A brief goodbye.

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Sorry to report today was my last day at The Star -- just a month shy of 25 years with the company. Not sure how long this blog will continue to exist, or if anyone will see it, but I have a site of my own: http://www.davidlassen.com. Not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it, but you'll probably be able to keep up with me there in some form.

To all the friends I've made over the years, thanks for everything. Hopefully we'll cross paths again.

Farewell.

Men's basketball, Feb. 13: CLU 65, Pomona-Pitzer 62

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CLAREMONT -- The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team is saving its best for last.
Aaron Fisher's 3-pointer with eight seconds left -- and just one second left on the shot clock -- gave CLU its second lead of the night, and that was enough to propel the Kingsmen to a 65-62 win at Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday night, moving the Kingsmen into a tie for the final spot in the SCIAC conference playoffs.
With its fourth straight win, CLU improves to 12-10, 6-5 in the SCIAC, tying Pomona (10-12, 6-5) for the final place in the four-team conference tournament.
"Their perseverance has paid off," said CLU coach Rich Rider. "We kept saying all year long -- even when we went through all of our speed bumps -- just persevere ... and it will slowly turn."
Fisher's winning shot -- a straightaway 3 from the top of the arc -- was just his second basket of the night and ninth 3-pointer this season.
"We ran a play for Kyle (Knudsen)," Fisher said. "Kyle wanted to take the shot; he's our best shooter."
But Pomona had Knudsen covered, so the shot fell to Fisher with the clock winding down.
"It was an option," said Rider, "but it was not the first option. ... He's a gamer. He's tough when he wants to be."
Pomona inbounded, and after three timeouts with four seconds left -- two by the Sagehens, one by the Kingsmen -- David Liss' corner 3-pointer to tie bounced off the rim as time expired.

The full story will be in Sunday's Star. More to come here later.

Men's basketball, Feb. 13: CLU 65, Pomona-Pitzer 62

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CLAREMONT -- The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team is saving its best for last.
Aaron Fisher's 3-pointer with eight seconds left -- and just one second left on the shot clock -- gave CLU its second lead of the night, and that was enough to propel the Kingsmen to a 65-62 win at Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday night, moving the Kingsmen into a tie for the final spot in the SCIAC conference playoffs.
With its fourth straight win, CLU improves to 12-10, 6-5 in the SCIAC, tying Pomona (10-12, 6-5) for the final place in the four-team conference tournament.
"Their perseverance has paid off," said CLU coach Rich Rider. "We kept saying all year long -- even when we went through all of our speed bumps -- just persevere ... and it will slowly turn."
Fisher's winning shot -- a straightaway 3 from the top of the arc -- was just his second basket of the night and ninth 3-pointer this season.
"We ran a play for Kyle (Knudsen)," Fisher said. "Kyle wanted to take the shot; he's our best shooter."
But Pomona had Knudsen covered, so the shot fell to Fisher with the clock winding down.
"It was an option," said Rider, "but it was not the first option. ... He's a gamer. He's tough when he wants to be."
Pomona inbounded, and after three timeouts with four seconds left -- two by the Sagehens, one by the Kingsmen -- David Liss' corner 3-pointer to tie bounced off the rim as time expired.

The full story will be in Sunday's Star. More to come here later.

