ASK DAWGMAN - 7/9

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Wow, it's been an interesting four weeks since I last answered my email. In that time we've had a head coach that has been terminated, an offensive guard that has left the team (but wants to come back), and 500 new subscribers. I guess it wasn't a quiet summer after all . . . .


From Michael
Dear Dawgman
This whole thing with Rick and the possibilities that the NCAA will put major sanctions against the UW has that basically killed any chance of getting any elite players to come to the UW in the next 3-4yrs. .

A: I disagree. The school will not get handed down any major penalties from the NCAA because they disciplined the head coach rather severely (IE: They fired him). That action alone should let the NCAA know how serious the UW felt about this whole thing. Also, elite players will come to Washington, even in the wake of this mess. Gilby will concentrate on in-state kids this year, which makes sense since that is where the majority of their needs can be met. All Gilby has to do is win 9-10 games this year and kids will be lining up to go to Washington.
From Frank B in Ohio
Dear Dawgman:
I guess this was the straw that broke the camels back and there are a sign number of large donors that are more than disappointed to have Rick in the headlines once again. Especially given the NCAA stand on any type of gambling, which didn't give Barbara any choice. WOW! I remember you saying that when RN left, it wouldn't be a bad thing because it will have meant that the program would be in better shape than when he arrived. You were right, but not the type of departure you expected, I bet. Gilby will be the Coach, and search during/after the season would be my guess.

Take care and see you in Columbus. I expect the team to rally, and this may keep them more focused.

A: I never imagined Neuheisel exiting the school the way he did. I thought it would be for an NFL job, in which case it would've meant that he had success at Washington. He had some success, but not the kind that some had envisioned. He did recruit well, but not as well as I think he would've liked in the ultra-competitive Pac-10. This team now should be incredibly focused and should rally around their new leader, Gilby. I think they'll do it, just as the 1993 team rallied around Lambo before his first game, a thrashing of Bill Walsh's Stanford team. The squad that Gilby inherits is loaded, and I believe he can win with it.
From Chris Patters in Arizona
Dear Dawgman:
I've been writing to you guys for over 2 years now and I have been predicting all along that coach Neu would eventually do something to screw the University of Washington. Not only did he screw himself, but also he further embarrassed the UW and has left a nasty stain in his wake. How many times can this guy screw up and claim to not know he was jeopardizing his job or that he didn't think he was breaking any rules? It is amazing to me that a head football coach at one of the best colleges in the nation can screw up so many times. His football smarts aren't at question here. We all know he has a brilliant mind for football. His recruiting prowess is excellent as he could steal a $20 bill from a recruit and then convince him he didn't do it. However, he has never been a good fit for the UW program. Have we really been that better off since he took over as coach? I know the Rose Bowl year was special, but we had to come from behind almost every game. He doesn't focus on the running game and his teams seem undisciplined. You guys always seem to stick up for him saying that he is smart and he will figure it out but the fact remains that he his a dishonest man who hasn't figured it out and probably never will. He has enough arrogance to fill up Husky stadium. He constantly breaks the rules then tries to "slick Rick" his way out of them. I always read about how you guys say that accountability is big for Neu and that he expects it from his players and coaching staff. Well, if that's true then he should step down and be held accountable for all the mud he has dragged the UW through. Learn you lesson like a man and the next place you coach, don't "slick Rick" them. Gary Pinkel for coach as I have been saying all along! GO DAWGS!!!

A: Thanks for your letter Chris. You are correct, you did predict something like this would happen. You definitely told me so, and I did defend Rick at almost every turn for the past two years. I'm not sure what else I can add to this, other than to ask you to keep writing to me. I think your request for Gary Pinkel is a good one, but I'm hoping that Gilbertson gets a long-term deal. I believe in him.
From William Bolstad
Dear Dawgman:
With Neuheisel kicked to the curb, who do you think we'll be able to get to get to replace him by the start of the season, or do you think it'll be an assistant?

A: Keith Gilbertson will be the man, and a fine one he is.
From Matt Wagenhoffer
Dear Dawgman:
Does Coach Hart have any chance at getting the Head Coaching job? Rick should be gone. We are always in the news but in the negative way!

