An URBAN Culture thing

January17/ 2000

 When the dust settles, Ty Willingham will have another job. More black coaches WILL be hired somewhere.  Utah will lose “Rent-A-Urban”.,…  Pundits will bemoan all the coaching dominos ..… toss in some “BCS sucks” remarks ….. and look for that seasonal story of some goofy fan blowing up his double wide because his school failed to sign Billy Blue Chip.  And BobLee revisits “The Three Amigos”.

   Three years ago a certain Internet Legend wrote a quite insightful commentary entitled The Three Amigos.  This treatise compared three maligned and vilified Directors of Athletics – Jeremy Foley of Florida … Kevin White of Notre Dame … and UNC’s own Richard “Dickie” Baddour.  Maybe today is a good day to revisit that subject … YA THINK!

   Good News first … like Paxutawney Phil the fabled groundhog, The Tasseled One poked his white-haired little head out of his Dean Dome burrow after the Tire Bowl announcement and no rotting produce was thrown in his direction.  With no more games of any sort scheduled with Santa Clara any time soon, Dickie is actually walking Franklin Street without armed guards and sans the Groucho glasses and fake beard he has sported for the past year. … We hear he is having Christmas cards made up for all his Internet fans that show it was The Dickster hisownself and not Kahliff Mitchell that stopped TA at the goal line.  He was going to pretend to be Connor Barth but the curly hair was a problem.

   With Dickie’s Personal Safety Alert lowered to Fuschia Level … we move on to northern Indiana.

   Kevin White is an itinerate Director of Athletics currently located at Notre Dame.  He is not an Irish prodigal son or Knute’s nephew or any such.  Kevin is “AD at ND” for the same reason that Meezy is Chancellor at UNC … everybody has to be somewhere.  Kevin is employed at ND because the Powers That Be wish him to be there for the time being.  He does not own Notre Dame … he works there … same with Dickie and Jeremy in their jobs.

   When your resume includes “George O’Leary’s resume snafu” on one end and “firing Ty The Black Guy after 3 years” on the other you win most ignominity awards.  I don’t follow ND athletics beyond the stories that make the national headlines (which Tuesday’s announcement managed to do!).  I cannot tell you if Kevin White has been “Baddoured” by uber-angry Irish loonies on an hourly basis this season.  Since every Div 1-A school has a loonie bin I am sure he has been assailed to some degree

   Our country used to have an odd preoccupation with Catholics.  Oh me, oh my … if we elect JFK will he check with The Pope on every decision?  Will he make us all “eat fish on Friday”?  We seem to have moved along from that silliness in recent years.  The current ND brouhaha will ignite a few new Catholic Irish jokes because … well just because.    

   There are rare incidents that garner a universal reaction from the national sports media.  Somebody will defend Ron Artest.  Somebody thinks MJ has one more comeback in him.  Somebody thinks Tommy Maddox should not have lost his job to Big Ben over an injuiy  … but NOBODY is standing up for Kevin White and whoever jerks his chain in the Fighting Irish Nation.

   So many elements to this story … It’s Notre Dame Football and that still has a cache to anyone 40+.  It’s the “black coach” thing.  It’s the 3-year fire thing.  It’s the Urban thing. … Let’s run the story angle gauntlet really quick …

