The movie “Draft Day” accurately depicts the marketing and pure luck involved in the yearly NFL draft.
The starting pitching for the Royals has been overall very solid, but you just never know how the offense is going to perform from one game to the next.
But the biggest sports story currently is the University of Missouri basketball program and the decision by coach Frank Haith to make a move to the University of Tulsa.
Mike Alden, the Mizzou athletic director, put on his game face regarding the loss of Haith. He was quoted as saying, “he was a heck of a basketball coach and a heck of a guy.”
Haith did have a solid career at Missouri with a 30-win season and a National Coach of the Year honor. However, he never seemed right for Mizzou or its alumni.
This year turned south on Haith and the Tigers as they ran out of gas at the end of the year. The Tigers did not make it to the NCAA Tournament and were an early out in the NIT. All of the off-court issues and suspension of players after the season only added to a very disappointing year.
Haith left Missouri in a swirl of negativity. Many are surprised that he would leave an SEC program for a smaller Division I program. Tulsa has a great basketball tradition with a history of coaches like Tubby Smith and Bill Self moving on to bigger programs from there. Danny Manning got his first head coaching job there last year but immediately took the job at Wake Forest, a move to the highly rated ACC. The Tulsa job is a good stepping stone, but this move by Haith makes you want to scratch your head.
I have to go out on a limb here and most likely anger MU fans, but doesn’t Mike Alden and the MU athletic program need to reassess itself? The Tigers have not won an outright football conference championship since 1962 while in the old Big Eight. The basketball program has never had a team make it to the Final Four in the school’s history. These are unbelievable stats.
Missouri has an outstanding academic record, they have outstanding athletic facilities and alumni willing to support all the programs. The school has had very few NCAA problems and an overall outstanding reputation. It makes it difficult to figure out why the Tigers cannot seem to make it over the hump in both football and basketball.
The football program finally had a successful year with the opportunity to compete for the SEC championship. Mizzou fans were pumped that the Tigers made it to the big show in the No. 1 football conference in the country. Tiger football has been elevated to a top 15 program nationally.
The recruiting base should continue to develop with new inroads all over the country and most importantly in the South, where football is king. On the other hand, the basketball program has floundered ever since Norm Stewart was fired. It is time for Mike Alden to come up with the right man for the Tiger basketball program. His back is against the wall for the future of the program.
He has been successful at MU in many ways. His leadership in the transition to the SEC from the Big 12 appears to be a total success according to the business numbers. He has also done a superior job of improving all of the athletic facilities during his tenure. However, MU has all the makings for success, but it is way past time to finally win a BIG ONE. It is easy to talk about this stuff in the paper. It is hard to make it all work. But it is for sure time for some big things at MU.
• The high school baseball season is shaping up for just about anyone from the Kansas City area to have a chance to go to the state playoffs. Once a team is in the show you never know who can win the ring.
• The NBA playoffs are here, and it is hard to find anyone in Kansas City who really cares. I like the NBA playoffs because that is the one time of the year that everyone in the league plays hard. Let’s face it – they are great athletes.
• My quote of the week comes from baseball Hall of Famer Willie Stargell: “Be honest and work hard to get what you want. Don’t take short cuts; you only cheat yourself in the long run. Success is not measured by money or fame, but by how you feel about your own goals and accomplishments and the time and effort you put into them.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 5-6 p.m. every Thursday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org