Archive for Friday, December 17, 2010

Public deserves truth surrounding Bubba Cunningham backing out of KU job

December 17, 2010


Something happened between the time Bubba Cunningham told friends he was going to leave Tulsa University to accept the athletic director’s position at Kansas University and the time Tulsa announced Thursday he had signed a new contract with the Conference USA school.

Cunningham thought he wanted to succeed Lew Perkins, but when it came time to pull the trigger, he couldn’t do it.

He’s not the first man in sports to have a change of heart.

Former Kansas football coach Glen Mason accepted the job at Georgia as his team prepared for an appearance in the Aloha Bowl, but he changed his mind and stayed in Lawrence for one more year before bolting for Minnesota, where he prematurely was fired after the 2006 season.

On December 26, 2009, Florida football coach Urban Meyer announced he would resign after his team played in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. The next day, Meyer said he instead would take a leave of absence for health reasons. He coached the Gators one more year.

Former Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins accepted the job at South Carolina, his alma mater, only to change his mind three days later, when he decided to stay in Atlanta.

Dana Altman’s heart didn’t look into it when he stood beside Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles and sort of joined him in doing the school’s hog call.

Altman’s opening words: “I’m not sure my friends in Omaha would like to see me do that.”

One day later, he rejoined his friends in Omaha.

Cunningham didn’t make it all the way to a press conference. Why not? What happened? The time has arrived for Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to end her silence on the AD search with the truth as she sees it.

The truth might just be that leaving Tulsa for Kansas didn’t feel any more right to Cunningham than coaching in the South felt to Mason or doing the hog call felt to Altman. If that’s the case, the search for the smoking gun will lead nowhere. Not long after unreported speculation was whispered by one voice in Lawrence, Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports tweeted words similar to that whisper: “When you agree to terms on a contract with someone, you better have those same terms on paper.”

Let’s say there were two offers, one to which Cunningham agreed, a second he couldn’t bring himself to sign.

If that happened, in the interest of transparency, the chancellor wouldn’t be harming anyone by identifying the differences. Let the public decide whether she deserves the blame for failing to make him comfortable enough to close the deal, or if Cunningham — who had convinced the search committee he wanted the job — latched onto a technicality to slip out of a move that, in the end, just didn’t feel right to him.

Cunningham was the right guy, but if another candidate of equal caliber can be landed, the first choice’s rejection won’t even be the second-worst thing to happen in the KU athletic department this week, ranking third, right behind junior college quarterback Zack Stoudt’s decision to reject KU’s offer in favor of Ole Miss. Stoudt might be more difficult to replace. The sad arrest of Mario Little early Thursday morning, of course, ranks at the top.


KEITHMILES05 7 years, 4 months ago

Stop your whining for pete sake. The guy changed his mind and who are YOU to tell US the chancellor needs to come clean? What a crock sir and you need to report and not demand. Who are YOU to demand anything?

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 4 months ago

If he knows more then he needs to be honest and open and come clean.

ajmag 7 years, 4 months ago

Or they offered him more money. KU athletics must be a mess if we are having this much trouble finding an AD

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 4 months ago

Oh yeah, it's a real dream job with the FED breathing down your neck...

TopJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't think we are having a lot of trouble finding an AD. Cut the drama. You guys are funny.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like Keegan was made a fool after his column yesterday, and is upset.

Kookamooka 7 years, 4 months ago

I think the Chancellor has the right idea. She doesn't want to get involved with KU sports. I don't blame her. Stuff is kind of messed up there and I don't blame Bubba for not wanting to inherit it. Dig around the Athletic department, Keegan. You'll find the answer you are looking for.

KU_cynic 7 years, 4 months ago

I also DEMAND transparency as to why Jim Harbaugh, football coach at Stanford (11-1 this year and Orange Bowl bound) was not hired as KU football coach -- as Keegan prognasticated last year in the pages of the Journal-World.

Or maybe I could apply Occam's razor and say, "Keegan's full of excrement."

Scott Morgan 7 years, 4 months ago

my two cents. Bubba aint no spring chicken. Let's look at KU like one of those beautiful old but in need of repair Leawood or Mission homes.

KU is the old mansion. Gonna take some work, some sacrifice, probably some setbacks, but in the end the old mansion will be glorious to live in.

At a younger age how many of us would love to take the challenge of rebuilding a great old home? After a few miles on the ole highway life , many of us would rather go the comfortable route.

For whatever reason Bubba decided to stay warm and safe. He will regret this the rest of his life.

livinginlawrence 7 years, 4 months ago

Not a big deal, but seems odd to me that you'd compare to KU to an old home in Leawood or Mission rather than to one in Lawrence. KU is in Lawrence, and aside from being in Kansas Lawrence doesn't have a whole lot in common with the other towns you mentioned.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 4 months ago

Not odd, could have used another analogy.

Step back for second and perhaps hard to imagine, but there are 20 other college towns within 500+- miles of here who can claim a better climate. YIKES!!! Try an Texas Tech football game sometime. Jeez. Not to burst your bubble, many of those towns don't have the crime rate of Lawrence either.

Take in a football game in Oklahoma sometime, even Tulsa.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 4 months ago

No, I will not hold back. KU hired a losing coach from Buffalo, and got butt whuuped by Northern Iowa in hoops. Add insult to injury they lost an athletic director who felt Tulsa is a better setting.

livinginlaalarrville........tell me why anybody would want to be the A.D.?

livinginlawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

This is an extremely late follow-up, so bear with me (if anyone ever reads this). But check your reading comprehension. Yes, this is a comment on a story about the AD search, but I was really in no way commenting on the story.

