College Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: Garrett hires Cheryl Miller to coach Cal State L.A. women’s basketball

Mike Garrett and Cheryl Miller go back a long way.

In 1993, when Garrett was a newcomer to his job as athletic director at USC, he hired Miller to coach the women’s basketball team she had once starred for.

In 2014, as the athletic director at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, Garrett hired Miller as the school’s women’s basketball coach.

Last week, the new executive director of athletics at Cal State Los Angeles hired Miller as his women’s basketball coach.

“I’ve known Cheryl as a player, coach and general manager for more than 20 years,” Garrett said in the statement regarding Miller’s hiring. “She is a world-class talent.

“I came to Cal State L.A. to win national championships and Cheryl has done just that. She knows how to get us to where we intend to go.”

Miller, the older sister of Reggie Miller, the former UCLA and Indiana Pacers star, was a star at Riverside Poly High from 1978 to 1982. The team was 132-4 in those four years and Miller was the national high school player of the year in 1981 and 1982. In one game her senior year, Miller scored 105 points.

At USC, Miller led the Trojans to national titles in 1983 and 1984, both times being named the NCAA Tournament MVP.

She also led the U.S. national team to the Olympic gold medal in 1984.

“Graduating and developing women of inspiration and substance is my goal,” Miller said. “Cal State L.A. is the perfect place for that mission.”

As a teenager Miller spent summers playing in the U.S. Olympic development program in the Cal State L.A. gym.

“The first college I played at, literally, was Cal State L.A. I’m glad to be back,” she said.

During her coaching stint at USC, Miller led the Lady Trojans to the NCAA Tournament both years.

In her two years at Langston, her teams went 49-12 and qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics both years.

Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino said Miller “embodies the kind of athlete and human being who will lead our students to successful futures beyond what they’ve imagined.”

It was expected Garrett, who was named executive director of athletics at Cal State Los Angeles earlier this year, would make a splash in his new role.

Garrett’s story isn’t new. He went from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights to USC, becoming the university’s first Heisman Trophy in 1965.

From USC he went to the American Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs, where he played in two of the first four Super Bowls.

After becoming an attorney in his post-football career, Garrett returned to USC as athletic director, leading the athletic department for 17 years and hiring Pete Carroll to turn around the football program.

After leaving USC when the NCAA put the Trojans on sanctions in 2010, Garrett landed at Langston and tried to put that university on the athletic map.

Expect similar things to happen at Cal State L.A.

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, left, and Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, announced a 15-year agreement May 24 for Under Armour to supply sports uniform and equipment for UCLA athletes, beginning July 1, 2117. The contract is reportedly the largest apparel contract in the history of college sports. (Courtesy photo)
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, left, and Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, announced a 15-year agreement May 24 for Under Armour to supply sports uniform and equipment for UCLA athletes, beginning July 1, 2117. The contract is reportedly the largest apparel contract in the history of college sports. (Courtesy photo)

UCLA’S BIG CONTRACT: The Bruins made big news May 24 when UCLA officials and sports apparel manufacturer Under Armour announced a 15-year sports apparel contract that is the largest such contract in NCAA history.

The deal will pay UCLA about $280 million over the terms of the deal.

“UCLA has always been about challenging the status quo and breaking through barriers,” UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said. “Under Armour shares those core values. They are about more than simply making athletes look good, they constantly pursue innovation in order to make athletes better.”

Under Armour is a relative newcomer to the sports apparel game compared to Nike and Adidas, but it is trying to move up quickly.

The Baltimore-based company already has apparel deals with Notre Dame, Auburn and Wisconsin.

“With 113 NCAA championships, UCLA is the most decorated athletic program in history, the benchmark for excellence in performance,” said Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank. “Under Armour’s commitment to growth through innovation and an unwavering mission to make all athletes better aligns seamlessly with UCLA and the pioneering figures that helped build the program, and we look forward to reaching new heights with the Bruins.”

Under the deal Under Armour will design and supply shoes, apparel and uniforms for all 25 of the university’s men’s and women’s varsity athletic teams. The deal will begin July 1, 2017, replacing the university’s deal with Adidas.

The Los Angeles Times reported that UCLA will receive $15 million in cash up front. The school will subsequently be paid approximately $11 million annually in rights and marketing fees.

Under Armour has agreed to supply about $7.4 million worth of clothing, shoes and equipment each school year and contribute an additional $2 million over the next eight years for upgrades at facilities such as the Morgan Center and the Acosta Athletic Complex.

With an equipment deal of this size, coupled with the television money that football and basketball generate, college sports continues to be a cash cow for the adults. Meanwhile, the kids that play the sports (the real generators of the income) are stuck with archaic NCAA rules that limit how many “benefits” they can receive from their universities.

UCLA’s star quarterback Josh Rosen was quick to note that in an Instagram message that said: “We’re still amateurs, though. … Gotta love non-profits.”

The message was removed from Instagram shortly after it was posted.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, who has sued the NCAA over the use of his likeness in an NCAA-sanctioned video game, also was quick to comment.

“The fact that the college athletes can’t share any part of that money is unreal,” O’Bannon told The Times’ Bill Plaschke.

Yes, college football players receive a scholarship that covers their tuition and some living expenses. They get their meals paid for during the season.

The value of a four-year scholarship for an out-of-state student is set at $240,000. That’s a nice chunk of change, even spread out over four years, but it is a small amount compared to what the athletes generate for their schools. And as the size of coaching, television and apparel contracts grow larger and larger, the outcry from college athletes is also going to grow correspondingly, until the NCAA is forced to do something about it.

EARLY BENEFITS: The benefits of having a National Football League stadium in Los Angeles (er, Inglewood) manifested themselves May 24 when the NFL announced the 2021 Super Bowl would be played in the new stadium.

That means the focus of the average sports fan will be on Inglewood and Los Angeles for the first week of February that year. The Super Bowl will be just one of several major sporting events that the stadium will eventually host.

The NCAA March Madness Final Four will surely be held there one day. Many NFL watchers predict the NFL Combine that tests players just leaving college could be held there as well.

In other words, the stadium will bring big crowds to Inglewood more than just 10 times a year.

And how does this matchup sound for the 2021 Super Bowl: The Los Angeles Rams versus the Las Vegas Raiders.