So now Creighton fans are upset with Dana Altman.
|Dana Altman took a job with better pay and a higher ceiling ... and fans blame him for that? (US Presswire)|
Take, for instance, the following post about Altman on TheBlueJayCafe.com message board.
"What an a--hole. I seriously will never root for this guy. Glad he's gone."
Because, though I'm certain some existed, I couldn't find many Creighton fans wishing for Altman to leave before he, you know, left. Never got one e-mail about it, and nobody ever asked if Creighton should head another direction. And yet now Altman is, at least according to one Creighton fan, an "a--hole" for whom nobody should root, and either way, it doesn't matter, because that fan is "glad he's gone."
Naturally, I find it hilarious.
Bankers, lawyers, accountants, sales reps and even sportswriters are always looking for the next great job, then they blame college coaches who do the exact same thing. Even if I live to be as old as Richard from Lost, I'll never understand it because nobody can convince me it's wrong to take a better job or that you're an "a--hole" when you do it. And, absolutely, Oregon is a better job than Creighton. The money is better, the league is superior, the recruiting base is deeper and the ceiling is higher. That doesn't necessarily mean it's easier to win at Oregon than it is to win at Creighton because at Oregon you're dealing with UCLA, Arizona and Washington instead of Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Wichita State. But the Oregon job is still a better job than the Creighton job, which means all Altman did is leave his good job for a better job.
What a terrible human, huh?
And it's not "the way he did it" that bothers Creighton fans. They can tell themselves that, but it's a lie because left-behind fans are almost always upset regardless of how the departure goes down. There's just no good way to leave fans who are loyal to a school, no good way to tell folks who call themselves JayPharmAlum and TruBluJay that you're leaving Creighton because you think there's something better. Granted, literally having recruits on campus visiting while you're finalizing a contract to leave like Altman did Saturday isn't ideal, and it would've been wise to have never publicly promised to retire at Creighton upon returning from that brief stint at Arkansas three years ago. But most on-campus visits are scheduled well in advance and you can't really cancel them because you think you might get offered the Oregon job that same weekend, and the alternative to Altman saying he's retiring at Creighton would've been Altman saying he plans to coach there until a better opportunity presents itself. I'm sure that would've gone over brilliantly.
Had Altman said that, he would've been killed then. So he said what he said, and he's getting killed now. But either way, the bottom line is the same, that some Creighton fans were always going to think Altman was an a--hole when he thought about leaving or actually left. Me? I disagree. I think Altman is the same man he was three weeks ago or even three years ago, only difference is that he now has a new address. And let's not get into one of those debates about loyalty because there is no such thing in big-time college athletics. Bobby Bowden just got pushed out at Florida State, for crying out loud. Holy Cross fired a coach after one season. Tubby Smith was nudged out at Kentucky despite a national title and 10 straight NCAA tournaments. Bobby Lutz rejected an offer from South Alabama three years ago because he just loved Charlotte so much, won 19 games this season, and was fired last month.
Again, it rarely exists.
Fans are loyal to schools but not coaches, schools are loyal to nobody, and coaches are only loyal when they're naive. So what I would love is for fans -- Creighton fans, UTEP fans, all college fans -- to acknowledge this up front, stop taking it all so personally and realize that people like Dana Altman don't leave schools like Creighton because they hate schools like Creighton, and they certainly don't do it because they're a--holes.
Coaches typically change jobs for one of three reasons:
1. More money.
2. A new challenge.
3. A better situation.
It really is that simple.
And guess who also typically changes jobs for one of those three reasons?
And almost everybody you've ever met.