Snoots & Snails & Trustee Tales

January18/ 2000

… Whenever there is an issue of significance regarding a prestigious institution such as The University of North Carolina, a certain phenomenon invariably occurs.  Attention is focused on “the Board” aka “The Powers That Be” aka “the Muckety Mucks”.  That attention is directed by “the unter menche” aka “the great unwashed” aka “the angry villagers”.  It is a tradition with its roots in the medieval feudal system … and NOT likely to change to accommodate “Butch” or “SluggoDaHeel” among others.

Going To Notre Dame Game? … Be aware that Indiana is on Eastern Time  Chicago is Central Time. 

You know BobLee has “died and gone to Humorist Heaven” happy when we have howler monkeys swinging on tires with their hair on fire … and administrative bureaucrats in a media lockdown … and junior journalists from the Beaulaville Bugle blaring “Next UNC Coach Will Be ______” headlines in 2nd Coming type.  Throw in some Porthole rolls, a slice of pecan pie, the start of “24” 6th season and, really, does Life get any better?

We have a doozie abrewin’ and, like The Derm Mess, its only going to get wilder, woollier, and sillier before any sense starts to germinate from it all.  Oh, be assured, good sense WILL inevitably germinate and peek thru the primordial ooze but we’re still a few weeks away from that.  A “few weeks” that will seem like FOREVER (except to John of course)!

Repeat Mr Swagger’s little mantra … “It’s in capable hands” … “It’s in capable hands” … because, well because, IT IS.

I told you that Chuck Neinas’ hands were part of that, but not the only “capable hands” involved.  The other “capable hands” might, or might not, be attached to UNC Board of Trustees’ arms.  Yes, “if I told you I’d have to …” well you know, which in the case of a portion of “the great unwashed” might raise the average IQ of the rest of the group a good 30-40 points easy.

Let’s assume the UNC BOT is indeed from whence the “capable hands” emanate … just assume.  Who the heck are those yahoos any way?

I could go thru the individuals one by one but you can do that on your own time.  Go to the UNC website under “who are these BOT yahoos anyway?”  Suffice to say “they” are pretty much a typical “Board”.  YIKES, say it ain’t so Shoeless Joe.  Yes, pretty much a typical “Board”.  But that is not at all “a bad thing” … UNLESS, of course, you are “an angry villager” programmed to hate pretty much everybody who has reached a level of success that you dream about when you buy your Power Ball tickets.

No “Power Ball” winner is currently serving on any university Board of Trustees anywhere in America.   Most Board bylaws specifically prohibit it.

Qualification Statement Time … No, BobLee has never served on a University “Board” either.  THAT is definitely prohibited.  But, I have had “dealings” with Boards of Trustees, Directors, Governors, and Regents.  I prefer “Regents”.  They dress up like “Mummers” and wear elf shoes … I digress.

A fancy schmancy “Board” for something as gawd-awful pompous as a for-real “University” is pretty easy to appoint.  Of the 10-15 members there HAVE to be … at least two lawyers one of whom is a named principal in a “prestigious firm” … at least two, and usually three, ladies with quite impressive Junior League service records … one bootstrap entrepreneur who “made it big” in something respectable (AMWAY Double Diamonds need not apply) … one very obvious “minority” whose presence in the annual BOT team picture is absolutely required … a physician with “a wing” somewhere named after him or his daddy who was also a physician.  NOTE: A token “radical islamo-fascist” is not required YET but is encouraged.  And NO, there are no transsexual dwarfs at least not on UNC ‘s BOT.

Once the Board’s make-up meets these “have tos” it can get adventurous with the 1-2 other slots.  These slot-fillers are usually referred to as “the do-gooder idealists who come on board with agendas and to-do lists”.  They generally have a hard time developing allies and are referred to as “them”.

Board members are appointed by a high ranking politician with campaign donation favors to repay.  … OK, don’t get THAT look on your face.  You would do it too if you were a “high ranking politician”.  Before they got elected, they said they would not do it either … they all do.

I’ve painted a pretty scary picture haven’t I?  I meant to in order to sucker in the goggle-eyed villagers with the pitchforks and torches.

That afore-mentioned assemblage of snoots, silverspoons, Junior League grande dames, and talented high achievers can actually be productive and, in some cases, keep the trains reasonably on time at their respective institutions.

For one thing … if you do not recognize the value of former Junior Leaguers on any board then you have never tried to put on a “charity gala”.  I have.  I had two amazing Junior Leaguers … I left’em alone … they were incredible … I told’em so.  One of’em ended up stabbing me in the back … but that’s another story.  I got careless.  Never turn your back on a Junior Leaguer OR make “junior leaguer jokes” around a Junior Leaguer.  They don’t teach that at Wharton … they should.