A: Coach Hart is meticulous in his attention to detail, and also is very organized. He would make a wonderful head coach, but he doesn't have the experience that Keith Gilbertson does. I think this job is Gilby's, but Hart will continue to do great work in the trenches.
From Husky Fan in Georgia
Dear Dawgman:
I don't get it? The offensive line looked awful this spring, Cody is afraid to run, (throwin' the ball don't get you any rings baby) and most importantly, with Nate's departure, the defense has so many holes I don't know where to start. What's Really different this year?

A: Cody is not afraid to run the ball, he is schooled not to run because if he goes down…we'll, let's not go there. I think you'll find that the Huskies will have a running game. The OL didn't look awful, they were learning new techniques, which takes time. They'll be fine, I really trust Cozzetto, and he is a proven winner in the running game. The defense only has one hole that I can think of, and that is a speed pass rusher. We'll see if Graham Lasee or Donny Mateaki can fill that void. If not, look for maybe freshman Rob Lewis to get a shot. A healthy Roc Alexander will fill Nate's spot.
From Chris Lohman
Dear Dawgman:
As a passionate fan of the UW and Husky football, Neuheisel is an embarrassment. His rep stinks, his coaching stinks (at times), and for what its worth, for such a great recruiter, he sure loses out on most of the out-of-state blue-chippers we covet. For $1.4 million a year, I would rather see the UW coached by an individual who has respectable character, above average recruiting skills and the wherewithal to surround himself with self-motivated, passionate coordinators and position coaches. I would also like to see the head coach not try so hard to be liked - we don't need a "cool" guy, we don't need a "funny" guy, we need the next Jim Tressel (Gary Pinkel). Neuheisel at best is just average - except his mouth and his world class disregard for NCAA rules. Rick is more used car salesman than attorney. When I look to sell my car in a couple of years, I should see if he would be in for the challenge - he may be looking for something to do.

A: Thank you for your letter. I believe that Rick Neuheisel will coach again, and will be successful at it. You can say a lot about the man, but you cannot call him a quitter. He has also built a great staff at Washington for this season and he recruited this entire team. If they are successful, he will deserve a lot of credit for it. I wish him luck, and I think Gilby will do great at Washington. Your suggestion of Gary Pinkel is a good one, though. Great man, great football coach.
From Michael Roehrig
Dear Dawgman:
Great site. It helps to keep a finger on the pulse and I also feel that this is a great forum to rant and rave. I think that the issue of finding a new coach is now beyond just Neuheisel's gambling. With all of the scrutiny that UW's been under for the past two to three years, we need a clean slate. This is not only starting to cut into the current team, but also the recruits and the parents of recruits aren't going to be too keen on sending their child to some institution that can't even keep it's upper classman (Tuiasosopo and Alexis) in line, nor can it put a leash on its coach. I'm a fan of Neuheisel's ability to relate to players...but now we start wondering if that's a good relationship. I'll beat a dead horse in saying to simply put an offer out to Norm Chow. It's just too bad that all of this is taking place when it appears that UW has the most talent it's had in ten years.

A: Norm Chow will not leave USC. He has turned down many jobs and is on record as saying he does not want to become a head coach. Although he would be a good choice. What quarterback wouldn't want to come play for Norm Chow? Thanks for your letter.
From Nic Doehne in Federal Way
Dear Dawgman:
I would just like to say something's in defense of Rick Neuheisel. I am a pragmatic person; I base my decisions on fact and logic not emotion. I believe Rick to be the same way so let examine this whole thing logically. Rick made a bet in an "office pool" type environment and it seem that the thing that is making this such a big deal is the amount of money involved. $5,000 dollars seems like a lot to us because we make significantly less than Neuheisel so let's put this in perspective. First of all there were four people on his "team" and if they all put in equal shares of the $5,000 that leaves Neuheisel's portion at $1,250. Now, if Neuheisel make 1.8 million a year with his incentives $1,250 is about 0.07 % of Neuheisel's yearly salary. Now quantify that with a lesser salary, say $30,000. 0.07% of $30,000 is $20.82. So Rick Neuheisel betting $1,250 is equivalent to someone who makes $30,000 throwing in $20 bucks on an office pool. Which coincidently is the same amount I bet on the tournament this year in a friendly pool. Now you say "Well, he still should have known better." But let's look at the letter of the law and use a lawyer's perspective. Hey wait; doesn't Neuheisel have a law degree?

