Tag Archive: Mike Garrett


“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you; when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

Remember (former Vice President) Dan Quayle?

How about (former Attorney General) Ed Meese?

And (former Defense Secretary) John Tower?

And (former White House chief of staff) John Sununu?

And of course, (former NYC mayoral candidate/personal photographer) Anthony Weiner?

This brings us to present-tense USC coach Lane Kiffin.

What do they all have in common?kiffinhoodie

The answer is the media vultures were out for all of them at one time or another. In the end, the vultures picked (or are picking) their bodies to death.

As the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, I watched with delight and awe as the media took apart our 1982 opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, former California Lt. Governor Mike Curb.

There was not a book to be seen in Curb’s palatial house, gleefully noted the Los Angeles Times.

Curb had not registered to vote (a 10-minute exercise) for Ronald Reagan (or anyone else) in 1966 and 1970 because he was “too busy” for 17 years with his record company business. Thank you LA Herald-Examiner and Valley News and Green Sheet.

The media vultures were circling over Curb’s dying candidacy. It was time for him to go. He was history. He was toast.

It was “vulture journalism” at its best or at its worst, depending on your point of view. The media had made up its collective mind: Curb was not going to be Governor of California.

“No one’s more miserable than myself. So it’s our job to get it fixed.” – Kiffin quoted this week in the Los Angeles Times deftly moving from the first-person singular to the first-person plural.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden earlier this year described his embattled head football coach as the “anti-Teflon.” Instead of Teflon, Kiffin is Mr. Velcro…everything and anything sticks to him.

haden

Did the Trojans just hold a “players-only” meeting? Who would normally care? These are not normal times. Apparently, no one told Lane Kiffin. Is he out of touch? The media cares.

When asked in the wake of USC’s home field loss last Saturday night to the Pullman Cougars, whether Cody Kessler or Max Vittek was going to be his QB starter this coming Saturday against Boston College, Kiffin said he didn’t know.

You don’t know? USC is paying you $2.4 million annually, and you don’t know…

Besides being the anti-Reagan, Kiffin is also the anti-Chip Kelly the anti-Jim Harbaugh, and most of all, the anti-Pete Carroll.

Everyone is excited about whether Chip’s fast-paced, Michael Vick running the ball Oregon-style offense will work on a week-in, week-out basis in the NFL. Maybe.

Everyone is salivating over the Sunday night matchup between Harbaugh’s 49ers and Carroll’s Seahawks. Harbaugh’s and Carroll’s paths have crossed before (e.g., “What’s Your Deal? What’s your Deal!!!), which adds to the intrigue.

Do you think USC fans would take Carroll back? In a heartbeat. Would they even accept former Stanford coach, Harbaugh? Deep down you know they would.

Just win, Baby!

Even though the hiring of Carroll was not embraced by Trojan alums, they came to adore him. And why not?

He came across as a great guy with a penchant for winning big time.

There are some who contend that anyone can win at USC. Why not? There are more high school and junior college football studs within a 30-mile radius of the LA Mausoleum than there are within a 300-mile radius of Pullman…And yet…Ted Tollner, Larry Smith, Paul Hackett and now, Kiffin couldn’t get it done at Troy.

Carroll was that magical guy with a special knack. Combine Carroll’s coaching persona and genius with the geographic advantages, wealth and tradition of USC, and the result was orgasmic. USC was back and it dominated the Pac-10…seven straight titles…something that will never happen again.

In contrast, USC alums were giddy when Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee after his limp, low-T 7-6 record in Knoxville. No one is cheering now.

firelanekiffin

The biggest mystery is why did three-storied football programs: the Silver-and-Black Oakland Raiders (5-15), the Rocky Top Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) and now the Cardinal and Gold USC Trojans (27-15) hand the keys to their respective Ferraris only to achieve exploding gas tank Pinto results (39-36)? How do you spell mediocrity? K-I-F-F-I-N.

The latest Kiffin tenure was always a media relations train-wreck going someplace to happen.

Was this former USC Athletic Director’s (the guy who hired Kiffin) Mike Garrett’s parting gift to Haden?

Almost DailyBrett can rightfully be accused of piling onto Lane Kiffin.  After all, this is my third blog as a USC grad on this subject. I plead guilty.

Can effective public relations counsel help Kiffin withstand the media vultures at this point in time? Will simply winning rescue Kiffin from his seemingly inevitable fate? Possibly.

Having said that, one cannot discount the most recent losses to rivals UCLA, Notre Dame and more to the point, embarrassing debacles to Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl) and Wazzu…the latter two should not even be competitive against USC.

