Friday, June 29, 2007


Stuckey's Day...and EWU's too!

It's not often you get your school's name and logo plastered all over ESPN. But that was the case during Thrusday's NBA draft when Eastern's Rodney Stuckey was chosen in the first round by the Detroit Pistons. It's publicity you can't buy, and has put "Eagle Nation" in a somewhat better mood after the rough last couple months over in athletics.
Here's a great column from the Spokeman's John Blanchette on how the Stuckey-factor will help Eastern.
start something big.

Friday, June 29, 2007

John Blanchette: EWU gets assist on Stuckey pick

Yes, it's a long journey from Eastern Washington University to the NBA.
It helps if somebody can show you a shortcut from in-spite-of to because-of, and Rodney Stuckey seems to have found himself just such a guide.
To explain: Up to and immediately after his selection by the Detroit Pistons with the 15th pick in Thursday's NBA draft, Stuckey fenced constant questions about the school where he'd played his college basketball. All were phrased differently, but they pretty much boiled down to, "So, Eastern Washington – what's up with that?"
Then they asked it of Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations and resident icon.
Did they ever ask the right guy.
"Those guards who play at small schools, they have to do everything for their team," said Dumars, who did it at McNeese State before his 14-year playing career with the Pistons. "I know how that is.
"When you're in his position, you have to do everything for your team. You have to carry a tremendous load. I understood what he was doing out there was pretty special. It's not easy to carry an entire team, but he did it – and he did it with an edge."
There you have it. Eastern, at least in the eyes of Dumars and the Pistons, was actually an asset in Stuckey's resumé.
You wonder if anybody else had the imagination to look at it that way.
Not just for that reason, but it was a happy day all around for Stuckey and EWU and a welcome one after a weighty month. The midround slot more than justified the player's modest risk and his admirers' devotion, and the school caught some of the reflected sunlight, which it will certainly enjoy.
It has been 30 years since a Big Sky Conference player was a first-rounder – Montana's Micheal Ray Richardson going No. 4 in 1978 – and a year more that Eastern has had a player selected. Ron Cox, the pride of Coulee City, Wash., was a sixth-round pick back when the draft went eight rounds instead of two – slotted between a guy from Milligan and a guy from Rutgers-Camden. None, alas, had a Joe Dumars for an advocate.
If you can't grasp how the basketball world has changed, consider that Cox learned of his selection from KHQ's sports director Ed Sharman and not ESPN – or even the Cleveland Cavaliers, who made the pick. They didn't track down Cox until the next day.
Difference No. 2 can be summed up in Cox's best story from rookie camp.
"Bill Fitch was the coach and Jimmie Rodgers was the assistant and we were going through a passing drill, and we're making turnover after turnover," he remembered. "They're screaming and yelling and getting on guys and after about four turnovers by the guys in line in front of me, Fitch yells, 'Cox, if you turn this over it's a $50 fine.'
"And the guy behind me said, 'Are we getting paid?' "
It's a question Stuckey won't have to ask. His two guaranteed years are worth $1.3 and $1.4 million, not including the considerable signing bonus, and two more team-option years could make him another $3.75 million.
The way Dumars glowed over the choice, it may be a bargain.
"He's not simply a '2' guard masquerading as a point guard," he said. "This kid can really pass and really see – he has great vision and can deliver the ball."
The Pistons did their homework – director of scouting George David, former player personnel director Scott Perry and vice president John Hammond all scouted Stuckey in person before he was brought to Detroit so Dumars could eyeball him.
"John Hammond is a pretty good friend of mine and I knew that even back in January they really liked him a lot," said EWU's new head coach, Kirk Earlywine. "He was on their radar for a long time."
Mike Burns' radar, too. Recently fired and replaced by Earlywine, it was Burns' shoe-leather recruiting that lured Stuckey to Eastern – and if not winning enough with him contributed to Burns' dismissal, he should get a tip of the cap for at least setting in motion what culminated with Thursday's celebration, and what it could mean for the program.
"It just opens doors," acknowledged Earlywine. "In kids' minds, they're not sure they can turn an opportunity in the Big Sky Conference into an opportunity in the NBA. This proves that you can."
Of course, it would help if Stuckey and the Eagles maintained some sort of relationship, an issue of some concern with any early entry into the NBA accompanied by a fractious coaching change. Earlywine reported good news on that front, as well.
"When I was named head coach, I had a to-do list that was pages long and one of those things was to talk to Rodney," he said, "and let him know we would do anything we could to help him finish his degree and that we wanted him involved in the program. Before I could do that, he got ahold of me – he tracked me down – to let me know he'd do anything he could to help us.
"I think that says volumes. He's as good as it gets."
And not in spite of his school, but maybe because of it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Eastern Online

