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Another conspiracy theory
Richard Linde, 7 January 2007

The current conspiracy theory floating around the web, intended to explain the resignation of AD Todd Turner, posits that he was “fired” for not accepting a supposed resignation offer from Tyrone Willingham and keeping it a secret from the school president, who later angrily found out about it. Reportedly a booster was all set to help buy the coach out of his contract by funding 60% of an upfront payment of $3 million.

Sensational claims like this deserve identifiable sources, otherwise, posters are just rumor mongering and wasting our time.

It’s a possibility that Tyrone offered to tender his resignation, but only with the thought in mind of getting some love – you know, an ego trip -- or perhaps, even, an act of wanting reassurance after a 4-9 season. Or maybe the coach wanted to take the hit for his boss, who had gone out on a limb for him, as one reader suggests. All of this is pure speculation and not intended to start any rumors.

But no, an emphatic no, this wasn't a deal gone bad because of Turner, an act that led to his firing. This scenario defies credulity. Dr. Emmert has made it clear that Turner's leaving was not because of his support for the coach. The school president has verbally lent his support also. 

I remember Karl Dorrell discussing a poor season with AD Dan Guerrero a few years back. Guerrero offered Dorrell a contract extension and a raise. In that case, however, it was Dorrell turning the AD down, saying he didn't deserve an extension after the poor season.

Play that funky music, white boy (spoof): 

The theme from Twilight Zone is playing in the background. The high-ceilinged office looms larger in Willingham's mind than ever. A booster sits outside the office with a cache holding $1.8 million in cash. Unbeknownst to the AD, his office is bugged.

His galoshes squishy, his purple parka dripping rain water, and now fronting Todd’s desk after a slow, plodding journey across a long stretch of plush carpeting, Tyrone says, “Todd, ahem, Todd, I have something on my mind.”

“Well, get it off your mind. Spill your guts out, you old Domer,” he replies curtly. “Spill” wrong word, he thinks. I’ll need more than a hair drier for my carpet. Just had it laid two weeks ago.

“I…I…would like to tender my resignation as coach of the University of Washington. I feel incompetent. The season didn't pan out as I had envisioned.” A waterlogged media guide falls to the spongy rug from underneath Willingham’s parka, and he bends over, picks its mushy pages up and shakes the guide back and forth, as if it were a small dog shaking his fur. A disgusted Turner quickly gathers his composure.

Leaning back in his leather chair and swiveling from side to side,  he abruptly repositions himself to face Tyrone directly, with his eyebrows artfully raised and eyes as big as saucers. “My, God, Tyrone, you have just begun to turn the program around; please stay two more years – as a favor to me, Tyrone. Three million to buy him out. Need the money for that damned renovation project.

It was the kind of reassurance for which Tyrone was seeking, and his face shed its look of forlorn, and somehow all the rain water that had spilt onto the carpeting had evaporated, the office now dry and spic-and-span in his mind. It was as if the mushy media guide he held in his hand had been wrung out of its wetness and all the dog-eared pages had been lifted by the wrenching torment of his confession of incompetence and the fear of Turner accepting his offer of resignation, and now asking him to stay his contract, in short, a hair-raising experience but worth the effort.

Filled with reassurance, Tyrone responds, “You know I may have acted too hastily. I’ll stay. Ahem, it was out of character for me not to think it through. I’m staying at Washington.” My first bold move at Washington comes to his mind.

“Thank God, Tyrone.” Almost hidden behind a cloud, the emerging sun brightens the dark office further, making it seem smaller.  “One more thing, fire a couple of your assistants and we’ll use them as scapegoats for this season’s record. That way, you'll be an easier sell to the Tyees and Doc M” What a horse’s ass, looking for love. Doesn’t he have anything better to do – like recruiting?

As Tyrone leaves the office, Turner calls out, "One more thing."


"Junk that soggy media guide. There's a room full of pristine guides next door. You know, sales are down. Also, don't tell Dr. M about our conversation."

Tyrone and the booster leave the building, locked in a heated conversation.

End of scenario and spoof

Not that I distrust them all that much, but these message board posters need to supply real names for their sources. I can understand their reluctance to name their sources, but unnamed sources don’t hold much sway with me. For credibility’s sake, they need to identify themselves also, with a real name, rank and serial number.

It makes more sense to me that Turner was in over his head with the stadium renovation project and five-year hole in the ground. I would have resigned too. He has said that the renovation project was going as planned, implying it was not the reason for his resignation.

Still, entertaining posts and interesting posits. Surely, the web can do better than this, though -- including my spoof. 


Long sentence: Whew, glad my editor didn't read that one. It's so painful writing simple, declarative sentences. ;-) Apology. Yet, it seemed fitting in the light of all the nonsense out there, blindly writing something like that.

Media guide: In case of a senior moment, a coach needs to carry it around to help identify his players, so as not to be caught off guard at a chance meeting.

Squishy galoshes: Spoof on Sun Dodgers and Indoor Dempsey, which isn't used all that much.

Wet carpeting: Doesn't Turner seem fastidious to you? I like his style. I'll miss his blogs.


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