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Hutton: Oakland move good for Horizon, Valpo

Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune  Oaklhead coach Greg Kampe watches from sidelines Sunday afternoKemper ArenKansas City. The Grizzly have never beaten

Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune Oakland head coach Greg Kampe watches from the sidelines Sunday afternoon at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. The Grizzly have never beaten the Crusaders.

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Updated: June 13, 2013 7:35PM



I want Oakland in my league because I want Greg Kampe around.

I want him to come to the Athletics-Recreation Center and have him help fill my notebook up once a year, or even twice if the Crusaders play them at home in the conference tournament.

I want Oakland in the Horizon League because, Kampe is, as a friend of mine from the region used to say, “Good people.”

Kampe is like that best friend you had — the one who could open the door to your house, walk into the kitchen, open the refrigerator and grab himself a beer, while you were gone and you wouldn’t care a whit.

You just want him around — even if you’re not home.

I want Oakland in the league because the Grizzlies are well coached and they play hard and they have a rivalry with Valparaiso University that is deep and spirited and good for the fans and fun to cover.

I’ll take the Loyola-for-Oakland trade any day. The Ramblers have Chicago going for them, but they still play like a team stuck in a different decade in a town that is indifferent about them.

Yes, the Oakland-for-Loyola trade was a great day for the Horizon League and an even better day for VU. He’s back — a vestige of the Mid-Continent Conference and the Summit League.

Kampe called me on Friday, after getting off the golf course. He’d just shot an 82. Remarkable for a pudgy, slightly beyond middle-aged coach, who had both his knees replaced last year and who ruptured his Achilles sliding into first base playing softball in a 55-and over league last year.

How many college basketball coaches at the Division I level still play softball? I’m guessing just one. (Well, not anymore).

Kampe was thrilled to shoot an 82 after all he’d been through.

He’s just as thrilled to get a chance to play in the Horizon League.

He is one of the few coaches around who has spent nearly a professional lifetime at the same school, (29 years), taking the Grizzlies from a Division II power to Division I, where they became one of the best teams in the Summit League.

He has a hundred VU stories — starting with the infamous streak (the Crusaders beat the Grizzlies 16 straight times), the time that Tarrance Price beat Oakland after making four straight 3-pointers at their place, to the Grizzlies’ last two nonconference victories over the Crusaders, both of which were one-possession games.

Kampe loves playing VU, loves the competition and rivalry and the people. It’s good to have him and Oakland back.

Eddie Fierek and Noll

Former Highland coach Eddie Fierek would be a perfect fit for the Bishop Noll job. Fierek dismissed the idea, saying in a text that he had no plans to apply for the job because he just signed up as an assistant for Calumet College.

However, never take “No” for answer, right? Fierek coached at Bishop Noll before he jumped over to Highland, where he has a teaching job that pays him just a little more than he can make at Noll.

He did well at Highland but he got burned out after seven seasons. I’ll tell you why you get burned out coaching the Trojans: It’s hard to have to bang against Lake Central, West Side, Munster and East Chicago in the West Side Sectional year after year.

The Noll job is an attractive one, at least at this minute, because the Warriors really are a team that is poised to make a deep run in the tournament. They have Larry Crisler and Tyreon Gates back, along with the possibility of a 6-10 center.

They don’t have to deal with Bowman. Whoever gets the gig should be well-positioned to at least have some success this season. That’s always nicer than losing. The private school jobs always pose an interesting dilemma for athletic directors: Do you try to hire someone who is vested in the program for a while (possibly a retired coach) or go for someone ambitious and young, knowing very well they could be gone after a year or two?

In this instance, Noll needs the right guy. I suspect the right person won’t necessarily be someone on staff, given all the problems the school had earlier this season when the Indiana High School Athletic Association ruled that Lamous Brown had transferred from Chicago Harlan for athletic purposes. In a climate where kids come and go like a band of gypsies, Noll needs to act quickly so the kids know who is in charge.

Gary Amateur

One of many not-so-shameful plugs for the Gary Amateur, formerly known as the Northwest Indiana Golf Classic.

It will be held at South Gleason Golf Course on June 8 and June 9. The cost is $55. Pay the day of the tournament.

An entry blank can be found in the Post-Tribune today. Also, the driving range will be open for action on both days.



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