Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
I'm still trying to collect my thoughts from watching our Bruins completely fall apart in Berkeley in the last quarter. The UCLA section was having a high ol' time most of the game, and it really felt, that going into the fourth quarter, we were into the fight. Then everything fell apart. So to distract me from yesterday's disappointment, I'm talking about Lute's complete unraveling at the Standard.
WWL's Pat Forde, who normally I think is an idiot (who usually puts drivel out there), managed to put out a decent article on Lute's rather ungraceful exit from the Standard, contrasting Lute's erratic behavior with the cool grace and dignity of the greatest coach of all, John Wooden.
He starts by praising Wooden for the way he retired gracefully:
Where have you gone, John Wooden?
Actually, we know good and well where he's gone. Into retirement with his dignity and legacy intact.
John Wooden was an expert at many things, including when to leave the sidelines.
Some 33½ years ago Wooden retired, at the age of 64, at the top of his profession. He rode away from UCLA in 1975 after winning his 10th national title, timing impeccable as always.
He could have coached longer. He could have continued winning games, chasing titles, milking UCLA for glory and money and fame. Instead, Wooden walked away on his own terms, a clean break, nothing but good feelings on all sides.
Why can't anyone else do that these days? What has happened to the graceful exit?
Forde follows up by wondering what has happened to his boy Lute:
Lute Olson is the latest college coaching legend to thoroughly bollix his closing act. The Arizona basketball coach's retirement was announced Thursday, ending a 12-month saga that did considerable damage to his remarkable rep.
The hope is that this exit has not been forced by a previously undisclosed physical or mental illness or family trauma. Ideally, Olson will now enjoy his retirement in good health. Yet at the same time, a serious ailment would be the most palatable reason for a succession of bizarre, puzzling and poorly explained actions that did a disservice to the school and the players he purported to care about.
Forde then goes on to discuss what we here at BN have been discussing for two years now:
For the second straight season, Olson pulled the rug out from under his program at the worst possible time. For the second straight season, the school was left squirming to explain the erratic actions of a legend -- at times seemingly compelled to fib on Olson's behalf. For the second straight season, Arizona basketball has been thrown into turmoil by the very man who breathed life into it.
Sadly, a guy who projected an aura of control and composure has turned his exit from basketball into an absolute mess. Even sadder is the fact that Olson is merely the latest in a line of college coaching legends who don't seem to know when or how to walk away.
Folks on the Standard bandwagon have been talking about Olson deserves to be mentioned alongside Wooden (especially when Lute broke Wooden's record for Pac-10 victories). Never mind, that Olson has one title to Wooden's ten.
I think the rest of the nation is beginning to see what we've seen for a while: ol' Viagra Lute was a real good coach who took Arizona from nothing into a nice regional power, but he still doesn't belong in the same breath as John Wooden.
Not only did Wooden set the standard for excellence, he did it with the dignity and class that other coaching "legends" (Lute, Bobby Knight, and Eddie Sutton) have failed to demonstrate, or as Forde finished:
[T]he sad part is what the legends lose when they can't find the right exit strategy.
John Wooden was an expert on many things. Leaving included.