Women's basketball, Feb. 13: CLU 66, Pomona-Pitzer 51

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CLAREMONT -- The Cal Lutheran women's basketball team received an object lesson on the dangers of losing concentration Saturday evening.
Since the Regals still won, it came cheaply enough.
CLU led 14-0 and 19-3, but allowed Pomona-Pitzer to hang around, needing a late 12-0 run to secure a 66-51 and retain a share of second place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
CLU is 18-5, 10-2 in the SCIAC with two games remaining. The Regals have already secured a place in the conference's four-team tournament, but kept alive their slim hopes of taking first and securing home-court advantage. Occidental is a game ahead of CLU, but since the Tigers swept the Regals, holds the advantage if the teams were to tie.
Pomona-Pitzer, which lost the earlier meeting 87-49, is 5-16, 1-11.
It was something of a trap game, with CLU coming off a loss in Thursday's first-place showdown at Occidental and facing the ninth-place team in the conference.
"The big challenge," said CLU coach Roy Dow, "was after that tough emotional game, how to come back 48 hours later, get back on the bus and go on another road trip. That's where we missed Kelsey Paopao (CLU's only senior, who has missed the season because of injury), an older kid that's been around. ... You could see it today."
The Regals overcame that challenge at the start -- holding Pomona-Pitzer scoreless for its first 11 possessions and almost eight minutes -- but after that, it was a struggle.
"I know a lot of us wanted to come out strong because obviously, we lost to Occidental," said Donielle Griggs, who led CLU with 23 points, "so we had it in us to take our anger out, I guess you could say, for the next game. But it was hard to stay focused."
Said Dow, "We did (respond) for 10 minutes. But ... teams aren't just going to roll over when you come to their gym the second time around."
With the help of Anja Hughes-Stinson's big game off the bench, Pomona trailed just 51-45 with 6:20 remaining before the Regals put together the 12-0 run that gave them an 18-point advantage with 3:15 left. That proved to be enough of a cushion.
"We stuck with it," said Griggs, who hit five 3-pointers. "Never give up. That's been our motto all year."
Starla Wright added 12 points and seven rebounds for CLU, and Brianna Parker grabbed 15 rebounds. Hughes-Stinson led Pomona with 23 points, including all four of her team's 3-point shots.
CLU did not practice Thursday -- which Dow considered a partial explanation for his team's occasionally sloppy play -- and will take two more days off before returning to practice Tuesday.
"It's that time of the season," he said. "We're freshmen and sophomores, and the bodies show it."

Hockey: More from Kings, Ducks Olympians

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Wednesday's column on the Kings and Ducks players bound for the Olympics used just a fraction of the material I gathered at the morning skates prior to Monday's Kings-Ducks games. I wanted to pass on a bit more, touching on some different topics.

One of the concepts that interested a number of reporters -- and fans, too, I'd bet -- is the idea of players who are NHL teammates suddenly becoming opponents. It's going to happen a lot; on the tournament's first day, the Ducks' Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney will be playing against Switzerland, with Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. And Kings and Ducks players will be on both sides of the U.S.-Canada game that concludes group play on Feb. xx.
To the extent they're talking about this at all, the players are, so far, joking about it. Teemu Selanne said he'd "get off the ice" when Ryan Getzlaf gets on, although in truth, that matchup may not happen: Finland and Canada are in different groups, meaning they'd have to meet in the medal round.
But for the most part, the players (and their coaches) think this is no big deal.
"You get used to that," said Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who will captain Team Canada, "because during the year you'll be sitting next to a guy, and he's traded, and the next week you'll be playing against him. So you get used to that.
"It's part of pro sports, and we all understand that when you're out there, you're competing hard. I don't think anybody gets too concerned about that. You're out there; you're trying to help your team win."
Agreed Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, "It's what it is. It's like your schedule. You don't get to pick and choose. Somebody else gets to do that for you. .... We have players that are going to compete against one another. But again, they're hockey players. It's not the first time they've competed against their teammates or former teammates, and it's not the first time they've competed against friends. That's the unique thing about sports."
And, added, Kings coach Terry Murray, "They're premiere athletes, they're world-class athletes. It's not only the physical game; it's the attitude you have to bring in order to play in those kinds of situations.
"So you've got to be able to put some stuff away with the door and lock the door and throw the key away. And now we're playing in this environment here.
"For me as a player, thinking back, you just do it. You play hard against everybody."

Most of the Olympic players said they had, as yet, given the Olympics little thought, being in the middle of a crowded final week of NHL competition before the two-week Olympic break.
"You know what, the only thing I have been thinking about the Olympics so far," said Teemu Selanne, "is we have to fill the papers to WADA, the [World Anti-Doping Agency, which conducts drug tests], where we have to be available one hour every day somewhere, and you have to fill out everything and think of where you're going to be that day. That's the only thing I have really think about with the Olympics, but ... now, I have to start thinking about what equipment, what stuff I need there."
For the most part, such logistical concerns have already been taken care of, said the Kings' Dustin Brown. Ticket issues, for example, have long since been addressed.
"I mean, I'm sure there's still a few loose ends, but for the most part, everything's taken care of," he said. "That way I wouldn't have to worry about it come right now."
The one player who readily admitted to thinking ahead to the Olympics was Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
"Yeah, I don't think it's a bad thing if I think about it a bit," he said, "Obviously, it's not my first priority right now. I just want to get these games over with the Kings, get as many wins as we can, and play well for then, and then when I fly out there on the 14th, I'll obviously switch and be all Hockey Canada at that time.
"But, yeah, I find it's not a bad thing to think about here and there."

