Holding Onto Howland

Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N

Tying Together Themes in Many Other Posts.

Rather than leave comments in several threads, I thought I’d write a specific post dedicated to a concern we all have – that we will lose CBH to another job, most likely to the NBA.

I do not think this fear is unfounded.

If I were a GM looking for a new head coach, CBH would certainly be on my short list. 

Why? It’s obvious to us. He is a winner. He is a turn around expert. He is a great teacher.

Our 3 straight Final Fours and the incredible success of CBH’s players in the NBA and the recent draft are only making the light on him shine brighter.

The game of basketball, both college and professional, is being transformed to one in which DEFENSE is the foundation upon which success is built. No one coaches defense better than CBH.

It’s not that CBH puts the “x’s” and “o’s” in the right place. Others can do that. What I find so impressive is that he gets his players to buy into a selfless style of team play that starts with shut down D. He gets them to take pride in their D.

He will certainly get offers. So, the key is to figure out what we need to do to make sure he turns them down.

Many think we have a strong position with CBH because this is his “dream job”. 

But, having spent a good part of my life as an academic, I can tell you categorically that the university culture has a way of turning “dream jobs” into nightmares. 

We must make sure that does not happen with CBH.

Nothing does more to sour a dream than to feel that you are being taken for granted. I cannot tell you how many great professors leave for other pastures because they do not feel appreciated by the bureaucracy that runs he university. It often happens that the most “loyal” entrenched faculty receive the least positive reinforcement. Attention is often paid to the less loyal, the professors with the roving eyes who are constantly soliciting other jobs and threatening to leave; this is a well known academic dance – “Give me what I want because if you don’t I’ll go to “X” because they will give it to me.” Or, attention is paid to the “next new hire”. 

The most loyal, those who do not threaten to leave, those who are looked upon as “secure”, often get so fed up they just bolt. And, then the administrations lament – “I’m so surprised, he always said this was his ‘dream’ job.”

On a university campus, the problem is one of finite resources. There simply is not enough money to give everyone what they think they need or what they want.

Often, in academic departments, the fights are over stupid things – like parking and office space. I call it the politics of scarcity. There is so little real stuff to fight over that, in order to stroke ego, faculty fight over stupid things. Professors are not Zen masters.

Finally, many who get fed up with the academic world and “bolt” go to the private sector. I did it and have never been sorry. I’ve been able to do more and better work with much better support and less interference. 

What does this have to do with CBH? 

He works in an academic environment – one whose culture applies to athletics as well as academics. 

For a coach, the NBA is the private sector – an environment with better resources and greater freedom.

My greatest fear is that CBH, in the next few years, will feel taken for granted, not feel supported or tire of being ground down by the academic atmosphere.

We have to be vigilant – to make sure that he is not taken for granted, to make sure that the new hires don’t get a priority on what they need or want.

We need to make sure that he is always the best paid coach in the conference and one of the highest paid coaches in the nation. We’ve had no indication that CBH is a mercenary. But, money is important both for what it buys and for what is symbolizes. It is one way to tell CBH how important he is.

And, there are the intangibles. The things that send a clear message. 

Perhaps the most important “intangible” is the renovation of Pauley. There have been extremely strong posts on BN dealing with this topic. I’ll not repeat them. Symbolically, this project makes a statement to our tradition, Coach, and our future, CBH. Bogging it down in an academic bureaucracy causes the type of frustration that drives faculty to greener pastures. 

Taking care of his assistants, giving him whatever help he needs in recruiting, putting him in a place to showcase his teams, the university and himself – those are the things we need to do to make CBH feel the love and support the UCLA community has for him. 

If we want him to stay for life, we have to make sure his job is so great that he wants to stay for life.


PS. It is very possible that CBH doesn’t care about any of this. If that’s so, please allow me to channel Emily Litella – “Never mind.”

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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