… Get used to it my friends. Once a BIG TIME College sports team’s season is deemed “written off”, the piranha smell blood and the vultures make lazy circles in the skiiieee …. Beleaguered coach hits “EJECT”, bailing out and sending the team into a death dive. Indiana’s Mike Davis joins Quin Snyder on the “you can’t fire me, I quit” list. There’ll be a few more. Is this trend “a good thing”? No, but all we can do is say “we told you so”.
“We evaluate each of our programs after their season is over.” Ahhhh, the time-honored mantra every rookie AD learns at Athletic Directors Cliche School. That actually used to be the case in “the good ol’ days”. You remember those days, don’t you?
Games were played … fans attended … everybody “wanted” to win but somebody had to lose … fans went home with chests puffed out or drowned their sorrows as the outcome of the most recent “game” dictated. Sportswriters wrote about the Xs and Os but fans for the most part had “lives” and used the “games” as recreational diversions to the mundane drudgery of those lives … not as the straws that stirred their life’s drink.
Coaches “recruited” young men to come to play for them in exchange for the chance to get an education at their college. These “recruits” were not only anonymous … they stayed anonymous until their sophomore years … WOW, what a concept. Brick Oettinger and David Glenn were attorneys. Who knows what Bob Gibbons was? For that first year “frosh” were little more than practice fodder for upper classmen to pound on. High School “Hot Shots” were humbled REAL FAST. I know … one of my jobs for four years was to do the “humbling”. It wasn’t quite “pledge training” but sort of.
We never made a “hot shot” hold a lighted match and name all the NCAA member institutions but we did employ tactics that Amnesty International might not approve of.
Quick “old days” story … In the late 60s UNC had a Canadian Pipeline going in football. Wesolowski, Mazza, Zemaitis, Chalupka, Hamlin, Pappi are names “real Carolina fans” might recall. John Kimberly was a Canadian very few will recall.
He arrived in mid August with the other Freshman … ’66, ’67 thereabouts. Was either a linebacker or a fullback … can’t recall, doesn’t matter. Cocky fellow … not uncommon in those 2-3 days when “just freshmen” were on campus. Buncha puppies all wearing their letter jackets bejeweled with stars and merit badges, etc. Lotsa “woofing” as the pups sniffed each others butts as pups tend to do. Yours truly, Moyer Smith, Sandy Kinney, Dave Braine … we watched’em … we smiled … they didn’t know what was comin’ – we knew.
Varsity arrival day … WOW … those guys are BIG! … WOW … those guys all drive GTOs … WOW … those guys all date cheerleaders who “go all the way”!
First night of “everybody in” … 5th floor balcony of Ehringhaus … John Kimberly wearing his Canadian high school letter jacket and “woofing” “the only thing that impresses me is BLOOD!” … Swear to Gawd that was the quote … I never forgot it. Unfortunately three “varsity” guys walked by at that moment. Bo Wood and Jay Malobicky mighta been two of’em but not sure.
Next day a buncha frosh were sent over to be “bum fodder” for a varsity tackling drill. Yep, our boy Kimberly was one of’em. Cutting to the chase … they cleaned out John’s locker the next day. Either Stan Styers or Craig “CQ” Quick drove him to the bus station. Back in “those days” Billy Blue Chip was Billy Bum Fodder for that first semester. I agree with Ye Olde Legend … Freshman Eligibility wasn’t necessarily a “good thing”.
#23 from Garden City LI usually reads this website. He is reading and smiling right now as is “Little Ricky” and even “Burly John” if Steiny printed this out for him. Leo and Miller are too. By the time all these guys became BMOCs they “had paid the price” and appreciated it.
Back to coaches quitting in mid-season rather than riding out the storm and going down quietly with the ship at season’s end.
Coaches are human … yes, even Krzyzewski, Amato, Brown, Bunting, Smith, Sendek … every one of’em. Given the choice of being liked or not liked, nearbout every one of’em will go for “liked”. Same with drug dealers, IRS agents, and Waffle House grill cooks … folks prefer to be liked. Constructive criticism has its value but even Internet Legends like “favorable reviews”.
Being “beleagured, embattled and maligned” is no fun. Ask Dickie … he redirected $$$ intended for resodding the Finley putting green (or some such non-glamorous essential beneath the Dilbert radarl) … and threw it at “Marv The Messiah” and “our Cignetti brother” and VOILA … 8 Radical Tar Heel Fundamentalists on The Tar Pit declare they “despise him a little less”. The pain of being hated abates a smidgen … it feels better.
