Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Letter to Cowlishaw (an empashioned response)

Nice shot across the bow, but please, next time aim straight for the hull. The ship is sinking anyway.

I still go to every SMU home game. I will probably try and find a bar that has CSTV and watch the SMU-Marshall game, or cave and buy the directv sports package so I can watch it at home. I huddle next to the radio and listen to games when there is no TV as if I lived in the 1930s.

Copeland's single achievement was the construction of Ford Stadium, done at an unprecedented time of SMU fund-raising where many SMU alums were giving away cash left and right as evidenced by the other new construction on campus. He may have had a vision, but he got lucky and help from a brilliant fund-raiser for an SMU President in Turner.

This goes beyond Cavan, Dement and Bennett. If you look at the record of SMU coaches during Copeland's tenure, those that are successful, Coach Hyndman in particular, were hired before Copeland came to SMU. The loan exception is arguably Men's golf coach Jay Loar who reached the NCAA's last year. By the way, Coach Tubbs' season was disappointing last year and this year will be no different with the academic ineligibility of Brian Hopkins. And the local basketball recruiting that Tubbs was brought in for has not panned out as all but one top recruiting prospect (Darrell Arthur) has committed elsewhere; I fully expect Arthur to commit elsewhere by the end of October.

In 2002, a "Commitment" was announced. That "Commitment" was little more than a $20,000,000.00 fund-raising effort that has been an abject failure. They have been trying to raise money for a new facade for Moody Colosseum for years and a practice facility, yet there has been no announcement because Copeland cannot raise the money.

In 1995, Kathy Harasta wrote that Cavan may be SMU's last head coach. She was wrong only because SMU built a beautiful football stadium, which breathed new life into SMU football. SMU football is once again on life support. Whatever momentum was created by building Ford Stadium and beating Kansas in that first game is gone. There are a precious few fans left.

I understand that SMU is not Nebraska or Notre Dame and must give a coach time turn a program around. I understand the benefit of patience. But at some point, with two senior quarterbacks and 22 returning starters, I expect to see improvement. SMU still has an inept offense, a weak defense and incompetent special teams. The only way to describe the performance against Tulane is lethargic. I planned on giving Bennett five years because I expected SMU to play better in 2005. With the exception of a game against TCU and a quarter against A&M, there has been zero evidence of improvement as exemplified by less than 50 net passing yards against Tulane.

But this isn't about Bennett. It is about Copeland. And it is about SMU. SMU needs to do what is necessary to legitimately compete at the college level. SMU needs to emulate its national and traditional rivals, and its chief rival TCU in particular. Copeland has been ineffective in leading SMU athletics in that direction. Copeland has been ineffective is bringing about the necessary changes to SMU admissions policies, the curriculum and the budget.

Whether you believe Bennett should be fired next week, next month or next year, you must believe that Jim Copeland cannot be responsible for that decision. More importantly, Jim Copeland cannot be responsible for hiring his successor. I don't know about the alumni that cut the checks, but the alumni that buy the tickets have completely lost confidence in Jim Copeland.

Copeland must be relieved of his duties. His successor must drag SMU, its board of trustees, its faculty and even its alumni, kicking and screaming into the modern world that is college athletics.

1 comment:

Mexmustang said...

Copeland was not the force behind the new stadium. He was not a supporter of the stadium because he didn't believe it could be done. President Turner was responsible. Copeland did execute the orders and picked up several smaller and necessary donations, but the key was Turner.