U.S. women’s hockey pioneer Ruggiero, 31, retires

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USOC.com

Angela Ruggiero, the Simi Valley native who played on four U.S. women’s Olympic medal-winning teams and is considered one of the greatest in the sport’s history, officially announced her retirement today after 16 seasons.

Ruggiero, who turns 32 on Jan. 3, played more games — 256 — in a Team USA uniform than any other ice hockey player in the country’s history and compiled 208 points, including 67 goals.

She currently works as a U.S. representative on the International Olympic Committee.

“I feel honored and privileged to have represented the USA program over the past 16 years,” said Ruggiero in a statement on the USA Hockey website.

“USA Hockey will always be a part of me and I will cherish the experiences and memories with this team. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I am now looking forward to my next career, as well as continuing my work representing the athletes of the world through my roles on the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee.”

Ruggiero won a gold medal in 1998 as an 18-year-old, the youngest member of the squad. Four years later, it was a silver medal as she was named the tournament’s top defenseman.

In 2006, the U.S. team won a bronze and she tied for the lead among tournament defensemen with six points and was named the tournament’s top defenseman for a second time.

The 2010 Olympic team won silver.

Ruggiero was the top-ranked female hockey player in the world by The Hockey News in 2003 and represented Team USA in 10 IIHF Women’s World Championships, winning nine medals.

The Harvard grad and four-time All-American also played one game with her brother, Bill, in a men’s Central Hockey League game in 2005 — the first female non-goalie to play in a professional hockey game in North America.

“For some players it’s safe to say that once the player retires, he or she will be inducted to a Hall of Fame — Angela Ruggiero is one of those players,” Ren Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, was quoted on the USA Hockey site. “She has not only been the best defenseman in the last 15 years, Angela Ruggiero has defined this era of women’s hockey.”

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said that “someone as dedicated and hard working as Angela” representing athletes in the Olympic movement now means “the ‘athletes’ voice’ is in safe hands. We congratulate her on an exceptional career on the playing field.”

“I remember being on the ice with her for her first shift in a Team USA uniform,” said former teammate and Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato. “I was taking the draw and I looked back and there was Angela with a huge smile, so excited to play. And that never changed throughout her career. She lit up the lockerroom with her infectious laugh and spirit, and on the ice always played with the strength and edge that made her so dominant.”

More on Ruggiero: http://angelaruggiero.com/ and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AngelaRuggiero

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Play It Forward: Dec. 26-Jan. 1 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

Red Bull No Limits 2011: World record distances attempts in a snowmobile and motorcycle, downtown San Diego, Saturday at 8 p.m.:

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It takes a leap of faith to do what Levi LaVallee and Robbie Maddison do in the name of collecting a paycheck. Mind if we watch? A year ago at this time, LaVallee was reclining in a hospital near Fontana. He was practicing for his planned world record snowmobile distance jump at Auto Club Speedway, went head over machine (see video above), and ended up with a cracked pelvis, broken ribs, broken vertebrae in his back and a dazed look on his face. So, the Red Bull annual New Year’s Eve event was canceled. But after three months in rehab, the seven-time Winter X Games medalist who once did a double backflip on his machine has got back on up his contraption and wants to try again, this time over San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina Park. There’s a 300-foot water gap and his plan is to break his own mark of 361 feet.

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At the same time, Maddison (right), an Aussie living in Temecula, will try to exceed his record of 391 feet on a motorcycle — he’s pushing it to the 400 foot mark. “Jumping long distances is a passion of mine, and I’m excited to come back for New Year’s Eve and sail over San Diego Harbor,” said Maddison, who started this annual event in 2007 by jumping his cycle 322 feet over a football field in Las Vegas. The next year, he jumped onto – and off – the 96-foot-tall Arc De Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas. “It’s not all about getting the world record to me, it’s more about understanding this feat and the commitment ahead to achieving what most would consider an impossible jump,” Maddison said. So now we have the first Red Bull event where two guys will jump at the same time, right after the Chick-Fil-A Bowl ends. Unless someone chickens out.

