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March 5, 2015

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 Free Press Section 2 Page 1 Eagles go cold in final minutes in 77- 76 loss to Grizzlies Photo by Paul Delaney Eastern Washington's Drew Brandon drives to the basket against Montana's Fabijan Krslovic in last Saturday's Grizzlies' 77-76 win over the Eagles, played before 4,621, the fourth largest crowd in Reese Court history. By PAUL DELANEY Staff Report er A troubling pattern has emerged with the Eastern Washington Uni- versity men's basketball team. In the last three weeks, the Eagles have won on Thursday, but lost each Saturday -- and by ex- cruciatingly close mar- gins. Eastern lost 73-69 at Northern Arizona Feb. 21 and 68-66 at home to Portland State Feb. 14. The third such of those defeats, a 77-76 loss to Montana before a raucous Reese Court crowd of 4,621, Feb. 28, might have been the most damaging to the Eagles' hope of winning a Big Sky regu- lar season championship -- and hosting the league tournament. It certainly could have been worse, had Eastern not routed Montana State last Thurs- day, 92-68. "When it is a game that comes down to one possession like that, there are a lot of things you can look at," Eastern head coach Jim Hayford said. Part of Eastern's downfall was a finish where they left a poten- tial 12 points on the floor in the final 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Tyler Harvey's layup with 1:54 to play, which cut the Montana lead to 77-76, were the last points Eastern would score. The Eagles are now 13-2 at home this season. Harvey would miss from 3-range, Venky Jois had a pair of layups fall out and Drew Brandon did the same. The Eagles had one final opportunity on a baseline jumper by Parker Kelly just inside the arc with four seconds to play, but it was an air ball and fell into the arms of Mon- tana's Fabijan Krslovic. "We executed a re- ally good baseline out-of- bounds play and Drew hit Parker there in rhythm," Hayford said. "I asked Parker if he was fouled, and he said no. He missed it, but he got a wide-open look." Montana was hardly better down the stretch with their final points coming with 2:35 to play, a basket by their leading scorer Martin Breunig to complete his 24-point day. See EWU men page 2 Roos retires after 10-year career FROM NEWS SERVICE REPORTS Michael Roos, who provided the lion's share of funding to install the renown red turf in the stadium that helped him attain All-Pro status in the NFL, announced his retirement Feb. 26. "After 10 years as a Tennessee Titan I have decided to retire from football," Roos wrote on Instagram. "I have given this decision much consideration." The former Eastern Washington University and Tennessee Titans offensive tackle saw his 2014 season end due to a knee injury last Oct. 5. The injury required surgery and was a factor in Roos' decision to end his 10-year NFL career: Roos earned All-Pro accolades in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and started in the Pro Bowl in 2009. In his last 13 seasons as a football player, Roos started every game he Michael Roos played -- a total of 226. Roos, born and raised for 10 years in the Baltic state on Estonia, was a standout athlete at Moun- tain View High School in Vancouver, Wash. Ironi- cally, the 6-foot, 7-inch, 315-pound Roos was pri- marily a basketball player and only began playing football as a senior in high school. Roos credited his coaches for their help in his career. "I want to thank my coaches Mike Woodward By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Perhaps giving back is just in Michael Roos' genes. Along with being grounded, humble, grate- ful and who knows what else. In todav's world of professional, and even college sports, those traits are sometimes lost - or have never been found with some'athletes. Roos retired last week after a 10-year NFL career as an offensive tackle, his final season in 2014 cut short by a knee injury and subsequent surgery. The former Eastern Eagle, who graduated in 2005, was chosen as the ninth pick in the second round of the NFL. Roos was the highest pick ever to come out of EWU. And he's been one of the most visible donors back to the place that launched his career. I first met Roos, all (high school); Aaron Best, 6 foot, 7 inches and 300 Paul Wulff, Beau Baldwin pounds almost eight years (EWU); Jeff Fisher, Mike ago and had no idea what ,~., : ' 0 X e " " . it e p ct. He was home ~. i :'at Northern Quest Resort See R0os Pa0e a:, ,mpress,ons on many -mil : .lB to per- = i. isonally "Finally I decided to give it a shot. v e r - I didn't want to look back and regret /~~ii:auetion