There was an extraordinary article in the SA Express News from Mike Finger that offered clarity with respect to what DeLoss Dodds is doing to shore up a struggling Texas athletics program.
He simply presumes it will be fixed.
Oh. I see. Presumed competent. That six weeks Dodds spent at the Secrets of Somali Management Techniques Symposia was well spent.
"I don't tell coaches what they have to do," Dodds said. "Mack Brown knows what he has to do. Rick Barnes knows what he has to do."
Results don't bear that out. No Athletic Director should be calling down plays into the press box Al Davis style, but his job from the 10,000 foot crow's nest is to look out for icebergs, provide clear expectations and guidance, and intervene proactively when he sees coaches mired in the day to day of their jobs losing sight of what matters most. That's what a good boss does. In fact, it's kind of in the job description. Mack Brown has a 11-15 record in Big 12 play over the last three years despite the resource advantages of a Top 3 college job. Rick Barnes missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time, hasn't seen the Sweet 16 since 2008, can't figure out the four year program guy vs. mercenary formula, and could really benefit from some dispassionate advice about his current direction.
Augie Garrido is a legend, but baseball will miss the post-season again and has a very solid shot at finishing dead last in a weak Big 12. Let me submit that our coaches could use a little help.
At bare minimum, in the form of very clear expectations delivered with firm language and access to other mentors - if, as Abe Lemons once quipped, Dodds' own coaching insight from track and field is likely to be "stay left and hurry back."
Asked about the importance of this fall to Brown, and of next winter to Barnes, Dodds insisted the upcoming seasons are no more significant than the previous ones.
Even a supportive AD who believes both coaches have a firm handle on their programs understands that both programs are at tipping points, though each is different. If football doesn't win a down Big 12 after returning 85% of its starters, and lay serious claim to being a national player again, the rebuild story rings false.
If any of you reply that we might still have a 10 win season, I'm going to assault you.
And Texas basketball is at the precipice of ending meaningful existence as a regional or national player.
At 73, there's speculation about how much longer he'll keep his sparkling new office, and whether he'll walk away after he collects the $1 million annuity he's scheduled to receive on Aug. 31, 2014.
As Mack Brown has taught us, when working towards goals other than the job itself - your comfort zone, your annuity payment, the good graces of a handful of rich alumni - you will fail.
Dodds said he's seen "huge strides" in football. He acknowledged it was "a tough year in basketball," but added, "when you're trying to change the culture, it's hard to do."
As Jenny finished her ninth doughnut, she acknowledged that "Weight Watchers is hard to stick to."
"I didn't work 32 years to not leave this the right way," Dodds said.
You've already left the wrong way. Now you're waiting for a check. You allowed Texas Athletics to degenerate into its current state, lacked the boldness to define the new landscape in college athletics with Texas in the driver's seat by aligning Texas with the country's demographic certainties and peer institutions, and weighed every scenario for the school and your office based on 1). how little work it required from you and 2). whether it made poorly performing coaches feel challenged.