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Originally published October 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Page modified October 8, 2009 at 7:46 PM

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Sideline Chatter

Just like the Lakers, Minnesota lost John Wooden to Los Angeles

Mother Nature ruined Gophers' chance at a golden hire in 1948

The Seattle Times

Would you believe ... The Wizard of Northwood?

John Wooden would have become the basketball coach at Minnesota — his first choice, since it was closer to family in Indiana — in 1948 had fate not intervened and landed him at Plan B, UCLA.

As Wooden, then at Indiana State, recounted in his new book, "A Game Plan For Life": "I'd asked Minnesota if I could choose my own assistant coaching staff and they weren't sure about it at first, but promised they would call me by 6 p.m. on Sunday with their decision.

"When 6 came and went without a call, [wife] Nellie and I both figured that they must have rejected my request.

"At 7, UCLA called, and we accepted their offer, not knowing that a blizzard had knocked out the wires in the Twin Cities, preventing Minnesota from calling to let me know they'd agreed to my terms."

The Gophers finally got through to Wooden — too late — around 7:30.

The pluck starts here

Jonathan Roy, the son of ex-NHL goaltending great Patrick Roy, wants to pursue a singing career in the United States.

Apparently he inherited a great set of pipes.

Just kidding

Cincinnati and Ohio State sit Nos. 8-9 and just 10 points apart in this week's AP college-football rankings, but it's really not that close.

As Bearcats coach Brian Kelly told the Louisville Courier-Journal: "Ohio State doesn't play Cincinnati, though my son played [them] in PlayStation the other day, and Cincinnati won 91-0. Maybe we can use that."

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Dateline: Toronto

News flash: NHL investigation clears Maple Leafs of charges they tampered with success.

The book on Isaiah

Isaiah Thomas, Washington's sophomore basketball guard, told SI.com he's got it bad — a two- or three-pack-a-day habit, easy.

But enough about strawberry Pop Tarts.

Talking the talk

• Lions coach Jim Schwartz, to the Detroit News, when asked if he plans to make any changes on his coaching staff in light of Sunday's 48-24 loss to the Bears: "I'm not George Steinbrenner."

• Headline at SportsPickle.com: "Tigers challenge Twins to best-of-165."

• Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, suggesting a new campus mural to symbolize Notre Dame's harrowing football finishes this season: "Tightrope Jesus."

• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, on the start of the baseball playoffs: "Gentlemen, start your injections."

Tiger in the tank

Clubhouse leader for this month's Hack Wilson Award: Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, whose October on-base percentage (.261) barely bettered his blood-alcohol reading (.260).

The Tigers' most pressing needs this offseason: 1) catcher, 2) starting pitcher, 3) designated driver.

Dwight Perry: 206-464-8250 or dperry@seattletimes.com

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