Anyway, the NCAA bylaw 10.3 states: athletic-department personnel shall not "knowingly" engage in "any gambling activity that involves intercollegiate athletics or professional athletics, through a bookmaker, a parlay card or any other method employed by organized gambling."

Organized gambling would seem to imply Casinos or even mafia style gambling but not "office pools" which are legal. Apparently, a University of Washington official who clarified the bylaws in an e-mail shares my opinion.

"The bottom line of these rules is that if you have friends outside of ICA (Intercollegiate Athletics) that have pools on any of the basketball tournaments, you can participate," the e-mail read. "You cannot place bets with a bookie or organize your own pool inside or outside of ICA."

So, logically broken down, Rick Neuheisel has thrown in the equivalent of $20 in an "office pool" that he believed to be legal and which's legality was confirmed by an e-mail from the University of Washington. But still, the next day's Paper reads, "Neuheisel wins $20,000 gambling on NCAA athletics." Well, that certainly is the better story. But you will still continue to argue, "Well, Maybe if it was his first time being in trouble but he has a long history of follies and has just embarrassed the UW to many times." Well let's take a look and some of his past transgressions. Of course the worst of these is the recruiting "violations." I believe the committee said that Neuheisel had broken the "spirit" of law but not the letter. How can someone say that to a lawyer and expect them to understand that. Then everyone is up in arms about his not showing any remorse. Remorse for what?? He didn't break any rules. The NCAA's committee even said that. He certainly has shown remorse for all of the bad publicity and how it affects the University, which really is the only thing he has to be sorry for.

"But what about the 49ers incident" you say, well I'll give you that one he should have said "no Comment." But I'm also going to give him the benefit of the doubt because when the media hounds you as much as Neuheisel, your bound to make a mistake sometime. So folks why don't we give Neuheisel a break and maybe even a chance to breath before we shove the next microscope up his behind. I can't imagine living under the microscope that Neuheisel does. We all make tough decisions every day and every now and again people are bound to disagree with some of your decisions. So can we ease up a little, what do you say?

A: Thank you for your letter. Rick Neuheisel truly does live under a microscope, you are correct. Your arguments are all well thought out, and thanks for sharing them. However, the NCAA and influential boosters have an amazing impact when it comes to what decisions you must make. The school has made their decision. I do think that Rick is taking way too much unfair scrutiny of his character, he is a good man in my book. But that's just my opinion.
From Paul in Bulldog land
Dear Dawgman:
What is your take on this whole mess? Do you think the Dawgs will get penalized severely by the NCAA or the Pac10? Your inputs are always informative. I don't know what other college site that gives so much insight on their athletic dept. Keep up the good work.

A: I think the fact that Washington fired Rick Neuheisel should show the NCAA that they are taking this serious. I don't see serious penalties coming, no.
From Eugene Husky
Dear Dawgman:
There are 3 groups of people I would like to thank (blame) for the demise of Coach Neuheisel at the University of Washington. While some of his actions have been inexcusable, they are not unforgivable. Nor do I believe they were that major enough to terminate his employment as head football coach. Thus, I would like to look at the other side of the fence that I am not on-- the "Non-Neuheisel" side of the fence:

1A) The "other" side of Husky nation. As we have seen in the last 10 years or so, there is a division among UW football fans. Let's call this the left vs. the right. The left is the old fashion, resent-filled, "faithful (in their minds)" fans that want it their way or no way. They are the one's that will support the University, but will be whispering behind the backs of whoever the coach is if he dare be an "outsider". They enjoy negative motivation, as the curses of the outsider will run rampant once a losing streak occurs. They relish the times when they can do this at the games when our beloved Dawgs are behind and not playing well. Their traits include often leaving early when the game seems lost, stay seated throughout the game and yell at you if you stand to cheer, and they love to hurl blame at the outsider for every downfall of the team. While they continue to attend the games, they await the time when they can say "I told you so" about the outsider coach, and the "bring back Lambo" mutterings are heard from Ballard to Issaquah. Not to mention, people on the left love to have a say on the overall presentation at Husky Stadium--every time some hoopla and entertainment is proposed, they pitch a fit. The UW's very boring and low-key presentation of the football games (Husky Tron programming, fan promos, etc.) will never be change as long as the "left" has a word.

