“The Silly Season”

January16/ 2000

…..  NASCAR calls it “the silly season” when a bunch of drivers change race teams.  For every sports league, it’s the same “musical chair” hysteria be it coaches or free agent players.  NCAA BB Coaches are front and center right now.  Dominoes tumble.  New salaries make “last season’” look like chump change.  Nutjob fans scream “LOYALTY” when their coach leaves and “HOT DAMN” when their school steals someone else’s ungrateful money-chasing no-good lying weasel ….. a year from now, it all happens again.

Does Calipari bolting for Kentucky create a seismic shift of double-digit Reichter Scale proportions?  Nope.  John Calipari is well established among the top fifteen high profile coaches that every Top 100 recruit has heard of.  That blue-chip recruit may not know who is principal of his high school, but he knows names like Calipari, Krzyzewski, Calhoun, Pitino, Barnes, Huggins, Boeheim, Izzo, Knight ….. and our own “Ol’ Roy” of course.

I bet you a Happy Meal that 97%+ of this year’s McDonald’s All American could not ID Rupp, Wooden, Smith, Iba, Driesell, or Majerus.  We who have grown up thru 20-30 years following college basketball drastically over-rate the historical perspective of 18 y/o wunderkins.   Remember my epic column “Nevermind Lennie, Who The Heck Was Wilt?”

Back to “silly season” ……  Calipari at UK is no more/less a threat to Ol’ Roy (or K) than he was at Memphis.  He successfully recruited “his type of kid” at Memphis and will do so to Lexington.   He won big and danced long at Memphis and will now at Kentucky ….. JUST LIKE Roy did at KU / UNC and Pitino did at UK / Louisville ….. Self at Illinois / KU.  The Top 50 kids play for “the coach” first and for campus fru fru second or third or not at all.  The Charles Kuralt campus celebrity factor is about as significant to a Blue Chipper as who the “provost” is.

The one exception to the alumni celebrity factor is UK’s Ashley Judd.  If Charles Kuralt posing provocatively in a Tar Heel jersey and a come hither smile would attract “someone” I’m not sure that someone could shoot 3s or play the point.

Smilin’ John Tenuta during his short stay in Chapel Hill was told that a tour had been arranged for him of the Morehead Planetarium so he could use it in his recruiting pitch …. “Smilin’ John” replied “you’re kidding, right?”

At Memphis, John Calipari used Graceland and Beale Street.  “Maybe” the Peabody ducks but I doubt it.    At UK he will use “fabled Rupp Arena”, an expansive thoroughbred horse farm nearby, and that aforementioned Ashley Judd calendar.   He will dangle NBA bling bling and be up to speed on whether Beyonce married 50 Cent, P Diddy, or Jay Z.   …. and have a deal with the best tattoo artist in Lexington.  That no one ever mistakes UK (or Memphis) for Harvard helps too.  He will assemble the same team of student-athletes (wink wink) at UK he would at Memphis.

Ol’ Roy will have to solve Cal & UK to enjoy any Bright Shining Moment just like he’s had Cal & Memphis in his way for the past 6-7 years.  Just like Roy, K, Pitino, Boeheim, Calhoun, Self et al are in each others way every year.

The ONLY aspect that is affected is “most total wins by a school”.  UNC and UK were neck-neck until “the Doherty era”.  We’ve narrowed it to under 10 w/ Roy busting Billy Clyde.  Now Cal and Roy will each add 26-30 each year.  If you lay awake at night fretting about that you SERIOUSLY need “to refocus” or take up a new hobby.

What about Calipari’s “AIG BUCKS”?   The definition of “unbelievably high salary” is “whatever whoever got last week”.   $100,000 was “HOLY COW ______” at one time.   The “bar” jumps in increments of A MILLION every year for that year’s “Hot Property”.  It’s high stakes poker and not for the timid ….. or for any academic institution not controlled by goggle-eyed lunatic alums with no sense of fiscal perspective AT ALL.

