The first video below is a nice tribute to Darrell Royal, the iconic University of Texas football coach who died earlier this week. Also, Mickey Herskowitz — Houston’s greatest sportswriter — provides this heartfelt remembrance, while Dave Kindred passes along something about Coach Royal that I didn’t know, which was that his favored way of dying was the same as my father’s (“Heart attack, coming off the 18th green, taking everybody’s damned money”). Finally, the second video below reprises Coach Royal’s most famous game. Enjoy these remembrances of a truly remarkable life.
On the day of the BCS national championship game, this SNL video reminds us that there are way too many bowl games.
Rhoades came to UH after the past two UH head coaches Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin were hired, so he really had nothing to do with the revitalization of Houston’s traditionally innovative football program that Briles and Sumlin engineered.
Rhoades’ first coaching change after coming to UH was dubious, although he at least had the good sense to mitigate the negative impact of that decision by hiring a prot√©g√© of the coach that he replaced.
Rhoades’ second coaching change was equally uninspired. Why replace an older coach who had at least revived the basketball program somewhat with another older coach who had been out of coaching for several years?
But despite those missteps, Rhoades was in a perfect position to hire the best coach available to replace Sumlin, who everyone even remotely connected with college football knew was going to be plucked by a program in a BCS conference after leading UH to a 12-1 record. Given UH’s recent success, how hard could that be?
Well, maybe harder than you would expect, particularly if you are ill-prepared to conduct the search.
Two weeks after Sumlin elected to take the head coaching position at Texas A&M, it is painfully clear that Rhoades was inexplicably unprepared to replace Sumlin.
After being used by the coaches at Wyoming and Louisiana Tech to improve their respective contractual positions, Rhoades panicked and bestowed the head coaching position at Houston to Tony Levine, an obscure assistant coach who has never been seriously considered for a major college head coaching position before.
Indeed, but for reaping the benefit of Rhoades’ questionable decision-making, Levine probably would not have been a candidate for more than a relatively minor assistant coaching position at another college program.
Meanwhile, Rhoades chose Levine over a more qualified member of the Houston staff, Jason Phillips, whose background is remarkably similar to that of Sumlin at the time the latter was hired as Houston’s head coach. Phillips – who is indisputably the best recruiter on the current UH staff – will almost certainly now move on to greener pastures, probably as the offensive coordinator for SMU’s June Jones, who tried to hire Phillips four years ago when Sumlin persuaded him to stay at his alma mater. After being rejected by UH for a less-qualified candidate, it is extremely doubtful that Phillips will stick around this time.
And realistically, given that Levine has never coordinated either an offense or a defense at the major college level, how likely is it that he is going to be able to attract the coaching talent necessary to sustain Houston’s tradition of innovation that has been built under the regimes of Bill Yeoman, Jack Pardee, John Jenkins, Briles and Sumlin?
As a Houstonian and a UH alum, I hope Coach Levine well. He appears to be a genuinely nice fellow and a good member of UH’s current staff.
But as a longtime observer of – and participant in – the politics of big-time college football, my instincts are telling me something much more troubling about the UH athletic program.
That is, Mack Rhoades is a lightweight who is in way over his head.
So, is it really a surprise that one of the flagship programs and legendary coaches in this corrupt system are being implicated in a particularly repulsive web of corruption?
Condemnation of the actors involved has been the almost universal reaction in social media over the weekend, but caution is advised. We have heard only the prosecutors’ story so far and that story may not be true, at least entirely. The reputations and careers of prominent people are at stake here, so restraint at this point is prudent. Hindsight bias and our scapegoat instinct remain strong.
Yet, the allegations remain hugely troubling. A prominent assistant coach was allegedly caught by another coach in a compromising act with a minor. Another employee apparently also testified that he came upon the coach engaging in sex with a minor on school property.
What was done in response? Was it enough? Did it comply with obligations under applicable law? Did university authorities downplay the seriousness of the matter in order to protect a highly popular friend of the football program? Did one of the witnesses not pursue disclosure of the incident further because the football program gave him an assistant coaching position? Were the university’s lawyers advised about the incident at the time” If so, what did they advise?
These are the questions that will be asked in the coming days, weeks and months. And the answers may well be troubling.
Make no mistake about it. Not only are these the type of allegations that can destroy lives, careers and families, they can shake institutions even as wealthy and time-honored as Pennsylvania State University to its core.
And at some point the leaders running such institutions must confront a very basic, but troubling, question:
Is the corruption worth it?
And for honest leaders of other institutions who realize it could just have well been theirs involved in this mess, it’s a question well worth considering.
As no. 2 LSU prepares to play no. 1 Alabama on Saturday night, this video provides a glimpse at another big LSU game — the 1959 battle between no. 1 LSU and no. 3 Ole Miss that propelled LSU legend Billy Cannon to a Heisman Trophy and a rich professional contract with the Houston Oilers.
College football season is a special time in Texas, so it’s easy to take some time and get lost in this entertaining compilation of the 50 greatest plays in college football history.
Of course, as with any such list, there are going to be oversights, not the least of which is the late-in-the-game 4th down pass from Texas’ James Street to Randy Peschel to set up the go ahead touchdown in the 1969 Game of the Century.
As avant garde comedy, this University of Texas 2011 football video narrated by Matthew McConaughey is pretty good.
On the other hand, if not avant garde comedy, this video is seriously delusional and reflects much of why the UT is not a particularly attractive member for conference affiliation purposes right now.