Insights and Observations
Thursday, December 4, 2003
By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner
of Greenville Cable 7
College football turned upside
The archive of this week's
Midweek Tailgate, with Henry Hinton, Steve Logan, Mike
Steele and guest Jeff Jagodzinski, is scheduled to be available
on Friday. Meanwhile, replay previous programs: Select clip...
Itís that time of year again for a lot of college
football coaches ó pink slip time. Once again there are some firings that
just leave us scratching our heads. How about the guy who tied for the
Conference USA Championship last year, Rick Minter? Gone!
College football hysteria has reached new heights.
Everywhere you look expectations are out of control.
Even more unfathomable than Minterís firing is the
Frank Solich's release for going 9-3 at Nebraska.
Some firings are expected and others are
understandable. Then again some are downright idiotic.
My personal feeling is that Cincinnati has lost it. All
of a sudden, the Bearcats program is being thrust into the Big East, which
is unexplainable enough. Now, UC Director of Athletics Bob Goins has decided
Minter is not the guy.
In a statement released by the media relations
department in Cincy, Goin is quoted as saying, "I have very high
expectations for this entire athletic program, including football, as we get
set to head into the Big East Conference in the near future. We will move
swiftly ahead as we try to reach for those lofty goals that we aspire to
Great! High expectations. Everyone should have high
Here is a guy, Minter, who leaves the defensive
coordinator position at Notre Dame in 1993 to take over as head coach of a
program that has not been to a bowl game in 47 years. Thatís right 47 years.
Now there is some football tradition. Most people didnít even know UC played
football prior to Minterís arrival.
As might have been expected, it took Minter a while to
get things going. Ask any other coach who has played UC in the last several
years how the Bearcats program was progressing and they may have told you
that Minter was doing an amazing job there.
Starting in 1997, Minter took the Bearcats to four bowl
games in seven years, including last yearís appearance in the New Orleans
Bowl after that team took home a share of the C-USA crown.
This yearís UC media guide predicted that this would be
a rebuilding year for Minterís program.
Here is a direct quote from that publication which was released in
ďIt will be hard not to notice the changes in the
2003 Bearcat football team. After all, the departure of 12 starters from
a squad that claimed a share of the 2002 Conference USA title has
resulted in a significant decrease in the star power of the team. Gone
are the players who served as the backbone of the group that set a
school record by making bowl appearances in each of the last three
So, let me get this straight. The university was
willing to admit that the backbone of the team was gone due to graduation,
but Minter was still expected to work a miracle this year?
Amazingly, he almost did. UC went 5-7, including a win
over West Virginia before a rash of injuries set in to cripple chances of
another winning season. Who can forget the dominating 40-3 thrashing the
Cats handed ECU in the season opener on Labor Day?
They finished the year with a 43-40 near-miss on
Louisville last Friday that would have sent them bowling again.
High expectations? Yes. Ridiculous expectations? Um, I
I will say this for Goin and the UC administration,
though. Recognizing what Minter has meant to the growth of the program, they
have offered him a chance to stay at Cincinnati and be a part of the
Just as Army treated Todd Berry well when relieving him
mid-season, Cincinnati is showing some class that my own alma mater did not
afford our last coach when Steve Logan was banned from the ECU campus as
part of his settlement last year. Logan actually had to get a waiver on that
clause of the agreement to come watch his own son play baseball at
What was that all about? Firing a guy for going 4-8
isnít enough? He had to be banned from campus? I will never understand the
way Logan was treated by ECU.
So, yes, I think the whole damn college football world
has gone nuts. Was the embarrassing situation that left Auburn the laughing
stock of the country last week an unusual occurrence? Or were they just so
dumb that they got caught?
Decide for yourself.
But I have to tell you. At some point, college
athletics is going to implode from the stupid expectations being placed on
athletes and coaches. And it may be closer than you think.
Who in their right mind is going to put themselves
through such a corrupt and unbalanced system and become a college football
coach in the future?
No one with their priorities in order. Thatís for sure.
That will leave those who are dysfunctional enough to
be interested in the job to deal with the administrations of the future.
Talk about misplaced priorities. Unfortunately, we
already live in an era where the goodwill of the student-athlete is barely
given lip service.
Itís only going to get worse.
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02/23/2007 10:11:56 AM