MONDAY

Horse racing: Santa Anita meet opener, first post, noon:

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The HBO series “Luck,” starring Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina around the world of horse racing, was shot all around Santa Anita and will debut later in January — right as the track’s 75th winter/spring meeting gets going. This one runs 79 days through April 22, highlighted by the Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday, March 3.

NBA: Lakers at Sacramento, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

Catch your breath yet? The Lakers have to make a quick trip after Christmas Day to our state capital to play the team many thought might be in Anaheim to start the season. If these Kings were at Disneyland instead, it would have made things much easier.

NHL: Kings vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7 p.m., FSW:

Apparently Darryl Sutter is up to speed now on how overtime and shootouts work. The Kings are all over the place this week, starting against the Coyotes — and likely against former Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera, who has replaced starter Mike Smith (groin injury) the last two games.

College football: Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.: Missouri vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m., ESPN2:

North Carolina lost four of its last six and cost their head coach his job. Interim coach Everett Withers tries to hold it together.

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NFL: Atlanta at New Orleans, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

My wife says I snore like Drew Brees does in his new commercials. I’m not losing sleep over the comparison. The Saints QB is 305 yards shy of breaking Dan Marino’s NFL single-single passing record (5,084 yards in 1984), and a win by New Orleans (11-3) gives it the NFC South title.

TUESDAY

NBA: Lakers vs. Utah, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:

The Jazz shipped center Mehmet Okur to Jersey for a 2015 second-round pick the other day as they continue to stockpile young players and draft choices.

College football: Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit: Western Michigan vs. Purdue, 1:30 p.m., ESPN; Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.: Louisville vs. North Carolina State, 5 p.m., ESPN:

Western Michigan has already played two Big Ten teams. It lost to Michigan and Illinois.

WEDNESDAY

NBA: Clippers at San Antonio, 5:30 p.m., Prime:

How’d the Clippers manage to get so much time off already? Tim Duncan has had enough rest already.

NHL: Kings at Chicago, 5:30 p.m., FSW:

The Blackhawks have won the last seven meetings, including Nov. 26 at Staples Center, 2-1. The Kings better stay on their Toews.

College football: Military Bowl in Washington D.C.: Air Force vs. Toledo, 1:30 p.m., ESPN; Holiday Bowl in San Diego: Cal vs. Texas, 5 p.m., ESPN:

The Longhorns and Bears had one common opponent this season: UCLA. Texas pounded the Bruins by 29 in week three. Cal lost by 18 in week eight. Advantage: Burnt orange.

THURSDAY

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College basketball: UCLA at Stanford, 8 p.m., FSW; USC at Cal, 6 p.m.:

In the preseason media poll, UCLA was voted the favorite to win the Pac-12, ahead of Cal. Wanna recount?

NBA: Lakers vs. New York, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:

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Which Knick has the highest salary? Carmelo Anthony outearns Amare Stoudemire by $300,869. Not all that much, really, with both are taking in more than $18 mil this season. And they’ve added Tyson Chandler ($12 mil) and Baron Davis ($13 mil).

NHL: Kings at Winnipeg, 5:30 p.m., FSW:

The Thrashers Jets are hovering around .500, second in the Southeast Division, just happy to be back in Canada. It’s the Kings first trip to Winnipeg in … how many years now?

College football: Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando: Florida State vs. Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., ESPN; Alamo Bowl in San Antonio: Washington vs. Baylor, 6 p.m., ESPN:

Maybe Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III comes back for his senior season, maybe he’s a first-round draft pick moving up since Matt Barkley is returning to USC.

FRIDAY

NBA: Clippers vs. Chicago, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

By this date, the Bulls will have played twice as many games at Staples Center than they have on their home court. Truth is, they haven’t been home yet. Their four-game, season-opening roadie ends tonight.

College football: Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas: BYU vs. Tulsa, 9 a.m., ESPN; Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, N.Y.: Rutgers vs. Iowa State, 12:30 p.m., ESPN; Music City Bowl in Nashville: Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest, 3:45 p.m., ESPN; Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.: Iowa vs. Oklahoma, 7 p.m., ESPN:

Oklahoma was everyone’s preseason No. 1, right? The Sooners still won 10 games. Iowa is back in Tempe for the second year in a row.

