Ali’s mom has got it goin’ on.
Actually, it was Stacy’s mom that had it goin’ on. And I don’t think Fountains of Wayne were singing about coaching volleyball, which is what Ali’s mom — Cindy Fredrick, the former volleyball coach at Weber State, Washington State and Iowa — soon will be doing at UNLV.
Cindy Fredrick is the mother of Ali Farokhmanesh, the former Northern Iowa basketball ace who in March shot a dagger into Rebels’ hearts from like 37 feet away from the basket in the first round of the NCAA Tournament — then shot another dagger into Kansas Jayhawks’ hearts two days later. Not that beating the best team in the land with a similar shot from a similar distance made it any easier to accept.
Jim Livengood, the UNLV athletic director who pulls surprises from his hat as if they were rabbits or Brett Favre comebacks, also has it goin’ on.
By naming Ali’s mom or the Mother of Ali or Ali, Bumaye! (remember the chant in Africa the night the other Ali, Muhammad, knocked out George Foreman?) to replace Allison Keeley, Livengood has generated about 40 column inches for the volleyball program — about 38 more than he would have generated otherwise.
If you can’t beat ’em, hire ’em.
But why stop at Ali’s mom? I was going to say the list of UNLV tormentors is practically endless, but then I remembered the football team, and that it’s hard to be tormented by a single person when you are losing 52-13 every week.
I suppose that if Colin Kaepernick doesn’t make an NFL roster, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck could find a spot for the UNR quarterback as a graduate assistant or something. But let’s face it: Those who torment UNLV do it on the basketball court, or, in the case of Sarah Cummard, near it, because that is the sport in which the Rebels excel. Well, they also excel in swimming, but swimmers usually don’t torment each other, unless one is Aquaman and the other is Ocean Master or Black Manta.
The first person UNLV should put on the payroll is Cummard, wife of former Brigham Young basketball star Lee Cummard, because the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Mrs. Cummard greased so many wheels after her hubby’s team lost to UNLV in the 2007 Mountain West Conference championship game that a SWAT team, six Navy SEALs and three G.I. Joes with kung-fu grips had to restore order to the havoc she wreaked. Perhaps there’s an opening in the English department for a Professor Emeritus of Salty Language.
She can bring Rafael Araujo with her. In 2004, Araujo sank a basket just before the buzzer to beat the Rebels in the regular-season finale. A few minutes earlier, the 6-foot-11-inch BYU behemoth had punched UNLV’s 5-11 Jerel Blassingame in the nose but was allowed to remain in the game.
When Lon Kruger is done coaching basketball, Bobby Hurley should get his job. Hurley didn’t exactly torment the Rebels in the 1990 NCAA Championship game — he scored just two points — but that didn’t prevent UNLV fans from cultivating a powerful dislike for him — especially after he had a nice game the following year when Duke got revenge in the national semifinals.
UNLV tried to hire Rick Majerus when he was at Utah but that would have been ill-advised, considering Majerus’ marginal success at Saint Louis. But the Rebels could hire his XXXL sweater. It would make a great tarp for the baseball field, or a field-goal net.
I don’t know what Brian Greene, the Colorado State player whose last-second basket kept Marcus Banks and Charlie Spoonhour out of the NCAA Tournament a few years back, is doing. But I say hire him, too. And anybody named Jacobson.
In 2004, Utah’s Nick Jacobson hit a buzzer-beating 25-footer from the seat of his pants in the MWC final in Denver, ending Jay Spoonhour and the Rebels’ NCAA Tournament dream. It was Nick’s first cousin, Ben, who drew up the 37-footer for Ali Farokhmanesh in the Northern Iowa huddle.
Ali’s coach has got it goin’ on, too.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352.