Elrick Signs Extension Through 2046

By - December 11, 2006


February 9, 2006 was just over ten months ago but for fans of the University of Idaho football team it must seem like a lot longer then that.

At the time U of I athletic director Rob Spear was basking in the glow of the most popular and high-profile coaching hire in school history. He had managed to convince former Vandals coach Dennis Erickson to return to where he started and take over a struggling program that had won just two games the previous season.

The Idaho Statesman was full of stories about skyrocketing demand for season tickets and a new era in Vandal football. Hundreds of boosters who hadn’t been to the Kibbie Dome in years showed up just to shake the hand of the man who led Miami to a pair of National Championships and, at one time, had the Vandals rolling to 15 straight wins over now undefeated and BCS-bound Boise State.

Well after finishing 4-8 in his first season Coach Erickson decided that all the warm feelings and big plans to turn the program around weren’t really worth a whole lot. One offer from a BCS school and Erickson was out the door so fast tubers were spinning across the state. The once savior of the program is headed for Arizona State where he can go 8-5 every year and stock up on his Las Vegas Bowl windbreakers.

Nobody in Moscow is hiding their displeasure with Erickson but they seem to be resigned to the fact that there’s little they can do about it. The word contract has a funny meaning these days which is to say it really has no meaning at all. When Erickson was hired he signed a five-year deal worth over $200,000 per season, a year later he gets to keep the $200,000 but not the love of his players or the respect of a state.

Sometimes I wonder why these people bother signing contracts at all. The coaches know, the administrators know and even the players know that it means nothing. That if a better job comes around even a month later that piece of paper will carry as much meaning as an old ATM receipt. Yet the contracts continue to be signed. At the end of last season Wichita State inked basketball coach Mark Turgeon to a deal that I believe keeps him at the school through the 2060 season at which point he will be 98 years-old and worrying less about 2-3 zones and more about bladder control.

To be fair Turgeon turned down a couple of offers this off-season and he has the Shockers playing as well as anyone in the country right now but I find it hard to believe that if Bill Self’s teams doesn’t pick up the pace in the next few seasons that Turgeon won’t be packing his bags for Lawrence. Equally difficult to fathom would be a world in which Turgeon finishes in or near the MVC basement at some point in the future and he isn’t looking for a new job.

Yes it’s an uncertain world we live in which is why I want to assure the readers of The Max that I’m not going anywhere and that you can count on me to blog my heart out for the next half-century. With that in mind I would like to announce that I have signed a deal with CSTV.Com that will keep me around through the 2045-2046 college basketball season. I have included the exact wording below.

December 11, 2006

I the undersigned agree to remain at CSTV.com submitting witty sport banter on a regular basis for The Max until such time as this contract is concluded on the 31st day of April, 2046.**


Andrew A. Elrick
Managing Editor: Features and OP
College Sports Television

**This contract is null and void if any of the following apply
1. I find a better job
2. I decide I don’t want to work here anymore
3. Its a rainy day
4. I feel like it
5. I find a worse job but it pays a lot more
6. The Republicans regain control of congress
7. Roger Clemens comes out of “retirement”
8. North Carolina’s women’s soccer team wins a national title
9. TBS or TNT airs Rocky I, II, III or IV in the next six months
10. Its Tuesday

Gosh but I feel better. It’s good to know that I have security and that over the next 40 years we can work together to build a better blog. I look forward to representing this blog with class and a commitment to excellence. Now if you’ll excuse me it’s raining out and I want to make sure I don’t miss that Roger Clemens press conference.

General Studies

The recent passing of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet got me thinking about Bob Knight. Of course it’s hard not to think about “The General” these days what with him creeping ever closer to being his sports all-time wins leader. With a win over Centenary this weekend Knight moved to within two victories of Dean Smith and looks likely to break the record by the early part of January. Assuming the 66-year old sticks with coaching for at least the next few seasons he’ll take a comfortable lead over Smith and stay there for a while with Lute Olsen the closest active coach at almost 200 wins away.

Of course calling Knight a dictator, or at least comparing him to a man that killed thousands of his political enemies, may seem a little harsh assuming someone can account for where Teddy Valentine is and what happened to that poor SID who made the mistake of telling the press Knight wouldn’t be appearing at his daily NCAA tournament press conference. But the truth is that coaches do have certain personality traits that make them both difficult to deal with and very good at what they do, namely an unbending belief that their way is the right way.

It makes sense if you think about it. Trying to lead a group of young men to victory (on a basketball court, football field or battlefield for that matter) requires the person in charge to not necessarily have the right plan but to at least believe with all their heart that the plan they’ve put in place can work. I played enough sports to know that a pre-game speech where my coach fires us up by sharing that he’s “pretty sure” we’re well prepared and that his tactics “may or may not” work probably wouldn’t have us busting out of the locker room full of confidence.

Most coaches are tyrants in one way or another. If you watched the Wooden Classic this weekend and saw the frequent cutaways to the erstwhile UCLA coach for whom the event is named it’s hard to imagine him as a dictator but you can be sure that as subtle and thoughtful as his tenants for success were (Be true to yourself, help others) he made sure that every one of his players understood and followed them while they were on his team. To be sure he didn’t throw chairs or scream at refs but his belief in his system was just as real.

Monson Out

Somehow I missed that Dan Monson had quit as head coach at Minnesota. I have often thought about what it must be like for him to sit and watch what has happened at Gonzaga over the last few years. Monson led the Bulldogs to within a whisker of the Final Four in 1999 and immediately parlayed his success into a bigger job.

In his time at Minnesota he led the Gophers to a 118-106 record and one trip to the NCAA tournament. Not bad considering the condition the program was left in by former coach Clem Haskins but what were the Zags doing in that time period? 188-41 with nine NCAA Tournament wins.

Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.

Posted by at 02:06 PM on December 11, 2006
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