This has been a spring that Nevada sports fans will remember for a long time, but for different reasons unfortunately.
On the positive side:
- The Nevada softball team achieved a national ranking for the first time in school history en route to a 44-18 record. Nevada, which won the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title, lost 4-3 to UCLA in a regional championship game, falling short of reaching a Super Regional.
- The Nevada baseball team placed third in conference, and then won two elimination games to reach the finals where it lost 6-4 to eventual champion Fresno State. In all reality, three or four more wins in the regular season would have landed the Pack a regional bid.
- Four Nevada women " ex-Carson High School star Alex McAlman, Polly Smith, Amanda Boice and Inger Appanitis " qualified for the NCAA Regional Track & Field championships. McAlman, a sophomore, qualified in the hammer throw and discus. She had a throw of 47.45 meters in the discus and 55.96 in the hammer.
Now to the negative, and unfortunately there was plenty of that in the last month or so.
- The investigations that brought the NCAA to Nevada. It ended with men's golf coach Rich Merritt resigning amid gambling allegations as well as breaking NCAA violations in terms of giving illegal aid to student-athletes. The investigation was the result of allegations by former Nevada soccer coach Teri Patraw, who filed suit against the University in an attempt to regain her job.
- It was discovered after the football season that linebacker Ezra Butler had failed a drug test, and that's what kept him out of the season-opener at Nebraska last September. Butler wasn't drafted, and you had to wonder if the drug allegations had anything to do with it. I'm sure they did, but the NFL teams weren't going to admit that. Butler managed to wrangle a free-agent contract from the 49ers. Even that went up in smoke when he was pulled over last week, and law enforcement officials found marijuana in his car.
How stupid can you be? One would think that sitting out the Nebraska game would have straightened Butler out. I guess not. I know young men make mistakes and use poor judgment, but the first offense potentially cost Butler a pretty good sum of money because when the season started he was considered a top prospect and a first-day draft pick.
- Last weekend, the Nevada football program suffered another PR nightmare when three players " Rocco Bene, Kenny Viser and Mike McCoy " were all arrested, in different incidents, for driving under the influence. Bene and Viser were dismissed from the team, while McCoy was placed on probation. I thank God that they didn't hurt anybody while driving. It's certainly a black eye on the university and the football team.
You have to wonder what it will do in terms of upcoming recruiting. No doubt there will be other teams, in and out of the WAC, that will use that when they are going head-to-head with the Pack in recruiting. Of course that's the last thing guys on the team think about " how their actions will reflect on the team's future.
It's too easy to point the finger at head coach Chris Ault and say he is to blame. True, Ault is responsible for the actions of his players in the big picture, but all he can do is stress to players what is acceptable and what isn't. Ault handled this the right way.
It's like that old axiom "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." This is all on the players, and it's an expensive lesson to learn. In Bene and Viser's case, they have thrown away a couple years of their college education that was paid for.
And, while we're on the subject of Nevada football, according to the Contra Costa Times, the Pack lost (for now) a recruiting battle with Boise State for the services of San Ramon Valley High quarterback Joe Southwick.
Southwick, a senior-to-be, orally committed to the Broncos after visiting Boise State recently. Besides Nevada and San Jose State, Southwick was being recruited by a couple of Pac-10 schools. The verbal agreement is non-binding, and both the school and athlete could change their mind.
Southwick threw for 2,096 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior at SRV.
When the District 1 11-12-year-old Little League all-star tournament gets under way in July, neither Carson National or Carson American is expected to field a team, according to Bryan Bybee, president of Carson City Little League.
Instead, both leagues will participate in the upcoming Hooligans tournament that is being held in Gardnerville.
Bibee said that coaches in the leagues were unwilling to commit to the four weeks of practice leading up to the tournament. Bibee held a board meeting, too, on the subject. He said two coaches were willing, if push comes to shove, to coach. Bibee also said that teams usually have more than two coaches working with all-star groups.
- Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281