It's civil rights day at BC Sports!

For some reason, women's sports always seem to get that qualifier.

I'm not blaming Sorenstam for accepting because I'm sure she does want to know how she'll do. Also, she'll finally get some deserved pub and endorsement deals. Meanwhile, the tournament, trying to make money in a tough economy, will get TV ratings and ticket sales. And golf, trapped yet again by its social backwardness, will get a pass from the flap over Augusta National not allowing women members.

But what happens to women's golf, and women's sports?

''I think it's great she's playing,'' Tiger Woods said. ''But it will only be great for women's golf if she plays well. If she puts up two high scores, it will be more detrimental than good.''

Give her credit, she's got guts. Because Tiger's right, if she loses, it's going to set women's golf back. But you know what? It's worth the risk just because even if she only beats one man, she's going to beat a professional golfer. And that will mean something.

posted by Poseur 2/13/2003 05:41:00 PM

A plate-glass ceiling

Cottrell had emerged as the front-runner. He was the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in the late '90s, when their defense was among the best in the league. The Bills passed on him in 2001 in favor of Gregg Williams, who took over an 8-8 team and has led them to 3-13 and 8-8 records, with defenses that have been among the worst in the league. The 49ers were the seventh team Cottrell had interviewed with. He has said that four times the process was legitimate. The other three he's called "bullcrap," a token parading of the black guy.

He was gracious after the surprising announcement Tuesday, praising the 49ers' "professionalism" and saying he felt he'd gotten a fair chance.

But had he? The two words that emerged in the hours after the news broke were red flags: "experience" and "comfortable."

OK, I agree with Kaufman, the Lions get a free pass on the minority hiring issue because they lucked into Mariucci, who is easily the best coach on the market. They would have been idiots not to hire him (well, they've done a good impression of idiots for the last 10 years, so it wouldn't have been a surprise). But the Niners essentially didn't hire Cottrell or Blache is because they are black guys. that's why they weren't comfortable, and it's why they didn't have head coaching experience.

And what experience does Erickson have? Screwing up the Seahawks? Winning at Miami with other people's talent? Winning at Oregon State with Riley's talent? And then going directly into the tank? What on earth has Erickson ever done in his career to demonstrate he is a good head football coach? And if they wanted experience and comfort, why not Dennis Green, a former Niners coach who has head ocaching experience and openly campaigned for the job?

I hate to single just the Niners out. It's not like they are behind the curve or something. It's a leaguewide thing. But seriously, name a black head coach who has just been awful. I'm talking bruce Coslet bad (heck, Coslet's still a co-ordinator what does he have to do to never get a job in the NFL again? Blache got canned by the Bills for having a top ten defense that didn't improve). Heck, name one who's only been mediocre. Dennis Green might have the worst track record of any minority head coach, and he was pretty darn good until the team spiraled out of control. It's just patently worng the way black coaches are treated. Why did it take Marvin Lewis so long to find a job? And before him, Tony Dungy? What's wrong with these people?
posted by Poseur 2/13/2003 04:12:00 PM

Women as head coaches

The numbers for women in men's sports are stunningly low -- and yet, who knew they were that high? It is, after all, difficult to picture a woman coaching any men's team. And we have largely college basketball to blame for this. It is probably the most high-profile college sport, and -- unlike, say, football -- one that has plenty of high-profile coaches of women's teams. Yet, until today, a woman has never coached a men's team. And even after tonight, no woman will have yet won a permanent job running a men's basketball program.

There has been some progress at the high-school level, but it has taken place in small steps -- and not without opposition. Geraldine Fuhr garnered national attention several years ago when she was passed over at Hazel Park High School in suburban Detroit for the men's varsity basketball job. Despite her 10 years as coach of the school's women's squad and nine more leading the men's junior varsity team -- while piling up a 60-20 record and several league championships -- the administration chose Fuhr's colleague John Barnett. Barnett's résumé consisted of two years as coach of the men's freshman basketball team.

As the only liberal in existence to continually bash the proportionality rule in reference to Title IX, I'm going to fully support a woman coaching men's teams. I said it yesterday, you honestly believe there are 300 or so coaches better than Pat Summit? If I was an AD, I'd offer her a job to coach a men's team in a second. She's probably say no, but I don't see too many teams offering her a contract.

And this story about Fuhr is the reason we have Title IX. She won her case. And rightfully so, and she's now the coach of boy's varsity.
posted by Poseur 2/13/2003 03:44:00 PM


Woman to coach TSU men's team

''I'm not the coach; I'm coaching this game,'' Phillips said after overseeing last night's practice. ''I'm the athletics director who has 19 years of coaching experience, who's able to come in and do this. I didn't want to put our young assistant, Chris Graves, in that position, so I'm taking that responsibility.''
Lewis had been serving as interim coach, and Graves had been the lone assistant, since the Dec. 26 suspension of Nolan Richardson III for bringing a gun into the Gentry Center after a confrontation with Lewis. Richardson resigned on Jan. 9.

Phillips said she would have suspended Lewis after Monday's fight even if OVC rules had not called for it.

What;s going on a Tennesse State? Can anyone there not violate the rules? Really, what the hell is in the drinking water, PCP?

