by Joe Santoro
Special to The R-C

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May 23, 2013
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Ault Field the right call


Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The University of Nevada athletic department deserves a ton of credit for announcing Wednesday that the field at Mackay Stadium will now be called Chris Ault Field. The Wolf Pack, and especially new athletic director Doug Knuth, deserves credit for doing it so quickly (five months) after Ault stepped down as football coach. You’ll be hard pressed to find a university that ignores and has forgotten its past as much as the University of Nevada. That’s why this is such a refreshing step in a new and much-needed direction. Knuth, who never worked a day with Ault, has now shown Ault more respect after a month on the job than the previous athletic director did in almost a decade.

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Let’s hope this feeling of nostalgia coming from north Virginia Street is not a one-time thing. Knuth has a chance to change and preserve Wolf Pack history forever by continuing to honor its past in a very public way. The Ault honor, hopefully, is just the first step. The next order of business should be to call Colin Kaepernick and ask him when he can show up at Chris Ault Field at Mackay Stadium for a ceremony retiring his No. 10 jersey. It is silly that a Pack player continues to wear Kaepernick’s No. 10. The number was also worn by standout Pack quarterbacks Eric Beavers and Chris Vargas. They should all be present and part of the ceremony at midfield at Chris Ault Field in the near future.

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Oh, and one more thing while everyone is feeling a bit nostalgic. There is another field on campus that needs to have a new name attached to it in the near future. Gary Powers Field at Peccole Park also needs to be on Knuth’s to do list the moment (Monday? Next month?) Powers steps down as head baseball coach. Better yet, call it Powers-Peccole Park. Powers is the longest tenured coach (31 seasons) in all of Wolf Pack athletics history. There would be no baseball program at Nevada without his efforts over the past three decades. Ault cared for, nurtured and molded Mackay Stadium. Powers did the same at Peccole Park. He’s earned the same honor as Ault.

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At first the San Francisco 49ers signing of wide receiver Anquan Boldin of the Baltimore Ravens seemed a bit petty. It kind of had the feel of a kid who just got beaten up by a school-yard bully going out the next night and stealing that bully’s bike. But now, with wide receiver Michael Crabtree seemingly out for a large portion of the 2013 season with a knee injury, it looks like the smartest off-season acquisition in the NFL Crabtree was Kaepernick’s security blanket. The other 49er wide receivers -- namely Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Qwinton Patton, A.J. Jenkins -- aren’t security blankets. They are dish rags. Bolding will more than make up for the loss of Crabtree. Boldin is the type of guy who won’t allow a skinny defensive back to hold him on fourth down on the most crucial moment of a Super Bowl.

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Brian Urlacher is going to do the classy thing and retire as a Chicago Bear without ever wearing another team’s uniform. Urlacher, who likely could have signed with another team after the Bears released him this off-season, decided it wasn’t worth playing for another team and will simply retire. Call Urlacher the anti-Brett Favre. Urlacher is going out the way all future Hall of Famers should go out. Favre (and Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas and others) exited the league looking like Charlton Heston in the movie Number One. Bloodied, beaten and burned out. Urlacher is going out with his pride, dignity and body in one piece. Urlacher and Ray Lewis, two of the greatest linebackers of the last 15 years, both called it quits after the 2012 season and should go into Canton together.

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Phil Jackson needs to stop writing books. He also needs to fade away in the NBA sunset and stop all this silly coaching talk. But the guy just loves the spotlight. So he continues to write trivial books that nobody reads and allows teams to stroke his ego by keeping him on their coaching radar. Jackson is now saying that he was the one who turned the Lakers down last winter and not the other way around. Who cares? Who also cares that Michael Jordan was better than Kobe Bryant? LeBron James is better than both of them. Who’s going to write that book? Mike Brown? Let it go, Phil. Stop writing books that will end up on the $1.99 Borders’ shelf. You were a great coach who knew how to get the most out of great players. Nobody in NBA history, other than Red Auerbach and Pat Riley, did that as well as you. But your time is over.

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Joe Girardi is doing the best job of managing in the major leagues right now. He has his New York Yankees in first place (as of Thursday) despite a rash of injuries that were supposed to bury the team in the first two months. Girardi, though, is keeping the team together with glue (Lyle Overbay), string (Vernon Wells) and tape (Travis Hafner) and now the Yankees are starting to get healthy. The NBA is simply about clearing enough cap room so you can acquire more superstars than everybody else. Baseball is about coaching, managing and guiding 25 players on a nightly basis. Bruce Bochy is on his way to getting the San Francisco Giants to their third World Series in four years while baseball’s versions of the Miami Heat (the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels) are falling apart. A Bochy-Girardi World Series would be a classic.


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The Record Courier Updated May 23, 2013 04:54PM Published May 23, 2013 04:54PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.