*******CRFF reader Blockaye had something to say, so I helped him say it. All ramblings are his.*******
Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World wrote an excellent piece on the drastic decline of attendance at Oklahoma State's mens basketball games, which appeared in today's paper. I needed this article after the recent Berry Tramel awkward break-up articles. Cooper's article includes a superb visual display of this drop, as well as revenue, and it also hearkens back to something that Carson Cunningham of KOCO tweeted at the end of February about Travis Ford. This paragraph from Cooper's post caught my eye:
"We appreciate the ones that were here to support the basketball team, and I think that's great," Ford said. "You can go through that. That's part of it, as far as when you're dealing with injuries and you're not winning, that's going to affect the crowd. That's true for any school, no matter what it is. Everybody has experienced it, except for maybe Kansas in our league. That's about it. A lot of times, even when you're having great success, it's still a challenge in today's society of trying to get fans and students to the game. Everybody's experiencing it."
Even when the arrow clearly points to Ford being the problem, and he probably even knows that he is the problem, he puts on his "Tefl-Andre" suit and repels any responsibility for the downward spiral of the Oklahoma State program. It is quite incredible. Travis Ford could potentially have a great career as a spokesperson for the tobacco industry, Volkswagen, or even the corrupt financial industry that Bernie Sanders talks about in his campaign speeches. It is the quintessential George Costanza approach of "It's not me, it's you," combined with the rapport of the character Nick Naylor in Thank you for Smoking. Not quite as smooth but it gets the job done.
I initially gave Ford a chance.
I remember sitting in my Stillwater apartment during my quasi-victory lap senior year (finishing my second degree) and watching Travis Ford's first game. He lost me when the team came out in a zone defense. That is a cardinal sin in the House of Iba. Thankfully, today may be the day, the day that ends the eight years of pain and suffering endured by all who love Oklahoma State basketball, and may usher in the return of the Iba-Sutton man defensive schemes that produced some of the most successful teams in our storied history.
Best Friend Doug
Now, on to Doug Gottlieb and the possibility of his hiring as the next Oklahoma State head coach. Yes, he is the emotional favorite for the job and he's been endorsed by Eddie Sutton, but he is also probably the smartest choice from a financial perspective. When his name first popped up a few years ago for the Kansas State job, I thought "you've got to be kidding me" - actually said that out loud. I spoke with a fraternity brother of mine who attended both K-State and Oklahoma State, on the idea of Doug being considered as a coach. He pointed out a few things that made sense:
- Doug has been immersed in basketball his entire life;
- His dad was a coach and ran a college recruiting operation;
- His brother is a coach, and;
- Doug learned from Hall of Fame coach Eddie Sutton;
Those things combined with his appearance on the Pistol's Firing podcast locked up my decision.
Why is this a smart financial choice?
This is a fair and reasonable question.
If we look at the other candidates, they will presumably want at least $1.5M+ per year based on their current salaries, what they see other Big 12 coaches making, and Travis Ford's current contract. As for Doug, this article is one example that gives me a strong indication he will do Oklahoma State right until we are out from under Holder's massive mistake:
For years, Sutton accepted less money to coach at his alma mater. This contract, which runs the through 2006-07 season, is closer to his Big 12 peers.
"Up until we reached this agreement, I was probably the lowest paid coach in the Big 12," Sutton said. "That's hard to believe. But OSU's my alma mater, and I knew the situation with money. At least now I'm up there."
Sutton's salary didn't reach $650,000 until 2003, and was done in an effort to allow Oklahoma State to be financially secure. If the apple doesn't fall from the tree, we could have a great coach in Doug Gottlieb, winning again on the court, winning again in the seats of GIA, and winning financially.