Morning State Sports Briefs: Brewers quiet so far at winter meetingsWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers had not made any offers to free agents in the first two days of Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Dallas. But general manager Doug Melvin says he expects that to change by the time the gathering ends tomorrow.
DALLAS - The Milwaukee Brewers had not made any offers to free agents in the first two days of Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Dallas. But general manager Doug Melvin says he expects that to change by the time the gathering ends tomorrow.
Melvin says he’s looking at three-to-four possible scenarios for improving the left side of the infield at shortstop-and-third. But as always, money could determine the outcome. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Brewers are expected to make offers to shortstop Jimmy Rollins of Philadelphia and third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Chicago Cubs. But Rollins is expected to re-up with the Phillies if both sides can agree on the length of a new contract. Rollins has asked for five years, but the Phils reportedly won’t go beyond three years. There’s still the possibility the Brewers could get shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to return, after rejecting his six-million-dollar option last month.
Melvin also said he was not willing to give Jerry Hairston more than a one-year contract. Melvin tells the Journal-Sentinel s that he would have liked the 35-year-old Hairston to stay – but they didn’t want to give him a two-year deal. The Los Angeles Dodgers offered that two-year contract, and the veteran utility player agreed to it yesterday. The Brewers obtained Hairston in a trade from Washington – and he was one of Milwaukee’s top performers in the playoffs. He hit .274 in 45 regular season games for the Brew Crew. And then he batted .378 in the post-season with some major clutch hits.
Former University of Wisconsin guard John Moffitt has been suspended by NFL for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Moffitt had been a starter for the Seattle Seahawks in his rookie year. His agent, Michael George, tells the Seattle Times the suspension resulted from the use of a drug that treats hyper-activity. George said the drug is allowed, but Moffitt made a mistake in not getting advance approval from the NFL to use it. Moffitt is already out for the season, after he tore a pair of knee ligaments in Seattle’s win over Baltimore two-and-a-half weeks ago. He started 10 games for the Seahawks after being drafted in the third round out of the UW in April. George said Moffitt would not appeal the suspension, so he won’t risk losing playing time next season.
The University of Wisconsin offense will not have to worry about dealing with Oregon’s All-American cornerback Cliff Harris in the Rose Bowl. Harris has been dismissed from the Ducks for violating team rules. The team would not say what the issue was – or if it was related to a pair of traffic cases since June. Harris missed the last five games of the regular season plus the Pac-12 title contest after he was stopped in Eugene for driving with a suspended license, not having proper insurance, and not wearing a seat-belt. Harris also began the season under a team suspension, after he was ticketed for driving 118-miles-an-hour in June on Interstate-Five in Oregon. The lack-of-insurance charge was dropped after he provided proof of coverage on the car he was driving. Harris was put into a diversion program after he pleaded no contest to driving on a suspended license – and he paid a $100 fine for his seat-belt violation. Harris’s family paid the fine for his earlier speeding incident. As a sophomore at Oregon last year, Harris broke up 23 passes. He also averaged 19 yards on punt returns, and he broke a school record with four returns for touchdowns. This year, he had one interception and nine punt returns for 68 yards.
Marquette University is apparently about to get some new company in the Big East Conference. The Newark Star-Ledger and CBS Sports.com said the league could announce the additions of five new schools as early as tomorrow. The word is that Boise State and San Diego State would join the league for football only – a sport Marquette doesn’t play. And Houston, Southern Methodist, and Central Florida would have all its sports’ teams join the Big East. CBS also says Navy, Air Force, and Temple could also be on their way to the Big East relatively soon. The conference is losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC next year, and West Virginia has said it would leave for the Big 12. Marquette president Scott Pilarz says the school’s new athletic director, Larry Williams, is attune to the big changes occurring in the Big East and elsewhere. Williams, the athletic director at Portland, will join Marquette on January second.
The last University of Wisconsin football player to win the Heisman Trophy will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall-of-Fame. Ron Dayne will be inducted at a ceremony on New Year’s Eve, and he’ll be saluted on the field during Wisconsin’s Rose Bowl Game against Oregon on January second in Pasadena. Just over 100 people have been inducted into the bowl’s Hall-of-Fame over the last 22 years. Dayne rushed for 246 yards in his first Rose Bowl appearance in 1999 – and he ran for 200 yards at Pasadena the following year. The Badgers won both those games. Dayne is back in Madison doing marketing and charitable work after an NFL career with the New York Giants and Denver. Also to be inducted in the Rose Bowl Hall-of-Fame are George Fleming, a rusher, kick returner, and safety in his days at Washington around 1960 – and long-time broadcaster and Minnesota native Dick Enberg.
