Archive - Sports Article
March 24th, 2011
PROVIDENCE â€” As he wrapped up his first press conference as Providence Collegeâ€™s new basketball coach, Ed Cooley was asked about his first order of business.
â€śRecruit, recruit, recruit,â€ť was Cooleyâ€™s quick-to-the-point response.
PROVIDENCE â€“ One could walk out of Alumni Hall draped in confidence that Providence College got it right this time.
That was Ed Cooleyâ€™s biggest accomplishment on Wednesday afternoon. He gave a fan base a reason to hope again. The Providence native is coming home to breath fresh air into a program that is begging for a turnaround, and he appears the correct guy for the job.
The two virtually grew up in the same corner of the state, frequently crossing paths whenever a pickup game broke out. Everything changed though, Jamal Gomes recalls, on the day of his high school graduation, when he learned a great deal about Ed Cooley, the person.
â€śHe had heard that I was coming to Stonehill College to play basketball and called to congratulate me,â€ť was one of several stories Gomes shared about Cooley, who will be introduced as the next menâ€™s basketball head coach at Providence College Wednesday afternoon. â€śHeâ€™s an amazing, amazing man.â€ť
PROVIDENCE â€“ There was only one candidate Providence College officials had its sights set on to become the schoolâ€™s next basketball coach. Apparently Ed Cooley felt that warm embrace to the point that the Providence native is ready to take on the challenge of reversing the Friarsâ€™ fortunes.
Tuesday saw Providence officially sign off on the 41-year-old Cooley as the Friarsâ€™ new coach. Terms of the deal were not announced, though itâ€™s not too far-fetched to think Cooley received something comparable, in terms of length and compensation, to the package Keno Davis was awarded three years ago.
This is the time of year when short hops and drag bunts are tabled by mire and muck; shagging fly balls replaced by judging ricochets off a gym wall.
CUMBERLAND â€“ They'll have a new head coach and they'll be participating in a new league.
But as far as the outlook for the upcoming season for Cumberland High, it will still be the same old goals.
â€śWe just want to win as many games as possible and have some fun,â€ť said first-year coach Matt Smalley. â€śWe are just going to take it one game at a time and hopefully at the end of the season we'll be playing on championship day.â€ť
On the same day Providence College parted company with Keno Davis, athletic director Bob Driscoll spelled out very succinctly the expectations he has for the Friar basketball program.
â€śIt encompasses three different things. One, I want our student-athletes to represent the college and athletic department with dignity and class, both on and off the court,â€ť was how Driscoll began. â€śI want my student-athletes to graduate from Providence College and I want to compete for a NCAA Tournament berth on an annual basis. Those are the standards by which I evaluate.â€ť
PROVIDENCE â€” After battling a stiff headwind for the first mile of the St. Patâ€™s 5K, Stephen Pretak knew his goal of running close to 15 minutes would not happen Saturday morning.
But the less-than-favorable conditions in the Providence race didnâ€™t stop him from breaking the tape a winner.
The 26-year-old Connecticut native captured the final stage of the inaugural Tour de Patrick, finishing the out-and-back course with a time of 15:31.7. Pretak held off defending titlist Eric Lonergan of North Kingstown, who claimed the runner-up spot at 15:35.4.
The seasons come and the seasons go.
Another winter of high school sports in our region has come to an end (except for Mount St. Charles hockey, both the boys and the girls).
It wasnâ€™t a particularly great campaign for teams from the Blackstone Valley. St. Raphael Academy did win the boysâ€™ basketball open tournament. That was no small achievement, especially after the Saints limped to the finish line during the regular season and made a quick exit from the division playoffs.
Life is about second chances and the Saints made the most of their opportunity.
PAWTUCKET â€” Freddy Gobewole is making a name for himself in this city, first as an all-state football player for Shea High last autumn and then as the New England high school indoor track champion at 55 meters.
PROVIDENCE â€” Keno Davis never failed to mention that Providence College featured one of the youngest menâ€™s basketball teams in the Big East, if not the country. Many saw that as a plea or a copout on Davisâ€™ part, but the fact that the Friarsâ€™ 2010-11 roster was comprised of 10 first- or second-year players is not lost on athletic director Bob Driscoll.
The great unknown turned into the great success for boysâ€™ basketball in Rhode Island. Thanks to the countless thrills and memories the all-inclusive state tournament provided, the format of crowning one undisputed champion is likely here to stay.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€” â€śWe stayed at a high level,â€ť deadpanned Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine as his St. Raphael Academy players were hooting and hollering in the adjacent room.
In the same breath Sorrentine, donning a championship hat, added, â€śYou could never relax.â€ť
That in a nutshell summarizes SRAâ€™s journey back to the top of the Rhode Island high school basketball mountain. The opposition tried its best to rattle the Saints, but when it mattered most, Sorrentineâ€™s crew rose to the occasion.
PORTSMOUTH â€” Over the past several years, Portsmouth Abbeyâ€™s rink has been a house of horrors for Cumberland High, a building that has been as cold to the Clippers as the frigid temperatures inside its confines.
On Sunday afternoon, the Clippers endured their latest nightmare at the arena, and it resulted in a swift exit from the Division II playoffs.
The third-seeded Clippers dropped the third and deciding game of their best-of-three semifinal-round series to second-seeded Portsmouth High in the form of a 5-3 defeat that wasnâ€™t nearly as close as the score indicates.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€“ Behold the skill set of Charles Correa.
St. Raphaelâ€™s talented point guard couldnâ€™t have picked a better time to showcase his talents. With a berth in the finals of the open state tournament on the line, Correa did his part in SRAâ€™s 66-48 quarterfinal win against North Providence Friday night at URIâ€™s Ryan Center.
PROVIDENCE â€“ Bob Driscoll is back on the clock, and this time the Providence College athletic director is bringing some important friends along for the ride.
For the second time in three years, Driscoll finds himself making an important assessment of the menâ€™s basketball program. PC parted ways with Keno Davis on Friday after three turbulent seasons, a tenure that was marked by tough times on and away from the court. Speaking from inside his Alumni Hall office late Friday afternoon, Driscoll mentioned he plans on forming a search committee in his quest to find the next Friar coach.
Officially, the Keno Davis Era at Providence College ended Friday, when the school severed its working relationship with the head coach, one many perceived upon his hiring three years ago was the missing link in bringing respectability to the menâ€™s basketball program.
Technically, Davisâ€™ fate at PC was sealed last May 18, when star player Jamine â€śGreedyâ€ť Peterson was expelled after an undisclosed incident in a dorm room on campus. The incidents that came before and after Petersonâ€™s ouster were a further death knell to a situation that Davis was never able to recover from.
There are times when Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine probably wishes he had a traffic light on the bench. Instead of making tiresome gyrations with his hands and feet and straining his vocal cords, Sorrentine could simply stand and rely on the signaling device to get the message across.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Mike Kayata and Matt Pita arenâ€™t about to tell Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine anything he doesnâ€™t already know. On Monday the longtime St. Raphael Academy coach was present as North Providence ushered top seed Cranston West out of the state tournament behind a reverse lay-in in the dying seconds from one of the Cougarsâ€™ chief threats, Austin Van Bemmelen.
Two down, four to go.
Four wins are what separates three of the Blackstone Valleyâ€™s boysâ€™ hockey teams -- Mount St. Charles Academy, Cumberland High, and East Providence High -- from a date with state championship glory.
And the road for those teams continue this weekend when a half dozen best-of-three semifinal-round series around the state take place.