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Totally Random

December 23, 2008 |  6:00 pm

Jerry Tarkanian

Guys used to get a good bounce from being the Long Beach State men's basketball coach.

Jerry Tarkanian (1968-73) went to UNLV and won a national title. Lute Olson (1973-74) did the same at Arizona. Tex Winter (1978-83) taught the triangle offense to Phil Jackson.

Then there is Wayne Morgan, who is making sure inmates can watch "Days of Our Lives." Morgan, fired as Iowa State's coach in 2006, now owns Mid-Iowa Satellite and has been hired by Iowa State ... the Iowa state pen, that is.

Morgan's business won the contract to switch television sets from analog to digital at two state prisons. That might seem less thrilling than beating Minnesota in the NCAA tournament, but both accomplishments seem to make Morgan tingle.

"We're happy and overjoyed to win a game in this great tournament," Morgan said after beating the Gophers in 2005. And today? "We are happy to do this, and we are excited about it," Morgan told the Des Moines Register about the prison deal.

Trivia time

Who did Olson's 24-2 Long Beach State team play in the NCAA tournament during his one season as coach?

Ice, ice baby

Hockey purists beware. Synthetic ice could be coming to a Canadian city near you, according to the Canwest News Service.

"The advantage of plastic is there's no maintenance, no refrigeration needed, no chemicals or ice-cleaning machine, so the energy costs are zero," Francois Bilodeau, president of Montreal-based Glace Synthetique du Canada Inc., told the news service.

Wait, no "ice-cleaning machine"? How will future generations ever understand that "Zamboni Song"?

Wake up the echoes?

The last time Notre Dame won a bowl game, Joe Paterno, Penn State's 82-year-old coach, was a whippersnapper, just barely eligible for Social Security benefits. After nine consecutive bowl defeats, the Irish are hoping for eggnog rather than egg-on-face when they play Hawaii today in the Hawaii Bowl.

Since the Irish beat Texas A&M in the 1994 Cotton Bowl, 89 of the 119 Division I schools have won a bowl game. Tailback Armondo Allen had this to say about ending that nine-game streak: "That's is something we always talk about, starting a new trend. And we can start it right here in Hawaii."

Hawaii? A trend? Really? Some where Knute Rockne must be shaking his head.

Trivia answer

No one. The 49ers were on probation, a parting gift from their former coach, Tarkanian.

And finally

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler on the New York Yankees signing pitcher CC Sabathia to a seven-year, $161-million contract: "In other news, the Yankees signed Prince and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to provide live pre-game music in the clubhouse."

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Fresno State Coach Jerry Tarkanian chews on a towel as he watches his team play during a 1998 tournament. Credit: Jack Smith / Associated Press