One suspects the upcoming trips to ASU and Notre Dame will not be pretty. Ditto for the home games against Stanford and UCLA. Kiffin should thank Darwin that Washington and (gulp) Oregon are not on the schedule this year.

Is Haden quietly going over a list of potential replacements? You know for certain the thought has crossed his mind, more than once or twice…

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1770356-usc-football-top-recruits-turning-on-lane-kiffin?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=college-football

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20130910/marqise-lee-contradicts-lane-kiffin-on-players-only-meeting

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/08/analysis-mack-brown-texas-lane-kiffin-southern-california-coaches-hot-seat/2782321/

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-0912-usc-football-20130912,0,473654.story#axzz2ehZMTeBN

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeS3VeluAmg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_Kiffin

 

200px-MikeRiley

Hanukkah in Seattle?

New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles? Ditto for Austin, College Station and Lubbock?

Or maybe it is the equivalent of a New Year’s Day hangover in Corvallis and Seattle with the Oregon Ducks playing in the Rose Bowl?

Isaac and Big Suke, the talking heads on Portland’s “The Fan” (1080 AM) were discussing Tuesday how Oregon State Beaver fans were anticipating the equivalent of Christmas Eve with the NCAA bestowing gifts to be opened in the form of crippling sanctions on the University of Oregon football program.

There were some stocking stuffers indeed, but not what were prayed for in Corvallis, Seattle and other exotic locales. There are a few sore wrists in Eugene…but nothing more.

What do you get when you cross a Washington Husky with a ground-hog? Six more weeks of NCAA probation.

Will Husky fans try to reverse this joke, substituting an Oregon Duck with a ground-hog? Probably. Deep down they know that the rampant “loss of institutional” control under former Washington Coach Don James doesn’t even come close to the relatively minor offenses committed by Oregon.

Now that Washington’s dreams of crippling punishment against Oregon have been dashed, the pressure is on the Huskies to end Oregon’s unprecedented nine-game winning streak over the Dawgs will intensify. Circle October 12 in Husky Stadium on your calendar.

For those of you scoring at home, Oregon received probation of three-years, a loss of one scholarship per year for the same time period, an 18-month “show cause” penalty against former Head Coach Chip Kelly (who will serve out his sentence in the NFL) and a reduction of paid recruiting visits from 56 to 37 in the next two years.

No bowl ban.

The penalties arise as a result of a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles and his Texas-oriented “recruiting service provider” firm.

Yahoo Sports, which broke the story two years ago, clearly wanted blood to flow. They still want blood to flow, particularly from Chip Kelly, as evidenced from today’s coverage. Sorry to disappoint you, sorry indeed.

What is also causing the crucify Oregon crowd to gnash their collective teeth is the massive coverage of New England Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez being charged with murder in the same news cycle. Sorry Yahoo Sports, but an East Coast murder investigation trumps a West Coast recruiting service snafu any day of the week. In fact, God’s time zone transgressions (e.g., EDT or EST) beat anything on the Left Coast virtually any time.

They say that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Did the institutional model of arbitrariness and capriciousness (a.k.a. NCAA) actually get it right for a change? Is that different from a slap on the wrist as interpreted by ESPN’s Joe Schad and Brock Huard (former Udub quarterback).

Consider there are no NCAA regulations governing recruiting services. Cal, Tennessee and others used the services of Willie Lyles. Where are the sanctions against Cal and Tennessee, both Autzen Stadium visitors this season?

In direct contrast with USC’s former AD Mike Garrett, who fought the NCAA tooth and nail, Oregon cooperated with the institutional giant from Indianapolis, Indiana, even proposing sanctions and asking for a summary disposition, basically a plea bargain. To USC’s credit, new AD Pat Haden demonstrated how honey as opposed to vinegar wins more friends than enemies, including the NCAA.

Even though I have no evidence to back this up, one must wonder how it would look if Oregon was slapped with a bowl ban for a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles with NCAA boss Mark Emmert having previously served as the President of…you guessed it…The University of Washington.

Finally, the key player in Le Affaire Lyles was Texas five-star stud Lache Seastrunk. He was buried on the Oregon running back depth-chart, transferred to Baylor in Texas, and never played a down for Oregon.

Where is the benefit to Oregon?

This is a case of so many, waiting way too long for so little.

Has the NCAA shed its record of inconsistency? No.

Has the ground shifted in terms of Oregon Football? You bet ya.

The program that was at best ignored for decades is today respected, feared and in some cases hated.

