Tiger's coach set to publish tell-all book

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Tiger's coach set to publish tell-all book

From Comcast SportsNet
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) -- Hank Haney has written a book about the six years he spent as Tiger Woods' swing coach, a volatile time in which Woods went from winning nearly half of his tournaments to a scandal that derailed his pursuit of golf history. "I get asked all the time about Tiger, what it was like to work with him," Haney said in a telephone interview. "I felt like I had a front row seat to golf history. It just kind of chronicles a little bit of what I went through, what I dealt with, how I coached and the observations I made." Haney began working with Woods at the Bay Hill Invitational in 2004. They parted ways a month after the 2010 Masters, where Woods made his return to golf after being exposed for multiple extramarital affairs that shattered his image and led to divorce. Most of the people involved with Woods have signed a nondisclosure agreement. Haney said he signed no such thing -- "I didn't even have a contract," he said -- although he said the book was not intended to "take jabs at anyone." Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at Excel Sports Management, said he was aware of the book 'The Big Miss' but that Woods had not seen any excerpts and would have no comment. Haney was asked whether he thought Woods will like it. "If he reads it, I don't think it will be a book that bothers him. It's hard to say," Haney said. "Anybody who reads it will think it's interesting, very fair and honest, and that's what I wanted to do. I was on that job for six years. There were 110 days a year I was with him. I stayed at his house for close to 30 days a year. You make a lot of observations." The book will be released by Crown Archetype, part of the Crown Publishing Group at Random House, Inc. It is scheduled to be published March 27 -- one week before the Masters -- and issued simultaneously in print and digital formats in the United States and Canada. Haney wrote the book with Jaime Diaz of Golf Digest, whose coverage dates to when Woods was a teenager and Diaz played golf with Woods and his father. Diaz also spoke at the memorial service for Earl Woods. He said the title was collaboration. "It has multiple meanings," Haney said. "The Big Miss' was golf jargon. The big miss of a drive, obviously that's been part of his game. The big miss of an opportunity? That's really where we got the idea. It was a missed opportunity that Tiger and I had that we experienced working together. That all comes out in the book." Haney was the second of three coaches Woods has used as a professional, though he was part of the most interesting times. He received more criticism than any coach, even though Woods won 29 times and six majors during their six years. "The period of time that I dealt with Tiger was much more unique, in terms of having the scandal, Torrey Pines with the broken leg at the U.S. Open, other things, too," Haney said. "It was a totally different time." Woods went nine months without winning after going to work with Haney. Starting with the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan at the end of the 2005 season, however, Woods won 46 percent of the tournaments he played worldwide. During their six years together, Woods got married and had two children. His father died in May 2006, and Woods missed the cut in a major for the first time at the U.S. Open a month later. As for the serial adultery, Haney said he didn't know about it and doesn't delve into that chapter of Woods' life in the book, except for his return from the scandal after going nearly five months without competition. "It's something you can't NOT talk about it," Haney said. "My last tournament was the Masters, and that was his first tournament back from the scandal. I didn't know anything about the girls. That's not something I could specifically comment on. Everything I comment on is what I observed and the facts I knew. I didn't know anything about that. "But I did know about how he interacted with me about that, what my observations were and other areas in terms of how I dealt with and the aftermath." The most compelling win under Haney came at the 2008 U.S. Open, when Woods learned he had a double stress fracture in left leg, along with torn ligaments in his left knee. Despite not competing for two months, he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. Haney recalled doctors telling Woods before that U.S. Open that he needed to spend three weeks on crutches, followed by three weeks of rest. Haney says Woods told the doctors, "I'm playing the U.S. Open, and I'm going to win." Pressed for examples of his observations in the book, Haney declined, not even to mention his favorite moment or the low point in his coaching relationship with Woods. Haney said he knew all along he would be writing a book. He worked primarily with Mark O'Meara, which is how he got to know Woods. Haney said from the day he first went to work with Woods, he knew that would be his last pro client. He took notes and kept his observations in diaries, then waited to find the right publisher and someone -- Diaz -- to help him with the book. Haney said he hasn't seen the finished product, but "we're very close." "It was an incredible opportunity," Haney said. "We had a great run and I enjoyed it, but a lot of things happened in six years that made it feel a little longer. I had a lot of great observations from being in the position I was in."

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."