Prodigal Sons Update

January17/ 2000

.. One has definitely hit his stride and is delivering in spades to the extreme delight of a grateful Tar HeelNation.  One appears to have arrived at a crossroads and even his most passionate disciples are skittish.  The 3rd one came within one yard of public execution, yet survived …  his “October surprise” was THE story so far this local sports year… BobLee takes his own look at how these three “prodigal sons” are faring.  

Roy after 18 months … Lets use Bum Phillips’ line … “He can take his’n and beat yourn; and he can take yourn and beat his’n.”  Name another circumstance where one coach can arguable have TWO of HIS teams in the Top Four at the same time.  No offense to Bill Self, but the heart and soul of the current Kansas Jayhawks was put together by Ol’ Roy.  He took the current KU upperclassmen to within two points of a National Championship.  Conversely he inherited a talented but highly dysfunctional bunch of Matt-malcontents that he has molded into a legitimate NC contender.

   OK, you can say Bill Self left #1 Illinois in “pretty good shape”!  Granted, but Self inherited a KU squad in much better shape than the psychological trainwreck Ol’ Roy was handed.  It is fascinating that Ol’ Roy and Bill Self are so interconnected to 3 of the top 4 teams in America.

   Unlike his fellow “prodigals”, Ol’ Roy came home with a well-defined charge … get Carolina basketball back among the nation’s elite and do it ASAP.  There was never any doubt in anyone’s mind that he could and would do exactly that. He has.

   An interesting retrospective … recall the tsunami of indignant protests when Matt “cleaned house” with both assistant coaches and administrative staff.  “Franklin Street yahoos” with no idea who Angela Lee or Chuck Stone were, suddenly adopted these Matt-martyrs as symbols of all that Matt was doing wrong.  Now even naming the Doh-Boys assistants without googling is a stretch.  Quattlebaum, Azusa and Cucamonga … ?

   Ol’ Roy, of course, did the same thing but he had enough “resume cred” to pull it off.  The “what to do with Phil” issue that was a topic of endless debate went away when Phil did.  Chuck Stone retired and I have no idea what happened to Angela Lee … gotta be either in the basement of Dean’s Dome or the front office of the Pistons … the two favorite retirement homes for former Tar Heel BBers.  

   I was a BIG Ol’ Roy fan before he said “I’m staying” in Lawrence 5 years ago.  I became an even bigger fan when he had the courage and integrity to do that.  How he has gone about retooling the Tar Heel Hoop Juggernaut is just another reason to admire The Blue Messiah”.

   “March Madness” is walking blindfold thru a minefield.  Tar Heels recall so many times that late season injuries and inexplicably “brick laying” (can you say Rick, Dante, and Shammond?) sent Ye Olde Legend’s teams home early.   It may happen to Roy again as it already has with his strong KU teams.  When/If it does, the gonzo cowboys in Tar Heelia will crawl out from under their rocks and bray about how Dickie screwed up by “giving Roy a 2nd chance, etc …”.  They will gloom on to some basketball version of “Steve Spurrier” and flatulate their idiocy thru cyberspace. 

   I’ve said it before, but in case you missed it … Carolina Basketball is in better hands in 2005 with Roy Williams than it would be even with a Ye Olde Legend 5 years before he retired.  Ol’ Roy totally understands the current landscape of college basketball and can/has adjusted his recruiting and coaching style to maximize success under the circumstances.


Chuck after 5 years … The honeymoon is definitely over for Chuck in West Raleigh.  The WuffNation is still generally optimistic and realizes there is talent aplenty in The Murphy Center, but NC State football has been out-of-focus since that night of October 9.  

   There is not a soul in either the Wuff or Heel camps that would have predicted the series of events since Kahliff stopped TA on the one.  Oh sure, UNC loons have been predicting NCAA Death Penalties for “that lyin’, cheatin’, no-good, red shoe wearin’ scoundrel” since the day his hiring was announced.  Chuck arrived with a cocky attitude that immediately delighted Wuffies and enraged Heels.  His FSU heritage and personal persona was a central casting “bullseye” for delighting and enraging.  He was the antithesis of mild-mannered MO’C and equally low-key Carl Torbush.

   The Amato Factor was intensified by the doldrums that had enveloped Kenan Stadium.  Would a less controversial NCSU coach have so enraged Tar Heels?  There are many fine successful Div 1 HCs that build elite programs without being a lightning rod of rage to rival fans.  Likewise, the hiring of an inexperienced but full of piss, vinegar, and bluster John Bunting certainly intensified the mega-hate between the two camps.  A more media savvy UNC coach might not have played so well into Amato’s hands as he fanned the flames with his quips.  On Feb 2, 2002, the AJ volcano exploded in Northern Durham and any hope of civility were blown to smithereens.

   It’s still too early to measure the impact of Chuck’s initial visit to Athens Alabama six years ago.  The Philip Effect certainly gave respect-starved Wuffs enough of a mega-jolt to sell a stadium-full of LTRs and send the more mentally unstable among’em to dizzying altitudes of unrealistic expectations.  The recent kick-in of reality has a high % of WuffNation in therapy and/or decompression chambers … and Herb’s travails aren’t helping at all.  The Carolina Hurricanes are having a better January than Herb’s guys.

