Hey, I just got my full rant on. So, deal with it. Blame it on the NIL if you like. Borrow somebody’s new iPhone and call someone who cares.
Now, getting to it.
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A is for Aspect.
As in mine. My point of view. My perspective.
Specifically to give context to my opinonating about the Butch Beard stuff. Which, obviously, comes next, under, you guessed it, the B section.
As with all matters that deal with racial issues — which this does, Beard’s denials to Bob Valvano notwithstanding — I need to explain my viewpoint.
I am an elderly Caucasian, with enough sense to understand, I cannot for a nanosecond pretend to know what it’s like to grow up with black skin. Or, know how that would affect my world view. Such is obviously alien to my life experience.
I can listen. I can attempt to understand, but I cannot truly empathize.
So, that’s where my soapbox is situated.
* * * * *
B is for Butch Beard.
He chatted with Bob Valvano the other day about his ongoing displeasure with “the university.” (His generic, and meant to be dismissive reference to U of L, which, I don’t believe, he ever mentions by name.)
Several long time Cardinal fans implored me to listen to the podcast. Which I did, while taking notes.
I also read Kevin L. Wright’s thoughtful take on the situation in Card Chronicle, much but not all of which I agree with.
Several times during the interview, Beard states, “I don’t want to get into a racial thing.”
But, of course it is about racial matters. Or, so it would appear from my vantage point. Which is fine. It’s a dialog that needs to be had.
His main complaints are: 1) Failure of the “the university” to recognize Wes Unseld and suitably honor him. Beard references the Johnny U statue, suggesting the QB’s importance to Cardinal sports doesn’t come close to matching Unseld’s. And 2) Failure to give Kenny Payne an official interview for the vacant hoops coaching job after the Pitino dismissal.
Addressing those in order.
A Wes Unseld statue. Or, other significant recognition.
I’m not familiar with how the Unitas statue came about. What I do know is that it took private fundraising — said to be a million bucks contribution — to get Howard Schnellenberger’s name on the football complex.
Beard mentions regular meetings called “Memory Lane” he has with former Cardinal athletes. But indicated no movement on their’s or anyone else’s part to collect seed money for a tribute of some sort to honor Unseld’s legacy and importance.
He also acknowledges that “the university” has reached out to the Unseld family, which has indicated no interest. Beard says the school should do it anyway. (Which frankly would be a great gesture.)
At one point Beard says “the university” refuses to sit down for conversations with former players.
Yet, mentions that “they get mad when I bring it up.” He does acknowledge having a meeting with President Bendapudi.
The Kenny Payne situation.
At one point early on, Beard indicates “the university” never talked with Payne about the opening.
“It didn’t happen.”
Later Beard admits the school — Who he doesn’t say??? — did talk with the former Cardinal, but it wasn’t an “official interview.”
Beard never says if he ever talked with Payne, and whether the now NY Knick assistant is as upset as he is.
Oh, we’ve overtalked this thing.
Yes, I’d love some recognition for Wes Unseld, my favorite Cardinal ever. And, as Beard says, U of L’s most important hoops recruit ever.
It’s overdue. But, it’s going to take a strong and vocal and financially flush group outside the school administration to make it happen.
I haven’t the slightest idea if Kenny Payne wanted the U of L job, or if he’s pissed he wasn’t “officially interviewed?”
As I’ve said before, all matters considered, Chris Mack was a legitimate hire, in a most difficult situation. His tenure cannot be assessed until the NCAA speaks.
Butch Beard’s disengagement and displeasure with U of L just makes me sad.
* * * * *
C is not for Carr, Marcus, the former Golden Gopher, whom many Cardinal diehards believed to be a “must have” addition to Chris Mack’s squad. Including my Card Chron Glorious Editor, and his bestie over at Floyd Street Trib.
Well, we can bid a sad — or fond, depending on your perspective — adieu to Carr as a Cardinal. Not going to happen.
There are some of us — like, ya know, moi — who have preferred chasing down another big.
Which is why C is for Curry, Sydney. 6-8. 260. Read: A legit additional big guy. Who shall be wearing red & black come hoops season.
* * * * *
D for Davis, Henry. Former Cardinal catcher, now #1 pick in the MLB draft.
Which makes Louisville, I’m advised, the only university in the country, which has had the first pick in the MLB draft, in the MLS draft, in the NBA draft, and in the WNBA draft.
Throw in that top collegian baseballer and Heisman Trophy winner in the same calendar year.
Which is to offer this smidge of hope in closing to Cardinal fans. During these dark and stormy times in the Land o’ Cardinals, the school’s got some history. And tradition.
And, it’s always darkest before the dawn, etc, etc.
We shall abide.
— c d kaplan