The people in charge — the fans, the presidents — always let icons make the rules.
I remember asking the University of Tennessee president if Fulmer was under a mandate to keep his players out of jail. The president said Fulmer “was under his own mandate.”
Just great. Give him the checkbook and the keys to the school. We know who is in charge.
Cincinnati decided it did not want Huggins’ in charge of its identity. There is a thuggish hue over the program it wanted to eliminate.
Sure, the graduation rate at Cincinnati had improved and Huggins was ranting less on the sidelines. He was a very good coach and his program dominated a solid conference.
But the damage had been done to the school’s reputation. In fact, while Huggins was dangling in negotiations with the school over his contract, one of his players was arrested for bringing a concealed weapon on campus and one of his recruits was charged with statutory rape.
Yet, the majority of Cincinnati fans, we’re told by polls and radio call-in shows, love their coach. They can’t believe he has been forced out.
Unbelievable. Huggins’ reputation for graduating black athletes, according to reports, was miserable for most of his career at Cincinnati. He was thrown out of an NCAA tournament game. He was arrested for drunk driving. His program has been on probation and suffered sanctions.
The school has a terrible identity out there and the fans just yawn. Just win, baby.
The UC administration decided it wanted to do something about that image and identity before it put itself in front of major media markets of the Big East.
So school president Nancy Zimpher got into a power struggle with Huggins. When he was arrested for drunk driving in 2004, she had her chance and pulled the four-year rollover in his contract.
Her board backed her up and Zimpher told Huggins in May that the two years left on his contract were the last two on his contract. See ya.
Now he’s out, albeit at the end of a $3 million parachute.
His apologists will say Riverboat Bob is really no different than a lot of college basketball coaches. That’s true; I think a lot more of them should be fired along with Huggins.
But don’t worry about him. Huggins will get another job because there is another president out there like Georgia’s Michael Adams. Remember how he ignored all the red flags about Jim Harrick at UCLA and Rhode Island and hired him anyway?
Georgia’s basketball program ended up in ruins.
You can bet Huggins will be reborn, just as Bob Knight was reborn, just as Barry Bonds will be reborn.
The guy in the stands just cares about the ball, nothing else.
CBT: Turning the page on the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers hired Louisville's Julie Hermann as athletic director on Wednesday. But, Hermann has a prior scandal of her own.
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