SATURDAY

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College football: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco: UCLA vs. Illinois, 12:30 p.m., ESPN:

Loser is assured of a losing record to cap a season they’re just as soon forget. Can Mike Johnson outcoach Vic Koenning? We’re not even sure which of the two teams they belong. At least it’s all for a good cause.

College football; Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston: Texas A&M vs. Northwestern, 9 a.m., ESPN; Sun Bowl in El Paso: Utah vs. Georgia Tech, 11 a.m., Channel 2; Liberty Bowl in Memphis: Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7; Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta: Auburn vs. Virginia, 4:30 p.m., ESPN:

John White IV, the junior out of Torrance, has been the Utes’ top offensive weapon, rushing for 1,404 yards and 14 touchdowns. Utes offensive coordinator Norm Chow bows out after this to coach at Hawaii.

College basketball: UCLA at Cal, 1 p.m., FSN; USC at Stanford, 4:30 p.m., FSW:

How many Bruins fans will leave the football game at AT&T Park after the first quarter and head to Berkley to try to make tipoff?

NBA: Lakers vs. Denver, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., FSW:

Andrew Bynum can come play now. Will he wake up on time? It’s an early one.

NHL: Kings vs. Vancouver, Staples Center, 7 p.m., FSW:

This time, the Kings get the prime-time appearance, forcing the Lakers to the earlier start.

SUNDAY

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NFL: San Diego at Oakland and Kansas City at Denver, 1 p.m.:

College bowls take New Year’s Day off – instead, all 32 NFL teams are called to action on the final day of the regular season to finish off any rivalry disputes about who belongs in the playoffs. The AFC West could end in a three-way tie – let’s go to the rule book to see who’s earned it. Other highlights of the final day: Dallas at N.Y. Giants (Channel 4, 5:20 p.m.), Baltimore-Cincinnati, Pittsburgh-Cleveland, Chicago-Minnesota and Carolina-New Orleans.

NBA: Lakers at Denver, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

Mark Stein’s first NBA power rankings have the Nuggets at No. 9 (linked here), just two spots below the Lakers. Perhaps he forget to add a “1″ in front of the 9.

NBA: Clippers vs. Portland, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., Prime:

Brandon Roy has retired, Greg Oden is still out with knee problems and LaMarcus Aldridge had a heart scare. Otherwise, the Blazers and coach Nate McMillan are doing just fine.

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Our healthy curiosity makes us wonder: A Men’s Health cover jinx? Maybe Blake Griffin doesn’t know about it

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Neither do we, for that matter. But it could exist.

Wouldn’t that be so Clipper-like. Their prized possession shows off his washboard abs on the cover, explains his exercise routine, and then goes and blows out a (fill-in-the-joint) on a dunk coming off a Chris Paul lob.

Griffin, on the cover of the Jan/Feb issue, says: “Energy is something you can control… In everything you do, you’re going to face people more talented than you. I set myself apart by bringing more energy than they do.”

Other words of wisdom from Griffin in the cover story:

== “I constantly heard that all I do is dunk…And I can understand it. There aren’t SportsCenter clips of me shooting 15-footers.”

== “There were days when I didn’t feel like going through the same routine…But I learned that if you’re positive, any situation can be a chance to improve yourself.”

== “I recently got to talk to Magic Johnson…He said he used to tell individual teammates, ‘Come in before practice and work with me.’ He emphasized that being a leader isn’t about just pushing yourself. It’s also about motivating teammates.”

The full story: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/blake-griffin-fly-higher. The issue is on newstands next Tuesday so we can find out what goes on poolside with Marissa Miller.

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How Sutter can brand this Kings’ team with a hot iron, or burn himself and GM Lombardi in the process

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The Associated Press

Darryl Sutter’s bitter-beer face peering out from behind the Kings’ bench could be the best thing at this moment for a team that’s reached its tipping point.

