Just “Stuff” Today …

Last week, I mentioned that UAB football coach, Bill Clark had turned down an offer from Auburn to take over the program there.  I suggested that this was an example of someone making a decision where finances were not the dominant factor because, surely, the Auburn job would pay a lot more than the UAB job.  I guessed that he was probably making $1 – 1.5M per year at UAB.  Today I can fill you in on some more detail there thanks to the reader in Houston and his data mining skills; he found an old USA Today article (November 2017) on Clark’s contract.  Here is the meat from that article he sent along:

“UAB has agreed to a new five-year contract with football coach Bill Clark that will top $1 million by the final season.

“Athletic director Mark Ingram announced the agreement in principle Friday night. Clark’s $900,000 first-year pay will increase to $1.15 million in 2022.

“Clark took over in 2014 and had the Blazers bowl eligible for the first time in a decade. Then UAB shut down the program for financial reasons and re-started it in June 2015.”

The reader in Houston summarized Clark’s status and decision making like this:

“So right now, he’s “The Man” in Birmingham. At Auburn, he probably would end up as another rich Auburn has-been coach …”

Thank you yet one more time to the reader in Houston for the amplification here…

While on the subject – sort of – of college football coaches on the move, several schools in the market for a new football coach have hired a “search firm” to come up with a list of candidates for the school to consider.  Excuse me, but what does the Athletic Director at that school do for a living?  Think about it; the AD was insightful enough to get rid of the existing coach and create a vacancy, but he is not insightful enough to scare up an interview list?

Frankly, I would be more understanding of a school hiring a marketing firm in such a situation rather than a search firm.  After all, most programs looking for a new coach are ones that were not hugely competitive for the past couple of years and that means they may not be at the top of the list for coaches looking to move up the coaching food chain.  Marketing the school “assets” would seem to me to be something the school could use pertinent to consulting advice; creating a wish-list of candidates involves phone calls between the AD and coaches’ agents; does the AD need a search firm to provide him with those agents’ phone numbers?

Last week, I wondered aloud why it was taking so long for the investigation into the “toxic culture” that is alleged to have existed in the Washington Football Team’s Front Office.  Almost as if on cue, the Washington Post reported that the team paid a woman $1.6M to settle a sexual misconduct claim about ten years ago and the allegation is that the misconduct involved team owner, Daniel Snyder.  I believe this situation changes the tone of the current investigation.  Please take a moment to read Barry Sverluga’s column from the Washington Post here.

I believe the tone of the ongoing investigation just changed.  While one may be scornful of a leader who allows a “toxic culture” to exist and perhaps to flourish, it is a totally different situation if and when that leader is a participant in the creation/perpetuation of that “toxic culture”.  Now I understand how and why the ongoing investigation remains a work in process and I believe that this matter just became a PR burden for the NFL as a whole and not just the Washington Football team.

Switching gears, the NBA season is less than a week old and already we have two incidents that you would not expect to happen in any organized basketball league above the level of “Men Over 35 Rec League”.

  1. The Houston Rockets had to cancel a game because they did not have the NBA’s specified minimum number of players available to start the game.  That number – by the way – is eight.  James Harden was one of the players who was ineligible for the game because he was photographed maskless at a strip club.  [Aside: Just curious, but is James Harden the spirit animal for Dwayne Haskins?]
  2. The NY Knicks had two players wearing the same number in a game against the Sixers.  As you might expect, that is a no-no.  As you may also expect, this situation is not difficult to avoid with even a smidgen of attention to detail.  Most teams can go for years on end without having this happen.

Here is what Dwight Perry had to say in the Seattle Times about the cancellation of the Houston Rockets’ game:

“Houston’s NBA opener had to be postponed because James Harden paid a maskless visit to a strip club and got himself DQ’d for violating COVID protocols, dropping the Rockets’ roster below the minimum eight players.

“It’s believed to be the first time a game was called on account of make-it-rain.”

Bob Molinaro had this item in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot recently:

Still the man: Despite a knee injury limiting him to a single 2020 tournament appearance, Roger Federer has been voted the fans’ favorite for the 18th year in a row. Tennis should retire the trophy with Federer or count on his fans to keep voting for their fave long after he hangs up his racket.”

Professor Molinaro makes a good point, but I believe he neglects the role of sports media and reporters in this area.  Change the sport to golf and consider the possibility that golf fans might vote Tiger Woods as the fans’ favorite golfer in 2020.  Why wouldn’t they?  Every golf writer and golf talker on TV devotes more time and words to Tiger Woods than to any other half-dozen golfers on the planet.

Finally, since I mentioned golf, here is a view of the sport from H. L. Mencken:

“If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any office of trust in the United States.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………