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.


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.

Are the Pilots really grounded?

Terry Porter needs to let Tony Broadous sell him on the future
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

In following sports, it’s the job of media to do just that - follow sports from when it happens. Very rarely does that involve actually lobbying for an outcome, especially in regards to coaching.

But, there’s an opportunity to do just that within the college coaching community in Oregon, and we’re going to take that on. I’m going to take that on with regards to the University of Portland and men’s basketball coach Terry Porter and Portland Community College coach Tony Broadous. It involves the challenge of Porter taking a look at Broadous as an incoming assistant coach and possible successor to his role as head coach. That would be one of the most unique and exciting stories in college basketball in the upcoming year for a program that currently has one of the most unexciting outlooks.

So, coach Porter and the UP athletic department, please take a look at this, and meet with this guy because this is truly exciting and you desperately need that - excitement. And so does sports media.

This stems from a story last week about Porter being supported by the athletic department to finish out the fifth and final year of his contract from 2016. That’s after four years of losing records and only seven combined wins in West Coast Conference play - finishing this season with 15 consecutive losses. Were the social conditions different it’s not hard to think UP and Porter would have gracefully parted ways, and the Pilots would be scouring the land for a new coach. But, that didn’t happen and in the upcoming year it’s also not hard to see the program as everyone being on a one-year contract, other than a few scholarship players. The team might have three returning starters, but none of them averaged more than 12 points per game, and most of the team will have some junior college background or be coming directly from a junior college. The team is likely to have only one player viewed as a three-star recruit coming out of high school from a five-star scale.

Of the 350 NCAA Div. I programs, the Pilots will probably be No. 350 in expectations for the coming season, and you cannot recruit high school standouts at No. 350. Men’s basketball is the most fluid sport in the NCAA so a new coach next year will be able to put together a decent team in a summer, but that coach is also very likely to be a couple good seasons away from jumping to a better situation with more money involved.

Enter Tony Broadous, a lifelong Portlander with community connections who got very good reviews - excited reviews - from the story I wrote after UP announced its commitment to Terry Porter. For a little insight on why the UP program has gotten to where it is, Terry Porter does not know Tony Broadous, even though he’s only two miles away from the UP campus. You would think that when Porter got here in 2016, he would have gone directly to Broadous on Day One and bought him lunch at the Chapel Pub or at least a mocha at Dutch Bros., and asked what the lay of the land is, especially because he had no college coaching experience. That didn’t happen, and still hasn’t happened even though junior college players are such a key part of the UP roster.

Broadous, who had just finished year four in 2016, took the Portland program from a winless season to a conference title in just two years, so he’s got skills in recruiting and coaching. That’s with a program that had never even been to the conference playoffs before he got there. And, it’s the excitement involved that makes this plan at least worthy of a look on Porter’s behalf.

If Broadous can sell Porter on himself and a vision for where the program might go if he’s involved, well that takes the team from No. 350 to at least 300 in terms of “hey, pay some attention to UP this season.” If he’s brought in as an assistant for recruiting, and is able to land, say at least two three-star recruits, well then a year of grooming within the Div. I environment might very well lead to an opportunity to get to No. 250 in his rookie season as head coach. That’s probably where Porter was in his rookie season in terms of national interest. In terms of local interest, that would happen immediately, and that’s something that leads to a crowd and more recruiting juice.

If Mark Few can sell Spokane, Wash., across the world, Tony Broadous should be able to sell Portland, If he can’t in a season, he’s not the guy. But, if he can, then Disney+ will be paying attention, because it loves an underdog and that's what going from a former NBA coach to community college coach in a year involves. Maybe Porter could move into an administrative role within the athletic department? He’s a classy guy, and represents the school well. It just hasn’t happened on the court.

So, where we started is sports media longing to cover stories that have drama and intrigue in them, and this is one that at least deserves a burger or a mocha from Porter. Will he take on that challenge? That would be two classy guys talking about what might be, and that’s what college athletics is about. Even if it's takeout and from six feet apart.

The University athletics department has not responded to requests for comment.


Pilots punch their ticket!!!!!

UP women play their way into NCAA Tourney with OT thriller
Staff Report

And, the immaculate season continues for the University of Portland women's basketball team.

Picked for last in the West Coast Conference entering the season, the Pilots won two consecutive thrillers that likely left all players and coaches with no nails as they get ready for the NCAA Tournament.

A day after beating top seed and No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69, Portland beat second seed San Diego 64-63 in overtime to win the conference tournament title and earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since the Clinton Administration.

Sophomore Haylee Andrews, who scored the winning points in Monday's upset with five seconds left, hit a jumper with 1:05 to put the Pilots ahead of San Diego and the Gauchos got off only one more shot - a missed three-pointer with four seconds left.

Portland, led by first-year coach Michael Meek, heads to the NCAAs for the first time since 1997 with a 21-11 record and a likely spot in one of the two potential first/second-round host sites: Eugene and Corvallis.

