I have selected this forum in hopes that many will carefully consider this rationale as I attempt to persuade you in your impending deliberations regarding Coach Gary Barnett.
Sunday, I returned to Denver after a weekend in Ann Arbor where the University of Michigan celebrated the upcoming 125th anniversary of collegiate football. More than 500 former coaches, players and support staff returned to the campus. The room was occupied with former players who are now physicians, attorneys, clergy, bankers, CEOs, teachers, builders, pilots, scientists, engineers, salesmen and other respected trades. I had the wonderful privilege to coach at the University of Michigan for 8 1/2 years prior to being hired by President Arnold Weber in 1982 as the head football coach at the University of Colorado.
Michigan has won more football games than any other Division IA school. Currently, UM ranks in the top ten in many academic surveys. They have the largest living alumni body of any university in the world (650,000). More people attend UM football games than any other school.
Those attending the reunion were constantly reminded of the foundation for football at Michigan. Perhaps, it is best explained by a great quote from Fielding Yost, who coached at Michigan in the early 1900s.
"To me, no coach in America asks a man to make any sacrifice, he requests that he do the opposite -- live clean, come clean, think clean -- that he stop doing all the things that destroy him physically, mentally, and morally and begin doing all the things that make him keener, finer and more competent."
Michigan men have made their share of mistakes. They may falter in the formative years, but the bar has never been lowered.
One former player in attendance this weekend, that played in the ‘90s, publicly recalled how he was taught ten years ago that a team is not defined by their wins and losses -- but years later by their roles as husbands, fathers and community participants. There were constant reminders to these alums that football taught them life's greatest lessons; to put the team first, to get up off the ground and back into the game, to fight for your marriage, family, friend and country. Stay loyal and work through your difficulties.
President Hoffman, the Michigan formula was brought to Boulder 22 years ago. It works. I challenge you to do this research. Randomly compare students who graduated 10 years ago with a random sample of football players who finished 10 years ago. You will discover that the football players OUTDISTANCED the students in five major criteria that would profoundly reveal who is best educated and prepared to represent the University of Colorado:
Real Estate Holdings
Yes, by all means, I urge you to compare their record for OBEYING THE LAW. The student-athlete who learned discipline and direction in the competitive football laboratory stays out of trouble far more than the typical college graduate.
President Hoffman, don't be deceived by the politically correct crowd from the Governor to the editors to the columnists. They are the first to claim "Innocent until proven guilty" when accused without substantiation. Yet, they scribble "Guilty until proven innocent" when it involves those who OUTDISTANCED them.
OUTDISTANCING is most reflected in daily character as opposed to job titles. Football demands character. Those who stay the course have the greatest opportunity to learn and develop it.
Gary Barnett leads in the spirit of the Michigan Tradition. Retain him and the OUTDISTANCING will continue.
In The Best Interest of All Concerned,