Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who's going where? We've got the lists

It doesn't take long to lose track of coaches and athletes coming and going from one school to another this time of year. Coaches are shuffling from one school to another, and dozens of high school athletes in the area already have committed to colleges just in the past few weeks.

That's why we're putting together what likely will be the most comprehensive list of names online. On our home page, under the HighSchoolHQ logo, are links to extensive lists of high school coaching changes, along with college signings among local athletes.

It's an ongoing process, and we'll update the list almost daily as names come in and paperwork is signed. If you know of a coach or athlete who's made a move that we've missed, and he or she is from any of the schools in Southeast Missouri's 23-county area, drop me an e-mail (jhall@semosportsweb.com) or post it here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Would you hire B.J. Smith to coach your basketball team?

It's a not-so-rare dilemma facing Casper College's search committee this week.

They want a coach that wins. They want a coach that plays by the rules. They want a coach the community and team can root for, cheer for and play for.

But do they want B.J. Smith?

The former SEMO women's basketball coach interviewed for the vacant job Monday at the Wyoming junior college. The school is a proven winner just like Smith, who showed his junior college abilities in Oklahoma, then took SEMO to its first NCAA Tournament appearance.

But it wasn't long before the bottom fell out for Smith and, in turn, Southeast. The school trudged through a lengthy NCAA investigation that turned up a laundry list of violations that, barring a successful appeal, will wipe out all 79 wins under Smith, along with that NCAA Tournament trip.

And now it's gut-check time for those with the hiring power at Casper, including athletic director Bill Landen, whose comments to the Casper Star-Tribune were complimentary of Smith, but short of glowing.

"No question, B.J.'s resume just pops out," Landen said. "He's obviously coached at a very high level."

True on both points, but not entirely in a good way.

By the time the NCAA is finished with Smith and SEMO, there could be more asterisks than wins on Smith's resume. They'll have to buy Bic Wite-Out by the gallon to cover up all the wins and accomplishments over that four-year stretch. He'll join Ron Shumate in the "Let's Just Pretend He Was Never Here" section of the media guide.

If you're Landen, and if you're looking down the road at making the best choice for Casper College and its women's basketball program, is Smith your man?

Monday, May 12, 2008

The week that was: Rain, rain and more rain

Here's a word of advice: If the sun's out, get to an outdoor event and enjoy it today and Tuesday. That hasn't happened often lately, and there's more rain in the forecast this week.

It was so wet last week that SemoSportsWeb photogs were set to photograph five different events ranging from high school baseball to track to local auto racing. Our plans were wiped out by rain each time.

We'll try again this week with district baseball tournaments set to wrap up with finals Wednesday and Thursday at several area sites (check the calendar on our home page for the locations and times).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Local small schools shine in final regular-season baseball poll

Four schools from Southeast Missouri are among the top 10 in the state in Class 2, according to the new MHSBCA poll released Saturday.

The rankings were released by the coaches' group less than 24 hours before many schools across the state begin district tournaments Saturday.

In Class 2, West County (fourth), Clearwater (fifth), Twin Rivers (ninth) and Scott City (10th) fill spots.

Southeast Missouri teams also fare well in Class 1: Oran is No. 4 and Valle No. 6, while Cooter, Saxony Lutheran and Winona all received votes and finished outside the top 10.

No teams ranked in the Class 3 or Class 4 top 10, although Festus received votes in Class 3.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Freeman, Jiminez, Walker leave Poplar Bluff with AFC titles

Three championships were decided Saturday in Absolute Fighting Challenge's mixed martial arts event in Poplar Bluff.
Jeremy Freeman (135 lbs.), Chris Walker (145) and Justin Jiminez (205) all walked out with titles from the event, the group's first in the area since appearing two months ago in Cape Girardeau. It's the final AFC event before the group returns June 28 at the Kennett American Legion building.
Photos from the event will be posted at photographer Tom Kitchen's personal site here, or look back at Keith Hente's photos from January's event at A.C. Brase arena on SemoSportsWeb here.

Saturday's full rundown:
• Freeman defeated Levi Young at 135.
• Jiminez of Reapers MMA defeated Jason Aldridge of Team Evolution in the first round of the 205 match.
• Walker of Team Beatdown defeated Brian Raymond of Caruthersville MMA via knockout in Round 2 in 145.
Jonathan Day of Joiner, Ark., defeated Jeremy Sailing of Team Rick Hufford after Sailing was disqualified.
Gary Freeman of Team Beatdown defeated Tom Taylor of Joiner, Ark., in a first-round knockout in 205.
James Evans of Team Pitbull defeated Kyle Jones of Team Beatdown after verbal tapout in the second round of their heavyweight fight.
Jeremy Larkin of Team Devastation beat T.J. Kitchen of Team Xtreme after their fight was stopped because of successive blows in 155.
Jamell Austin of Cape Girardeau won by unanimous decision over Chris Gregory of Poplar Bluff in 170.
Tim Smith of Caruthersville MMA won by tapout over Dustin Brace of Team Punishment in 185.
Robert Gloyd of Team Evolution defeated Eric Ainsworth of Joiner, Ark., in 200.
Dillon Goodman of Team Rick Hufford defeated Danny Andrews of Team Evolution at 165.
• Heavyweight Nick Tucker of Caruthersville MMA defeated Shannon Chandler of Team Evolution.
Michael Foster of Team Devastation defeated Dave Brown of Reapers MMA in 155.
Dexter Anderson of Team Xtreme defeated Jimmy Sanchez of Team Gladiator after a stoppage because of strikes in 155.
Dale Minner of Hit Squad defeated Joseph Asano of Team Xtreme in a first-round knockout in 185.
Brant Bristow of Team Beatdown defeated Ryan Walker in a first-round TKO in a 185-pound grudge fight.