Andrews finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while freshman Alex Fowler had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Kate Andersen had six points and four assists before fouling out.


Portland nears NCAA tourney bid

UP women's hoop upsets No. 11 Gonzaga in WCC Tourney
Staff Report

In one of the more improbable comebacks of an already improbable season, the University of Portland women's basketball team rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Sophomore guard Haylee Andrews scored on a short jumper with five seconds left for the final points, ending a ferocious finish by both teams.

Portland will play in the conference final Tuesday with the winner earning an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Gonzaga is likely to earn a berth and play host to first- and second-round games in spite of the loss.

"This is amazing how we were picked for 10th," Andrews said to the streaming media audience. "Now we have to get ready for one more game."

Portland improved to 20-11 on the season, just a week after losing to Gonzaga at home.

Gonzaga dropped to 28-3.

The Piots were picked for last in the WCC prior to the season under first-year coach Michael Meek. But they overcame all expectations and finished fourth in the conference standings with just one primary senior in the playing rotation.

Trailing 29-9 in the first quarter, the Pilots rallied to within 39-35 at the half and led by six points in the fourth quarter before the Zags went on an 8-0 run to lead 65-63 with 2:57 left. But freshman forward Alex Fowler, who scored a game-high 22 points, gave Portland the lead again at 68-67 with 25 seconds left. Gonzaga scored for a 69-68 lead with eight seconds left, which set the stage for Andrews' heroics.

Portland has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1997, and has never won a tournament game.






Pilot women lose, gain momentum

No. 10 Gonzaga pulls away for 56-42 win, but UP eyes tourney upset
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - A loud, often raucous crowd set the stage for a huge, memorable win Saturday for the University of Portland women's basketball program, and it did it's part for most of three quarters.

Senior guard Kate Andersen, honored prior to the game, even hit a three-point shot at the first quarter buzzer to tie the game at 11.

But, tenth-ranked Gonzaga had too much inside firepower and pulled away from a 40-35 edge after three quarters for a 56-42 victory before an announced crowd of 1,709 fans at the Chiles Center.

Gonzaga junior forwards Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth combined for 28 pooints and 17 rebounds to send the Zags, who had more than 100 fans themselves, into the West Coast Conference Tournament as the No.1 seed. Gonzaga is 28-2 overall and 17-1 in WCC games.

Portland enters the tournament that begins in Las Vegas on Thursday as the fifth seed at 18-11, 11-7. The Pilots, who lost their contest at Gonzaga by 10 points earlier in the season, won just seven games two seasons ago.

"This has been a great season for our girls and our fans to build support for the program," first-year coach Michael Meek said afterward. "This is an easy team to get behind because of how our players perform, and the effort they put out."

Andersen led the Pilots with 10 points, and sophomore Haylee Andrews had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Pilots were hammered by turnovers, though, commiting 21 in the game, including 10 in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 16-7.

Gonzaga held a 12-5 edge in second chance points and 14-2 in bench scoring.

First round WCC tournament pairings have yet to be announced, but Andrews said the Pilots would take Saturday's loss as a significant learning tool if they are able to meet Gonzaga again.

"We're definitely be looking at a lot of film, looking to see what we can do to beat them," said Andrews, who was the WCC Player of the Week three times this season. "They're No. 10 for a reason, but we're going to go into the tournament with the thinking we can beat them."




Lady Pilots on verge of breakthrough

UP women's basketball eyes home upset of No. 10 Gonzaga
By Cliff Pfenning

For a change, the University of Portland women's basketball program might get a little attention in-state this weekend.

Especially if it can pull off an upset on its home court.

The Pilots enter their final game of the season with a four-game win streak and a potential large, rowdy crowd to back up its effort against No. 10 Gonzaga at the Chiles Center.

Portland is 18-10 overall, including a 69-49 win over San Francisco played two weeks ago before a crowd of 1,772 at the Chiles Center, and 11-6 in West Coast Conference games. The Pilots are familiar with playing before home crowds of around 500 fans throughout the season, but the team's success - already securing its first winning record in 10 seasons - has some buzz on the campus.

The Pilots, who will be seeded no worse than fourth in the WCC Tournament that plays out next week in Las Vegas, have not finished more than five games above .500 since 1998. Perhaps, even better, the team only has one senior, and features several key freshmen under first-yaer head coach Michael Meek.

After the large crowd two weeks ago, the athletic department is hoping for an even larger crowd, especially with the potential for a program-building upset in the air - against the conference's top villain (even if that's a moniker largely generated by the men's basketball team).

Gonzaga enters the game at 27-2, 16-1 and with a 62-57 win over the Pilots in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 29 when it was ranked No. 17.

Game time is set for 2 p.m.



