Tuesday, March 31, 2009

His Failure

Greetings Cougar Nation. Hope you all are STILL hanging in there.

As you all have read by now, today Sterk came flat out and said we'll have a coach in tow in the next couple of days. So hang tight.

In the meantime, before we get a first hand update on Spring Drills from Sedi and Longball over the next couple of days, a quick post-mordem on T-Bone.

First and foremost, please know that I feel the collective pain of the Nation. I really do.

At the same time, I think its high time that we EASE off the "Kill Tony" comments and reflect seriously on what his departure signifies.

With that in mind, I think that it is important that you all believe, as I do, that all things being equal, Tony Bennett would have liked to stay at WSU. I really believe that.

But, in the end, I think he left because he didn't think he got the job done here, and because of that, I think this move was his way of rescuing his future as he envisions it.

And while I DO think that jettisoning his previous promises and commitments technically makes him a quitter, I doubt that many of you would shy away from a 1.7 mill a year "do over" if you were afraid you were losing your grip on your current job.

The reason for my suspicion that he left here "in failure" can be traced directly to his decision to NOT take his assistants (less Sanchez) with him. And with that, you can read between the lines: Guys that can judge talent and bring home the bacon get rewarded with the highest quality of salary left-overs. Those who can't, get shown the door.

The reality is that, despite bringing in two All-Staters from Oregon recently, Lodwick didn't look like he could guard a tree all year long. Meanwhile, Harthun gets caught doing his doobies impression, looks uncomfortable as a distributor, and has a J that doesn't look right despite all of his gusto in jacking it whenever able. And Fabian Boeke-Boeke-Goose and Charlie Boy look more Brian Payne than Blue Chip to put it mildly. Last I checked, that's four spots filled for the next 2-3 years on guys who can't and won't play.

In short, what we have is a TON of filled scholies without depth in the front court and without room to build depth in the backcourt at the same time that names like Few and Petino may be coming soon to a Pac-10 school near you.

And, for a guy that has sight on bright lights and the big city both for himself AND the program, that's a recipe for potential hardship if your future goals are an NBA job or a Duke type job in three to five years.

So, in essence, what we have is a guy that ran like hell from his own failure to develop the type of depth you need to be competitive year in and year out. You see it in the broken promises and platititudes, and you also see it as he runs from his loyal assistants whom he failed to properly evaluate, monitor, support, and mentor along the way.

It's really that simple.

Tony is a good guy, Nation, even if he is a flawed good guy (I can only say I'm flawed). He just didn't feel that he could accomplish what he wanted to here, and I think quietly, he would blame himself (and his assistants) for that limitation.

Now, he has a tough, tough road to climb in a tough, tough league where Dad won't be there to help him with the initial HUGE push.

As for us, the mountain is steep, but the summitt portends to be breathtaking.

So, stay on the up and up: Stay away from the negative, and lets see if we can build this thing moving forward.

And remember: Tony was leaving in three years anyway.

Now we get to see if this NEXT group of fellas can be the ones to send us on a Gonzaga like trajectory.

Go Cougs.


Heavy G said...

I hope the summit shows up before the valley that has been left.
I totally understand why he took the UV gig. Cash is awesome. What I don't understand is all of the crap the he spewed the last year. And the apologists ("oh, that's how the game goes") can kiss my butt. How can the man possibly recruit kids to this program fully knowing that he's bailing to the best paying job that's coming up. ESPECIALLY when he's preaching his "pillars". The "pillars" mean nothing to Bennett. And when everyone says "that's what we all would do", I say you're right, that's what we all would have done.
But I'd like to think we would have told the truth while doing so. Especially if we made a point out of being truthful.
We thought he was special. No. He's just another coach. Next.

AtlantaCoug said...

