Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

Sports Briefs

All Stars sweep KPHA PeeWee

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association's PeeWee B Ice Hawks dropped a pair of games the the Alaska All Stars last weekend.

The Ice Hawks were shut out 4-0 on Saturday. KPHA netminder Nick Hawkins stopped 27 of 31 shots on goal.

Brian Herring scored the Ice Hawks lone goal in Friday's 5-1 loss, assisted by Jakeob Bishop.

Alaska State Hockey Association

PeeWee B Standings

Through 11/3

Team W L T Pts. GF GA

KPHA 7 2 2 16 48 19

Mat-Su 6 4 1 13 36 22

North Stars 6 2 0 12 33 20

South Central 4 1 2 10 24 15

Alaska Blue Devils 3 1 3 9 25 15

All Stars 4 0 0 8 9 3

FAHA 2 4 0 4 10 25

Jr Aces 1 4 0 2 16 16

Bulldogs 0 7 0 0 9 33

Arctic lions 0 8 0 0 10 52

UAA hockey coach agrees to contract extension

ANCHORAGE -- The University of Alaska Anchorage has given hockey coach Dean Talafous a 6 percent pay raise as part of a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2002 and 2003 season.

Talafous replaced the retired Brush Christiansen in May of 1996, becoming just the second coach in UAA hockey history.

The 47-year-old Talafous agreed to the extension in mid-August.

Contract extensions usually are made public as a show of institutional support for a coach, but Talafous said he asked the school to remain quiet about the deal because the UAA athletic director's job was in transition.

Battier, Murphy lead preseason All-America voting

Shane Battier, a defensive star with an impressive all-around game, and Troy Murphy, the first player to lead the Big East in scoring and rebounding, were the leading vote-getters Tuesday for The Associated Press' preseason All-America team.

Battier, who enters his senior season at Duke, was one vote short of being a unanimous selection by the 72-member national media panel, while Murphy, who will be a junior at Notre Dame, was on 62 ballots.

Joining the forwards on the preseason team were Arizona senior center Loren Woods, who got 46 votes, and senior guard Jamaal Tinsley of Iowa State and sophomore guard Joseph Forte of North Carolina, who both had 39 votes. Maryland senior forward Terence Morris was sixth with 19 votes.

USOC bickering rocks Olympic group

American athletes had barely returned from Sydney with a respectable 97 medals, and already another Olympic competition was under way.

Unlike the Summer Games, this had nothing to do with who could run faster or jump farther. It was a bitter struggle for the soul of the U.S. Olympic movement, with the control over the riches of the U.S. Olympic Committee at stake.

The preliminaries ended last week with the removal of chief executive officer Norm Blake, a corporate turnaround artist who lasted only nine months after being brought in to reform the bloated and cumbersome USOC organization.

But the chaos within continues. There are questions about the stability of the new team of managers brought in by Blake, and a contested election next month will go a long way toward deciding its future. The upheaval even scared away former presidential candidate and Olympian Bill Bradley. Two sources within the USOC, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was set to become the organization's new chairman before taking a closer look.

Instead, veteran volunteer Sandy Baldwin, who sells real estate in Phoenix, is favored to become chairwoman next month in a race against lawyer and fellow USOC board member Paul George.

''I feel very good about my chances,'' said Baldwin, whose popularity among athlete representatives has made her a powerful USOC figure.

It was Baldwin who helped oust Blake from the $500,000 a year job he took over in February with what was then the unanimous backing of the USOC executive board and a mandate to reorganize the convoluted funding structure that doles out money to 33 Olympic sports.

Blake was in Sydney when Baldwin sent a letter to USOC board members questioning his ability to run the organization and raising concerns about spending and revenues in an upcoming 2001-2004 budget that will approach $500 million.

''It was an underhanded thing to do,'' Blake said.

He fired off a letter of his own to Baldwin expressing ''my disappointment for the lack of respect that you have demonstrated for me.''

But with Baldwin gaining support, Blake knew what was coming.

''She told people if she won her first act would be to fire me,'' Blake said.

Not that Blake had not done enough firing of his own. He got rid of some 40 of the 500 USOC employees in Colorado Springs, including nearly all the top managers except for Scott Blackmun, who replaced him on an interim basis, and USOC media director Mike Moran. Blake also reduced the number of committees and reporting groups from 40 to four.

The corporate slash-and-burn tactics extracted a price in an organization that survived for years despite its bumbling ways.

Morale was so bad in USOC headquarters that workers referred to Blake as Norman Bates, the deranged killer in the movie ''Psycho.'' Before he quit, he had planned to get rid of even more positions in an organization he felt had grown fat and lazy.

''People came here to retire, maybe. I'm not sure,'' Blake said. ''People were comfortable and not necessarily as accountable as we wanted them to be.''

The firings merely added to the distrust athlete representatives already had of Blake, who had barely taken his new job when he launched a controversial plan to base funding of Olympic sports to performance.

The Athletes Advisory Council, which has 20 percent of the seats on the USOC board, had two contentious meetings with Blake during the summer over the plan. Bill Stapleton, a Houston sports agent who chairs the AAC, bragged to the Salt Lake Tribune after Blake's resignation that the athletes had flexed their political muscle.

''We stood up and screamed loud from the highest mountain top and showed that we control the agenda,'' Stapleton said.

It's hard to figure out who controls anything, though, in an organization that is torn by self-interest groups grabbing at it in every different direction.

Blake might be out, but the battles continue over the pace of change in the USOC. And it couldn't come at a worse time, 14 months before the Winter Games in Salt Lake City and when the corporations that throw millions of dollars in the Olympic pot may be rethinking their goals.

The USOC was already facing allegations from top International Olympic Council members that it was covering up positive drug tests among its athletes. And the bribery trial from the Salt Lake scandal is still to come.

The last thing the organization needed was to be torn by infighting.

''We have a lot of rebuilding to do,'' Baldwin said. ''I think this is a very critical time.''

Former USOC executive director Dick Schultz thinks it can be done.

''It's a very resilient group,'' he said.

The USOC's executive board meets in Chicago this weekend to review a budget that tops $110 million a year and to try to get comfortable with Blackmun, a lawyer who was quickly promoted last week from within to take Blake's place.

Blackmun wasted no time trying to build the consensus that Blake couldn't, meeting with AAC representatives in San Francisco last weekend. He'll probably get the job permanently, although a search committee is being formed to look for a new director.

Baldwin and Blackmun say they are committed to the changes contained in a consultants report that was adopted by the board when Blake was hired. But Blake questions whether the change will go forward fast enough.

''You can't change without some level of turmoil,'' he said. ''The bottom line was who was going to run the USOC and how much this crazy guy Blake took as a mandate for change. Once they realized how the mandate would be used, they didn't like it.''

Baldwin, for one, isn't sure the USOC wants to move too fast.

''The USOC isn't like a thoroughbred race horse,'' she said. ''It's like a camel and our job it to groom it and make sure it doesn't sprout a third hump. If you can keep it meandering forward slowly, you've done a great job.''

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