This article is based on a press release out of our Division of International and Educational Outreach (DIEO) in conjunction with a private company. These classes aren't counted as credits, but they are another way for the University to reach out to people who want to enhance their lives.
start someting big.


Monday, June 25, 2007


EWU in Spokane

Much of the news regarding Eastern this spring has dealt with the University's pending sale of the Spokane Center in the heart of downtown as it ramps up its presence at Riverpoint on the east end of town. Riverpoint, also known as the "U-District", already includes many signature programs from Eastern - the College of Business and Public Administration, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Dental Hygiene - and the goal is to eventually construct our own building on that site.
Here's a great op-ed piece in from Sunday's Spokesman from a former EWU president who played a key role in establishing the school's downtown presence 25 years ago!
Start someting big.


Spokane Center a competitive success

H. George Frederickson Special to The Spokesman-ReviewJune 24, 2007

The sale of Eastern Washington University's Spokane Center this summer will be as quiet and uncontroversial as its acquisition was noisy and controversial. When Eastern bought the building 25 years ago it set in motion the chain of events which eventually led to what is now the Riverpoint Campus. Eastern's creation of the Spokane Center visibly demonstrated for the first time that public higher education belonged in downtown Spokane. Eastern's acquisition of the Spokane Center showed that cooperation between universities may be good, but so is competition.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Eastern leased space in Lewis and Clark High School and later in the upper floors of the Bon Marche Building. In these facilities, Eastern offered dozens of graduate seminars annually, involving hundreds of persons studying for graduate degrees in education, business and other fields.
At the time, Eastern's Spokane graduate courses were the only significant public higher education presence in Spokane. Washington State University's presence was limited to the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education at Ft. Wright, a cooperative program with Eastern.
In 1981 the Farm Credit Bank was building a new and much larger building in downtown Spokane, at the corner of First and Wall streets, next to its old building. With about 50,000 square feet of space, much of it open, it seemed that the old Farm Credit Bank building was ideally suited to possible conversion to educational purposes.
So, Eastern officials proposed to Farm Credit Bank officials that the building be modified for classroom and library use and leased to Eastern. In response, Farm Credit Bank officials indicated that they would prefer to sell the building, using the money from the sale to offset some of the costs of their new building. And they were in a hurry.
Inasmuch as public university trustees have the power to acquire property, Eastern officials decided that the EWU Foundation would buy the building, for $3 million, that Eastern would in turn "lease to purchase" the building, and that it would be called the EWU Spokane Center.
When these transactions were announced, political and intercollegiate sparks flew, headlines blazed and editorialists had a free-for-all. Eastern officials were called to Olympia for hearings where their hands were publicly spanked by several legislators for having gone outside the ordinary budgeting process. Criticism was mostly from West Side legislators, the Spokane delegation being either silent or speaking in favor. But, within two years the full acquisition of the Spokane Center by the University was approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor.
Within 18 months Washington State University opened offices in leased space in the new Farm Credit Bank and began to offer educational programs. Open competition between WSU and EWU continued, off and on, for several years, a competition moderated by a sequence of different coordinating bodies.
The open and very visible presence of both EWU and WSU in downtown Spokane made it evident to community and university leaders that public university budgets could be used to finance development. To reduce competition a consolidated location and the synergy and efficiency of a single campus seemed the best course of action.
The old rail yard south of the Spokane River and east of Division Street was a logical location for a campus for EWU and WSU to share. Then, through the efforts of many dedicated community and university leaders, the Riverpoint Campus came to pass. And what a blessing it has been to downtown Spokane, the Spokane economy and the people of Spokane.
For 25 years the Spokane Center has been home to tens of thousands of college students. As Eastern says farewell it is altogether fitting to know that the proceeds from the sale of the Spokane Center will go to the pay the design costs for a new EWU building on the Riverpoint Campus.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Erik Meyer Update

