Coach's Corner

How cool will it be when we are celebrating with the Huskies following their incredible win over The Ohio State University on Saturday, August 30th? Imagine the hot, humid midwest evening and all the people filing out of Buckeye stadium with their heads down.

They'd be mumbling about why they couldn't get to Cody Pickett and why no one could cover that tall wide receiver or why they couldn't piss a drop with their running game in the second half.

How cool is that going to be?

Excuse me, I forgot about the brush that we need to get through in order to get to our picnic.

It sure seems like the Neuheisel marriage with Barbara Hedges is finally going to divorce court and the gloves are definitely OFF. The custody battle over the maintenance is just getting started.

I believe that Rick will walk with a comfortable settlement, which seems the just thing, given all of the mistakes that have been made.

It's also really interesting how much the NCAA has to lose if it denied him due process. Because, you see, there is no such thing as judicial rights in how the NCAA operates. It is flat out unconstitutional in nature, and this time their officers were obviously guilty of making prejudicial statements prior to even investigating and passing judgment on the case.

The NCAA had been lying in the weeds and waiting to pounce as soon as Rick stepped out of line, again. He did, but no one really believes they are serious about enforcing betting on March Madness, do they? This isn't even a major infraction. No way does it constitute grounds for dismissal, particularly in light of the departmental memo-fest that is at the point of team Neuheisel's defense.

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anyone really care?

I'll tell you, it's time for all the kids to be back on campus working out and going to summer school so that they can all stay on track for graduation. I want to point out that this is something that they have done extremely well under the Neuheisel regime. They are beginning conditioning workouts under Pete Kaligis and Steve Emtman, and gearing up for the win on the last weekend in August.

The Huskies will get tougher during the next five weeks. The Huskies will be ready physically and mentally for the long haul once those two weight coaches get done with them.

I just finished watching a video of the Ohio State spring game. It's the perfect way to get away from all the madness. That's why I live in the woods and don't get the newspaper. I just go on line and read the articles I want, and stay away from my radio gig for the time being.

I know I contribute to this site, but I want to say that I think that Chris Fetters coverage of the whole affair has been the best in all of the media. His article following the press conference was far more informative, factual, and truly fair than anyone else's account. It's cool our team is staying so positive, or at least giving both sides a fair shake.

I can't say that is true for my fellow Honks on the radio. They have definitely taken their stance in the corner opposite Rick. The wonderful thing about the Husky Honks, though, is that "we agree to disagree." Dave "Softy" Mahler and Hugh Millen are mired deep in this whole mess and have now climbed into it themselves. They are die-hard Huskies who just want everything to end, just like the rest of us.

For me, I have to say that I'm prejudiced. When you read me, just know that, OK? That being said, Rick Neuheisel is my friend. He has always treated me with dignity and respect. He opened his office and his team to me and always embraced both Coach Lambright and myself. He always took time to recognize my attendance at Husky functions and invited me to his home for post-game celebrations. He invited me on stage at the team banquet to give Lester Towns, one of my real close friends and favorite players, his award for being the MVP of the defense a few years ago, then invited both Lambo and I to hand out the senior awards to the last class we had recruited. I got to know his whole family and think his wife Susan is just a sweetheart. I would say I am a friend of his dad, as us ‘Dicks' tend to stick together.

Rick Neuheisel is a good person. He is no more a dishonest man than the rest of us. His past reputation didn't help him but I can see nothing he has done at Washington that constitutes an offense worthy of termination. I knew when I used to recruit against him when he was at Colorado that he was an aggressive and creative recruiter. He played the system. He was an edge-guy, but risk takers have a role in every profession. He is good with kids and makes football fun. He is glib, he is smart, and is loose and free. He is a great guy to work for. He hires good assistants and he wins games.

One other point I want to bring up is that Neuheisel is the only 70/70 coach in the Pac-10. (He won 70% of his games and graduated 70% of his players.) You don't fire a 70/70 coach in big time college football for betting in an office pool. I am proud of Mike Bellotti and other coaches that came to bat and defended their fellow coach. All said that they do, in fact, rely on their compliance offices for interpretations to ever-changing NCAA rules. The basketball pool is not reason, in itself, to dismiss him from his job.

But remember, he isn't being fired for just that. I think it is that Washington's Athletic Department has just had it with him and the problems that he seems to attract. In my opinion, they are going to fire him for similar reasons Lambright was fired. Barbara Hedges is getting pressure from above. I can't believe that she is not acting without the approval of the Board of Regents and a certain power unit in the Alumni. It's just not fathomable to me.

Now it appears over, except for whether or not he'll get a fair settlement or not.

I guess it will drag on for a while longer, but for me, I've got to turn the page. Why? Because I'm a football coach, and the thing that excites me is UW football. That is why they hired me to write on this site.

Bring on the Buckeyes! Go Gilbs.
Dawgman.com columnist and KJR 950 Sports Radio personality, Dick Baird.
Dick Baird was an Assistant Coach (Linebackers) and Recruiting Coordinator at the UW from 1985-1998. He has joined the Dawgman.com staff as a featured columnist for both the web site and Sports Washington magazine. In addition to his regular editorial columns, Coach Baird will try to provide some of his unique perspective by answering a few of your selected questions online. If you would like to send in your questions, please CLICK HERE.

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