Archive for October, 2011

My Feelings About Tulane
October 26, 2011

I’ll try to keep this brief.

I’ve received lots of e-mails since Tulane forced head football coach Bob Toledo to resign.  The e-mails come from Tulane fans and are mostly filled with remarks like “you suck” and “get a clue.”

The Wave faithful are upset that I keep bringing up the name Frank Wilson when talking about the next Green Wave coach.

More on Frank in a second but first, here is where I stand on Tulane:

I’m a huge Tulane fan!

My roommates in college both played baseball at Tulane.  One is now in the Tulane sports Hall of Fame and the other was a 1st round selection in the 1997 Major League Baseball draft.

Each spring I attend at least half of the baseball games at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.

I have done dozens of positive reports on two of the best coaches to ever work uptown….Rick Jones and Lisa Stockton.  I was one of the first people to write that new men’s basketball coach Ed Conroy was an amazing hire.   

I have said repeatedly that I hope Tulane can defy the odds and get into the Big XII!!!!!

I’d love to cover Big XII sports in New Orleans.

I hope Tulane can land a head football coach like Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach or Gus Malzahn!  I have said over and over and over that Leach would do great things if Tulane took a shot on him.

But these days no one wants to hear about any of the above….all Wave fans keep hammering me on is my Frank Wilson reporting.

That’s fine!

I think Frank Wilson is a very legit candidate and should garner consideration for the job.    

Look, if Tulane can get into the Big XII the school will have it’s pick of top flight coaches.

But let’s assume that the Wave do not get an invitation to join one of the premiere BCS conferences.

My thought process is that no big name coach (Leach, Rodriguez, Malzahn) will come to Tulane if the school remains in C-USA. 

A big name coach might come to a C-USA school like Tulane if the school was paying an annual salary of $2-3 million.  SMU pays June Jones $2 million annually.  But I don’t think Tulane will pay a coach anywhere close to that sum.

So, while I hold out hope that Tulane will be thrown a life-line from the Big XII and the program can be re-born…I’m also a realist who realizes that if things stay the same than Frank Wilson is a great pick!

Let’s assume for a minute that Tulane will pay it’s next football coach between $750,00-$900,000.  Bob Toledo made $600,000.

I want to know Wave fans…who’s your guy?

Anyone who believes one of those guys is coming to a C-USA school where it’s difficult to win for less than 7-figures is delusional.

So, here is my realistic list for you all…destroy it if you will…or take a second and realize that it’s not as bad as you think.      

1. Frank Wilson

-LSU assistant coach/recruiting coordinator.  Strong Ties to NOLA, great recruiter.  A young, go-getter who wants the job and understands what Tulane is and the challenges this job presents.  FIU took a shot on a hometown kid named Mario Cristobal and his resume was thinner than Frank’s.  The Panthers are now a bowl team and Cristobal is being mentioned for BCS jobs.  In my opinion Frank is better than any other assistant coach listed below.

2. Mark Mangino 

-Former Kansas head coach.  Mangino told the Kansas City Star newspaper he’s ready to get back into coaching and willing to go to a conference that is not a BCS automatic-qualifer.  Mangino took Kansas, a basketball school, to 4 bowl games including the Orange Bowl. 

  3. Ken Niumatalolo

Navy Head Coach.  A longshot (but not as much of a longshot as RichRod, Leach or Malzahn).  Navy has struggled and lost some close games in 2011…the team is just 2-5…so perhaps Niumatalolo may be interested in getting out while he’s still a pretty hot name.  In my opinion, Tulane landing Niumatalolo is the equivalent of SMU landing June Jones.  Niumatalolo has taken Navy to 3 consecutive bowl games.  The 46 year old makes $750,000 at Navy…so if Tulane could offer $900,000 and a potential berth into the Big XII (or a BCS berth via a merger with the MWC) maybe Niumatalolo comes.       

4. Ron Roberts

Head coach Delta State University.  Overall in Cleveland, Mississippi he’s 36-13 with 3 conference championships.  While big names have surfaced for the Ole Miss job (assuming Houston Nutt is fired)…Roberts is a sleeper candidate that many Ole Miss people tell me would be in the running for the job in Oxford.     

5. Beau Baldwin

Head coach Eastern Washington.  27-11 overall in 4 seasons and led the Eagles to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National title in 2010.  The big drawback for me is that he has no ties to New Orleans or even the South.

6. Garrick McGee

Offensive Coordinator Arkansas.  Great resume…but is he really the man shaping the Razorbacks offense or is it head coach Bobby Patrino? 

7. Chad Morris

Offensive Coordinator Clemson.  Has coached in C-USA and Clemson may be the Auburn of 2011…a team that comes of out nowhere, features a high octane offense and plays for/wins a BCS national championship.

