Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful

Friends...

'Tis the season for recounting the things for which you are thankful.  I am fortunate to have many.

I am thankful for a loving family who tolerates my Buff obsessions even as they do not generally share them.

I'm thankful to live in Boulder, Colorado.  The totally not reality bubble of a town that's as zany, creative, happy and fit as it is insular and self-absorbed.

I'm thankful for Mike Bohn, the CU Athletic Director.  He's got one of the more difficult situations in Division 1 - a brand name school expected to be always competitive in each major sport but lacking big donors and broad administrative support.  Despite this he's increased the local visibility of the team through such innovations as the Ralphie's Stampede Pearl Street Pep Rallies.  He's also hired two very good mens' Basketball coaches (Tad Boyle being an amazing diamond in the rough) and has our hoops team winning the conference tournament and nationally ranked for the first time since Chauncey.  He was possibly the first D1 AD to truly understand the imminent conference realignment, brilliantly navigating dangerous waters to get the Buffs into a conference that is a huge improvement over the Big XII (which has since become a second tier league).  Sadly, however, Mike has failed on the football front.  But to be fair the Barnett firing and the Hawkins hiring were moves that were broadly lauded as right, even brilliant, moves.  The Embree hiring was risky but sentimentally popular and, frankly, fit within the budget.

And I'm thankful for Jon Embree.  Jon loves CU just as I do.  As a young lad starring at Cherry Creek he could have gone to any school he wished - but he chose to be a Buff.  As an up and coming assistant coach he toiled for years in Boulder teaching young Buffs and keeping the program in the upper tier.  When he had the opportunity to return as head coach, he took a lower salary in order to save budget for his assistants.  He's a Buff through and through.  I love him for this.  And he has worked hard and suffered mightily in his two years at the helm of our once proud program.  His suffering makes my heart hurt.

Thank you, Jon, thank you for giving it a go.  But the experiment is not succeeding.  Aside from a slightly improved running game there is not a single piece of evidence that suggests things are improving.  But sadly there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.   This is the worst season in the long history of Buff football and is probably in the top 10 worst performances in NCAA history.

The CU administration does not seem to have the appetite nor the pocketbook to fire and replace Embree this year - but they should.  This has gone too far and badly affects the CU brand which has far reaching consequences beyond athletics.  It seems silly to imply that a bad football team can drag down a proud academic icon - until you try to name one other well respected non-Ivy league school whose flagship sport is a synonym for failure.

It's time for a change.  Even if the Buffs improbably upset Utah on Friday - and I will be rooting with every fiber of my being for that to happen - it's time for a change.

Thank you, Jon.  You will always be a special Buff.


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