Some recent news items in sports worthy of comment while hoping the summer isn't as cold as the winter was warm:
Item: PSU wrestling, women's basketball thriving.
Cael Sanderson led PSU to its second straight NCAA wrestling championship and looks like he could be assembling a dynasty while Coquese Washington has guided the Lady Lions into their first Sweet 16 since 2004.
After getting Penn State into the WNIT in her third season, Washington has delivered a pair of NCAA bids and a record of 51-16 the last two years, including 26-6 this season heading into Sunday's matchup with Connecticut.
And the Lady Lions, with Maggie Lucas and Alex Bentley returning along with Maryland transfer Dara Taylor and 6-foot-6 recruit Candice Agee, could be even better next year. Agee, Taylor and Lucas are McDonald's All-Americans.
These hirings - especially Washington because Sanderson was lured in part by private donors - must be credited to Tim Curley, who is currently on leave while fighting perjury charges stemming from the Jerry Sandusky case.
Item: Lions' spring drills to begin
If Bill O'Brien coaches as well as he recruits, Nittany Lion fans have reason to be optimistic for a smooth transition from the Joe Paterno Era.
O'Brien has already nabbed five verbal commitments for the class of 2013, including decorated quarterback Christian Hackenberg, and the early trend shows Penn State's staff is involved with more higher-evaluated players than they've been in recent years.
The new staff is competing - and winning - recruiting battles against the Ohio States, Michigans, Alabamas, Floridas and others who should be the Lions' peers.
That will only translate to more success on the field, particularly against the marquee opponents.
Item: QB transfer considers PSU
Another interesting nugget of information, reported last week, concerns the possibility of Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien transferring to Penn State.
Because of an NCAA rule concerning students who have already graduated, O'Brien, who graduates in May, would not have to sit out a year while still retaining two seasons of eligibility.
O'Brien has visited Mississippi and Penn State and is at Wisconsin this weekend.
Before struggling last year, O'Brien impressed under former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who happens to be one of Bill O'Brien's mentors. Advantage, Penn State?
Item: Dick Harter dies.
Harter, who passed away last week at the age of 81, was an intense competitor and a solid coach. His style just didn't fit well with Penn State.
The former Marine would line up his players at midcourt during pregame warmups, facing the opponent. Harter said it was to become more familiar with that day's foe, but it was viewed as attempted intimidation.
There's no denying Harter knew strategy, though, as he proved before he got to Penn State (with successful stints at Penn and Oregon) and certainly afterward with a distinguished career in the NBA as a head coach and valued defensive assistant.
Harter tried to get PSU to think bigger. He was the coach when the Lions pulled out of the Eastern 8 (PSU, Pitt, Duquesne, West Virginia, Villanova, George Washington, UMass and Rutgers) and had them competing as an independent before they went back to the Atlantic-10 (minus Villanova and then Pitt).
Harter's teams went 79-61 in five seasons.
His best moments were blowing out Maryland by 20 in his final season, 1982-83, and pushing No. 1 North Carolina (Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Michael Jordan) in the 1981 Cable Car Classic before losing, 56-50, in overtime, but his tactics too often wore his team out by the end of the year.
I liked the guy because of his vision for Penn State basketball.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.