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STATE CHEERLEADING PREVIEW

Wetview moves down in its division, while West Albany moves up to highlight the state championships for Cheerleading, which begins the Winter series of state events. Also, Benson's varsity basketball team gets quizzed on its awareness of social issues.

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PAST ISSUES

OREGON SPORTS HALL OF FAME

The Class of 2011 is highlighted.

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CENTRAL CATHOLIC VOLLEYBALL

Central Catholic is ready to dominate Oregon again - October 2011

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CYCLOCROSS - Dec. 2009

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Is there an RPI for state associations?

Oregonsports Journal examines the OSAA and its ability to run prep sports
Jan. 29, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The OSAA has run state high school championships since 1919, but it's in the middle of a classification and district battle that's cause to look at how other states are managed by their similar organizations.

How well does the OSAA stack up against Washington? Colorado? New Mexico?

When is Lacrosse going to be an OSAA sport?

This week's issue looks in on that.

 

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

The Portland Timbers head to Arizona to begin training camp with a roster full of new talent from a busy offseason.

Oregon State and Oregon begin their spring camps for baseball season with dreams of a visit to Omaha.

Grant's new boys basketball coach Paul Kelly is having a fabulous rookie season as coach, even though he's not a rookie.

The Evergreen Curling Club made sure to add a key component to its dedicated facility when it got the ice put in.

And, the Oregon Sports Awards nominees are out. See who you can vote for.

 

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The Players' Coach

Bill Barton is one of Oregon's most respect lawyers, and a coach at PSU
Jan. 15, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

There's a fabulous story happening with the Portland State men's basketball team these days, but almost no one knows about it ... because it's happening at Portland State.

The Vikings have been to the NCAA Tournament - twice, in the last five years, but couldn't fill the 1,500-seat Stott Center when Oregon State rolled into town in December. It's a bit heart-wrenching, except the team has one of the most passionate fans any basketball program could have, lawyer Bill Barton, who's attracted to helping the team exactly because it's so overlooked.

Barton, who's been recognized as one of the state 10 Super Lawyers, has become PSU's Life Skills Coach, an unofficial position that he's put a tremendous amount of life into by just being around the team and jostling for the kind of attention that might help someone, in this case PSU basketball players, move forward a little more than if they might if he weren't there.It was a fabulous time for the program, which had never played into the Big Dance, and Bone used that success to move up in the coaching ranks to Washington State in 2009.
It’s at that point that Barton moved up from being a fan to being part of the program, which assistant Tyler Geving took over after Bone left.
Today, Barton holds one of the most unique coaching positions in America: “Life Skills Coach” for the PSU men’s basketball program.
It’s entirely unofficial.
He’s not in the team’s media guide as a coach, he gets no public recognition for his role, which is known only within the program. But he is part of the team. He has access to the players before and after practice, regularly travels with the team to road games and sits courtside at home games.  He stands out at the Stott Center by frequently being one of, if not the only, fan next to the action who will show some passion for the game and the hometown Vikings, who are in the middle of the Big Sky Conference standings.
What makes Barton’s role with the team even more unique is his background in the legal profession. Barton is one of America’s most respected lawyers, who has argued more than 500 cases before a jury. He owns a law firm, is an author and has spoken on case preparation and ethics across the country.
He would be an extremely well-treated supporter at any school in the state, but he’s loyal to Portland State having essentially adopted the men’s basketball program, which has long been ready for adoption by anyone with some passion for its existence.
As Life Skills Coach, he focuses his time on making an impact on players so they improve their opportunities for success on the court, in a classroom and in the professional world.  
“I’m here for the players,” he says. “I see it as my job to help them make good choices, the kind that will impact their chances for success in their lives, both personally and professionally.”
Within the PSU athletic department, Barton remains something of a passionate, well-connected fan, who preps for games at the nearby Rogue Brewery, and then has a post-game event there that usually includes Geving, an assistant or two, and a number of friends he invites to enjoy the evening.
He has become the team’s uncle - its rich uncle - who pays for pre-game and post-game food and drinks, and has no trouble telling a story about his experiences around the world, including the fact that he rarely drinks alcohol.
“He has a great passion for the game, for our program and for the players,” PSU athletic director Torre Chisholm says. “He really wants to see the players do well in their lives, and that’s something every program can use.
“And, he really is a great guy, someone you want to be around.”

