I’ll leave it to folks who are more in the know on West Texas A&M University athletics issues, people who are adept at parsing language or looking for things said or not said.
Jon Mark Beilue, writing for the Amarillo Globe-News, writes that he smells a rat in the sudden resignation/retirement of head WT men’s basketball coach Rick Cooper.
My pal Beilue has been around more WT locker rooms than most individuals. He knows the lay of the land at the Canyon campus.
But from my vantage point here in the peanut gallery, I have to concur that something’s just not right with the WT athletic program. This year has produced a couple of stunners.
First came the firing of head football coach Don Carthel, just two weeks before the start of what has turned out to be a successful season. The Buffaloes are still in the Division II playoff hunt for the national title. Carthel was canned for an NCAA ethics violation.
Now comes Cooper’s “retirement.” Beilue believes Cooper just walked away because he’d “had enough.”
Of what? Or of whom?
The common denominator in both coaches’ departure is WT athletic director Michael McBroom. Is he the reason for Cooper’s decision to quit barely a quarter of the way into this basketball season?
About four years ago, WT made a big deal out of its desire to create a first-class athletic environment. Its strategy was to become a magnet for blue-chip athletes who could come here to participate in revenue-producing sports — such as football and basketball. They would bring fans to the games, generating revenue for the school, enabling WT to build better facilities. It all sort of feeds on itself and that was WT President Pat O’Brien’s stated mission.
Then — poof! — the two most successful coaches in the school’s history are gone. That is no way to build the kind of athletic program a university envisions.
Something smells at West Texas A&M University. Are you paying attention, Texas A&M University System Board of Regents?