PORT ARTHUR —
Think what you will about the way Lamar basketball coach Pat Knight unloaded on his seniors after Wednesday night’s loss to Stephen F. Austin, the mind-bogging fallout from it has lead to more publicity than any single event in the school’s history. And the reaction to the coach’s rant has been overwhelmingly positive. Knight’s entire post-game rampage got posted on Youtube, it went viral from there and was a dominant topic in the sports world for Friday’s news cycle. The Wall Street Journal had a reporter talk to Knight for a story, it was a topic on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption and little else was discussed on Houston’s two top rated sports talk shows Friday afternoon. Knight did an interview on KILT’s Odd Couple show Friday evening. Best way to get a handle on all that has transpired is to Google Pat Knight and start reading. But don’t be in a hurry. Meanwhile, a lot of the reaction seems to suggest folks across the board are fed up with athletes being coddled and feeling entitled. Knight has received numerous texts from college coaches applauding his actions, including one who said he was going to show it to his team before the next game. He got a call from a high school AD who said he was going to require every athlete at the school to watch the rant. There was a dramatic surge in interest on questionnaires about basketball scholarships at Lamar. Not that he needed the reinforcement, but Knight says he has no regrets. “I did what I thought I needed to do,” he said. “This is my team. If people knew what we were dealing with, and what has gone on this year, all this probably wouldn’t be such a big deal.” He might also have said that if folks knew all that his predecessor, Steve Roccaforte, went through with this group as juniors it wouldn’t be a big deal. So many of them were in Roccaforte’s doghouse, some of us laughingly referred to it as a kennel. Roc didn’t go as far with discipline as Knight has, because he knew his job was on the line.
Something about the Mayakoba Classic brings out the best in PN-G ex Chris Stroud. Last year, Chris made eight straight birdies enroute to a second-round 63 and the 36-hole lead, was one shot back at the 54-hole mark and finished fourth. He’ll being teeing it up today in sole second place, two shots behind 54-hole leader Daniel Summerhays. Final round pressure being what it is, it’s worth keeping in mind that Summerhays’ best PGA Tour finish is 11th. He’ll be feeling at least as much pressure as Stroud, maybe more. The player to watch out for might be 53-year-old Michael Allen, who is four back of Summerhays. He’s never won on the PGA Tour, but did win the 2007 Senior PGA Tour Championship. Will Claxton, who is a tied with Allen, is in his second year on the PGA Tour and his best finish is T23. The final round will be televised on the Golf Channel at 5:30 p.m. on tape delay, meaning the tournament will be over before it comes on the air . . . It was probably inevitable that the Miami Heat forced New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin into his worst performance Thursday night, after an out-of-nowhere first 10 games that saw him average 23.8 points and 9.4 assists. Lin, after all, was not only playing for his fifth game in seven nights, and going up against the NBA’s best team, he was faced with a double dose of the infamous Sports Illustrated cover jinx. SI had the Harvard grad on its cover for the second consecutive week, which, believe it or not, was a first for any athlete who ever played for a New York team. Think about that for a second. Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath and Reggie Jackson never got the kind of treatment from SI that Lin did.
The coaching profession lost a really good guy recently when former PN-G star Dougald McDougald announced he was stepping down as head coach at Kingwood to go into private business. McDougald, 55, had been in coaching 31 years, the last nine as head coach at Kingwood, and was coming off a 7-5 playoff season. PN-G fans will remember him as an all-district linebacker on the 1975 Indians team that defeated Odessa Permian 20-10 in the 4A state championship game. Had McDougald not resigned, he was going to be vice president of the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association. That’s mentioned because former Nederland QB Don Clayton, McDougald’s close friend and head coach at Cinco Ranch, is going to the president of the GHFCA . . . Another coach with Mid-County ties apparently is on the verge of getting back into the business. Former PN-G quarterback Greg Davis, who two spent years with Mack Brown at North Carolina and 13 more at Texas, is reportedly going to be hired as the offensive coordinator at the University of Iowa. Greg had some great seasons at Texas working with Vince Young and Colt McCoy, and was named college football’s assistant coach of the year in 2005 . . . Speaking of McCoy, he appears to be on shaky ground as the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback. Word out of Cleveland, and around the NFL, is that the Browns are going to try to trade up to the No. 2 spot in the draft to take Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Amazing, isn’t it, that up to this point both McCoy and Young have come up short in the NFL?
Expect for Lamar to make it official on hiring Bill Bradley and naming him defensive coordinator sometime this week. Bringing in Bradley is part of a massive revamping of the Cardinal staff by head coach Ray Wooward. Also to be named soon is a new offensive coordinator to replace Todd Whitten. Woodard at one time was hopeful of being able to hire Todd Dodge for that role, but Dodge opted to get back into high school coaching at Marble Falls . . . Don’t know how many Cardinal fans realize it — I didn’t until Mike Melancon of Big Red Insider pointed it out — but Woodard’s 2012 signing class includes not one, not two but three of the 4A all-state running backs as picked by the Texas Sports Writers Association. That would be first teamers Cameron Washington (5-10, 198) of Corsicana, Darrell Harris (5-11, 189) from Waco and second teamer Desmond Richards (5-9, 180) of Magnolia West. Surely we’re going to see an upgraded LU running game. It you are a Cardinal fan, BigRedInsider.com is worth checking out . . . Good news for Longhorn football fans. The Longhorn Network will be carrying 12 spring practices and the April 1 Orange-White spring game. Oops, I forgot. Nobody gets the Longhorn Network and probably won’t for the next few years. But never fear. Kingmaker AD Deloss Dodds says, “Our coaches and athletes are ecstatic with LHN and they tell us it is helping in recruiting.” Maybe that will help UT get back to where it can beat Baylor in something.
The Astros are planning to add a fan attraction called the “Walk of Fame” outside Minute Maid Park this season. First nine honorees will be players who have had their numbers retired. That group includes Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Jim Umbricht, Don Wilson and Jimmy Wynn. Four more players — one from the ‘60s, 70s, 80s and 90s — will be added in 2012. After that a select panel will chose one player for inclusion each year. Sounds like a nice touch . . . Spring training opened without former Astro pitching ace Roy Oswalt on a major league roster. Oswalt drew interest from a handful of teams and was most interested in the Cardinals and Rangers. Neither of those two were willing to meet his price, however, so Oswalt’s plan is apparently to stay in shape and wait for an offer from a team that encounters pitching problems. My guess is he’ll eventually end up in St. Louis with Lance Berkman . . . Ice cream figures to be prominent on the concession menu for Texas A&M baseball games this spring. The Aggies’ Olson Field has received a $25 million upgrade, with a big chunk of the coming from Blue Bell Ice Cream. Consequently, A&M now plays in Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. What’s amazing about the $25 million investment in a college baseball park is that the Houston Astrodome only cost $35 million when it was built in the early 1960s.
Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org