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Molly Yanity - New kid on the block

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Of all the Seattle Post Intelligencer writers I have written about during the past week or two Molly Yanity has the least tenure at the newspaper. She started with the PI about nine years ago and did a very nice job on HS sports and Husky women's basketball before being given the Husky football beat assignment.

She has had the unenviable and challenging assignment of succeeding the legendary Ted Miller as the Huskies beat writer when Art Thiel kicked him upstairs. I think everyone here is a big fan of Ted Miller and that is because he truly understands college football better than just about anyone. I can't think of anyone who cranks out more information than Ted does on his ESPN blog.

According to his old Seattle PI Bio Ted Miller is capable of benching 275 pounds. Getting back to Molly I am pretty sure she can't bench press as much as Ted Miller. 

Her biggest challenge had to be that her entire Husky coverage tenure has coincided with Tyrone Willingham's four year reign as coach at Washington. Imagine the challenge of being a beat writer when you don't have proper access to the team, practices, or at least an informative press conference.

During Willingham's tenure I had almost as much access to the team in Chicago as the beat writers who follow the team in Montlake did. All I had to do was turn on the weekly press conference to get the same limited information the beat writers were getting.

According to Molly's Seattle PI Bio she is the grand daughter of a Big Ten official and spent a lot of time during her childhood watching college football games in the Midwest. Prior to joining the P-I in 2000, Yanity had worked at ESPN Internet Ventures editing WNBA.com and NBA.com. She also covered sports at the Daily Pilot in Costa Mesa, Calif. and at the Imperial Valley Press in El Centro, Calif..

Molly has done a decent job with her blog and she scooped everyone on the Nick Holt moving to Washington story earlier this year. Lately she has been on a mission to finish her assignment at the PI with a bang of information about the 2009 team.

One of those explosions that ruffled a few feathers was her coverage of two minor recruiting violations committed by new coach Steve Sarkisian. To put it mildly it didn't go over very well at Montlake.

Even though they weren't deemed as front page material by Molly (see below) the story ended up being dissected by Art Thiel and Jim Moore in their columns which just happen to be on the front page if memory serves me correctly.

In reporting and writing a couple stories on Steve Sarkisian's secondary recruiting violations over the last couple weeks, I am starting to see a bit of sensitivity and defensiveness with which Huskies fans deal with the topic.

Some don't think minor violations are worthy of print. While I don't think minor violations are front-page material, I will go on record saying these stories are important.

On this message board and elsewhere, we have read countless posts over the last several years from Huskies fans trashing former athletic director Barbara Hedges. Why? Largely because she lost control of her department.

How does a lack of control start? By letting small things slide.

Later when it came to light that WSU coach Paul Wulff had committed major violations at EWU along with some minor ones at WSU this past recruiting season the PI didn't give it the same type of coverage because of what they called space limitations. I actually had to buy that argument since the paper is closing and print space is very limited.

To be fair to Molly I agree with her argument that Barbara Hedges lost control of the athletic department by letting the little things slide. You can also make the argument that Hedges let about everything slide. I think the media in general gave Hedges a pass until she finally hung herself with the double whammy of the Neuheisel Final Four pool, and Dr. Feelgood, but that is a story for another day.

In my opinion Molly really shines when she writes feature articles on the team or on any other subject. Unfortunately coach Willingham didn't let her close enough often enough to really showcase that part of her talent.

I am sure she leaves with mixed emotions because the "Purple Curtain" we have all been dealing with over the past six years has finally been torn down by Steve Sarkisian. The Seattle PI likely will likely close down before spring practice starts and we will lose the opportunity to see her crank out what I think she really does best.

2010: A UW recruiting odyssey

This is Molly's latest Husky article and it details the progress Steve Sarkisian and his staff are making on the in state recruiting trail this year. I really like the way she relates to the kids she is interviewing. You can tell they feel comfortable talking to her.

A handful of the state's top underclassmen lounged around the Huskies football office during a recruiting visit a couple of weeks ago. They laughed with coach Steve Sarkisian, enjoyed rapid-fire banter with defensive coordinator Nick Holt and connected with a handful of other assistants.

Molly always did an exceptional job when she was allowed to observe what was going on from behind the scenes. This is a piece she wrote last year concerning what the team was doing during the summer months.

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim dangles from an iron bar, biceps bulging, straining to lift all of his 263 pounds. The Washington defensive end pulls his chest to the bar. He does it again and again and again, until his face is crimson and sweat washes over his temples.

Unlike the other PI writers I wrote about over the past couple of weeks I have never had the opportunity to communicate with Molly on a personal level. From what I have heard everyone likes her and respects her talent. I have also heard she is considering using this downtime to go back to graduate school.

Most of us are going to miss having the voices of two major newspapers covering Husky athletics. Molly was one of those voices over the past four years. Her readers are going to miss her and the Seattle Post Intelligencer.