Tag Archives: West Texas A&M

West Texas A&M has explaining to do

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?

Carthel kinda/sorta had it coming at WT

I’ve returned from the proverbial “temple,” where I’ve been pondering the stunning firing this week of West Texas A&M University head football coach Don Carthel.

I have concluded — for the time being — that Carthel had it coming.

He went to a Lone Star Media Day event in the Dallas area earlier this summer. He attended tickets to a Texas Rangers baseball game. He took two of his players with him. Carthel and his team returned home to the Panhandle after the event and the players reimbursed their coach for the tickets. Carthel then reported he’d been repaid before the game, not after, and asked his players to back him up.

No can do, said the WT athletic department high command. That’s a violation of an NCAA ethics tenet.

You’re fired, coach, for “pressuring” players to lie.

I get that WT cannot condone lying among its student-athletes, or anyone for that matter. I also get that if the coach had broken a rule knowingly that could result in his termination, then that adds even more ammo to the WT athletic director’s arsenal of evidence against the coach.

Furthermore, if Carthel didn’t know he had committed a firing offense, why didn’t he crack the books more diligently back in 2005 when WT hired him to resuscitate a near-dead football program?

This is a tough time for WT’s football program. My hope now is that the boosters who’ve given so much support — i.e. money — won’t give up on the athletes and the coaches who now are entering what most folks believe is supposed to be a highly successful season.

I’m hoping for the best at West Texas A&M. Go Buffs!

Waiting for the other shoe to drop at WT

West Texas A&M University has dropped one of two shoes relating to the sudden firing Thursday of head football coach Don Carthel.

I guess that’s progress. Still, inquiring minds are waiting for the rest of the story.

WT dismissed Carthel on the eve of what football experts predict is going to be a highly successful season for the Buffaloes. Athletic Director Michael McBroom initially offered a lame “thank you” to Carthel for rebuilding the program. Then late Thursday came word of an NCAA infraction. I heard the word “blatant” used regarding the violation.

WT, according to McBroom, had no choice but to fire Carthel.

Carthel allegedly interfered with an NCAA investigation into some undisclosed infraction at West Texas A&M … at least that’s what I got out of McBroom’s partial “explanation.”

I understand fully the need to protect the integrity of whatever probe is ongoing here, Mr. Athletic Director, but you have a responsibility to the public that pays the freight for your program to offer a tad more detail as to what happened, who did it and when it occurred.

The timing of this firing is about as bad as it gets, with the Buffs finishing up their preseason preparation for the upcoming season. Assistant Coach Mike Nesbitt will take over as interim head coach. He’ll have his hands full keeping his players focused on game plans and the opponents they’ll face on the field.

Idle curiosity among those who are interested in the future of WT can inflict a lot of damage in the form of rumors and innuendo. WT’s brass should consider that when pondering if and/or when to drop the other shoe.