Habits And Changes

Some habits die hard.  One of my enduring habits is reading a hard copy newspaper in the morning.  I even have a coffee mug that says:

  • “I Love the Smell of Newsprint in the Morning”

A subroutine that derives from getting the paper in the morning goes back to the time when I worked Mondays through Fridays.  Every Friday morning, I would turn to the sports section because the Washington Post would always have a listing of all the sports telecasts and broadcasts for the upcoming weekend.  I still do that, and this morning’s listings reminded me of how over-exposed college basketball is on television.

  • Tomorrow in my local area, there will be 42 men’s college basketball games available for viewing plus 4 women’s college basketball games.
  • As if that were insufficient, on Sunday there will be another 14 men’s games along with 16 women’s games.

Nothing exceeds like excess …

Speaking of college basketball as one of the collegiate “revenue sports”, I have commented here in the past that the NIL revolution in college sports is right and proper at its core but is problematic in its implementation.  According to a report at 247Sports.com, the University of Michigan has hired a person, Sean Magee, to fill a position there with the title “Senior Associate Athletic Director and General Manager for Football.”  The person plucked to take this job comes from the Chicago Bears where his title was “Chief of Staff”.  Here is how the Maize & Blue Review portrayed the new Michigan position:

“A college General Manager oversees all of the roster construction for a program. A decade ago, a program could work with a recruiting coordinator alone, but that is not the case anymore. Moore wants to increase the recruiting staff at Michigan, put more resources towards NIL, and still keep a focus on player retention and the transfer portal. As General Manager, Magee will oversee all of that.”

If that sounds to you as if the college football program at Michigan is morphing into a business entity that closely resembles the way NFL franchises are structured, I will violently agree.  And the evolution is not limited to football.

Villanova University has hired someone to do – essentially – the same job for the basketball program there.  Baker Dunleavy is the “General Manager of Villanova Basketball”.  Here is how the Villanova Athletic Director characterized this position at the time of Dunleavy’s hiring in 2023:

“The dramatic changes in college basketball over the past several years have brought new challenges and forced us to collectively think differently.  I believe the creation of the GM role, particularly with Baker at the helm, positions Villanova well competitively for the future. It will allow Villanova to be even more forward-thinking and bring an innovative and seasoned perspective to the ever-evolving college basketball landscape.”

Here is how the Villanova Staff Directory summarizes the responsibilities of this position:

“The General Manager supports William B. Finneran Endowed Men’s Head Coach Kyle Neptune and Women’s Head Coach Denise Dillon in managing a myriad of responsibilities that impact both programs, including opportunities and education around Name, Image and Likeness; the transfer portal; student-athlete brand-building and marketing; and advancing institutional fundraising in partnership with University Advancement. The General Manager reports directly to the … Director of Athletics.”

Cue Bob Dylan here … “For the times they are a- changin …”

I began this morning scanning the weekend sports on TV listings and I saw that the Sixers/Bucks game on Sunday will be telecast here.  I will tune in to that one for several reasons:

  • The two teams are separated in the standings by only 2.5 games.
  • The Sixers are “injury depleted” with Joel Embiid still on the mend.
  • The Bucks have not been playing well at all over the last month or so.

On January 23 – one month ago – the Milwaukee Bucks’ record was 30-13 (win percentage = .698) and they fired their head coach Adrian Griffin.  The Bucks had  added Damian Lillard to their roster this year and the expectations were NBA Finals at least.  But despite the gaudy record, the team’s lack of defense threatened those expectations.  Hence the firing of the coach and his replacement by Doc Rivers.  At first glance, that makes good sense.  Rivers has won an NBA championship in his coaching career, and he brought a 24-year coaching history with him to the job in Milwaukee.  In those 24 years as a head coach in the NBA, Rivers only had one full season where his record was below .500.

As of this morning, the Bucks’ record is 35-21 meaning that the team has gone 5-8 (win percentage = .385) since Rivers took over.  Yes, I know that is a very small sample but the difference in the two win percentages is stunning.  Should be a game worth checking out on Sunday afternoon…

Finally, I mentioned Bob Dylan’s famous song about changing times above; so, let me close with another famous quote about changing times from President John F. Kennedy:

“Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

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



2 thoughts on “Habits And Changes”

  1. In their 13 games under Doc Rivers, the Milwaukee Bucks’ opponents have averaged a score of 113 points. Maybe it is still too early to pass judgement on Milwaukee’s defense. Or, perhaps the Bucks’ defense lacks the tenacity to bring home the NBA trophy.

    1. TenaciouP:

      I cannot recall the last time a team with a 30-13 record fired its coach.

      In the case of the Celtics firing the successful Ime Udoku as their coach, there were “off the court extenuating circumstances”. I have heard nothing of the sort regarding the Bucks deciding to fire Adrian Griffin.

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