Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Simpson deserves all this Aggie magic

March 15, 2011 | Leave Comment

DANCING WITH THE STARS … I suspect there’s not a single person who knows Sandy Simpson who isn’t genuinely thrilled that the longtime Aggie women’s basketball coach will finally be taking his talented team to the Big Dance … even his opposing coaches in the Big West have to be pleased that Simpson and his merry band of student-athletes has been able to accomplish the seemingly impossible dream of an NCAA tournament bid in his last year before heading into retirement …

Three times during last weekend’s Big West tournament the Aggies faced a do-or-die game that could have ended Simpson’s coaching career on the spot, but each time the Aggies did what was necessary to extend the season for at least one more game …

It’s a fitting end to a long and successful career for Simpson, who has always led with passion, dedication and dignity … he’s a coach who clearly recognizes it’s only a game of basketball that’s being played, yet knows that what happens on and off the court is helping to shape the lives of the young women who have been entrusted to his care … no matter what happens in the NCAA tournament — I’ll settle for nothing less than a national championship — this is one of those wonderful instances where good things happen to good people … Sandy Simpson is one of the good guys … he deserves all that has happened in this final magical year on the Aggie bench …

CHANGE OF VENUE … as exciting as it is to see the Aggies mixing it up with the big boys — or girls — I’m also pleased to see the NCAA allowing some tournament games to be played on home courts … the Aggies playing at Stanford being a prime example … unfortunately, there will still be many, many empty seats in other arenas around the country where no “home” team is present … loyal fans of many teams are being cheated out of a chance to see their favorites play, and the players themselves are being cheated by having to play in front of a small and largely neutral crowd …

I say seed the top 16 teams and let each of them host a four-team regional that will pare the original field of 64 to just 16 … after that, go to neutral sites for Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final Four games … true enough, the home team will have a distinct advantage in the opening two games, but that’s an advantage earned by playing well during the regular season … the NBA wouldn’t dream of playing even one game of its championship tournament at a neutral site … and the Super Bowl is the only NFL playoff game played at a neutral site …

The same for the just-completed Big West tournament, both men’s and women’s … instead of playing it before a smattering of fans in the cavernous Honda Center in Anaheim, play the entire tournament on the home court of the regular-season champion and guarantee yourself a large and enthusiastic crowd … as it was, the championship game between the Aggie women and Cal Poly drew just 1,133 fans in the 18,000-seat Honda Center … had the game been played in Davis, it might have drawn four times that many … the same — perhaps to a lesser degree — at Cal Poly … again, the regular-season champion has earned the right to host with its play throughout the year …

A SUNDAY DATE … the talented chamber choir from Pacific University in Oregon has included Davis on a southerly concert tour that includes stops in Napa, Oakland and San Francisco … the choir, conducted by Dr Scott Tuomi, will be at St. Martin’s on Hawthorn Lane on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. … Tuomi is well known throughout the Pacific Northwest as a choral director, tenor soloist and vocal instructor who is also the music director at All Angels Episcopal in Portland … he also has a local connection … turns out he is the son-in-law of longtime Davis residents Shipley and Dick Walters …

— Reach Bob Dunning at Comment on this column at


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