Greed, Pressure and BYU’s Loyalty

In the present day and age, where the entitlement ego runs rampant, Joe Paterno stood as a dying legacy of the few people left in college athletics to care more about making a difference in kid’s lives than getting his own fame and fortune.  Among other ways, that caring showed through his paltry 1 million dollar annual salary.  The days of working up through an institution, showing your loyalty, and being rewarded for tenure, are long in the rear-view mirror.  But that was a major part of what was right about collegiate sports when I was growing up.  JoePa, Bobby Bowden, Bo Shembechler, Tom Osborne, LaVell Edwards, Paul Bear Bryant, Barry Alvarez, Lou Holtz, Eddie Robinson, have all cleared the path of the dying breed of long-tenured coaches to Chris Ault, Frank Beamer, Mack Brown, Bob Stoops.  The problem will not get any better as the universities have a ‘what have you done for me lately’ attitude as well.  Er, the boosters that provide the big money to the schools have the ‘give me someone different at coach in order to collect your check’ attitude which drives coaches out so quickly.  And what’s the incentive for coaches to stay anyway?  The university is constantly breathing down your neck to excel, so the coach ‘flirts’ way passed the legal line to recruit, gets players that are good, but causes bad attitudes and mischievous to run through the team.  As coach, you feel pressure not to punish them so they can continue to make you look good.  But if you get caught, Jim Tressel, Bob Collins, Chip Kelly, you’re as good as gone.  So coaches invariably are forced in to 3 options within 3 years of being hired: 1) Get fired, 2) Leave knowing probable allegations are looming or 3) Stay and face constant criticism regarding their performances.  That’s why we have this viscious cycle presenting itself recently with the head coach revolving door.  Thanks for playing Rich Rodriguez, Rick Neuheisel, Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, Mike Sherman, Dan Hawkins, Mike Stoops and plenty others.

MONEY…a simple 5 letter word that leads so many to pursue it no matter the damage path left in its wake.  But I digress.  The fact remains that universities no longer strive or covet to have a long-tenured coach promoting the solid foundations of the college.  It’s simply not a bigger deal to the administration than bringing in money from alumni and boosters.  Yet I still believe there will always be one school who will stick by their coach, whom they will look to as a face of the program, and who they will always be loyal to.  The BYU Cougars.  We’ve had these great discussions recently about whether Bronco Mendenhall should stay as coach, or if he can do any better for the program.  As I’ve continued to say, BYU will be as loyal to Bronco as they were to LaVell.  Bronco has done nothing short of restore a program to its moral valor and shiny luster BYU knew under LaVell.  The administration at BYU loves the job Bronco has done, the 5 10-win seasons really help, especially comparing them to LaVell’s 10 in 29 tries.  I or any other Cougar fan should not be expecting a force out of Bronco any time soon.  And I, for one, respect that about BYU.

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