Will Nevada do right by Gary Powers? | NevadaAppeal.com

Will Nevada do right by Gary Powers?

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Is this Gary Powers’ final season as Nevada Wolf Pack baseball coach? Is Powers coaching for his job this year? Does the Wolf Pack have to win 30-plus games, win the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title or postseason tournament for Powers to keep his job? Does Powers even want to coach beyond this season? Should a coach who has coached at Nevada longer than anyone in school history, will have over 900 career wins by the end of the season, won 30 or more games 16 times and been to four regionals be treated like this? Like it or not, these are the questions that surround this baseball program this year. These are all questions that could have been avoided by Powers signing more than a token one-year contract after 2011. Powers deserves better.

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Major League baseball’s opening day is supposed to be about optimism and endless possibilities. And then there is the Oakland Athletics. The A’s will win no more than 75 games in 2012 and 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and, well, until the franchise either gets new ownership, a new ballpark or a new city. The San Francisco Giants, though, could win 85 games if Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain win 35 of them. The Giants will compete for the National League West title because, well, it’s the worst division in the National League.

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Did anybody notice that Stanford won the NIT championship in New York last week? Did anybody care? Just 5,494 fans showed up at Madison Square Garden to see Stanford pound Minnesota in the title game. More people would watch two poodles doing back flips on the sidewalk outside the Garden than would buy a ticket to the NIT title game. The NIT was fun for about 10 minutes when the Wolf Pack was involved but it’s time the tournament simply fades away. The players and coaches are disappointed to be in it. The fans could not care less. Take the 32 teams in the NIT, put them in the NCAA Tournament and everyone will be happier.

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LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. and it’s not really even close. Nobody in the league does all the things that James does for the Miami Heat. He proved it once again Wednesday night when he led the Heat over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant with 34 points, 10 assists, four steals and seven rebounds. Forget the Thunder, Bulls, Lakers, Spurs. David Stern is going to hand the Heat and James the NBA Finals trophy this June.

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The biggest issue surrounding the Wolf Pack football team this spring is where are all the playmakers going to come from? Even head coach Chris Ault is wondering the same thing. “We’re a bunch of lunch pail guys,” Ault said last week as the Pack opened spring football practices. They better find some playmakers to go along with quarterback Cody Fajardo before September because lunch pail guys get you seven wins and 12,000 fans at Mackay Stadium.

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The Wolf Pack football team went 13-1 just two seasons ago. The men’s basketball team went 28-7 just this past season. It might be a while before we see something like that in both sports again. The transition to the Mountain West Conference might not be as smooth as most predict. Yes, the MWC is just the WAC on steroids. But there will likely be a couple years of adjustment in football or basketball, just like there was when the Pack went to the WAC in 2000. Be patient, Pack fans.