Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sports Shorts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Boston Red Sox Pitcher Tim Wakefield, 44, could be a marginal Hall Of Fame candidate at best, but it's hard to not take notice of his accomplishments.

Here is a guy that has been moved in and out of the bullpen and quietly has won two World Series Rings with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.

On Sunday July 24, Wakefield became the second Red Sox pitcher behind Roger Clemens to record 2,000 strikeouts for this storied franchise. The Red Sox fans gave him a standing ovation as he improved to 6-3. Boston defeated the Seattle Mariners 12-8.

Wakefield has a total of 2,110 career strikeouts. He amassed 110 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When he wins his next game, Wakefield will record his 200 career triumph. He is 199-175, and the knuckleball pitcher has been clocked to throw as slow as 59-62 MPH.

The reason why this story is important to me is it hits closer to home.

When a pro coach moves to college this usually translates to success. I've seen FAU Coach Howard Schnellenberger have great success when he was a successful with the Miami Dolphins and bounce back from a tough situation with the Baltimore Colts.

He turned the Miami Hurricanes into National Champions, had tremendous success at a basketball school Louisville that resulted in a new on campus stadium being constructed. Schnellenberger built the FAU program from scratch and now the Owls will be opening their new stadium in October.

Former NHL Head Coach Andy Murray will be Western Michigan's new boss.

The Kalamazoo Gazette, attributing the information to sources, says Murray will be introduced at a noon press conference today. Murray replaces Jeff Blashill, who left the Broncos to become an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.

Blashill guided the Broncos to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years in his lone season at Western Michigan University.

Murray, 60, coached in the NHL for 10 seasons starting in 1999-2000, first with the Los Angeles Kings and then with the St. Louis Blues. His career record is 333-278, with 58 ties and 69 overtime losses.

There is no better way to recruit a player than to tell him and his parents that he's been a pro coach, let alone a successful one and has the connections in that league to get their son noticed to chase their dream.

It's safe to say that Western Michigan made a great hire by landing Murray.

Finally, when I heard that 70-year old Larry Brown is the latest candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching job, I couldn't help but laugh hard.

If he lands in his 10th NBA city, he'll be reunited with Center Darko Milicic, 26, who was selected by the Detroit Pistons as the second player in the 2003 NBA Draft. Milicic (7-0, 275) has been a draft bust and I'm sure that he'd be fuming to be with a coach that failed to develop him properly.

Brown, who is sixth on the all-time NBA wins list with 1,098, was fired from his last two jobs with the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats. He is so restless that he's willing to take an assistant coaches position to join Lawrence Frank's staff when he accepts the Detroit Pistons job.

For some reason, I think Brown is a better fit to join the Pistons because of his past two failures by eating humble pie. I could see New Owner Tom Gores hiring a strong presence on the bench. The Pistons are young and need discipline. Both Frank and Brown will make sure they get it. It doesn't hurt that Brown's only two Pistons teams made it to the NBA Finals winning one championship. Therefore, he won't lack credibility.

Even though Joe Dumars is a very important part of the decision making process, Dave Checketts opinion is starting to carry a great deal of weight to Gores new regime as a consultant. If Dumars had his way, Mike Woodson would be the new coach. But he won't and it looks like the 40-year old Frank will be roaming the sidelines at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

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