FONT

MORE STORIES


KERRY EGGERS ON SPORTS/



Notes, quotes and observations about our sporting world …

• After attending a pair of Democratic fundraisers, President Obama spent the rest of last weekend hitting the links at the Floridian Golf Club in Palm City, Florida.

Among his partners on Sunday? Former Trail Blazer Clyde “the Glide” Drexler.DREXLER

“It was awesome — a lot of fun,” the Hall-of-Famer says. “Something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”

Drexler, a 2-handicapper, wouldn’t reveal his score, or that of the president.

“I played decent,” Drexler says. “He played well. He’s a pretty decent golfer — a lefty with a really nice stroke. He can play.

“Just a great guy to be with. Really funny, very intelligent. It was a blast.”

• Drexler met the late Muhammad Ali only once — in 2007, when Clyde performed on the same “Dancing with the Stars” show as Ali’s daughter, Laila.

“He came to watch the show,” Drexler says. “We were all able to meet him. He didn’t talk, but he smiled, and we all told him we love him. It was a great thrill.

“We lost a great man who helped change the face of this country for the better. He was not only a terrific boxer, athlete, humanitarian, activist — all of those things — he was a thinking man’s athlete way before it was proper to do so.”

• After I wrote about my experiences with Ali, a pair of local sports luminaries reached out with stories of their own.

Swimmer Carolyn Wood is a Beaverton High grad who won a gold medal in the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay in the 1960 Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Committee flew the swimming and boxing teams home together from Rome.

“I was seated next to this African-American gentleman,” says Wood, 70. “I had my gold medal in a case and was carefully putting it under my seat. He asked, ‘What did you win?’ I said, ‘Gold.’ He said, ‘I did, too.’ I said, ‘Where’s yours?’ He said, ‘In the luggage.’

“I asked him his name. He said, ‘Cassius Clay.’ Then he pulled out a pillow and went to sleep, and that’s the last I heard from him. That was my little brush with Cassius Clay.”

Wood was not familiar with the man who would become Ali.

“The big names during that Olympics were track stars such as Wilma Rudolph and Rafer Johnson,” she says.

Wood has lived in Portland through her adult life except for one year she spent as governess with the Robert Kennedy family, a job set up by Johnson. She enjoyed a long teaching career at Beaverton, Glencoe and Wilson high schools. In October, Wood will release an autobiography entitled, “Tough Girl: An Olympian’s Journey.”

LAMPKINBoxing legend Ray Lampkin, who lost via TKO in the 14th round of a WBA lightweight title bout to the great Roberto Duran in Panama in 1975, met up with Ali during a pro boxing show put together by Portland promoter Paul Brown in 1985.

“Ali was my idol,” says Lampkin, 78, who still lives in Portland. “I liked everything about him. Paul asked me to ride in a limousine to pick Ali up the airport. That was a dream come true.”

Ali spent two days in Portland. He sat with Lampkin and signed autographs at a fundraiser, and they watched the boxing card together. Ali gave Lampkin a book and autographed it: “To Ray, from Muhammad Ali. Enjoy life. It’s shorter than we think.”

Somebody shot a photo of the pair together.

“He had a fist on my chin, I had a fist on his,” Lampkin says. “I don’t know what happened to it. Wish I still had it.

“He was a beautiful guy. He liked telling corny jokes.”

One Lampkin recalls: “What do you call a black man with a brand new Rolls Royce? A thief.”

“He had everyone laughing,” Lampkin says. “It was a highlight in my life.”

• Drexler’s former backcourt mate, new University of Portland coach Terry Porter, has gained an assistant coach and lost one.

Porter has hired Ben Johnson, a Wisconsin-Green Bay grad who served as an assistant coach at Washington State for nine years under Dick Bennett (Porter’s coach at Wisconsin-Stevens Point), Tony Bennett and Ken Bone. From 2013-16, Johnson served as South State Performance Manager for Basketball Queensland in Australia.

“I’ve known Ben for a long time,” Porter says. “He was a kid growing up in Stevens Point when I played there. It’s a great fit. Defensively, we think the same way.”

Porter lost Mike Burns, whom he had hired on April 25. Burns, a former head coach at Eastern Washington, left in late May to join the staff of Leon Rice at Boise State.

“Welcome to the world of college basketball,” Porter says.

Porter says he will add his final two assistants soon, probably next week.

* Porter’s son, Malcolm Porter, has signed to play with the Pilots. Malcolm, a 6-3 guard from Jesuit High, was Metro League Player of the Year as a junior and a second-team all-state selection as a senior.