UW-Whitewater football coach Lance Leipold and former Whitewater offensive coordinator Stan Zweifel are among five finalists for a national coach-of-the-year award. They were among 25 finalists named yesterday for the Liberty Mutual Insurance coaching honors. Leipold and Zweifel are two of the five remain candidates for the award in the NCAA’s Division III. The others are Steve Johnson of Bethel in Minnesota – Keith Emery of Western New England – and Glenn Caruso of Saint Thomas of Saint Paul. Whitewater plays Saint Thomas on Saturday in the Division-Three semi-finals. Leipold has led the Warhawks to the last two Division-Three championships. Zweifel was the runner-up for Leipold’s job in 2007 – and he’s now the coach at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. Five finalists were also named for coach-of-the-year honors in Division-Two and the FCS, and 10 finalists were picked in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Fans can vote for their favorites until December 22nd at Coach Of The Year.com. The winners will be named on the day of the BCS National Championship Game on January 9th.
UW-Stevens Point defensive coordinator Tom Journell has become the Pointers’ new head coach, effective immediately. He replaces John Miech who stepped down this week after 30 years on the Point coaching staff – the last 24 as head coach. Miech says he wants to pursue other football opportunities. He played on the offensive line for the Pointers in the early 1970’s, and became the team’s defensive coordinator in 1985. He had been the head coach since ’88, with only three seasons of .500 or worse. His record with the Pointers was 156-83-2. Miech coached 60 players who went on to the pros in some capacity. The most notable was Clint Kriewaldt, who was drafted by Detroit in 1999 and played on the Pittsburgh team that won the 2006 Super Bowl.
Dan Tillema and Alyssa Olp, both of UW-Stevens Point, are the WIAC men’s-and-women’s basketball players of the week. Tillema, a senior guard-and-forward, averaged 22-and-a-half points in the Pointers’ victories over Buena Vista and Superior. And he shot 57-percent from three-point range, hitting 8-of-14 in the two games. Olp, a sophomore guard, made all 10 of her free throws for the Pointers in a 19-point victory over UW-Superior. She also had 18 points, four rebounds, and four steals in that contest. The WIAC also recognized Scott Lewan of River Falls in men’s hockey – Joe Devroy of Whitewater and Danielle Ellingson of La Crosse in swimming – Katie Hausmann of Whitewater and Phil Devine of Oshkosh in diving – and T.J. Wunnicke of Platteville in wrestling.
Tim Nelson of UW-Stout is the WIAC men’s cross country runner-of-the-year, and Paul Brown of Oshkosh is the coach-of-the-year. The winners were selected by the league’s coaches. Nelson, a junior, became the first Stout runner to win the gold medal at the WIAC conference meet, with a time of 24:41-point-five for eight-thousand meters. Brown won the first league team title for Oshkosh since 2003. His runners also took fifth at the national Division-Three meet in Brown’s first year at the helm. On the women’s side, Christy Cazzola of Oshkosh was named the runner-of-the-year for the second straight time. The junior won her second straight conference gold medal in a time of 21:27-point-two for six-thousand meters. Dan Schwamberger of UW-Eau Claire was named the women’s coach-of-the-year. He led the Blugolds to their fifth straight league title, and a 17th-place finish at the nationals.
Sam Keele and Emily McClellan, both of UW-Milwaukee, have been the Horizon League men’s-and-swimmers of the week. And Daniel Pogue of UW-Green Bay was named the week’s top male diver. Keele, a senior, set a new school record in the 200-backstroke with a time of 2:03-point-36 in the preliminaries of the Hawkeye Invitational at Iowa. He went on to finish seventh in the finals. McClellan, a sophomore, set school and conference records in three events at Iowa – the 200-individual medley and the 100-and-200 breast-strokes. She won all three events. Pogue, a senior, placed second in the one-meter diving event and fourth in the three-meters at the Hawkeye Invitational. Kacey Cummings of Cleveland State was named the Horizon women’s diver-of-the-week.
Jake Schwarz of Lakeland is the men’s basketball player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Conference. Schwarz, a junior forward, had 36 points and 11 rebounds in a Lakeland victory over Maranatha Baptist – and he averaged 29 points in a pair of league games while shooting 73-percent. Schwarz also surpassed the one-thousand point mark for his career. Kayla Blom of Dominican was named the NAC’s top women’s player.
Krista Pelky of Saint Norbert College in De Pere has been named the women’s basketball player-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference. Pelky, a senior guard, scored 23 points against Monmouth last weekend and 18 against Grinnell. She hit 6-of-9 shots from the floor in each game, and was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line during the weekend. Travis Clark of Lake Forest received the weekly men’s award.
Sam Schroeder, the women’s soccer coach at Ripon College, will also take over the men’s program. He was the interim men’s coach for the Red Hawks’ final five games last season, and he led the Ripon women to a 7-10-1 mark in his first year.
Madison could lose up to nine-million-dollars a year in tourist revenues, if the state high school basketball tournaments are moved out of the Capital City. That estimate comes from the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau. The WIAA’s current agreement with the Kohl Center expires in 2013. And it’s looking at moving the boys’ and girls’ tournaments that year due to scheduling conflicts involving Wisconsin Badgers’ hockey. WIAA officials have talked about moving the events to Milwaukee or Green Bay. But Madison Visitors’ Bureau president Deb Archer says that beside the financial benefit, the high school tournaments have been a fabric of the city in the late winter and early spring. Archer says the UW Field House and Madison’s Alliant Energy Center should be considered as alternative locations.