Monday, April 18, 2005

Bad Moves

So long then.

Dave Leitao has gone on to the supposedly greener pastures of Virginia where the money is too much and the future holds, probably, massive mediocrity. Whatever. A guy is entitled to think of his financial security, but Pete Gillen might wish he stayed at Xavier or Providence where everything was going good...

...until the big money came calling.

But who can resist? And at what cost?

Leitao could have had it all at DePaul, and the saddest part is that he was on his way. He's had twenty-win seasons and an NCAA tourney win and now the recruits were coming in. Good recruits. He could have taken the next step. Or two steps. And Chicago would have loved him for it. All the love the Illini got this year? It would have been bigger. He had it headed in the right direction and bailed.

For what? More money? Some perceived ACC supremacy? Antsy feet? More boosters?

It's not like Leitao isn't a good coach. He is. Virginia won't be a loser. He's left the Blue Demons in good shape. Joey Meyer's last season in charge - which, if I recall correctly, produced THREE $%@# WINS! - saw the Blue Demons program get about as dead as dead can be without out actually exhaling a final breath. The era of Pat Kennedy always seemed a disappointmet, no matter how many future NBA players he recruited, and he recruited plenty. Leitao fixed all that. The program is alive and kicking and well.

Which makes Leitao's decision to leave all the more disappointing, and puzzling.

In the end, though, who cares? DePaul must find a replacement and move on. Leitao wasn’t great. Good, not great. The Blue Demons choked down the stretch this past season in every game that mattered. And now he made his decision to test the waters that have killed so many coaching careers before. Fine. That was decision. Now DePaul, namely Jean Lenti Ponsetto, must not screw up their sudden major decision – hiring a new coach.

My likes?

The dude who coaches Winthrop. Yeah, that guy. I'm serious. Whatever his name is.

Brian Gregory seems like the most logical pick. He wanted the Blue Demons job three years ago. He said so. He's a local boy who grew up a fan, probably when the likes of Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings had the Blue Demons at the top of the rankings for years. (No need to mention those disappointing finishes.) Gregory has seen the good times and knows how big it can be. And it can be huge. Seashells and balloons. Plus, Gregory is a former Tom Izzo assistant - meaning he learned from a master - and he's been successful at Dayton.

Too bad Gregory has stated that he's not interested. He's probably still ticked about being spurned by DePaul once. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I stay at Dayton.

Rick Majerus is a great coach. Let there be no (delicious, barbecued, smokey) bones about it. I'd have no problem with Majerus being hired. Sure, he wouldn't be a long term answer, but the Blue Demons would be about as well coached as any team in the country. And they'd win, even if Majerus might hit 400 lbs. on a Chicago diet.

Steve Lavin. For some odd reason, I like this guy. He had a nice run at UCLA, or at least an underappreciated run. But then, like most UCLA coaches, he was dragged over the coals heating John Wooden's legacy and vanquished. Though you may be fooled by his L.A. stint and his greased-back hair, Lavin is actually a Midwestern guy, a former Gene Keady assistant, just like Bruce Weber. Lavin could be a nice fit. For some reason, the more I think about Lavin, the more I like the possibility.

Digger Phelps? Sounds like a freak show waiting to happen.

Nolan Richardson? (Yes, his name has been mentioned, possibly by someone on crack.) Too cranky, weathered, and Southern.

Chris Collins? Um, no.

Bobby Gonzalez? He's won at Manhattan, which is in big East country, which is where the Blue Demons are headed. Not the most exciting pick, but possibly not bad.

Mark Aguirre? I like that he has come right out and say that he would be interested, but I'm having visions of Clyde Drexler coaching Houston dance in my head. Probably not happening. Probably a good thing.

And that guy from Winthrop. Yeah, that guy. Seriously.



The Fire beat San Jose 2-1 this weekend with a goal in injury time by some guy named Thiago. He's Brazilian, so he can't be that bad.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the Fire fired general manager, CEO, and president Peter Wilt. Maybe "fired" isn't the exact word, but Wilt was let go in what has been blatantly described as a business move. With the new Brideview stadium coming next year, the Fire said it wanted someone who can handle the business end better. You know, making money. The Fire actually admitted to its reasoning, it's horrible reasoning. The Fire has actually said there is so much business interests to think of involving the new stadium that it wanted a true business man. It wanted someone with a better - cough, cough - marketing background.

So they hired some guy named John Guppy, an Englishman who has been holding a front office position with the New York-New Jersey MetroStars. Two things to note here: 1) Yes, his last mane is actually Guppy, and 2) yes, the MetroStars are consistently one of the sorriest franchises in MLS.

So, essentially, the Fire ditched Jerry West to hire Scott Layden.

Oh, and Wilt is a homegrown Chicago guy.

Sad, sad, stupid move. Horrible move. This is the type of move that can desecrate a franchise.

Wilt built championship teams. The Fire won it all in 1998 and reached the title game on two other occasions. They also won the U.S. Open Cup three times, including in 1998 (to complete the double.)

To put it justly, Wilt built winners, except for last year, when the Fire had to say goodbye to DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, and Zach Thorntom, who all left to test themselves in Europe. The first losing season in franchise history was understandable. It happens.

This year, the Fire has a bunch of new guys who are basically completely unknown, but they don't look too bad so far. They'll be a winning team again this year. Just watch. Wilt has probably gone back to the drawing and come back with another solid team. That's what he does.

Yet now he is being asked to leave so some guy named Guppy from the pathetic MetroStars’ front office can take over.

In a business move.


The Fire really fucked up on this one.

And the Fire fans, the true Fire fans who know what's going on, are pissed and let the whole world know on Saturday night by making a virtual funeral for Wilt during the Fire's win. Wilt was a beloved man. Props to the fans for making a spectacle of their anger over the decision. Bravo. Good show. They are the fans that are always showing up and paying attention and they know bad news when they see it.

And the firing of Wilt was a stupid move and bad, bad news. Absolutely atrocious.

Here is one fan's thought's on Wilt.

This guy vents well on the utter debacle.

Here is an extensive interview with Wilt.

"What is really important at the end of the day is the team, the players and the badge." - Peter Wilt


Blogger Zlax45 said...

Long time, No talk!! What is up?

Anyways, Some of my sources have come to me saying that I am the one that is getting blamed about the SportsFrog's virus problems. Guess what? It is not me. I have no talent to put virus on websites which I am banned from. I can't even get to the Sportsfrog forum because my IP has been banned. I only went to check it out because one of my moles told me about it but could not. Anyways, Tell your buddy HoodRat and Edzipper to go back to the bars of NYC and Davenport respectively and have a beer because they got what they wanted me banned from the Sportsfrog. Ohh....Big deal I am living the good life and enjoying every minute of it.

8:33 PM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...

Wassup, Zlax? You were definitely a suspect in the hacker business - by myself included. (Sorry.) But who cares? I'm glad you have "sources" and "moles" to keep you abreast of the situation.

Are you still writing for any sites?

6:59 AM  

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