While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Austin can’t get out of its own way. Quit your stalling, put on your big-boy and big-girl pants and either approve the use of McKalla Place for a privately financed soccer stadium by Precourt Sports Ventures or don’t. You either want it or you don’t. But don’t kid yourselves, City Council. Vote it down or delay it another month or more by also adopting a resolution to seek RFPs for use of that land, and this council will have effectively killed perhaps any chance that this city becomes home to a professional sports team. Austin didn’t sniff the 12-city Major League Soccer expansion list, remember. I’d like to see MLS come here because I think it’d provide yet another outlet of entertainment and service for Austin, not unlike parks and libraries and food trucks. There are no guarantees Central Texas will support it but I think it’s worth a try to see, especially on an under-utilized, ignored toxic dump site that no one wanted to develop until, what, 20 minutes ago. I am all for affordable housing, but there are other places to build that. Not so, a soccer stadium. City Council, insert strong language of fines if Anthony Precourt doesn’t fulfill his financial obligations. Require him to have money in escrow to demolish the stadium if he left Austin within, say, five years. I can only imagine how weary the MLS office is getting of these delays. And don’t think for a second you’ll get another chance at an MLS franchise. This could be Austin’s only chance. It ain’t ever landing an NFL or NBA team and probably not a major-league baseball franchise. And, yes, we can live without those. But make a decision. And if the Crew does come, call them the Austin Fence Sitters.
2. New Texas softball coach Mike White will be paid “within the range” of $500,000 a year for five years, pending approval by the Texas board of regents, a source tells me. That would make him one of the five highest-paid softball coaches in the country but well below Oklahoma’s four-time national champion Patty Gasso’s $925,000. Love the refreshing candor of White, who said “financial security for my family” was a major factor in his decision to leave Oregon for Texas. … Men’s tennis coach Michael Center applauded the choice and told me White needs to “stay true to himself” and to what worked for him in the past. Center’s done well also and is welcoming new recruit Jerry Huang, a 6-2 Taiwanese who is “the best junior player in Canada. He’s got a big game and a big serve and is physically pretty strong. I like his presence.” Huang has already beaten a 10th-ranked world player, Frenchman Clement Tabur.
3. Really feel the second-base umpire who ruled interference and a run-costing double play — or bigger rally — in Game 1 of the College World Series finals should be ashamed because there was no contact made by the Oregon State baserunner. The entire complexion of the game was changed. One of the worst calls I’ve ever seen at the CWS. … Texas lost to two outstanding pitchers who will be in the majors within three years in Arkansas’ Blaine Knight and Florida’s Jackson Kowar. … Arkansas is now within a win of becoming the fifth different SEC program to win a national championship in 10 years. The Hogs got swept three games by a then-last place SEC team Mississippi State, which made it to Omaha.
4. It only took 5 1/2 years — and a reported $500,000 in legal costs for the school — to resolve the sexual and race discrimination lawsuit that Bev Kearney brought against Texas. So much for a speedy trial. A source familiar with the negotiations tells me Kearney agreed to a sum of $600,000 although she originally asked for $1 million. Texas would not confirm that. I always felt the school would come to its senses and agree out of court before any more sordid details came to light, and the cost of a trial and total legal fees would surely top $1 million. Neither side showered itself in glory, but Texas should have gotten past this long ago.
5. NBA coach of the year should have been Utah’s Quin Snyder. The former Austin D-League coach, now with the Jazz, lost Gordon Hayward, didn’t always have Rudy Gobert healthy and helped shape Donovan Mitchell into perhaps the best rookie in the league. Brad Stevens? Yeah, he had a pretty good lineup. … Anyone else tired of Kawhi Leonard? Listen, the Spurs went out of their way to keep him healthy. He played nine games. Nine. I assume he still cashed all those paychecks worth $18 million. Yeah, who’d want a bum deal like that. Grow up, Kawhi.
6. If you had to guess who would be the first golfer on the PGA Tour to win three times this season, no one would have picked Bubba Watson. But he won the Travelers Championship after being down six shots on Sunday, his seventh comeback win in the final round of his 12 career stroke-play victories. But look out for Beau Hossler, the former Texas All-American who shot four rounds in the 60s to finish tied for second. In a recent article in Golfworld, Hossler said it was more stressful watching his beloved Dodgers lose to the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series than it was playing in a final group in Las Vegas.
7. Count me as a huge fan of new Texas track coach Edrick Floréal. He’s a self-described workaholic who told me, “I eat stress. I drink a ton of coffee every day. Twelve cups? However many fit in my belly. Thirteen would be even better.” Plus he said a lot of coaches can coach great athletes, “but only a handful can improve great athletes.”
8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former Texas shortstop Mike Brumley, who had an outstanding College World Series for the 1983 national champions before playing for six major-league teams over eight seasons.
9. I loved “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which was damn suspenseful. Lots of angry teeth. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard have good chemistry. And the bad guys always make for a good dinner. I give it 8 ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: At least two Big 12 head football coaches will be gone after this season.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays.