Williams’ legacy secure (are you watching, Bob?)

 

Hey, where'd everybody go?

Hey, where'd everybody go?

Just a quick public service announcement before this week’s Countdown:

Bobby Knight is still willing to be your coach.

Not that he’s going to ask.

But if you call him, I’m sure he’d come.

Not that he’s going to beg.

But if you’re looking for a basketball coach, Bobby Knight really wants a job.

Not that he’s going to tell you that he really wants a job because legends don’t like to admit that publicly — they just prefer to wait for the horns, the fawning and the welcoming committee.

But if you have a downtrodden basketball program that’s had difficulty recruiting, what better way to turn things around than with an old, bitter man who has no real desire to recruit any more?

Knight leaked that he wanted to coach Georgia. He waited by the phone. Nobody called.

Knight leaked that he wanted to coach Arizona. He waited by the phone. Nobody called.

He settled for a Guitar Hero commercial.

For that, he had to take off his pants.

Perfect.

In one of his classic top 10 press conferences moments (No. 8), Knight sarcastically explained the difference between football and basketball for media members, then added: “I’m trying to help you young guys in this profession you’ve chosen — it’s one or two steps above prostitution.”

Just wondering, Bob. Who’s leaning against the lamp post at 2 a.m. now?

10. Dept. of snap judgments.

Roy Williams is a great basketball coach. Nothing is or was going to change that. It was important to get that out first before this: Given the win-championships-or-you-are-flotsam-to-me! attitude that too often permeates sports, Coach Roy just prevented one of those career-defining faceplants that tends to wreck biographies. Let me explain.

Roy Williams can give coaching lessons to anybody, and class lessons to Bob Knight.

Roy Williams can give coaching lessons to anybody, and class lessons to Bob Knight.

9. He is Heeled!

This North Carolina team has to go down as one of the most ridiculously deep and talented college basketball teams ever — at least since last year’s team, which got smoked in the national semis to Kansas (ouch). Had the Tar Heels lost, that would have made seven Final Fours for Williams in his career (four at Kansas, three at Carolina) with one championship to show for it — that in his second season in Chapel Hill with a roster mostly recruited by Matt Doherty. Instead, this is what we see now as Williams’ bottom line at North Carolina: six seasons, three Final Fours, two championships — which ties him with Dean Smith. See how quickly that changed?

8. Ricky be Ricky,  but Roy be Roy.

If you want to know why people love Roy Williams, here’s one reason. After after the Tar Heels waxed Michigan State in the title game to complete a 34-4 season (70-7 in the last two years), Williams gave all the credit to his players, even if he dropped into third person to do it: “These players took Roy Williams on one fantastic ride.” And then this, on tying Smith, his mentor, in championships: “Roy Williams ain’t that good. But Old Roy has some big-game players. Roy Williams and Dean Smith don’t fit in the same sentence. I believe that. I’m not being humble.” 

7. Which reminds me

When Roy Williams leaves, Bobby Knight will be interested. Not that he’ll admit it. Unless they phone. Which they won’t.

    

Elin Nordegren (and a golfer).

Elin Nordegren (and lesser known golfer).

6. Tiger favored, sky blue 

Checked with several dark-alley brokerage houses and, yes, shocking but true, Tiger Woods is favored to win the Masters. The odds generally go something like this: 1. Tiger Woods: 2-1, or less. 2. Phil Mickelson: somewhere from 7-1 to 20-1. 3. Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and that kid in front of the line at Mountasia who can’t decide between the blue ball, the red ball and the green ball: 179-1. Look at this way: Chances are, there’s going to be another great photo op for the slobbering males of the world, which pretty much covers the gender. Just wondering: Is there any

Amy Mickelson (and golfer).

Amy Mickelson (and golfer).

Morgan Leigh-Norman (and golfer).

Morgan Norman (and golfer).

professional golfer who isn’t married to/dating a hot blonde? I mean,  how does it work on the Tour? “Congratulations, Sir. Here’s your Tour card and your Pings. Now, you have a choice of blondes. Would you prefer a super model, maybe someone with the-girl-next-door look, or the daughter of another former golfer?”  And on that subject, we give you: Elin Nordegren (Tiger Woods), Amy Mickelson (Phil Mickelson) and Morgan Leigh Norman (daughter of Greg Norman, with Sergio Garcia).

5. Final Four GM pool tied (sort of).

If we go by total correct responses, the Thrashers’ Don Waddell, Falcons’ Thomas Dimitroff and Hawks’ Rick Sund tied in the Countdown’s inaugural Final Four pool at four points each. Waddell was the only one to have the correct championship game match-up — but unfortunately went with the school from his homeland. (He actually went to Northern Michigan, but they just missed the field of 64.) If an escalating points system is applied (one for each correct Final Four team, two for each semi winner, three for the correct champion, Dimitroff and Sund tied at seven points and Waddell was third with six. We’ll try to have more defined rules next year. But in an point system, the Braves’ Frank Wren is dead last. The Louisville-Florida State final didn’t quite pan out. He gave me some lame excuse like, “I haven’t watched many games.” Like that stopped my daughter from winning the house pool. But Wren is 1-0 where it counts. Which reminds me . . .

4. Yes, 162-0 would be a record.

Derek Lowe, eight scoreless innings. Jordan Schafer, home run in his first at-bat. Brian McCann, two-run jack. Jeff Francoeur, home run and sane. Is this heaven? No it’s just the opener. But ain’t it great how one game followed by an off day and therefore with a 48-hour shelf life suddenly has some trying to calculate a magic number? (The answer is 161.) “I haven’t been in a situation where that win or loss [in an opener] has been a strong indicator for the season,” Wren said in an email. Smart man. . . .

One game, one home run for Jordan Schafer. At this pace . . .

One game, one home run for Jordan Schafer. At this pace . . .

3. Actual research (it happens).

So I went back to 1991, which seemed to make sense because almost everything prior to that was kind of ugly. The Braves are now 12-7 in openers since then. Let’s throw out 1994 (when the Braves won their opener), since there were no playoffs that season, and this year, because there’s no playoffs yet. That leaves them 10-7. In the 10 years they won the opener, the Braves went to the post-season eight times (80 percent), won three pennants (1992-95-96) and one World Series. In the seven seasons the team lost its opener, it went to the playoffs six times (86 percent), won two pennants (1991-99) and no Series. This thin research confirms there is no discernible difference between winning and losing on Opening Day, as it affects the future. However, when C.C. Sabathia allows six runs and eight hits and walks five in 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles and the Yankees get flattened in their season opener, you are encouraged to laugh hysterically and mock until the next game.

2. Hot off the press! (Hello . . .)

This is an old photo. You can tell by the clothes, the haircuts and the fact the pressbox is full

This is an old photo. You can tell by the clothes, the haircuts and the fact the pressbox is full.

I joined a cause on Facebook the other day, “Don’t Let Newspapers Die,” which would be more inspiring than depressing if the total members, 76,422, did not currently exceed the circulation totals of so many newspapers. There’s a nice piece in the Wall Street Journal about the ripple effect of the industry’s decline — the sudden emptiness in so many baseball stadium press boxes. The story  quotes our own David O’Brien, president of the Baseball Writers Association of America. How bad are things economically? The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun — once major competitors — are now sharing content on the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.

1. There goes another one.

Yes, somebody floated Bobby Knight’s name in Memphis. The job just went to 31-year-old Josh Pastner, who hadn’t even been born (1978) before Knight won his first title (1976). Oops.

Jeff Schultz, fighting to stay relevant with peeps under 40, can be reached via email (jschultz@ajc.com), Facebook, Tweeter (SchultzAJC) or carrier pigeon (make a right off 400).

25 comments Add your comment

Josh Smildress

April 7th, 2009
12:03 pm

Left to Right

April 7th, 2009
12:12 pm

So a red-hot coach who has sparked some life into your program leaves to take the head coaching job at Kentucky and the school administration dithers for a few days before announcing the young assistant of the red hot coach had been given the job?

As a Georgia fan I have seen this movie, and it doesn’t end pretty.

matt r

April 7th, 2009
12:41 pm

Wait, so Sergio stole Greg Norman’s wife? I’m confused!

matt r

April 7th, 2009
12:42 pm

Oh I guess I should have read the article. That’s what I get for scanning the page for chicks.

NRBQ

April 7th, 2009
12:42 pm

The Arnie Channel ran highlights of the ‘97 Masters the other night.

21-year-old Tiger in his first major as a pro, opens with 40 on the first nine. Proceeds to set the scoring record for the 61-year-old tournament, and the margin of victory record (12 strokes).

Time flies.

In the 12 years since, Augusta has gone to ridiculous lengths “Tiger-proofing” the course, to no avail.

Get ready to see hugs and kisses from Elin and the kids Sunday on 18 green.

NRBQ

April 7th, 2009
12:44 pm

matt r:

She’s a Sharklette.

Leland

April 7th, 2009
12:44 pm

Dear Mr. JS–boy-o-boy, you sure do know how to be sourcastic. Hope you never get down on me. Know what I mean? This time–not. Your pal, Leland

Bo Williams

April 7th, 2009
12:46 pm

Does UNC project to have the best sports program (football, basketball, baseball) in all the land for 2009:

Basketball – NC
Baseball-Projected contender for NC
Football- Projected top-15 program

Left to Right

April 7th, 2009
12:51 pm

Here’s a picture of new head coach at Memphis. In addition to be the new head coach, I think he is going to pledge Phi Delt during rush.

http://friendsoftheprogram.net/2009/04/06/memphis-likes-em-young/

Ted Striker

April 7th, 2009
1:17 pm

Monsignor Schultz: Checked your links. This is what I gleaned. The Beaver Co. Times isn’t covering spring training.