The Barton File

Born in 1949, Barton grew up in Alsea and was talented enough on the hardwood to play collegiately at Pacific University in Forest Grove. He earned his law degree at Willamette University in Salem in 1972 and started making connections.
In 1980, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman hired Barton to legally dog Ma Anand Sheela, the public leader of Rajneeshpuram, which he did for three years to protect Bowerman’s interest in property he owned in Central Oregon. The city, incorporated near Antelope and focused around a religious cult, essentially disbanded in 1985 after constant legal challenges, and then the discovery of  criminal activity that involved food poisoning. Sheela was eventually imprisoned.
He became a specialist in cases involving serious injury and psychological injury from civil rights violations, sexual abuse, medical and professional neglect. His firm has successfully sued organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis.
At more than 500 cases before a jury, he’s in a special category.
“There aren’t many lawyers,” he says,  “who’ve been in front of a jury 500 times.”
It’s cases involving sexual abuse that have attracted much of his public attention, including one against the Archdiocese of Portland in 2004. Although there were settlement options available, Barton lobbied his client to let the case - for $135 million - move forward in order to expose the true nature of the crimes involved. The Archdiocese declared bankruptcy as the trial neared.
Having prosecuted many other cases of sexual abuse and misconduct, Barton has seen the evil of the world and put it into a legal format to affect a jury appropriately.
It’s also a history that will cause him to slow a conversation down when he talks about his career.
“I know more about sex,” he says, “than … you want to know.”
For a time, Barton worked cases across the country, but he now focuses on local cases and his office remains in Newport, where he regularly performs legal assistance for the Rogue Brewery for free. In return, they’ve put his face on their 2013 issue of in-house currency, and send those to him in batches of a 100. He hands those out like business cards.
His career has been successful enough that he no longer worries about income, and spreads what he has around to friends and interesting people he meets.
The father of three, the website for The Barton Law Firm promotes his work and personality: “He rides a custom-built chopper and waxes philosophy at the drop of a hat.”
His son Brent works in his firm, although he lives in Oregon City, something that has become easier to accommodate through electronic communication. The firm also has an office in Portland.
In a moment of personal reflection, Barton, who is the father of three, his career seems to have a life of its own.
“Sometimes I have a hard time believing where I’m at and what I now have access to, especially from where I started,” he says. “But, it’s been through a lot of hard work and commitment, and I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned with the next generation so that they’ll be better prepared for the challenges that they’ll face.”

Spreading the word

Through his work across the nation, Barton has established a reputation that few professionals can promote in any line of work.
He is an author, most notably of “Recovering for Psychological Injuries,” lectures across the country and serves as a part-time judge. He’s been recognized with numerous awards and been noted as one of Oregon’s Top Ten Super Lawyers.
An online legal review company, avvo.com, has him rated at 9.5 out of 10 based on awards, certifications and endorsements.
He serves as Commissioner for the Port of Newport, which is an elected position.
After four decades of professional work, he could easily retire, but he shows no signs of that.
Among the unique ways he’s come up with advising the next generation of lawyers is a annual Advocacy Boot Camp, in which he personally selects a group of 10 lawyers and works with them for 23 hours during two weekends about six months apart. One of those boot camps, which focus on concepts and strategy, took place this past weekend.
He has been a guest lecturer at the Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.
And, yet, he promotes he’s able to avoid being classified as a suit-and-tie kind of guy via the firm’s website: “Bill claims to be the source of some amusement for his children and after spending a few minutes in his company, you’ll find this easy to believe. His expansive personality and endless intelligence come together to create a highly effective and accomplished lawyer.”

What’s PSU GOT?
So, why Portland State?
Success attracts success, which is the key element of athletic recruiting as well as the base of capitalism.
“You want what we’ve got.”
Oregon’s other three Div. I schools: Oregon, Oregon State and University of Portland; play in more financially successful conferences with larger arenas and have more fan support. There are numerous small colleges with law schools located between Newport and Portland, and plenty of community colleges across the state with students looking for paths to success.
There are plenty of other schools to adopt.
Barton says it’s Portland State’s location near his condo, his background as a basketball player and his upbringing that makes it the program he feels compelled to assist.
“I did not have a perfect upbringing,” he says. “I had family in trouble all the time, including time in jail. I got in trouble all the time myself. I wasn’t a role model at all. If you look at my background, you might say I’m kind of a mongrel. It’s those experiences that help me to have a connection with the team and the players, because they face a lot of challenges that I can relate to. I really enjoy working with young people who are trying to better themselves, and I feel there’s a need for what I have to offer within this program.”
It’s not hard to see the basketball program at PSU as an NCAA Div. I mongrel.

Almost no one starts their college career at PSU, they wind up there.

