FEINSWOG: Expectations high in every sport

You hear coach-talk all the time. You should take most of it with a grain of salt.

Especially the one where, after a team stinks it up, the coach says something like, "It's my fault. I should have prepared them better. We didn't do our jobs."

 

Yada, yada.

 

What the coach is really thinking is, "We as a staff worked our butts off getting ready for this game, we had every tendency figured, but the kids were horrible. They played like they didn't care. And I'd like to strangle them, but if I don't take the high road, I'll look bad and it will hurt recruiting. But the kids lost this one, that's for sure."

 

Which is why it was so incredibly refreshing last week when outgoing LSU women's soccer coach Danielle Fotopoulos told Scott Rabalais of The Advocate:

 

"We agreed to win championships and we didn't win one yet. That's why we had to choose to resign. We

respect that as competitors."

 

We all should respect that.

 

It's a "Just win baby" world. In the past two years, LSU athletic director Skip Bertman has had meetings with every one of his head coaches. He asked them what they needed to win the national championship. They got it.

As they say, be careful what you wish for. Because now LSU – as it should -- expects every one of its programs to contend for their respective national championships.

 

Danielle Fotopoulos and her husband George, who ran the team as co-head coaches this season, are big-time soccer people.

 

George is an accomplished coach on all levels and did well here, at least establishing the program as one that can play better than .500. His soccer credentials are impeccable on all levels.

 

Danielle is the NCAA's all-time scoring leader. In the 1998 NCAA title game, she capped her career at Florida with the contest's only goal, a score in overtime, as Florida stunned North Carolina. She was a member of the 1996 U.S. team that won the Olympic gold medal and was part of the 1999 U.S. team that won the World Cup.

 

But LSU, after starting 7-0-1 last season, finished 10-9-1, 2-7 in the Southeastern Conference. This season, with Danielle upgraded from volunteer to co-head coach, LSU was 14-9, 6-7 in the league. The Tigers didn't make the SEC Tournament once again.

 

That's not good enough and they knew it. But it gives you some idea of just how tough things are in college athletics, where even the very best can fight a losing battle.

 

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Speaking of which, I had occasion to cover Tulane's football game Saturday evening in the Superdome, a marvelous performance by the Green Wave in a 42-10 victory over Navy.

 

Covering Tulane is great. You can drive up right at game time and park – no waiting – the press box is wide open so you can spread your stuff out – and the Tulane sports-information staff is helpful and since so few people cover the game, you get almost personalized attention.

 

But I was stunned to see that the official attendance figure was listed at 21,484.

 

If there were more than 7,000 people in the building (players, concession workers and Navy band included), well, let's just say a lot of those 21,484 came disguised as empty seats.

 

Before Saturday, the last game I watched in the Superdome pitted LSU and Oklahoma.

 

It was louder.

 

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Lee Feinswog is the author of "Tales From The LSU Sidelines," a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.

 


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