Nice update on EWU alum Erik Meyer who just returned home to California from NFL Europe and still hopes to catch on with an NFL team.

Whittier Daily News

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Hargreaves Update

A quick update on Eastern's Historic Hargreaves Hall. Those around campus know preparation work has actually been underway for a few months. But things start in earnest real soon. This from the Spokesman.

EWU's Hargreaves Hall will be renovated

Jacob Jones Correspondent June 21, 2007

A two-year, $13.3 million renovation of a former library at Eastern Washington University is set to begin next month.
EWU Projects Manager Jim Moeller said site preparation at historic Hargreaves Hall is expected to begin after July 9 for the first of two renovation phases.
The first includes reconstructing the parking lot, extending a utility tunnel and preparing the basement, he said.
Spokane contractor Schimmels Construction Inc., the only bidder on the first phase, was awarded a $930,000 contract in May.
Moeller, who said concrete and utility preparation would stretch into the fall, said he expects bidding on the second phase to start in October.
Hargreaves Hall is one of six EWU buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Moeller said.
"The building had reached the end of its life cycle," he said.
The original hall of 1940 included a large reading room with 27-foot ceilings. The open space, lined with ornamental plaster and mahogany shelving, later was converted to add another floor for classrooms.
"This project is to restore that space," Moeller said.
Renovation will reopen the high ceiling, replace aging electrical and heating systems and renovate space for several administrative offices, he said.
EWU hopes to use the reopened space for special events such as speakers and fundraisers.
The second phase, which is expected to cost about $7.7 million, also will add 9,000 square feet of classroom space to the back of the 36,000-square-foot building, Moeller said. The addition will create one new classroom for a total of seven.
The cost of planning, fees and both phases of construction totals approximately $13.3 million, Moeller said.
State legislators approved the funding in the latest two-year construction budget.
The renovation is expected to be completed by March 2009.
Concerned faculty members told the student newspaper, The Easterner, they are worried the renovation might endanger the building's historical status.
Administrators told the paper they have to balance heritage with practicality.
The university hopes to match the original building as much as possible, Moeller said, even tracking down the original source of Tennessee marble for the walls.
"It will be treated as more of a restoration," he said.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Riverpoint Presence

Dr. Ron Dalla, the incredibly nice interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will take over as the new executive dean of EWU's Riverpoint campus. He will hold down the position on an interim basis, playing a key role in enhancing Eastern's presence in downtown Spokane.
Dalla has been with Eastern in various capacities since 1970, and is widely respected around campus and the community for his experience in strategic planning.
Many think he's the perfect fit for this position, as Eastern plans on making more connections with the downtown community as well as other higher education institutions in the region. Dalla will also help guide the transition of students and faculty from the old Higher Education Center in downtown to Riverpoint in the fall.
All of this, of course, is tied to EWU's commitment to the growing U-District at Riverpoint on the east end of Spokane. Within a few years, the University hopes to break ground on a building of it's own so it will no longer have to lease space from WSU for signature programs such as the College of Business and Public Administration - which includes the Department of Urban Planning, Public and Health Services Administration as well as programs such as the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis and Center for Entreprenuerial Activities. Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Dental Hygiene are also key programs at Riverpoint.
EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo also plans to spend about two days a week at Riverpoint as things get rolling over the next year.
While the transition will be difficult and challenging at times, the right leadership is in place to make this a success story.
Dalla, by the way, will be replaced by Dr. John Mason as provost on July 1.


