Portland Pilots

Disney+ has eyes for the University of Portland

The Magic Kingdom wants Tony Broadous to be the next men’s basketball coach at UP
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

When you look at the University of Portland and its men’s basketball program, you definitely have to have some imagination of what might become of the program in the years to come because that’s where its success has been for the past decade - in everyone’s imagination.

In nearly five seasons, the program won just five games against West Coast Conference teams and is winless again this season in WCC action.

As the school looks for a successor to Terry Porter after having released him from his contract in his fifth season earlier this month, it only takes a little imagination to see the perfect candidate for the job is just a couple miles away - Tony Broadous, the head coach at Portland Community College for the past nine years (and Grant High for a decade before that).

There is not a better choice for the Portland Pilots than Broadous, and he needs to be on the radar for the school because when I’ve talked with sports folks in the area about him at the University of Portland the main response has been “now that would be exciting.”

Exciting is not a word usually attached to the UP program. 

Broadous moved from Grant, which won the state title in 2008 under his guidance, to PCC in 2012 with the idea that move might lead to a four-year school in the future. The Panthers had just come off a winless season in which they lost games by an average of 37 points. 

The PCC program had never been to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges playoffs in spite of the fact half the eight teams in its division qualified for the 16-team tournament each year by finishing fourth or higher. In spite of sitting directly across the street from Jefferson High, the program had basically no pulse. That changed quickly.

In year one under Broadous, Portland missed the playoffs by just one win, and in year two ... it won the NWAACC title. Two years removed from a winless season, PCC had a league title (2014) in its first-ever trip to the league tournament. Even the most vivid imagination would not have seen that outcome, but it happened.

In the following six seasons, in spite of being the only full-time coach and having no budget for anything but Facetime chats, Portland went to the playoffs again four times, and reached the NWAACC tournament semifinals in 2018. The Panthers were headed to the tournament again last season before it was canceled. This season got totally wiped out due to Covid-19.

You’d definitely need some imagination to even get Broadous on the list of candidates, especially after his most recent season was totally wiped out. But, that’s what imagination is for ... developing a story, something that might happen under the right circumstances ... and be turned into a movie. Broadous’s story would be one that would immediately attract the attention of movie studios across the country, including Disney and its streaming service Disney+.

Moving from a former NBA coach and local basketball legend to a community college coach would be quite a gamble for UP, but that’s exactly the kind of thing Disney+ was made for - and the Pilots desperately need that kind of attention. Broadous, 52, is worthy of that opportunity starting with his connections in Portland. People know him, and that he’s a class individual. And, his connections around the region - high school coaches know him. And, his work on the court - PCC is a regular winner and has all-league players each season.

Given the opportunity to recruit to a four-year program, with numerous full-time assistants, it’s exciting to think what might happen in the Chiles Center starting with his hiring, which would be just weeks away.

Broadous isn’t going to be an expensive hire - maybe the program could use some of that savings on an additional recruiting coordinator - and he’s probably going to be extremely loyal if some success brings other schools calling. A hot, younger assistant or Div. II head coach is more than likely going to head to a bigger school and paycheck as soon as a bit of success happens. Broadous is more likely to remain here and work toward building a program such as Mark Few - another Oregonian - has built at Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., and remained despite constant calls to leave.

Few has been vocal about WCC members needing to spend more on their programs so as to get more teams to the NCAA Tournament - and the riches that conference members share in - mostly from his program. But, money doesn’t always buy success in any sport, and neither do big names as the school has found out with Porter. 

Coaches sell dreams that need to turn into reality, and Broadous has enough of that on his resume to be able to recruit on Day One, in spite of that resume being only at the high school and community college level. And he’s going to need to jump right in on Day One with all the imagination he can muster because of not having any ability to recruit at the Div. I level during this season.

But, imagination overcomes those issues. A great story overcomes those issues, and this is the best story of any hire that’s going to happen across the Div. I ranks in the coming weeks. Disney might even send a couple of its Imagineers - what they call the people who dream up the attractions at its theme parks - to Portland to create a recruiting video (perhaps for a handshake agreement to the movie rights).

UP is still feeling the glow of its women’s basketball team performing a Disney+ miracle by playing its way into the NCAA Tournament under a first-year coach last season after having been picked for last by conference head coaches. That coach, Michael Meek, was a former high school coach at Southridge in Beaverton, who moved to NCAA Div. III’s George Fox in 2011. This season the Pilots are a solid sixth place in WCC games.

When the names start to go on the big chalkboard for the next men’s coach, hopefully the school’s athletic director, Scott Leykam, and his associates will take more than a few minutes to dream about what the Chiles Center might look like with maybe the nation’s biggest underdog on the sideline at one of the nation’s biggest underdogs as a program. That’s a story made for the Magic Kingdom.

 

Ducks dominate in Rose City

No. 10 Oregon cruises past Pilots, 85-52, at Chiles Center
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - A big third quarter provided some cushion for the Oregon women's basketball team as the No. 10 Ducks won their second non-conference game, 85-52 over Portland at the Chiles Center on Monday.

