We know most of you don't pay a lot of attention to stuff that happens in the Bay Area, not unless you have to, and certainly not these days. Which is fine. We get it. We're too fast to the left on the map, our stuff tends to happen later, you have your own problems, and more to the point than any of that, our teams right now largely stink.
But we have this college basketball coaching thing you might find amusing, because we find it hilarious, and you might find instructive because we're learning a lot about a lot of folks with it.
|Mike Montgomery's path: Palo Alto to Oakland to Berkeley ... to Palo Alto? (Getty Images)|
But wait. Four days later, after a bungled contract negotiation (either deliberately or otherwise) by Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby upon the person of his school's coach, Trent Johnson, Johnson up and leaves for LSU.
Immediately rumors abound that Montgomery might bolt Cal to go back to Stanford. He hasn't signed his contract, or his heart was always in Palo Alto, or he helped undermine Johnson, or something else. The severity of the rumor depended on the monger in question.
It gets so weird Bowlsby issues a statement that reads like a hand full of pizza grease, half-hearted and messy. Then Montgomery issues a statement reaffirming his commitment to Cal so convincing that he has to issue another one hours later. And still people doubt their sincerity.
I mean, think Bob Knight leaving to go to Purdue 10 years ago, then hearing that Myles Brand has taken a job in the food service industry (i.e., wearing a paper hat) a week later. What's a fella to do?
Well, one thing would have been for Bowlsby and Montgomery to have gotten off their considerable duffs and actually said these things out loud and in public in front of reporters and other human beings. Statements are always acts of cowardice and laziness, an indication that what is being said is probably not true and in any event isn't worth the time and bother of either the purveyor or the audience.
In other words, if it isn't important enough for you to lift your ever-widening hinder off your chair to actually speak, then it probably isn't important enough to be the truth, or for anyone to believe it to be so. I mean, it's what, a half-hour out of your not-all-that-busy day, right?
Another thing would have been for Bowlsby to be more honest in his dealings with Johnson from the get go. It should not have taken a contract extension for a popular and moderately successful coach to take seven months; if he didn't like Johnson, or decided not to afford the raise Johnson was seeking, he should have been up front about it.
Remember, in the athletic business, as in any walk of life, every secret you keep means extra unnecessary effort to maintain, so you have to pick your secrets as carefully as you pick your lies -– make them worth the bother.
Yet one more good idea might have been for Montgomery to say more forcefully, "I'm a Cal guy now. Sure, the Trent thing sucks for Stanford, but that's not my problem any more than the Bill Self thing sucks for Oklahoma State. I'm happy with my deal, my new school, and my new deal. Go Cal! Go me!"
He wins over the fence-sitters and anti-Monty factions in Berkeley and starts his tenure off with songs of joy and back-slapping salutes and bygone bygones rather than the murmurs of "What's this earth-tone suited weasel up to this time?"