New Coach

I know this is late, but by now followers of the University know we have a new basketball coach. Kirk Earlywine has been an assistant for 21 years, including six at Weber State of the Big Sky Conference.
Much has been made of the dismissal of his successor, Mike Burns, the search process and the way everything has been 'handled'. Let me just say as an 'insider', things aren't quite how they've been portrayed in the media.
This is not a criticism of the media, it's just that there is never enough time or print space to get the whole story out...and people are going to believe what they want no matter what we say. There are so many factors that happen behind the scenes that I never could see in my reporting days. I cannot divulge issues that are a part of personnel decisions, but I can say there is so much more to how things unfolded.
No sense in rehashing all of this, since it is time to move on now.
I do say that while I don't know anything about Kirk Earlywine, he seems like a good guy...hard worker, etc. But here's a nugget that will win you over if you have any doubts about him. Not long after last Friday's press conference to introduce him, I went to Carl's Jr. for lunch with a couple of colleagues. As we left, I noticed a man over by the counter that looked like the new coach. So we walked over, and sure enough, there was Kirk in sweats and basketball shoes ready to go to work - after a quick bite to eat!
The fact that he was at Carl's Jr. not long after facing the media helped him score some quick points with the group I was with that day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Final Four

We're down to the final four coaching candidates for our men's basketball team. Word is that it won't be an easy decision. Each candidate has a unique strength, be it ties to the state of Washington or previous experience in the Big Sky Conference.
I know from 'inside' information, the decision will not be easy.
Here's a nice synopsis from the S-R.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Eastern completes interview process
Eagles hope to hire coach by end of week

Dave Trimmer Staff writer
It's decision time at Eastern Washington University after interviews for the four finalists for the Eagles' men's basketball position were completed late Tuesday.
"Hopefully, we'll be done by the end of the week," interim athletic director Michael Westfall said.
University of Washington assistant Jim Shaw was the final candidate to visit campus. Kirk Earlywine, an assistant at North Carolina-Wilmington, interviewed earlier in the day. Seattle Pacific head coach Jeff Hironaka and NC-Greensboro assistant Rod Jensen met with the five-person search committee Monday.
"There is no front runner, they're all exceptional candidates," Westfall said. "I've said before, you could put all the names in a hat, draw one and we could be successful with anyone in this group."
All four have some connection to the Big Sky Conference as well as extensive resumes.
Hironaka and Shaw started their college careers at Idaho State. Shaw was on the Bengals' staff in 1986-87, and Hironaka was there the next three seasons. Shaw was also at Montana State for two seasons in the mid-'90s. Earlywine spent seven years as an assistant for Joe Cravens at Weber State until Cravens was fired after the 2005-06 season. Jensen, who has been at Greensboro for two years, spent 19 years at Boise State, which was in the Big Sky for his 12 years as an assistant for Bobby Dye and the first of the seven seasons he was head coach.
Jensen, who graduated from the University of Redlands in California in 1975 has the most experience as a head coach with those seven years at BSU, where he went 109-93. After leaving BSU in 2002, Jensen was an assistant at Virginia for two seasons before going to Greensboro in 2005.
Hironaka, a Weiser, Idaho, native and 1980 graduate of Eastern Oregon, has gone 94-49 in his five seasons as the SPU head coach. He was Ken Bone's top assistant for 11 seasons, with the Falcons going 312-126. Hironaka became the head coach when Bone became an assistant at UW in 2002. Bone has been in the BSC the last two seasons as the head coach at Portland State.
Shaw, a Chimacum, Wash., native and 1985 graduate of Western Oregon, has been at UW for the past three seasons, one of the best stretches in school history with back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. Prior to that, he spent five seasons on Kelvin Sampson's staff at Oklahoma, when the Sooners made the Final Four and an Elite Eight appearance. He also spent a year at St. Louis with Husky coach Lorenzo Romar and five years at Portland.
Earlywine, an Indianapolis native and 1987 graduate of Campbell, was the head coach at Division II Pfeiffer in Misenheimer, N.C., in 1995-96, going 21-8.
His first job was under Rick Majerus at Ball State. In his second season the Falcons made the NCAA tournament and upset Pittsburgh in the first round. Earlywine went to Utah with Majerus and was there for three seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance, before going to Central Michigan for the 1993-94 season.
It was at CMU where he met Westfall, who was on the staff there, making him the only candidate with a personal history with the head of the search committee.
"That has absolutely nothing to do with it," Westfall said. "You don't get ahead or where I'm at by hiring your friends, you have to hire the best person for the job."
Earlywine then went to Pfeiffer and Wisconsin-Milwaukee for two seasons before going to Weber.
He has been at Wilmington two seasons.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Finals and notes