Or, should Kings’ fans be better prepared for an ending that will leave them feeling bitter all over again, crying in their tipped-over beers after a season that began with all kinds of promises goes sideways into the gutter?

Starting with tonight’s contest against cross-freeway rival Anaheim, the Kings are about reboot things with a well-known grouch who knows a few things about kick starting troubled franchises.

This could go one of two ways fairly quickly.
Continue reading

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Play It Forward: Dec. 19-25 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

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NBA regular-season openers, Sunday: Lakers vs. Chicago, Staples Center, 2 p.m., Channel 7; Clippers at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN:

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Do not open the NBA season until Christmas. That’s the result of the extended lockout, a rush-job to get everyone in training camp and a bizarre set of circumstances that has resulted in Chris Paul wearing a Clippers uniform instead of one for the Lakers on the belated Opening Day. Signals are also mixed as to whether the Lakers should even be dreaming of a Dwight Howard Christmas delivery, but no roster seems safe from chaos at this point. With that, it’s a Route 66 roadmap — 66 games in 120-something days, with all kinds of injuries bound to happen. If only someone was smart enough to schedule a Lakers-Clippers doubleheader at Staples Center to celebrate the holiday. Nonetheless, the two L.A. franchises will work their way up to this anticipated moment with exhibition meetings at Staples Center on Monday (7:30 p.m., FSW and Prime) and Wednesday (7:30 p.m., Channel 9 and Prime). The rest of the Christmas Day docket has a 2011 Finals rematch featuring LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Lamar Odom (for real?) when Miami goes to Dallas (11:30 a.m., Channel 7). That’ll be preceded by more starpower with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett against Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire (Boston at New York, 9 a.m., TNT) and followed up by Howard against Kevin Durant (Orlando at Oklahoma City, 5 p.m., ESPN). Shaquille O’Neal also makes his debut — as a TNT studio host. Prepare to be critiqued, Kobe.

MONDAY

NHL: Kings at Toronto, 4 p.m., FSW:

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Having lost two of three on the current road trip, six of seven overall, still last in the league in goals scored per game and smarting from surrendering eight goals to Detroit on Saturday, the Kings are supposed to give interim head coach John Stevens one last game in charge before he’s back to an assistant for new head coach Darryl Sutter.

College basketball: USC vs. Texas Christian, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., USCTrojans.com:

In the eight-team Mountain West Conference, everyone has a record above .500, including the 7-3 Horned Frogs. In the Pac-12, USC (4-7) is one of three who would love to be at least break-even at this point.

NFL: Pittsburgh at San Francisco, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

The network has been pointing out on its scroll that this is the fourth time that two teams are playing on Monday Night Football with 10-plus wins and at least a .750 winning percentage (and the first time since 1997 — when San Francisco improved to 13-2 and Denver went to 11-4 after the 49ers’ 34-17 win). Actually, the last three times this happened, the game was in San Francisco, and the 49ers won each of them. This year, San Fran (10-3) has already won the NFC West, and Pittsburgh (10-3) is tied for the AFC North lead.

TUESDAY

College basketball: UCLA vs. UC Irvine, Sports Arena, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

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Since Ben Howland tossed Reeves Nelson off the squad, the Bruins basketball team has won three in a row, the women’s volleyball team won a national title, and the football team found a new head coach. Although, even with Nelson, that recent 48-point route over UC Davis would have been just as easy.

College football: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburgh Bowl: Florida International vs. Marshall, 5 p.m., ESPN:

Somehow, Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday should have his 6-6 team in the Holiday Bowl.

WEDNESDAY

College football: Poinsettia Bowl: TCU vs. Louisiana Tech, 5 p.m., ESPN:

Gary Patterson’s 10-2 squad justifiably qualified for the Fiesta and Rose Bowl games the last two seasons, but it missed out on a third straight BCS appearance because its final overall ranking was 18th — it needed to be at least 16th. Before leaving the Mountain West for the Big 12, they’ll hop over to San Diego. At least they could have played this on an aircraft carrier.

