Georgetown gives volleyball coach birthday gift with win over Leander – Sports – Austin American-Statesman

GEORGETOWN There was quite a bit on the line as two longtime rivals in Georgetown and Leander met at Georgetown High School Tuesday night for a crucial District 25-5A volleyball match.

Both teams were fighting for playoff positioning, both played hard, and both teams showed the grit that has made each a playoff contender.

And in the end, it was the team whose coach was celebrating a birthday who enjoyed the win.

Georgetown coach Jenny Richardson got some extra icing on her piece of cake with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 win that kept the Eagles tied with Liberty Hill in third place at 4-2 in District 25-5A. First-place Cedar Park, which has yet to lose a district game, visits Georgetown Friday.

While Richardson may be a year older, her team is certainly young with just three seniors compared to seven sophomores.

“Any win this group gets is a good win,” said Richardson, who is in her 13th year as Georgetown’s coach. “I think this is youngest team I’ve had in the last four years. I think this showed them how good they can be. This is the boost these kids needed heading into our match Friday.”

The Eagles (8-5 overall) hit 32.8% while slamming 44 kills, including 14 kills from junior Grace Watkins and 11 more from senior move-in Lily Barker. Watkins added eight digs and two aces, while Barker had 18 digs, two aces and had a hand in two blocks.

Talented junior setter Annika Flora dished out 35 assists to go with 20 digs, seven kills and two total blocks.

Leander (6-9, 3-4) made Georgetown work for the home win behind 10 kills from junior Grace Luevanos, four total blocks from Halle Ousley and 31 assists from Callie Carrejo. Led by veteran coach Ashley Atkinson, the Lions trail Liberty Hill and Georgetown by two games entering the second round of district play.

“Playing or doing anything against Ashley Atkinson isn’t easy,” Richardson said. “Being her good friend is easy but playing her isn’t. She’s such a great coach; she has her players ready for every single match.”

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Titans coach Mike Vrabel looking more like a brain in jock’s clothing

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Urban Meyer was once like all the others when it comes to Mike Vrabel the coach.

The player, people already knew about. Here’s this famous linebacker, fitting in seamlessly in a locker room, one of the guys, outgoing, funny. Kind of a jock, basically.

But was he really suited to be a wonderful coach? Initially, Meyer had to wonder.

Vrabel, in fact, said he “bombed” his first interview with Meyer at Ohio State, a story the Titans’ coach later recounted to Mike Keith. Meyer, though, called Vrabel back and ended up retaining him as an assistant on his first Buckeyes’ staff.

“He said that Mike soon showed him that he’s not just some spoiled pro guy. … ‘No, he’s a great football coach,’” said Vrabel’s former high school coach Gerry Rardin, recounting a conversation with Meyer.

Most coaches who are around Vrabel end up with the same impression, Rardin added.

“Bill Belichick told me personally that Mike Vrabel was the smartest football player he’s ever coached,” Rardin said. “… His football acumen is just through the roof, I believe. He was like that in high school.”

As the Titans keep winning, starting 5-0 after nearly reaching the Super Bowl last season, much of the credit is understandably going to quarterback Ryan Tannehill or running back Derrick Henry or the emergence of rising stars like receiver A.J. Brown or defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons.

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Not to say that misses the mark. It doesn’t. 

But often overlooked about the Titans’ growing success is Vrabel’s role as a strategist and not just some muscle-headed former player who yells a lot and kicks tails.

That’s why I find what happened Sunday afternoon to be so amusing.

Vrabel won’t admit to this, but I personally have no doubt that he deliberately sent Joshua Kalu into the Texans game as a 12th defender to draw a penalty on second-and-1 and conserve time by stopping the game clock with 3:05 to play and the Titans trailing by a point.

After the Texans did score, those 30-40 seconds Vrabel saved — trading time for 5 yards and a first down the Texans were likely to pick up anyway — allowed the Titans a chance to drive and score the game-tying touchdown with four seconds remaining before winning in overtime.

Vrabel’s penalty, in that sense, won the Titans the game.

Yet it was so perfectly orchestrated that it was entirely misunderstood at the time. CBS analyst Rich Gannon criticized Vrabel on the broadcast, calling it “an unforced error, a big mistake.”

Asked about his intent Monday, Vrabel played coy. He didn’t say yes or no, offering only that, “We have to do a better job with penalties” and “Second-and-1, trying to get them to try to make a stop there and substituted in an extra DB.”

Did Vrabel mean to do it? Of course, he did.

Pretty sure he didn’t suddenly feel

Ex-Texas Tech women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings sues school

Former Texas Tech women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday saying her termination in August was a result of discrimination. 