Almost every “Board” ends up with 3-4 quite competent members which is all you really want any way.  The “empty suits” recognize very quickly who are “the leaders of the pack” and that pecking order is inviolate able.  It’s a Law of Nature.  Some BOT members are even smart enough to run billion dollar companies really well … which is what some of them actually do.  … BUT do they know that David Cutcliffe can’t recruit?  Yes, they even know that.  Really?  Yes, really.

The current UNC BOT fits the general framework described above.  There actually are six, maybe seven, members who could almost pass as “regular folks” and probably eat at Chili’s, cheat in golf, watch cheerleaders’ abs, and know who I mean when I say “Forty Point Frank”.  I won’t name them because I’d be guessing on two of them.  Suffice to say Nelson, Paul and Bob are DEFINITELY “KEEPERS”.  You can speculate on the other four … The current UNC BOT is quite capable of making very good decisions … but if they were REALLY smart they could win Power Ball, but then they could not be on the BOT.

Again, it doesn’t matter what I say in defense of the UNC BOT to those among the “terminal right fielder” sect who spend an entire life blaming “somebody else” for career short comings.  But for those rational adult SSays readers (the VAST majority) who simply didn’t know much about the UNC BOT and suspect the worse … Relax … there are quite “capable hands” among the UNC BOT.

UNC Myth #659 – BOT is a bunch of “clueless elites”. …. 1-2 may be “clueless” and 1-2 may be “elites” but the Board as a whole does manage to function about as well as can be expected.  They ARE capable of finding and hiring a good football coach.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking … Meezie?  Explain “Meezie”?  Well, even Dean recruited Makhtar.  A .300 batting average gets you to Cooperstown.  I blame Meezie on Molly Broad because,  because I didn’t like Molly Broad very much.  She never learned to spell Mattamuskeet or Nantahala and sucked at Mayberry trivia.   She’s gone … Erskine is here … We LIKE Erskine!

This column will get to some virgin SSays readers and frighten them.  It will get to most of the UNC BOT.  They will call “somebody” who will call “somebody else” who will e-contact me and say “Damn BobLee, you’ve done it now” and we will share a laugh.  … it’s not the first time, or last time, that all this happens.

Carolina will have its new Football coach relatively soon.  It probably will not be “Butch” but it might be.  Maybe it won’t be “Paul” either but I hope it is.  I told Ersky that … oops, I probably shouldna said that.  Lets keep saying it will be Dave Cutcliffe so that one flaming board monkey will keep typing his outrage in ALL CAPS.


    Red Auerbach died.  My quick Auerbach story.  8-10 years ago, I was at a charity thing with Red in New England on a Monday.  On Wed I was with Ye Olde Legend in The Basement.  On Thurs I was in Indiana and ran into Gene Keady in the Men’s Lockerroom.  I said “Coach, you are the 3rd best basketball coach I’ve been with this week”.  Gene’s reply … “Just so long as one of’em wasn’t that SOB Bob Knight!”.  

   When I told him it was Red and Dean he smiled and agreed that being #3 in that group was just fine.  …. Red Auerbach R.I.P.


Name the four faces on Mt Rushmore without googling.  Hint:  John Kerry is not one of’em.


    Deadwood South Dakota, Tombstone Arizona, Dodge City Kansas, Virginia City Nevada.

  BLS and The Mizzus hit Chi-Town Friday at noon.  Never seen “the friendly confines” … intend to do that Friday afternoon.  Dinner with ChicagoLand BobLee Buddy Club.  Get to South Bend around 9 AM … tailgating w/ Bell Tower Gang … meeting Big Bobby and Wanda sometime … enjoy ND band, fight song, et al … the “game” will be whatever the “game” will be … Sat dinner with WABC/WLS radio superstar Jerry Agar.  Fly home Sunday AM.  Check “Go to a Notre Dame game” off my list.

   Say BobLee … how come “regular folks” don’t get to serve on BOTs?  For the same reason Junior Leaguers don’t chew tobacco.  God has “a plan”.  He’s smarter than we are.

   NC General Assembly SuperCrook Jim Black is NOT a candidate for UNC FB Coach, although he is considered an “effective recruiter”.

   BobLee was with the Sanford Rotarians on Tues.  Great bunch of folks.  Buck Harris was quite the genial host.

    Yes, George Steinbrenner recently fainted at UNC.  Fill in your own punch line that MUST contain the word “Dickie”.

    Want to e-mail BobLee?

[email protected]

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