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Cook, UC's hire and a special gathering

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ye olde notebook - without items on A-Rod, Riley Cooper or Johnny Drama, er, Football:

  • Liberty Raleigh coach Jeff Alexander said we'd hear the cheer in Charleston from Beckley if 6-foot-10 WVU basketball commitment Levi Cook decided to indeed play for his school's football team.
  • The sound you might have heard, though, was a whimper. The cheer came from Huntington.

    Cook said on Tuesday he had a change of heart and is not only putting football on hold, but is transferring to Huntington Prep for his final two years of high school. He'd also been considering other prep schools in Maryland and Florida.

    "I really didn't want to leave our state," Cook said. "Huntington Prep is still in state and it's obviously a good program. I can play against better [basketball] competition. I need that after hurting my hand this summer."

    Cook was in a car accident and had 41 stitches to close a gash.

    Of course, Alexander won't have the state's largest tight end/defensive end. Football teams on the Raiders' schedule, like Westside, Sissonville, PikeView, etc., can relax.

    Also, the Liberty basketball team won't have a hole to fill on its roster, but a crater.

    Cook, though, wanted to make sure the coaches at Liberty understand the move is not personal.

    He said he has the utmost respect for all.

    "I look up to every one of them," said the player.

  • When new University of Charleston basketball coach Dwaine Osborne was introduced to the media on Monday, he opened by bringing up Bible Psalm 145, the psalm of praise.
  • It was touching. It was different.

    But the hire hasn't touched everyone, and some wonder if Osborne really is different in a positive manner.

    Here's the deal. Former coach Mark Downey tried to build UC into a power. On his watch, three of his best players were arrested for and charged with robbery. The community seemed to support Downey through the ugliness, but, apparently, UC officials did not. The popular coach was told to focus on recruiting mostly high school seniors, rather than transfers. Downey has indicated there were no words of encouragement from school president Dr. Ed Welch. The coach thus felt uncomfortable and moved on, accepting a job at West Alabama.

    Enter Osborne, who was characterized by athletic director Bren Stevens as a man with "great character." As a head coach at Glenville and the University of Texas at the Permian Basin, Osborne's record was 77-115. That record has been one point of criticism.

    Also, one reader pointed out - and it's indeed true - that nine of the 11 players on UTPB's current roster are transfers. Only freshman guard Matt Rodgers and sophomore Madison Turner went straight to UTPB from high school.

    Another reader sent a link to a lawsuit filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court by the Cabell County family of a former Glenville player. According to it, Osborne's assistant at the time, Matthew Greene, "viciously" struck the player, Adam Simmons, during a 2006 game. A follow-up of the suit, however, showed the case was closed on Oct. 3, 2008. It was settled during mediation and dismissed with prejudice. Also, Greene was not on Osborne's UTPB staff this past season.

    Cull from that what you will. Osborne is certainly wished well as he takes over for Downey. Not all Golden Eagle fans, however, are jumping for joy.

  • While on the subject of UC, the Golden Eagles will play but six traditional rivals - Shepherd, Glenville, West Virginia State, Concord, West Liberty and Fairmont - in football.
  • Yes, the Mountain East is upon us.

  • In case you missed it, Stetson signed Lynn Bria to a four-year contract extension to coach the Hatters' women's basketball team.
  • Bria was a Charleston Catholic and UC standout. And if you want to feel old, understand she's now been coaching for 18 years.

  • OK, let me get this straight. College football replay officials will be able to review targeting calls. If the replay official, though, determines a player is not guilty of targeting then a 15-yard penalty will still be assessed.
  • Huh? In that case, there is no foul, right?

    The rule is not only stupid, but also a potential cause of friction. Consider a call being overturned and the 15 yards still being marched off on the home team. Consider the crowd. Consider the coaches' immediate interaction with the referees. Consider the player's immediate interaction with the referees.

    This is going to be bad, folks. If the call is wrong, reverse it and move on.

  • All indications are bowl games will be run in a much different fashion when the power conferences bond and assume their own control. The conferences will demand more money and a cutback on ticket guarantees. The conferences on the upper end will sign bowl marketing agreements. The leagues themselves will be running many bowls - and I'm including Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.
  • Word I get is there might be 37 bowls - instead of the current 35 - in the very near future. Which, yes, would tax the system.

    Mark my word: It's only a matter of time before the NCAA says it's OK to take 5-7 teams.

  • And finally . . .
  • Stonewall Jackson High grad Don Hill passed along word that a reunion luncheon will be held this Saturday in Charleston for a special group.

    Back in 1958, Clyde "Pud" Hutson coached Stonewall Jackson's baseball team to a state championship. In the final, the Generals pounded Gary by a whopping 21-1 count.

    According to Hill, the team will reunite for the first time this Saturday at Shoney's. The luncheon will take place the same weekend as the school's 1958 class reunion. Former shortstop Dick Hart has organized the luncheon.

    Hope you have a blast, guys.

    Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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