In a previous post in this space, I noted Washington A.D. Scott Woodward needlessly taking several swipes on Seattle radio at the Univ. of Oregon last Saturday in Eugene. Among other things, Woodward said he thought the Oregon school was an “embarrassment” because of misplaced priorities.
(When A.D.’s attack: The Sequel)
We learned from Woodward that some things are better off left unsaid, and that athletic directors sometimes can’t resist seeking attention despite the oft-perilous consequences.
Another such example of that regrettable tactic came from East Carolina Athletic Director Terry Holland last weekend.
Following ECU’s 76-35 loss to Navy - in football - last Saturday, athletic director Holland thought it a smashing idea to write a letter to Pirate fans and post it on the school’s website.
A message to the Pirate Nation
Nov. 7, 2010
Saturday’s defeat to Navy by the score of 76-35 is one of those disappointing losses that is forever a part of ECU’s football history. No one was more embarrassed and more intent to use that loss as motivation to build a great football program than the coaches and players who fought that battle.
As is the case every Saturday in today’s game, there were other proud programs experiencing similar agony. Texas down 39-0 at Kansas State and No. 6 Utah behind 40-0 at home in a showdown game with TCU come to mind first.
If anyone had told us before the season that this team would be 5-4 with three regular season games remaining, most sane Pirates would have exuberantly accepted such an offer. Furthermore, if told that the wins would include a nationally-televised shootout with Tulsa, a gutsy comeback at Southern Miss and a heart-stopping overtime win over N.C. State, we would have been even more elated.
This is a reminder that the team and the Pirate Nation cannot be distracted from the task at hand by the loss to Navy or any other adversity we may face.
We have come this far by pulling on the same oar and the rough seas ahead will require our very best team effort.
If ever a letter demanded comic sans, it was that one.
Like Dan Gilbert’s perversely well-intentioned letter to Cleveland fans after LeBron James left the building, Holland commiserated in print with his fanbase over a traumatic loss. And like Gilbert’s comic sans communique to the faithful, Holland’s “letter” was - like the Navy loss - and epic failure.
Holland’s letter can off more as a revelation of his own insecurity in hiring head coach Ruffin McNeill during the offseason than any manner of encouragement to fans, the coaching staff and players.
It was also another example of Holland actively spiriting the spotlight away from the only reason anyone cares about East Carolina athletics: the football team.
Wonder if folks at UVA are thinking that maybe it’s time ECU started thinking
of an excuse to fire Holland about building a new basketball arena too.