I am hoping it was all the things about WSU that wore on him. NOT the talent level of the kids. And perhaps he left the assistants because he did not want to 'strip mine' the Cougs when he bailed. While I do think we struggle next year (assuming all stay). He has been here for 6 years (total) and perhaps the travel/budget issues just wore him out when he can have all he needs at Virginia. Does not excuse him leaving but if he is leaving because he thinks we suck, well then that is double bad news!

Anonymous said...

I think the primary reason Bennett left most of his assistants comes down to recruiting. He has no ties to D.C., Philly, Baltimore etc. and will need assistants with relationships in those areas.

Hopefully Sterk will get this job filled soon and we can move on to what really matters - FOOTBALL!

Hooty McBoob said...

After the last two winters/wintery springs in Eastern Washington, I'd bail for a pay raise too.

ptowncoug said...

I actually thought last yr that TB would leave after this yr. If Nuss' old site is still out there in internet space, you'll find my post re the same.
The assistant thing is weird. MP left behind Dobes and Levy because he wanted continuity in the program and for his two close friends to be the next Coug head coaches. Levy is still waiting patiently.
But what TB did seems really strange. You had guys who didn't even know that he was going after the gig. Talk about close relationship. This is still really weird. I would be interested in who TB hires at UVA. My guess we may be requiring our new coach to keep some of the assistants and I don't know if Sterk took sort of stand that he wouldn't release them out of their contracts. Weird.

Chris '04 said...

Folks, this is nothing short of a call to arms. And before you think that I'm about to lay into TB or JS, think again. As fans, we need to show support for this program the likes of which we have never seen before.

RENEW your season tickets if you have them.

BUY season tickets if you don't.

GO to a few games next year if you typically stay at home and watch on TV.

EMBRACE our new coach with open arms.

CONSOLE our players and tell them that you are still behind them 100%.

STOP the negativity that has overwhelmed the airwaves and the web.

Folks, it's time to "Coug Up" and show the basketball program that you haven't quit on them. The worst conceivable outcome would be the fans quitting on the team after the coach just quit on the them.

TiltingRight said...

I think the reason he left is exactly all the things that've been said. Academics, facilities, small college town, proximity to family, less travel for recruiting and yeah, the money helps. But he offered to give back $100k this year before UVA came calling.

Leaving the assistants behind is probably more the fact he doesn't want to "strip mine," like Atlanta said, and wants some continuity for the new coach. UVA may have made a stipulation about some of their assistants as well. If not, as has been mentioned, he'll need east coast recruiters. Also, he's got time, more may follow.

Bottom line is, the TB we've known for 6 years has been a guy with integrity. We can believe the worst about him now, that he was a liar, hypocrite, etc., who only did it for the money, or because he did a really sucky job; or we can assume that he is what he was, and that all the reasons mentioned are "real reason," in which case, you can't blame him for going.

I'm still ticked. Still hurt. But I'm over hating him. He's still a good guy. I'll eventually root for him to succeed, because I AM thankful for what he's done for MY program.

Sedihawk said...

I don't think Coug fans are quitting on the team Chris? I haven't heard a soul say "I'm DONE with WSU sports!" after this. But you are right Chris - this should hopefully bring fans together, and we should celebrate the next hire as much as possible.

Ptown, I think his site is still around? Hanging with the Nuss or Nusser or something like that? But Nuss is feeling awfully jilted, for many reasons. He had quite a bit to say at Cougcenter when all this went down, so check that if you can.

This will pass. BH is right, Tony was leaving sooner rather than later anyway. We all knew that deep down. But this time, our guard was seriously lowered, his name not in any rumor mills, etc. It was quiet....TOO quiet, as it turns out. :)

The timing sucks, and the consensus was that this last frosh class was so good that he would at least ride them until the end, then take the money elsewhere. But these things never end well. BH makes good points, that Tony did give us what he had while he was here. But he'll ultimately end up like Erickson. He can talk pillars and values and faith all he wants, but what do his actions show?

E said...