Some schools will simply be priced out of the “buy a big name Coach” game. Acknowledging sheepishly to their legion of loyal loonies that “we simply are not going to grab our ankles to that degree”.  Their loonies will scream bloody murder calling the school’s administrators nasty homophobic names and make up obscene YouTubes about them.  If the frugal admins hold firm, the loonies will soon run out of adrenaline, reverting back to surfing porn sites and chewing their toenails.

All the tired stats about athletic revenues will be trotted out along with the old dead-horse phrase of …… “50,000 people do not pay $75 apiece to watch Professor Diddlebop teach Anti-American Poetry of The 60s”.   Whether 50,000 people would pay $75 apiece to watch Ashley Judd perform pilates at mid-court has yet to be floated in the long-running battle of “College IS All About Athletics …. And you geeks with your stoopid books can go suck an egg”.

Jock-hating campus anarchists counter the above with comparison of “how much tenured professor Ward Churchill makes” ….. “how many Rawandan orphans can fit on the head of a pin” ….. and “how many copies of Saul Alinsky’s Socialist Manifesto can be purchased for student indoctrination with Mr New Coach’s per diem allowance”.…. how many carbon credits could we buy with $31,000,000?

The secondary concern is knee-jerk reactions from established Star Coaches like Roy, K, et al to “no rings yet” Calipari-comes-latelys getting AIG $$$$.  Can Ol’ Roy buy all the golf balls he needs with $2,000,000?  Does Roy “need” Calipari $$$$ to feel loved and appreciated?

Sure as God made Jayhawk stickers, if Roy stumbles this weekend, the Tar Heel Nutjob Lynch Mob will be in full throated apoplexy.  Duke’s version of same has the venerable Feral Satan out begging a gangsta guard with a cross-over dribble to come to Cameron even if he just rents a dorm room by the week.  If Mike Krzyzewski’s chain can be jerked by a cyber mob of meth-heads with mouse pads ….. is any program safe?

The coaching dominos start tumbling ….. Tim Floyd gets 15 seconds of fame ….. Bill Pearl ….. Jeff Capel ….. Anthony Grant ….. certain situations have trouble attracting “name coaches” (Can you say “Georgia” boys and girls?).   Those “no date to the prom” schools declare they are “being selective and taking our time to be sure we get someone who is in synch with the unique qualities of our hallowed institution”.

A month later we read in the small print that “that hallowed institution” signed up Steve Lavin’s 3rd cousin Harv who was Director of Player Facebooks at Death Valley A&T ….. declaring him “the guy we wanted all along”.

….. and a year from now we will do this all over again.  Ain’t it grand!

PS:  But BobLee, but BobLee ….. “Why, as UNC fans, do we hate John Calipari”?  

(1)    His name ends in a vowel
(2)    He has good hair
(3)    He kinda looks like Rick Pitino
(4)    Dickie Baddour would be maligned and embattled if he was AD at Kentucky too

BobLee, that 4th one doesn’t make any sense.  ….. Are you implying that the first three DO?


Which of those three IS Beyonce married to?


The last Trivia question has created a quandary.  “Who is UNC’s Most Famous Mop-Up Squader?”   I was thinking Ol’ Roy hisownself BUT I’m not sure he ever actually dressed out for a varsity game.  I know he was on the JVs in the early 70s; but to be a true Mop-Up Squader you need to actually have sat on the UNC varsity bench wearing a warm-up suit.  Would someone please call Roy in Detroit and ask him.

Anyone worried that Norwood was going to pilfer a UNC assistant for VCU can stand down.  He went and pilfered another of Billy Donovan’s Gator Assts.  He tells me he did a comprehensive due diligence on his new guy.  He doesn’t know if he can coach a lick but he is sure he has no outstanding parking tickets.

We distributed a bazillion copies of the Gene Hansbrough Letter.  Anyone who didn’t already think ORW was a diety, believes it now ….. at least until Sat night.

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