The lawsuit, which does not seek a specified amount for damages, alleges counts of breach of contract, fraud, fraudulent inducement, defamation and sex discrimination in violation of the right to equal protection under the United States Constitution and in violation of Title IX.

Stollings was hired as head coach in 2018 under a contract that went through 2024. 

According to the lawsuit, Stollings was guaranteed an annual base salary of $300,000, running from April 1 to March 31 of each year. She was also entitled to up to $500,000 in fees for “Outside Athletics Related Income (Rights Fees)” and “Supplemental Compensation,” ranging from $10,000 for the student-athletes on her team maintaining a Team GPA over 2.65, to $100,000 for a National Championship Game win.

However, she was fired in August shortly after the publication of a USA TODAY investigation that quoted former players who complained of mistreatment and abuse in their exit interviews. 

Marlene Stollings, seen here in February, has filed a lawsuit against Texas Tech.

Marlene Stollings, seen here in February, has filed a lawsuit against Texas Tech. (Photo: Brad Tollefson, AP)

The lawsuit states the article included “multiple unsubstantiated claims and factual misrepresentations regarding the Lady Raiders and Coach Stollings, almost entirely from transferring student-athletes and largely echoing the explanations that transferring team members used to try to obtain immediate eligibility at another institution.”

According to the lawsuit, negative exit interviews were a common tactic among transferring players to immediately gain eligibility to play for another school.

“In short, a transferring student-athlete essentially is forced to provide negative feedback in order to receive NCAA approval to play immediately for another institution,” the lawsuit states.  

In fact, the suit states the university investigated the claims and officials told Stollings the complaints were determined to be unfounded, the lawsuit states. Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt assured her she had the school’s full support.

The lawsuit states that as head coach Stollings employed “fair and reasonable” coaching methods to turn around an underperforming team despite the lack of support from the university.

“Coach Stollings provided a balanced approach designed to bring out the best in the Lady Raiders,” the lawsuit states. “As the head of the Lady Raiders, Coach Stollings advocated on behalf of her players for equitable funding and resources. Texas Tech ignored these requests.”

However, the lawsuit states administrators, specifically Hocutt, were pressured to fire her as a result of the negative publicity from the USA TODAY article.

More: Texas Tech AD Hocutt said there were ‘no flags’ raised when hiring Stollings

“Mr. Hocutt became afraid that his own position was at risk and began looking to deflect blame,” the lawsuit states. 

She said she was told that her actions were determined to be “Objectionable Behavior,” which meant she could be fired under her contract. “Additionally, President (Lawrence) Schovanec has determined that this Objectionable Behavior cannot be cured,” the lawsuit states.

After Stollings’ firing, the lawsuit states Hocutt

Oregon WBB’s Kelly Graves on coach fashion: “You don’t want to go all ‘Wayne Tinkle’”

The NBA bubble has brought an important topic of conversation to the table: coach fashion.

The bubble allowed for coaches and their staff to sport a polo rather than a full suit and tie on game days, which is the rule. The temperature inside an NBA arena, especially down on the court, combined with yelling and a rapid heart rate can call for some serious perspiration during the game. Just ask Oregon State men’s basketball head coach Wayne Tinkle, who went viral for ‘pitting out’ in a light blue long sleeve button up during a game:

Luckily, Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves, who considers himself a fashion trendsetter, offers up some advice for his friend 45 minutes North on the I-5 freeway.

“We call that Jordan, ‘Going Wayne Tinkle’. You don’t want to go all ‘Wayne Tinkle’. I can say that because I love the guy. I coached his daughter Elle at Gonzaga. 

Go with a dark shirt and you’re good to go big guy.

Oregon women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves

Watch more in the video above.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon wide receiver Keenan Howry].

The fashion guru himself consistently sports an Oregon polo, black slacks and some sweet Nike shoes. In his mind, his number might be called on at any moment and he wants to be ready.

“I am a fashion trendsetter there’s no question about that,” said Oregon head coach Kelly Graves on the latest Talkin’ Ducks. “Come on man, we’re Oregon and we set the trends down here. It just makes it so much more comfortable, believe me. Everything is done for you and we get a chance to show off our great Nike gear especially those shoes.”

 

Every coach I talk to after we play them, they always comment on our casual attire and I say, ‘Well, you guys should do it!’ And a few have here and there but they stick with the old jacket and tie. When you dress comfortably, you feel like you can be out there in a defensive stance. 

Oregon women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves

These might be the shoes Graves is talking about:

When all is said and done, you won’t see Graves ‘pitting out’ on the sidelines.

Listen to the Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

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