   The recent staff turnover is being overstated by gleeful rivals and being understated by Wuff loyalists.  Reggie was a career/friend/$$$ move, Noel was clearly Huxtablized … but Doc has everyone perplexed.  Losing BOTH coordinators AND the Asst HC in the same month is significant regardless of how either camp spins it.  

   Are the NCAA Death Squad goons poised to strike … will yellow “crime scene tape” soon circle “The Murphy”?  I have no idea.  Chuck Amato’s recruiting techniques have been debated by his enemies about as long as Bill Clinton’s dating habits have been … yet, both controversy magnets somehow elude the hangman’s noose.  Personally I hope we don’t go thru another NCAA mess involving NCSU.  Too many fine folks connected to that program to wish such ill-will upon.

   The human hairballs at the bottom of the Lupine DNA helix will explode in rage … yes, that would raise the cumulative IQ of all humankind.  Likewise their mirror-image cockamamies in C-Blue will gloat as if others’ misfortunes makes their pitiful existence meaningful.  

   The Miami Herald is reporting an upcoming Sports Illustrated expose about “street agents” in football recruiting and Killian High School is at the center of the allegations.  An article about “illegal recruiting and Killian High” is certainly not anything Lee Fowler or Bobby Purcell will look forward to seeing.

   Whatever “persuasive techniques” Chuck uses … there is now a man in Gainesville that has memorized that game plan.  The loss of Doc Holliday from Raleigh is not as critical as the fact that Holliday is now a formidable roadblock to Chuck’s South Florida pipeline.

   If Chuck is half the rule-breaker his enemies are claiming, then off with his head (and his Oakleys, red shoes, and silly bucket hat).  If not, then shut up, tee-it-up, and lets decide this on-going silliness on the field each October where it belongs.


John after 4 seasons …  It is hard to imagine any coach teetering on a precipice as was John Bunting on the evening of October 9th.  One yard of Kenan turf separated him from being a buyer instead of a seller at this week’s national coaching convention in Louisville.  But such is the nature of sports.  

   Dickie might claim otherwise, but Dickie’s memory of events does not always jibe with other eye-witnesses or with reality … bless his little heart.

   Is Carolina Football “back”?  Define “back”?  Is UNC now a Top Ten program?  No.  Is UNC  an ESPN synonym for hapless ineptness?  Certainly not.  Is Carolina only a BlueChip or two from a seat at the BCS banquet?  Not hardly.

   We said back in August that John needed a whole bunch of fortunate bounces in 2004.  He got them when he needed them.  We are very glad for him.  John Bunting is indeed “a good guy”.  We know that for a fact. Chuck may be a “good guy” too but we don’t know him.

   Is John Bunting as “pure” as Chuck Amato is “consummate evil”?  There is no such thing as “pure” with anyone who recruits in Div 1-A Football.  No “white hats”, just shades of gray and black.  Sports and politics share many aspects in common … everybody has a “dirty tricks” squad and everybody paints “the other guy” as “low down, cheatin’, lyin’ rascal” … and every rabid fan believes what he chooses to believe about his own guy and that scoundrel with their rival.

   Entering Year 5, Bunting is no longer a neophyte Head Coach.  He has plenty of battle scars and bruises from climbing the learning curve.  The Bunting Bandwagon is refilling but certainly not to the axle-sagging proportions that the Amato Bandwagon enjoyed in August of 2003.  The 2005 schedule is VERY challenging and the ever-evolving parity in The New ACC will take its toll on every program.  Regardless, Carolina has that freakin’ bell back

   John can no longer use “getting my kind of kids” when asking for patience from boosters.   He has had his own staff turnover though nowhere near as dramatic as Chuck’s.  His Spring Rams Club pep rallies will be more pleasant than Chuck’s WPC get-togethers for sure.  Carolina has deeper and better talent on hand than ever before … and that gut retching fear that a juggernaut was building over at The Murphy has been quieted.

   No matter what anybody tells you … Tar Heel fear of Chuck building a Wolfpack dynasty has been THE single malingering cause of acid reflux on Franklin Street.  Kahliff Mitchell was “the little purple pill” that solved that malady.  Thank you very much!


Swagger’s Stumper

In Casino, what was Sam Rothschild’s “specialty”?


   Bootylicious Beyonce sang the National Anthem at last year’s Super Bowl … and did quite a fine respectful job of it.

   You all know how BobLee feels about the “lovely Levitra lady”.  Well, yes, I HAVE seen this “50 y/o BowFlex body” commercial.  If you haven’t checked that out, are you in for a Lord, have mercy!”  If that hubba hubba woman claimed to be 40, it would still be incredible.  Forget Jane Fonda, Suzanne Somers, et al … there is a brand new Queen of the 50-ish Hotties.  Yes, the Mizzus and I have discussed all of this.

   Also along those lines … Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas has a commercial involving “a 5th grade school teacher, mother of two” that don’t look AT ALL like. Ms Loftin,  my 5th grade teacher.

   Speaking of Vegas … reports have MJ building a hotel/casino just off The Strip.  That could be as disastrous as Rosie O’Donnell buying a Krispy Kreme franchise.

Was that poor little San Diego placekicker Connor Barth’s little brother?  That kid couldn’t have been more than 15.

 Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are KAPUT!  Will Ben Affleck try for “The Jennifer Trifecta” – Lopez, Garner, Aniston?

   Apparently EVERYBODY agreed with BobLee about “Ashlee” … that little gal was simply awful!

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