Monday, April 21, 2008

Interesting night of SoundOff Sunday. We knew the new head coach at Drake, and all anyone wanted to write or talk about was Keno leaving. Andy certainly added to the discussion with his heartfelt essay on why he feels disappointed in the national coach of the year. (If you missed it, it's on the video player at

My take on Keno's departure after just one season as head coach is this: I don't blame him, I understand it, and I'm still somewhat surprised (I suppose disappointed is a better word). I thought he would take a big raise and more security and stay at least one more season. I don't think he had to, I just thought he might. Keno knows Drake gave him an opportunity of a lifetime---first head coaching job---and he paid the University back with a championship season to remember. Some would say he already paid his debt in full.

Unlike some people, I have no animosity toward Keno. Any rational person understands all the reasons he took the job, including the reported seven million dollars. I can't imagine having that offer, let alone turning it down, but I'd like to think it's possible.

Davis also deserves praise for coming back to Des Moines and answering every tough question, and honoring nearly every media request. Sure, he may have been doing some minor damage control to his legacy, but more likely is Keno was being the good guy I've known him to be.

I wish him the best, and I'm confident he'll succeed at Providence.

The new guy is Michael--check that---Mark Phelps. He's Sandy Hatfield Clubb's #1 choice. This is her hire, and it will define her legacy. Clubb brought in two people, Phelps and Gary Close. It was Phelps all the way.

Clubb was smart to involve the players in the process. This is like when I talk to my kids all week about how great the Indiana Jones movies are, and then ask them Saturday night what they want to watch, and they say "Indiana Jones!". As the Guinness guys would say, "Brilliant!".

Great news Josh Young isn't going anywhere. He appears excited about Phelps. I don't know enough Phelps to predict the future, but I did talk to a few people who know him, and they couldn't say enough. Charismatic, great recruiter, energetic, good guy, tireless...etc. We'll see. He was impressive enough in his first interviews, and smart enough to say he loves the 3.

The one head-scratching thing in all this, to me, is that Drake never put a new contract with more money and more years in front of Keno long before Providence called. I know Davis says he was assured they'd get all that done, but why wait? It's harder to leave after the ink is still drying on a new deal. Who knows, may not have mattered one bit.

Let the Phelps Era begin. Welcome to Des Moines, Mark.

More to come on all things not related to Drake. (Tired yet?)



Anonymous said...

How can you possibly say you were surprised? You then say you can't imagine turning down all that money. This was Davis' best chance to go from the well-off house to the really rich house. His worth was at an all time high by being coach of the year. You weren't surprised he went, you wished he would have stayed one more year to give a tiny speck of hope that not everything is about the money and he was the next Jim Larranaga.

Shane - Marshalltown said...

How can you possibly say what someone else is surprised or not surprised by or what they wished for?

Sometimes it's not all about the's not like he left for Central Utah for 100,000 a year more. Anyone ever stop to think that "bigger and better job=higher pay"???

Anonymous said...

What? No mention of Wartburg's DIII wrastlin' championship?

shane - marshalltown said...

"What? No mention of Wartburg's DIII wrastlin' championship?" That pissed me off too...we shouldn't stand for this blatant short-changing of a proud and rich tradition!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on that one Shane. If those who dis the Iowa Conference would just go to an event or two, they would see the quality of the competition. Let alone go to a football game where the pre-game tailgate has no police involvement and you can watch a game without someone throwing up on your shoes.

Anonymous said...

why would you care about cops if you're not puking on shoes?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should go to a Central game and see a team that's lost ony two games in two years, or Wartburg who has facilities better than most D1 schools. Chalmers Field has an amazing view of Duboquue and will be first class when construction is done. Luther has the most beautiful setting for a football game imaginable. All of there have fans who go more for the game instead of drinking contests. You acyually feel comfortable having young children around. If people would take off their black and gold or red and gold blinders off and go to a game, they might actually see how refreshing it is to watch a football game.