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June 28, 2013
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Wolf Pack did right thing by honoring Ault

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Nevada Wolf Pack athletic director Doug Knuth should be applauded for the way he has shown respect for former football coach and athletic director Chris Ault. In just a few short months on the job Knuth has named the field at Mackay Stadium after Ault and will honor Ault with the Jake Lawlor award on July 12 at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City. It is refreshing to see a Wolf Pack athletic director connect with the past, even if it is the immediate past. It is also a smart and savvy business decision by Knuth to honor Ault, especially at the Governor’s Dinner, because it allows him to connect with all of Ault’s supporters and boosters. The Wolf Pack’s future with Knuth looks bright because he isn‘t afraid to embrace the past.

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This year’s NBA Draft had all the excitement of a spring football practice. It had the feel of 1989 when Louisville’s Pervis Ellison went to the Sacramento Kings with the top pick. This draft was further proof of how insignificant this year’s college basketball season turned out to be. No great players. No great teams. You never know, but it doesn’t look like what took place Thursday night will change the balance of power in the NBA next season.

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Do the Miami Heat need to make some changes in order to win a third NBA championship in a row? The Heat looked very beatable in this year’s playoffs and, in fact, should have lost the Finals in six games if not for a San Antonio Spurs epic choke. The Heat needs toughness inside (Dwight Howard?) and they need a guard to take pressure off Dwyane Wade. Any team with LeBron James will be favored to win the title over the next 10-12 years but James could use a little help.

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The Boston Celtics appear to be entering a prolonged period of mediocrity. Coach Doc Rivers is gone. Kevin Garnett appears to be on his way out. Paul Pierce might not want to stay and Rajon Rondo is coming off a serious injury. Looking back, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Rivers jumped at the change to go to the Los Angeles Clippers, even if his new boss will be Donald Sterling. The Celtics are a mess.

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A couple of former Wolf Pack athletes should benefit greatly because of a pair of unfortunate events that took place on Wednesday. New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested in connection with a murder and New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was lost for the season because of surgery. Hernandez’s absence, coupled with another injury to tight end Ron Gronkowski, should open up a roster spot in New England for former Wolf Pack tight end Zach Sudfeld. Teixeira’s absence should guarantee that former Pack player Lyle Overbay will see significant playing time in New York. In professional sports, it’s not how good you are. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

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It is time that John Savage is recognized as the greatest coach to ever come out of northern Nevada. The Reno High graduate led the UCLA Bruins to their first-ever College World Series title this week. Savage has taken the Bruins to three of the last four College World Series. He was an assistant coach as USC when the Trojans won a College World Series. He was a Wolf Pack assistant coach in the 1990s and helped build the foundation for four NCAA regional appearances in seven years. He built the UC Irvine program from scratch and took them to the regionals in just their third year. The 48-year-old Savage has now done something that not even his famous father-in-law Chris Ault was able to do — win a national championship. If the Los Angeles Dodgers were smart they’d get rid of Don Mattingly and bring Savage to Chavez Ravine.

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Do you still need proof that NHL players are the toughest athletes in professional sports? Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins played Game 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals with a punctured lung, a cracked rib, torn rib cartilage and a separated shoulder. Compare that to when Detroit Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya sat out a week or so with an arm injury he suffered after playing the video game Guitar Hero.



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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 28, 2013 01:07AM Published Jun 28, 2013 01:07AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.