The UO women (2-0) got off to a halting start due in part to effective defensive pressure from the Pilots (1-1). Oregon led comfortably at halftime, 34-22, but then blew the game open by outscoring Portland 29-11 in the third quarter, fueled by a trio of three-pointers from Taylor Mikesell.

Oregon recorded its 21st straight victory, going back to last season, tying the program record. Erin Boley led the way with 25 points and nine rebounds for the Ducks, who open Pac-12 play on Friday at home against Colorado.

"The first half we looked really out of sync," UO coach Kelly Graves said. "We were just playing faster than we should; give them credit, they put a lot of pressure on us, and we just kind of panicked a little bit."

Portland returns to action with a home game against Seattle Saturday.

 

PILOTS GET CHANCE FOR STATEMENT GAME

PORTLAND - It doesn’t happen very often that the University of Portland women’s basketball program gets a chance to tell the world how good it is, but that’s what’s on tap Monday night at the Chiles Center.

The Pilots play host to No. 10 Oregon at 8 p.m. in a non-conference game.

Portland is coming off an 82-70 road win over Seattle University Wednesday.

Oregon is coming off a 116-51 win over the same team Saturday on its home court in Eugene.

Again, game time is 8 p.m.

Both schools won their conference tournament titles in spring, but Portland’s was the more emotional victory as the Pilots were seeded fourth in the tournament after starting the season picked for last in the West Coast Conference. 

Oregon won the Pac-12 regular season title, and defended that position in winning the conference tournament.

The Ducks were a significant contender to win the national title, something backed-up by the WNBA Draft where the top two picks were from the UO program.

Oregon lost most of its starting roster, but picked up a slew of transfers, starting with junior Taylor Mikesell, who played her first two seasons at Maryland and scored 28 points Saturday.

Sophomore Sedona Prince, a 6-foot-7 center, transferred from Texas and scored 17 points Saturday.

The Ducks return key forwards Erin Boley, a senior forward who started all 33 games last year, and 6-5 sophomore Nyara Sabally, who missed the past two seasons with injuries.

Portland returns junior Hayley Andrews, who led the team in scoring in the WCC Tournament, and sophomore Alex Fowler, who was a first-team all-conference pick last season.

Senior Maddie Muhlheim led the Pilots in three-point shooting, and sophomore Keeley Frawley, who helped lead the team to its first win over Brigham Young in 20 years in January with 14 points.

Junior guard Rose Pflug played two seasons at Pepperdine before transferring to Portland. She had 14 points and eight assists in her first game.

Portland had experience in playing with ranked teams, scoring a win over No. 11 Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament.

 

College hoop begins in Portland

Pilots taken down by Seattle, 84-72, in season opener
Staff Report

PORTLAND, Ore. – The University of Portland men's basketball team opened the 2020-21 season with an 84-72 loss to the Seattle U Redhawks in the first game of the U.S. Bank Portland Invitational Wednesday night at the Chiles Center.

Ahmed Ali and Chase Adams scored 13 points apiece, while Clythus Griffith Jr. added 10 points off the bench to lead the Pilots.

Portland led by 10 points early in the second half, but Seattle U knocked down 8-of-15 three-pointers after the break, gained a 12-2 edge in second chance points and a 17-6 margin in turnovers to turn the tables and pull away late.

Riley Grigsby scored a game-high 28 points to pace the Redhawks, while Darrion Trammell and Emeka Udenyi added 17 and 12, respectively.

The Pilots and Redhawks agreed to meet on short notice – late Tuesday night – after the tournament schedule was upended due to COVID-19-related issues. Seattle U was originally scheduled to play Idaho Wednesday at 2 p.m. and the Pilots were set to open the season on Friday against Idaho.

Despite the quick prep, Portland came out with a strong early effort and raced out to an early lead. Ali scored eight points out the gates and Griffith Jr. drilled his second three-pointer of the period to give the Pilots a 29-24 lead. Adams spurred a late first half run with a pair of baskets to the push the margin to double-digits before Portland took a 39-31 lead into halftime.

Oregonian women's hoop has national respect

Oregon, OSU, even Portland are expected to perform well
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

As another season of college basketball approaches, women's teams from across Oregon have turned into psuedo powerhouses - now including the University of Portland.

After winning the West Coast Conference tournament last season with a core of underclass players, the Pilots were picked to finish third in the regular season which begins Dec. 28.

Oregon and Oregon State are not only picked to compete for the Pac-12 Conference title, but are among the Top 20 in the nation.

The Ducks and Beavers have not released their season-opening dates.

Oregon was 31-2 and had won the conference title when the college season came to an abrupt end last year. The Ducks graduated the top pick and No. 3 pick as well in the WNBA Draft. But, the returning crew is stacked enough to warrant a No. 10 ranking by ESPN.

Oregon State enters the season ranked No. 18 in the same poll.

Stanford, No. 2, Arizona, No. 7, and UCLA, No. 9, give the Pac-12 a ton of national respect.

Gonzaga, which won the WCC regular-season title last season, begins the year ranked No. 21.