The Vikings have no freshmen amongst their 15-player roster, and only three of those players started with the program out of high school (and one of those players was a non-scholarship walk-on). The other 13 players all transferred to PSU from other Div. I programs or junior colleges. Only seven of the Vikings were with the program last year.
That makes the Vikings stand out within the Big Sky and the nation as well.
The other 10 schools in the Big Sky have at least two freshmen, and at least six players who started with the program. Weber State, Damian Lillard’s alma mater, has nine players who started there out of high school. Montana has 11 players who started college in Helena as freshmen. North Dakota has 13.
(Portland State’s women’s team has three freshmen and 10 players who started with the program.)
When Geving took over as coach from Bone, with whom he had been an assistant for four years, the program immediately got hit with NCAA probation for low academic progress and lost two scholarships. It has since recovered, and is in good standing.
With the men’s team having virtually no local support, the kind that might impress a high school senior looking for a college program to commit to, Geving has focused his energy on finding experienced, older players able to adjust to experienced, older opponents. Those players were generally recruited by Div. I schools in high school due to their skill, but often had academic or social issues that caused them to need one or two years of college training before a school such as PSU would look their way. When they get to PSU, their social and academic backgrounds come with them.
That’s when Barton goes to work. He has no problem getting to know virtually anyone or offering advice on a path to success. His leadership skill and passion for being a mentor and facilitator serve him well in find ing a level at which to communicate with young professionals, very much like an uncle of around 40 even though he’s 64.
He can be highly critical of a player when he can see they aren’t fully motivated on or off the court, but is highly supportive in recognizing personal and team success, which he freely celebrates during a game.
“He’s a really good man, who takes time out of his day to get to know the players,” Geving says, “He has great contact with players who played here in the past and still cares about those guys. It’s not just about basketball, it’s about life.”
“He tells us a lot of stories about lifetime lessons,” says senior forward Renado Parker, who Barton has taken a special interest in. “We can joke around with him, and act like ourselves when he’s around.
“Sometimes, he acts just like us.”

The LONG TERM

With such a resume of success to offer, Barton’s impact would be an asset to other programs at PSU, but he says he’s reluctant to go beyond the men’s basketball team. He knows the game better than other sports having played it collegiately, and recreationally in national tournaments into the ‘90s. And, he has an equal focus for the group of young lawyers, who he promotes as having access to his advice 24 hours a day. That’s plenty of commitment.
At Saturday’s win over Northern Arizona, Barton invited the lawyers in his Advocacy Boot Camp to attend, and that turned into a group of around 30. Following the game, though, he celebrated at the Rogue Brewery with Weronika Budak, an Assistant Marketing Director at PSU, and a group of her friends from the University of Oregon. Also, former UNC Charlotte player Marlon Thomas, who he met at a Northwest Portland printing company, was along as well.
Barton spent the evening getting everyone to introduce themselves and promote their histories, which led to business card exchanges.
“Mentoring,” he says, “is in my DNA.”
While the results of the unofficial coaching are impossible to calculate, the team is successful to a level it probably shouldn’t be considering the constantly changing nature of the roster and potential for personality conflict. Last season, the Vikings won seven of their final 10 games and finished at 17-15 overall, and 10-6 in conference play. Seniors Chehales Tapscott and Charles Odum, who each came to PSU from a junior college a year earlier, were named to the All-Big Sky First Team. PSU was the lone school to have two players on the first team.
This season, the Vikings are 5-8, but in the middle of the conference standings at 3-3, with their three losses by a combined 14 points, including 73-69 in overtime to conference leader Weber State. With 15 games to prepare for the Big Sky Conference Tournament, the Vikings have plenty of opportunity to grow into a team that can make a run at a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
“We had a tough early schedule, but I think we’re better than our record shows,” Geving said after Thursday’s win. “We dug ourselves a hole, and now it’s time to get out of it.”
This week, the Vikings begin a stretch of four consecutive road with the opener Thursday night at Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Barton will be with them.

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It's the era of specialization

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 12:19am
Cliff Pfenning
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Ah, the simpler days of the sports media world. Where did they go?

In this week’s cover feature, coaches of club teams reflect on the state of sports and athletes who play them and it’s not what it used to be. At least in time commitment.

High school kids might put in the same amount of time in practice and games as they used to during a season 10 and 20 years ago, they just don’t play as many sports anymore.

Three-sport athletes are far more rare because they are almost required to focus on one sport if they expect to earn some financial assistance from a college, whether it’s a scholarship or some tuition assistance.

If you want to be good enough to get noticed, you have to be special by focusing on one sport.

It works that way in the media world as well, and has writers of traditional media making the same comments about their profession. It was better the old way, when one publication was able to cover a wide variety of topics for a large audience. Competition wasn’t lacking, but the mix of print, radio and television survived from the advent of TV following World War II right on into the 21st century.

Today, the media world changes almost daily, which is part of social progress. Any sport or activity can get special attention if it has someone to provide it. Usually for free.

The consistent specialization, though, especially in blog form, has  continually sapped the ability of established media to keep tabs on larger issues affecting its community. Those issues would turn into features, the kind that involve some research and a bit of time to write.

