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A Fly on the Wall


2lakes

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Coach, good to see 'ya. Take a seat, please.

 

Kevin, how are you doing?

 

Fine, fine. Good news on the recruiting trail, I see.

 

Yeah. Like Ty said, "Notre Dame sells itself."

 

They both have a good hard laugh.

 

Seriously, though, looking like we might be able to turn this thing around.

 

Well, Coach, that's what we're here to discuss today. So let's get right to it. I presume you had a chance to read the performance review, correct?

 

Yes I did.

 

Any comments?

 

No. We sucked this year, no doubt about it.

 

I'm glad we agree. I'd like to move on to next year, how we're going to fix it. And what we expect to happen.

 

Fine with me. Let's do it.

 

(To be Continued)

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Take a look at what I’ve prepared here. We can change this based on our conversation, but some of it is simply nonnegotiable.

 

Nine games by December? That looks like an ultimatum to me. I was expecting more support than that.

 

Look, Coach, I am being frank with you to start the year. You win seven or less games and our Gelstapo, I mean alumni, will destroy both your life and mine. I thought about setting the bar at eight games, but then I thought about what you yourself said. And I quote, “If we do not win a national championship by my fourth year, then I should be fired.”

 

You know I’ve got a big mouth, don’t I?

 

That’s a conversation for another day. My point is, you were right. We have been setting our sites too low over the last 10 or 15 years. We should expect a National Championship every decade, at least, and we should be in the hunt every two out of three. This institution deserves those kinds of standards year in and year out. From now on, the bar is set high. If you don’t perform, then we find someone else who does.

 

This is a crock of sh#t, Kevin. When the Giants came calling, I was one hundred percent loyal. You know I’m a Notre Dame guy, through and through. We win eight games, get into a major bowl, and you can me? That is just plain stupid.

 

So the quote about winning a title in four years… just a bunch of bluster?

 

No. That was before I realized the hoops admissions was going to make me jump through and how that would effect my first recruiting class. We simply do not have the upper classmen yet to

 

Hold on, hold on. Coach, we have the talent right now. Speaking of “hoops”, Michigan went to the Championship game with the Fab Five. That’s five freshmen. Your Freshmen, Sophomore and Junior classes are going to be stacked. It’s now or never.

 

How do I coach with this piece of paper hanging like the sword of Damocles over my head?

 

Sword of who?

 

What did you get on your SAT, anyway? Never mind. Listen, what do I tell my recruits when they ask me how secure my job is? Not very?

 

You tell them you are going to win at least nine games this year, then a major bowl, and that you’ll be back to win the National Championship next year.

 

Excellent. Thanks a lot, Kevin.

 

Alright, on to how we accomplish this.

 

(to be continued, same bat channel, same bat time)

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PART III OF "THE INTERVIEW"

 

I hear you’re going to visit some chick this year.

 

Bill Belichick. Best Coach of the best team in football. I’m headed up there in February.

 

Great. But, let’s face it, you’ve been talking to this guy since you arrived here, right?

 

Well, not really. I

 

He’s been taking your calls, right? Don’t tell me you two haven’t been talking on a semiregular basis and that you haven’t been getting advise from him all along.

 

Not as indepth as we’re going to do it this time. We are going to review our program from the ground up. Especially those things that pertain directly to my job which is his job too. You want the best advise, you get the best to give it to you.

 

OK. Not a bad idea. But I’ve been talking to my football people

 

You don’t have football people. At least not any that aren’t my football people.

 

I’ve been talking to some football experts. Some guys you would admire if I could mention their names. But we did this discretely and on the QT. On that level, no mincing words, they tell me that your Coach Belchick is not going to have all the answers that you need.

 

You gotta be kidding me.

 

No, hear me out on this one. Your mentor is a Pro Football coach, a great administrator of a professional organization dealing with professional football players in their twenties and thirties. He coaches in a league where there is parity and they draft their players. There is a lot that you can learn from him, so go ahead with your visit in February, but I want you to make contact with a couple of these coaches I have listed here as well.

 

He hands Coach a sheet of paper with a list of names.

 

Kevin, these are all my competitors. They aren’t going to meet with me, and if they do, they’re just about as likely to feed me disinformation as anything substantial.

 

Take a look at the list, Coach. Some of these guys are retired and I have it on good authority that the vast majority are stand up guys who believe a school like Notre Dame should be strong in order to make college football strong. If just a couple of them agree to talk to you about coaching in the college ranks, it could be a big eye opener.

 

I’ve been in the college ranks for three years now. I went to two BCS bowls in the college ranks. Some of these “experts” on your list haven’t done that yet. And don't forget about this.

 

I told you a hundred times, get that ring outta my face. The guys on this list all have one thing in common. People agree that they know how to handle the boys and young men who come through their systems. They understand the special needs these guys have, how this game is different because they’re not playing for money. These coaches have a deep understanding of their psyches, how to motivate them, how to best develop their skills, how to prepare them for games, how to call a college game, and how to help them to play as a team to the best of their collective abilities.

