Let's take potshots at the SEC!

Wallace once declared, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" Who knew he was talking about the SEC and its deplorable closed-door policy toward black head football coaches.

Alabama hired another football coach (Mike Shula) Thursday, another white football coach, just like the previous 300-plus white football coaches in the history of the SEC (Segregation and Exclusionist Confederacy). Never in the 70-year existence of the league has a black head football coach been hired.

Yes, the SEC lags far behind the rest of college football and their whopping 4 black head coaches. This is just an excuse to write a "let's make fun of the rednecks down south" article. Florida, of course, trying always to be a more cosmopolitan place uncorrupted by the savages around them.

By isolating the SEC for criticism, it let's the rest of college football off the hook. And how many jobs have come open in the SEC in the last 10 years? Twenty-three. There have been 23 chances to hire a minority in the past 10 years in the SEC. Let's review each school.

1997 DuBose, 2001 Franchione, 2002 Price/Shula

DuBose was a"family" hire. Franchione was one of the hottest coaches in the country, and his performance bears out that he was a merit-based hire. Price worked a miracle at Wazzu, got canned and Bama quickly turned to someone within the "family" with experience. I believe Shula's just a place-holder, so they can do a more exhaustive search next year.

1993 Ford, 1998 Nutt

Ford won a national title at Clemson. Nutt didn't have the same fanfare, but he's been the most successful Hogs coach since the 1980s.

1993 Bowden, 1999 Tuberville

Hiring a Bowden is usually a pretty good idea, even if he will land you on probation. Tuberville was incredibly successful coaching the probation-smacked Rebels, so his hiring was prehaps the smartest by any school.

2002 Zook

Looked everywhere, and ended up with Spurrier's right hand man.

1996 Donnan, 2001 Richt

Well, Donnan had a career record of 62-21 when he got the job. so let's admit that was merit-based. And Richt was the most sought-after assistant and he's brought the Dawgs back.

1997 Mumme, 2001 Morriss, 2002 Brooks

OK, Mumme came form Valdosta State. Morriss was an assistant on the staff that landed them on probation. And Brooks, well, he only almost won a title at Oregon. So two questionable hires followed by the one really good one. and which gets them criticized?

1995 DiNardo, 2000 Saban

DiNardo almost had a winning record at Vanderbilt. That was worth a look. and Saban brought the Tigers to the SEC title.

1994 Dunn, 1995 Tuberville, 1998 Cutcliffe

Joe Lee Dunn is the best defensive co-ordinator in the south. Tuberville was a rousing success. And Cutcliffe was the offensive co-ordiantor at Tennessee.

1994 Scott, 1999 Holtz

You can criticize Scott, but no way can you touch the Lou Holtz hiring. The man is a legend.

1995 Dowhower, 1997 Widenhofer, 2002 Johnson

A pretty underwhelming group. So the most cosmopolitan of SEC schools is the one with the worst track record of hiring minority head coaches.

All in all, it's hard to find a pattern of discrimination unique to the south. Yes, they could do a better job. But it's not like they are hiring unqualified candidates in order to block minoriies from the job. If the SEC was truly so racist, why would they hire black basketball coaches?

I'd say the real reason is that southern schools like to stay in the family, they like to have a coach with a conenction to the program, and failing that, have a hugely successful track record. Look at schools with "family guys": Bama, Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arkansas. And schools with hugely successful coaches elsewhere: Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, USC. And since the SEC didn't integrate until the 1960s, former black players are just reaching the age at which they would have the experience to get the jobs. It is a holdover from discrimination past, but it's not a new form of unique discrimination only in the south.

It helps to be vigiliant, but it's not helpful to cry wolf when there isn't one.

posted by Poseur 5/09/2003 01:46:00 PM

Bob Ryan still suspended

We all should strive for dignity, but the ones who cry for it too often violate it. We also should aim for perfection, but if thousands of years have demonstrated that no human being is perfect, no journalist can be perfect. For more than three decades, the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan was about as dignified as anyone in the profession. But in a Boston television studio the other night, he lapsed into temporary stupidity when he said he'd like to ''smack'' the wife of basketball star Jason Kidd.

Ryan didn't suddenly lose a lifetime of dignity, as some suggest, with one brain cramp. He made a mistake, his first big one in a career that has encompassed millions of printed words and millions more spoken on TV and radio. The same journalists torching him today surely have made professional mistakes, as I have. But for whatever reason--perhaps because they want to show they can criticize a colleague with the same passion they might criticize an owner or athlete, which is not a good reason--they are piling on this man while in a remarkable state of amnesia about their own puddles.

I just hope their tongues don't ever slip the way Ryan's did. Or I might have to call the hypocrite police.

I don't have much to say about Ryan. He's a great columnist, one of the best in the country, and he said something really stupid on national TV. His suspension is a little harsh, but he did merit some punishment.

I'd just like to point out he's been held to higher standard than most politcal columnists. Let's face it, Ann Coulter has said far more inflammatory things, and she's not getting a one-month suspension. So who knew? Sports pundits have higher standards than political ones.


posted by Poseur 5/09/2003 12:19:00 PM

Bad Pun Alert! Minnesota Goes Wild!

