John Delong Gets It Right

John Delong has penned the best article we have read on the Sendek Situation.

Frankly, I consider it all absurd, because unlike most, I don’t see this issue as being black and white. I see all kinds of shades of gray. I think it’s possible to praise Sendek and be critical of him, to like the program he runs and to cringe at the Princeton-style offense he tries to run.

For those of you who staunchly defend Sendek’s Xs and Os, grab the DVR and take another look at State’s first 12 possessions of the second half on Sunday. And for those of you who say anyone would be better for the program, get out your old VCR tapes of the Les Robinson years.

More than anything, I believe strongly that Sendek has brought this cloud of controversy on himself.

Anyone who ever takes a job coaching basketball on Tobacco Road has to understand first and foremost the lay of the land, then work within that framework as best he can to produce positive results.

Coaching at State is about Xs and Os and recruiting and emphasizing academics and dozens of other issues. It is also about giving the fan base a sense of hope, in good times and bad. It is also about putting your best foot forward at all times so that when there is adversity, the support, the hope, is intact.

It is not about being all things to all people, but it is about cultivating assets, especially when the biggest potential asset is a passionate support system of followers desperately wanting to feel good about the program.

Sendek has failed miserably on that front. It’s the biggest flaw on his resume. If he could project and instill a sense of hope, then a four-game losing streak wouldn’t drag the program down the way this one did. If he could instill a sense of hope, there wouldn’t be this uneasy truce that exists with an element of the fan base even when he’s winning.

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83 Responses to John Delong Gets It Right

  1. dan 03/22/2006 at 9:25 AM #

    “Here’s what I don’t get… how does my inability to accept Herb Sendek as the best coach we can get after year five somehow develop from “Witch Huntâ€? to “reasoned decisionâ€? in year ten?

    Can some not just accept that they have been wrong for half a decade and the man should have been out the door five years ago when it would have been a lot easier than this? This inability to accept and announce that they have been “wrongâ€? is so very Fowleristic.”


    1. Off the top of my head, I’ve recently seen Sendek referred to as an “ass-clown” and “SenDICK” on this board. And, like I said, imo things have gotten alot better than they were. I’d categorize comments like that as “witchhunt”ish, and not-reasoned.

    Along those same lines, I’ve seen great analysis from Jeff, Cardiff and VaWolf that is very well-reasoned. I thought the article linked to this post is of high quality too.

    2. I wasn’t willing to support a coaching change 5,4,3,2, or 1 years ago. I am now. IMO, that’s not an unwillingness to admit I was wrong. It’s the ability to let my opinions on the subject evolve with time and data. Or haven’t you ever changed your mind as you were privvy to more information?

  2. GAWolf 03/22/2006 at 9:25 AM #

    I think pretty much every program now requires you to go to class. I was in Athens during the Donnan years and even he sent assistant coaches around to check the attendance of his held-up-as-Gods UGA football players. It’s an absolute necessary these days with the way the NCAA snoops around. I’d be shocked if you could find any program of any sport at any school that doesn’t at least attempt to make their kids go to class. Herb should not necessarily be lauded for doing this.

  3. dan 03/22/2006 at 9:26 AM #

    ^ sorry for the formatting. i was trying to number.

  4. GAWolf 03/22/2006 at 9:26 AM #

    Point taken, Dan.

  5. Ben 03/22/2006 at 9:37 AM #

    Another thought, if I may, about class attendance…

    I had a friend who was in grad school (studying English) at UFlorida several years ago. She taught freshman comp, and she got a note that one of her students was on the football team, so if he missed a class without prior notice, she was to call the athletic department and let them know.

    Okay, so her football player missed a class, and she dutifully called the athletic department to tell them, but didn’t expect anything to come of it. The next day, she got a phone call from Steve by-God Spurrier his-own-self, apologizing for his freshman (Danny Wuerffel, as it turns out) missing that class, but it wouldn’t happen again. And boys and girls, according to my friend, he didn’t miss a class for the rest of the year.

    Now, I know that football is very different from basketball. But Spurrier got his kids to go to class, and he had a *bit* of success coaching… So yeah, it is possible.

  6. ncsslim 03/22/2006 at 9:40 AM #

    GAWolf, judging by your girlfriend example and your later dissappointments with her, all I can say is, you’re kind of new to this female thing, aren’t you? I’ve been married for 28+ years and it doesn’t become any clearer. I guess, also back to your point, very similar to our little dilemma here. Good analogy, though.

  7. GAWolf 03/22/2006 at 12:44 PM #

    In Sendek’s defense (which is something I’m not very good at saying), getting kids to go to class and running a truly clean program are two totally different things.

    Also while hanging out in Athens I was sitting at a post-football-game-party, those ones that are suspiciously not paid for by any of the players but happen at a player’s house, I sat down on a couch beside Patrick Pass. I said, “Patrick, what’s up man? How you feeling?” He said, “Whatchoomeanman?” I said, “Well, with Robert (Edwards) going down today, you’re probably going to get some serious PT next week. You ready????” He replied… and I swear on my dog’s life… “Man I don’t care if I play or not, ’cause I’m on the payroll.” Holy crap. I couldn’t even laugh I was so stunned. Clearly it happened… but to be that open about it with a cracker like me was ridiculous.

  8. blpack 03/25/2006 at 10:12 PM #

    Good find on the article. I have been playing catch-up on the stories this week. I think the main thing is the loss of hope. Sendek about coached State out of the Dance in late Feb. and took away the joy of the Tourney. I had little hope of State beating Cal and no hope of State beating TX. As it was the network cut away to another game with no ACC ties because we were getting beat so soundly. Based on the final score it is just as well. My only hope for the program lies within getting a new start with a new head coach.

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