Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Joshua and I leave for Greece on Friday, and we shall not return until Sunday, March 21.
We shall meet up with my parents and my middle brother at JFK, and take the same flight onward to Athens.
Given all the turmoil in Greece at present, it may prove to be an interesting trip.
My father said tonight that The University Of Iowa, within the last two days, has made a decision to cut its ties with Todd Lickliter, Iowa’s basketball coach. Absent an extraordinary run in the Big Ten Tournament, scheduled to begin tomorrow, Iowa has determined that it must make yet another change in its basketball program, the second such change within three years. Lickliter’s dismissal will be announced as early as Friday morning (assuming that Iowa, as expected, loses its first-round game against Michigan tomorrow afternoon).
Apparently the decision to get rid of Lickliter was an agonizing one.
Lickliter was an undoubted man of integrity, yet the product he was putting on the floor was appalling. Lickliter was probably not cut out to run a big-time program. Success at mid-major levels, which he has enjoyed, often does not translate into equivalent accomplishment at major-conference levels.
In addition, Lickliter has been faced with a constant round of player defections as well as unprecedented public apathy toward his stewardship of the program. Attendance at Carver Arena has hit annual all-time record lows during Lickliter’s brief stay in Iowa City.
Lickliter has four years remaining on his contract. Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta gave Lickliter a seven-year contract at the time of Lickliter’s hiring, an absurdly-generous term for a new coach. Iowa has decided to bite the bullet and pay off Lickliter rather than suffer through yet another gruesome season.
It’s the right decision—but Barta should be booted, too, for issuing Lickliter such a ridiculous contract.
After Barta very skillfully engineered Steve Alford’s much-needed departure in 2007, Barta with great fanfare gave Alford’s replacement a seven-year contract with a base salary 25% higher than Alford’s final deal, all for the purpose of gleefully and publicly rubbing Alford’s nose in mud.
That was very foolish of Barta, who got carried away back in 2007—and it has ended up costing the university millions of dollars (as well as unspeakable sums of lost ticket revenue).