So the headline here is a little misleading.
I’m actually going to paint a pretty clear picture of why these football coaches are an example of the RIGHT way to do things, and point out the flaw in the current American mentality.
I’ve spent 2/3 of my life in sales. From my middle school days of going door to door to win the magazine drive, to once again going door to door for The Daily Olympian selling subscriptions, to calling people at home about re-finances, and eventually moving to business to business advertising sales, it’s a world I’ve known well for a long time. A world that can be summed up with one sentence… “what have you done for me lately?”
You see, in sales, you could be the highest producer one year, and your job could be in jeopardy the next. You could break records in March, and be fired in October.
In sales, there’s a legit reason for this… your one and only responsibility is to bring in revenue. If you can’t do this, you are sucking money out of your employer and providing no value. Of course, smart organizations understand that you don’t go from hero to zero overnight, and take steps to help you “get your game back” so to speak. But in sports, politics, marriage and pretty much every other aspect of life, there’s value in patience. There’s value in taking a moment in time, and looking at its context within the bigger picture. There’s value in learning from defeat and building on victory.
Let’s look at the 3 coaches I mentioned.
Steve Sarkesian took over a team that was historically bad. Zero wins, and most of the losses were blowouts. A roster full of players that likely would have been cut by most other Pac10 schools. In his first year he won a few games, which made people happy. His 2nd year he made it to a bowl game, which made people happier. His 3rd year he once again made a bowl game, but lost… and people started grumbling. And when The Dawgs started this season 3-4, the calls started coming… “Sark isn’t the right guy to take us where we need to be.”
Never mind the fact that the offensive line was decimated by injury. “Every team has injuries, you have to find a way to win!” Yes, because MANY teams have had success with 4 starters on your o-line out.
Never mind the fact that they faced 4 teams ranked in the top 10, one more who HAD been ranked in the top 10, and Arizona, who had been ranked in the top 25 twice.
Never mind that our 3 biggest impact players were true Sophomores, and aside from ASJ were getting their first significant playing time.
Oh ya, and there’s the little part about Sark having taken a program in 4 years from 0-12 to a team that was expected to contend with, if not beat, nationally elite teams. So you want to fire him? Really?
Here we are today, the Huskies are 6-4 with 2 wins over top 10 opponents, and looking at an 8-4 season despite losing their top receiver and the greatest rusher in their history. Sark found a way to make his patchwork offensive line work, and got his QB back to what we knew he could be. We’re losing 1 senior of any substance, and undersized CB who has admittedly been a game changer at times. But everyone else is coming back.
Leach is a similar story.
Paul Wulff had brought a similarly desperate program from a borderline HS team to a team that was considered potentially relevant in the Pac12. His teams had shown improvement, despite having to start from scratch with his roster on day one. Sure, he wasn’t camera friendly, and his play calling left something to be desired, but he was showing improvement. A 4-8 record his final year included a loss to UCLA by 3, and an overtime loss to Utah by 3. They rarely got blown out and played respectably against the likes of Oregon. They didn’t lose any games that anyone who doesn’t bleed crimson thought they were supposed to win. Yet, Cougar nation demanded his firing when they found out they could get Mike Leach.
Nice one Cougs.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that given time, Leach can win at WSU. I think that in a vacuum, this was a good hire, and if they stick with it it will pay dividends.
But did they really expect him to come in and take them to a Rose Bowl? Or even have a winning season? That’s what it looks like with all the critisism from Cougar Nation over his recent hard line on lazy players. If leach was 6-4 at this point, nobody would be complaining about his actions in front of the media or in the locker room. But because he hasn’t won yet, the calls are coming again… “Fire Mike Leach.”
Please Cougar fans, fire Leach. That way I can basically guarantee another decade of my Huskies dominating the apple cup, as well as the recruits form WA St.
Somehow, even though it was a well known fact by many Cougar fans that Leach is an incompetent ass hat, the Cougars actually turned in an impressive performance against a UCLA team that outclassed them at every position. The same team that needed a PA call as time expired to score their only 6 points against Utah made it a 1 score game against UCLA, who will probably win the Pac12 South.
So, uhm, maybe the apocalyptic projections for Leach were pre-mature? Just like they might have been for Wulff? Let’s not forget… they’re not trying to turn around Alabama here, they’re trying to turn around a team with the worst stadium, location and history in the Pac12. Where recruiting local kids means recruiting kids in a different CLIMATE, let alone a different city. Maybe you give them a different timeline before hitting the panic button?
Then there’s Pete Carroll. Carroll inherited a meth house and was asked to strip it down to its frame and re-build a mansion. So what did he do? He immediately upgrade several positions, and then started doing things the way he does things… a little unorthodox. But those who understood the plan could see what he was doing. TJax was never meant to be the QB of the future. He was a guy who could get us through a season with a new offensive line coach and a YOUNG but talented line without getting killed in process. He was AVAILABLE, which is more than you can say about QB’s who might have been the future of the franchise. The newly installed defense, filled with young, athletic, LONG DBacks and specialty players like Red (and now Irvine) was going to take time to click. But low and behold, it did.
And so we sung the praises of Pete Carroll.
Fast forward to 2012, and you suddenly have a fan base disenfranchised with Carroll again over a decision at QB. Never mind that Carroll sees both players on a daily basis, not just for 75 snaps on Sunday. Never mind that he turned out something like six straight NFL QB’s while at USC, including one who never started a game in college. Never mind that his starter of choice, Russell Wilson, was improving dramatically with each game. And they were noticeable, measurable and tangible improvements. The fans called for Wilson’s head, and Carroll’s job.
So how does all of this relate to society today? Well, let’s look at the perception by a large portion of the country that President Obama not only had a horrible first term, but had zero chance of not breaking the country if he was re-elected.
Inflation – going down
US auto industry – saved
Bin Laden – dead
Stock market – at pre-crash levels
Healthcare – even Mitt Romney finally admitted that Obamacare wasn’t such a bad idea, it just needs some tweaking.
Don’t ask don’t tell – gone.
And everything is trending in the right direction. But that doesn’t matter, because Americans apparently think that fixing what GWB screwed should have also come with a balanced budget, and that hasn’t happened.
Now I’m well aware that there’s a faction of Americans that would complain no matter what, simply because he’s a democrat. Or because he’s black. But there were a significant amount of people who really thought that we should be farther away from the worst economic state our country has seen since the great depression, and it should have taken less than 4 years.
Have people forgotten that the ship was 3/4 sunk when Obama took the helm? Like the “meth house” I alluded to earlier in the Pete Carroll situation, our country first had to be stabilized and brought back to the surface before we could start sailing it again. All indications are that we have turned that corner and are working our way back. Just like the Seahawks and Huskies. Cougs… well, your last leader got the ship sailing again (and lets face it, when he took over it was completely under water), and then you decided to make a change. You went with a pirate. Guess what? YOU DIDN’T MAGICALLY START WINNING! So go ahead… let me know how that works out for you.
What it all comes down to is the fact that successful people aren’t successful because they have a magic wand that you just don’t know about. They are successful because they think critically and strategically, have long term solutions instead of short term fixes, they work hard, and most importantly… they know when to be patient, and when to take action.
The rest of our society could take some notes. Maybe we would’t be changing jobs every six months. Or getting divorced before you’ve even had time to learn what marriage is really about. If all you ever settle for are things that are worth having, but not worth working for, you’re going to end up with a life full of empty.
Or, you can have whatever you want. You just have to put in the time.
I’ve just seen that Wilson is accusing Leach of some sort of abuse. If there turns out to be truth to these allegations my statements obviously wouldn’t apply.