As a journalist, you always hope to get the big story. Something no one saw coming or witnessing history. With each piece you write, you hope to surprise people, draw their interest, basically keep the reader reading. In addition, whatever you write needs to keep people coming back for your upcoming insight. Describing a spectacular catch, amazing dunk or some feat never done before, can be the prerequisite for a great read. Whenever I read an article, part of what I look for is what was said by the constituents involved. Whether it be a coach or a player, his or her perspective can be priceless.
Through the years attending, covering and following Oregon State sports, athletes and coaches have come and gone. If given the chance, this is what I would ask if I only had one question (or two)…
Terry Baker, former OSU football and basketball player: You won the Heisman Trophy and guided the basketball team to the Final Four. That would be a big deal even today. On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank such an achievement?
Ralph Miller, OSU basketball coaching great: You coached All-Americans and great leaders. Of all the players who played under your tutelage, who listened the most and followed the game plan?
Jimmy Anderson, long time basketball assistant coach under Ralph Miller: As a coach, teaching plays a huge role in any player’s development. Did you feel you ever learned something from a player and if so, to what degree did this influence your coaching?
William Brew, guard on OSU’s No. 1 ranked basketball team back in the day: I guarded you once in a pick up game at Dixon Recreation Center (on the campus). I played off you because I knew you would blow by me, which you did anyway. I got schooled. With a strong reputation as a basketball school back then, did you feel any extra pressure to perform?
Gary Payton, last great Beaver basketball standout (future NBA Hall of Famer): In college you dominated. Pete Maravich averaged 44 points a game at LSU. Michael Jordan starred at North Carolina. Let’s say you three are all on the same team with the game on the line. Who takes the last shot?
Bob De Carolis, current Athletic Director: I admire you for having and handling Parkinson’s Disease while performing your position at a high level. The football program is headed in the right direction, Track and Field is back, baseball is again in the limelight. If you ruled the sports world, and you can give more than one answer, which program are you most proud?
Mike Haas, former football receiver: I never saw you drop a ball. Never. If thrown in your direction, you caught everything. The professional level did not work in your favor. How difficult is the transition from college to pro? Looking back, would you do things differently? By the way, did you use Stickum?
Stephen Jackson, current St. Louis Rams running back, Beaver star: You made such an impression as the featured back at OSU and now with the Rams. Power back, 100%. Rumor has it, you will opt out of your contract. Any chance of playing for my Miami Dolphins or a leading contender other than New England?
Dennis Erickson, coached Beaver football to the memorable Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame: Not only were the Beavs the best team in football the night they handed it to the Irish, many believed they were the best overall. If your squad had beaten Washington earlier in the season and went on to be undefeated, is it fair to say OSU would have finished #1? Do you feel one got away that year?
Matt Moore, former OSU quarterback, now with the Miami Dolphins: When the team started 2-3 your senior year, you became quite popular in the game Hangman. Then guided the team to a 10-4 finish. As a captain and leader, what were the things you said or did to make the difference for your teammates?
Mike Riley, current football head coach: You have coached many players. What is the definition of a leader? In all your years of coaching at OSU, who stands out as man amongst men?
Jacquizz Rodgers, running back with the Atlanta Falcons: You left OSU after your junior year. The NFL has the riches and guarantees, I understand. However, were there other reasons you wanted to get to the next level? And how did you manage to only fumble once in your entire college career?
Jacoby Ellsbury, centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox: You barely missed out on the back-to-back College World Series victories by your alma mater. Any regrets there? Or do you Instagram your professional World Series ring to former teammates?
Mitch Canham, former baseball catcher and captain for OSU’s championship teams: Confidence is a major attribute for anyone or any team. After the final dogpile, I don’t think anyone could say they saw it coming two years in a row. When you lost in 2005 at the CWS, did you see 2006 and 2007ending as it did?
Pat Casey, current baseball coach and two-time CWS winning skipper: How many people do you think would like to be in your shoes, more than a thousand or less? How hard is it to recruit baseball players to the rainy Northwest? After you won the second title, how heavily was retirement on your mind? What one player impressed you the most during his time at OSU? Will anyone surprise us this year? If you had won the CWS in 2005, do you think a three-peat would have followed? Are you catching my drift yet? I feel the need to talk to you!
So, my final question is this: Mr. Casey, do you golf? Let’s play a round.