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Step Aside Oscar, Here's the Golden Anteaters

May 03, 1994|JOHN WEYLER

The year that was and the first Golden Anteater Awards:

* Best Performance by a Male Athlete in a Leading Role--Point guard Lloyd Mumford, who seldom followed the script, wins for his brilliant ad libs during a Jan. 27 overtime loss at Long Beach State. Mumford's Harlem Globetrotter routine began after halftime, when he made eight of 13 mostly spectacular shots, scored 25 points and had six assists and three steals in the final 25 minutes.

* Best Performance by a Female Athlete in a Leading Role--The Anteater goes to junior Jinelle Williams. Only 5 feet 9, she rose above the crowd Feb. 26 and grabbed a school-record 23 rebounds against San Jose State.

* Best Performance by a Male Athlete in a Supporting Role--Carlos Bustos, hobbled by a knee injury for the first two days of the UCI Tennis Classic, limped out for the finals, beat South Alabama's Kal Petersson in three sets and Irvine won the tournament, 4-3.

* Best Performance by a Female Athlete in a Supporting Role--Anteaters all around for the women's soccer team defense. Goalkeeper Amee Chapman went 270 minutes without giving up a goal, but she had to make only 22 saves during that six-game period.

* Best Costume Design--Rod Baker for his dapper courtside ensembles. No other nominees need apply. Now, if the team only looked as good as he does . . .

* Best Direction--Accepting for Ray Smith is

. . . Smith has since been fired, but his ability to teach defense was the reason the women's soccer team had the best record in school history (12-8). Opponents scored 25 goals in 20 games.

* Best Debut--Laura Monson ran 30 seconds faster than her previous best time to win her first collegiate 3,000 meters at the Long Beach Relays Feb. 19. Then she won her next four 3,000-meter races. And Thursday night, she turned in the sixth-fastest 5,000 in Irvine history at the Penn Relays.

* Best Dialogue by a Guy in a Wig--Volleyball player Leland Quinn's costumes were corny, but his critique of basketball officials and opposing players--delivered in a booming voice perfect for theater--was always razor sharp, funny and usually good-natured.

* Best Script--Dan Guerrero wins for his compelling tale of a second-year athletic director who deals with changing academic standards, minority and gender-equity issues, the great conference shake-up and, of course, shrinking revenues and still manages to smile. "All those constraints and barriers make it difficult to just keep pace, so sometimes your plans to grow and develop get compromised. It's frustrating, but that's how it is."


Vote of confidence: The men's volleyball team finished the season with a 2-20 record, but Coach Andy Read must have done a heck of a job on the two nights they won.

"That's a program that won't be able to make a significant jump overnight because of the conference they're in," Guerrero said, "but we're taking the kind of steps we need to take. I feel real good about that program. Andy's got a good handle on what needs to be done."


Vote of confidence II: Colleen Matsuhara has won only 12 games during her three-year tenure as coach of the women's basketball team and 1993-94 was the final year of a three-year contract.

Apparently, Matsuhara will return next season.

"It's a very young team that played a very difficult schedule," Guerrero said. "By the end of the year, the freshmen were playing like sophomores and the sophomores were playing like juniors. At the end of the season, we showed we could play with the best teams in the conference."


Vote of confidence? Guerrero, on the Anteaters' run to the finals of the Big West basketball tournament: "Very positive, but can we sustain that kind of performance over the course of a season? That's the big question. That's what we'll be expecting next year."


State of the Irvine: Guerrero, completing his first full year as athletic director, is a master of the positive spin. Forget that only a few of Irvine's 19 sports teams produced winning records in 1993-94.

"This year, we established the aspects that are fundamental to our success," he said. "A foundation, a philosophy of recruitment and academics, a mindset for coaches, staff and administrators, the parameters in terms of expectations for their programs, a blueprint for our future.

"We raised a little more than $300,000 in our fund drive and our contract with the World Cup (as a training site) and bringing the Rams back for training camp will help us generate more dollars.

"We're not where we want to be by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel very positive about UCI athletics right now."

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