Schu Strings: Mike Montgomery will be missed

In some ways I feel like I'm writing an obituary. It's the end of an era in Pac-10 basketball. Mike Montgomery is making the big jump. He'll try his luck in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, but he leaves the college game with an impressive legacy.

Upon first thought, when one goes through the process of naming the great Pac-10 basketball coaches, Montgomery doesn't immediately roll off the tongue. But think about it. After John Wooden, after Lute Olson, after Ralph Miller and Marv Harshmann, who else is there? Well, there's Mike Montgomery, and it can be argued his name belongs.

During his two-decade tenure in Palo Alto, Montgomery endured some hard times, but worked through the low points en route to placing the program where it is now, among the nation's 10 best. Olson was almost instantly a success at Arizona. Even his 11-17 opening season was a seven-game improvement from the year before. After that he got the UA into the NCAA tournament, where it has been every year since. The only knock on Olson was the string of first-round setbacks that occurred shortly after the UA's first Final Four appearance in 1988.

Montgomery endured some of that same hardship in NCAA action. After making an appearance in the Final Four six years ago, the resume of the Cardinal has been great regular season, thus great NCAA tournament seeding, only to be upset at a surprisingly early point in the Big Dance. I think by virtue of this year's second-round setback to Alabama that dampened one of the great seasons in modern Pac-10 history, Montgomery appeared poised to make the jump Olson did. Despite the lofty admissions standards on The Farm, Montgomery would have gone after, and probably landed, more athletic talent, which in turn would have given the Cardinal a better opportunity for success in the tournament.

Stanford was the definition of the value of patience in collegiate athletics. At many institutions, Montgomery's early struggles might have gotten him fired. Stanford stayed steadfast, and it paid off. You get lucky like that once. Rest assured, Montgomery had better be good out of the gate at Golden State. Patience is not a virtue in the NBA. Not to mention Golden State isn't exactly a marquee franchise.

Here's hoping Montgomery becomes that elusive quantity, a college coach who finds success in the NBA. If it doesn't happen, at least it's a nice paycheck for a while. But regardless, the college game will miss him. He was one of the best…

…Moving on…

…In light of the opening of the Day After Tomorrow, it's nice to see that every national news organization is doing features on the legitimacy of the global superstorm. Even Peter Jennings has an expose. I mean, this is big-time.

The lesson, I guess: If Hollywood has a nine-figure budget summer blockbuster in the offing, let's spin it to make a connecting feature in the news. I can't wait for the feature on the impact of the supernatural on America's teens (Harry Potter); I'm jonesin for the heartwarming yarn of how orange cats keep lonely Americans company (Garfield); can communities hypnotize their citizens? (Stepford Wives); is Dodgeball dangerous to our precious youth? (Dodgeball); the legend of King Arthur: fact or fiction?; Are robots citizens too (I, Robot)?; Do the Chinese have a spy ring in place in the US, and are they poised to kill the President (Manchurian Candidate)?

Who needs footage in Iraq when you can fill time with the Hollywood tie-in? What in heavens will Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather do with Anchorman?

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