SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 3, 2009

Bill Kipouras column: St. Pierre winds up back in Arizona

By Bill Kipouras

Brian St. Pierre had left two cars behind in Chandler, Ariz., after returning home to the North Shore after the Super Bowl.

The 29-year-old Danvers native wasn't sure about returning to the Arizona Cardinals, given his free agent status. Plus, Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley had just been hired as the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Haley often told St. Pierre this past season that if he landed an NFL coaching berth, that he'd like St. Pierre to come along.

But no longer does he have to worry about possible arrangements for those cars still in Arizona. The backup quarterback decided to return to the Cardinals.

Haley, as it turned out, hadn't forgotten St. Pierre. Chicago-based agent Rick Smith had several conversations with the Chiefs about St. Pierre, and had an appointment Friday to discuss a possible contract with Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.

The Cardinals, however, made a big pitch Thursday night to re-sign St. Pierre, who would have become a free agent Friday. Then the Chiefs announced they had traded for Patriots QB Matt Cassel.

"(Cardinals head coach) Ken Whisenhunt phoned me (last) Thursday. I was at the Bruins' game with my brother Andy, my brother-in-law Anthony and (old Prep teammate) Zach Magliaro. Ken had expressed a strong desire for me to return to Arizona, and we got it done between periods between text messages and phone calls," St. Pierre said. "It all went down."

The fact that he gets along well with Whisenhunt, has a history with him from when the two were together in Pittsburgh with the Steelers and the chance to move up the depth chart from the No. 3 QB were all factors that pleased St. Pierre.

"I got a raise and (Whisenhunt) said he'd let me compete with Matt Leinart for the No. 2 job," he said. "I trust the coach. I've enjoyed him, and my wife Joceyln (of Beverly) and I both love Arizona. It's he best decision we could have made."

There was only one problem: Saturday may have been the longest day of St. Pierre's life.

"I flew out to Phoenix in the morning — and flew right back after signing. I guess that's the way they do business when you sign: you do it in person," he said.

The St. Pierres are expecting their first child April 12.

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Danvers' Bobby Dean, who went 17-1 on the mound in his high school baseball career, pitched two innings in his college debut for Vermont, facing Vanderbilt in Nashville. He gave up two hits, three runs (one unearned), walked four, struck out two and faced 12 batters. A couple of passed balls hurt him.

"I wasn't nervous, but wasn't as comfortable as I usually am," Dean said. "It was 35 degrees and pretty hard to stay loose. I took myself out when my elbow started to tighten up. I didn't want to risk getting hurt. W e're playing in Mississippi next and I'm hoping to pitch Saturday or Sunday."

Dean still sounds somewhat shocked that UVM is playing baseball for its 113th and final season. Officials recently announced the current baseball and softball seasons would be the last at the school due to cutbacks.

"We had heard rumors about cuts, but we never thought it would be baseball," the 19-year-old right-hander said. "They called us down to a room in the gym and gave us the news. It's been rough on everybody.

"The coaches here are good. They're trying to find us schools. Wofford, St. Mary's of California and Fordham called me and said they're interested."

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Short, but not sweet ... that was Ed Nizwantowski's term as the Chelsea High baseball coach.

"The athletic director, principal and vice principal told us we were the choices, and we even met the kids," Tony Porcello, the designated assistant coach, said. "A week later Niz called me and said it's off. That's all I know."

The story is that Chelsea School Superintendent Tom Kingston vetoed the appointment. "No comment. We don't discuss hirings," he said when asked.

Nizwantowski was away and unavailable for comment.

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Bill Kipouras is a staff member at The Salem News. He can be reached at 978-388-2615 or by e-mail: bkipouras@ecnnews.com.