THURSDAY

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NHL: Kings vs. Ducks, Staples Center, 7 p.m., FSW:

If not for the Ducks, the Kings would have sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Division. One thing’s certain: The two guys who started as head coaches for these two teams when the season began aren’t there any longer. The Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Ducks on Dec. 6 came on that ugly shot that Bobby Ryan put past Jonathan Quick with 48.8 seconds left, giving Bruce Boudreau his first win as Anaheim’s coach. The Ducks have won only one other time in the eight games since Boudreau took over on Dec. 1.

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College football: Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State vs. Boise State, 5 p.m., ESPN:

On ESPN.com’s AccuScore forecasting software, the predicted outcome was a 47-28 Boise State win, with Kellen Moore throwing for 367 yards and three TDs. So that’s that.

College basketball: USC vs. Kansas, Galen Center, 8 p.m., FSW:

Ranked No. 12 with a 7-2 mark coming into the week, the visiting Jayhawks are getting a team-high 17.8 points and 11.4 rebounds from 6-foot-9 junior forward Thomas Robinson. Kansas’ only two losses so far are to Kentucky (No. 2 at the time) and Duke (No. 6 then), but they’re hot off a win over No. 2 Ohio State on Dec. 10.

NFL: Houston at Indianapolis, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:

The 2012 Super Bowl will still be here in the Lucas Oil Stadium inflatable tent, no matter how perfectly horrible the Colts could have finished. Now, with one win, they’re just uninteresting.

FRIDAY

NHL: Kings at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The Sharks’ coach with the most games behind the bench in franchise history? Darryl Sutter (434, plus 42 more in the playoffs). Wonder if they’ll recognize him.

College basketball: UCLA vs. Richmond, Sports Arena, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Last call before the Pac-12 schedule begins. Anyone suffering from arachnophobia?

SATURDAY

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NFL: N.Y. Giants at N.Y. Jets, 10 a.m., Channel 11:

They haven’t meet officially in the regular season since Week 5 of 2007, when the Giants took a 35-24 decision. That was so pre-Sanchez it’s not even funny. The Giants have won the last four meetings when it counts. This is one of 13 NFL games played on a Saturday because, you know, they can’t do it on Sunday morning..

College football: Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs. Southern Mississippi, 5 p.m., ESPN:

If a player from either school complains about having to fly to Honolulu and play on Christmas Eve, take away their goodie bags.

SUNDAY

NFL: Chicago at Green Bay, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:

The Bears lost the first meeting back in Week 3 by just 10 points, despite rushing for a total of 13 yards on 12 attempts. Reports are that there’s an “outside” chance that Jay Cutler could come back to play here on Christmas Day. The Packers (13-1) could have made this a perfect day if they’d just woke up in Kansas City.

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Allen, Bedsole, Crisp part of Pierce College’s second Athletic Hall of Fame class

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The Associated Press

Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Jimmy Allen (above right, with coach Chuck Noll), pending College Football Hall of Fame member Hal Bedsole and longtime baseball coach Joe Kelly are among the 11 candidates that will be part of the 2012 class of the Pierce College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Major League Baseball players Coco Crisp and Steve Reed, women’s volleyball players Roxanne DeMik and Mary Perry, men’s volleyball player Dave Rubio, women’s soccer player Elia Petrosian, women’s swimmer Xan Rogers and the 1984 football team will also be inducted.

The ceremony for the second class of Hall of Famers for the Woodland Hills junior college will take place January 16 at the Woodland Hills Country Club.

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Allen, an Olympic hopeful swimmer out of Los Angeles High School, played at Pierce in 1970 and ’71 where he was a Juco All-American at tight end and defensive back. He played two years at UCLA (1972-’73) and was named All-Pac 8 before the Steelers drafted him in the fourth round — after Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert and John Stallworth, and before Mike Webster. Allen, known as “Spiderman,” played in two Super Bowls between 1974-’77 and then played with the Detroit Lions from 1978-’81.