There are certainly reasons for NHL coaches to be concerned about Olympics: Will it tire players out? Will someone significant get hurt?
But Carlyle and Murray were both pretty-low key about the topic.
"I look at it that it's an honor to play for your country," said Carlyle, "and first and foremost, what are they? They're hockey players, and they're getting a chance to play. And I think if you asked anybody if they'd forego the Olympic experience to take the time off, they would all want to participate. So I think it's a positive. I don't look at it as a negative at all."
Murray, when asked if he'd be watching nervously as his players participated, said he wasn't sure he'd be watching at all.
"I'm going to take some time and just get away from hockey, get a break," he said. "It's exciting, I might try to catch the odd game, but I'm not going to write it down on a schedule in a ledger and say this is what I've got to do at this moment. I'll look at the end results."
Murray does believe the Olympic experience can only help players develop, citing one of the more famous cases of a player developing in international competition as an example.
"I always remember whenever the Canada Cup was in Hamilton, Ontario [in 1987]. Mario Lemieux scored the winning goal, and that experience for him, I remember some of the quotes, taught him how to take it to the next level, playing with (Wayne) Gretzky on that line -- the importance of every shift, and how you do things the right way all the time.
"That certainly is extreme to the one side of it," he admitted, but figures the players should gain confidence from the experience, as well as learning from being around "the world-class players they're going to be practicing with, and how they handle themselves in the locker room, how they talk, and how they practice, and then the game itself.
"You're going to have to make sure you're focused, bringing total concentration every minute you're at the rink with those teams. That's a skill."
And, he said, the only way to learn how to handle big-game situations, ultimately, is to be in them.
"You've never been there as a player, you don't know," he said. "Even listening to someone talk about it, you don't know. You have to go through it. You have to actually get on the ice and live through it and take away, I think, just loads of information from those kinds of experiences for Doughty, in particular.
"If he's going to be one of the six defensemen as a 20-year-old, it's going to give him a good boost to his development as he moves forward in his career, and it's going to be memories he'll have the rest of his life."

Contreras' next coaching destination: Sweden

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Note: If you're looking for Kings-Ducks coverage, it's below this entry.

All the talk about his playing-in-Europe seminar for the column on George Contreras in Tuesday's paper didn't really leave space to discuss his new coaching job in Sweden after two years in Italy, but we did talk about it, starting with the obvious question: Why Sweden?
"I wasn't really looking to go back this year," said Contreras. "I thought I'd take a year off. ... Basically this coach from Sweden contacted me, and it just kind of appealed to me from the standpoint of not having imports, and really being grass-roots kind of stuff. I thought I could put my last two years of coaching freshman football to really good use.
"And the other thing, a little bit selfishly, is being down in Sicily, we are so far, basically, from mainland Europe. ... We'd seen Southern Europe, so this gives me a chance to be in the Northern part. Certainly a different culture, a different climate ... and from the travel-experience standpoint, I'll be able to easily hit a lot of Northern Europe.
And when I connected with Uffe Palmbrink" -- the owner of the Hasselholm Hurricanes, based in a city of 18,000 (including the surrounding district, the population is about 50,000) in southern Sweden -- " he's just a good guy. He appealed to me the way he's approaching thing.
"But it's definitely a different deal because of skill levels."
That desire to travel while in Europe is enhanced by a scheduling quirk Contreras calls "probably the only goofiness in Sweden" -- the Swedish American Football Federation shuts down for seven weeks in midseason so people can enjoy the relatively brief Swedish summer, and for the first six of those weeks, the team won't even practice.
"Then we come back for three weeks and it's the playoffs. ...
And from what I've heard from guys who have coached in Sweden, a couple of Americans I've met, it's not unusual that a lot of your guys don't come back. We come back in August, and August is Europe's summer vacation. So even though we're taking this time off so you can enjoy the outdoors, there's a good chance guys are still working, so when it comes to vacation shut-down time, then they're going to really take off."
Still, while he considers the chance to coach at more basic level "a good change of pace," coaching in Sweden does have one notable side effect when it comes to Contreras' coaching work in Ventura County: Because the Swedish playoffs run into October, he won't be coaching locally this year, ending 40 consecutive years of coaching high school football at some level.
There's one other reason Contreras is moving from Italy to Sweden, and it's simply to expand the whole experience of coaching in Europe.
"I had an enjoyable two years in Catania" -- the city in Sicily where he coached the last two years -- "but ... the second year became, 'This is where I work. Let's go to the same restaurant.' Not that it was bad; it just wasn't that adventure the first year was.
"And all the guys I've talked to who've coached over there, none of them have ever coached in the same town twice. They've always moved to a new experience, because it is a big experience. And the same thing with players."
So if it's 2010, this must be Sweden. In 2011, who knows?