There is a love-hate relationship with Oregon, its fancy uniforms, incredible digs and Uncle Phil and his Nike money too.

To the good folks in Corvallis, Seattle and elsewhere, there is more to come from Eugene, starting August 31.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9424556/oregon-ducks-put-probation-ncaa-lose-scholarship

http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/30077980-76/oregon-ncaa-recruiting-lyles-kelly.html.csp

http://www.oregonlive.com/

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2013/06/canzano_blog_ncaa_was_as_tired.html#incart_big-photo

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–chip-kelly-is-latest-successful-coach-to-skate-free-of-ncaa-harm-174023192.html

http://www.1080thefan.com/pages/12623116.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_James_%28American_football%29

“As I read the decision by the NCAA, I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans.” – Former USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett

“… We’ve cooperated fully.” – Oregon Football Coach Chip Kelly

“Part of the NCAA’s problem here is fairness and consistency, never an organizational strong suit.” – ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller.

How come the Founding Fathers understood the temptation and eventual tyranny that comes from absolute power being given to one omnipresent body with virtual dictatorial control?

They enshrined in the nation’s Constitution the doctrine of  “Separation of Powers” between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I know this policy to be true because I read all about it in civics class back in elementary school. We can also watch it in action as the nation is poised to go off the “fiscal cliff.”

powers

Where we don’t see a similar separation of powers is the NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Instead, the process appears to be arbitrary and capricious (words that make lawyers happy).

How long will a process take? A week? Two years? Four years? Who knows?

If one university is permitted to go through the summary disposition process (e.g., Tennessee) involving its dealings with recruiting “mentor” Willie Lyles, shouldn’t another university (e.g., Oregon) be permitted to go through the same process involving the same Willie Lyles? That makes sense, except that is not the case.

Former USC Athletic Director (and Heisman Trophy winner) Mike Garrett pursued a course of confrontation with the NCAA. The result was four years of probation, a two-year bowl ban, and a drastic reduction of scholarships.

Conversely, Oregon has chosen a path of accommodation with the NCAA, one subsequently advocated by new USC Athletic Director Pat Haden for his school. And yet, after two-long years, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) wants to hold a hearing to drag Oregon figuratively through the burning coals.

ESPN blogger Ted Miller wrote recently, “It’s possible that the COI just wants to talk.” And talk they will in February or April or June or August. Heck, why not all of them?

As a resident Duckologist and super Oregon fan and informal commentator for a generation, I am frequently asked what will happen to the Ducks before the NCAA because of Le Affaire de Lyles (e.g., $25,000 payment to Lyles allegedly to recruit a player, Lache Seastrunk, who was buried in the Oregon depth chart and never played a down for the Ducks).

I am also asked if Chip Kelly with a record of 45-7 will bolt for the NFL (there are jobs galore open today) purely because of the NCAA and Willie Lyles. The insinuation is that Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks because of the NCAA, so why shouldn’t Kelly do the same?

My answer to both questions is HIIK…Hell If I Know.

And that is the point. Even if you look to dysfunctional Washington, D.C., you can reasonably expect a Democratic White House to behave in a certain way. You can anticipate the Democratic Senate to go one way and the Republican House of Representatives to go the other. The Supreme Court with its 5-4 conservative majority more times than not will come down in the predictable fashion.

The NCAA and predictable fashion are oxymorons. The NCAA almost wiped out the economy of State College, Pennsylvania. What will it do to Oregon? Yes, I fully understand the difference between Jerry Sandusky and Lyles, but I still see no consistency of deliberation and enforcement…what the lawyers like to call, precedent or precedence.

emmert

What I do see is NCAA President, Dr. Mark A. Emmert, sitting in judgment over the University of Oregon. Emmert was the president of the University of Washington for six years and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the same school that is the most intense rival (putting it mildly) of the University of Oregon.

 

He should recuse himself from this process.

In the final analysis, I am hoping for the best from the NCAA and fearing the worst. Something tells me to anticipate the latter. That will make the folks in Seattle and Corvallis real happy…until it is their respective turns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers_under_the_United_States_Constitution

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–oregon–ncaa-reach-impasse-in-football-investigation-215913743.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/pac12/2012/12/21/oregon-ducks-chip-kelly-ncaa-investigation-recruiting-services/1783763/

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/21/sports/la-sp-usc-garrett-haden-20100721

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d9cHT?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=oregon-ducks-football

http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/51448/oregon-fans-should-be-worried-and-angry

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8764076/oregon-ducks-ncaa-hearing-scout-willie-lyles-according-source

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/ncaa+president/mark+emmert+biography

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you…

… and when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Former Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

A rogue student manager has been deflating footballs at USC.