8. Brian Polian

Assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Stanford.  Great football family and he’s coached at some great academic schools…Notre Dame and Stanford…but is it too early for him to be a head coach?

9. Clay Hendrix

Air Force Offensive Coordinator.  Has won everywhere he’s been.  He’s been the #2 guy (associate head coach at two different schools since 1988)…now is his time to run his own program.       


10. Jim Mora Jr.

Former Falcons & Seahawks head coach.  When I bring up Mora’s name I am only half-kidding.  Jim Mora Sr. works with us at WDSU co-hosting our Saints on 6 specials.  I’ve had countless dinners with big Jim…over the weekend he and I were talking and I asked him would his son ever consider a college job…his reply “absolutely, if it were the right job.”  We talked about the UCLA and Oregon State jobs since Jim Jr. lives in Seattle…but why not Tulane???  Jim Jr. obviously has ties to New Orleans (Saints assistant 92-96)and he has an amazing resume.  Mora has never coached at the college level so he’d need a good recruiter and good coordinators…dare I suggest Jim Mora Jr. with Frank Wilson (getting paid a huge sum for an assistant) as offensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator????

Can you imagine the storylines?  Jim Mora Sr. arrived in New Orleans and turned the Saints around…now, 25 years later his son returns to turn Tulane around.


My Associated Press Top 25
October 26, 2011

I am now an Associated Press NCAA men’s basketball voter:

Here is my 1st Top 25 Poll:

1. North Carolina
2. Syracuse
3. Kentucky
4. Vanderbilt
5. Connecticut
6. Duke
7. Ohio State
8. Xavier
9. Louisville
10. Florida
11. Pittsburgh
12. Memphis
13. Arizona
14. Marquette
15. Gonzaga
16. Alabama
17. Kansas
18. Texas A&M
19. California
20. Wisconsin
21. Temple
22. UCLA
23. Baylor
24. Missouri
25. New Mexico

Preseason Team:

John Jenkins – Guard – Vanderbilt
Tu Holloway – Guard – Xavier
Harrison Barnes -Forward- – North Carolina
Jared Sullinger – Forward – Ohio State
Tyler Zeller – Center – North Carolina

October 14, 2011

The NBA owners want a players salary system that works in a similiar way to the one in the NHL….AND I LOVE IT!



The NHL Salary Cap is the limit to the total amount of money that National Hockey League teams are allowed to pay their players and uses a “hard” cap, meaning there are no luxury taxes or exemptions.

On September 15, 2004, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced a lockout of the players union and cessation of operations by the NHL head office. The lockout shut down the league for 310 days, the longest in sports history; the NHL was the first professional sports league to lose an entire season. The league vowed to install what it dubbed “cost certainty” for its teams, but the NHL players association countered that the move was little more than a euphemism for a salary cap, which the union initially said it would not accept. 

The league presented the NHLPA with concepts to achieve cost certainty. These concepts are believed to have ranged from a hard, or inflexible, salary cap similar to the one used in the National Football League to a centralized salary negotiation system similar to that used in Major League Soccer. 

According to Bettman, a luxury tax similar to the one used in Major League Baseball & the National Basketball Association would not have satisfied the league’s cost certainty objectives. Most sports commentators saw Bettman’s plan as reasonable.

A new collective bargaining agreement, with a hard salary cap, was ratified in July 2005 with a term of six years with an option of extending the collective bargaining agreement for an additional year at the end of the term, allowing the NHL to resume as of the 2005–06 season.

A Canadian public opinion poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid near the start of the lockout found that 52 percent of those polled blamed NHL players for the lockout and only 21 percent blamed the owners of NHL teams.

Also hurting the NHLPA was the fact that its players had very visibly high salaries, which removed much sympathy from lower-to-middle class fans.

NHLPA Executive Director and General Counsel Bob Goodenow, seen by many as the biggest villain in the lockout because of his hardline stance against a salary cap, resigned from his position five days after the agreement was ratified amid criticism from many of his constituents.

On October 5, 2005, with a new hard salary cap in place, the first post-lockout NHL season took to the ice with 15 games, and consequently all 30 teams. Of those 15 games, 11 were in front of sell-out crowds.  The NHL received record attendance in the 2005–06 season. 20,854,169 fans, an average of 16,955 per game, was a 1.2% increase over the previous mark held in the 2001–02 season.

The NHL’s post-lockout agreement with NBC gave the league a share of revenue from each game’s advertising sales, rather than the usual lump sum paid up front for game rights. The NHL is estimated to earn annual revenue of around $2.27 billion

Players, agents or employees found to have violated the NHL salary cap face fines of $250,000 – $1 million and/or suspension. Teams found to have violated the cap face fines of up to $5 million, cancellation of contracts, loss of draft picks, loss of points and/or forfeiture of game(s) determined to have been affected by the violation of the cap.