 

You know I’m in contact with Holtz all the time.

 

Yeah, I know. Now go have a real sit-down with him, man to man, this time. I happen to know he won’t pull any punches with you given what happened this year. He’s sick and tired of that May fellow showing him and the Irish up on TV.

 

This is a waste of time. My experience tells me that you don’t approach your collegues for advise.

 

Your experience this year should have taught you that you don’t have the answer to everything, despite your SAT score. Mine was 1210, by the way. And that was good enough to be your boss. I’m ordering you, as your boss, to set something up with a couple of the fellas on this list. You have the recruiting part down pat now and you can turn over a little of that responsibility to Coach Brown. Where you need help is in this area. Now I’ve got a few more strong recommendations for you.

 

Fantastic. I’m dying in anticipation here.

 

(to be continued... tomorrow. 'Night, y'all)

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The AD gets up from behind his desk and walks up to a wall filled with diplomas and certificates. He looks up at the one from Harvard.

 

Coach starts out...

 

Kevin, when I took this job, you and I talked about how “you do your job and you trust me to do mine.” Now you are just plain micromanaging. What do you know about coaching college football?

 

The AD walks a few feet over to another certificate on the wall. It is one from his days as high school coach and teacher at Gulf High School, in New Port Richey, Florida.

 

When we had that discussion about your job and mine being separate: that was before you went three and nine. Things have changed now. And you might remember that I have an extensive coaching and athletic director resume

 

Track and cross country. A year or two as an assistant football coach in high school, AD at Loras College, that legendary football factory. You don’t know

 

And I have been at the helm here for quite a while now. Not a lot of success on the football side mind you, but I’m learning from my mistakes. And I am about to apply to your program what I’ve learned from our “Olympic” sports: set high goals and expect that they’ll be met. Or else make changes.

 

So you set your goals, and now let me go meet them. Leave your “Olympic sport” expertise for fencing and soccer.

 

Hey, don’t make fun of our soccer programs: your team could learn a lot about winning from the girl’s team, in particular. I am going to let you go meet your goals. But first, let’s talk just a little bit more about your methods.

 

Shoot.

 

Actually, your staff.

 

(to be continued)

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Watch it now: you’re treading on thin ice. Staff decisions are my responsibility.

 

These suggestions are aimed at you keeping those responsibilities. You’re going to have to make a couple of changes, and, once again, it all comes down to performance. Here are a couple of the areas I think we should be looking at. (Hands Coach another sheet of paper with some bullet points) Remember, this conversation and that list stay between you and me.

 

Fine. I guess I can’t publish it in the Observer like I was planning then, huh?

 

Coach indicates one of the bullet points.

 

You know, he’s just about out of here anyway.

 

I know. And we’ve been working behind the scenes to make that happen.

 

You what?

 

Make it clear to him that he would be better off taking the new job before he loses his old one here.

 

I see you have a few suggestions for replacing him?

 

A few. But mostly we want you to go out and get someone from the college level. You’ve got enough former Pro coaches on your staff as it is. There are some definite up and comers who are licking their chops for the opportunity to come in here, and if you can sell this job as a step toward becoming OC after Coach Heywood eventually gets his head coaching job, you should be able to lure the cream of the crop.

 

Coach keeps reading. Smacks the paper with a meaty finger on another bullet point.

 

This guy, no way. He’s a true asset to our team. Have you seen his resume?

 

Relax. Talk to Coach Brown about him. Consider his track record with our team. Look at the stats on how well we’ve done defensively in that category. Consider his contribution on the recruiting front.

 

He’s what you called “nonnegotiable.” That’s my call.

 

Look, all I’m saying is to talk to Coach Brown first before you make the decision. You don’t want to fire him – I understand that. I don’t want to fire you. Think about it, that’s all that I ask.

 

You got it, but don’t hold your breath waiting to see a change there. Anything else?

 

Yeah. Stop getting your ass beat by teams that we should be competing with. That’s the biggest beef our alumni have with you. That and the way you deal with them personally.

 

The ass beating thing is definitely on my “To do” list. The other has as much to do with the fact that a number of our alumni are a bunch of

 

I know, I know. You don’t think I know. I could spend twenty-four hours a day answering their calls, their e-mails, and reading their ridiculous blogs and forums. Have you read DomerDomain lately?

 

Every night before going to bed… are you kidding me? How much time do you think I have on my hands?

 

Anyway, if you would just lighten’ up with the Jersey attitude when it comes to alumni who want to throw money at the school, I would appreciate it. Then I could spend less time having to deal with them myself, and more time working with you.

 

Even though I’m not so sure that’s a good deal for me, I’ll see what I can do about that. Just for you, Kevin.

 

Thanks, Coach. Now go out there and win nine for the Gipper. And your job.

 

OK, alright. You want to set high standards? Put up or shut up: I kinda respect that. And I definitely don’t intend to shut up. But there are a couple of things I’m going to ask of you too.

 

(to be continued... tomorrow. No school so I am off to see "I Am Legend".)

