A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

SOECharlesHallmansquareMarlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater.

In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU.

The women are the only two Blacks on the staff.


Expand the road trip

Minnesota Athletics recently announced a four-day “road trip” by the school’s coaches and administrators to several cities and towns in May and June. The stated purpose is to “celebrate Gopher Athletics with fans across Minnesota.”

Wonder if the annual caravan will ever make a stop in North Minneapolis, an area long seen by the school as nonexistent.


WNBA gone Disney

A four-team preseason tournament will be held in conjunction with an AAU spring tournament May 9 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.

Minnesota will play Phoenix in the second game following the Chicago-Indiana game that night. The winners will play on May 11 in a “championship” game following the consolation game between the two losing teams two nights earlier.

Also, “a full slate of clinics, practices and autograph sessions” will be held for the young hoopsters during that weekend.


Change, change

Next season, both divisions of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) will be headed by new commissioners.

Bill Robertson will be the new men’s commissioner and Aaron Kemp will serve the women’s league, of which Minnesota is a founding member. Both will replace longtime commissioners who are retiring in June.


I’m just saying…

Despite reportedly low ratings for its only telecast a year ago, all home matches of the Minnesota North American Soccer League team this season will be on Channel 45. Yet the two-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx continues to have the worst local television contract among the local pro teams as well as the league. They only get a half-dozen telecasts each year on local television.


I’m just saying, too…

The Minneapolis daily newspaper continues to provide weekly updates on whether out-state recruit Carlie Wagner will remain committed to the Gophers despite a coaching change.

However, no such updates appear on whether or not two Black Texas high school players, Rangie Bessard and Tory Jacobs, who also signed during last fall’s signing period, are also still committed to play for the school this fall.


I’m just saying, three…

If L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose net worth reportedly is 1.9 billion, indeed made racist remarks as alleged last weekend, why is this so surprising?

The owner in 2006 was sued by the U.S. Justice Department for housing discrimination in using race as a factor for not renting to Koreans and Blacks. He paid nearly $3 million in fines plus attorneys’ fees three years later to settle a similar suit for discriminating against Blacks and Latinos, and was sued by former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination.

Is there a pattern here?


Calling Perry Mason

The NCAA once again is being sued. Former Kennesaw State basketball player Ashley Holliday last Friday joined six other former college players in an antitrust suit in Minneapolis federal court, alleging that her “full” college scholarship didn’t cover the full cost of attending college.

A Black woman, Holliday is believed to be the first female collegian to be named an antitrust plaintiff against college sports’ governing body. She joined lead plaintiff and current Minnesota Vikings player Sharrif Floyd.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman @ spokesman-recorder.com.

One Comment on “A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning”

  1. “The women are the only two Blacks on the staff.”

    Or “the first two hires made by the new women’s basketball coach were black.”

    “Wonder if the annual caravan will ever make a stop in North Minneapolis, an area long seen by the school as nonexistent.”

    Or stops in Brooklyn Center or Edina or Roseville or Eden Prairie.

    “However, no such updates appear on whether or not two Black Texas high school players, Rangie Bessard and Tory Jacobs,…”

    No such updates on Josie Buckingham and Grace Coughlin either.

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