Ask Coach Baird

Hello dawg fans! About two weeks to go in this recruiting season. It would be great to see Coach Tyrone Willingham finish with a couple more big bodies, but so far he has a class that is very balanced and has good speed. And now, onto the letters . . . .


From Gar Jeffers
Coach Baird,
: I really enjoy your comments and insight. Sometimes I disagree but know that your experience and contacts far exceed mine. Someone wrote that "Jim Owens was a racist, pure and simple". I can't let that go by. I was on his team for two years at the beginning and have kept in touch with him over the years. He is a terrific man, was a great coach, and is not a racist and never was. He brought respectability and unprecedented success to the UW football program. Many of us literally idolized him. He is a man of great character. Yes, he was tough and demanding, but as a scrub I can tell you he was fair. All he demanded was that you give it 110%. He was a product of Bud Wilkinson, his college coach, and Bear Bryant, under whom he was an assistant at Texas A & M. I learned a lot of life long lessons under the direction of Coach Owens and his great staff. Yes, there were some problems in the late 60s but I sincerely think there was fault and misunderstanding on all sides.....not racism by Jim Owens. Coach Owens made a tremendous contribution to UW football and to most of us who were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be on his teams.

A: I think Jim Owens is a wonderful man. I know he is considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of this school and this conference. He is a dignified gentleman who literally put Washington Football on the national scene. Anyone who has ever met him realizes this and those who are still waving the race card have issues. That stuff of the late 60's and 70's that happened at Washington was a product of the times – not Jim Owens. To point the finger at a specific person and label him a racist is ridiculous. It happened almost 40 years ago and I can personally tell you all of us have changed since then, including society. I'm glad you took the time to defend Coach Owens but it really isn't necessary to any of us who know and love the man. Jim Owens is as fine as person as I have ever met. He was and is a great part of what "Husky Toughness" is all about.
From Ed Shaffer
Coach Baird,
: I can see some amusement value in The Go 2 Guy in the PI and it would make sense if he wrote for a Spokane or Yakima paper but what I can not understand is why the PI would run his column in Seattle without running an equally blatant anti Cougar column. Why is a Seattle Paper so one sided in favor of the Cougars? Has anyone ever figured out why? Derek Johnson did a piece on him does he know why the PI would be so unbalanced?

A: They (the PI) have Moore for exactly that reason. He pisses off the Husky fans who continue to read him. And 60% of WSU students and alumni are in western Washington so they have them as readers as well. To them he is a hero, to Huskies he is an insulting boor but they can't help but read him. I get called by friends whenever he blasts me personally in one of his columns. He doesn't even begin to understand the game of football so I don't let it get to me. He is merely playing out his role and I respect his right to do so. I would love to see a Husky writer for the Spokesman Review. Someone who is pro Gonzaga, pro Husky and anti-WSU. Then you would see the wrath of the Cougars. They love that Moore is their torch bearer but if they had such a writer in eastern Washington they'd have a cow. I'd like to think that a lot of the time Moore is just kidding. Just harboring resentment because he got rejected for admission to the UW (wink).
From Eugene Choy
Coach Baird,
: Football scholarship is at a premium; especially, this year when Coach Willingham is trying to get as many great players into the Huskies program. Why did Coach Willingham committed three scholarships to kickers including Perkins last year when some of the best kickers in Huskies history have been walk-on? It appears depth could be developing with walk-ons starting with what we still have and not have two scholarships committed for kickers this year. The JC kicker has to be an instant starter for next year team and Perkins and Volk will be redshirted for future depth. Aren't the Huskies depleting the scholarship availability for other needs just to have competition in the kicking game when walk-on could do the same?

A: The answer to your question with regard to "specialists scholarships" is interesting but we must remember the game has changed and you just can't get a good kicker or punter without offering a scholarship now. They had no idea that Perkins was going to get hurt, so they needed to offer in order go get someone they think can play next year. Their decision not to bring back Braunstein (which I applaud) dictated that they needed someone immediately. You also have to consider that we had a much bigger walk on pool in those days and often brought in a half dozen to a dozen candidates per year. They don't have that luxury anymore. With all the camps and combines now the kickers have literally begun to market themselves. They are looking to be offered and invest a lot in the process. They expect an offer.

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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