Let's start off the morning by congratulating the Washington Husky Men's Crew for dominating the IRA's in California this weekend to win the national title! This is the second Varsity Eight title in the past three years, and the third consecutive overall team crown for the Huskies.
The call of the race supplied by our friend T90 is just fantastic. I listened to it this morning and was on the edge of my seat. Too bad they don't have these races on television. The IRA needs to make a TV deal with someone; in this age of sports broadcasting, one ought to be able to watch the championship of any sport.
Washington has won 13 IRA titles, the first coming in 1923. While on numerous occasions the University of Washington likely had the top rowing program in the country, administration chose not to send the squad to compete in the IRA due to conflicts with final exams and the expense of the trip, as until this year the event was held on the east coast.
Take a few minutes to check out the papers this week, which will hold quite a bit about former Husky head coach Jim Owens. The "Big Fella" (as he was known) passed away last week at his home in Montana, and was the top sports figure in the Northwest during his 18-year reign as Husky head coach. A truly amazing fact is he was only 29 years-old when hired by UW, and only 47 when he retired in 1974. We are all going to miss Coach Owens; he was the true architect of modern Husky football.
Burned firmly in my mind is the picture of Owens at the 1978 Rose Bowl holding court in the ballroom of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. It wasn't the first time I had met him, but he was really on that night telling stories and entertaining friends he had known for years. It was really hard to find a nicer, or more charismatic guy.
On the recruiting front, Nick Montana and family visited UW this weekend, coming away impressed. Nick has a good relationship with Steve Sarkisian, so the visit to Seattle was more about checking out the school, academics, and the stadium. Recruiting insiders believe it is a three horse race for his services, hotly contested between UW, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.
Sarkisian definitely has an advantage when it comes to familiarity in this one. He is well-acquainted with the Montana family and the Oaks Christian staff. Joe Montana, Nick's NFL-legend father, knows that Sark is one of the best QB tutors in the game. As Joe's alma mater, Notre Dame is an obvious destination for his son; however, I believe Charlie Weis may be viewed as a negative due to the precariousness of his position. I like Washington's chances with Montana.
Bellevue DT Julious Moore from Bellevue committed to UCLA over the weekend, giving the Bruins their first verbal for this year. While many thought Moore was an early lock for Washington, it seems he wants to leave the Seattle-area. While the close relationship Rick Neuheisel with the Bellevue HS coaching staff have didn't hurt in this instance, it is still early and I don't expect Sarkisian to back off in his recruitment of Moore.
Moore is a solid player, but I believe he may just a be a little undersized at this point. Obviously Pac 10 schools thought enough of him to offer, but I think he is far from being a sure thing. If the commitment from UCLA sticks, I don't see why there is any reason the staff can't find a player of equal or better potential to fill his slot. One has to think that Neuheisel can't resist sticking it to UW, especially since Sarkisan was all-over his recruits last winter.