Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fire Sandy Barbour, Cal Athletic Director

Wanna know how bad things are in the Cal athletic program? Look at it this way. The program is the Titanic and the captain is incompetent athletic director Sandy Barbour.

There's only one way out of this mess and it's this--fire Sandy Barbour, fire Sandy Barbour, fire Sandy Barbour. Just in case it didn't sink in, let me say it again: fire Sandy Barbour!

She's totally lacking vision and creativity. She's so out of touch she can't see the obvious. She's famous for her budget bungles and her mismanagement of Memorial Stadium renovation.  She makes bad decision after bad decision. Her most notorious, bone-headed move is, early last year, replacing burned-out head football coach Jeff Tedford with a second-rate, offense-first coach, Sonny Dykes, who won just one game and made Cal the laughing-stock of college football.

So we're stuck with a football coach who's guaranteed to keep the Bears in the Pac12 basement for years to come. Since men's basketball coach Mike Montgomery just retired and Barbour is hunting for a replacement, it looks like downtrodden Cal fans are about to get another lemon. Since she's been scouring the depths of the college coaching world, most likely Barbour is about to inflict another nobody on us.

Look at the candidates list: UC Irvine's Russell Turner, a titan of the Big West conference,  Notre Dame's Mike Brey, who's coming off a 15-17 season, Bryce Drew, who led Valparasio to a 18-16 season, Murray State's Steve Prohm. Is anybody else clamoring for these coaches? Are other schools waiting in line to sign any of them? Has any knowledgeable college hoops fan heard of any these guys?  Hell no. Because they're bottom-rung coaches.

The John Calaparis and Coach Ks obviously won't want to come to Berkeley, which doesn't have super facilities or a recent history of NCAA success or a fat budget for coaches. But Cal should be able to get a better coach than the guys on the above list. Think about it. Why should small-conference VCU have a better coach, Shaka Smart, than a major Pac12 school like Cal? But if Barbour tried to recruit Smart, he'd laugh in her face.

The average Cal men's team is talent-starved. You can't win without very good players. But the typical Bear team has just one or two top-notch players. Cal will never be a basketball power unless the AD hires a coach who can attract lots of talent, like some players on the top 100 list of high school stars. The Bears rarely get any of these gems. They have one now in Jabari Bird, but he's surrounded by a bunch of ordinary players. A quality coach could bring in some studs to support Bird.

Over the years, the Bay Area has produced some outstanding high school players. But they almost never go to Cal. A coach with superior recruiting skills would steer some of this talent to Berkeley. Hiring such a coach, however, won't be easy with Barbour in charge.

Who would want to work under her?. According to several sources, she has a horrible reputation in college sports circles. Apparently the buzz out there is that the administration doesn't trust her. So why would a first-rate coach, with other options, step into a rocky program with a bumbling leader? A respected, high-profile athletic director might lure a top-tier coach to Berkeley. Most likely though, Cal will get some second or third tier guy who will guarantee a stream of two-star players who will guarantee a string of subpar seasons.

Loyal, long-suffering Cal fans deserve a high-quality program. That means getting a better leader, which, of course, means one thing--fire Sandy Barbour. Once more for emphasis: