SjT: Thanks Gary...

SjT has some thoughts about the end of the Gary Barnett era at Colorado, and his contributions to Northwestern Football...

I don't bear Barnett ill-will,
but I won't rewrite his time in Evanston either.

He took the Purple to Pasadena and was a terrific young coach. But it wasn't perfect either - especially his ending. He burned almost as many bridges as he built while in Chicago and hurt the program he built - media-wise, alumni-wise, recruiting-wise, etc. -- with his job flirting and stealth departure.

The real story, though, IMO, isn't the state of the program prior to Barnett's arrival, but the state since (though a lot of the folks demanding winning now forget the status of the program pre-Barnett). I remember the day Barnett left Evanston and how many of my Big Ten friends at other schools chuckled and said that the party was over - we had our savior, he left and now things would return to the "way it ought to be" in the Big Ten with NU sliding back to the bottom of the pack. Most people thought Barnett's departure would be the end of the resurgence, especially after the woeful final recruiting class in transition and transfers.

But it wasn't - and a lot of that credit has to go to Coach Walker. Winning the 2000 title with Barnett's recruits kept the building project going and now with three straight 6-win seasons and 4th and 3rd place finishes in league play, we're really starting to build on solid foundation for a program that -- yes -- was a joke to MAC teams prior to Barnett.

It will be interesting to see if Kansas State can keep their recent turnaround going (with far more generous "extra" factors such as academic admissions:) ) without Snyder next year. Or VaTech when Beamer retires (or PSU when JoePa steps down? :)).

So yeah, there's a bit of shame in the joy given that Barnett started this project. But there's more real joy in that the project did not END with Barnett. We're about to head to our third bowl game in six years and with Mr. Sutton in the backfield, things continue to look bright ahead.
* * * * * * * * *
STEPHEN J. TRUOG
sjtruog@yahoo.com
GO CATS!!!

-SjT

Stephen J. Truog, former NU Marching Band member and now educator
comments on the Wildcats from both the sidelines and his home
He has his own NU oriented Web Site Visit SjTonline

You can send your direct comments or "back door" information
directly to Coach Roy [CoachRoy74 on AIM]
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