KAZ’S KORNER

 

 

 

I’ve been promising for the past two weeks to give an update on the scenario at Lamar University in Beaumont pertaining to the status of head softball coach Holly Bruder.

About the only new news that has been released by the university bigwigs is the fact Bruder has been terminated after reviving the school’s lady softball program six years ago.

However, the school has released zero information about the reasons or details for the surprising firing other than the fact new athletic director Marco Born played the situation like a drama queen by calling the police to escort her to clean out her desk and then made sure she left the campus permanently.

My question is how can someone get fired without an explanation of his (Born’s) actions? Bruder has hired local lawyer Cade Bernsen to represent her as soon as he can uncover this mystery and proceed with his job.

The only public statement Born made Friday was that Bruder was removed and “will not return next season.”

According to the university’s media relations department, Bruder was placed on administrative leave April 27 “pending an investigation into a violation of university policy.”

Other than that official statement by the school, Lamar has not released any details of Bruder’s suspension or termination. Bernsen confirmed that Bruder’s current contract was set to expire in September.

Members of the Lady Cardinal softball team were informed of Bruder’s firing in a group text message from Born and added that any questions they may have should be directed to administrators in the Lamar athletic department. In between the lines Born was telling the players NOT to talk to the media about the situation.

Current and former Lady Cardinals were outraged about Bruder’s firing and condemned Lamar University for its treatment of her.

Bernsen said that Born repeatedly refused to inform Bruder why she was being fired but told her she could sign a document agreeing to resign immediately or she would be fired. She did not sign the document.

The situation allegedly began in March when Lady Cardinal catcher Paige Holmes reported that a Lamar assistant coach forced her to eat meat on Friday during Lent which was against her religion.

However, four players interviewed by a Jefferson County newspaper disputed Holmes’ account of the incident and claims she was not FORCED to eat the food.

I believe the root of the scenario occurred when Holmes started in only four of the last 30 games after starting in 22 of the first 23. I think she found a way to sweeten those sour grapes caused by her being benched.

And when her Da Da got into the picture, it became apparent that Holmes was “going for the gold” or as Bernsen put it, her actions were “nothing more than a shakedown” to finagle some money from the university.

The other part of this column involves longtime head baseball coach Wayne Graham, who is not having his contract renewed by Rice University after it expires at the end of the season.

The 82-year-old Graham is the oldest coach in Division I baseball who has won more than 1,100 games in 27 seasons for the Owls, including the university’s only national championship in 2003.

Graham is coaching this season without a contract extension and made an announcement in late April about his future. “I thought it was affecting my team, so let’s clear the air,” commented the future Hall of Fame coach.

The Owls have made the NCAA Tournament in 23 consecutive seasons but are in danger of not qualifying this year.

One of Graham’s biggest stars was Lance Berkman, who played both outfield and first base for the Owls from 1995-97, is expected to be one of the candidates for the job.

Berkman, who currently is the head coach at second Baptist in Houston, told Graham, “Look, I love you and respect you and I believe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I’d love to follow in your footsteps. I’d love to have the opportunity.”

I really don’t appreciate the manner in which Graham’s career will end at Rice, despite the fact he’s 82 years old. He’s earned the right to determine when to hang up his whistle. But I do hope that Berkman will be named the new Rice head baseball coach.

KWICKIES…Orange area’s only team still alive in the state baseball tournament, the Bridge City Cardinals, travel to Jasper to play the Bulldogs 7:30 p.m. today (Wed.) in the first game of a best-of-three series. The second game will be played Friday at Lamar’s Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont.

Seattle star second baseman Robinson Cano suffered a broken hand when he was plunked by a Blaine Hardy fastball in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Cano, who has played in at least 150 games in 11 straight years, said he might need surgery.

The LA Angels’ star Japanese two-way performer Shohei Ohtani struck out 11 while pitching into the seventh inning Sunday against the Minnesota Twins but didn’t get a decision as teammate Zack Cozart hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning giving the Angels a 2-1 victory.

Horse racing’s second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, will be run at Pimlico in Baltimore Saturday with Justify a huge favorite. I’m going to work this week to find a horse that can beat the powerful three-year-old.

Former NFL head coach Chuck Knox died Saturday night at age 86. Knox took the LA Rams to three consecutive NFC Championship games and also was the head coach at Seattle and Buffalo.

Hall of Fame basketball star Karl (The Mailman) Malone’s son K.J. is a rookie on the Houston Texans. The prospective 300-pound guard played at LSU.

Congrats to Silsbee Tigers’ speedster Kalon Barnes after winning the 100 and 200-meter events at the UIL Class 4A state track meet in Austin Saturday.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros, who began the week with a one-game lead over Los Angeles in the American League West Division, traveled to meet the Angels in an important three-game series that began on Monday. LA will be facing three of the top pitchers in the AL—Lance McCullers (5-1, 3.72 ERA), Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43 ERA) and ace Justin Verlander (4-2, 1.21 ERA).