1B) Also existing in this "left" group are some of the former players that like to sit on their soapbox and utter stupid predictions like "this team will never win another game this year." They like to get on the radio and jump on with favorable opinion, and get the listeners to join their bandwagon. They don't like the way Husky Football has transformed its game, and they think since they were successful in the 70's, 80's, or 90's, it is the way the Dawgs should play now. As I said, they usually travel with "popular" opinion.

On the flip side, the fans on the "right" are people that will support the TEAM and the COACH no matter what happens. They will be at the games rain or shine, screaming at the top of their lungs with or without a voice, win or lose. This is the true way of the Purple and Gold.

2) The Media: kick him while he is down. I thought talent was required to write for a large-market newspaper such as the Seattle Times. I guess all you have to know is how to try to sound funny and usually at someone else's expense, meanwhile come off that you are a total ass. Rick Neuheisel has been a blessing for these group of writers. Their columns are abusive, and they love to chase the "popular" biased story. We have seen them claim "fire Neuheisel" after a 4-5 start, then to "he deserves some credit" after the 7-5 finish. Well, now it is time to kick him while he is down again--really down. I would like to know when Les Carpenter started writing about College Football, and when Ron Judd felt we actually give a damn what a guy that writes about flower picking and salmon catching has to say about College Football? Throw in the pompous, egotistical Steve Kelley (who should stick to Basketball), and Art Thiel, a guy that writes just plain CRAP, and you have the well-rounded group of UW football media enemies. Anytime I see an article lambasting UW and Rick Neuheisel on the front page of the sports section 5 days in a row in the REGISTER GUARD in Eugene, Oregon, and it is written by a Times columnist, I am ready to put the gloves on. And I think I could take any of these guys. This group has the ability to help convict someone that may be innocent--they have that much influence. But, they can also be a friend--ask Mike Bellotti. He controls the town and the media in Eugene, and this is how he can sweep recruiting violations, player's bumps with the law, and anything else negative under the rug. Obviously, Rick has the opposite relationship, and it has contributed to his end.

3) Barbara Hedges: our head of the lynch mob. Barbara, I am all for gender equality and equal opportunity employment, but you have not made a positive impression on this Husky Football Fan. Use Rick as the scapegoat to avoid infractions, and to go along with the "public (media)" opinion. I thank you for your tremendous relationship with Don James, enough to where he resigns. Thank you for treating Jim Lambright so well on his departure--so well that he probably still wants to spit every time someone brings up your name. You stuttered and bumbled like someone very nervous and unsure of herself in front of the nation when explaining your reasons for terminating our coach. You folded like a wet cardboard box with millions hanging on every word. In your words you felt like you had done wrong for the last time, yet it was obvious your claims were to save face. You made him the example--how original, Barb. Why don't you take the easy road on this one. I for one disagree with you, and I feel your time is up. Let's clean house--eliminate the coach, thus probably also lose some of our recruits and players, and then eliminate you and others. Then, we can see how bad this team can be with all of the air removed from the sails.

Rick Neuheisel has done a lot for Husky Nation--and this is the thanks he gets. Rick, I want to apologize from the RIGHT side of the fans--we didn't mean for you to catch such a harsh welcome and exit. We thank you for the excitement you brought back to UW football, the results you brought, and the grace with how you handled very tragic circumstances. Thank you for a Rose Bowl victory. Thank you for some exciting 4th quarter comebacks. Thank you for beating the Ducks! Thank you for being undefeated against the Cougars! Thank you for the way you handled the Curtis Williams situation with the utmost care, and kept it in perspective that it was nothing less than a tragedy. Thank you for recruiting some of the best football players to every wear a UW football uniform. Did I say thank you for beating the Ducks?

And to all the left side: You can think what you want about RN. In my opinion, what matters is what the players think of their leader, and how they respond. And 99% of them, plus all of the recruits, have his back and have nothing but positive things to say. They are devastated he will no longer be here. They respond to him the way Don James inspired his players. So just when you think we should have never fired Lambo, remember over 50 scholarship players left the program in 4 years that could have made the difference between the Aloha Bowl and a Holiday or Rose Bowl berth.