Why is Sterk in such a rush to make a replacement hire? It seems short-sighted to not do a full, national search that looks at all possible candidates. Give them a chance to interview and present their plan for the program. I really don't like the prevalent sentiment that we should "just hire Bone" as quick as possible and move on our way. It took some creative thinking to come up with the Dick Bennett hire, and that was exactly what we needed to dig our hoops program out of some terrible depths. I'd hate to see the program regress because we didn't take our time and get the best available coach out there. Personally, I could do without another Big Sky promotion.

Here's another name I haven't heard mentioned ... What about Siena's head coach, Fran McCaffrey? He's implemented an amazing turnaround at Siena, and won two first round tourney games over the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Few to Arizona:

What a crappy week for Eastern Washington sports.

I agree with "E"...what's up with Sterk's blitzkrieg search? Think Klay can't handle himself without a coach breathing down his neck?

I fear this is the beginning of a terrible stretch for Cougar sports...at least the big two Men's sports. I can't see the Basketball program maintaining momentum after we lose our recruits, and the Football program is in the pits and is only going to get worse until the Wulff mistake is over.

It is very easy to be pessimistic right now. God give me the strength.

Chris '04 said...

I just heard some reports from campus that Terry Porter was seen being escorted around Bohler Gym.


Talk about "out of the box"...

AtlantaCoug said...

Chris '04 you magnificent bastard. That is the kind of internet chatter I love. (only good thing about losing coach is the internet coaching merry go round that results from it) Interesting that Porter played for Senior Bennett. Maybe nothing to this at all but fun to speculate.

Soze said...

Whoever we hire, I'd like to get a Coug on the staff to eventually replace someone like Porter/Bone/Giacoletti. We need someone that knows Pullman, loves Pullman and truly wants to stay there and build a program instead of use it as a stepping stone towards a bigger program (which Bone/Giacoletti would probably do) or to the NBA (Porter).

I'm totally cool with hiring someone like Porter who would be using the Cougs to get to a better place, because overall it will help the program, but at some point we need some continuity. And I don't know if we'll get that unless we find a Coug that can coach.

Chris '04 said...


Cougfan.com is confirming it: http://washingtonstate.scout.com/a.z?s=137&p=2&c=852638&ssf=1&RequestedURL=http%3a%2f%2fwashingtonstate.scout.com%2f2%2f852638.html

But that doesn’t mean you can take away the title of "magnificent bastard" from me.

TiltingRight said...

Terry Porter has NO college coaching under his belt, but I wonder if Dick Bennett didn't recommend him or something.

Someone mentioned Bennie Seltzer, but he's got no HEAD coaching experience.

All of our choices are flawed going in, I guess, but what do you expect when you're WSU?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Terry Porter also play with Michael Thompson at Portland Trailblazers??

Reno, NV

AtlantaCoug said...

I agree that no college experience for TP is a big deal. However, he has been a head coach in NBA, is a Bennett Diciple which would help with continuity and would probably keep the recruits...However getting a 'name' does not always mean success. Bone would be a solid choice as well. But TP is much more exciting.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Sterky stunt to keep Klay. His record as an NBA coach isnt exactly stellar

Anonymous said...

well thought out and reasoned. I guess, in this climate, everyone's getting rewarded for their failings. I do disagree that the summitt is near or at hand. He left because of the true state that the program is in. Bone's going to need about 5 years to fix that. Or land 2-3 great prospects.

Lucas said...

FYI, the assistant coaches (woodley, johnson, etc) have contracts which were only one year deals. I believe they expire June 30th. Sterk just finished up chatting with Furness on KJR. Sounds like our entire current roster has plans to stay on board as Cougs.

Longball said...

I wonder if Tony is not exactly married to the "Bennet Ball" style. His abandoning of the assistants may be a sign he wants to change that style, especially in the ACC where it may be a recipe for getting run out the gym by the secondary break on a nightly basis. Its also a bit of a hinderance on the recruitung trail. While i have made i clear i think his move was diabolical at best, it may also be smart... for his own future at least. I still hope he's an enormous flop in the land of Jefferson.