Things have been very busy lately, at least internally. But as far as this post goes I know it's been slow. Eastern students are in finals this week and pretty soon the bustling campus will give way to summer break, hot temperatures and a different 'pace' if you will for the next few months.
EWU is interviewing finalists for the men's basketball team this week, with a decision due likely on Friday.
Meanwhile, here's a nice update from our own sports information director Dave Cook on a former Eastern quarterback who's having success in NFL Europe.

FORMER EAGLE COMPLETES 21-OF-29 FOR 287 YARDS AND THREE TOUCHDOWNS AS HIS TEAM IS ON BRINK OF A WORLD BOWL BERTH Former Eastern Washington University football star Erik Meyer was NFL Europa’s Player of the Week after his performance for the Cologne Centurions in a key victory over the Amsterdam Admirals last Saturday (June 9). Meyer completed 21-of-29 passes for 287 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions during Cologne's 31-13 victory. That performance gave him a league-best quarterback rating of 138.1 in the game, edging his previous league-best performance of 136.9 earlier this season against Berlin. With Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne currently in a three-way tie for first at 6-3, the final games this upcoming weekend will determine who will play in the Yello Strom World Bowl XV on Saturday, June 23, at Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. This Saturday (June 16), Cologne will travel to Frankfurt and Hamburg will play Rhein. Earlier this season, the Centurions were edged by Frankfurt 18-13. Meyer heads into the final week of the regular season ranked second among NFLE quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100.6. He has completed a league-best 67.3 percent of his passes (115-of-171) for 1,384 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Meyer has also added 125 rushing yards and one touchdown. He earned the starting position in week three with a 14-6 victory over the Rhein Fire. At the time, the win moved the Centurions into second place in the standings behind the defending champion Frankfurt Galaxy. The three teams currently in a first-place tie are followed by Rhein (4-5), Amsterdam (3-6) and Berlin (2-7). While at EWU, Meyer was named the Big Sky Offensive MVP in 2004 and 2005 and his senior year was named the Walter Payton Award winner. He helped lead Eastern to back-to-back Big Sky Conference co-championships and two NCAA Championship Subdivision playoff berths. He broke the NCAA Championship Subdivision record for efficiency rating (166.5) by quarterbacks with at least 400 completions. He had 10,261 yards and 84 touchdowns in 42 career games.

Monday, June 04, 2007


EWU on the move

More coverage on Eastern Washington University's downtown plan to sell the old Spokane Center and position itself for a bigger role at Riverpoint, or the so-called "U-District". Big article in the Spokesman Review today (see article below) outlining our plans. Needless to say, not everyone is happy. Some frustration from the one program that is being moved back to Cheney.
While this frustration might be understandable, it is unfortunate that people who have been with the University so long would use the media as the vehicle to voice that frustration and harshly criticize their own employer. Really, we are all in this together. Every one's working hard to make EWU an even better higher education institution and this downtown move is not easy.
Overall, we move forward on our plans to be a key player in Spokane and provide the education that our students demand.