Hello? Hellooooo? Wat’s the point?

Spring! Beaver!

Folks, I readily admit that I don’t give a 3/10ths of a a whit of half of a damn about coverage of spring training…get a spring without beeve is nigh near unbearable.

Expressed thusly, I beg my leave,

Theodore Striker

gdawginkalamazoo

April 7th, 2009
1:21 pm

There’s a reason we watch golf.

Ouch on that game last night. My adopted BB team looked like they blacked out that first half there. I had to go to bed when they were down by three touchdowns and a field goal.

Complain all you want about Fox but at least he looks old(er). That new Memphis coach could be a character out of High School Musical.

1eyedJack

April 7th, 2009
1:28 pm

I lived in the Atlanta area for years and never missed the Atlanta Constitution. Then I moved back home to South Georgia (God’s country) and bought a paper every day on my way home from work. Loved the sports page and the comics as well as the crossword puzzle. It was usually good for an hour of two while I unwound. Then a couple of years ago ya’ll decided to stop selling the paper south of Macon. I went through weeks of withdrawal. I know it was an economic decision and you were not selling enough papers to justify running a fleet of trucks down here every day (You can also insert here any comments about South Georgians being unable to read). It’s kind of like TV killed the radio star, but it’s the Internet that’s killing the newspapers. These younger kids want instant gratification. If it ain’t coming out of the TV or their IPod they ain’t interested.

IRISH25

April 7th, 2009
1:33 pm

THAT’S NORMAN’S DAUGHTER

Terrible Truth

April 7th, 2009
2:13 pm

I’ve detested UNC basketball for years just because of that four corners, “stall ball” offense Dean Smith used to run before college basketball enacted the shot clock. He was a coaching coward and the fan base was complicit with him for tolerating it.

Crimedog

April 7th, 2009
3:31 pm

Knight doesn’t get calls because the spineless politicians who run universities are frightened senseless by him, yet the same cowards allow rogue athletes to run wild in Athens and Tallahassee.

Herschworld

April 7th, 2009
4:00 pm

Top Ten, what a hack act…This column is more Hacky than Charles Barkely at a driving range, you stink Schultz. It’s not the internet that’s killing the paper business it’s hacks like you stinking it up

Kris Browe

April 7th, 2009
5:13 pm

I like it when a man I’m attracted to has a hot daughter. It makes me feel less, well, you know …

Bob Knight is a moron

April 8th, 2009
9:42 am

JS, the eighth sentence, which are all paragraphs, (composition lesson free of charge) sums up why UGA need or want manbooby Knight to coach their future NCAA title winning team. Old and bitter, bitter and old. Sounds like a Christmas carol, acts like a, well, not a Christmas carol.

Edgar

April 8th, 2009
11:32 am

Jeff, when your 104 years old and have long since been fired, retired, sent to an assisted living newspaper sports editors village or living in Branson, Missouri where you alternate nights going to the Andy Williams & Steppenwolf Theaters maybe you’ll understand Bobby Knight a little better. I know his way of coaching has long since passed but I’m still and will always be a big fan of his. Nearly all newspaper folks hate only one thing about him, his guts. So even though I disagree, I understand.
I subscribe to only one newspaper and that’s the local rag. Do I read it? From time to time I’ll read the arrest reports for the past week for a laugh. I don’t read the sports section because all the teams in this county suck. Wait a minute…they suck real bad. It’s always one of those “We had ‘em by the throat until the game started.” type articles. I tried to subscribe to the AJC but they wouldn’t deliver it to my doorstep. The delivery person didn’t want to drive their car on a dirt road. Same thing with the Gainesville newspaper. So I just read the AJC on the web. And the new coach for Memphis does look a kid. Give him a pair of horn rimmed glasses, a pocket protector filled with pens, change his name to Norman and he’d be the perfect geek.

Mac

April 8th, 2009
12:17 pm

Nineteen comments on the Countdown? Really? Something must be wrong. Bet this does not post.

Mac

April 8th, 2009
12:18 pm

Hmmm. Weird. Guess you didn’t strike any chords this week, Jeff. Better get back to the skimpy ladies to get the hits back up.

Mac

April 8th, 2009
12:18 pm

Scantily clad ladies is what I meant.

kinggene

April 8th, 2009
1:49 pm

Good job jeff. More blondes please.

Paddy

April 8th, 2009
6:52 pm

Crimedog… Knight does not get the calls because no parents would want their sons playing for that goof. If you can’t recruit you can’t coach. Way, way too much ego and baggage for one man. People finally have seen the true person. They are saying “no mas”.

Minor League stuff

April 13th, 2009
4:50 am