|The List: Most thankless jobs|
By Jeff Merron
Page 2 staff
So last week we were standing around the water cooler, wondering what it would be like to be a Bengals fan. Naturally, the conversation turned to Sisyphus. Now, he deserved it. (Look it up. Impress the girls.)
But what did the good folks below do to deserve the most thankless jobs in sports?
Shortly before Texas Tech hired Knight, former West Point athletic director Maj. Gen. Raymond Murphy said of Knight, "He is a very compassionate man."
All we can say to that is that we feel sorry for the Maj. Gen.
You're a Red Raider:
If you do things right -- and Knight acknowledges it -- you get to keep playing.
If you do something wrong, and Knight notices it -- watch out.
And if, to paraphrase Voltaire, you're right when Knight is wrong -- that's just plain dangerous.
2. Freddie Roach
"The challenge," said Roach last week, "is to get inside his head."
Maybe Saturday night's performance is evidence that Roach reached his destination.
Welcome to the Cuckoo's Nest.
3. Assistant coaching under Bill Parcells
Parcells says this is all about controlling perception of his team. And it is. He'd prefer that assistants are perceived as nothing more than mere tacticians. And that he's perceived as the winning mastermind.
As SI's Dr. Z wrote in 2000 about Parcells' rules and regs: "Strictly nutso stuff."
4. Allard Baird
No kudos await Baird, no "nice job" at the end of the day. Just a mandate to put as much cash as possible into Glass' pockets.
5. NFL refs
All this for a part-time job performed under the scrutiny of TV cameras from every angle, a job that (unlike baseball, for example) requires studying an ever-changing rulebook that makes the federal tax code look as simple as a "Curious George" board book
6. Steve Lavin ... and the next UCLA hoops coach
"Other successful coaches are allowed a mulligan, one season on the brink," wrote Steve Kelley in the Seattle Times. "But at UCLA, the boo-sters demand more. They want an unending string of Final Fours. They still don't understand that the success John Wooden had in the 1960s and '70s never will be duplicated."
"I've had death threats, threats of extortion ... constant damage control," Lavin told ESPN.com's Andy Katz. "I look forward to normalcy. We'll see what happens. All you get here is the constant scrutiny of your job and your job status."
Who's next in the post-post-Wooden meat grinder?
7. Elgin Baylor and Alvin Gentry
And Gentry ... he can kiss every single player he develops goodbye as soon as their contracts are over, because Sterling won't re-sign them. Goodbye, Elton. Goodbye, Lamar. Goodbye, Andre.
As ESPN's Frank Hughes wrote a while back, Gentry "must feel like the guy who was named as the new CEO of Enron."
8. Joe Torre, Brian Cashman and the Yankees coaching gang
Steinbrenner has been his usual old self, criticizing everyone from Derek Jeter to the assistant coaches to ... well, we're sure there are many we've left off.
Torre and Yanks GM Brian Cashman have had great fortune, and the bad fortune to inherit the flip side of The Yankee Way -- you're expected to win it all each year. If you do the expected, well -- who couldn't win with those players and that payroll? If you fall short, which is inevitable at least once in a while, watch out.
"This man puts up a lot of money and demands a lot, which he is entitled to do," Torre said last week. "He can do whatever he wants. What I want doesn't necessarily mean anything."
9. Head of payroll, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres
10. Head of security, Masters
Cameras (Big ouch: "Cameras are strictly prohibited on Tournament days. Anyone violating this policy will be subject to removal from the grounds and the permanent loss of ticket(s).") Cell phones. Bags, backpacks, carry bags, etc. Beepers/electronic devices. Weapons of any kind. Alcoholic beverages. Beverage containers/coolers. Flags/banners/signs. Folding armchairs/rigid type chairs or stools. Ladders/periscopes. Radios/TVs/tape recorders. Strollers. Walkie-talkies ...