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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

Wrestling With Selection of Team's No-Name Coach

August 04, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

I believe J.K. McKay should be fired immediately as front-office commander of our new Los Angeles XFL franchise, or at the very least Triple H, aka Hunter H. Helmsley, should bounce a folding chair off his noggin.

Although the official announcement has not been made, I have learned the new coach for the Los Angeles XFL team is going to be Al Luginbill.

Lugin what?

Tell me that's the real name for The Undertaker or The Big Show. Tell me you meant to say, Al LoCasale, even Al Davis. Tell me that you at least asked Don King if he was interested.

Chicago gets Dick Butkus and we get some Lug who's a household name in Amsterdam.

Is this McKay's way of justifying some kind of recruiting trip to NFL Europe, hiring the coach of the Amsterdam whatevers?

You could have had big-time, WWF-namelike draws in L.A. like Hacksaw Reynolds, the Mad Stork or Chris Everett.

This is important. This is the guy who is going to be staging our games and sticking to the WWF script. Looking down on the sidelines, wouldn't it be nice if we could distinguish between the director and the actors?

"I just signed my contract this morning," Luginbill said. "I can tell you this, I will not be a part of anything that makes fun of our game."

I believe it's time Luginbill resigned.

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FOR THOSE WILLING to give him another day on the job, the Lug was born in Pomona, went to Corona High and then on to Cal Poly Pomona before picking up a master's degree at USC. He coached at Pasadena City College for eight years, and posted a 31-25-3 mark as head coach at San Diego State.

He has spent the last six years coaching in NFL Europe, playing this season with Ron Powlus at quarterback, and on the bright side, Powlus will probably join him in L.A. and continue his quest to win the Heisman Trophy.

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I NOTICE PORTLAND Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen is donating $11.5 million to help search for extraterrestrial life.

Someone has to keep Shaq out of the paint.

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WE ARE ALLOWING our coaches to have too much influence on youngsters. Take Washington State Coach Mike Price, for example.

His football team stinks. It's picked to finish last in the Pac-10. It went 1-7 in the conference last season, 3-9 overall and yet Price convinced every one of the team's scholarship players to show up June 5 and spend the remainder of the summer penned up in Pullman as if it's going to make any difference when they get pummeled on the Palouse.

You know what that does to a kid? He becomes Ryan Leaf.

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SOME KIDS, THOUGH, are above it all, such as UCLA defensive end Kenyon Coleman, who accompanied Coach Bob Toledo to the Pac-10 media sessions. What a nice kid. He says, "I have great parents," and pointed out that his sister had just earned an academic scholarship from Stanford, while twin sisters are attending Pepperdine and Cal State Northridge, and a brother is about to graduate from UCLA.

It's the policy here, of course, to write nice things about nice people and now that I've finally met one, it's nice to be nice to a guy who will probably be a high selection in next year's NFL draft.

"And some day I'd like to look into being a minister," he said.

I confess, that's when I told him his team doesn't have a prayer against the likes of Alabama and Michigan. Nice kid too. He just laughed.

Leaf would have probably thrown a punch. Incomplete, of course.

*

TOLEDO WAS TALKING about his off-season and telling a lot of fish stories before talking to reporters, and listening to coach after coach embellish on their chances for success this season, it was a good warmup.

USC Coach Paul Hackett also spoke, but he lost me when he mentioned Jerry Garcia. I couldn't find the kid's name anywhere in the USC media guide, and he was done talking before the school's PR guy told me Hackett had been trying to tell a joke about "wearing his best Jerry Garcia tie."

The Trojans went 6-6 last year. Hackett should not be telling jokes.

*

AN UPDATE ON the Larry Smith-runs-chicken-from-UCLA saga. The Bruins are presently scheduled to play Smith's squad in Missouri on Sept. 8 next season, and then meet again the following year in the Rose Bowl. But Missouri says it's going to be a no-show, demanding out of its contract.

UCLA, booked solid through 2008, including back-to-back losses to Notre Dame in 2006 and 2007, has been unable to find someone to take Missouri's place the next two years.

One option has UCLA traveling to Kansas next season, and then playing at home against Kansas in 2009 when the Bruins are expected to have all their problems on defense repaired.

Colorado State is interested in coming here, so long as UCLA pays Colorado State $400,000 to $450,000. A school spokesman said UCLA has never paid more than a $300,000 appearance fee for an opponent.

You would think a team like Minnesota would come for nothing, just to see what it's like to play in the Rose Bowl.

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THURSDAY'S TIMES' STORY on swimmer Amanda Beard noted that four years ago she was toting a teddy bear, while now it's a tongue stud.

Just what are they putting in that water?

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TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Stan:

"I'm on a new diet. I just think of what kind of children Georgia Frontiere and Donald Sterling might have together and I lose my appetite."

I don't want to send you on an eating binge, but right now it looks like the only way to come up with a coach for the Clippers.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address: t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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