Great Insight Regarding NBA Lockout
October 11, 2011

Below is an excerpt from an Q&A.

Great insight from @coachthorpe

1. Whose fault is it that regular-season games have been canceled?

David Thorpe, Billy Hunter, for failing to get almost any agreement despite having years to work on this. Stern and the owners, who are using their long-term advantages to bring the players down to their knees — the same players they need in order to have a vibrant league. Derek Fisher, for failing to represent the middle class, which will feel most of the pain of missed games. And the superstars, who allowed agents to convince them that nothing below 53 percent makes sense.

2. What is your advice to David Stern, the owners and the players?

David Thorpe, Take 48 hours and do nothing but watch financial news programs. The pain in this country is at an 80-year high, with no end in sight. Then read up on WorldCom, Enron, Lehman Brothers, GM, Chrysler — all mammoth companies with huge assets that declared bankruptcy, with some of them disappearing forever. Humility is a good thing to begin the healing process with.

3. Will the negotiations move toward the owners’ or players’ position?

David Thorpe, Owners. The players have very few sources of income and none that come close to filling the hole that losing a year’s salary creates. They may have money in the bank, but they do not have much time to make up those lost dollars. Owners have decades to do so with other rich revenue streams and an option to one day sell the franchise and perhaps make every lost dollar back and then some.

4. Who are the biggest losers?

David Thorpe, The NBA as an entity, including all of us who work alongside it. Sure, it’s possible that things get settled quickly and all will be forgotten. But it’s also possible that the “golden goose” will lose its value, thanks to negative press, the lack of anything good happening nightly, and its players not destroying the competition in overseas play.

As a whole, the NBA could lose its standing as the unequivocal spot for the world’s best players and instead be known as just the most hyped league. If the world stops caring, that amounts to huge dollars lost over time.

5. How many games will we have in the 2011-12 season?

David Thorpe, None. Unlike 1998-99, the two sides have met often and have gotten nowhere. In corporate America, heads would be rolling and new leadership would work to right the ship. I don’t see that happening, and neither side has proved capable of making progress. It’s naive to think it can start now, as that would require real leadership, which thus far has been lacking.


Top 5 Candidates To Replace Bob Toledo
October 2, 2011

Here are 5 coaches I believe would be a good fit at Tulane when the school parts ways with Bob Toledo (which after losing to Army 45-6 today seems inevitable).

Fletcher’s Top 5: Next Tulane Head Football Coach

5. Troy Morrell (Head Coach, Butler Junior College)

***I know most Tulane people are saying “what?” …yes, a JUCO coach.  Hey, in baseball Rice University hired Wayne Graham out of San Jacinto JC and he’s taken the Owls to new heights on the diamond.

4. Ron Roberts (Head Coach, Delta State University)

3. Beau Baldwin (Head Coach, Eastern Washington University)

2. Clay Hendrix (Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Air Force Academy)

1. Frank Wilson (Recruiting Coordinator/Assistant Coach, LSU)

For too long I’ve heard about what Tulane doesn’t have.

How difficult it is to win uptown. I hate it!

Are there academic guidlines Tulane has to follow that other programs don’t have too? Sure.

Will that ever change? No.

Should that ever change? No.

So instead of hiring a guy who wants to complain about what his program doesn’t have, please hire a respected guy who’s proven he can overcome odds and who won’t make excuses.

Frank Wilson is that person.

9 years ago Wilson took O. Perry Walker High School to the class 5A state title game in the Superdome. It was the first time an Orleans Parish public school played in the 5A championship.  Before Wilson arrived at Walker everyone believed the Orleans Parish Public School System didn’t have the resources to compete with the more powerful private schools.

Did Wilson ever complain that he practiced on a field that looked like a goat ranch? No.

Did he complain that his budget was 1/4 that of some of the private schools he routinely beat? No.

Not only did Wilson win, his players stayed out of trouble and passed. In 2003 15 of his kids signed scholarships. He had kids on his team wearing shirts and ties to class, taking pride in themselves, their studies and their lives.

The guy is a disciplined winner who doesn’t know how to fail.

Ask former Tulane asst. Rich Rodriguez about Frank Wilson. He loves the guy. While at O. Perry Walker Wilson spent countless hours working with Rodgiruez on offensive theory. Since making the move to the college ranks (Ole Miss, USM, Tennessee and now LSU) Wilson has helped recruit great players.

So, Rick, please don’t select someone who merely looks good on paper. Who’s a ridicously safe pick. Who has no clue what Tulane is or what it takes to win uptown. Do something daring. Reach for a young, dynamic, native son who’s succeeded at the prep level despite difficult conditions, who’s having success in the college coaching ranks and who can once again show the Tulane faithful what success is. Go for a guy who’ll recruit kids from New Orleans and reinvigorant everyone who loves Tulane.

Hire Frank Wilson!