by Joe Santoro

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April 12, 2012
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Sports Fodder: Character and morality secondary in college sports?


Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Will Bobby Petrino ever coach again? You can count on it. Petrino, who was fired by the University of Arkansas when it was revealed he was having an affair with a university employee, probably won't have to wait more than a year for his next job. Cheating on your wife doesn't even make a Top Ten list of the most disgusting things that have gotten a college coach fired. And you know it doesn't even make a Top 25 list in the state of Arkansas, where one of their native sons once cheated his way to the White House. There is simply too much money out there for the taking in college football for colleges and universities to spend all that much time worrying about such things as the character and morality of its head coaches.

. . .

Petrino is one of the brightest offensive minds in the sport. He was the Nevada Wolf Pack's offensive coordinator in 1994 when the Pack had one of the top offenses in the nation. Mike Maxwell produced one of the greatest seasons ever for a Pack quarterback under Petrino, completing 271-of-447 passes for 3,537 yards and 29 touchdowns. Wide receiver Alex Van Dyke caught 98 passes for 1,246 yards and 10 scores as the Pack went 9-2, scored 30 or more points eight times, finished second in the nation in total offense and shared the Big West Conference title. He won't be unemployed for long.

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It sure didn't take Ozzie Guillen long to make a fool of himself in Miami. Guillen, who regularly showed his ignorance as the Chicago White Sox manager the past eight years, told Time magazine recently that he admired Fidel Castro. He's lucky he still has a job. He's even more fortunate that he can still walk around the city of Miami without a police escort. The Miami Marlins should have fired him on the spot. They only hired Guillen because they felt he could connect with the community. And now Guillen has slapped that community right in the face. Guillen's five-game suspension is also a slap in the face to the Miami community. It should have been at least 25 games. The Marlins, though, better get used to Guillen embarrassing their organization. This was just the first blunder.

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Guillen, like Petrino, also has connections to northern Nevada. He was a brash, confident 18-year-old shortstop for the 1982 Reno Padres at Moana Stadium. Guillen turned in one of the best seasons ever for a Reno professional baseball player, hitting .347 with 103 runs scored, 183 hits, 33 doubles and 25 stolen bases for the California League Padres. And, like Petrino, even if the Marlins do end up firing him (after about the third or fourth stupid thing to come out of his mouth over the next two or three years), he'll also get another job right away (ESPN analyst? Sara Palin's speech writer? Mitt Romney's dog walker? Cuban press secretary?) because he gets his organization noticed.

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Bishop Gorman's Shabazz Muhammad, who announced this week that he will take his talents to UCLA, has a chance to be the best basketball player ever produced by a Nevada high school. Nevada high schools have produced just 10 NBA players (Rancho's Greg Anthony and Lionel Hollins, Galena's Luke Babbitt, Hug's Armon Johnson, Chaparral's Pace Mannion, Cimarron-Memorial's Marcus Banks, Gorman's Matt Othick and C.J. Watson and Clark's Sam Smith and Willie Smith). Another four (Cory Joseph, DeAndre Liggins, Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley) are also, technically, Nevada high school products. But they weren't born in Nevada and they went to a high school (Findlay Prep) that is merely a glorified AAU basketball team with as much connection to Nevada as a Southern California tourist on a three-day weekend in Vegas.

. . .

The Boston Red Sox have started 1-5 under new manager Bobby Valentine (maybe their problems didn't stem from fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse, after all) and might be on their way to a 3-12 start. The Red Sox's next nine games are against the Rays, Rangers and Yankees. It's going to get worse before it gets better. But, be patient, Red Sox fans. After these next nine games, the Red Sox will have a 22-game stretch against the likes of the Twins, White Sox, Orioles, Royals, Indians and Mariners. They could very well be over .500 after 36 games and all will be well in Red Sox nation.

. . .

San Francisco Giants fans also need to be patient. Yes, the starting pitching hasn't been all that good so far. But they'll be fine. And this team appears to be able to score a few runs. And they'll score even more as soon as management wakes up and gives Brandon Belt and Brett Pill regular at-bats.

The Giants just need to get back to the Bay Area to fix their problems.


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The Record Courier Updated Apr 12, 2012 07:04PM Published Apr 12, 2012 07:03PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.