Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Long Regional Nightmare is Over
So long, Billy G.

I don't like rooting for anyone to lose their job, but the $6 million buyout should help cushion the fall I'm guessing. The guy just wasn't cut out for that kind of position. Given how easy that was to figure out from the beginning, I blame the AD for making one of the stupider coaching hires in recent memory.

It may make them/us crazy, but Kentucky fans don't just want a coach so much as a state leader, motivator, and larger-than-life presence, who oh by the way can direct a basketball team to 30 wins a year. The kind of person that would aspire to be Governor comes to mind. I had yet to see much indication that he could do any of those things, or even wanted to do any of them except win.

What kind of a person has the skills for that kind of a job? Beats me. Rupp had it. Hell, he invented it. Joe B. Hall didn't have tons of it but he could win for a while. Eddie Sutton wasn't even close. Pitino set the modern-day standard: writing books and giving speeches by day, executing 15 varieties of a full-court press by night. Tubby had it - charisma, class, coaching ability, and it is to their eternal detriment that he was let go, thanks to a combination of a couple of lackluster years and, let's face it, some racism thrown in. And Billy G came along with the nerve to not even really try any of the non-basketball stuff, and think he could get away with home losses to Gardner-Webb and VMI, a trip to the NIT, and generally being a public relations embarrassment.

Truth be told, the only time he actually tried to embrace the role of public figure, he went out to personally meet Dick Cheney when the Vice President flew into Lexington. That sealed the deal for me. The next coach may be truly awful, but if he's a positive ambassador for the University and the state, and treats the players well, it will be a step up. Even if they lose to lowly Indiana next year.

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