Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bob Dunning: A page out of the old Aggie playbook

From page A2 | December 12, 2012 |

RUMOR CENTRAL … my friend Kent wants me to fess up and admit that I’m the leading candidate for the UC Davis head football coaching job that has been shrouded in more mystery than a CIA mission … every day, it seems, we await an announcement from Aggie Central and every day we’re disappointed …

Well, it’s true … after decades of observing Aggie football as a fan, a student, a sports writer and a columnist — going back to the days of Ted Forbes, Will Lotter, the great Rich Donnell, the dynamic Lonnie Cagle and the rugged John Kidd — I have been offered the top job at my alma mater … I mean, who knows the Aggie playbook better than I do? …

The hold-up is that I’ve demanded to sit at my familiar seat in the press box on game days, partly because it’s out of the elements and mostly because it’s near the free refreshments and snacks that area sports writers have come to expect … new Athletic Director Terry Tumey, who has seen about 300 fewer Aggie football games than I have, wants me on the field with the team, which strikes me as an awfully old-school way of doing things … I’ll let you know how things work out …

EVEN MORE RUMORS … after that front-page story in The Enterprise last week describing the ever-present “glass ceiling” for women in the corporate workforce, UC Davis may be about to hire the first female head football coach in NCAA Division I history … then again, I wouldn’t bet the Christmas money on it …

OH DANNY BOY … this from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, listing candidates for the head football job at San Jose State: “Former Boise State/Colorado coach Dan Hawkins – Hawkins bombed at Colorado but is a proven winner at the non-
AQ level and remains close with (Athletic Director Gene) Bleymaier. He also knows Northern California, having played at UC Davis.” …

Yes, despite persistent rumors he is the leading candidate at UCD, Hawkins apparently is in the mix at San Jose State, especially since he and Bleymaier worked together at Boise, where Hawkins had tremendous success … if Hawkins hopes to resurrect his career after the disaster in Boulder, much better to do it at San Jose State than at UC Davis … the Spartans, after all, finished 10-2 and in the top 25 and are well-stocked for next fall … clearly a program on the way up, despite inferior facilities and lack of a decent fan base …

EVEN MORE ON THE HAWK … according to sources high within the athletic structure at UC Davis — two guys shooting hoops at lunchtime in Upper Hickey Gym — Hawkins was offered the Aggie job and turned it down … if true, even more evidence that Hawkins may yet surface at San Jose State …

SPEAKING OF HICKEY GYM … wouldn’t it be nice if just once a year the Aggie basketball team returned to its ancestral home in Hickey Gym for a real game? … sure, the old bandbox barely seats 1,500, but I’m talking about one of those dog-eared Christmas break games against Menlo or UC Santa Cruz or the Little Sisters of the Poor that doesn’t draw flies anyway … I’ll bet with proper marketing we could fill the place and sell a ton of popcorn to boot …

I can still see Bob Hamilton slamming the scorer’s table, tipping over his chair and chewing on his towel as the Aggies used a true homecourt advantage to hammer opponent after opponent in this historic building, where they played regularly until 1976 … I’d tear up my press pass and pay real money to relive that experience …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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