After reading the last few columns about you in the newspaper, and watching your press conference, I cannot help but put down a few words in reaction to your imminent departure.
I’ve always thought you were a genuinely nice guy. I don’t believe the people of Louisville even now have any particular animosity to you. The prevailing feeling is that you took a job that put you in over your head and you didn’t react well.
So while there is happiness that there’s finally going to be some much needed change in the football program, there’s also sadness because nobody likes to watch a person fail - and their favorite team decline in the process.
At least there WAS some sadness.
Until, this week, as you prepared to head back to that fine and upstanding community of Tulsa, you spoke some final comments. Comments that make you sound - and I need to be honest here Steve - just a little wussy.
Or a similar sounding word for part of the female anatomy.
You see Steve, you cannot take the high road, cannot act the martyr, cannot be the person who picked up his whole family to come East to a coach at a university that desperately wanted him, cannot be the guy who never stopped giving it the ol’ college try, while at the same time making vague insinuations that somehow things weren’t fair, that the odds were just too stacked against you, that people simply weren’t intelligent enough to know what a great asset you were.
You cannot take the high road while insinuating that there were awful issues left to you by a predecessor who went 12-1 and won a BCS bowl, yet not give details.
You cannot take the high road and complain you were forced to use substandard assistants and staff, yet preside over a revolving door of hires.
You cannot take the high road and talk about how committed you are to the community yet chase off people who have been with the football programs their whole lives.
You cannot take the high road when you come into a program that was consistently Top 25, and nearing being consistently Top 10, yet leave it a smoking crater without a clear explanation of your mistakes for over 3 years.
You cannot take the high road and then, despite your terrible job performance, whine that you should be kept on because you came here to ‘put roots down,’ because your wife is sick and despite this does great charity work, because your kid is in high school here, because you see yourself as a straight shooting nice guy.
You cannot take the high road and then cry that the community never liked you from the beginning, that they facetiously called you a name in front of your wife that you didn’t like, and then bring up that name calling at your last news conference three years later.
If you are that thin skinned, then perhaps you should take the 6 million dollars you were paid for failing miserably and take some time off to consider a different line of work.
To be clear, I’m sorry your wife is sick, and I hope that she gets the best treatment and a full recovery. And I’m sorry your son had to endure some teasing in high school, although if you are the starting quarterback of the (private school) state championship team, then see the comment above about being thin skinned.
But at the end of the day, you are not leaving because some silly fans made sarcastic comments at your first game, or because your quarterback son was teased, or because the people never liked you, or because you ‘just weren't a good fit’ with this mean, irrational, and hard hearted community.
You are not leaving because you walked into an unwinnable situation, or had players without talent.
You are not leaving because you were treated unfairly.
You are leaving because you couldn’t recruit, you couldn’t develop winning schemes, you were an incompetent offensive coordinator, you were a poor manager, and you sounded like the football equivalent of Miss South Carolina, presented with a problem that you tried to talk your way through with clichés and platitudes.
You are leaving because you didn’t use common sense on the field. You didn’t recruit well in your home state. You couldn’t show up for coaches association meetings on time. You couldn’t speak without sounding like a mealy mouthed cartoon character.
You are leaving because you didn’t have a plan, didn’t communicate a strategy, and were never clear in what was going wrong or how you were going to fix it.
You are leaving because you couldn’t do anything without seeming to intimate ‘It’s not my fault,’ despite being the self proclaimed ‘captain of the ship.’
Taking the high road means taking responsibility for the bad work you’ve done, not spraying excuses to anyone who will listen.
So Steve, I’d like to give you some advice: If you’re going to take the high road out of town, it’s best not drop turds of insinuation as you walk. Because that’s NOT taking the high road.
Don’t the let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.