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Thread: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Apparently 2-9 is considered good enough to warrant another losing season. I guess it pays to be Mitch Barnhardt's old friend...

    I take it that "expectations higher in 2006" means they hope to win three or four games instead of two.

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...90363/1078/SPT

    Cats AD: Brooks to return as coach
    Expectations higher in 2006

    By Murray Evans
    The Associated Press

    LEXINGTON - Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks will be back next season, but expectations for the program will be higher, athletic director Mitch Barnhart said Tuesday.

    Barnhart met privately with Brooks on Monday night to inform the coach of his decision and met with team members Tuesday morning, after word already had leaked to a handful of media outlets.

    "Rich and his staff have their priorities in order and are emphasizing the right things both on the field and off the field," Barnhart said. "They want to build a consistently winning program. They want to do it without quick fixes, without bending or breaking the rules and without jeopardizing the integrity of this university."

    Brooks is in the third year of a five-year contract that pays him $750,000 a season. He is 8-23 at Kentucky, including a 3-18 record against Southeastern Conference schools. His career record, which also includes 18 seasons at Oregon, is 99-132-4.

    Kentucky (2-6, 1-4 SEC) will visit Vanderbilt on Saturday. "I'm pleased, obviously, that we're going forward, because I think we have something that is getting better," Brooks said. "I think we have some good, young players that will make it better."

    University president Lee Todd said he supported Barnhart's decision. "We asked Coach Brooks to take a program in ruins and rebuild it," Todd said in a statement. "To that end, I am convinced that Coach Brooks and his staff are building a solid foundation for the future. Making this decision now will give our recruits the assurances they need and deserve as well as our current players, who have expressed strong support for this staff."

    Brooks became Kentucky's coach in December 2002, assuming control of a program hit hard by NCAA sanctions that cost the Wildcats 19 scholarships over a three-year period that ended earlier this year. Brooks, Barnhart and Todd all have said numerous times that those sanctions have hamstrung Brooks' efforts to build the program into an SEC contender. Now, Barnhart and Brooks said Tuesday, is the time to stop talking about it.

    "My job is to get this team to win games," Brooks said. "Obviously we haven't done it well enough in the time that I've been here. There have been some circumstances that have made it difficult, but people don't want to hear about those anymore, and I'm not going to bring them up anymore. We just need to go forward now and see what we can get accomplished."

    Brooks, 64, said Tuesday he'd like to become the longest-tenured football coach in Kentucky history, which would mean he would have to coach seven more seasons.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Dear Kentucky,

    Thanks for replacing us as the guaranteed win in the conference.

    Love Vanderbilt


    AD outta fire himself for keeping Brooks around this long.
    Go Gators!

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Disgusting.

    Get some fresh blood in here, c'mon.
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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    and now for something completely different....I'm okay with giving Brooks one more season <dodges rotten tomatoes>....

    I am not Brooks apologist, but there isn't a coach in the land that could have polished this year's turd of a squad. Honestly, between the probation scholarship limitations and the devastating injuries this team has suffered this season (21 surgeries and counting) who on Earth could have made this season play out differently? The team was painfully thin on both sides of the ball and lost key players for the entire year. The way I see it, next year will be the first time Brooks will be given a fair shot at doing anything. If he goes in the toilet, THEN have a press conference of different variety. At some point, we have to stop paying football coaches to NOT coach here (Curry, Mumme, etc...)...and demand better results. The only way to get Barnhardt's attention is to hit him in the wallet. Quit bringing 65,000 fans to Commonwealth every Saturday to watch this trainwreck--and you'll see how quick a change is made.

    On a more optomistic note: 1) the schedule next year appears to soften up somewhat (some of the toughies will be in Lexington) and 2) young players got extremely valuable experience this season.
    Last edited by Blimpie; 11-10-2005 at 11:38 AM.
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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    But Blimpie, his career record is 99-132-4. What reason do we have to believe that he will suddenly become a winning coach at age 64 or 65? True, no one could have won with this year's team, but Brooks won't win with this year's team or any year's team. He has proven as much over the past 20+ years.

    Your point about attendance at games is well-taken. I blame those who continue to subsidize this mess with their ticket money as much as anyone. UK Athletics got their last dollar from my family for a football ticket long ago.

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Again Macro, I am no Brooks fan. It took him 20 years to field a winner at Oregon and we simply cannot wait that long--obviously. My feeling is that we have no other real coaching options at this point (and no, I do not think Joker Phillips or Mike Archer are the answers either). It was time to poop or get off the pot--one way or the other. You either had to give Brooks a "vote of confidence" at this stage, or you were really beginning to harm our credibility on recruiting visits. If you say, 'he's gone after the Tennessee game,' then you better has his replacement lined up. Granted there would have been the usual amount of coaching vacancies in the off-season, but you have to prioritize recruiting at this point because UK has absolutely no margin for error in this arena.

