Pro sports are much more interesting when there’s a villain.
When the late Kobe Bryant came to the Valley, the buildup throughout the basketball scene the day of the game was electric. When he would walk out on the floor for the starting lineup, fans couldn’t boo loud enough. It was a sign of respect. It made the overall experience that much more entertaining. Some nights Kobe would rip the hearts out of the Suns, and on occasion, the Suns would get over on him.
I thought of Kobe last night while watching Klay Thompson flash his four rings symbol to the crowd as he was escorted off the court following an ejection. I’m not confusing Thompson with Bryant in terms of talent, but he is one of the main faces of the defending NBA champions that the Suns are chasing this season.
The scene was just part of a Western Conference Finals rather than the usual late October go-thought-the-motions NBA matchup. The Suns won by 29, but more importantly, they sent a message that doesn’t appear on the scoreboard or in the box score…
Over at Always Something University, there’s a quarterback controversy. The school president had to take time out of his day to push down rumors that his athletic director would be fired(which had been swirling for several days), and by the afternoon, ESPN had their senior college football writer on the case.
Arizona State president Michael Crow tells ESPN that the school remains committed to athletic director Ray Anderson. “Ray is our VP for University Athletics. We are in the thick of making things work here and Ray is moving things forward.”
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 25, 2022
Yep, always something.
Meantime, it’s my understanding that Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham’s people have spoken with Colorado about the Buffaloes’ head coaching opportunity. Yesterday’s kerfuffle in Tempe is the latest reason I believe Shaun Aguano may be the right hire for the Sun Devils. Let’s list what’s happening with the job that is not on the application.
-NCAA Notice of Allegations about to hit.
-Athletic Directors’ future. Whether Ray Anderson has a say in the hire(very doubtful from my view) or he doesn’t, the hiring season for a head coach is now just five weeks away. Ray leaves, new AD isn’t going to be in place for this hire.
-What conference would this coach be going to be playing in
-Track record of head coaches life span in Tempe
Now, those on the defensive side of Arizona State would say none of the above matters. If you want to be a sitting head coach in college football, you’ll take any available job. While that MIGHT be true, the check and decimal point will be way down the piece of paper at other jobs where there isn’t as much turmoil behind the scenes as we are currently seeing in Tempe. The history of wins, losses, and coaches coming and going would suggest that the Arizona State job is a bit of a mirage. Looks great on the outside, but once you get in, look out. The record for the football program since the 1997 Rose Bowl game is 166-139, with a bunch of lower-level bowl game appearances, under six head coaches. No need to waste time comparing to other programs. THIS is the program that is in Tempe. Scoreboard doesn’t lie.
Yet, I look at all of the above evidence and push back. It just takes the right hire, the right leadership, the right support staff on and off the field, and the right voices to grow and mentor. There have been pockets of success on those front’s, but there’s much more that needs to be corrected at Always Something University than just swapping out a head football coach…
Oh, regarding the QB controversy and the play calling, good for Aguano to make change. He’s not just a caretaker for five games, he’s actually not afraid to shake things up. He has just one bite at the apple…