January 3, 2006
Coaches and other random thoughts
First of all let me say that I was happy that Zygi gave Tice the pink slip. It is time to put the Red McCombs years behind us and the best way to do that was to fire the Tice. McCombs only hired Tice, who had questionable head coaching credentials to begin with, because he could save some money. With the Wilfs now in charge, I think we are finally going to see some changes at Winter Park that make sense if the organization is really interested in winning a championship. And this may sound callous, but I hope all the assistant coaches under Tice get the pink slip too. Here is my list of who will probably be considered:
- Gregg Williams, defensive coordinator for the Redskins. It sounds like he is the top pick amongst the players.
- Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator for the Bears. I've heard a lot of talk about this guy being given a chance somewhere in the NFL to be a head coach. We'll see if it is the Vikings.
- Ted Cotrell, defensive coordinator for the Vikes. Say it ain't so. I want to fully clean house.
- Scott Linehan, offensive coordinator for the Dolphins. Again, his credentials aren't quite there yet, but Daunte sure would be happy. I expect the Vikings will give Linehan a shot.
- For the rest of the possible choices, check out this post from Mr. Cheer or Die, plus the comments.
And concerning Tice, let me just say that I think he is a top notch guy. One of his best qualities is how gracious he is in defeat, and he showed this quality off again by praising the Wilf family after he was fired. I will remember Tice, the person, fondly.
I was also happy that the Gophers retained the services of Glen Mason. Letting Mason go would have meant rebuilding, again, for the Gophers. The Gophers cannot afford a "big name" coach to replace Mason, which would have meant hiring some kind of "no name." Retaining Mason means recruiting will continue (and Mason has done pretty well with this considering he has to recruit with the Metrodome), and it means continued respectability for Gopher football. I've said this before and I'll say it again, the Gophers will not win a Rose Bowl until they are playing on campus again. Mason is the right coach to bring them to this point.
In case you missed it, Sid reports that this week will include a big meeting between T-Paw, the Twins, and Hennepin County concerning the shape of the latest (and greatest!) new stadium plan:
A meeting next week to include Twins officials, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat and maybe other commissioners will no doubt decide if the Hennepin County plan to build a new baseball park will be extended into next year or dropped.
At this point, it is apparent that nobody involved in the negotiations for the baseball stadium are convinced Pawlenty will stick his neck out in favor of building the stadium that not only will assure the Twins remain in the state, but result in million of dollars in labor contracts and building materials.
There is no assurance that the site in back of Target Center will be continue to be available if something constructive isn't done soon.
Count me in the group that doesn't believe Pawlenty will push to get this baseball stadium built.
Amen to that. There is no way that T-Paw sticks his neck out for this, not in a year when the Republicans will undoubtedly be fighting for their political lives. I'd like to think that Pawlenty will want to solve this problem, but right now he is in extreme politician mode as he tries to make everyone as happy as possible while really getting nothing accomplished. Meanwhile, stadiums get more and more expensive ...
Just finished my first book of the year, Empire Falls by Richard Russo. This was a fantastic and very well written book, but I couldn't help but think that I've read it before. It was very similar in feel to Minnesota author Jon Hassler's Staggerford and Grand Opening. In fact, another Russo book I've read, Straight Man, was eerily similar to Rookery Blues by Jon Hassler. So, I dug around a bit to find out if anyone else has these same feelings, and I find that Russo is a big fan of Hassler. What does this mean for you? Probably nothing. But if you've read any Russo and you enjoyed it, I encourage you to pick up Hassler's books, especially Grand Opening.
Now I'm reading Planets by Dava Sobel. Pretty good so far, but nothing can top her writing in Longitude, the story of a clockmaker's attempts to solve the biggest maritime problem in the age of discovery.
That's about it. See you soon!
Glen Mason is a bum! How long will it be until he starts exploring "other options" again? I will never forgive him for looking into the LSU job a couple of years ago simply to force the U into giving him a pay raise. And to give him $2 million per year to always finish in the middle of the Big Ten and lose meaningless bowl games is ridiculous.
I agree that it was time for Tice to go, and I simply hope that Zygi doesn't give in to his man crush on Jim Fassel. I'd rather see Cottrell or Linehan than a re-tread former head coach. I'm also not sold on Williams, as his tenure as a head coach in Buffalo was not good. Rivera is an interesting choice, though it will be difficult for me to root for anyone with ties to the Chicago Bears, the official team of Satan!
