Monday, March 28, 2005

revisionist 3.28.05

recovered from a weekend spent with mia and not much sleep. also shooting thing in grand theft auto: vice city. thanks, rice-a-homie! now, back to work.

perhaps it was me... but the michigan state/ kentucky game was some bad basketball. not a thrilling, steal-at-the end classic, but a dumpy, "should we, like, play defense?" debacle.

when you are reading today's nytimes article about the university of north carolina, talent doesn't equal trouble, remember that the university fired matt doherty because of player/ parent unrest and booster unhappiness/ impatience with a freshman-laden team. these are not warm cuddly tarheels.

*since registration is required, here is the article from tom sorenson, linked above, dated 3.29.03:

UNC standing on shaky moral ground

School would be wrong to fire Doherty, who has a chance to be successful


ANAHEIM, Calif. - To find out what the North Carolina men's basketball team thinks of coach Matt Doherty, athletics director Dick Baddour met with players first as a group and the next day individually, although some brought parents.

What's next? Monday: Meet with players and their uncles. Tuesday: Meet with players and their best friends from high school who think they should go for 30 a game. Wednesday: Meet with players and Shirley, their favorite Waffle House waitress.

These meetings are stacked. When people get the opportunity to talk privately about their boss, criticism invariably ensues. If the relationship between management and labor were working, there would be no meeting.

Got a problem with the coach? How about the time he yanked you from the game and said you couldn't return unless you played defense? Here's an adult who cares what you think. Pay Doherty back.

Few of us know what goes on at practice or in the locker room. If Baddour learns Doherty slammed a player into a wall or engaged in the systematic humiliation that could cling to a kid for life -- and I'm not talking about yelling -- then fire him.

But education isn't what these sessions are about. If the school has decided to dump Doherty, who has three seasons left on his contract, North Carolina will want to collect evidence to support its decision.

North Carolina has never been a school that cavalierly ends the career of its coaches. Chapel Hill is more than the name of a town; it's the moral high ground from which the athletic department operates.

Dean Smith, who for 36 seasons coached the basketball team, remembers the names of his stars and subs and student managers, and their children and grandchildren. Smith is the patriarch and the players are his family. And while they might criticize each other internally, they rise up as one when an outsider does.

Doherty was part of the family, a starter on Smith's 1982 national championship team. Now he is close to being cast out, and the school really ought to explain why.

Is it because he did not make the NCAA tournament this season or failed to recruit a dominant big man?

Is it because of the anger he brings to the job, anger that has strained relationships with some players and ruined relationships with others, anger Doherty has worked to check?

Is it because he did not hire family members as assistant coaches? Is it because he cut back the number of tickets Smith had allotted to friends of the family?

Is it because, even though the Tar Heels appear to be on the way back, they might never come all the way back?

Or is it because once Doherty is run off, North Carolina can make a run at Roy Williams, the superb Kansas coach, family member and Carolina guy?

And if a school does this, if it undercuts a man who might have succeeded had it given more time to him, and less to his disgruntled players and their moms and dads, is it any more moral than anybody else?

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