Writers of today probably spend more time working their craft, but so much of it involves tweeting and blogging, and doesn’t get delivered to a larger audience, only the specialized one that follows their work through Facebook or Twitter.

That’s the challenge we’re tackling, attracting an audience to a collection of stories and features from a variety of specialized topics, something newspapers do, at least did back when there were still three-sport athletes.

Volleyball's numbers spike in Winter

OSJ: The sport continues to grow, while basketball's numbers decline
Jan. 24, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Jounral

In a moment of reflection on the state of youth athletics, volleyball coach Kim McLain offered a very traditional view of sports today.

“I really wish there were no club sports,” McLain, the head coach at Santiam Christian High School, said Monday. “I think it’s a great thing when an athlete can go from one sport in fall, to another sport in winter and another in spring and get a diverse background as an athlete.

“But, sports specialization is how our society is going, and it seems like it’s here to stay.”

And, since they're here to stay, the coaches who lead club volleyball programs operate within a system, the Columbia Empire Volleyball Association, that continues to grow annually - more than 12 percent since 2011. It's growing, though, while girls basketball, which plays during the same winter season, is declining - more than 7 percent in the past five years.

Girls are playing basketball less and volleyball more.

It's the cover story to this week's issue of Oregonsports Journal, which is available for $25 for 52 issues or $5 for the single copy.

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Recollections on 2012

Oregonsports Journal looks at the state's top athletes, teams and stories
Dec. 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

What a year, 2012.

The Oregon football team nearly played into the BCS Championship again, while Oregon State got a whiff of that excitement, too.

An Oregonian won the Olympic decathlon.

Oregonians played in the greatest women's soccer match of all-time.

The Timbers struggled with scoring, player movement, coaching changes, but didn't diminish their fan support, and even moved forward by moving into the new women's soccer league.

The Winterhawks missed playing into the Memorial Cup by one game.

Oregon won the women's national cross country title and missed the volleyball title by one match.

Jesuit won its record fourth-straight boys basketball title.

Oregonsports Journal takes a look back on 2012, the team highlights, athlete highlights and drama that accounted for the past 12 months, available to subscribers.

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PCC might finally be ready to win

JOURNAL: This week, we focus on the task Tony Broadous has at Portland's JC
Dec. 10, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The challlenge of building a winning men's basketball program at Portland Community College might be significant, but it hasn't scared anyone off.

When the head coaching job opened in spring, after an 0-24 season, applications flowed in - more than 60 by the time the hiring process moved to its second phase.

But, among all the candidates, one stood out immediately - Tony Broadous, who had been coaching at nearby Grant High for the past 10 years.

Broadous guided the Generals to a state championship, coached within USA Basketball's summer program in 2010 and sent numerous players to the NCAA Div. I college ranks. And, his background was from the neighborhood, having grown up in North and Northeast Portland.

But, maybe even better for the program, Broadous had a strong understanding of what turning PCC into a winner would mean for his career. If he could turn the Panthers into a winner, there's likely a four-year college program that would show interest in his moving there. It was only a short time before the school hired him.

"That's definitely where I see my career path going," Broadous said last week. "This is a school that I love, and there would be nothing better than if I can turn the program here into a winner and use that experience to move to the next level."

Follow Tony Broadous' story in the Dec. 11 issue of Oregonsports Journal, which is available as a digital publication for 52 weeks at $25. Check out the sample of this week's issue and subscribe today.

Also, this week the Journal covers Sheldon's win over Lake Oswego in the Class 6A football state final, as well as the Oregon City girls basketball team's renewed vigor for winning the program's first state title in four years. This upcoming week, they'll be working on their game in Hawaii.

And, how does Hillsboro look at the value of its stadium complex that will soon play host to a Class A baseball team?

That and we show off the pairings for what the High School football bowl season would look like for Oregon.

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Oregonsports Journal - STATE SOCCER REVIEW

Catch up on photos and game features from the state high school championships and more
Nov. 19, 2012

Summit High didn't just win the Class 5A girls soccer championship Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium, it gave the state a pretty good preview of why it might win the next three titles.

Led by freshman goal-scorer Christina Edwards, the Storm beat Sherwood 3-0 to claim its second title in three years with Edwards set to return after leading the team in scoring with 26 goals.

This highlight and more is part of the Nov. 19 issue of Oregonsports Journal with four different regional covers available to subscribers through e-mailed PDFs.

The issue also has coverage of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Joey Harrington as well as highlights of pro, college and high school events from the past week and upcoming events.

Subscriptions are only $25 for 52 issues and comes with a copy of the Oregon Sports Almanac set to be published in June following the close of the academic year.

Take a look at a preview of this week’s issue and subscribe today.

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