Posted by Big Ron on June 12, 21 at 14:47:29:
In Reply to: Re: Full Willie B Presser... posted by West Phoenix Devil on June 12, 21 at 11:57:08:
Back in the mid 60s, ASU President Durham would stroll into the dorm TV room to deliver pep talks to the athletes about how proud he was of them. He would preach about how ASU sports established the dynamic character and personality of the nation's fastest growing university in the nation's fastest growing state. He placed young coaches over major sports to carry the message. Sports would spread the word about ASU. Reputation would lead to endowments. Endowments would fund the academics.
Baldy Castillo had world class sprinters and a relay team that bettered the USA Olympic team's time. Frank Kush had fast tough teams that created the Sun Devil swagger. Ned Wulk ran a high octane fast break basketball program. Bobby Winkles once told a bunch of us in Best C that he had his players sprint to their field positions and to the plate because it didn't seem right for an ASU team to be walking around. The culture was set.
From a 1963 Sports Illustrated story on the ASU world record relay team, one could see that Durham's masterplan was working:
"Tempe, like its forebear, is now devoted to the arts and games, too. It is the home of Arizona State University. The school, which has an enrollment of 13,800, boasts excellent engineering and education colleges, football, basketball and baseball teams that all rank high nationally, and now it has the finest mile-relay team anyone has ever assembled anywhere. Arizona State University fits neatly into the Greek ideal."
But then came new school administrations that either ignored the importance of ASU sports or actually wanted to diminish the AD's power within the school. In the 1980's I was recruited to do some volunteer work for a couple ASU projects. During one mixer, I was talking to some school administrators about the state of ASU sports and asked if, based on the success of the major sports in the 1960s and 1970s, had ASU ever considered any alumni for head coaching positions. I was shocked by the answer. "We don't need another Kush or Wulk dominating the school image. We want to keep sports in its place if we ever want to be viewed as a serious academic institution." That change in school leadership and culture has resulted in a quarter of a century of malaise - by design. We have a football team that has averaged 6.7 wins (55.8%) for the last 20 years. A basketball team that has a 53.3% and 43.3% conference winning for the same period. A baseball team that has been shut out of the CWS. ASU now defines the fat part of a bell-shaped curve.
How do we break out? I MUST START FROM THE TOP.
Crow is not the president to lead an ASU sports revival. He may be a talented administrator, but sports is just a adjunct enterprise that comes with running a university. Now the sports department has become a real estate development venture. Crow lost me when he came onto the radio to declare that the first packed-house Black Out game was a success because apparel sales were up 700%. Anderson? He is a generic front office exec. He could be selling ASU sports or vacuum cleaners with the same outlook and emotional detachment. The depart has drastically grown under him. My last count, 77 people had "Director" in their titles. Most of the reps that I have met display his same detachment from the school. BTW, my last department rep is now selling season tickets down in Tucson. Or was it vacuum cleaners?
So yes, I feel that it is necessary for him or SOMEBODY to declare themselves a SUN DEVIL for life. This slide will not reverse on its own. It takes dedicated leadership. Somebody in charge has got to feel the same ache that I do.
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