Jimmy Mac said...

Bone sounds great on paper, but I have absolutely no faith that he can recruit the kind of talent needed to compete in the Pac-10 to Pullman. He also won't be able to keep the recruits we currently have and therefore the talent we need to complement Casto, Capers and Thompson won't come.

I don't know much about Bone's coaching style, but from what I hear he likes teams that can run. Players that come to WSU will never be able to outrun the players that go to Zona, USC and UCLA. Bone is a disaster waiting to happen. I also don't like that every UW fan wants us to get him, they must not think he'll be that successful.

I like someone like Porter who I believe actually has a chance of keeping our recruits and our team together, which will undoubtedly shorten the rebuilding process. We have a much better shot of being a good team in the next 2-3 years with someone like Porter.

Anonymous said...

Yep, from TB to TP!!! - I second the Porter notion......if no TP, how about MT??.....Michael Thompson?? ;) Or better yet, would Craig Ehlo ever think about coaching?? Could you imagine if you remember him that is?? ;)

Reno, NV

Anonymous said...

I wish Bennett would take Kopravica with him!

Anonymous said...

Craig Ehlo was a HS coach in Spokane a few years back and went 10 and 41. http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/one_on_one_ehlo_040604.html

I think we can do a lot better than that. I like Porter but I think Bone looks good too. WSU is in such a better place than it was before the Bennetts. The sky is not falling. We will be alright.

Stefen said...

Bennett's a bum. period.

someone else mentioned trying to find a coug to eventually take over the program, someone who won't just use us a stepping stone to a bigger and better job. that would be nice, but who do we have that's an alum or former player that's coaching at other places right now? Seltzer is, but nobody else that i know of. and it's not like there's a long list of cougar basketball greats winding down their careers in the nba or abroad that might be looking to get into coaching anytime soon(as far as i kknow). could be pretty tough to find a true coug to take over the hoops program.

anyway, f*** bennett. douche

Sedihawk said...

Wow, first Mark Few to Arizona, then Jeff Capel....now Tim Floyd!? Weird.


Not that the USC opening would have a huge influence on who we are trying to hire, but interesting nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Lifeted from Cougfan.

Jim Sterk talked to Ian Furness on KJR radio about the current situation on the coaching search. Some of the subjects covered included:

Sterk said he will not release any 2009 recruit from their signed letter of intent for the next 3 weeks or so, saying he wants the dust to settle a bit, hire the new coach and have a period for the new coach to get acquainted with the incoming recruits before he would even entertain the notion of letting a recruit out of the signed LOI.

Sterk expressed enthusiasm for Terry Porter as a candidate but said he has not yet had an interview with him nor any other candidate.

Sterk again refuted the report in a Spokane newspaper that Washington State was considering cutbacks to the number of charter flights to away games next year, saying he didn't know where that rumor came from but that it was inaccurate. (Not only is WSU not contemplating any budget changes for next year, the Cougars have seen an increase in their operating budget for hoops in the last six years by 1.6 million. Washington State also had more road game charter flights than any team in the Pac-10 conference and Sterk said UW had none.)

Sterk talked with the players and remarked about their resiliency, saying players were joking around and laughing. He had the players elect one upperclassman and one underclassmen (Nik Koprivica and Abe Lodwick) in order to keep open the lines of communication between him and the players. The players are also talking to the incoming recruits and keeping them abreast of the situation. Sterk has also been on the phone with the incoming recruits' parents in order to allay some of their concerns.

Klay Thompson told Sterk he was staying. Asked about Capers and Casto, Sterk said they're Cougs and want to be at WSU.

Sterk talked about the bright future at WSU and said in-state recruiting is improving, saying WSU is now getting the 'Anthony Browns out of Spokane who can help us right away.'