2020 - 18-10 / 11-6 WCC

2019 - 13-17 / 5-13 WCC

2018 -  7-23 /  3-15 WCC

2017 -  6-24 /  4-14 WCC

2016 -  3-23 /  1-17 WCC

2015 -  4-26 /  2-16 WCC


Pilots recover, but not all way

Portland feels better about losing to Gonzaga this time
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The loss to Gonzaga wasn't so painful this time, even though it came with the same message for the Portland Pilots.

"We just have to be a lot tougher," said freshman guard Marcus Shaver, Jr. "And that's on each one of us, individually to work on that."

Portland responded to an absolute thrashing at the hands of the Bulldogs, Jan. 11, with a workman-like 95-79 loss before a spirited crowd of 4,557 at the Chiles Center Thursday night in West Coast Conference men's basketball action.

Shaver led the Pilots with 16 points, and backcourt mate D'Marques Tyson added 15 points as the Pilots kept pace with their 15th-ranked opponents and tried to forget the 103-57 loss from the first meeting.

They'd have done a lot better by not getting outrebounded 15-5 on the offensive end, or having the Zags hit 35 of 64 shots from the field, including 11 three-pointers. Three Bulldogs scored in double figures led by Killian Tillie with 27 points. Tillie hit 11 of 14 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and even handed out a pair of assists as Gonzaga improved to 18-4, 8-1 in WCC play. The Bulldogs made sure not to overlook the Pilots by leading 46-30 at the half, a week after losing their lone conference game in Spokane to St. Mary's, 74-71.

"We had a good game, did a lot of things the way we want to," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We play in a tough conference, and know not to take anyone lightly. Last week's loss was a good reminder of that, especially at home."

Portland dropped to 8-14, 2-7, with a game at St. Mary's Saturday in Moraga, Calif., just East of Oakland.

The loss ended a two-game win streak for the Pilots.

Portland put up a solid performance in the first half, but still wound up trailing 46-30 after 20 minutes, due in significant part to Tillie's 13 points, highlighted by three baskets after offensive rebounds. Gonzaga made eight of its 16 three-point attempts, led 10-2 in assists, and shot 18-of-33 overall from the field.

Once the lead hit double digits, the outcome was largely decided. Few played forward Rui Hachimura, widely considered the team's most promising NBA Draft pick in summer, just 12 minutes, which resulted in one field goal.

Portland got a sturdy performance from 7-foot-2, senior, center Phillipp Hartwich, who scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, and battled for five rebounds. The Pilots finished with five offensive rebounds, although two were the kind that got swatted out of bounds - team rebounds.

Sophomore Josh McSwiggan added nine points and four rebounds for Portland, which finished the second half 49-49 with Gonzaga.

Portland has eight games remaining after Saturday leading into the conference tournament, March 1-6 in Las Vegas.



French returns to the Bluff

UP hires former standout as women's soccer coach
Staff report

PORTLAND - The University of Portland officially introduced Michelle French as the new women’s soccer head coach with a reception on Monday afternoon at the Chiles Center.

French returns to Portland where she helped lead the Pilots to three NCAA Final Four appearances, and was a National Player of the Year finalist as a senior in 1998. A defender, French earned All-American honors with the Pilots, and she went on to become an Olympic medalist with the women’s national team.

French, who hails from Fort Lewis, Wash., spent the past 12 years coaching in the U.S. Soccer system, most recently as an assistant coach with the senior Women’s National Team. She also served on the USA National Team staff at both the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

French was the first full-time head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team beginning in 2013. She coached the USA at the 2014 and 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cups. She was on the shortlist for the CONCACAF Female Coach of the Year Award in 2016.

As a player, French earned 14 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1997-2001. She was a member of the 2000 Olympic Team in Australia that claimed a Silver Medal. She also was on the U.S. Under-21 National Team from 1994-99, serving as the team captain the last two years.

She replaces Garrett Smith, who guided the team the past 15 years recording a 222-78-24 record. The Pilots were 5-13-1 this season, including 2-7 in West Coast Conference play.


Pilots open season with Tar Heels

Portland gets the national power to start 2012 campaign
Aug. 6, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Following a fantastic performance by alumni in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, the University of Portland women's soccer team opens its season August 17 against one of the top programs in the nation - North Carolina.

Portland, with two NCAA national titles, will play host to the Tar Heels, with 20 NCAA titles.

The match will be the third time the teams have met at Merlo Field, with the Tar Heels having won in 2006 and the teams having tied 0-0 in 2002. North Carolina also beat Portland 2-1 in the 2001 NCAA Tournament semifinals.

In the following week, the Pilots play host to Oregon State and Oregon.

The Pilots, on Sept. 7, also play host to Notre Dame, which has won three titles, as part of their 12-game home schedule.

Portland reached the NCAA Tournament second round before falling to Florida State, 3-1, to end the season at 9-10-2, the first time the program finished under .500 in more than a decade.

The Pilots return seven starters, including defender Taylor Brooke, the lone senior on the roster.

Portland alums Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt have all been key players in the Olympics, with Sinclair and Rapinoe combining for five of the seven goals scored in the epic U.S win over Canada Monday.



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