If leadership at the top counts for something, the Washington Huskies will soon be competing for Pac-10 football championships in the nottoo-distant future.
After a 1 1/2-year search, Washington has a new president who is definitely pro-athletics.
He’s Mark Emmert and one of his last acts in his previous job was accepting the BCS national championship trophy at LSU.
It was Emmert, as chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus, who hired Nick Saban and paid him a fortune to put the Bayou Bengals at the top of the powerful Southeastern Conference.
Emmert, a political science graduate from UW, was also at Connecticut when the school decided to make the plunge into Division I-A football.
"He’s a person who wants all phases of the university to excel," said athletic department spokesman Jim Daves. "He sees athletics as a positive role and he wants to be involved in it."
Emmert accompanied the LSU’s women’s basketball team to Seattle for the NCAA tournament. He visited the locker room after the Lady Tigers clinched a trip to the Final Four.
While visiting with Husky administrators, he impressed one of them with his knowledge of Husky athletics.
One of Emmert’s top assignments will be hiring an athletic director.
Scuttlebutt is the new AD who will be turn his attention to football after years of Title IX being stressed under Barbara Hedges.
The mediocrity in Seattle in recent years and Washington State’s recent success have the powerful boosters a little anxious.
Washington has gone 21-16 the past three years, Washington State 30-7.
First-year Arizona football coach Mike Stoops has so turned on UA fans that several phoned athletic director Jim Livengood to request permission to tailgate before last Saturday’s public scrimmage.
Livengood in turn responded to the fans by socializing with them before the kickoff.
A crowd estimated at more than 5,000 watched the game in Arizona Stadium.
Stoops spoke to the enthusiastic crowd at the conclusion of the scrimmage.
• "In my meetings with the players (10 wins) is a goal for them. They want to continue to have that success. We are a young team, but we aren’t real inexperienced. There are a lot of guys that have a lot of good playing time."
— Washington State football coach Bill Doba at the end of spring practice
• California forward Leon Powe had a second surgery on his damaged left knee and will miss the first part of the season. Powe, who was the Pac-10 player of the year, had trouble periodically during the season. Powe’s situation is a reminder of why athletes consider leaving school early, and why no matter how talented a player is, a coach should never stop trying to sign the best players he can.
DID YOU KNOW
• Arizona State wrestling coach Thom Ortiz and soccer coach Ray Leone will receive contract extensions next week from the Arizona Board of Regents.
• With fans in town for the Crimson-Gray football game, Washington State drew 3,153 fans for its baseball game against USC.
• Stanford has defeated California in baseball 16 straight times.