Sunday, October 28, 2007

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The honeymoon was over last year when Washington lost to Stanford in Husky Stadium. So what exactly do you call the reaction that happens after you lose a homecoming game to Arizona 48-41 after leading by 15 points in the fourth quarter in the third year of the reign of Ty?

From what I am reading in Dawgman, and the Seattle Times this morning fans are beginning to gather the torches to march down to Montlake, and build a gallows over the W in the middle of Husky Stadium.

In Seattle it has been a long tradition that Husky coaches are fired after the lead columnists in the two major dailies start asking for change. Steve Kelley is the first to make the call, and you can bet Art Thiel will be close behind him on Monday when the PI publishes again.

Truth be told, Todd, and Ty don't have a single friend in the local media. That lack of friendship even extends to their flagship radio station which has been turning up the heat over the past few weeks. The purple curtain they have put around the program will be the one thing that hastens their departure. These guys need friends right now in the media, and they didn't bother to make any.

Steve Kelley is simply asking for change without demanding the head of Coach Willingham, yet. He isn't even calling out Coach Baer, but the implications are simple, for Willingham to survive he is going to have to dump one of his closest friends, and when asked to do the same thing at Notre Dame to save his job he declined and was fired.

Over at Dawgman, and the other fan sites, Husky fans are pouring in emails to AD Todd Turner, and President Emmert demanding that Ty, and, or Todd be let go after the season. The Internet half brains as Turner labeled the fan base at the school are not happy, and plan to show their unhappiness by not renewing their season tickets.

Steve Kelley the lead columnist for the Seattle Times says changes are needed at the UW.

The age of forgiveness is over. It ended late Saturday afternoon. Ended after Washington blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead — to Arizona. It ended when the defense allowed 535 yards and the offense committed five turnovers. Ended with a 48-41 loss. Last week, Washington coach Tyrone Willingham speculated that none of his players could start for USC. And then those players went out and proved him right. Turns out the Huskies don't even have the talent to beat Arizona. "Obviously there are a lot of people who don't feel very good about who we are right now," Willingham said after the game. And every fan who sat through Saturday's debacle has the right to wonder why, after three years under Willingham, this team can't even win these games.

One of our readers has started a site demanding that Todd Turner be shown the door. The writers are anonymous, and I was critical of that here, and at Dawgman. They did however take the time to point out that I was anonymous too, and I had written a couple columns this week critical of Turner, and Willingham. Fair is fair, so even though it is the worst kept secret in the world since I do a Q and A every week in the PI with Nathan Ware under my own name, my name is now published as an author on the blog. is the work of dedicated alumni, fans, and friends who are sick and tired of watching Washington fall from grace. We believe Todd Turner does not have the proper focus, skill, or credibility to lead the athletic department of our great University. His comments have proven he is out of touch with the fan base and suggest we should sit back and enjoy the product on the field regardless of the win/loss record. The breaking point came when Director Turner informed the fans to be patient as Husky Football can be compared to Kentucky...and we should strive to emulate Oregon. Maybe he should take his own advice, not only did Oregon execute when a stadium renovation was needed...the AD resigned after being told he was no longer welcome.

What do I think?

I agree with Steve, we need change, and that change starts with firing some defensive coaches at the end of the season. If Willingham isn't willing to make those changes he needs to be shown the door.

Coaching stability of course is very important for a program, and I have previously been in favor of keeping Ty for the length of his five year contract. I personally like Ty, and I think he is the type of guy that I would want to mentor my own kids. I like a lot of things about him, but lets face it, his job is to win football games, and his teams are not getting better. Take away Jake Locker, and you have a complete mess at Montlake.

Here is one thing I, and the rest of the media know about Ty, he isn't going to fire any of his coaches under pressure. If given that type of mandate he will resign, or accept the consequences which would be his dismissal. Don't feel too sorry for him since he will have enough money to never have to work again in his lifetime.

What about Todd Turner?

I like what Todd does for the most part, but I feel he has been bungling the Husky Stadium remodeling project by not having a fund raising plan in place after two years. His call out to double ticket prices for a team that hasn't won in four years shows just how out of touch he truly is. Todd simply isn't one of us, and he is never going to learn how to be one of us. The Husky AD position is just another job, it doesn't seem to be his passion as it was for Mike Lude, or even may I say Barbara Hedges. Todd is part of the Purple Curtain, and he feels the fans, and media don't need to be a part of anything other than giving money, and buying tickets. Todd really doesn't seem to care about what individual fans think, and to me that represents a total disconnect with the fan base who just happens to pay the bills with their support.

What should we do?

I think the right pieces are out there to fix this in state right now. Jim Mora Jr would be an excellent choice to succeed Willingham as head coach, and former Oregon AD Bill Moos would be an excellent choice as Athletic Director. Both of these guys understand Husky football, and most importantly Husky history. They both know what it takes to build a program, and win in this environment.

What about President Emmert?

I think Emmert's heart is in the right place as far as Husky athletics are concerned, he however has to answer to the Board of Regents whose heart is not in the right place currently. One of the Regents, Bill Gates Sr even thinks the stadium should be torn down and the real estate should be sold to build a medical center.

Emmert works for the Regents, and at LSU the Regents wanted a winning football program, he took the bull by the horns and gave them exactly that by running a one man coaching search which landed Nick Saban.

You can write all the letters you want to Turner, and Emmert, but also start writing letters to the Regents, and of course their boss who happens to be the Governor of the State of Washington. If you really want to change what is happening with Washington football start at the very top, put pressure on the Governor, and work your way down from there.

The removal of decay surrounding Husky football isn't the simple matter of firing asst coaches, the head coach, or even the current athletic director. The decay runs very deep, and it starts at the very top of the food chain which is represented by the Governor of the State, and the UW Board of Regents. If you really want to annoy the right people you start there, and work your way down.

I am sure if Christine Gregoire woke up with 50,000 emails about Husky football on Monday morning she would take notice, same goes for every member of the Board of Regents. If you are going to email Emmert, and Turner, don't forget the Regents, and the Governor.

Learn from the Nebraska food chain

The reason they are making changes at Nebraska is that football is important to the Governor of that state, their Board of Regents, and of course the entire population of that state which just happens to vote for the Governor who appoints the Regents, who hires the President, who hires the Athletic Director, who then hires the football coach.

Start at the very top of the food chain Husky fans, and work your way down, and don't forget the big buck booster's either, take the time to let them know what you think!


Anonymous said...

hairofthedawg said...

you do realize which party you're hoping will enact productive change...nothing against the democrats or in favor of the elephants, but I know which party I'd like at my back during a firefight...neither. Ask the Chinese to save the Huskies...

topdawg said...

hairofthedawg you are right:

Let Dino turn it into a campaign issue...