Thanks to all of you who wrote in this week with your kind words on my Butch Jones and Charlie Strong takes. I cannot print them all, but I did read them all and have selected a few to share with you all. I am humbled!
First, on Jones leaving for Tennessee:
Dave in Charlotte writes: UC Grad here....Loved your article. Everything you said was spot on. Losing the coaches is like breaking up with your girlfriend. You eventually get over it. Thanks for reminding me that UC has survived. Getting out of the Big East will be huge for keeping their next coach. That has to happen ASAP, or the job won't seem like a step up to anyone.
That brings us to ...
Rob in Big East Forever, N.J., writes: If the Big East hadn't had such turnover recently with Rutgers and Louisville leaving, do you think [Steve] Addazio and Jones would have been more likely to stay at their respective schools like Charlie Strong decided to do? Is it irony that Strong stays at Louisville to usher them into the ACC era, while two schools that are left in the remnants of the Big East lose their coaches? Seems like Addazio and Jones see the writing on the wall. I do think that it is a SHAME that the players at these respective programs (Temple and Cincinnati), seem to get forgotten about in this turmoil.
Adelson: I wholeheartedly believe the instability in the Big East was a factor in these decisions. Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock said during his news conference he thought the Big East may have played a role in Jones' decision to leave. Perhaps Strong thinks twice about saying no to the SEC if Louisville was not moving to the ACC. But I do think this is a very valid point, and the Big East is going to continue to have a hard time hanging onto good coaches when there is 1) so much instability 2) the labeling of the Big East is not a "power conference" and 3) most schools have an inability to "keep up with the Joneses" when it comes to salaries for not only head coaches but assistants as well.
Vince Richards in Louisville writes: Your article on Coach Strong made me tear up. He doesn't have a clue who I am, but thank you on his behalf for telling the story. Keep up the good work!
PJ Tavarczky in Chicago writes: Andrea, Outstanding article on Charlie Strong. As a former student-athlete at Louisville who played under John L. Smith and Bobby Petrino, I think that this sends a profound message to players, alumni, and fans. Thank you for pointing out the double standard of loyalty to and faith in a program. So often recruits, myself included, put their whole trust in a coach, only to see that regime change within their tenure, through no fault of their own. I know change is inevitable and I would never fault or discourage anyone for trying to better themselves or their career. It is heartwarming and promising to see an individual, especially one who chose a career in coaching, to stick by and honor those who gave them an opportunity no one else would. Keep up the great work.
Gil Downs in Louisville writes: I have worked as an football official at the University of Louisville for the last 26 years. In my capacity, I have worked with six different head coaches and a countless number of assistants. I echo your comments and congratulate you on writing commentary that has true relevance and meaning. Without a doubt, Coach Strong is one of the best if not the best at developing young men as both players and as individuals.
Adelson: Thanks to you all for your wonderful notes. I am blushing!
Dave in Millstone Township, N.J., writes: Hi Andrea, With the lawsuits now flying between Rutgers/Maryland and their respective conferences, does it seem possible that they will pull the same stunt as WVU and join the Big Ten for the 2013 season? I know there's no rush from the Big Ten's view, but as long as both join there's no reason not to complete the move early. One exception is that would move up the revenue sharing schedule by a year, meaning that the six-year waiting period to receive a full share would be completed in 2019 instead of 2020, taking some money out of the pool for existing member schools. But that's probably a relatively minor amount anyway. With all the new schools joining the BE next year, letting RU out now probably wouldn't hurt, and would lower the risk of an exiting school winning the conference again. Thoughts?
Adelson: Well, Maryland is already on the record as stating it is joining the Big Ten in 2014, so I am pretty sure it would make the most sense to have both new members in for then, rather than splitting up entry dates and messing with unbalanced schedules with 13 teams in 2013. I think the lawsuit is to get Rutgers out of the 27-month waiting period and to circumvent paying the full $10 million withdrawal fee.