NCAA

SJSU kick returner wins WAC special teams award

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SJSU kick returner wins WAC special teams award

SJSU running back and kick returner Tyler Ervin was awarded the Western Atheltic Conferences special teams Player of the Week Monday, the third Spartan in as many weeks to be recognized by the conference.Ervin recorded a conference-best 167 return yards in Saturdays 38-34 win over San Diego State, including a 97-yard touchdown return in the second quarter. The return came after San Diego State took its first lead with an 83-yard touchdown run from Adam Muema.Ervins touchdown return was also the only kickoff returned for a touchdown in this weeks FBS play.I am very proud of Tyler Ervin and David Ogborn and the kick return team, head coach Mike MacIntyre said. On the road you got to have some sort of special teams step up and make plays and we were able to do that.Ogborn added 86 return yards, including a 67-yard return after San Diego States special teams started to kick away from Ervin to prevent another big return.SJSU won the WACs defensive player of the week in each of the previous two weeks defensive end Travis Johnson two weeks ago against UC Davis and linebacker Vince Buhagiar a week ago against Colorado State. Buhagiar was a nominee for this weeks award after he turned in 11 total tackles, eight solo tackles, three for a loss and a sack.For the second week in a row, junior quarterback David Fales was nominated for the conferences Offensive Player of the Week award. Fales finished the game with 260 yards on 21-of-31 passing and four touchdowns. He led a game-tying drive and two go-ahead drive with three touchdown passes while completing his final 10 passes in the fourth quarter. INJURY UPDATE Linebacker Keith Smith and wide receiver Jabari Carr both did not practice and were wearing boots Monday, however, are expected to return to practice Tuesday.Smith twisted his ankle and Carr suffered a turf toe injury in Saturdays game, MacIntyre said. RANKING

For its win in San Diego on Saturday, SJSU has received two votes in this weeks USA Today Top-25 Coaches Poll. The Spartans received one vote after last weeks win over Colorado State and are now tied for 44th in the country with two votes.

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

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STANFORD.COM

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

Bob Murphy, who was the voice of Stanford athletics when such titles truly mattered in the Bay Area, died Tuesday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 86.

Murphy was viscerally connected to the university in ways that were once in vogue across the nation but are now reserved only to the Midwest and Southeast. He was a walking ambassador for the school’s athletic history, a familiar face to the army of alums who linked to his voice and presence early and ultimately grew old with him, even when coaches and players and athletic directors came and went with unsettling frequency.

And while his time as the alternate face to Hoover Tower eventually faded, he was still Murph – to be honored and respected by all generations, even the ones who never heard him or saw him. If anyone below the age of 25 asked about him, he was spoken of with the reverence reserved for architectural structures or hundred-year-old trees. He belonged to the place, and the place belonged to him.

He mattered at Stanford, because Stanford is an insular community, watching the world outside with a palpable sense of “Thank God we’re safe in here.” He attended the school, he worked as its sports information director, and he was the radio voice who fought for Stanford when only a few people were listening. He had proven his devotion decades ago, until his devotion became part of the background noise and scenery.

And he didn’t even leave after he became ill, and then absent. Only the most successful coaches and athletes get to attain that omnipresent aura in college athletics, and in truth, Murphy reached more people in the community than any coach or player the school has ever had, simply by being at the place, and of the place, longer and more happily than anyone.

Sometime soon, we suspect, he will be remembered with a statue, either near the football stadium or near Maples Pavilion. He will be bronzed, wearing a polo shirt with the S-with-the-interlocking-tree and glasses wedged against the bridge of his nose. He will be seated, with a desk before him and microphone perched atop it, and there will be a plaque with a Wikipedia-ized list of his contributions.

But without the voice, it will be incomplete. That will have to be recreated inside the heads of those who heard it most often, and cared most what words it carried. It is there where Bob Murphy’s memory will thrive – as someone who defined Stanford in ways that no marketing campaign ever could.

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

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USATI

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

Steve Kerr has been the standard by which all other coaches have been measured in these parts since he arrived in Oakland – rescued as it was from the nine hells of the New York Knickerbockers. He is indeed so good that he is still getting credit for the 50 wins he actually didn’t fully merit – the 39 that belong to Luke Walton and the 11 that are Mike Brown’s.

But this is not to slag Kerr’s record – which even if you eliminate the 55 games he hasn’t coached in his three years because of his back issue is still the best in NBA history – but to remind you that David Shaw still exists, he still is supervising the golden age of Stanford football, and he is just as unavailable to pro teams as he ever was.

Shaw, whose team opens its season on Saturday night in Australia against Rice, has been beneath the radar since the day he arrived, for no better reasons than (a) the Bay Area doesn’t hold much stock in college football and (b) he likes it that way. His excellence is indisputable, but he is also in the perfect place to do his job without any of the irritants that surround most college coaches – media, embittered alumni, NCAA investigators, the late night call from the cops about your outside linebacker overturning a minivan, that kind of thing.

He has worn down all attempts to question him on his next job because, while he could get one at the snap of a finger, he was not infected with the standard coach’s ambition to see and be seen. He has seen the sport’s many excesses and has decided to ward off the ones that directly touch him.

He still believes in the game’s virtues, and can probably be considered a fairly doctrinaire figure on most issues confronting the sport and its practitioners, but does not have to pretend that he is too focused on the job to be interested in mundane things like eclipses, political turmoil, social justice and all the other noxious things that happen outside the cocoon.

But be not fooled. He likes the cocoon that is Stanford, and he has the sense to understand that the chance of a better job existing is almost infinitesimal. He may someday want something more public and lucrative, but until money and fame get a long winning streak going at his house, he’ll sit quietly, the second-best coach in the Bay Area and the first-best at making you not remember that he is just that.