Feb. 8: Ducks 4, Kings 2, postgame

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And the 10-game win streak belongs to ... the Anaheim Ducks.
Anaheim maintained its home win streak -- which ties a club record set in February and March of 2008 -- by beating the Kings 4-2 on Monday night, ending L.A.'s club-record nine-game winning streak.
Anaheim did it in exactly the fashion Ducks coach Randy Carlyle had wanted -- by creating all kinds of traffic in front of the net to make life extremely difficult for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick -- although it was possibly the most innocuous shot of the night, a fairly routine attempt by Corey Perry with 1:30 left in the second period, that secured the game for the Ducks. It came just 24 seconds after the Kings had made it 3-2 on a goal by Anze Kopitar.
"It wasn't the hardest shot I've shot," said Perry, "but shooting the puck on net, you never know what can happen. If there's a rebound, there's probably someone coming down the slot, so it could be another scoring chance."
Kopitar called Perry's response to his goal "unfortunate.
"It was a huge goal for them going up just before the break with a two-goal lead."
The current streak has turned around the Ducks' fortunes. They were just 7-8-2 at home before reeling off their 10 straight wins.
"We just got off to a slow start at home, I guess," said Scott Niedermayer. "And it is important to play at home in this league."
The difference, Niedermayer suggested, is "probably initiating.
"I think when we get in trouble is we watch a little a little bit, and let the other team sort of dictate things. Hockey's a game that definitely takes some aggression, where you have to initiate, whether it's take checks, give checks, get in front of the net -- all things that are difficult to do. They're not fun. They hurt, and the rest of it, but we've been doing that here lately, and doing a better job of it."
Kings coach Terry Murray would not disagree.
"We rallied in the third period," he said, "but Anaheim brought their 'A' game here today and we just didn't match it.
"They were carrying the game. We were chasing in the first and second period, in particular. We didn't manage the pucks in the middle of the ice. Just two many teams, we let them come back at us with a lot of speed in the transition."
The Ducks set the tone with a flurry of early scoring chances in the game's opening minutes, although they trailed 1-0 after Oscar Moller scored at 12:31 of the first. Anaheim answered with goals by Teemu Selanne, Getzlaf and Saku Koivu.
"I think you have to remember the last couple of times we've played the hockey club across the hall," said coach Randy Carlyle, "we were on the second half of a back-to-back, and we didn't have the necessary energy, and they did. And tonight we had a lot of energy" -- Anaheim had been off since last Thursday's 6-4 loss in L.A. -- "and we felt good about the ability to skate with them.
"They're a good hockey team. Don't take anything away from that hockey club. They've earned everything they've gotten. But we can be more competitive than we were in the last two games against them, that's for sure."
The biggest flaw on the evening from the Anaheim perspective was the loss of center Ryan Getzlaf to a sprained left ankle in the second period -- an injury not only of concern for the Ducks, but for Team Canada with the start of the Olympic hockey tournament just a week away.
"We really haven't got an assessment other than he sprained his ankle," said Carlyle. "Right now, he's walking in a boot, and he'll be on crutches. He'll have an MRI (Tuesday), and that will give us a better indication of the severity of the sprain."
Said Koivu, "We've just got to cross our fingers right now and hope it's nothing bad."
Overall, it was a very big night for the Ducks' Olympians. Eleven of the 12 Anaheim points went to the skaters bound for Vancouver -- Perry had three points; Selanne, Koivu and Ryan Whitey had two, and Getzlaf and Niedermayer one each. The eighth Anaheim Olympian is goalie Jonas Hiller, who made 35 saves for the win.
The Kings were disappointed to see their win streak end, but tried to maintain a positive attitude about it.
"We are pretty happy with those nine wins in a row," said defenseman Drew Doughty. "I know tonight we are a little disappointed that we didn't play very well in the first two periods, but we cam to play in the third and we took it to them. We just have to learn from taht. We have to play how we did in the third every period."