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Bedsole, a former Reseda High star, gained his fame as a two-time All-American tight end at USC from 1961-’63 before going to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings (’64-’66), but the 6-foot-5 and 230-pounder he was a Juco All-American quarterback at Pierce in 1960. Inducted into the USC Hall of Fame in 2001, he’s up for nomination in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Kelly was Pierce’s baseball coach from 1966 to 1982, and the baseball field at Pierce is named Joe Kelly Field.

Crisp, a member of the 2007 Boston Red Sox’s championship team, played at Pierc ein 1999. He was in the big leagues by 2002 with Cleveland and has also played in Kansas City and Oakland.

Reed, who played baseball at Pierce in 1984, pitched for 14 years in the big leagues for seven teams, appearing in 834 games.

DeMik played volleyball from 1967-’69, as well as softball, basketball and track, where she was a Juco high-jump record holder. A six-time member of the U.S. national women’s volleyball team, she coached the Pierce women’s team to two state championships and is a five-time Community College Coach of the Year recipient.

Perry played volleyball at Pierce from 1961-’62, as well as track, before becoming an All-American volleyball player at Cal State Northridge (inducted into the Matadors’ Hall of Fame in 1986). A member of the 1964 and ’68 USA Olympic volleyball team, she was awarded the prestigious USVBA Flo Hyman All-Time Great Player Award. In 2010, she was inducted into the LAUSD Sports Hall of Fame for her career at Birmingham High.

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Rubio, above, also played two years at CSUN after two years at Pierce (1978-’79). He started a coaching career at Cal State Bakersfield but has been coaching the women’s team at the University of Arizona for the last 20 years, taking the 2001 National Coach of the Year honors.

Petrosian, out of Montclair Prep, played soccer at Pierce in 2005-’06 and was the first player in Western State Conference history to be named back-to-back Player of the Year. She holds the school record for most career goals (54) and points.

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Rogers broke four Pierce swimming records in 2006 and was named All-American in two events. She went to San Diego State and posted top 10 fastest times in 100 yard and 200 yard backstrokes. She currently does modeling (www.xanrogers.com)

And the ’84 Pierce football team finished the season 10- with quarterback Eric Kramer.

Kramer was one of 12 inducted into the first Pierce College Hall of Fame last year. Others included Denny Crum (basketball), Doug DeCinces (baseball), Marv Dumphy (volleyball), Barry Zito (baseball) and Mark Harmon (football).

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Time Warner’s state football playoff coverage: A direct miss on DirecTV

For those DirecTV customers who’ve already tried to watch or DVR the CIF state football championship games from Home Depot Center in Carson, you’ve already gone through the frustating of finding out it’s not meant to be.

The DirecTV menu on Comcast SportsNet California’s channel 698 may have the games listed, but you find out later the message says they are blacked out in this area. For no apparent reason.

While the three games tonight — including the Open Division title contest between Westlake and Concord de la Salle at 8 p.m. — are videostreamed on www.socal101tv.com/prepsports, it’s not the same as watching it on the high-def big screen.

One Westlake varsity coach who found out he couldn’t see the games on his DirecTV system on Friday passed along this email:

“I decided that I was going to take every step possible to get this game. I contacted DirectTV, to see if I needed to add the expanded sports tier. DirectTV advised me that there is no expanded sports tier” they are offering, and that this game would not be available to me, unless it is offered by my local channels.

“From here, I followed the advise and went on to contact Time Warner. I advised the representative that I was a Time Warner customer a couple of years ago, and that I would like to sign up with them again, so that I could get this game. I was advised, however, that after a couple of months, a filter is placed on prior customers lines, and that a tech would need to come out to remove this NEXT WEEK.

“The statement from your article that a “TWC spokesperson said that about 90 percent of all cable customers will have access to the two bowl games tonight and the three on Saturday”, is absolutely false.”

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Ralph Nader to sports fans rescue? Just watch, dog

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By David Crary
The Associated Press

On the wall of Ralph Nader’s office hangs a color portrait of baseball legend Lou Gehrig, an old-fashioned hero who seems to rebuke so much of today’s sports world — the sex-abuse and drug scandals, labor strife, rampant commercialization.