Porter’s oldest son, Franklin, is in limbo. The 6-4 guard played sparingly as a freshman at Saint Mary’s and would like to join his father at UP. West Coast Conference rules, however, call for loss of a season of eligibility if transferring to a member school.

The Porters are appealing to a WCC eligibility panel, with hopes that the family ties would allow Franklin to have three years left after sitting out next season at Portland. If not, he may stay at Saint Mary’s.

• That proposed University of Oregon golf course on a 130-acre spot near Creswell that has been rumored for so long?

The Ducks’ recent NCAA championship may have sealed the deal.

“It may tip one person over the edge,” a source with knowledge of the situation says.MARTIN

That person is Phil Knight, whose financial largesse could make the difference to what the Ducks hope could be a home course for both their men’s and women’s teams.

“We’re working on it,” says Casey Martin, who completed his 10th season as head men’s coach with a national title. “We don’t have it yet.

“But it would mean the world. It’s a dream of mine since I’ve been here. It would be an absolute dream.”

• Martin won an NCAA championship as a player with Stanford in 1994, but considers the title as the Ducks’ coach more meaningful.

“As a player, you walk in there and whack it around,” Martin says. “You don’t have any real preparation. As a coach, there are so many challenges to overcome. There is recruiting a team, developing players, working on the golf course, fundraising and doing so many things behind the scenes. I’m much more appreciative in this role than I was as a player.”

• Former Oregon golfer Ben Crane enters this week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis in a positive frame of mind after top-30 finishes in his last two outings on the PGA Tour.

Crane was tied for 24th in the AT&T Byron Nelson at Irving, Texas, two weeks ago and followed that up with a T-29 finish at the Dean and DeLuca Invitational at Fort Worth, Texas.

“I’ve put a lot of work this past year into my health and my game,” says Crane, 148th on the PGA money list with $390,965 in earnings this year. “I feel good about it. I’m 40 now. You have to work harder to stay in the same physical condition you were in at 30.

“I’m feeling healthy, and my team has put together a great plan. (Former UO college teammate) Joel Stock is the hardest-working caddy on tour. We’re making progress.”

For years, Crane has struggled with back ailments. Only recently has to come to find they were the result of hip issues.

“We’ve figured out how to treat the hip, and I’ve been able to avoid surgery,” Crane says.

• Fellow Duck Peter Jacobsen has been wearing a boot to protect an Achilles tendon injury that has kept him off the Champions Tour all season.

“I’m getting better,” Jacobsen says. “I’m figuring I’ll be back on tour in about a month.”

• Another ex-Duck, Gay Davis, has raised $550,000 over the past five years for the Children’s Cancer Association. This year, he’s upping the ante.

For five years, the Pumpkin Ridge co-founder and two-time Oregon Amateur champion has played speed golf to garner donations for the charity. This year, Davis will attempt to walk and play 140 holes — 70 in the morning, 70 in the afternoon — at Pumpkin’s Ghost Creek and Witch Hollow courses.

That’s almost eight rounds of golf.

“You can do if you play through groups,” says Davis, 70. “I’ll start rounds at 5 (a.m.), 7, 9, 11, 1 (p.m.), 3, 5 and 7.

“I may jog the par-fives. I can do 18 holes by myself in just under two hours. I wish I were playing on Ladies Day. Ladies are much more accommodating than men.”

Davis is expanding the event to three days (June 27-29) and including an auction and pro-am. Bob Gilder and Casey Martin will be among the pros in a dozen fivesomes, with a $3,000 prize for the pro on the winning team.

“I hope to raise $200,000 this year,” Davis says.

Davis has not had a family member die from cancer.

“I’ve had a lot of friends who have, though,” he says. “Kids with cancer is not a fair fight. The tragedy of 3-, 4-, 5-year-olds. … nothing touch your heartstring more than that does.”

Davis has completed 12 marathons, the last in 2009. He admits playing so many rounds of golf wears him out.

“I get tired, but it’s a good kind of tired,” he says. “You feel like you’ve done something worthwhile. It’s fun to challenge yourself, especially for a good cause.”

Davis, incidentally, will enter the Oregon Amateur June 20-25 at Black Butte — 50 years after his first time playing as a 20-year-old.

‘I have a decent chance to make match play, but I have no illusions of going far,” says Davis, a 3-handicapper. “I watch the young guys drive the ball 100 yards past me. I’m hitting it 230, they’re hitting it 330. I’m hitting a 5-iron to the green; they’re hitting a wedge.”

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Twitter: @kerryeggers

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine