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Pickens tours new OSU facilities

Billionaire alumnus provided bulk of funding for overhaul

August 18, 2009

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Stillwater, Okla. — As T. Boone Pickens walked past a series of four new hydrotherapy pools and rounded a corner to see a series of tables in Oklahoma State’s upgraded rehab area, he had a simple question for head athletic trainer Rob Hunt: “Have we got the best?”

And Hunt said just what Pickens wanted to hear after he’d put about $250 million into the renovation: “Absolutely.”

Pickens, a billionaire alumnus who provided the bulk of the funding for the $286 million stadium overhaul, got his first glimpse of the Cowboys’ new west end zone complex with a tour Monday. The new facility in the stadium that bears Pickens’ name opens this year with the training area, a new weight room, an expansive locker room and a theater-style meeting room among its many perks.

“That’s what this whole thing is. It’s the best, and that’s what we want,” said university President Burns Hargis, who walked alongside the Texas oil tycoon and athletic director Mike Holder on the tour. “And with Boone Pickens’ help and inspiration, I think we’re getting it.”

When Pickens announced his $165 million gift — the largest ever to an NCAA athletic program — back in January 2006, he talked about how Oklahoma State had been competitive in athletics only on a “hit-and-miss basis.” He hopes his donation will change that.

Oklahoma State coaches have spent the time since then selling recruits on the blueprints and artists’ renderings of what would be built in Stillwater. That dream helped propel the Cowboys to a 9-4 season a year ago, including a landmark win against No. 3 Missouri.

“I don’t talk about competitive anymore. I talk about winning,” Pickens said. “We’re going to win now.”

College football

OSU RB Staley out

Stillwater, Okla. — Reserve running back Kye Staley will miss Oklahoma State’s upcoming season due to a knee injury.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy confirmed Monday that the redshirt freshman hurt his right knee during a closed scrimmage Saturday and won’t be able to play this season.

Baseball

Nationals sign No. 1 pick

Washington — The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a contract with No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, a four-year deal that will pay the hard-throwing right-hander slightly more than $15.1 million.

The San Diego State product was being advised by Scott Boras.

n The Mariners and No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley agreed to a five-year contract, minutes before the deadline.

n Outfielder Donavan Tate, the third pick overall in the June amateur draft, agreed Monday to a deal with the San Diego Padres worth approximately $6.25 million.

Tigers trade for Huff

Baltimore — The Detroit Tigers bolstered their offense for a pennant drive by obtaining first baseman Aubrey Huff from the Baltimore Orioles on Monday for a minor leaguer.

The last-place Orioles obtained pitcher Brett Jacobson from Detroit and assigned the right-hander to Class A Frederick.

Rangers letting Padilla go

Arlington, Texas — The Texas Rangers are cutting their ties with pitcher Vicente Padilla.

The Rangers put the right-hander on unconditional waivers Monday for the purpose of releasing him. The Rangers say he’s expected to clear waivers and become a free agent Wednesday.

Red Sox release Smoltz

Boston — John Smoltz has been released by the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox, who have dropped six of their past 10 games, had until Monday to trade, release or send Smoltz to the minors.

NFL

Broncos acquire DE

Englewood, Colo. — The Denver Broncos needed more muscle and hustle in their defensive line, and they knew right where to go to get it, acquiring versatile end Le Kevin Smith from New England for a draft pick Monday.

Bulger likely out 2 weeks

St. Louis — St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger has fractured the pinkie finger of his throwing hand and could be out for at least two weeks.

Chiefs sign WR Lelie

Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City receiving corps is taking on a veteran look.

The Chiefs on Monday signed Ashley Lelie, a seven-year pro. He joins Amani Toomer, a 13-year veteran who signed on Aug. 4.

Lelie, in stints with Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco and Oakland, has caught 217 passes for 3,749 yards and 15 touchdowns.

NFLPA warns of lockout

Terre Haute, Ind. — NFL officials insist they want a new labor deal.

The players association is convinced league owners are after something else: a lockout in 2011.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told reporters at the Colts’ training camp Monday morning that he expects owners to impose a lockout in two years and has begun advising players on how to prepare for it.

Raiders mum about fight

Napa, Calif. — Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable declined to comment Monday about reports he punched defensive assistant Randy Hanson in the jaw and caused injuries that required treatment at a hospital earlier this month.

According to AOL Fanhouse, Cable hit Hanson on Aug. 5 for unknown reasons. A report filed with the Napa Police Department describes an unnamed 41-year-old assistant coach being treated at the Queen of the Valley Hospital for a jaw injury, which the victim alleges was caused by an unidentified member of the Raiders coaching staff.

Jets DE Ellis suspended

Cortland, N.Y. — New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis was suspended without pay Monday for the team’s regular-season opener and fined $100,000 by the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Former official dies

Castro Valley, Calif. — Burl Toler, the first African-American official in NFL history who went on to work one Super Bowl in a distinguished career, has died. He was 81.

Giants top Panthers

East Rutherford, N.J.— Tommie Hill scored on a bizarre 18-yard fumble return as time ran out, and the New York Giants scored a 24-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.

Dolphins beat Jaguars

Miami — Ernest Wilford caught a 33-yard touchdown pass against his former team for the game’s lone touchdown, and Miami beat Jacksonville, 12-9.

NBA

Suns sign Taylor Griffin

Phoenix — The Phoenix Suns have signed second-round pick Taylor Griffin to a contract.

Terms of the deal Monday were not disclosed.

Source: Delfino to Bucks

Milwaukee — The Toronto Raptors have agreed to send swingman Carlos Delfino to Milwaukee in exchange for power forward Amir Johnson as part of a four-player trade, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press on Monday.

The deal also would send guard Roko Ukic to Milwaukee in exchange for Bucks guard Sonny Weems. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been completed.

Track and field

Gay bows out of 200

Berlin — Tyson Gay is pulling out of the 200-meter competition at the world championships because of a groin injury, preventing a rematch with Usain Bolt.

The decision was announced Monday by U.S. track and field officials.

Jamaica’s Fraser wins

Berlin — Shelly-Ann Fraser closed her eyes as she crossed the finish line, almost afraid to open them back up and glance at the Olympic Stadium scoreboard.

As if she had anything to worry about. Fraser won with apparent ease in a time of 10.73 seconds, edging Jamaican teammate Kerron Stewart in the final of the 100 meters Monday at the world championships. American Carmelita Jeter held off a charging Veronica Campbell-Brown for third, preventing a Jamaican sweep.

NHL

Chicago star apologizes

Woodridge, Ill. — Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane apologized Monday for the pain he caused those close to him after his arrest on charges that he and a cousin beat up a cab driver in Buffalo, N.Y., earlier this month.

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