THE PERILS OF BEING A BIG TIME COACH, OR THE MORE SUCCESSFUL YOU ARE, THE MORE THOSE OUT OF POWER WANT TO REPLACE YOU WITH THEIR GUY
Thanks for weighing in in Coach Self’s favor on another recent thread. There are a lot of people–a lot of political alliances–in and out of KU nation that are just drooling over the chance to get their guy into what Self has turned KU into. They want to chip away at him. Talk nice, but chip, chip, chip away at him. That is how the game is played. But underneath they want to run him bad, bad, bad, so they can get their guy in and get their alliance up to the hog trough. This is all about alliances not at the hog trough trying to get to the hog trough. I am not talking about posters here. We are just a small bunch of board rats doing what we love. But for everyone of us chipping, chipping away at Self here, there are serious players in KU Nation playing big time politics and doing the very same thing in order to get to the hog trough. Thus we should be careful not to let out questioning and analyses give impressionable folks a mistaken impression, or let our analytical commentaries be used by opportunists to portray a KU nation disunited over Self–at least to the extent the board rats do want to keep him as our coach.
While I am broaching this subject, there are very probably a small but significant complex of AAU coaches and agents working tirelessly to undermine Self’s recruiting, because it is in their interests to squeeze him out and get one their guys into the coaching seat. The coaching seat is one of the things to get in control of at a big time program, in order to be able to shoulder one’s way into the hog trough. Every coach at every big time program is sitting on a precarious throne. It used to just be about top down pressure to win to keep the revenues coming. But now that revenues are so huge, and locked in by contracts, IMHO, the game now is not to unseat the coach to get a winner, but rather to unseat the coach to let another alliance get to the hog trough. At every big time program there are these alliances: some in power, and some out. And the ones out want to be in, so they can get to the hog trough. This is how it appears. Basketball programs are VALUABLE!!! There are riches to be had by getting in control of the big time programs. Losing, contrary to popular belief, appears not what drives all the firing of coaches these days. Coaches with very good records are getting S-canned right and left. And the replacements don’t necessarily do better. The game now is to force the head coach out by any means that happen to be handy. If the guy wins, then force him out because he doesn’t win enough. If the guy loses, then force him out because he loses. If he is African American, force him out to get a Causasian American. If he is Caucasian American, force him out to get an African-American. If he is fiery and aggressive, force him out to get a calmer, more collected image for the university. If he calmer and more collected, force him out to get a guy that is more fiery, edgy and aggressive. If he is a good recruiter, force him out to get a better bench coach. If he is a great bench coach, force him out to get a better recruiter. If he plays slow ball, force him out to get some one that plays a faster more exciting tempo. If he plays fast tempo, force him out to get someone that plays a slower tempo like Coach K or Bill Self. If he doesn’t shoot enough treys, force him out for someone that shoots more treys. If he shooters more treys, force him out for someone that shoots fewer treys. THE KEY IS TO FIND SOME REASON TO FORCE THE COACH OUT–ANY REASON AT ALL, SO THAT THE ALLIANCE OUT OF POWER CAN GET THEIR GUY IN AND GET TO THE HOG TROUGH.
And leaking scandals is an A-Number-1 time tested way of politically savvy players getting rid of someone else’s guy and getting their guy in. SO AS A BOARD RAT CHORUS WATCHING OVER THE KU LEGACY, WE HAVE TO WISE UP. WE HAVE TO BE SAVVY ABOUT THESE SCANDALS. We have to understand that any scandal that arises at KU, or at another elite program, could well have a dimension involving someone leaking dirt not to clean up a program, but to force one guy out and get their guy in. Basketball coaching is no longer a good old boy network playing a game of us versus the administration, trying to survive the whims of a Chancellor and the revenue ambitions of an Athletic Director. That was then, baby, and this is now. Now, every big time basketball coach in every big time program is like a CEO of a corporation targeted by corporate raiders for take over by regime change. And like every corporate raider, they operate inside and outside the target.
What I am talking about rather frankly here is not even a little paranoid, not even a little conspiracy theoretical.
What I am talking about is real politik of how things appear to work often, when there is big money to be made by regime change in a complex bureaucracy generating and processing big revenues.
And there is not only big money to be made within KU Basketball by changing who is coach, but in KU football, and shoe and TV contracts, and in influence within the university. And the university equals influence within the state government. And so on.
And you know what the real irony is?
The more successful Self is and the more valuable he makes KU basketball, the more certain alliances out of power are going to be struggling to find the dirt and find the angles to get him out of the coaching seat.
Never a dull moment in the game.
@jaybate-1.0 “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
Interesting perspective on the possible political machinations going on within and around athletic programs. You do believe that there is a concerted effort by some to topple coaches, regardless of program success? Take Kansas for example, who would be in line to benefit from a successful effort to push Coach Self out? I find your comments regarding the wide-ranging excuses for firings quite accurate and something that always leaves me chuckling when I see statements from Universities praising the efforts and successes of a coach they just fired.
What worries me is I think some have an oversimplified perspective of the role of a coach, particularly at this level, be it philosophically or administratively. Coach Self’s responsibilities at Kansas are huge in both scope and size. He is at once a basketball coach, a mentor, a politician, a salesman, and so on. He assumes many identities and must be successful in all of them to sustain the level of success that he has. It is not as simple as winning in March.
Let’s look at a man whose success in the NCAA tournament is unparalleled; John Wooden. To attribute his success to superior x’s and o’s would be an insult to his legacy. Coach Wooden taught boys how to be good men and in turn good teammates because his philosophy combined with his basketball knowledge was all encompassing. He was adamant that the most important coaching he did was away from the basketball court. If he could be successful there the winning would take care of itself because both his basketball and life philosophy were interdependent. Success on the court was merely a by-product of success in other fields. In my opinion, his astonishing accomplishments validated his coaching and teaching methods. I would argue that his success off the court was crucial to his success on the court.
So what if Coach Wooden had not won any of those championships? Would he really be any less of a coach without a title? Was he not a good coach before and without a national championship? How do we or should we define success? Even here in Kansas where we have obtained a level of consistent excellence that has not been matched since the Wizard’s days we seem to have grown bored. This is where I often differ with Kansas fans and fans in general. I believe Coach Self has been and still is wildly successful for more reasons than wins and losses. I think it is important not only to succeed on the court but in the classroom and in the community. I DO NOT believe the only marker of excellence at a university in any role is on an athletic field. If I did I would lament that Coach Cal is at UK, not KU. Of course I want more banners. Of course I think we have at times fallen short. This, however, is where I refer back to my second paragraph; Coach Self is so wildly successful in every role he must fulfill that I would not trade him for any other coach in the country. The basketball program at The University of Kansas under Head Coach Bill Self is truly something every Kansan can be proud of.
Coaches wish for and work awesomely long hours for success and it is a terrible irony that it can make them more preyed upon, too.
And Yes, a big time D1 coach has a long job description.
And a Balkanized constituency.
And imagine how tough things can get when neither your Chancellor, nor your AD, actually hired you, and your base did not pick them. They have no vested interest in you, unless your winning keeps you intensely popular and keeps a major donor base giving and supportive of you.
If your winning slows even a little, and the alliances out of power come up with some hair brained, yet marketable angle for a switch, suddenly the “hogs to the trough” dynamic is set in motion!
Ask Rick Barnes.