EWU's shuffle
Bid on building puts relocation plans in motion

Shawn Vestal Staff writerJune 4, 2007
Eastern Washington University is closing in on the sale of its downtown Spokane center, and its long-awaited move to the Riverpoint campus is set to happen this summer.
But it'll be at least a few years until EWU has its own building on that campus. In the interim, students and professors will cobble together space from different buildings at Riverpoint and elsewhere in the city. One program – journalism – is being moved back to Cheney.
EWU is in the process of reviewing a bid to buy its current downtown center at 701 W. First Ave., which the school says needs extensive repairs. Provost Ron Dalla would not identify the bidder, but said the offer was roughly the asking price of $4 million.
The addition of Eastern's Spokane students will almost double the number of students next fall at Riverpoint, the shared campus between EWU and Washington State University that business leaders have long envisioned as the centerpiece of a university district in Spokane, with academic programs, housing and businesses.
Eastern will bring about 1,000 students to campus, where about 1,500 WSU students already take classes.
"All in all, I think it will really help move that campus toward the vision we all have," said Dalla. "It's just a matter now of cinching up our belts and putting up with the temporary quarters while we build our building."
Some of the belt-cinching will be considerable. Faculty offices will be in one building and classrooms in another during the interim at Riverpoint, and students have complained their programs will lose a sense of cohesion.
EWU's master's in social work program will likely be housed at Spokane Falls Community College. And the school's journalism program, after decades in Spokane, is being moved back to Cheney, to the displeasure of faculty and students.
"It's a poorly thought-out, ill-advised decision by the university," said Steve Blewett, the retiring director of the journalism program.
He said journalism students benefit greatly from longtime relationships in Spokane between the faculty, media, government organizations and others.
Blewett said EWU administrators didn't seek advice or input from the faculty of the Spokane programs before deciding to return their program to Cheney.
"In the three to four years while this was being kicked around, we've never been involved in the discussions," he said. "You can talk to creative writing (faculty), neither were they. You can talk to social work, neither were they."
In Dalla's written recommendation about the restructuring of the Spokane programs, he wrote that he'd reviewed "independent submissions" from every program in Spokane before making his recommendations to President Rodolfo Arevalo.
He acknowledged Friday that representatives of the programs could have been brought into discussions earlier. He said some journalism courses will remain in Spokane, with faculty offices and other courses in Cheney.
"We should have had more communication from the very beginning, and that didn't happen," he said. "We've been trying to deal with that since then."
EWU is finalizing its Spokane plan. Its eventual building in Spokane will include the creative writing, social work, communications, counseling and interdisciplinary programs, as well as some additional "signature" programs in the areas of water, health care and urban community.
Once that lineup is final, the school will begin designing a new building, using the proceeds from the sale of its current downtown building. The construction budget could range from $45 million to $60 million, and EWU will need to ask the state Legislature to fund the building.
EWU doesn't yet have an exact location at Riverpoint for the new facility.
Classes at the downtown center will continue over the summer quarter, and operations will be moved to the Riverpoint campus before the fall quarter.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Screening Coaches

The departure of head men's basketball coach Mike Burns is certainly not a story anybody enjoys having to deal with. And while no one takes it lightly when someone with a family is out of a job, there is one slightly humorous side-note I would like to share.
As the media relations specialist for the University, my name is on the news release that was issued Wednesday regarding the coaching change. Since then, I have been fielding many phone calls from assistant coaches around the country interested in the coaching vacancy.
They apparently are calling me because the release specifically states to contact me if you would like to talk to the interim Athletic Director, Michael Westfall. And things get muddied here because Westfall is also our vice president for Advancement - which oversees my department, University Relations (hence, my involvement in all of this).
So, it's quite humorous to be fielding calls from assistant coaches all over the country. Each one is suddenly my 'friend' and before I have a chance to direct them to the right person they've reeled off their career coaching record, all the stops they've made along the way and how interested they are to either come out west or stay west in the Big Sky Conference.
Six months ago I was in television news covering politics, crime and general issues. Sort of funny to be fielding phone calls for prospective Division One basketball coaches.
Now back to my regular job.


EWU Downtown

Over the last couple of months we've had several stories in the local media on our downtown strategy to move from the Spokane Center to Riverpoint, or the so-called "U-District". Here's yet another update from the Spokane Journal of Business.


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