I said there would be nothing today, but I wasn’t entirely truthful … which seems the hip thing to do. Or maybe it’s actually late Thursday as I type this and it’s set to publish at a specific time tomorrow. You don’t know that.
(Ir)regardless, let’s put a bow on things.
- We can dance like Sharks and Jets around the decision to oust Oll Stew and bring in Dana Holgorsen all we want, but we should be able to agree on a basic premise. Oliver Luck’s job is to run a business. He needs to make money for the athletic department. He therefore needs the football program to be as dynamic and profitable as possible. He, for his reasons, which whether we like it or not, matter alone, decided a Bill Stewart football program was not going to compete for a national title and, as such, would not inspire the income that is spread across the board in the athletic department.
- Luck has made a significant investment here. In 2012, he’ll be paying a head coach $400,000 (at least, as far as we know right now) more than what the predecessor was making. It’s been relayed to me Jeff Casteel will get a nice raise and the assistants who choose to remain will get bumped as well. Figure offensive assistants will come on at a higher salary, too. Lets say he’s putting $1 million more into salary alone beginning in 2012. The product has to support those decisions. Obviously.
- The above is Luck’s job. He has to do these things. He has to make bold decisions. And he has to be held accountable. If this blows up and Holgorsen does not succeed, Luck must be held to the same standard.
- I like Stewart. And Jeff Mullen. And Dave Johnson. I like college sports. I dislike the inevitability of business masking alleged amateurism, though I know it is what it is. All of that said, I have no problem with how this went down.
- Well, I have one problem, and I’ll get to that later, but the process that matters – the how and the why — will get no protest from me.
- The concept of expectations and if, and how, they’ve been altered is fairly intriguing. I’ve watched the battle go back and forth and I guess I think it’s all relative. There is no number Holgorsen has to reach in his first year, by year three, so on and so forth. He simply needs to be in constant pursuit of a national title. That said, I do think he needs to do as well as he can as soon as he can because everyone is going to know and produce the past numbers as he progresses.
- I think if WVU was 10-2 and UConn was 11-1, we’d be at the same point. Same if WVU was 9-3 and UConn was 7-5. This was something we kept talking about, but a decision by Luck was about three seasons and not three games.
- Stewart picked a terrible year to have a mediocre season. It’s fairly safe to say a nine-win season in the Big East — as it’s currently constituted — isn’t getting the job done. Luck intimated that, as well, by pointing out WVU, and all Big East schools, needed to be prepared for the arrival of TCU.
- I have no idea what will happen in 2011 because I’ve never met Holgorsen or the people he’ll hire and I can’t hazard to make a prediction how the locker room and practice and recruiting and everything involved will function. It could be harmonic. It could be chaotic. I do think 2012 will be more like 2008 than like 2001.
- “Leave no doubt” may have been replaced by “Results matter.”
- Best part of the press conference was when Luck said people were not satisfied with “the product.” Heads turned, eyes met, smiles ensued.
- Luck’s conviction is admirable. He answered a lot of tough questions in the press conference and he gave some eye-opening answers. Namely, “I didn’t believe we had the opportunity to win a national championship in the direction we were going.” What bothered people most, or what bothered most people, at the beginning was they thought their question as to why this happened would go without an answer and a hierarchical decision wouldn’t properly be explained to the people. Um, that did not happen.
- Finances as related to season tickets and general attendance absolutely mattered. Luck said so. I also wonder, though, if Stewart was perhaps a victim of the way the entire season ticket structure has been altered. It requires a whole lot more to have season tickets now and, yes, numbers are down from where they were when he started. I also believe Luck examined this because there’s no way I’m smarter than him.
- Luck sounds, at times, an awful lot like President Obama. Take that a step further, I think we can allow ourselves this thought: When Luck, who seems like a wonderful orator, listens to Stewart, who is more than slightly different in his public speakings, there has to be a reaction, yes?
- Sandbox time: I was listening to the radio Thursday and someone in charge actually said something along the lines of how “None of this was official until Wednesday. No one was on the record until that statement came out.” Well, I suppose that’s true, but I’d be fired if I allowed myself to think that way. And thanks, by the way, for totally dismissing what all the media had done the previous three days. Good to know it didn’t matter until the university was essentially compelled to release that statement.
- Another person said something earlier in the week to the effect of, “Show me names! Unnamed sources are not convincing.” Well, I could get that, if I limited my thinking, but I also wonder if that person, or those people who might agree, would say the same now. Look, I get the point, but I think today, and particularly in a sensitive and protected instance like this, you can’t get what you want. You get what you take and you take what you get. And I’d like to brag on the media around here this week: We were all right. From the start. I mean, there are some very specific details only people on the inside would or should know and those details got out this week. For all those dirty, unreliable sources popping up in all those newspapers and web sites, I can only think of one reported fact that was wrong. I was pretty proud of everyone, even people I compete against and can’t stand to be around, all the way through the press conference, which I thought was … tremendous. Good job by us. There, I said it.
- It’s a lot easier to understand Stewart’s odd behavior since the UConn loss. You can even make sense of smaller things, like unprompted recitation of positive statistics and random mentions of how even teams like Texas (where there was a coach-in-waiting, by the way) have a bad season. I’m just blown away by the constant insisting he was doing a good job when he was fully aware his boss did not agree.
- And now, the pink elephant. Stewart mismanaged this and it’s indicative of other management and figurehead issues that have dotted his three seasons. Really, I don’t think it’s a surprise Luck filled in all the blanks in his press conference for when and how this happened and who was involved. There was great detail … and that got my attention, as if he was making a point to be completely transparent and, uh, leave no doubt who knew what and when they knew it. So did that surprise Stewart? How could it? Did he not think that would come out? I ask because he told a lot of people — me included – he had no clue what was going on and even after it was clear that was not the case and he had not just an awareness, but a role in all of it. There were conversations between he and I, the details of which I’ll mostly keep there, for now, but there were three very clear points made in those talks: 1) I was telling him what was happening before and as it happened 2) He totally disavowed any knowledge of the situation, the particulars and the participants 3) if No. 1 was true and No. 2 was false, there could be unalterable side effects. And greater than that, he signed a document Nov. 14 and just didn’t think it was important enough to tell everyone potentially affected. That’s troubling and perplexing. He could have been, and for a time was, a sympathetic figure … and he blew it.