Portland State is picked by coaches to finish in the middle of the Big Sky Conference.

 

 

Timbers, Pilots share a common denominator

Harry Merlo not only supported UP's program, he owned the Timbers
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Harry Merlo.

The name is recognized for the University of Portland's prized soccer field (how many fields actually have grass on them anymore?), and as a supporter of sporting events in the 80s by Oregonians family with the state's history.

But, most people don't know of his history with the Portland Timbers - as owner for three seasons through through the lumber company Lousiana Pacific, which he was president of for 22 years.

With the team ready to fold, Merlo came to the rescue in 1980 and provided plenty of cash and optimism - including the franchises indoor team - in rollicking days of the North American Soccer League.

Portland had already established itself as Soccer City, USA, in the stands, and Merlo sought to take advantage of that on the field through signing European players. But, it didn't take and the team finished above .500 in just one of those three seasons. With the team unprofitable at the close of the '82 season, Merlo looked for a buyer but none arrived. The team folded.

The three extra years, though, helped Soccer City, USA, long into the future, though, as many influential figures in the Rose City's soccer history arrived, or remained here from their home bases in Great Britain.

The story of Portland's soccer roots are covered in 

Oregonsports Journal

 

Pilots ready for WCC flight

UP has high hopes for not only conference play, but beyond
Dec. 22, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - Are the Portland Pilots for real?

NCAA Tournament?

If the Pilots don't reach the NCAA men's basketball tournament come March, they might actually be disappointed, that's how the non-conference schedule has gone for the team, which beat Lewis and Clark 71-49 Monday afternoon at the Chiles Center.

Portland improved to 9-3 overall, but could easily be 11-1 as two of the losses were in overtime - one at Oregon State and the other at UNLV. Were the Pilots 11-1 with wins over OSU and UNLV, there are media members who might actually raise an eyebrow regarding their season. But, it won't ever be more than a raised eyebrow no matter what their record is if the program can't get to the Big Dance.

So, that's where the Pilots are now - ready to expect they can get to the NCAA Tournament.

"Our non-conference games have given us a lot of confidence that we can do well in the WCC, and that's our goal," coach Eric Reveno, in his ninth year, said Monday. "But, conference play is just one part of the season. It leads to the WCC Tournament, and that's where you really want to be playing well."

Portland has been to the NCAA tournament just once - 1996 - by virtue of winning the WCC Tournament. They got drubbed 92-58 by Villanova in the NCAAs once they got to the Midwest Region, but a loss in the tournament is still a game in the tournament. They haven't been there since.

Not that the program hasn't been capable, at least on paper. Reveno has led the Pilots to 20-win seasons three times, and they finally beat Gonzaga last year when they might have made some late-season noise had leading scorer Kevin Bailey not went down with a foot injury.

Bailey is out again with a foot injury, but it's at the start of the conference season. And, teammates are stepping up in his absence.

Portland's guard are going to be its strength, but it's core is a trio of solid front-line players led by 6-fot-11 senior Thomas Van Der Mars, who understands his senior season perfectly.

"This is it, when you're a senior," he said after scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. "You know you've only got one season left, and you want to get to the tournament so that's what you play for."

 

 

Sportsland, Oregon: 11/23/2010 - #38

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:13am
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In the first part of an extra long holiday podcast, Los and the gang delve into the Blazers injury woes and their outlook for the rest of the season, and discuss the action around the rest of the league. Then they move on to BCS talk, including possible championship scenarios, Black Friday, and awards winners. This is all followed by the NFL, and early seasoncollege basketball action.

In Part 2, Los and the gang wrap up everything else they missed in Part 1, including NCAA Women's soccer, Baseball Rookie's of the Year, High School football playoffs, Kentucky vs Portland in Men's basketball, and this week's segments, including This Week in Oregon Sports History and What Plucks My Duck.

Sportsland, Oregon: 11/15/2010 - #37

Tue, 11/16/2010 - 2:08am
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In the first part of a two part episode, Los and the gang open up with their concerns about the Blazers situation, specifically Brandon Roy's comments and health. After that it's on to the world of college football, with plenty of Ducks talk after their tight win, which inevitably leads to BCS Championship talk and Heisman Trophy predictions. They wrap up Part 1 trying to figure out who the best team in the NFL is.

In Part 2, Los and the gang wrap up everything else they missed in Part 1, including NCAA Women's soccer, Baseball Rookie's of the Year, High School football playoffs, Kentucky vs Portland in Men's basketball, and this week's segments, including This Week in Oregon Sports History and What Plucks My Duck.  You can check it out in the nifty player on the right.

Sportsland, Oregon: 11/8/2010

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 12:55am
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Back after an extended break, Los and the gang start off a packed show by remembering the great Maurice Lucas on the day of his memorial.  They also delve into the Oregon Ducks National Championship chances, the Portland Pilots Women's Soccer National Championship chances, the Blazers' start to the season, and some NFL talk.  Check it out at blogtalkradio.com/oregonsportsradio, sportslandoregon.blogspot.com, or in the nifty player on the right.

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