Rather than kick back for a few weeks, enjoy his celebrity and Arizona's national championship, UA baseball coach Andy Lopez went back to work.
A day off?
"No," he said, "no shot."
After returning from Omaha, UA's baseball coach flew to Lubbock, Texas, for a previous commitment at the College Baseball Hall of Fame and began recruiting in earnest July 1, the first day permitted to contact prospects.
And then he had jury duty.
Lopez began nine days of baseball team camps and youth camps this weekend, enrollment for which has been significantly higher than past summer camps.
"We're still getting calls," he said. He continues to hear from those who helped shape his career as a UCLA player in the '70s and during a 36-year coaching career. Among those he heard from was former UCLA assistant coach Glenn Mickens.
"When Andy came to UCLA he had the qualities coaches love: intense desire to win, unending work habits - he was first on the field and last to leave," Mickens said. "He had such a demeanor that he wouldn't kick the water cooler or throw his bat."
During Mickens' UCLA days, he coached future major-leaguers Chris Chambliss, Eric Karros, Don Slaught and Todd Zeile, among others. Although Lopez, a ninth-round draft pick of the Tigers didn't pursue a professional career, Mickens long ago saw a coach in the making.
"Andy showed signs of learning the whole game and not just being a better player at his position," said Mickens, who watched every inning of Arizona's 5-0 run at Omaha from his Hawaii home. "He asked questions usually reserved for coaches: strategy and game situations that involved the entire team."
Lopez, whose work ethic continues, joked that he has some time off planned. "December," he said. "I hope."
Sports family shines
Flowing Wells forward Lyndsay Leikem would've been one of Arizona's top girls basketball recruits next season, if not the best.
But the senior-to-be put an end to her recruiting chase last week, agreeing to play at Mississippi, in part because of a friendship built with new Rebels coach Adrian Wiggins during his days as Fresno State's head coach.
Lyndsay is part of one of the leading sports families in Tucson history. Her twin sisters, Tristany and Kirsten Leikem, completed their college tennis careers at Rhode Island in May. They were four-time state doubles champions at Flowing Wells.
Their father, Ken Leikem, was Tucson's all-city quarterback in 1982, also at Flowing Wells.
While Lyndsay goes to Ole Miss in 2013-14 to play hoops in the Southeastern Conference, Tristany and Kirsten will split for the first time. Tristany will attend the UA College of Law. Kirsten is serving a six-month fellowship in Oaxaca, Mexico. Both graduated on the Rhode Island honor roll with double majors last month.
Olympic experience will be whirlwind for swim couple
Former UA swimmers Clark Burckle and Alyssa Anderson, who are boyfriend/girlfriend, are having the time of their lives. Not only did they make the USA Olympic team last week, they will now fly to Knoxville, Tenn., for a pre-Olympics training camp through July 14, then fly to a suburb of Paris for another eight days. They will arrive in London July 23. … Not accompanying Burckle, Anderson and fellow Tucson Ford Aquatics swimmer Matt Grevers on the Olympics tour is UA coach Eric Hansen. USA Swimming last week chose Texas coach Eddie Reese to the Olympic coaching staff rather than Hansen, who, like Reese, has three swimmers on the Olympic team. It was an awkward and politically charged decision by USA Swimming national team director Frank Busch, who had the opportunity to reward Hansen, one of America's emerging young coaches. Instead, USA Swimming chose Reese, who will coach at his seventh straight Olympiad. The loser is probably Grevers, one of the world's leading swimmers, who goes to London without his coach. … When Sahuaro High grad Caitlin Leverenz gets to London for the 200 IM and 400 IM swimming competition, it will be unforgiving. Leverenz's best time in her best event, the 200 IM, is 2:09.37. Nine Olympians will arrive with faster times, including Australia's Stephanie Rice, the leader at 2:08.45, and two Chinese standouts, Qi Hui and Ye Shiwen. If Leverenz gets to the finals (eight swimmers), it will be an exceptional accomplishment. … Five-time Arizona All-American Nick Thoman is another ex-Wildcat on the U.S. Olympic swimming team. He did not leave Tucson with happy memories. He was dismissed from the team following his sophomore season, 2006, for disciplinary reasons.
