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Bits & Pieces-Mid April Edition
The mysterious ouster of Willamette University’s men’s hoops coach, and South Salem baseball items galore
Here is a collection of local sports items of recent note which are finally getting attention from our site.
Willamette University is mum, but their men’s basketball coach is out
Not one word has been shared online by Willamette University athletic officials in Salem, but they have apparently fired their longtime men’s basketball coach.
Kip Ioane, who coached 14 seasons for the NCAA D3 Bearcats, announced via social media that he has been fired from the Willamette basketball staff. Not one note can be found on the Bearcat athletics website, but Ioane put up his own graphic on Twitter on April 13th.
Coach Ioane actually came to Willamette as a player in 1997, playing for the Bearcats until 2001, when the team recorded a combined record of 54-44.
The Bearcats have rigorous academic standards for their sports programs, and have struggled to compete in recent years across the board. Ioane’s 14 season record at Willamette was 85-243 (.259).
Ioane had developed a nationally recognized program called Teams of Men, which was aimed at developing the character of players over the course of their careers at Willamette. News of Ioane’s firing was first reported by the website hoopdirt.com.
South Salem is “Baseball U”
Sprague and South Salem are the top two teams in Central Valley Conference baseball this year, and begin a three-game series this week.
Coach Max Price realizes his team is young, with several freshmen in the starting line-up. But he also knows he has a special squad, with four players already committed to play college baseball.
Price has four players who have made commitments to colleges—including three Pac-12 schools. The special note: only one of them is a senior—the rest a junior and two freshmen.
Those players are: senior Cole Weiland (Whitworth University-D3); junior Carter Nelson (Oregon); freshman Sawyer Nelson—Carter’s brother (Washington); and freshman Teagan Scott (Oregon State).
Coach Price is honest when he says that while his staff tries to develop players to compete in college, they weren’t involved in these instances.
“All four of these guys are studs, so we really didn't have anything to do with them earning their future collegiate homes,” admits Price.
“I'm excited every time one of our own commits to play in college. Baseball's amazing, and it can open a lot of doors.”
Price follows his players’ fortunes after they leave South. Case in point: Ryan Brown of Oregon State.
Brown—Oregon State’s ace closing pitcher—picked up his eighth save of the season Friday as the Beavers held on for a 13-11 road win over Arizona State in a game between two top-25 teams. Price watched every pitch thrown by his guy.
Saxon baseballers to remain road warriors
After South Salem’s Gilmore Field was vandalized this past winter, school officials jumped on the damage quickly, with hopes that the varsity team might be able to play a few home contests by mid-April.
But Mother Nature has conspired against the Saxons—with heavy rains the last two months that have swamped a long list of games in the Willamette Valley. Coach Max Price says he isn’t optimistic about playing any games at Gilmore this year.
“The honest truth is that, with how wet it's been, I'm not sure we would have been able to get on Gilmore yet anyway this year,” says Price honestly.
“You still sink in (the soil) 1-2 inches when you try to walk on the infield.”
South has played a few “home” games at Willamette University’s John Lewis Field (Spec Keene Stadium) so far this season.
Teen vandals drove a pickup truck onto historic Gilmore Field last December fifth, but were caught as they tried to flee the scene after their vehicle became stuck. A sports turf company has been attempting completion of repairs on the field since March.
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