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Watch it now: you’re treading on thin ice. Staff decisions are my responsibility.

 

These suggestions are aimed at you keeping those responsibilities. You’re going to have to make a couple of changes, and, once again, it all comes down to performance. Here are a couple of the areas I think we should be looking at. (Hands Coach another sheet of paper with some bullet points) Remember, this conversation and that list stay between you and me.

 

Fine. I guess I can’t publish it in the Observer like I was planning then, huh?

 

Coach indicates one of the bullet points.

 

You know, he’s just about out of here anyway.

 

I know. And we’ve been working behind the scenes to make that happen.

 

You what?

 

Make it clear to him that he would be better off taking the new job before he loses his old here.

 

I see you have a few suggestions for replacing him?

 

A few. But mostly we want you to go out and get someone from the college level. You’ve got enough former Pro coaches on your staff as it is. There are some definite up and comers who are licking their chops for the opportunity to come in here, and if you can sell this job as a step toward becoming OC after Coach Heywood eventually gets his head coaching job, you should be able to lure the cream of the crop.

 

Coach keeps reading. Smacks the paper with a meaty finger on another bullet point.

 

This guy, no way. He’s a true asset to our team. Have you seen his resume?

 

Relax. Talk to Coach Brown about him. Consider his track record with our team. Look at the stats on how well we’ve done defensively in that category. Consider his contribution on the recruiting front.

 

He’s what you called “nonnegotiable.” That’s my call.

 

Look, all I’m saying is to talk to Coach Brown first before you make the decision. You don’t want to fire him – I understand that. I don’t want to fire you. Think about it, that’s all that I ask.

 

You got it, but don’t hold your breath waiting to see a change there. Anything else?

 

Yeah. Stop getting your ass beat by teams that we should be competing with. That’s the biggest beef our alumni have with you. That and the way you deal with them personally.

 

The ass beating thing is definitely on my “To do” list. The other has as much to do with the fact that a number of our alumni are a bunch of

 

I know, I know. You don’t think I know. I could spend twenty-four hours a day answering their calls, their e-mails, and reading their ridiculous blogs and forums. Have you read Domerdomain lately?

 

Every night before going to bed… are you kidding me? How much time do you think I have on my hands?

 

Anyway, if you would just lighten’ up with the Jersey attitude when it comes to alumni who want to throw money at the school, I would appreciate it. Then I could spend less time having to deal with them myself, and more time working with you.

 

Even though I’m not so sure that’s a good deal for me, I’ll see what I can do about that. Just for you, Kevin.

 

Thanks, Coach. Now go out there and win nine for the Gipper. And your job.

 

OK, alright. You want to set high standards? Put up or shut up: I kinda respect that. And I definitely don’t intend to shut up. But there are a couple of things I’m going to ask of you too.

 

(to be continued... tomorrow. No school so I am off to see I Am Legend.)

Nice lol!!! :lol:
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Let’s start off with the Alumni, Coach says as he settles back in his chair.

 

What about them?

 

Keep them off of my back. Let’s say we lose close games to Michigan and Purdue to start the season 2-2. You’re giving me until the end of the season to win those nine games, so stick with me until then.

 

That’s fair. But, you know, given the schedule we’ve got next year with San Diego State, Michigan State, Purdue, Stanford, North Carolina, Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Navy and Syracuse, we should be talking about you being 10-1 going into the SC game instead of worrying about losing two of the first four.

 

A lot of those games will be tough ones, but, you’re right, they should be winnable. The table’s set, and I’m asking you to keep the vultures away if something happens to fall off the table in the beginning.

 

Anything else?

 

Yeah, how about you move the campus to Florida or California to make recruiting a little easier.

 

If it were any easier for you, Coach, it'd be a crime. Now go get ‘em.

 

Seriously, there is one more thing: Schedule us a game in Hawaii. It’s an up and coming program with a great upside for us as an enticement for recruits and a reward for our kids. Not an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, but it should generate some really good publicity for our program.

 

Coach, you know how hard scheduling is. We’ve gone through the criteria that we have, our traditional rivalries, how difficult it’s gotten with all the conferences and super conferences

 

I’m not asking you to get us into the Big Ten. Just a game with an interesting opponent.

 

Fine. You win your nine this year, I’ll see what I can do after that. Deal?

 

Deal.

 

Coach gets up, the AD walks over and shakes hands with him. Coach walks off, stage right, and, just before leaving the office, taps the mounted poster that says, "Play like a champion today." The AD watches him leave, walks to his desk, and pushes a button on his phone.

 

Yes, sir?

 

Get me NBC on the line, please.

 

THE END

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Bump this--

 

I thought in light of all the melting down going on that it might be fun to revisit that magical conversation between Charlie and Kevin White that was brought to us by a fly on the wall courtesy of 2lakes. Regardless of where we all stand on the future of CW, I think there may be another conversation like this between Jack Swarbick and CW at the end of the year regarding next year. I would like to hear from 2Lakes again when that hypothetical conversation takes place.

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