A: WOW! Thanks for your letter. It amazes me how polarized the fan base became during Rick Neuheisel's tenure. I don't know that I've ever seen it so divided over a coach and his actions. That's all I'll add.
From Norm Cohen
Dear Dawgman:
Everywhere except this board a specific component of this month's nightmare has been ignored: Apparently the Gestapo (NCAA) contacts Babs about three weeks ago to set up a meeting with Rick ... they claim they want to talk about recruiting violations. (A replay of the famous non-issue of playing basketball with a kid). As the story goes, Babs arranges a meeting for Rick, her and the brown shirts. Both Babs and Rick are prepared to talk about recruiting violations and the swastika folks ("blindside") make allegations of gambling...Eventually today's result comes to pass?

Question: Did the boys from Berlin actually receive allegations of recruiting violations or was that a ruse?

Question: If a ruse, how can Aronson a professor of law manifest such a cavalier attitude about such tactics? His interview on KJR clearly manifested no serious objection to their tricks. Aronson gave a blasé' answer to the effect that and similar methods are both SOP & non objectionable.

Question: If NOT a ruse what are the allegations, are they serious or not serious and are they true or untrue...or somewhere in the middle?

Question: Speaking of fibs and fibbers wasn't Barbara fibbing (roll over Gepetto) when she twice or thrice denied that the NCAA had anything to do with her disposition of Rick's contract in either of two senses: (a) NCAA threatened if she didn't can Rick the U of W would be looking at heavy scrutiny and penalties: (2) Rick was going to be suspended in all events...so she could leave his contract alone, but he would not be able to fulfill it when the NCAA got through with him. PLEASE comment

A: The NCAA did actually receive recruiting violations allegations, yes. Aronson's response was that it was not atypical for the NCAA to pull the "surprise" tactic to see what type of initial response it elicits. It doesn't surprise me that the NCAA does it, I mean, they are a monopoly and can pretty much do whatever they please. Was Barbara lying when she said the NCAA had nothing to do with the firing? I don't think so. I think she couldn't help but consider and get consultation about what the NCAA would likely do in the event Rick was to remain the head coach, but that doesn't mean she caved into anyone from the NCAA. It just means that she may have took it into consideration, consciously or unconsciously. But the decision to terminate his contract was hers, and probably the Board of Regents.
From Don Zylstra
Dear Dawgman:
Assuming this coaching fiasco clears up before the next Rose Bowl, and that Gilby becomes the next head coach - who does Gilby use for an Offensive Coordinator? That seems to me to be the biggest hole to fill. We're luck to have Gilby to tap for being head coach, but it really put the Huskies in a hole to fill his spot at this point in the year. Maybe we'll get Toledo? (Just joking!)

A: I think John Pettas and Keith will share play calling responsibilities. I think Pettas will be up in the booth and that Gilby will be on the sidelines. They have worked together before so it should be pretty seamless.
From Patrick Harris in Jackson, MS
Dear Dawgman:
I have been following the Neuheisel story pretty closely and now find myself siding with the school in their decision to fire Rick. The Seattle Times reported that Rick's Attorney said Rick felt " wronged". What a jerk! This was the final straw for me. Rick has turned this whole mess around and found a way to make himself the victim. While he drags this whole thing out, his players ( not to mention us fans) sit in limbo and pray for an end to this mess. Rick is only trying to save his skin without any consideration as to how this affects the school's reputation, which has been severely tarnished as of late. He knows what he's doing, I am pretty certain he believes he will not get a third or fourth chance. I frankly have lost count at this point. This is about posturing for a settlement, due to the overwhelming debt he would have being jobless and owing the loan money. The first couple of go rounds with Rick I was quite sympathetic; however, as time has passed I have seen Rick continue to look for lies and deceit as the tools to cover up his calculated acts of stupidity. Washington Football means the world to me and has since I was a little kid and to see some selfish coach smudge the UW's reputation STINKS! It is time EVERYONE connected was held accountable for this mess and shown the door. Let's get back to no nonsense football on and off the field. This storied school will once again (with new leadership) stuff the ball down opponents throats like old (and stuff any chance of Rick coaching our beloved Huskies for that matter).

A: Thank you for your letter. Let's hope the healing on all sides begins very quickly.


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