I also finished "The Plot Against America" over the weekend, but was underwhelmed. I thought it was a great piece of counter-factual history up until the end, when the author seemed to be in a hurry to wrap the book up. A decent read, but not to the level of all the fuss this book has received.
Curt in Grand Forks
Posted by: Curt Hanson at January 3, 2006 9:24 AM
First of all, Mason is not making 2 million a year. That would only happen if he wins the national championship (please hold your guffaws). Secondly, anyone the Gophers brought in would have the same problems as Mason. I say he deserves another shot especially with recruiting under the promise of a new stadium. I expect some good things in the next 5 years.
And I know what you mean concerning being underwhelmed by the Plot Against America. It is not a thriller by any stretch, and it does kind of whimper at the end. But what makes the book remarkable, to me, is that it is plausible. This could have really happened. Roth also does a great job at implicating Lindbergh, but not really besmirching his character. I thought that was deftly done. Plus, and I think you'll agree, the writing was very, very good. Roth definitely has a gift.
You are on a roll now, Curt. What book will you be reading next?
Posted by: Shane at January 3, 2006 10:04 AM
You make some decent points about Mason, but I still can't get over him looking at other jobs every couple of years. He does not deserve to be paid anywhere near 1.5 million, let alone the close to 2 million he gets with pensions and deferred compensation. Pete Carrol at USC perhaps deserves 2 million; Mason does not.
I am now reading a couple of books related to the Holy Grail. The trailer for the Da Vinci Code as well as a documentary from the History Channel have me reading in this vein. I suffered through "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" a couple of years ago, and hope that the two books I have are better than that one was. I'll definitely go back to your list again, though.
Curt in Grand Forks
Posted by: Curt Hanson at January 3, 2006 10:18 AM
Mase hasn't had wondering eyes for a couple of years now. Last year there was no campaigning for other jobs and this year there was no word of him pining for the Colorado job although it was a more lucrative position with an administration that is obviously willing to stomach a lot for a winning program.
I'm glad he stayed as there is no one available to take his place and keep what ever little momentum this program has. Hopefully Mase will concentrate on getting better defensive players.
Posted by: freealonzo at January 3, 2006 12:40 PM
I know originally I told you that keeping Mason was OK, but now, I have second thoughts. I hear about how bad the Gophers were prior to Mason, and true as that may be, should that be the sole criteria to keep him?
Mason has done a good job of getting the program from being terrible to disappointing. I just cannot see him bringing the Gopher program up to the elite status of the Big Ten. He is incapable of taking that next step with the program.
Keeping Mason just for the fact that it could be worse without him also takes away the real possibility that they will be better without him.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at January 3, 2006 12:42 PM
Tice is a nice decent guy. He is in the mold of Dennis Green. So, I'm glad the Tice era has ended! A coach can make all the difference in the world, and the Vikes should have won their division easily, but didn't. The Bears are the best team in the division? Please! We'll see how this all plays out.
The dreams of Rosebowl victories are long gone for the Gophers. There is a huge division between the haves and the have nots. The BCS makes sure of that! It would take a lot of work for the Goph's to break into the have department. A stadium would only be part of the package. Many teams take short cuts and this leads to sanctions to be paid by future teams. So, Mason has run a clean program with a few shining moments. That is plenty to keep him aboard. Has he won a National Title? No. Will he? No. Does he run a good clean program? Yes. Be happy with the Music City Bowl. They'll have flashes of top tier play like all big 10 teams, but the 11 teams of the Big Ten are too equally matched to be considered title contending teams. They'll always have 1 or 2 or 3 losses a year. Not good enough to compete with USC or Miami. Plus, there is the weather! An outdoor stadium isn't going to do one thing to make Minnesota more desireable...
Posted by: DouglasG at January 3, 2006 2:28 PM
Letting Glenn Mason go would've been a huge mistake. How he's turned that team around since he got here is actually quite amazing. Yes, he hasn't brought us back to the Rose bowl, but if thats going to be your standard for a football coach for the time he was given, you'll never find a coach.
Posted by: TwinsJunkie at January 3, 2006 3:45 PM
Amen, TwinsJunkie. Consider that Mason has built a respectable program and now he will soon be able to recruit with the promise of a new stadium for the outgoing seniors. I think we are seriously entering the glory years of Gopher football. Will it result in a Rose Bowl? Well, I can guarantee it wouldn't have if Mason had been let go. With Mason there is a chance. Small, yes, but a chance.
Posted by: Shane at January 3, 2006 3:50 PM