Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life on the Edge: Farewell to Coach Hoke

Most of you know Edge as the roving correspondent for our OTP Muncie bureau. He brings delight and joy to the masses with his Rock & Roll Report Cards after Ball State games which he decides to rock out at in person. In an effort to ensure your Awesome Quotient, or AQ as we like to call it, increases on a weekly basis, Edge offers insight into the Cards' upcoming opponent as well. This week's edition? A farewell to coach Hoke.

Life On The Edge: Farewell to Coach Hoke

As we gear up for the GMAC Bowl and the beginning of the Parrish Era at Ball State, there seems to be some dirty laundry left to air. If you think about it, a lot has happened already this week. Coach Hoke is leaving for sunnier climes, our President has issued a boxed statement to both us and other media outlets, and Charles Barkley played the race card. It's only Tuesday, and I already need a weekend to recover from all this.

Most Ball State fans stand on two sides of the fence today. One side is calling Hoke a sell-out. The other side is calling for the resignation of President Gora and AD Collins. I think you all know how we at OTP feel about this whole situation, so I'm going to try to justify our stance a little better to the non-believers.

The best site in the universe, Wikipedia, defines selling out as: "the compromising of one's integrity, morality and principles in exchange for money, 'success' (however defined) or other personal gain. It is commonly associated with attempts to increase mass appeal or acceptability to mainstream society." I think this goes without saying, but how can any of you accuse Hoke of selling out based on this fairly accurate description of the term "selling out"? I think the closest I could come to calling him a sell-out is his attempt at "mass appeal". But in actuality, his success on the field this year gave him that boost in appeal, not the signing at San Diego State.

Now, that brings me to the next point. Just because he's taking more money does not mean he's a sell-out. I adhere to the code of "if you're good at something, never do it for free." I know, that's sooo un-Christian of me. So be it. Tebow can have my quota of dick-skins. Among other things, money can improve your quality of life. It's true, no matter who you are or where you live. I'm not saying money can buy happiness, so don't confuse the two. Think of it this way: if two companies want to hire you, and they are competitors, wouldn't money be a major factor in your decision? Thought so.

Ok, now let's throw in the most important variable in this equation: family. As a father myself, it would tear me up to be half the country away from my daughter. If my daughter were in Arizona, and someone offered me double the salary to be within 250 miles of her, my bags are packed. Brady Hoke has a family, and this is a great opportunity for him to be able to spend more time together.

Lastly, think of the new location. Let's see, we have a salary that's been doubled, the opportunity to be closer to family, so that must mean the price to pay is a shit location, right? Wrong. Brady Hoke could spend the winter in a place where we have to decide whether or not we can afford to plow the main roads this winter due to budgetary constraints. Or, he could live in San Diego. He could wait until April or May to get in a round of golf comfortably, then put the clubs away in late September. Or he could live in San Diego. He could make $350k (now it's miraculously $390k plus incentives according to an attempt at face-saving by the university). Or he could make $700k in San Diego.

Our university let us down in epic fashion. Stan Parrish will have our support at OTP next year, and I for one am looking forward to it. But I'll never forget how my university all but spat in the face of success. Notice how Gora's statements to both us and the BSU Daily News included the phrases "would have made him the highest paid employee of Ball State." I sense some feminist bitterness. Let me tell you something - thousands of people don't show up in the administration building each week to see Gora sign papers. Thousands of people don't show up in the athletics offices each week to see Collins do... whatever it is he says he does. Neither of them get mention on national news outlets like ESPN, Foxnews, MSNBC, or a spot on Letterman. Hoke did all of that for you, and they let the best university marketing opportunity slip out of their hands.

There you have it. Those still on the sell-out side of this argument need to take a better look at this situation again. In reality, Ball State probably had a 5% chance of retaining Hoke, but the fact that they didn't try all that hard guaranteed his departure. Maybe the administration can save face and hire a big name like Kelvin Samson in 2013. Or how about a new Lynch era? But I digress. Tell you what, bad feelings aside, when the GMAC is over, let's get on board with Coach Parrish and root for our Cardinals to success in 2009.

Rock on.


Papa Lou BSU said...

For the record, Collins and Gora approached Hoke no fewer than five times during the season (starting as early as Sept.) to get an extension done, only to have Brady wave them off every time, saying he was focused on the season and didn't want to deal with the contract stuff until after the season.

Then, within two days of the MAC title game, you get Hoke's agent fanning the story that BSU's neglected his client all season.

If you want to accept the Whitlock version of events wholesale, that's your right. But it doesn't make that version right.

(And it's pretty easy to sit there and fling crap at BSU's offer -- not noting where a school that can't draw 12,000 paying fans to most games is going to come up with 400 grand plus money for facilities improvements and assistants' salaries, even though they offered it anyways -- and to invent some sort of "feminist rage" theory to explain why BSU couldn't go any higher, instead of the fact that the university just told every single person in its employ the very same day that they would be getting no raises this year, that their hiring was frozen and that their budgets were most likely going to be cut once the state appropriations come in.

I love this blog and I read it nearly every day, but there are without question two very valid sides to the story here. You're doing yourself and the other grown-ups who follow the program a disservice by simply accepting Whitlock's temper tantrum as gospel.

Alan said...

Papa Lou.. I agree. My father always told me that no matter how thin you slice a piece of cheese there's always two sides. Edge has his opinion, I have mine, and I can all but assure you I haven't bought everything Whitlock has been selling.

At the end of the day, I'm happy with Parrish, and happy to have this little episode behind us, whatever the events and personalities were that led to it.