Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Putting lipstick on a pig

Nope, this post has nothing to do with "the lost year." But it has everything to do with what's happening over in Fayatteville, Arkansas.

How embarrassing would it be to be a Razorback? Consider:

In 2002, the head basketball who had led you to a national title and brought a unique style of play to the court played the race card and said he was being discriminated against because he was black, and challenged legendary AD Frank Broyles to fire him. Not all that surprisingly, Lord Frank obliged. Then, Nolan Richardson turns around and sues the university for discrimination, only to the have the suit dismissed.

In his stead, they hire Stan Heath, fresh off success at Kent State. Heath takes over a program decidedly in the dumps, and posts yearly win totals of 9, 12, 18, 22 and 21, making the big dance the last two years. Apparently, this is not enough for the delusional Hog fans and administration, so they fire him to hire Creightons's Dana Altman. Who accepts the job, only to recant a day later and leave Arkansas with even more egg on their faces than a Sizzler breakfast buffet.

They bring home prodigal son Houston Nutt to take over the football program, and he wallows in mediocrity (even including backing into an SEC championship game in 2002, where they are killed by the Dawgs), but nonetheless attracts the interest of Nebraska for their head coaching position. Nutt struggles through two more seasons, but inexplicably rumors float that Nutt is being courted by other head coaching oppotunities, including LSU in the wake of Nick Saban's departure for the greener pastures of Miami (insert joke here). Fans call for changes to Nutt's unimaginative offense, and he responds by hiring high octane, spread offense coordinator Gus Malzahn from Springdale high, and he also brings top QB recruit Mitch Mustain with him. With all this talent and creativity, Nutt takes the play calling away from his OC, benches his star frosh QB with a winning record, runs more than Doc Blanchard at Army, and sets the forward pass back 50 years.

Broyles also gives an embarrassing presentation to an alum group where he puts Arkansas in the bottom of the SEC in terms of resources and potential. Er, Frank, isn't that your job to elevate that?

Then comes the soap opera surrounding the "Springdale parents" and Mustain's mom. It's almost impossible to summarize this, but the bottom line is that a group of parents loyal to the OC and QB act like exaggerated caricatures of overbearing little league parents and further diminish the credibility and stature of the football program (even though their complaints may have some validity) with melodramatic histrionics. Read more about this soap opera here, here, or hell, just google "Springdale," "Malzahn" or any other relevant terms and immerse yourself in the idiocy. It winds up with Malzahn leaving for the OC position at Tulsa, Mustain leaving the program and Nutt wondering what the fuck just happened?

In the wake of this episode of Desperate Housewives, Broyles announces his resignation after 50 years, but not before he botches the situation with his basketball team.

Most universities have two high profile sporting programs, football and basketball. Over the last 5 years, Arkansas has mishandled these two programs as publicly and comically as humanly possible. If I was a Razorback, I'd hang my head in shame and be on suicide watch, and this is coming from an alum of the school that got rejected by Glen Mason, hired Ray Goff, got slimed by Jim Harrick and son and thought Ron Jirsa could coach.

Suuueeeey!, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Remember, UGA almost got the same treatment (Hoops coach wise) from Jim Harrick. He waffled repeatedly on whether he wanted to stay at Rhode Island.

    I think Mike Bray was our second choice. Oh, how much better off would we have been.