Gehrig, who set a standard for durability while playing 2,130 consecutive games over 15 seasons, is the only sports idol acknowledged by Nader, himself a kind of “Iron Horse” in his chosen playing field, America’s consumer movement.

Since 1965, when he lit into the U.S. auto industry for marketing cars “unsafe at any speed,” Nader has taken on issues ranging from deceptive advertising to water pollution to nursing home fraud. Now, at 77, he’s channeling an increasing share of his attention and anger to problems across the gamut of U.S. sports — the major pro leagues, the NCAA, even youth sports.

“It’s spinning out of control,” says Nader. “It’s profit at all costs, win at all costs, and often it’s damaging the health of the athletes.”

Throughout his career, which has been punctuated by four presidential campaigns, Nader has helped form scores of public interest groups, including one called the League of Fans (linked here) that advocates for sweeping changes in the sports world.

Items on its agenda include ridding youth sports of tyrannical coaches, discouraging taxpayer funding of stadiums, promoting broader participation in sports at schools and colleges, and outlawing fighting in pro hockey. Many of its concerns are being addressed in a 12-part manifesto that’s on the verge of completion.

In a sense, League of Fans is a misnomer. Nader envisions it as a think tank, watchdog and advocacy group, rather than a membership-based organization.

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L.A. County Supervisor Ridley-Thomas calls for USC to take ownership of the Coliseum now that the commission has ‘run out of time outs’

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Second District Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas , the former L.A. City Councilman who graduated from Manual Arts High happened to earn a Ph.D. in Social Ethics and Policy Analysis from USC in 1989, has a pretty good understanding of the Exposition Park landscape. Aside from the fact his district covers the area.

He has written this edict on why the Coliseum Comission no longer can keep control of the place that USC has called its home football field for more than 80 years (linked here):

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s future now hangs in a kind of sudden-death overtime. The nine-member Coliseum Commission is in breach of its contract with the University of Southern California. Despite struggling mightily to do so, the commission can’t find a way to pay for more than $60 million of facility repairs and upgrades it owes to USC.

That puts USC in the driver’s seat, with two options: the university can terminate its lease with the Coliseum Commission or finance the millions in stadium improvements at a 6-percent interest rate.

The Coliseum Commission can’t afford either outcome.

If USC terminates its lease, the Coliseum would lose most of its revenue and attendance in a single stroke. Even if USC were to loan the Commission money for the improvements, the stadium does not bring in enough to make such large payments.

The Commission has missed three deadlines since 2010 to come up with a plan to honor the USC contract, and USC has generously given the Coliseum Commission another grace period.

The commission has used all of its time-outs.

With no better option on the table, the majority of Coliseum Commission members appear ready to turn over day-to-day management of the facility to USC.
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If Mark Cuban buys the Dodgers, he doesn’t want to be giving all his cash to Frank McCourt

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on where he stands with the Dodgers’ sale, from this morning’s Dan Patrick show (linked here):

“The (financial) book will be out soon and we signed up for it. I’ll look at it like I look at any other deal. My concern on the Dodgers is that someone is just going to come in and overpay. I’ve got a lot of money, but I don’t have unlimited money. To me you have to pay the right price because you don’t want all your money going to Frank McCourt. You want to be able to rebuild the organization and you want to be able to invest in players.
“Particularily for me walking into the L.A. market is, (if) you’ve got to be on a budget, I don’t want to spend on star players, that wouldn’t work. That would create more problems than it solves. So the question I’ve got to decide is, how much is too much and how much leaves me enough capital to go out and get the superstar players to them over the top.”

Is the team worth a billion?

“Here’s the evaluation process that people are going to go through — They’re going to guess how big the TV revenue can be and then they’re going to ask themselves whether or not they want to use all that money to take on more debt in order to be able to pay for the franchise. That’s not atypical when you’re buying a business. But the problem is, that’s exactly what Frank McCourt did.

“It actually leaves you in no different position, where the money’s going to pay the bank and not into the organization and players. My fear is someone is going to come in and say, yeah, you know what, as long as I get the right TV deal I can bid almost anything for the team and that’ll be the decision process.”

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