They were flirting with danger, tempting fate. How, Wild players wondered, were they going to pull themselves out of another mess when history said it couldn't be done?

Turns out, they were simply setting the stage for the crowning achievement in a season that began with modest expectations and morphed into a charmed life of unexpected rewards.

Given a chance to make history, hockey's Houdini made another improbable escape, overcoming a two-goal deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 in Game 7 at GM Place and advance to the Western Conference finals.

Holy crap. That's about all I can say about that game. The Canucks went up 2-0 midway through the second by scoring goals about one minute apart. I thought that was pretty much it, Minnesota lacks the firepower to comeback. Whoops.

Pascal Dupuis then scored the best (and let's face it, luckiest) goal of the playoffs, striking a puck in midair and in, only after the puck had miraculously flipped from the boards, over the net and to the waiting Dupuis.

I haven't written much on either the playoffs going on because analysis of playoffs is sort of fool's errand. The favorite almost always wins in the NBA, and in the NHL, anybody can win. Both scenarios make them impervious to analysis.

But now the Wild, a 6th seed, have home ice advantage against the Ducks, the 7th seed. Whodathunkit?

posted by Poseur 5/09/2003 12:12:00 PM

Minnesota comes back again

While the favorites have coasted to victory in the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference has featured long series and big upsets. Repeating their first round performance, the Minnesota Wild have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win in game 7 and advance. On Thursday they spotted Vancouver 2 goals midway through the game before storming back with 4 unanswered goals. In the Western Conference finals Minnesota will face Anaheim in a battle of Cinderella teams.

It's time to put aside the Cinderella labels though. Anaheim and Minnesota have beaten Colorado, Detroit, St. Louis, and Vancouver. To get this far in the playoffs you have to be either very good or on a roll (or sometimes both). The West has been wild & enthralling to date. Don't expect a letdown when Anaheim and Minnesota face off.
posted by uberschuck 5/09/2003 01:37:00 AM

USA-Mexico play to scoreless tie

It had all the things that make soccer unpopular with Americans. A scoreless tie, poor passing and ball control, a few dives. Yet there was a packed house in Houston’s Reliant Stadium, and I was there too. It was worth my money to say I saw the US national team play its biggest rival, even though neither team brought it’s “A” game (more like a B- for Mexico and a C for the USA).

Oddly enough, Mexico dominated the game, but the US should have won. Mexico maintained ball control and created lots of chances, but they could never get a threatening shot. They seemed timid to pull the trigger at times, and when they did shoot on goal, it always managed to be within arm’s reach of Tim Howard. If the Mexican team had a nose for the goal they would have scored a couple. On the other hand, the US squad needed about 10 minutes before it could string together a few good passes. The chances for the US were fewer, but of much better quality. I thought fore sure a couple of those chances were going to score and steal the game.

Some random thoughts.......

Tim Howard isn’t our #1 or #2 goalkeeper, but he’s pretty darn good anyway
DaMarcus Beasley has speed to burn, but the man hasn’t improved his skill over the last year. He relies entirely on his speed and struggles to maintain ball control. The man had two great point blank shot attempts waste away because he misplayed the ball off his toe.

Landon Donovan is ridiculously good. It was just another day at the office for him, but the man was easily the best player on the field, and it wasn’t even close. I saw him control the ball with his feet in a way that I can’t do with my hands.

Why on earth was Frankie Hejduk in the game that long? I like his hustle, and I respect him for being the only US player to play well in the ‘98 World Cup, but he just got burned up and down the field tonight.

Mexico's corner kicks suck. Big time.

I was dogging Pablo Mastroeni before the game. See, a year ago he played the best 5 games of his life in succession, so I fully expected him to stink up the joint–yin & yang. Instead, Mastroeni continues to play a solid game. And it was good to see an injury-free Eddie Pope play well again. Brain McBride turned in a good performance too.

I’ve got to wonder why the US decided not to pressure Mexico on the whole field. For a while it seemed like we had just given half the field and decided not to pressure them until they reached the center circle. I’m not going to tell coach Arena how to do his job, but I hope I plans to step up the pressure when we take on Brazil & Turkey at the Confederations Cup.

To my knowledge there were no incidents of jerks throwing crap at the American players, as has happened in the past in Los Angeles. I was sitting in a section of fans who were mostly decked out in the colors of Mexico. Their cheers for Mexico were louder than their cheers for the USA, but they were supportive and respectful of the American team. And that’s a great contrast to the thugs who throw batteries and bags of urine at them in other venues.

posted by uberschuck 5/09/2003 12:33:00 AM


Jordan Leaves Wizards

And so it ends.

Let's take a look at the postmortems. Was this good for the Wizards? And was this good for Jordan?

Well, he has shown no front office ability. He spent most of his time either in another state or keeping his shares in a blind trust so he could just play. He didn't fail as an executive, he just didn't try. so he hasn't added or subtracted to his legacy in that way.

