Cougar Notebook: Cards for Cory, other notes

COUGAR FANS live and die with their teams. In many cases, decidedly more so than other fans. Then a nice young man and promising football player like Cory Mackay is seriously injured in a crash, and balls and bats and wins and losses become so incredibly unimportant. Cory faces a far bigger and more intimidating opponent in the hospital than he ever faced on the football field.

Please join us in sending some kind words to him at the following address:

Cory Mackay (Patient)
Harborview Medical Center
325 Ninth Avenue
Seattle 98104-2499

Cory figures to be at Harborview for awhile so a small gesture on our collective part might provide a big lift.

LOOK UP "FANATICAL" in the dictionary, and chances are you'll find a photo of Craig Lawson accompanying the text. Lawson, an assistant sports information director at Washington State, spent countless hours (along with student assistants) tracking down the year-by-year WSU and pro statistics for every Cougar varsity player who has spent one nanosecond in the major or minor leagues. It's all chronicled for the first time in this year's Cougar baseball media guide.

Folks, we're talking about 228 players (including 31 major leaguers) dating back to the inaugural season of Cougar baseball in 1892. The role call includes everyone from 1993 American League batting champion John Olerud to Pete Duncan, whose pro career consisted of two Class A games with the Waterloo (Iowa) Royals in 1971.

Lawson's fanaticism isn't limited to Cougar baseball. Last winter, he and another group of has-beens and never-weres doled out obscene amounts of money to participate in the Boston Red Sox Fantasy Camp. Lawson makes a conversation with 80s-era pitcher Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd sound only slightly less significant, on a world scale, then the discovery of Noah's Arc.

We'd tell you that Lawson tied for the camp lead with five doubles, but we hesitate to make public the fact that someone actually compiles statistics at a fantasy camp. Aren't there LAWS against that sort of thing?

Posing that question to Lawson would no doubt prove fruitless and he's probably busy trying to figure out how he will yet again charm/sneak his way into the next Frozen Four -- college hockey's final four. Chalk that up as another one of Lawson's fanatical interests.

AT HIS INITIAL PRESS conference after being hired at WSU, new basketball coach Ken Bone acknowledged that his Portland State teams were not up to snuff academically. He said transfers with shaky grades contributed to the problem. Sure enough, the NCAA just docked the Vikings two scholarships and reduced their weekly workout time for next season because of poor academics during Bone's four-year reign at PSU.

Bone pointed out that his Seattle Pacific teams excelled in the classroom for years. Given that fact, and WSU's strong academic support system, it seems reasonable to give Bone the benefit of doubt. It doesn't hurt that Bone is now coaching a team that provided four of the five players on the Pac-10 All-Academic first team last season.

JESHUA ANDERSON, A starting wide receiver on the WSU football team last year, ranks No. 1 nationally in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles with a season best of 49.44 seconds. He won the Pac-10, NCAA, U.S. Junior and World Junior titles a year ago. The WSU men's track team is ranked 19th and the women 49th in the weekly track and field polls. Rankings are based on predicted finishes at the NCAA Championships.

WITH TWO WEEKEND VICTORIES over last-place Oregon, the Cougar baseball team aims for a sweep today (Monday) in the final contest of the three-game series. A sweep would do much to enhance WSU's chances of advancing to the NCAA baseball regionals for the first time since 1990 when future major leaguers Aaron Sele and Scott Hatteberg were in crimson.

The usual Friday-through-Sunday routine for Pac-10 games was pushed back a day because of graduation ceremonies at WSU. A special tip of the cap goes out to Cougar relief ace Jeremy Johnson, who graduated in four years with a GPA above 3.0 and a degree in finance -- an extremely challenging major, made even more difficult by all the games and travel involved with baseball.

Legendary WSU baseball coach Bobo Brayton was a longtime proponent of pushing the college baseball season back to the summer because of weather issues. Opponents of the plan pointed out that most students could not attend summer games. It is interesting to note that the final eight games on WSU's regular-season schedule (of 28 total) take place after school is out.

CONGRATS TO THE WSU women's rugby team, which made it to the final four before getting spanked 33-7 by two-time Division II champ Shippensburg (Pa.) last Friday at Stanford. Most of WSU's players never played rugby prior to college. Rugby is a "club" sport at WSU, meaning the school provides little funding. The ladies ran up about a $20,000 travel bill this season, so if you want to help, go to

NOTABLE: The NFL's Washington Redskins released Devin Frischknecht, a rookie tight end from WSU, after a tryout last weekend … ranks Aron Baynes 53rd and Taylor Rochestie 69th among college seniors eligible for the 2009 NBA draft.

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