Oh yeah, a woman will coach a men's basketball team for the first time in NCAA history. She's right in saying it's only one game, but it should be more. If men coach women's basketball, absolutely women should be able to coach men. Would you not hire Pat Summit just because of her second X chromosome? It's a small step, but a big one.

posted by Poseur 2/12/2003 04:04:00 PM

Bode Miller tearing up the World Championships

You know how may times an American has won three medals at the World Championships of skiing? None. Know how many have won two golds at the same event? None.

Until Bode Miller. He already has two golds, one silver, and he has a race to go. I know skiing is not the biggest sport here in the states but oh my God, this guy is putting up the most impressive performance in American men's history. So pay attention.

posted by Poseur 2/12/2003 10:14:00 AM

Keane quits Irish national team

Keane called the new Irish manager Brian Kerr on Monday night to tell him that despite earlier enthusiasm for the idea of rejoining the Irish squad, he would regrettably have to announce his retirement from the highest level of football.

It was clear to Kerr and to anyone who knows Keane that enormous pressure had been exerted on the player by his employers at Old Trafford to draw a line under the whole business and to concentrate his energies purely on what he is paid to do, playing for Manchester United.

Is this a continuing trend for international soccer? First England loses Alan Shearer to club football, and it was an isolated incident. Now Keane is the second huge name to quit national team duties in order to keep collecting a paycheck in the English Premiership. It prolongs the career, obviously, by reducing wear and tear and by keeping Keane in good graces with his team's management. But is it a good idea?

I mean, Keane will certainly earn more money this way. so it's a good decision for him. But part of the special character of soccer is the World Cup, the best players in the world actually play for their national teams in probably the most important international sporting event outside the Olympics. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's good for the players, do what you can to maximize your income, but it's bad for soccer fans.

So I'm not mad at Roy Keane, I'm just disappointed for fellow soccer fans.
posted by Poseur 2/12/2003 09:59:00 AM

Erickson is the new Niners coach

He is now working for a meddlesome owner (John York) who can hear a C-note hit the grass. He is working for a general manager (Terry Donahue) who so far has proven mostly that he knows what he doesn't like (Steve Mariucci). He works in the same building with a staff legend (Bill Walsh) whose influence has diminished but has not yet been expunged. He will be working with players who liked the old coach and have been suspicious of this change since it began four weeks ago.

In a word, why? What has Dennis Erickson ever done to prove he's a better coach than Steve Mariucci? What did he put on his resume: completely bungled the Seahawks GM job? The Niners could have done worse, but this hiring just illustrates how stupid is was to can Mariucci in the first place. The Niners just forced out a successful NFL coach to hire an unsuccessful NFL head coach.

At least the Niners can start to put this debacle behind them. Management has screwed this up from the get-go.

posted by Poseur 2/12/2003 09:28:00 AM


The Best in College Hoops
I've been getting a lot of mail about the attention I give to the SEC and the lack of attention to the Big XII. So, after watching the end of the Texas--Oklahoma game, I'm going to give the props to the Big XII now. The Sooners & Longhorns played a magnificent game. Both teams brought the 'A' game and the game came down to the last minute. No one who saw that game should be surprised to see either of those two teams in the Final Four. Throw in Kansas and you've got three Big XII teams in the AP top 10. And if you compared the top three teams from all the conferences, you could argue that this is the best trio in the nation. So, you guys sending me all the mail can relax--the Big XII is for real and I know it.

Meanwhile, Arizona has resumed the #1 spot in the polls, but lots of people are wondering if the best team in the land is either Kentucky or Louisville. Well, with all respect to the 18-1 Louisville team, Kentucky is clearly playing the best basketball in the country. In the last month Louisville has only beaten one ranked team (now unranked Indiana). In the same time, Kentucky has beaten four ranked teams by an average of 18 points per game! It's laughable watching the Wildcats completely suffocate opponents with their defense and build 20 point leads. They're utterly dominant and the competition can't lay a hand on them. And for those of you thinking all their big wins are at home, realize that no team in the country has more road wins than Kentucky. Road wins, blowouts, balanced scoring, defense...sounds like the right mix for success in March.
posted by uberschuck 2/11/2003 11:18:00 PM

The Michael Jordan Show

For some reason I watched parts of the NBA All-Star game. It turned out to be a close game, and it also turned out to be an endless flow of ass-kissing for Michael Jordan. Now, it's not as though I'm suddenly going to become a Jordan-hater. But let's think about what went on. The halftime show was a serenade to Jordan. The East team went out of its way to get Jordan the ball so that he could hit a game-winning shot. And he missed all but one of them. (The one he did hit gave the East a 2 point lead that was later matched to send the game into a second overtime.) In a way you could say that the cold-shooting Jordan prevented his team from winning because they went out ot the way to get him the ball.

Whatever. I don't really care about who wins the NBA All-Star game. What I do care about is artificial tributes that corrupt the game. If the next few months of the NBA season are anything like the All-Star game, then it's going to get old real fast, no matter how much we like Michael Jordan. We've got a few months to catch a last glimpse of the best basketball player ever. I hope the league doesn't sour the experience in an effort to make it too sweet. Just play basketball. That's the way it ought to be.
posted by uberschuck 2/11/2003 12:42:00 AM

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