As for his comeback as a player, he proved he's still real good. but if you didn't know that already, nothing was going to convince you. He couldn't will a terrible team to the playoffs, but MJ came to play every night, and give it his all. It wasn't Willie Mays at the end of the line. Once again, no change in MJ's legacy either way. So in the end, Jordan gained nothing and lost nothing.

The Wizards
The more interesting question is: are the Wizards better off? When Jordan took the job, his starting five was:

Juwan Howard, Mitch Richmond, Rod Strickland, Jahidi White, Michael Smith. Rip Hamilton was a rookie just breaking in. Now?

Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Haywood, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Larry Hughes.

This is progress? The Wizards are an old, boring team. OK, Haywood and Hughes are young and have a future, but who else on the roster is a piece of rebuilding project? Juan Dixon? Etan Thomas? Kwame Brown? Doubtful.

So the Wiz sold out tons of games and still didn't get any better. And they are still in their 20-year rebuilding plan. They are just as bad off as they were when Jordan showed up.

Thanks for nothing.

posted by Poseur 5/07/2003 01:14:00 PM


Tim Duncan Wins Second Straight MVP Award

I like Tim Duncan. He's a really good player, a solid citizen, and by all accounts, a genuinely nice guy. But let's face it, Duncan winning two straight MVP's is a joke. I know it's just an exercise in not giving the thing to Shaq, who is so clearly the best player out there it hurts, but let's look at the numbers.

Duncan averaged 23.3 PPG. That's 7th in the league, and he's one of 9 players to average at least 23 a game. Of those, he's one of only three to shoot over 50% from the field. Garnett's at .502, Duncan .513, and Shaq at .574. Most of that is a function of not shooting threes, but it's pretty clear that only Iverson and Pierce are just jacking up tons of shots. BTW- two players average over 30 points, McGrady and Bryant.

He grabs 12.9 boards a game. That's 3rd in the league, behind Garnett and Wallace.

OK, so he has more blocks than Garnett 2.5 to 1.57, but Garnett holds the advantage in steals (1.38 to 0.68) and assists (6.0 to 3.9). And that's without the benefit of David Robinson in the lineup. If you feel like denying Shaq, give the MVP to Garnett.

He earned it.
posted by Poseur 5/05/2003 03:34:00 PM

Silas did nothing to deserve hook

It makes not one shred of sense to let this man go.

Perhaps you can tell -- I like Paul Silas. Think the man has dignity, class and integrity. Think he works hard, yet maintains an easygoing manner. Think he understood his players. Think he knew what it took to motivate them. On the whole, think they played hard for him, quite a feat in this day and age where money and entitlement often come long before the needs of the team.

What's more, Silas never skirted an issue. That makes him much different from the men who operate the Hornets.

Really, what are they thinking? This guy has won, in order, 49, 46, 44, and 47 games. That's four straight playoff trips for a team going through some serious off-the-court crap. Keeping this team focused over the past four years was no easy task, and Silas did a fantastic job.

Are the Hornets the best team in the league? No. But their leading scorer is Jamal Mashburn, their leading rebounder is PJ Brown, and their leading shot blocker is Jerome Mosio. OK, Baron Davis is one of the best point guards in the league, but it's not like they have talent to spare. This is a solid team with little star power. Firing the coach makes no sense.

posted by Poseur 5/05/2003 01:01:00 PM

Players provided input, Bama ignores them

“I’m not sure they took into account what we said. I think they had the decision made from the beginning. They let people speak their mind, but I don’t think they listened that much.”

“We thought that we were going to have more influence than we did,” Spencer Pennington agreed. “I think president Witt already had his mind made up. I think he had to call the press conference and let people speak, but I think he did have his mind made up. The meeting was just to let people state their opinion.”

I'm shocked that players had no influence.

The morality police strike again, as Price is fired before ever coaching a single game. People, this is getting ridiculous.

posted by Poseur 5/05/2003 12:06:00 PM

Last thoughts on the Derby.

My horses finished 3rd and 6th. Buddy Gil ran from the back the entire race and vaulted into 6th, about 5-6 lengths off the pace. He was a non-factor. So I backed the wrong gelding. I feel better about my Peace Rules pick. He held the lead for most of the race, cracked Brancusi, who held the lead for the first mile and ended up in dead last. Peace Rules almost held off the charge, losing by about 2 lengths.

I don't feel bad about not betting the winner. Funncy Cide was on my list of possibles, but I just didn't think he could repeat his performance. It turns out I should have taken his recovery from a bad start in the Wood more seriously. I thought he'd die down the stretch, but instead, he passed Peace Rules and held off Empire Maker. Yes, he had a perfect trip, Empire Maker spent most of the time 3-wide and Peace Rules did the hard work in cracking Brancusi, but that's how you win these things. Having the perfect trip in a crowded field.

Santos deserves the credit for this win. While most of the jockeys didn't quite run their race, Santos stuck to the script, and won the Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports. Congrats.
posted by Poseur 5/05/2003 12:01:00 PM

Powered by Blogger