Monday, February 23, 2009

Can't Stand Him, But He's Right

By now you've seen the latest tirade from coach Jim Calhoun of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. Before I post the clip I'll preface it by telling you that in a post-game press conference he was asked a question by a political activist and journalist, Ken Krayeske, along the lines of;

Considering that your one of the highest paid state employees at $1.5 million a year and there is a $2 billion dollar budget deficit in the State of Connecticut, would you consider giving money back?

If Krayeske wanted to raise an issue, consider it raised. It doesn't take a wizard to know how to get one of the games most notorious tough guys fired up. Krayeske may have a valid point here, but he couldn't have gone about getting an answer in any worse way. Now I don't know much about Connecticut, in fact the only time I think about that state is when I'm on my way to New York and in those cases the only thoughts crossing my mind are "how can a state so small take so long to drive through," I hate driving. However, what I do know is that no state in this country is hurting because of the salary given to coaches of major athletic programs. I'll go one step further, the state, Connecticut specifically, would probably be in a worse condition if not for the likes of their sports programs at state schools.

I'm going to break down some specifics regarding the exchange between Calhoun and Krayeske, and if you think this is a non-story, go ahead and click the little red "x" in the top of the screen, I won't know, in turn I won't be offended.

Jim Calhoun is a hot head, no surprise. That is why he's won two national titles and that is why hundreds of his student athletes have achieved their dreams of playing in the NBA. He demands, what he deems as the very best, every night. What more can you ask from a head coach of major division 1 basketball powerhouse? Now I don't have any children, never mind children that are headed to college, but if my son or daughter ever says, "Dad, I'd like to go to UCONN" the first thing that is coming to my mind is Jim Calhoun and Gino Auriemma, not their salaries. If they aren't even playing hoops, and let's face it, I'm 5'10 and unless I marry Lisa Leslie, my kids aren't going to be the next Larry Bird, I want my kids at a school that preaches that kind of consistent excellence in a focused area. What Auriemma and Calhoun bring to the table is their resumes, without those, I guarantee the state sees a drop off in enrollment and television contracts, among countless other added bonuses. So I'm not sure where a bonehead political journalist is going with this when he prodes coach Calhoun in the most public of settings.

You poke a man with that kind of resume, what are you getting at? For starters, neither me, you, or Mr. Krayeske would take less money because it's the principal of the thing, we aren't that wealthy. Second, I've never heard of anyone who wasn't signing the checks say they'll take a salary cut, "just because the economy is struggling," even those bankers on wall street who are signing the checks, one of which is employees me, know that they've been living off the hog and share some of the blame as to why the economy is the way it is. Jim Calhoun is not the reason or even part of the reason why the state of Connecticut is making less money than Bangladesh. He is paid alot of money for what he brings to the table, and what he brings to the table is endorsement money for the university, apparel sales for every thing with the UCONN HUSKIE on the t-shirt, major recognition for the institution every basketball season, and he puts a face on a state that doesn't necessarily even have one when it comes to athletics. So rather than attempting to embarrass Coach Calhoun, maybe you could ask the same questions to the people who pay him, but I'm sure you wouldn't get your 15 minutes on YouTube, would you Ken?

Why then? Why there? Don't know a damn thing about Kenny, but when he wants to put himself out there and spark controversial conversation, be prepared to get what is coming to you. Your a clown, not only do you have the nerve to disrupt a press conference about basketball with your political agenda, but you then turn and insult everyone in the room by saying they don't do their job? What's your job? To report information that is already public knowledge? Did you know what the gate was when Coach Calhoun asked? No, he was referring to the thousands of fans filling seats at the XL Center, not the UConn Center, or UConn Alumni Center, a sponsored stadium that you probably never realized was sponsored. A sponsor that most likely doesn't give the Huskies a phone call if they weren't a top 10 nationally ranked program, year after year after year after year. You need to have your facts straight, just like Coach Calhoun said, if your going to blindside someone, at least know what it is your trying to blindside them with. Why don't you ask the governor, university athletic director, or the university president why Coach Calhoun makes so much? Ask them to give their money back. You wouldn't have been on television, and everyone would go on with their lives having never knew who you were, but that makes you non-existent, which is what I'm sure you can't stand.

When I was in high school, playing football, I knew why we played on Friday Nights. It's called revenue. The athletic director made sure we had whatever we needed, because we brought in the money for every other team to play the game of their choice. No gate on Friday Night for the football team, no playing under the lights for the soccer team. No gate on Thanksgiving Day, no new jerseys for the women's basketball team. Well this is what Calhoun does for UConn athletics, he puts their sports (except women's hoops) in new uniforms, on new fields, and on scholarships. If you don't think that is important, or you don't think it's relevant, you haven't got a clue.

Jim Calhoun isn't a nice guy, I've never met him, but that is what he portrays. I have no problem with that. If I was a resident in the state of Connecticut, I'd care about one thing of my favorite basketball team, winning. Leave the dollars and cents up to the schools presidents and state governors office, leave winning to guys like Jim Calhoun. Ken Krayesky, do something respectable and you can get on television, or go on a reality show.

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