So Far, So Good For UH’s Arnold

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - May 05, 2010
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Bryant in happier times with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

A few random observation for some midweek - or is that MidWeek? - reading:

* New UH basketball coach Gib Arnold has been nothing if not busy. At the men’s basketball banquet he joked about having an entire wardrobe of two pairs of pants, four shirts and that even while he stood behind the dias offering praise to the staff he is replacing, his socks were drying on the lanai at his hotel. Actually, he said balcony, but he’ll learn.

But while his local lingo may still need some adjustment, everything else associated with his new regime seems to be humming along nicely.

True, he hasn’t filled out his coaching staff as he said he wanted upon taking over, but his success in recruiting has given hope to a fan base whose only rallying point came in the form of message board frustration. But with seven new players committing, including four incoming freshman - one a 6-foot-1 guard who averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game - things are looking promising for the first time in a number of years.


 

Whether the new additions will live up to their considerable hype remains to be seen. It was only a year ago when the latest group of AllWAC honorees were to be enrolled in classes at Manoa, just to disappoint with poor play and bad behavior. Arnold and associate coach Walter Roese have solid reputations as acute shoppers of athletic talent, but until games are won, the best he can hope for is cautious optimism by fans.

* No doubt Hale Irwin looks back at his athletic career with well-deserved pride. The former All-Big Eight defensive back at Colorado got his PGA tour card in 1968 and earned his first pay day ($457.41) a short time later. He would go on to 20 PGAwins, three U.S. Open titles, 45 Senior/Champions Tour victories, induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and most recently, he became just the fourth person to play in 1,000 PGA/Champions Tour events.

But even the most successful of men have times when the necessities of life force them to make painful, yet necessary decisions. For Irwin that day came when he traded his Chevelle 396 Super Sport for a Pontiac Bonneville. While the Pontiac boasted a much larger trunk, the Chevy got off the line a whole lot quicker. And with a get-‘er-done power plant that pulled up to 375 Motor City ponies controlled through either a three- or four-speed Muncie rock crusher, a two-speed “Powerglide” transmission and a 12-bolt rear, it was pure American muscle. You could also get one with a nasty 402 or a highway-dominating 454.

Conspiracy theorists may suggest the entire reason for invoking the name of Irwin was to offer the opportunity to wax semi-poetic about obsolete and gas-absorbing modes of transportation. Well, they’re right. But how often does one get to use “rock crusher” in a sentence without talking about a mining operation?

* The National Hockey League Players Association made a well-thought-out decision in renaming its MVP award after Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay. The award, which used to be called Lester B. Pearson Award, is different from the Hart Memorial Trophy in that it is voted on by the players. The easy thing for the NHLPA to do would have been to name it after Wayne Gretzky or some other name easily recognizable by fans and most media members. Left to the marketing people, it may have been called the Sidney Crosby Award.

Lindsay was more than a great player. The third member of the famed “Production Line” with fellow Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Sid Abel was instrumental in the creation of the original Players Association and served as its first president. Congrats to Lindsay and the union.

* ESPN analyst Matt Millen added his two cents to the Dez Bryant question controversy last week, saying no questions are out of bounds during a rookie interview.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Millen once used a homosexual slur toward former Lions’ wide receiver Johnny Morton.


What is surprising is that ESPN pays this guy for his opinions. Millen turned a once-mediocre Detroit franchise into an embarrassment. During his tenure as president and CEO of the Lions, he proved incapable of evaluating talent, hiring capable coaches, trading players and, of course, winning. He refused to accept any blame for the mess he created and even left his exit statement to his wife, who said, “I told him, ‘You’re out of football prison now.’” A prison he created.

Now, without a speck of credibility, he is back in the broadcasting booth and being asked about front-office decisions. Such a choice would be completely baffling if the network hadn’t already sold its soul by hiring a man who spent most of his professional career equating sports journalists to brainless idiots.

Maybe Bobby Knight was right.

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