You might know me from such blog posts as “UNAPPRECIATED WARRIORS” and “Five Myths of Paul Johnson’s Offense.” Then again, as infrequently as I’ve been posting lately, maybe you don’t remember. I would apologize for my absence, but somehow I think you’ve all been able to go on with your lives. But still, what kind of blogger would go silent for so long when there’s so much happening? My lazy ass, that’s who. I guess that’s what happens when the paying job gets in the way. In my defense, I actually have been working on the blog… Just not on anything you can read yet. I have quite a lovely post all dolled up and ready to go, but to truly unleash its greatness I need video. Which means I either need to fix my desktop machine or get a new one. It’s looking more and more like the latter, which makes my bank account weep the tears of an infinite sadness. Fortunately, the glory and the heaps of cash that come from having a blog more than make up for it.
Anyway, there’s a ton of stuff to get to. The biggest news that you already heard is that UNC’s search for a lacrosse coach has come to an end. UNC is a team that has had a reputation for having exceptional talent that never reached its potential. Richie Meade is a coach with a reputation for getting the most out of the talent he has on hand. And he’s a UNC alumnus! A match made in heaven? Apparently not, as Chapel Hill’s overlords chose instead to nab another Tar Heel, Ohio State coach Joe Breschi.
So why didn’t Richie get the job? In his own words:
“We both saw that at the present time I wasn’t a fit,” Meade said. “I went down there with a lot of respect for everyone at North Carolina and I now have an even greater respect for them. At the same time, I very much appreciate my athletic director, Chet Gladchuk, and his willingness to let me investigate the opening. He encouraged me to do it, and not because he wants me out the door. He was interested in me professionally.”
I’m not sure I buy the “mutual decision” thing, but I don’t really care. I’m just glad that Richie isn’t going anywhere. As much as I worshipped Paul Johnson, I always figured that he would eventually leave. But with Coach Meade I’ve allowed myself to fall head-first into “true believer” mode. You know… As in, “OMG MY SCHOOL IS SO SPECIAL AND UNIQUE WHY WOULD HE WANT TO LEAVE!!!” I just never envisioned the possibility of Coach Meade coaching anywhere else. Now that I’ve been whacked back into reality, I’m happy that things turned out the way they did.
The other big news is on the football side, with the Texas Bowl announcing that they’ve reached an agreement with Navy for the 2009 game. Or maybe it’ll technically be the 2010 game if bowl organizers achieve their goal of securing a New Year’s Day time slot. Along those lines, the game’s director took a shot at Navy, probably without even realizing it:
“If we have a situation where we can sell out a game with the eighth selection from the Big 12 against a Conference USA team or Navy, just imagine what we can do if we have two Top 10 teams playing each other every year,” Texas Bowl director David Brady told The Chronicle.
Really, dude? “If we can sell out with these scrubs, imagine what we can do with the teams we actually want!” I mean, I know the point he’s trying to make, but geez… It’s obvious that Texas Bowl organizers want Navy because they know that the Mids will provide their half of a sellout crowd. While the Texas Bowl is technically a different event than the Houston Bowl that Navy went to in 2003 (the Houston Bowl folded when it lost its sponsorship– this is a different ownership group), I’m sure T-Bowl organizers are well aware of the 20,000+ tickets that Navy sold for that game. Everyone else in the bowl world is too. No need then to make us out to be some anonymous upstart with no following. You aren’t fooling anyone.
But putting all that aside, and assuming that Navy will even be bowl-eligible in 2009 (the likelihood of which we’ll have a better idea of once the revised schedule is unveiled), it’s another good deal for Bill the Goat’s minions. If you get DirecTV, anyway, since the game is broadcast on the NFL Network. But you don’t need to worry about TV, right? You’re going to go to the game, aren’t you? That’s right, you are. Because the fact that Navy fans keep going to the games is the reason why these opportunities open up for us. Besides, it’s fun. The last time we went to Houston, I watched the team practice at Rice, ate at a great Cuban restaurant in Rice Village (El Meson for the win!), went to a Rockets game, and spent New Year’s Eve downtown. That’s on top of official bowl events like the rodeo and the luncheon. And although it’s easier on the team to play the game before Christmas (so they can actually have a few days of leave afterwards), it sure is a lot easier for fans to get to a game around New Year’s.
The Texas Bowl used to pay different amounts depending on the participating conferences. The Big 12 team would get $750,000, while the Big East got only $500,000. No word yet on how Navy would fit into that mess. Anyway, on to other things.
Since you know I can’t go more than two posts without mentioning Caleb Campbell, I might as well get it out of the way. Those who care about the topic have probably already ready this column by David Teel on the subject. The Navy’s hard stance on the Mitch Harris situation has caused a Teel and others to contrast that with the Army’s handling of Caleb Campbell. There are still arguments for and against the Army policy, and I’m not going to go back into those here. But regardless of how people feel, the one thing that has become clear is that people aren’t buying the Army party line that Campbell is serving, but just in a different way. As Teel says:
The policy could affect recruiting and morale. But that’s not the point.
The point is, in times of war, duty calls.
But playing football IS serving! Haven’t you heard? Anyway, that’s enough of that for now.
Back on the football front, we have the announcement of the Navy Football Luncheon Series:
The Navy Football Luncheon series will debut Monday, August 25 at 11:30 a.m. in the N-Room at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The luncheon will allow Navy fans to get the inside scoop from head football coach Ken Niumatalolo before some of Navy’s biggest games of the year.
Chalk this one up to “things you’d never see Paul Johnson do.” I’m not sure if this is a case of Coach Niumat being a more fan-friendly guy, or if Chet can just get him to do more stuff than he could get PJ to do. Either way, breaking down highlights with Coach Niumatalolo? I’ve never been more pissed to live in Florida. What a great deal. One of you guys need to go to the August luncheon so you can report on its awesomeness.
In a bit of tangential good news for Navy, NBC and Notre Dame have extended their contract through 2015. Hey, if they’re making money, then we’ll keep making money when we play them.
And finally, we have this piece in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin about Ken Niumatalolo as college football’s first Polynesian head coach. It’s a big deal on a few levels. I know I mentioned this before, but it really was something to see how many of Utah’s players wanted to shake hands and get their pictures taken with Coach Niumat. Maybe it isn’t a huge headline grabber, but in the context of the Naval Academy story it means a lot. USNA’s history of racial integration is not a proud one. I wanted to write about this when the Wesley Brown Fieldhouse opened, but I coudn’t find a way to do it without sounding even cheesier than I usually do. But to see the Naval Academy on the leading edge of something like this… It’s important. Not as important as the the fact that he is the right man for the job, but important nevertheless.
I’m going to be on vacation next week, so there’s a chance that I’ll have another posting dry spell. Try not to let your emotions get the best of you.