Most coaches say they “never read that Internet crap”. They also claim they read Playboy for the articles on humidors and stereos. Even if they “don’t even know how to turn it on” they hear what the Lunatic Fringe is screaming. If they DO sneak a peek they get sucked in … and that sets the fatal hook.
Do 25 constipated Dilberts posting 25 “ALLCAP” venomous ultimatums each hour that the coach should be publicly drawn and quartered (and his family exiled to a Turkish prison) represent “a lot of normal people”? Nope … they represent 25 constipated Dilberts with nothing better to do.
The coach fears for his safety and the safety of his family … the AD fears for his safety … likewise the Chancellor and the system-wide President (if its Missouri) … and some deep-pocketed “Fat Cat” hears about it and gets worried “we got us a dangerous situation here. Whatta we gonna do?” Remember now … 25 constipated Dilberts pounding out 25 venomous ultimatums 24/7 for three weeks.
The local beat reporter is on deadline and the Muse of Grantland Rice is not channeling … so he too “checks the boards” and sees 25 constipated Dilberts with their hair on fire pounding away… ”. He calls the typesetter … “Get out the “2nd Coming” type … we got a volcano ’bout to blow its top over at Whatsamatta U!”
What will “the lynch mob” do next? Should we dig a moat around the coaches offices? Call out the National Guard? Issue kevlar vests to all athletic dept personnel? Install metal detectors at every turnstile? … … or, of course, we could act like rational adults and play out the season and “evaluate the program after the season is over” … nahhhh … lets “give’em Barabbas” and hope they put down their keyboard pitchforks and return to their prairie dog villages and cubicles.
So … Ron Zook, Quin Snyder, Carl Franks, Mike Davis and countless others are given the alternative of “Quit now, saving us the cost of a rope, and we’ll honor the clause about the health care for your diabetic daughter with the heart murmur. If you make us fire you in three weeks we’ll have to make up nasty innuendos to make ourselves look good. Your choice Coach.” … now if you have Jim O’Brien’s lawyer, maybe you take your chances. He just nailed Ohio State for a few mill for forcing the cyanide pill down his throat.
Coaches should have to “produce” to keep their jobs like everyone else (except tenured faculty squirrels OF COURSE!) but they should be evaluated by some peer tribunal other than 25 constipated Dilberts … dontchathink?
ADs LOVE “Coach Quits” because it saves them those torturous “best of luck in his future endeavors” press conferences. This way a carefully-crafted press release does it and no need for a media buffet spread. Any wonder we are seeing so many coaches getting flung from the castle walls into the gaping ravenous maw of …….. “25 constipated Dilberts hiding behind keyboards”.
Bill Dooley made $35,000 in 1967. John Bunting makes $800,000 in 2006. Is that $765,000 difference just “Hazardous Dilbert” pay?
DON’T BLAME DILBERT! Thats like blaming a skunk for stinking … thats what skunks, and Dilberts, do. Blame dim-witted admins for not seeing these “Dilberty lynch mobs” for what they are.
Major SSays Kudos to both Dickie Baddour and Lee Fowler … they both recently looked their 25 Dilberts square in their beady little eyes and “didn’t blink” over Herb and Burly John.
Who is the most famous alum of Whatsamatta U (in Frostbite Falls)
Richard Crenna played Phil “Sweet Ginger Brown” Brady in Flamingo Kid.
The last half of the column above should be carved on a granite monolith and placed in the lobby of NCAA Headquarters with copies distributed to every member institution. But it won’t be … you can do your part however by e-mailing this sumbitch to EVERY man-jack fan in your e-address book. DO IT … RIGHT NOW!
Yes, we know this is a dreaded “loon related” topic. We said we could not be 100% loon topic free. We promise next week we’ll do something on bad breath in dogs to make up for it.
Prince Armani UpDate … Bill “Billionaire Village Idiot” Laurie’s brother-in-law is Stan “Billionaire Too” Kroenke. Bud Walton had TWO daughters. Stan lives in Columbia too and owns the Denver Nuggets (and the Avalanche). Word around Columbia is that Stan will create a position for Quin with The Nuggets. … … refresh Ol’ BobLee’s memory … Who is the Head Coach of The Denver Nuggets ??? YEE HAA … it just keeps getting’ betterer and betterer … With so many Duke and UNC folks tied into this mess, all we need is for Cherokee Parks to ride in on an elephant carryin’ Tony Barone in a paper sack …
Got an opinion? … we can handle it.