News and views on the local sports landscape
Item: Word is that Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis is set to hire Mark Massari back as a deputy athletic director.
Comment: Massari, 45, has been athletic director at Cal Santa Barbara for six years. Prior to that, he spent six years working under De Carolis at OSU, ending as a senior associate AD.
Over the past two years, De Carolis has lost a pair of quality assistants -- Todd Stansbury and Shawn Heilbron -- who haven't been replaced. Massari will work closely with football coach Mike Riley, especially in arranging financing for the $42 million renovation of Valley Football Center. Massari will specialize in fundraising, marketing, strategic planning and helping to create a "Beaver brand."
Not sure if Massari will be hired as an heir apparent to De Carolis, but he is an accomplished administrator who knows Oregon State. It will be a welcome addition.
Item: Oregon finishes another successful softball season, but falls short of its national championship goal at the Women's College World Series.
Comment: What Mike White has done in his five years as Oregon's head coach is extraordinary. A year ago, the Ducks were 50-11 and rose as high as No. 3 in the polls, finishing at No. 9 after losing to Nebraska in the super regionals. This year, the Ducks maintained the No. 1 spot for the latter portion of the season, finished 56-9 and went 2-2 at the WCWS.
In his time at the UO helm, White, 52, is 229-75. Not bad for a guy who was an assistant coach at Eugene's Marist High when he took over the Ducks' program in 2010.
To be fair, White coached ASA youth clubs and was a nationally renowned private instructor after a long career as a pitcher for U.S. national teams before retiring as a player at age 45 in 2007. He had also served two years as a UO assistant under Kathy Arendsen in 2003 and '04.
The Ducks had been pretty good through the years, making the regionals seven times from 1998-2008 but never advancing to super regionals and dipping to 16-34 in 2009, Arendsen's last season. They have taken a big step under White, getting to the WCSS in both 2012 and '14.
Only thing left to do. The Ducks lose only three seniors -- albeit starters in Courtney Ceo, Alexa Peterson and Kailee Cuico -- and should be loaded for another title run next season.
Item: Trail Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard both make third-team All-NBA.
Comment: Until the NBA goes to balloting the way it does now for All-Star Game starters -- three front-line players, two backcourt members -- Aldridge might never make the first two teams. Kevin Durant and LeBron James are going to be the picks at forward, with Kevin Love and Blake Griffin ahead of Aldridge in the national picture, too.
The real problem lies in the dearth of centers in the league. Aldridge had a better season than either Joakim Noah or Dwight Howard, who filled the spots at center on the first and second teams.
Item: Shakeup at KFXX (1080 AM, The Fan).
Comment: Night-dwellars Brandon Sprague, Taylor Danforth and Andy "Dirt" Johnson are moving to daylight, Travis Demers is going solo at night and Josh Wilcox's new role is "football insider."
Sprague, Danforth and Johnson, who have held forth from 7 to 10 p.m., over the last year, take over the noon-to-3 p.m. slot previously occupied by Demers and Wilcox. The three "Young Bucks" rated out well in the difficult late slot, program director Jeff Austin says.
"They were extremely successful at not only attracting a loyal following, they were a tremendous success with advertisers," Austin says. "With their energy and personality, putting them between our ESPN (10 a.m. to noon) show and Isaac Ropp and Jason Sukanec (3-7 p.m.) is a perfect fit."
I'm hoping the trio sticks more to sports talk and less to the "guy stuff" that may work better in a late-night slot than during the daytime.
Austin figures Demers works well in the night slot, especially since he serves as play-by-play voice for high school football on Friday nights in the fall.
"He'll be in that slot, anyway," Austin says. "And being on the air and dissecting what game results mean every night will be a good thing for him. He's a great X's and O's guy."
Wilcox, the former Oregon tight end and pro grappling great, will talk football on all of KFXX's local shows as well as play host to a weekend football show on Thursday nights.
Incidentally, KFXX's sister station, KMTT (910 AM), also offers 24-hour sports programming, airing Mariners games as well as the national CBS Sports Radio package. I like John Feinstein's show, which runs from 6-9 a.m. and is replayed from 9 a.m. to noon). Downside: The signal is weak, even in the Portland area.
Item: Had Oregon State survived its baseball regional, it would have set up a meaningful reunion. Oklahoma State would have visited Corvallis for a best-of-three super regional. Marty Lees is in his second season as an assistant coach with the Cowboys after 11 years at Oregon State -- the last three as Pat Casey's associate head coach.
Comment: Lees made the lateral move, he said, for several reasons.
One-time Arizona State assistant Josh Holliday, who took over as Oklahoma State's head coach after the 2012 season, "is one of my best friends," Lees says. The man hired as pitching coach, Rob Walton, is another friend of Lees.
"Josh is a very good offensive mind, and Rob is one of the best pitching coaches in the country," says Lees, 45. "I looked at it as a great opportunity to learn more.
"I'd been in one place for 11 years. I thought it would be good for me to go to a different part of the country to a program that had tradition but had been a little dormant for a few years. My wife (Kristy) and I grew up in Oregon. It was a good time for us to try something different."
Lees insists there was no falling out with Casey or any members of his staff.
"Shoot, no," Lees says. "'Case' is one of my best friends. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. He gave me my first job. I've learned a ton from him about running a program, recruiting the right kids and what it takes to win at an elite level. The Oregon State program is what it is right now because of the hard work he has put in. I feel good to have been part of it."
Lees says he is close to a number of Oregon State assistant coaches and players.
"I was in Nate Yeskie's wedding," he says. "Pat Bailey has been a friend of mine for many years. Aaron Matthews played for me, and Andy Jenkins is probably the favorite Beaver I ever coached. I recruited a lot of those players -- just a great group of kids.
"Kristy and Susan (Casey, Pat's wife) are very good friends. They talk a lot on the phone. My kids grew up at Goss Stadium. Oregon State is our second-favorite team. We're always cheering for the Beavers."
Item: Greatness in longevity will be honored next month at Tualatin Country Club.
Comment: Members will observe a special occasion on July 20. Friends of Curt Tigard, 105, and Bud Ossey, who turns 95 in November, will celebrate their 200 years of life.
Tigard and Ossey have been friends and golfing buddies only since 1967, when Tigard was 58 and Ossey 47. Tigard broke a leg last year and is unable to play golf now, "but he still comes out and rides around with me once in a while," Ossey says. "He's in better shape than I am."
Tualatin held a similar fete 10 years ago, when Tigard and Ossey totaled 190 years of life.
"If things we'll work out," Ossey says, "we'll do it again for 210."