After watching Brian Agler’s Seattle Storm rally from a 13-point deficit to beat the Tulsa Shock Sunday afternoon, we got to thinking that Northeastern A&M can claim some pretty impressive alumni in the sports world.
Agler, in this third season at Seattle, will also coach the WNBA all-stars in the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun.” The event replaces the league’s annual all-star game.
It will be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday, July 10.
“It’s going to be fun,” Agler said. “I’ve never done that in the WNBA. I have in the ABL (when at Columbus in the now-defunct American Basketball League), but it will be a good experience.”
He won a couple of titles at Columbus in the old ABL and has been in the WNBA since 1999.
Former Norseman Mike Butcher is in his third season as the California Angels’ pitching coach.
Butcher played for former Norse coach Mike Clark, now director of development in the Kansas State University athletic department.
“I recruited him as a third baseman and noticed he threw to first harder than my pitchers did to home,” Clark said via e-mail. “We converted him to pitcher his freshman year. I think it worked out for him.”
He originally was selected by the Royals in the second round of the 1986 free agent draft.
Butcher was named the Angels pitching coach when Bud Black was named manager of the San Diego Padres.
Steve Owens deserves a tip ‘o the hat and a big pat on the back for squeezing an appearance at the Oklahoma Eight Man Football Coaches Association all-star game banquet into his always-busy schedule.
Steve and OU Heisman buddy Billy Sims will tag-team it as speakers at the banquet, which will be held Friday, July 9 at the Carter Student Union Ballroom.
It will be interesting to see who they impress more — the players or the coaches and others in attendance.
Fellow Sooner Heisman winner Jason White will join them Saturday morning for an appearance at the Miami Walmart sponsored by Great Plains Bottling.
This is the third straight year the trio has appeared.
If you want to see them, get to the store early: in the past, the line of autograph-seekers has snaked throughout the store, clear up to the front entrance.
After their stop here, Owens and Sims will make an appearance that afternoon at the Billy Sims BBQ on East 7th Street in Joplin.
The thing that makes talk of the expansion of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association interesting is the fact that it seems this is all it is — talk.
Phone chats with Pittsburg (Kan.) State University president Dr. Steve Scott and Northeastern Oklahoma State assistant director of athletics Scott Pettus indicate that all parties are playing it very low key.
NSU in Tahlequah and the University of Central Oklahoma have expressed interest in joining the MIAA, an NCAA Division II league that includes Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern.
Right at a year ago, MIAA presidents voted to remain a 12-team league, denying an application by Rockhurst University.
But earlier this month, during the annual conference meeting, they voted to contact any school that had contacted the school in the last 8 to 12 months, letting them know the league would accept applications.
Shortly afterward, officials at NSU and UCO submitted letters expressing interest in joining the MIAA.
“There’s not anything to report,” said Pettus, a Commerce native. “There are a lot of considerations to factor in. It’s not only an athletic decision but a university decision.”
Scott, who taught and coached at Miami High School and was an instructor at Northeastern A&M before joining the faculty of PSU, said the motive is not money like it was with the moves by Colorado and Nebraska to the Pac 10 and Big 10, respectively.
There are no rich television deals in Division II.
“It’s more to reduce travel costs, add new markets and potentially strengthen the conference,” Scott said.