    In the press conference the other day, Barnhardt gave him a 'de facto' message of one last chance...next year. Basically, he put Brooks on notice that probation penalties will no longer be tolerated as a viable excuse. I agree wholeheartedly. Injuries--on the other hand--should never be used as an excuse in football because they occur on every team ..... BUT... BUT.... this year might be the lone exception from where I sit. In my thirty years of closely following organized football, I have never seen a team more snakebitten in this fashion. At any level...it has been truly mindboggling. Again, if we weren't so paper thin due to sanctions, then we probably aren't having this discussion. Instead, players that were recruited for depth and guys that we had every intention of redshirting are now being asked to make 12 tackles per game. Strangely enough, it seems as though the current roster of players completely support Brooks and his staff. Barnhardt claims he took that into consideration when he made his decision on Brooks--but I'm not buying it. He is WAY too impulsive to have done that much research in the matter.

    UK sources that I know claim that Barnhardt made the decision to keep Brooks on Saturday night after the Auburn game. Again, way too emotional of a time to make such decisions. Yes, they played hard against a solid defense. I was there for the game and what I saw was an Auburn team that still rushed for over 7 yards per carry and scored at will. Take Rafael Little out of the equation and UK loses that game by 45-50 points. So, you might say that a Sophmore running back who has a tendency for big plays and even bigger drive-killing fumbles, might have saved Brooks' job...at least for another year anyway.
    Last edited by Blimpie; 11-10-2005 at 01:28 PM.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Are they still packing 65,000-70,000 in Commonwealth Stadium with all the fanfare and tailgating and the mood that they are going to get beat 45-0?
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Blimpie, your understanding and insights into the situation are admittedly deeper than mine, so I guess I shouldn't look at it (as most fans do) as a simple case of "he ain't winnin' so let's dump him". I guess I'm still bitter that Barnhardt chose him in the first place (another case where I'll admit that I haven't taken time to thoroughly understand, so I'm prone to oversimplification), so I'm going to rant and rave about everything until he's gone. Maybe it's Hal Dumme and his crew that I should really be upset with, and not so much Brooks.

    It's just frustrating trying to be a fan of a team when you know that 6-5 will be considered not only a success, but a landmark season. I did it for 15 years with the Bengals and I've done it for ten years with the Reds, though, so I guess I can continue it with UK. Still stinks, though.

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath
    Are they still packing 65,000-70,000 in Commonwealth Stadium with all the fanfare and tailgating and the mood that they are going to get beat 45-0?
    Yes and no. The only attendance figures that are reported are for tickets sold/distributed. if you go by that number, then it still shows that UK home games are a good draw.

    When you enter the stadium; however, it's an entirely different scene. Lower level is still full for the most part, but at some games the upper levels have only been full between, say, the 35 yard lines.

    Much of that has been due to the tough home schedule this year. Good draws were the Louisville and Florida games. Pitiful draws were Idaho State, Mississippi State (even though it was homecoming and Keeneland was running this weekend) and Auburn. Realistically, there have been as few as 40,000 people at some games. The real frightening sight is how damn quick these fans are to exit these days. Most everybody was gone by halftime at both the Florida and the Auburn games.

    The Tennessee game is the only home date that remains and I will go ahead and assume that 40-50% of those in attendance that day will be wearing an obnoxious Orange color.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    After this column, I believe that Mark Story will no longer be on Mitch Barnhardt's Christmas card list...

    Posted on Fri, Nov. 11, 2005
    Watch out, Rich Brooks — I want your job
    By Mark Story
    HERALD-LEADER SPORTS COLUMNIST


    After spending the bulk of my professional life trying to master the craft of writing, it is with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that I announce a major change in direction.

    From this point forward, my every waking hour will be devoted to a singular quest.

    Becoming the next head football coach at the University of Kentucky.

    WHAT A GREAT JOB!

    In an era of globalization and cut-throat pressure to produce, is there any other position -- outside of, oh, the British Royal Family -- where one can command a high-six-figure income yet bear no apparent accountability to the bottom line?

    I want Rich Brooks' job.

    There has been a school of thought that Mitch Barnhart's past actions have shown a bit of a tin ear for the customs and traditions of Kentucky.

    Not in this case. In the decision to bring back Brooks, his 8-23 overall record and no signature victories for a fourth year as UK coach, the Kentucky athletics director has shown he fully grasps the essence of the modern UK football experience.

    It was the summer of 1992 when C.M. Newton first extended Bill Curry's contract to coach football at Kentucky.

    At the time, Curry's UK record was 7-15.

    It was January of 1994 when Newton again extended Curry's pact for two years.

    At that time, Curry's UK mark was 17-28.

