energy and experience to Manoa, where he was Dave Shoji’s longtime assistant with the powerhouse women’s program.

This seems like the perfect point of his career for this challenge. He’ll have to work fast to bring about a reversal of fortune for the Warriors in a men’s sport that could be in danger of extinction at UH, if not the NCAA.

Wade told our photographer, Dennis Oda, that he was so excited about today that he wore the same shirt he wore at his wedding.

***

Pakalani Bello of UH sports media relations recalls that Clint Ewing, who hit the 2-run walk-off homer to beat the Rainbows last night, also beat Hawaii with a walk-off HR last year, capping a big ninth-inning rally in a regular-season game at Ruston.

***

Even with UH’s win over Nevada today, the WAC Tournament could be the end of Mike Trapasso’s time as the Rainbows coach. It could be the case unless Hawaii makes a miracle run out of the loser’s bracket to win the WAC tourney and attain the regional bid that comes with it — or win enough games this weekend to earn an at-large regional bid (not considered likely by most).

Trapasso declined to talk about his future at UH.

The Rainbows showed a lot of heart today in coming back from an extremely disappointing loss last night to beat Nevada 5-4 in a game that started 13 hours after Clint Ewing’s 2-run homer gave LaTech the win over UH.

“You could tell we were still feeling it early on. But we got a break and scored a couple and (Matt) Sisto kept us in it,” Trapasso said.

Vinnie Catricala said the players are aware that Trapasso is at the end of his contract and he wants to do whatever he can to help his coach’s case for an extension.

“Definitely. I love Coach Trap and want him to stay. We all just want to keep on winning,” he said. “I don’t have much to say about it, but yes, just in case.”

***

Here’s what would’ve been my column today if last night’s UH game had gone too late for our deadline. It’s basically notes from the first two games of the WAC tournament that didn’t get into the paper today:

It was the seventh inning and Fresno State held the lead. New Mexico State needed some help from the baseball gods at the WAC Tournament yesterday.

Coincidentally, right around that time, I asked the Aggies media relations representative, Eddie Morelos, how long it had been since hard-slugging NMSU had gone an entire game without an extra-base hit.

Bulldogs starter Matt Morse had just left after surrendering seven hits — all singles.

“You know, if you look it up, you’re guaranteed the next Aggie will whack one off the wall or over the fence.”

Eddie replied, “Good deal.”

In a couple of minutes, he provided the info. Interestingly, New Mexico State had not gone a full game all season — 56 total — without a double, triple or homer. And now, it was guaranteed that streak would continue, since effort and conversation assuming it wouldn’t had been expended. It’s a baseball thing; never mention a no-hitter in progress in the dugout, never mention that a game is running smoothy time-wise in the press box.

Fresno State was now jinxed, cursed, bachi’d. Whatever you want to call it, the ’Dogs had just been dogged.

NMSU’s next batter, Mike Sodders, laced a double to right. It’s magic, I tell ya … Eddie and I agreed it never fails (except all those times we conveniently forget that it did).

It gets better, or worse if you’re Fresno State. Steven Anderson pinch-runs for Sodders, and scores the tying run. Then Anderson stays in and belts a three-run homer to decide the game, a 7-4 win over the reigning national champions.

Anderson’s shot was the sixth homer in the first two games of the tournament, before Hawaii — which set a a school record for circuit shots this year — even took the field against LaTech.

“I’d been told so much about this park, I didn’t think the ball was leaving,” Anderson said. “Actually it’s not that different. The ball’s flying pretty good here. The seniors were telling me you can’t hit it out of here.

“But we had practice (Wednesday) and even guys getting jammed or hitting it off the end, it was still getting out of here.”

>> San Jose State won just one of four games against UH here during the regular season. But Murakami Stadium was like home away from home yesterday for the Spartans.

Coach Sam Piraro said that attitude comes from altitude — sea level.

“Of all the places we play, it’s the most similar to Municipal Stadium (in San Jose). It’s a fair park. If you hit the ball well it will carry,” said Piraro, who doesn’t care for baseball in the mountains. “I don’t know how coaches can coach at that level, where the ball pops out of the park.”

>> Father and son baseball broadcast duos are fairly common. But doing the same game, for different networks?

That was the case last night in the Hawaii-LaTech game. Don Robbs, as usual, called it for UH for 1420-AM. Meanwhile, his son, Scott, handled play-by-play for the Bulldogs network.

They have done games concurrently before — last year’s Fresno State series and previously against UNLV.

“Either way tonight, a Robbs wins,” said Scott.

– By Dave Reardon