Kings-Ducks Feb. 8: Pregame comments

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It's a real something-has-to-give pairing tonight at the Honda Center: The Kings, winners of nine straight, against the Ducks, winners of nine straight at home.
Here are a few comments about the matchup from the teams' morning skates:

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, on what the Ducks have to shore up based on their 6-4 loss in Los Angeles last Thursday:
"Well, I think our execution level, for sure. We don't get enough traffic in front of (goalie Jonathan) Quick. He's had it far too easy finding pucks. We've got to do a better job of that.
"We've got to do a better job of executing through neutral ice. They're a trapping hockey club; they're not any different than a lot of teams have taken on, and they've been executing their trap in the neutral ice as good as any team in the league."

Kings coach Terry Murray, asked how to combat the Ducks' desire to create more traffic in front of Quick:

"You just have to do a strong job in front of the net. And you're not going to eliminate it. They've got some great players over there. You've just got to try to limit the number of times they can get position. Your defensemen, your low tracker, they have to work very hard to get proper body positioning and we've got to get in some lanes up top with the defensemen. They've got some guys that are very mobile up there; they do a lot of rotating at the top, so they can find some seams. But we have to work hard on the checking part of the game."
"But that's hockey -- going to the net, battling hard. That's the exciting part of the game."

Anaheim's Bobby Ryan, assessing the Kings:

"Well, I think they're playing with a lot of confidence, especially in their own building. They're really rallying around Jonathan in net. It starts with him; he's been great. He's made some big saves at big times, and even when we came back in that game last week, he stood on his head at the end.
"And their forwards are playing with confidence. They're making plays all over the ice and getting to the net and creating havoc. You know, for any team to play against them in that kind of situation, where those guys are playing that well, it's tough. So I think for us to just keep it simple and play a simple home game is the key for us."

Back with more after the game.

Lakers practice, Feb. 4: Bryant sits out, is mum on ankle

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EL SEGUNDO -- If you're wondering about the state of Kobe Bryant's ankle and his status for Friday's game with Denver, keep wondering.
Bryant did not make himself available to the media after the Lakers' practice Thursday, leaving others to opine or guess about his condition.
Phil Jackson said Bryant stayed out of practice and was "trying a variety of therapies" on the previously injured left ankle, re-aggravated in Wednesday's game with Charlotte when Lamar Odom stepped on it late in the second quarter.
He also said Bryant "sure wants to" play against Denver, but that would depend on his condition as of Friday. And Jackson said the thought of holding Bryant out of game action had crossed his mind.
"It occurred to me (Wednesday) during the course of that game," Jackson said. "I told him he did quite well during the game, even though his shooting was 2 for 12. A lot of those balls were dropped on him as the 24-second clock was running out. These kids are so used to just giving him the ball at the end of the clock and making him develop a shot.
But he kept us running the offense, his defense was good, and he did some real good things out there."
Odom, meanwhile, clearly will be surprised if Bryant doesn't play against the Nuggets.
"Kobe usually plays 82 games since I've been here," said Odom. "He has a broken finger and plays. So that wheel's going to really have to hurt for him not to play.
"If he's hurt, hopefully other guys can step up and play well. He's hard to replace."

Chris Kimball interview, part 2: Bonus material

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Sunday's Q and A article with Cal Lutheran president Chris Kimball focused primarily on CLU-specific athletic issues. But we also discussed some bigger-picture issues. Here is that part of the conversation.

In general, what do you think is maybe is the biggest issue Division III athletics faces right now?
Let me answer that in two parts.
From the perspective of the NCAA, the biggest issue they're facing is this combination of size and identity, or philosophy, if you will. And there have been conversations about dividing it, and so on. That's really got people's attention. But with the prospect, and I'm not sure how immediate, but the expectation is eventually NAIA schools will come into the NCAA, that you're just going to have an enormous number of schools that makes doing postseason very complicated. And the range of schools -- big, small, public, private -- it's difficult to say that we have a single approach to policies, rules, philosophy and so on. And the NCAA has really asked the presidents to get involved in a kind of identity reflection process over the next couple of years.
So I think from the NCAA perspective, that is the official big challenge.
Now I would add, I think the other big challenge is the one that goes beyond athletics and affects all public education -- maybe particularly private -- and that is how many high school students and their families will be able to go to college, whether they play sports or not.
I think that's a national challenge. We're facing it here in California and probably to a lesser extent around here. That's the real big game, but that's kind of a macro level answer.