it, gave it a shot and here we are." event for his Michael Michael Roos on his decision, to play football Roos Foundation that would benefit Special Olympics, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Spokane as well as EWU athletics. Pulling off into a quiet corner at the Pend Oreille Pavilion, we were af- forded 30 or so minutes to chat about his upbring- ing, his time at Eastern, and at that time, his rela- tively brief career as an offensive lineman. Born Mihket Roos on Oct. 5, 1982 in Tallinn, Estonia, he came to the United States at age 10 from his native country in northern Europe that borders Russia, Latvia and the Baltic Sea. Roos had some mem- ories of his former home, but not many, he said at the time. Perhaps it's because he spent those 10 years in the former Soviet Republic living in poverty. His hard-work- ing mother, Mae Bates, taught violin during the day and worked nights at a hotel desk to keep things together. Settling with his moth- er at his aunt's place in Vancouver, Wash., Roos was a standout multi- sport athlete Mountain View High School. Sur- prisingly, he played bas- ketball and participat- ed in track through his first three years in high school. However, he never played football, until his senior year. "I was mostly a basketball player," he said. Because of his size, ev- ery year, football coaches asked Roos to play. And he made quite an admis- sion saying he was afraid to strap on the pads and helmet. "Finally I decided to give it a shot," Roos said. "I didn't want to look back and regret it, gave it a shot and here we are." At Eastern he went from red shirt to tight end to defensive line and finally the O-line. Roos said he just always did what coaches asked of him. "He was alwavs kin- da' looking to better not only himself from an on the field perspective, but also to better his team- mates because the bet- ter his teammates were the better we were as a whole," his EWU position coach, Aaron Best said this week. From such unlikely begirmings, so many have benefitted from their as- sociation with Michael Roos, perhaps none more than his alma mater. It was the donation of $500,000 in early 2010 by Roos and his wife, Katherine that made the red tuff project jump off See Crunch Time page 3 Thq battl plan behind E : (Part:lOne of a two part series on how the football recruiting process works.) Photo by Paul Delaney Eastern Washington's Ryan Sawyer in his of- fice in the Phase where he directs the ongoing efforts of recruiting new EWU football talent. By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Think you have a hard time picking out clothes to wear in the morning? Or choosing just the right item on the menu - not to men- tion the wine list? Then how about putting yourself in the shoes of Eastern Washington Uni- versity football coaches, who just a month ago de- livered the latest crop of 21 recruits, and are already busy preparing for the 2016 National Letter of Intent Day. Eastern's defensive line coach, Ryan Sawyer, dou- bles as the team's recruit- rn hington football recruiting "I enjoy it, I enjoy the relationships, the process, I enjoy finding new little ways we can get better at it." EWU recruiting coordinator Ryan Sawyer ing coordinator and spoke recently about the process of putting championship caliber players on the field for the Eagles. The job of picking through list after list, video after video, and arrive at both a quantity and quality that will fit the talent needs and budget is daunting on the surface. "Before we pare it down it's about 2,400 kids," Saw- yer said. That will be sliced to between 300-400 by May. In April Eastern conducts what they call a Junior Day with visits and campus tours. A summer football camp on the EWU campus plays a big part in the process. "The beauty of that op- portunity is coaches get to see how a kid actually fol- lows instructions," Sawyer said. July is quiet, Sawyer explained with minimal contact, primarily through social media. Offer letters go out Aug. 1. Finally, between 100-200 of those prospects - split between four home games -- will be invited to cam- pus during football season to get a real inside look at Eastern football. "Our fourth game, usu- ally against Montana, Mon- tana State or something like that, we make that just the best guys," Saw- yer explained. Those are the dozen or more play- ers who haven't been on campus that "We must get on campus, we gotta' give them a little extra love type of deal." Sawyer, a defensive end at Central Washington University from 1996-99, said he took on the chore seven years ago as recruit- ing coordinator when it ap- peared no one else wanted See Recruiting page 3