  • Black coach thing … I think that’s totally coincidental but still relative.  If George O’Leary had lost three straight to USC by 31 points he would have been fired too.  BUT … if you want all the ecumenical love for “hiring a black head coach at Notre Dame” … then you set yourself up for brick bats when you “fire a black head coach at Notre Dame”.  Ty Willingham can sign a contract with Todd Turner at Univ of Washington today and the Black Coaches Association should have no beef.  If Ty is not a Div 1-A head coach next Fall it will be because he chose another career option … not because he was “blacklisted”. … and Ty hopefully learned that “graduation rates” are nice to brag about on those Spring Booster Caravans but nobody gives a rip about’em come Fall.   
  •  3 year thing … the “he deserves a full recruiting cycle” theory has been pretty well blown to smithereens by Florida, Stanford, Indiana, BYU and now ND.  Don’t look for that one to save anyone’s job in the future.  Loonies all across Big Time College Sports will be braying “IF the idiots that are ruining “our school” cared about us being a national power like Notre Dame, they would fire Coach Numbnutz TODAY.”  “The bar” for dropping the hammer on Head Coaches is now officially 3 years.  That means the bar for firing Coordinators is now 2 years.  As this vibrates down the coaching staff tree … Strength & Conditioning coaches will be contracted on an hourly basis like J-Lo hires personal trainers. 
  • Notre Dame thing … today’s Billy Blue Chip was 10 years old when Lou Holtz left ND.  There are no “echoes” to “wake up” for them.  Rudy was a cool movie but since Vivica Foxx and Martin Lawrence were not in it, it did not play at Magic Johnson’s Cinemas.  It’s a shame but Touchdown Jesus is not signaling a TD … he’s throwing up His hands in an Oy Vey gesture of frustration.  … the “cold weather campus” excuse doesn’t work as long as Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and tOSU can be consistent  Top Ten teams.  I hate to say it but ND brass need to listen to Paul Hornung.  He may have said it wrong but what he said was right.  The Era of the Slow, White Running Back is over … Nick Eddy and Rocky Blier  … R.I.P.
  • Urban Culture … absolutely no question that Ty was canned now in order to grab Urban Meyer.  It wasn’t a “black thing” … it was “an Urban culture” thing.  (NOTE: for just that line alone this commentary deserves a BobLee appearance on Cold Pizza and a chance to swap Tar Heel stories with Kit Hoover).  There is a very narrow window of opportunity to grab Div 1-A’s “Golden Boy de jour”.  … Urban Meyer (1) was an assistant at ND under Bob Davies … (2) has his high scoring Utes at 11-0 … (3) has a Bob Stoopsian Stetson Ad machismo about him … (4) has a cool first name like “Ara” did and that worked out OK for ND. … HOWEVER leave it to your not-very-humble commentator to also point out that Urban has been head coach at two schools for two years each.  He has never been a 3-year casualty because he has never been HC anywhere for that 3rd year. … ALSO … he built his current Ute juggernaut “overnight” with JuCos and a very cooperative admissions director. … not exactly the Notre Dame Way, at least it never has been up til now.

   Meanwhile down in The Swamp … Jeremy is scrambling … one has to giggle at the thought of Gator fans seeing Steve sign on in Columbia NOW to see ND flush Ty to clear the way for Urban.  There will be immediate “Butch” love in The Swamp but I just don’t see Butch going head to head with old friend Larry Coker over Chuck’s Killian leftovers.  Look for Butch to take a year off or go elsewhere than Gainesville.  Jeremy Foley is packing his toothbrush for yet another scavenger hunt.  Does he still have Mike Shanahan on his speed dial?

   Norm Chow seems perfect for Stanford but there is some “chink in Mr Chow” that keeps him out of the Head Coach chair.

Ol’ Miss’ firing of David Cutcliffe may be the gruesomest example of winalot-or-else attitude so far this season.  James Meredith got better treatment in Oxford than Cutcliffe did.

   What o’ what is Terry Holland cookin’ up in Pitt County?  Gotta think UVa staff but he might surprise everyone.  MO’C is dead in Death Valley.  Will Steve Logan forsake the glamour of NFL Europe for a return to NCAA America?  Will Jim Grobe get the Browns job (OK, I was just seeing if JudgeSue was paying attention)?



Swagger’s Stumper

Who was Arnie Becker’s secretary?


   ACC BB sets record for having SEVEN teams in Top 25.  That competitive balance assures that some fan bases will be in full meltdown by mid-February.  Not enough Ws to go around once the regular season wars begin.  

   Swagger Family Proud as Peacocks … Kid inducted into National Honor Society as a JUNIOR! … Hopefully that along with 4.5 GPA, editor of school paper, and being a mega-cool kid will offset “she’s BobLee’s daughter” when her application hits the UNC Admissions Office next year.  If not there’s always Ranger School or that Univ of Phoenix Internet thingie.

 Are you folks Tell-A-Friending these gems to all your sports loving pals?  … and WHY NOT!

   Go see National Treasure.  BobLee has decided he wants to be a Knight Templar since his application to be a Swift Boat captain was turned down for insufficient “nuance” … plenty of “gravitas” but no “nuance” … sigh, sniff, sob.

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