|Thursday, March 28, 2013, 11:45 AM- -|
We saw two major firings in college basketball this week when Ben Howland was let go at UCLA and Tubby Smith was canned at Minnesota.
I can't understand the thinking at Minnesota but think I have a good grasp the issues at UCLA. What happened to Howling at UCLA is that the negative momentum rolled up on him and his program and he could not lead his program out of that momentum.
Howland took UCLA to three Final Fours and seemed to have the program back in the limelight. But like every coaching job in America, issues came arose and Howland could not answer the bell when he was hit in the mouth.
No program is safe from issues. They may come in the form of probation, lack of funding, lack of support, lack of history, geography, graduation, facilities, crisis, etc. These issues hit everyone from Newberry College basketball to Alabama football. The key to surviving the crisis is leadership.
Nick Saban had four players arrested recently but the same leadership that helped him win three national titles at Alabama and one at LSU, helped guide him though the latest storm. The difference is that Howland couldn't navigate UCLA's ship through the storm the same way Saban does at Alabama.
It seems like Alabama football and UCLA basketball are two jobs that you would have to try to screw up to get it wrong. They seem like two of the easiest jobs in America but obviously there are examples of both going wrong. It was a lack of leadership that led them down the wrong way and strong leadership that built their history.
I heard a great saying about leadership the other day that said, "Battleships weren't built to stay docked in ports." The reason Saban makes what he does at Alabama is that he has proven he can lead a program through almost anything in front of it. That kind of leadership is rare.
At Clemson every head coach has his/her issues to battle on a daily basis. Some are bigger than others.
Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
View Full Profile has a tougher job than some others in the department but he knew that when he took the job.
Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
View Full Profile inherited a terrific program and gets great support but his sport is difficult in many ways and he is currently facing the issue of rebuilding his program.
Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile took the job as an interim coach and had a rough season in 2010 but his positive message and vision for the program looks like it has prevailed over the adversity.
I.M. Ibrahim, Larry Penley and Danny Ford all won national championships at Clemson but each faced major issues and led their programs through tough times.
Ibrahim started from scratch and built his soccer program into a national power. It couldn't have been easy but he won two national titles despite the lack of tradition.
Penley took over a solid program but one that lacked a golf course and facilities. He built his program through relationships and is a Hall of Famer today because of it.
Ford was young and inexperienced but helped rebuild the football program to a national title and rebuilt it again after probation took a huge toll.
In each case, these three men provided some blueprints to the current coaches here. I think Brownell, Leggett and Swinney have a chance to be great or even great again but leadership is the key.
Brownell is an excellent X and O coach and is wonderful at player development. Leggett is a terrific developer of talent and a relentless worker on the practice field. Swinney is great at player relations and a communicator of his ideas. And all three men are ultra-competitive.
But those attributes take a back seat to leadership when it comes to the continued development of their programs. All three have faced and will continue to face the obstacles and daily challenges of their jobs, but it will be their leadership that will be tested the most. Howland's was at UCLA and in the last few years of his tenure, he failed that test.
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Brandon ThompsonBrandon Thompson
#98 6-2, 310
View Full Profile , Alvin Sammons, Georgine McAlhaney, Glen Davis, Mike Price, Clay Childers, Aaron Knight, Danielle Johnston and family, Nicholas Abrams, Lana Kuykendall, Gary, Gary G., William Huggins, Jim Bennett, Chantz Fowler, Ethel McElveen, Michele Gurganus, William Gentry, Lewis Usher and Tanya Sanders, Shon Cooper, Nick Collins, Travis Patterson, Amanda Peake, Danny Hammond, Chip Turner, Nick Collins, Allen Steen, The Sturkey Family, the Lance family, Marcus Lattimore, Nick Chrisley's family, Allison Williams, Lt. Kyle Walker, Summer and Joel Johnson, Nicole O'Donnell, James O. Johnson, Joy Pruett and family, Patrick Heher, Bill Schmidt, Jack Bailey, Bill Early, Gardner Family, Charles Turner, Kathy Bartholomew, Ray Sanders, David and Robin Blocker, J.R. Ray, Kenneth Kowe, Lauren Sielicki, Doug Bailey and family, Johnnie Walker, Jenna Phipps, Mark Lawrence, Harlan Sullins, Peter Laboy, Kat and Carlisle Jones, Elizabeth Galloway and family, Anita McDonald, Willard Harryman, Liz Surratt, Molly Senn, our great country and the men and women in uniform that protect and serve it every day plus their families.