Coach's Corner

The famous Saturday Night Live analyst, Rosanne Rosanadana, said it years ago: "If it's not one thing, it's another. It's always something."

She had to be talking about the Husky football coach, Rick Neuheisel. Unfortunately, coach keeps shooting himself in the foot and still trying to run. It's sad to see so many things continue to pile up, on, and against him.

The latest gambling situation only compounds previous mistakes and now people are asking for his head. If it's the NCAA doing the asking then he is in serious do-do.

Personally, I don't think Barbara Hedges wants to fire another coach.

I am certain she felt terrible about letting Bob Bender go and am convinced that she is going to stand by her man. The only way Rick gets fired is if the NCAA forces the issue.

Right now, there is no President at the UW. Richard McCormick is long gone to Rutgers and I doubt that the interim president wants to make such a drastic and powerfully political move.

This may allow coach to weather yet another storm and to get to coach his own team filled with exclusively his own recruits.

As an administrator, he has demonstrated a keen ability to put together a tremendous staff and is certainly well liked by the players. He is a very upbeat and positive person and it is obvious that this year's team is poised to make a run at a championship.

We'll probably know his fate soon, maybe even later tonight, but my guess is he gets one last reprieve.

It will only be a matter of time before people, including the Seattle media and alumni, begin to move against Ms. Hedges as well. This is yet another blight against the program that she is charged with leading. Sooner or later one of the Seattle papers is going to start tying her to the problems of both her football and basketball programs. She is sitting squarely on the hot seat with her coach and her moves are going to be overly scrutinized by everyone.

Again, this is a sad situation for Husky fans. Barbara has done nothing wrong or illegal but that doesn't matter.

The two major revenue sports of football and men's basketball are the most high profile and watched programs under her command. The heat, pressure, and expectations that come with those two programs could force her to fire yet another one of her hires against her wishes. She may not have a choice. It could mean a changing of the guard before the next campaign begins.

Coach Neuheisel knows the rules well and if this was a charity auction item, then that would explain his indirect gambling. He did not go make a bet with a bookie or go to Vegas and bet at a sports parlor. This is not an intentional violation of the rules but rather an innocent office pool amongst friends. Regardless of the amount of money involved, it was not an illegal act and he was not using inside information to ascertain the winners.

Take it from someone who knows, many coaches were involved in basketball pools for the March Madness during my football career in coaching. Some went to a number of topless bars and regularly bet on the horses as well. But it didn't make the papers. They are lucky that they weren't head coaches.

Head coaches, particularly at schools like Washington, lose all their privacy and become targets for their perceived personal shortcomings. In Rick Neuheisel's case, he is just a free-flowing person. He has never denied any of his doings. But then nobody really wants to honor honesty in today's society.

I guess I need to address the uncertain future. If, and I say only if, they feel the need to replace Coach Neuheisel, then it would be stupid not to just stay in-house and make Keith Gilbertson the head coach. It is obvious that he is qualified and he would be able to keep everything intact. Players will rally around the assistants just as they did with Jim Lambright when he miraculously held the program together through the tumultuous sanctions of the early nineties.

There is an excellent staff there right now and I am positive all of them would happily endorse Gilby for the position. Stay with the status quo and give these kids a chance to realize their dreams, and don't penalize them for something out of their control. To completely change the program would be setting the team back and negating everything they learned and accomplished in spring.

Of course, all of this is conjecture and that decision will only have to be made if they decide to let Rick go.

However it turns out, this is certainly another embarrassing chapter in the book for a man who has incredible potential to keep developing into a very good college football coach.

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