Is the NCAA really the best organization for Division III schools? There are such disparate elements within that organization.

I have to say, I've been pretty impressed with how the NCAA is able to compartmentalize Division III, and I mean that in a good way. So you've got your own rule book, essentially your own meetings, and so on. You can read about the D-I and D-2 stuff, you go to the same receptiosn, but it doesn't have much of an impact on your day-to-day business, other than, frankly, to be able to go to Linfield and have the NCAA pay for that is due to the March Madness TV contract for D-I. So we benefit that way from it.
But I think they do a good job of identifying the interests of the members at each classification. It means it's an emormous bureaucracy, but it's broken into those three chunks. Division II, I think, is still struggling where it fits between I and III. But I'm comfortable in the NCAA, and think actually it's a reasonably good vehicle for talking about these identity and philosophy questions.

There have been, at times, kind of separatist movements.
Well, one of the SCIAC presidents has been a leader in maybe staying in the NCAA but creating a new Division IV. That may get revived again.

Well if the NAIA comes in, I can see there really being some structural changes because they don't fit Division II or Division III.
That's right. You could see some comfortably going into II, but others might come this way, and then what do they do with their scholarship athletes?
You know, NAIA's a real opportunity here because there's so many in Southern California relative to the NCAA schools, where again, the Midwest, Northeast, you've got so many NCAA schools that a few more don't make much difference. But for us, if you suddenly say you've got Westmont, Azusa, Point Loma, Cal Baptist in your mix, that changes things pretty dramatically. So I think that's going to be an important issue for us out here.
But as you say, it's going to raise that issue of how important are athletics in Division III, and does everybody play off the same book or not.
And back in Minnesota, one of the great complaints from the Minnesota conference, the MIAC, generally private liberal-arts colleges and universities, was that across the river in Wisconsin, you had a conference of the Whitewater, Stevens Point, all of which were 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 students, and almost like D-1 schools in terms of the resources and so forth. So where's the level playing field there? That's less pronounced out here, I think.

But it does become an issue when you go into the playoffs. I remember going to a Division III World Series one of the years Cal Lutheran went, and they were one of the smallest schools there, but there was a real disparity between -- about half the field was schools of 5,000 or less, and about half was 10,000 or more.
Well, you look at the football playoffs this last year. Linfield, which is about our size, was in the final four. Then you've got Wisconsin-Whitewater, a big state school. Mount Union, they're a special case. And I forget who the fourth one was. [Wesley, Del., which has 2,100 students, plus 400 on a satellite campus. Mount Union has 2,204 students; Wisconsin-Whitewater has an enrollment of 10,700.]
But there's a world of difference, just as an institution, from a Whitewater to a Linfield, or a Whitewater to a CLU. Linfield and CLU, you'd say, OK -- roughly the same size school and so on. That I get. That makes a lot of sense. When you add such different kinds of institutions, that's when you start saying, well, do we really have the same philosophy?

And looking at the Division III football championship, five years in a row now it's been Mount Union versus Whitewater in the final. Does that say there's a structural problem with Division III playoffs, that you're getting the same schools every year?
I'll say it's not desirable. Let's put it that way. And in both of those cases, there are some special things going on.
I could point to my old school, Augsburg, in wrestling, a much smaller sport. It was Augsburg and Wartburg one-two every year until this last year for at least a decade. You can say the same kind of thing there, that the haves continue to be the haves. And I think in football, there's such a buildup of resources that once a team is entrenched, it can be hard to dislodge them. I think that, for Whitewater and certainly Mount Union, people know, and they have an appeal to them.
So, desireable? No. Structural problem? I'm, not going to go that far. Certainly [we] would like to find a way to give them a year off or two years off by substituting for them in that championship.
But the question you ask is exactly the kind of thing being asked at the NCAA level. There are some schools, like a Williams or a Calvin College, outstanding liberal-arts colleges, that are good at a whole number of sports. They may not win every year, but they're going to be in that top 10, and that is seen probably as a better model than a school that just dominates in one thing.

All Over the Place
lassen.jpg
David Lassen has written for The Star and one of its predecessors, the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle, for more than 20 years, and has been the paper's sports columnist since 2000.

He has covered the last four Olympics, as well as the World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, NCAA Final Four and a wide variety of other events.
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