The Pac-12 reprimanded and fined USC for the practice.

And according to Head Coach Lane Kiffin, the (now fired) student manager was acting as a lone ranger, even though footballs are easier to throw when they are slightly deflated.

lamekiffin

How do I know this?

I was a student manager at USC during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even more precisely, I was the student manager working with the offensive coordinator at the time, Paul Hackett, the quarterbacks (e.g., Vince Evans, Rob Hertel and Paul McDonald) and wide receivers (e.g., Shelton Diggs, Randy Simmrin).

For each game, I was responsible for getting the USC football into the game when the Trojans were on offense. That meant following the line of scrimmage, carrying at least two footballs, for the better part of three-plus hours.

During the Rose Bowl played on January 1, 1977 against Michigan, our quarterback, Vince Evans, kept a ball-inflation needle in his sock. The needle was not used to inflate footballs, but for the opposite reason.

The referee and other officials kept throwing the under-inflated balls to me and demanding an inflated ball. Vince, in turn, kept on deflating the balls. This put me in a classic Catch 22.

When I told Vince about the officials tossing the underinflated balls out of the game, he responded with an imperative. I think it was something like, “Duck you, Kevin!”

We managed to win the game over Michigan, 14-6, and finished #2 behind Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers for the national title. The incident with the ball-pump needle went into the DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) of my brain and remained there…until this week.

How serious is an underinflated football on a bending-the-rules scale of 1-10? How about a “five”? Yes, it may be easier to throw a football and that certainly is a factor for USC with a great passing quarterback, Matt Barkley, and all-world receivers. Conversely, one would think it would hurt the performance of the punter and field-goal/extra point kicker. USC punted only once last Saturday against Oregon.

My problem with this story is why would a 19-20-21-year-old student manager be deflating footballs without anyone else on the football team (e.g., coach and/or player) knowing anything about it?  This one doesn’t pass the giggle test.

And was it the (scapegoat?) manager that was deflating the balls or maybe a player with a ball-pump needle in his sock? It’s happened before.

What is more germane about this story is how it relates to Kiffin. Let’s face it. This guy is an Oakland-Knoxville-Los Angeles public relations disaster zone always waiting for the next installment. When you open up the dictionary looking up the word, “arrogance,” Kiffin’s mug shot will most likely jump out of the page.

His predecessor, Pete Carroll, was Mr. Public Relations. Pete was everyone’s pal. He was a player’s coach. He was a good interview. He was the face of USC football. Heck, he even risked his life night-after-night, driving into the worst parts of LA to give youths a third option besides jail and death.

Have you ever heard about Kiffin giving back? Opposing teams aren’t even allowed to walk through the LA Coliseum the day before games with the Trojans.

The marauding student manager story follows the quick and painful end of USC’s over-inflated dream of playing in the BCS national championship. The team has lost two straight, surrendered 101 points in the process, and is looking at the prospects of playing in the…Holiday Bowl.

Besides generating controversy du-jour during his relatively brief stays with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and now USC, Kiffin has consistently parlayed Viagra expectations into Low-T results, 43-37 overall.

What does the fired student manager, underinflated football-gate mean to squeaky clean, play-by-the-book USC Athletic Director Pat Haden? If this was an isolated incident in the nation’s second largest media market, it most likely would be noted and quickly forgotten.

But with USC coming off the third most severe set of NCAA penalties (exceeded only by Penn State and SMU) and considering Kiffin’s repeated bouts with controversy, this may be another small nail (or ball-pump needle) in Kiffin’s coffin.

Haden must know that someday, sooner or later, he will have to terminate Kiffin and maybe even spend literally millions to buy out his contract. Sometimes acknowledging mistakes of your predecessor (e.g., Mike Garrett) is costly. You sure can buy a treasure trove of ball-inflation pins, even with millions of inflated dollars.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned, I managed the USC football team for two seasons, earning a Tommy Trojan statue for my service. I have a Rose Bowl ring and watch, and graduated from Troy with my undergraduate degree in broadcasting journalism. I also managed the football team at the University of Oregon. I am a 23-year season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium and a member of the Duck Athletic Fund. I received my master’s degree from, and presently teach public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/story/_/id/8608359/usc-coach-lane-kiffin-says-manager-deflating-footballs-acted-alone

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-lane-kiffin-no-comment-delated-footballs-20121108,0,5616530.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-culture-dufresne20121108,0,822130.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1109-plaschke-usc-footballs-20121109,0,6907619.column

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