Patience a Virtue in Sports
May Rich Rod Be A Warning
Originally Aired: Thursday, November 4, 2010. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
The NCAA added a third year of probation to the University of Michigan football team today. Michigan will not lose any scholarships, but the whole saga is a warning to other college and professional teams about quick fixes. Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez took over the team after Lloyd Carr resigned amid anger from fans and some at Michigan over a perceived decline in the program. Yet Carr had a 122-40 record and never had a losing season. By contrast, Rodriguez is 13-19 since taking over at Michigan. Moreover, as today’s report shows, Rodriguez has tainted the name of a school that is one of the best academic institutions in the country and had a tradition of high ethical standards for its football team.
We live in an age of instant gratification, but that’s not how sports works. Even great programs like Michigan’s aren’t going to finish in the top 5 each year. A couple pretty good but not fantastic seasons doen’t mean a team should fire the coach, as there’s just too much competition to be elite each year. This season, Florida under the great Urban Meyer is a perfect example of this. Cornell stuck with basketball coach Steve Donahue for 8 years before he made the NCAA Tournament and it took 10 years to get to the Sweet 16. In the NFL, the Titans have stuck with coach Jeff Fisher for 16 years, despite a couple poor seasons, and have overachieved time and again, including this season. His 146-114 record over 16 seasons makes Tennessee one of the best teams over that lengthy period.
In the 21st Century, no team is going to win every year. In college sports where academic standards also matter, schools have to realize finding a good coach that will uphold academic standards school is all the more difficult. Fans and administrators need to be patient. You might end up like Michigan.
(November 10, 2010)