Written by Joe Kleinsasser
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 05:15
The recent basketball coaching changes at Kansas State and Wichita State were interesting on several levels. At the very least it reminds us that capitalism is alive and well for NCAA Division I coaches.
It was interesting to observe the media frenzy surrounding both searches. It left me with more questions than answers, so here are some questions for you to ponder along with some observations.
The K-State faithful were upset that Bob Huggins jilted them after just one year as head coach. Was it right for Huggins to leave KSU so soon after they went out on a limb to hire him last year? Or, was it simply a case of bad timing? After all, who can blame him for taking a job at his alma mater? Besides, do you really want a coach to stay who would rather be somewhere else?
In light of his departure, is the KSU basketball program better off or worse off than it was before Bob Huggins was hired a year ago?
If nothing else, the various coaching changes provides sports fans with an educational opportunity because we’ve all been reminded what a buyout clause is.
Mark Turgeon’s departure from Wichita State wasn’t a real “Shocker,” pardon the pun. However, another year or two like this past one, and Turgeon may never have had an opportunity to land a Big 12 job.
By going to Texas A&M, Turgeon will make about $500,000 more than he did at WSU. By coming to WSU, former Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall will make about $500,000 more than he did previously. Is this a great country or what?
When a coach leaves, fans question his loyalty. It’s easy to criticize, but how many fans wouldn’t leave their present jobs for a 30 to 50 percent salary increase?
It’s hard to fathom how anyone is worth so much money, but that’s the result of a capitalistic system. Salaries are based according to supply and demand, and the demand for winning coaches results in a boatload of money.
WSU basketball games were played in front of several thousand empty seats before Mark Turgeon was the coach. Now every game is virtually a sell out. That’s why coaches make a lot of money.
Even so, how much money is enough?
On the other hand, how much is it worth to a school to turn a lousy program into a winning one, such as the football turnaround orchestrated by Kansas State’s Bill Snyder?
The recent basketball coaching changes at Kansas State and Wichita State generated all kinds of major newspaper stories, TV coverage and radio talk show fodder. Is there any doubt that our priorities are a little out of whack?
Do you need more evidence of our society’s strange priorities? Consider the recent and extensive national media coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death.
Would you criticize the media if they didn’t keep up on the latest coaching changes? In other words, maybe we’re getting what we ask for.
When a coach announces he is leaving coaching to spend more time with his family, when he returns to coaching, does that mean he wants to spend less time with his family?
How many Tabor College coaching salaries does it take to equal KU basketball coach Bill Self’s salary? You’re right. There aren’t that many coaches at Tabor. Come to think of it, you could probably throw in the salaries of faculty and administrators and still fall short of Self’s income.
“There are no amateur athletics. The NCAA and the Final Four, the whole thing, it’s a business deal.” —Former Adidas vice-president Sonny Vaccaro
“Senior Day, a special time at any school, a time to pay tribute to the guys who have given four years of blood, sweat and tears so the coach can get a great sneaker contract.” —Rece Davis on ESPN SportsCenter