More short stuff
Stoglin has earned spot on NBA summer league team
Santa Rita grad Terrell Stoglin will play on the Toronto Raptors' summer league team beginning this week but his chance of making the Raptors regular-season roster is nil. Ahead of him in the Raptors' backcourt are Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross. The glut of backcourt talent was the reason Toronto didn't attempt to re-sign ex-Wildcat Jerryd Bayless last week. The NBA summer league will be Stoglin's chance to stick his name in the minds of scouts, American and European, for future consideration. … If Jason Terry signs a $15 million free agency deal with the Boston Celtics this week, as expected, it would push his career earnings to $102 million when his contract would expire in 2015. He would be 37 at that time. Only Mike Bibby, who has been paid $107 million, has earned more among ex-Wildcats. … UA volleyball All-American Kim Glass, part of America's 2008 Olympic silver medal volleyball team, did not make the final roster for the 2012 London Olympics. At 27, she is likely to retire from the game. … I've long thought that ex-South Mountain High School linebacker Byron Evans, the 1986 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, was No. 1 on the list of star University of Arizona athletes unrecruited by hometown ASU. Now I would put UA Olympic hurdler Georganne Moline at No. 1-A on that list. Moline, from Thunderbird High, pleaded with ASU to recruit her. "They told me I would be a 'solid walk-on,'" she told me. Moline, like all U.S. track and field Olympians, has a choice between silver and gold Olympic finger rings before leaving for London. For Moline, it is a better option than maroon and gold.
County Hall of Fame class to be announced this week
The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame will introduce its 12-member Class of 2012 Wednesday afternoon. Among the deserving honorees is Glenn Ezell, an Amphi grad whose long minor-league baseball career paralleled that of Crash Davis in "Bull Durham." Ezell, who left Tucson to play at Arizona Western in 1964, hit 168 homers in the minor leagues. He was Nolan Ryan's catcher, at Class A Greenville, S.C., in 1966, and later coached and managed in the minor leagues for 25 years before becoming the Detroit Tigers' director of player development. … UA track assistant coach Sheldon Blockburger believes that UA senior high jumper Brigetta Barrett can win a medal at the London Olympics. Barrett cleared 6 feet 7 inches at the Olympic trials last week, tying for the world's third-best jump this year. "This definitely means she's a medal contender," Blockburger told reporters in Oregon. "If she can jump that, she can finish first, second or third." … In his first Cape Cod League outing since his remarkable postseason run, UA pitcher Konner Wade pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief Thursday. He was used exclusively in relief for Wareham in 2011; Wade will enter the 2013 college baseball season as the top starter in the game, or close to it. … When Brandon Roy announced he was returning to the NBA last week, signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Derrick Williams told Roy that he would give up his jersey, No. 7, to Roy, and with no payment required. That's the same character Williams displayed while at Arizona. … Incoming UA freshmen basketball players Gabe York and Grant Jerrett arrived on campus last week and will begin summer school classes this week. For the first time, Sean Miller has a full complement of players - everyone's here - for the much-anticipated 2012-13 season. Now Miller and his staff leave town for three weeks of recruiting. If he can come anywhere close to the quality of the seven-man class he signed in the last calendar year, the Wildcats would project as Final Four contenders through 2017 or thereabouts.
My two cents
The USA Track and Field Foundation will give each athlete who qualified for the London Olympics a $5,000 bonus, which includes Tucsonans Abdi Abdirahman, Jill Camarena-Williams and Bernard Lagat. The UA’s Georganne Moline and Brigetta Barrett will have to apply the $5,000 to a post-grad scholarship fund. Track and field isn’t a high-brow, big-money endeavor unless you are, like Lagat and Abdirahman, an international figure earning well into six-figures each year. Other than that, track and field money is at the top and most of it comes from Nike. For example, Oregon track coach Vin Lananna has a base salary of $400,000 with incentives that can push the figure to $600,000. Thanks to Nike’s Oregon connection, that’s four times what most top college track coaches are paid. At the Olympic Trials, Nike took over the UO Law School for a hospitality area and according to a Portland newspaper, spent and estimated $500,000 for that purpose and another $47,000 just to have the area suitably cleaned up after the Trials. As in most other sports, athletes like Barrett and Moline do the dirty work. Nike always cleans up.