Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

Coach Donahue: No More Aw-Shucks

With the news today that Coach Donahue has signed a close to $1MM yearly contract with Boston College of the ACC yesterday, combined with Duke's win last night, it is hard not to have a lot of animosity for the ACC these days.

As MetaEzra reader PG writes:

You knew it was going to happen. We thought we were immune because, quite frankly, its was our school - not some small mid-major in the SWAC conference who you only hear about twice a year on Sportscenter. Every year, some coach who's consistently gotten greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts results from his ragtag bunch of hoopsters is courted by some down on its luck power to revitalize the program. The thinking being that if he/she could accomplish so much given so little at his current school, imagine what he/she could do with a real academic budget and scholarships at his/her disposal.

Unfortunately, as others have mentioned, when you leave the obscurity of mid-major college hoops for the "big-time", just about every aspect of your job changes. The impatient administration that you have to answer to, the looking-for-a-head-coaching-gig assistant coaches that implement your plans, the fickle student base that you hope fills your suddenly enormous arena, even the type of spoiled, self-important, agent-represented high school kids that you now have to deal with and recruit - all of it loses its small-town, aw-shucks innocence and becomes grimy with the filth of big school, big city athletics.

If Donahue had a bad game or his squad seemed poorly coached, you'd never know about it unless you were in Bartels yourself. Now, as soon as BC takes the court next season, every move will be dissected. Most games will be televised on ESPN/ESPN 2, mandatory press conferences will follow, and you'll be answering to the Boston Globe (at least for a little while longer) instead of the Daily Sun, where you'll be sharing print real estate with the Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins.

But hey, good luck. No pressure.

This is a classic example of everything that is wrong with the amount of money in amateur sports. Cornell had found a fantastic coach and an even better person to steer its oft-struggling basketball program to new heights, no matter what our record going forward would be. We were paying the coach well -- enough for most full professors to wonder why they didn't try harder in gym class.

Donahue will now be making more than Cornell basketball' entire budget last year. Travel costs. Recruiting trips. Uniforms. Everything. Let that sink in.

And because other schools don't see the value in having true scholar-athletes and the beauty of competition without all of the beer, peanuts, and ESPN contracts, even though such spending has proven to be futile Cornell loses one of its best.

So best of luck to Steve Donahue. But don't forget the fans and the athletes from your days before million-dollar contracts and chartered-jets to every away game. Perhaps even schedule a game with us from time to time. After all, we were the ones watching your team's magic over the blurred pixels of the Internet every Friday and Saturday night. We were the ones who supported you despite six-straight losing seasons. We were the ones cheering for you at Cambridge when only 250 other spectators were present.

The Big Red made you. Don't forget that.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on April 06, 2010 (#)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)