    It was Nov. 18, 1995, when Newton drove to Commonwealth Stadium fully intending, I believe, to pull the plug on Curry -- who was just weeks removed from a genuinely remarkable coaching mark: His fifth straight loss to Vanderbilt.

    But that day, behind the brilliance of Moe Williams and the grit of Billy Jack Haskins, Kentucky built a 24-9 second-half lead on heavily favored Tennessee.

    A young quarterback named Peyton Manning -- anyone know whatever became of him? -- ultimately rallied the Vols to a 34-31 win.

    Nevertheless, the ensuing Monday Newton announced that what he had seen persuaded him to bring Curry and his 22-45 record back for a seventh year.

    Now, I ask you, in what other position in all of sports can a coach save his job by blowing a 24-9 lead in the second half?

    So I want that job.

    Truth is, I salivate to hold a position where, like Hal Mumme, you can go 20-26, see your right-hand man implicated in some three dozen NCAA violations -- yet still get a cool $1 million just to walk away.

    I am absolutely the man for a job where, no matter how bad the product gets, the patrons keep coming back. Where the customers willingly pay ever- escalating prices and, in doing so, remove all economic incentive for the product to improve.

    I want that job.

    To his credit, Barnhart has not been doling out contract extensions to Curr, uhm, to Brooks as freely as circus clowns pass out balloons.

    Yes, there is a "fairness" rationale to be made for UK's announced intention to keep Rich Brooks.

    As the coach so frequently reminds us, he did take the Kentucky job in the throes of an NCAA probation. When he did, it's true that a lot of other coaches did not want the position.

    And this season Kentucky has been so crippled by injuries to vital players that it has been tough to impossible to fairly gauge the direction of Brooks' program.

    I'd feel a lot better about his return, however, if Brooks had shown at any point in the past three years either the ability to motivate his teams to overachievement or to strategize so effectively that he negated other teams' talent advantages.

    Without the ability to do one or the other, a football coach has no chance to succeed at Kentucky.

    On a gut level, the whole Rich Brooks era at UK has carried that "it's-just-not-the-right-fit" feeling. It started on the day the coach was hired with the P.R. fiasco of Barnhart not telling Lee Todd about Oregon's NCAA violations under Brooks.

    Even allowing for UK's probation, the coach has produced nothing on the field to change that "not-a-good-fit" perception.

    Of Brooks' eight wins at Kentucky, two came against 1-AA teams. In 2003, he beat three 1-A teams (Ohio, Mississippi State and Indiana) that each finished 2-10.

    Last year, he beat 2-9 Vanderbilt and 3-8 Indiana. This year, his sole major-college victim is 2-7 Mississippi State.

    Fact is, in 2005 Kentucky is two plays -- Rafael Little's kickoff-return touchdown against Idaho State and Mississippi State's fumbled quarterback exchange at the Kentucky 3 -- from being 0-8.

    Yet, in spite of it all, Brooks is now apparently assured of at least one more year on the sideline where his tenure has yielded exactly nothing so far to suggest that a brighter day is coming.

    That's on top of the two more years of $700,000-plus he is guaranteed regardless of his job performance.

    You know, wonder of wonders, there still are people out there who claim being head football coach at Kentucky is a bad job.

    Not me.

    I want that job.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    After talking with Chip Cosby this morning, I learned that he thinks that Brooks should be given this final chance, for whatever that's worth.

    He said he felt injuries derailed the team this past year and that the expectations will certainly be huge next year. If Brooks doesn't win next year, he will be out.
    Last edited by CincyRedsFan30; 11-11-2005 at 01:06 PM.
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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Quote Originally Posted by CincyRedsFan30
    After talking with Chip Cosby this morning, I learned that he thinks that Brooks should be given this final chance, for whatever that's worth.

    He said he felt injuries derailed the team this past year and that the expectations will certainly be huge next year. If Brooks doesn't win next year, he will be out.
    I know that Chip is in pretty tight with most of the UK players and that they--almost without exception--are behind the entire coaching staff.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    The one thing about Kentucky football that will cement in my mind is the day that Guy Morriss wanted to go to BAYLOR instead of staying at Kentucky. Baylor is to the Big 12 as Vandy is to the SEC.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Morris wanted a raise, winning 7 games with a program that is treated like 2nd class junk and a team with scholarship limitations says to me he deserved one, KY didn't and did the Reds thing..they got someome cheaper.
    Go Gators!

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    Re: UK Decides That Winning At Football Is Still Not Important (Brooks Back Next Year)

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath
    The one thing about Kentucky football that will cement in my mind is the day that Guy Morriss wanted to go to BAYLOR instead of staying at Kentucky. Baylor is to the Big 12 as Vandy is to the SEC.
    Or as UK is to the SEC in football.

    Take out the Tim Couch/Hal Mumme era and Kentucky has done nothing in football. Why the fans fill Commonwealth Stadium to watch a blowout amazes me.
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