The point of my remark was that I found it humorous (at the moment- it wasn't all that funny really) that you should use in your analogy an old home in Leawood or Mission, when many such homes exist here in Lawrence. And KU happens to be in Lawrence. That's all.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 4 months ago

No we don't deserve an answer. This is a personnel matter and subject to privacy issues. Settle down, Dolph. Just because you can't pick Regents positions and other important jobs in the university system doesn't mean those in charge can't handle this.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 4 months ago

PS: I know Dolphie didn't write this (too organized and linear for his typical work) but, believe me, he approved this sentiment.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 4 months ago

{Jack Nicholson voice on} You can't handle the truth! {Jack Nicholson voice off}

irvan moore 7 years, 4 months ago

chancellor doesn't want to get involved with KU sports? i thought they were reporting that her involvement was the problem.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 4 months ago

Hey who would want to take on this job so long as the athletic department is under federal investigation?

Who knows what may surface?

Who knows what NCAA sanctions may or may not be imposed?

Perhaps it's best to sit back and wait until the above matter is over???

OutlawJHawk 7 years, 4 months ago

This chancellor is contrite, impersonal, and aloof. I can understand why anyone who spends more than 30 seconds around her would not want to work for her...

Good move Bubba.

dinglesmith 7 years, 4 months ago

I have. She is quite warm and personable. Very easy to talk with and exceptionally intelligent. I walked away highly impressed. Exactly who I want leading my University.

In public, she is exactly what she needs to be - precise and to-the-point. She tells you want you need to know and nothing more. Just like any business executive. Again, exactly who I want leading my University.

If she made an error in this process it was trying to protect the University from what we just went through. She did not place athletics in front of everything else. Once again, exactly who I want leading my University.

bad_dog 7 years, 4 months ago

Contrite? So you're saying she's impersonal, aloof and remorseful?

Well, at least she's sorry...

It's a little difficult to accept your characterization of BGL when you use somewhat contradictory terms to define her.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

The answer is really easy. Perkins left a trail of messes, many of which we probably haven't heard anything about, and his successor gets to clean those up as a first order of business-- something he won't even be able to talk about, much less take credit for.

Not to mention that the Big 12-10-8 could blow up again within the next couple of years, and the KU AD will not be in a good negotiating position.

So, does he take the very messy KU job, or does he stay where he is with a nice raise?

What would you do?

Tony Kisner 7 years, 4 months ago

I am available.

My first item of business would be to institute a new policy where by our team must score more points than the other team.

PS I will do it for 1/2 of Perkins salary, and keep track of the tickets.

Alceste 7 years, 4 months ago

KU is still is a 2nd rate (if that) "educational institution" when it's all said and done. That's what matters.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 4 months ago

"Public deserves truth surrounding Bubba..." = "I need to blame someone else since I didn't fact-check my previous story." Yes, the Journal-World has egg on it's face now. You can be sure that Dolph Simons' editorial tomorrow will be throwing barbs at KU to compensate for poor reporting.

Collegenut 7 years, 4 months ago

Any new person is going to have a lot to clean up. Maybe he just did not want to do that. Who knows.

This whole tix scandal is going to be tough for any new AD. It is a surprise that more people have not been fired/asked to leave/whatever. The ticket director that just got brought up on charges, she is dating another person working in the ticket office right now! They live together! Don't think that he had anything to do with this stuff? I am surprised that he is still there. And he is the one that works with both the ticket office and development office. You would think that would be a red flag!

The new AD needs to come in and clean house. That might be hard if the rumor that the new person is being told that they can not clean house for at least a year is true.

Lets hope that choice #2 can be great!

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

Now, why is it that we have sports at KU?

  1. Gives us somthing to complain about
  2. Provides growth for sports bar industry
  3. Keeps the bookies in business
  4. Gets sports fan alumni to donate money
  5. Provides scholarships to: a. football - thugs b. basketball and the rest - students
  6. Generates income for most Lawrence businesses

Looks like a win win situation to me!

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 4 months ago

The public doesn't really deserve anything on this subject. Tulsa heard the rumors and made a better offer. Big deal. I think the writer underestimates the difficulty KU is going to have at getting a new AD here because of the nightmare he'd have to clean up.

TMR779 7 years, 4 months ago

KU never said he was coming.

Mr. Cunningham never said he was coming.

People in the media said he was coming.

Shouldn't the explanation owed be from the media on how/why the media lied and/or got the story wrong?

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 4 months ago

I remember folks saying that Gary Patterson was coming to KSU a couple years ago too...and yes. Keegan's just throwing a tizzy.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 4 months ago

Nobody has yet been identified as the big money backer(s) on the ticket scandal?

Where did the dough come from? Who was floating this crime?

So many unanswered questions?

Richard Payton 7 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like some french maids could clean the athletic department. Might even sale some tickets just to watch um get dirty. Problem solved clean house and more money. Watch on the new Big 12 TV contract stations. The Feds like a clean house also!

Scott Morgan 7 years, 4 months ago

Hope I'm wrong..... 2-10 football 2011 massive media calls of racism reign as Gill is cannon fodder. 3-9 2012 KU hires new coach formerly special teams coach who is Asian/Muslim/Irish/Canadian from U of Nebraska Hastings 1-10 2013
Self quits to either NBA or joins X coaches living the good life on beaches club.

To a new A.D. even though silly, it looks possible.

jackv444 7 years, 4 months ago

Look towards the chancellor and what she wanted put in the contract. She needs to go.

BrianR 7 years, 3 months ago

No, actually the public deserves no such explanation. Bubba's a big boy which means he can do what he wants.

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