Searching Beyond the Paid

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

MSU Fires Head Football Coach John L. Smith

No, this doesn't have anything to do with the world of search, but it is a subject near and dear to my heart. MSU administration finally woke up and smelled the empty seats in Spartan Stadium, and decided to fire head coach John L. Smith. It's about time. I was calling for his head after the first game of this season - MSU came out flat and barely beat a team they should have walloped (Idaho). They had a couple good games after that, but then it's been a steep slide down to Pitsville. Rubbing salt in the wound is our neighbor (but NOT friend) down the road, the University of Michigan, laughing their arrogant asses off while they sit at #2 in the nation. John L. had to go, and I'm glad.

The big question is who will replace him. Speculation abounds on the fan boards and sports talk shows. I don't have a preference, as long as it's somebody who'll get in the players' faces and make them accountable for their mistakes, like Tom Izzo does in basketball. (That rules out Steve Mariucci and a couple other names I'm seeing bandied about.) Last week, my family and I were lucky enough to attend a basketball practice via the MSU Rebounders Club. Even though there were easily 100 fans in the stands, Tom didn't hesitate to scream at his players when they screwed up. Better yet, when one player makes a boneheaded move, he makes the entire team line up out of bounds behind the basket and run suicide sprints. Then the offending player has to stand at the foul line and make 4 free throws in a row. If he misses, they run more suicides. Guess what - there aren't many mistakes made. On the football field, we've got guys getting flagged for illegal motion or holding or whatever boneheaded penalty 3 downs in a row, and the guy stays in the game without so much as a wince from John L. He just stands on the sideline with that stupid smirk on his face. Unacceptable. Players need to be held accountable for their actions. Nothing whips an 18 year old into shape like being screamed at in front of his peers, and being the guy who made his entire team run suicide sprints...

Anyway, this is all over the sports news world, so I can't possibly link to everything that's out there. Google News has about 1,000 articles about the firing, and sports blogs everywhere are abuzz. My favorite commentary is by the local Lansing ABC affiliate's sports commentator, Hondo S. Carpenter, on his SpartanNation web site. Hondo is a fanatic, to be sure, but he's a fanatic in a good way, and he's got great things to say about the message the fans have been sending all season.

Maybe MSU will get to a bowl game sometime in the next 10 years. Nonetheless, I'm glad I got to go to the Rose Bowl when I did.


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