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Mal's Mailbag

Mal responds to some of his reader's comments below.

Article: Grading the Coach

Boy, you're a lot more patient than I am.  If the Huskies have only six wins in 2008, forget about a pay cut, Coach Willingham should be fired.  If we don't have a Pac-10 championship within the next three years, I think we should eye his tenure with extreme skepticism.

You know, for all the talk about "five-year programs," and "getting my guys" onto the team, experience seems to indicate that it doesn't actually take that long to turn a program around.  This year was a complete disaster, but Coach Willingham gets one freebie.  I think we should expect SIGNIFICANT progress next year -- say, four Pac-10 wins.

You're setting the bar way, way too low.

D. J.

PS  If you're disappointed enough in a coach's performance to cut his pay, why on earth wouldn't you just fire him and be done with it?  Cutting his pay will only cause resentment, not motivation.  He'll spend the whole next year looking for another school.  How is that helpful?  No, you've got to play it straight.

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Mal's Response

Thanks for your comments.

When I look at the programs at USC, Cal, UCLA, Oregon and ASU -- all well-established now -- I can’t generate much enthusiasm for the Huskies’ near future in the Pac-10. Really, I think it will take a number of years to turn the program around, especially, in light of what I view as another poor recruiting year – that could be three mediocre classes in a row if this year turns out the way it looks to be headed.

The pay cut thing was a kind of a light-hearted notion. I needed to make that more apparent in the article. I was thinking of Karl Dorrell at UCLA when he turned down a contract extension because of a poor season, not that I’m saying that Ty should or that he should be given a pay cut.

However, the basic notion of the article is that the UW can’t afford to fire another coach, especially in the near term. I think UW needs to stay with Willingham for at least five more years. 

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Article: Is Brent Musburger a Weis guy?

Hello Mr. Linde,

I just finished reading your story on the Charlie Weiss worshiping session inflicted on us viewers of the Fiesta Bowl.  By the end of the first half, I was hoping that there would be a rain shower so that I could witness Coach Weiss walk on top of the puddles on his way to the tunnel.  I admit to being a Notre Dame hater, and my second favorite team each week is the one that plays them (and Oregon's opponent too), but Mr. Musberger's fawning was unbelievable.  The national media has an amazing amount of amnesia as to the difference in the Notre Dame program from when Bob Davie was fired, to what it resembles today.  Charlie Weiss gets all the credit, and a 10 year extension, for taking Ty Willingham's senior class to a BCS Bowl and there is zip, nada, nothing said about it.  Congratulations to Coach Weiss and the Irish, but lets not fall on our knees in front of the guy until he does it with his own kids.  In the meantime, I hope that ABC puts us out of our misery and does a forced retirement for Brent.  I am looking forward to a couple more years of building for Coach Willingham at the UW, and then we can congratulate him on getting his own senior class to a BCS Bowl.  Happy New Year and keep up the good work.  GO DAWGS!

J. T.

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Mal's Response:

Thanks for your comments on my story. I was disappointed that the announcers failed to mention Coach Willingham and his effect on the Notre Dame program through   recruiting, etc. After all Brady Quinn was Willingham’s guy.

Musburger is certainly a Notre Dame honk, as is Gary Danielson, his color man.

Best Wishes, Go Dawgs, and have a great New Year.

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General Comment:

Washington running back Joe Steele was one of my favorites.  Do you know where I might get photos or film of him during his playing days?  I was very young when he played--did he have good moves (elusiveness) or was he more of a "slasher"?  Do you know what Joe is doing now?

Any response would be appreciated.

Bill

Mal's response:

I've lost track of Joe Steele. He was one of my favorites, too.

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Articles: (For the love of Dan ) (In the Spirit of Christmas)

Rich, Keep up the good work!  I usually check your site every couple of days.

I read that Dan Raley article -- basically I skipped over his piece... it looks like they are simply running old scandals for lack of any new ones.

I liked your Gil Dobie piece.  I too think Dobie would have handled (Craig) Chambers.

M.A.

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Mal's response:

I always like writing stories about Gil Dobie (58-0-3). What a colorful character. He has the second longest winning streak in NCAA history: 39 straight games without a loss or a tie.

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Article: Tabloid Times

I am curious about Danny Robbins.

I have read a few of your articles about him, including his articles in the LA Times about Don James and the alleged U. Wash. issues.

Any more info?

Sherlock

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Mal's response:

Danny Robbins was an investigative reporter doing his job. As far as I know, he and Elliott Almond, who investigated the Huskies, performed admirably, getting most of their facts straight, except for part of one story for which they had to run a retraction.

In my estimation, the Los Angeles Times overplayed the Washington stories, sensationalizing them. That was an editor’s call, not Robbins’. Some of their stories had no relationship to NCAA rules violations concerning the institution. That was an editor’s choice, not Robbins’. Because of the sensationalism and hysteria, the Pac-10 most likely overreacted when they handed out their sanctions. Public opinion had been formed.

Most of the people who lent their names to the stories had an ax to grind with the University of Washington, having lost lawsuits against Washington, etc. That's not saying they weren't telling the truth or that we should treat their revelations with skepticism.

Thanks for reading the stories on my website, which reflect another person’s opinion of went on during the “Fruit Basket” scandal of 1992/93.

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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