Monday, March 27, 2006

Al Schallau Says Other Schools Don't Hire Alford Because He's 'An Incurable Jerk' And the People In Our State 'Can't Wait To Get Rid of Him'

My readers explore a variety of subjects today, starting with the following e-mail from Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate Al Schallau, now a California resident:


"I think the reason Indiana, Missouri, Arizona State, Kansas State and all the others have shown no interest in hiring Steve Alford is because they have all figured out that he is an incurable jerk. They have also figured out that despite a great won-loss record this year, and a Big Ten tournament championship, the people of Iowa can't wait to get rid of him.

"Any A. D. with an I. Q. higher than a fence post would be saying, 'Hey, what's the deal here? Why are the Iowa people so anxious to get rid of this guy?'

"Conclusion: Steve Alford will be head coach at Iowa for the 2006-2007 season, and perhaps beyond. Ugh. The thought hurts.


Al Schallau

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It continues to amaze me that Indiana has totally stiffed Alford in its search for a successor to Mike Davis. I figured the least Indiana's powers-that-be would do is include Alford in a group of candidates so they could satisfy the many folks in Indiana who remember Steve's days as a standout Hoosier player. But the way Indiana has ignored Alford should be an embarrassment to the man who has finished seven seasons at Iowa. I agree with Schallau [pictured at the lower right]. Unless Indiana's athletic bosses have a complete change of mind, Alford is destined to be Iowa's coach again next season and beyond -- whether he wants to be or not, and whether the many Alford-haters out there want him].

* * *

Jasper from Jefferson, not his real name and not his real hometown, writes:


"I see new Iowa State basketball coach Greg McDermott being a coach in the mold of Bo Ryan at Wisconsin. His teams will be extremely well-prepared and fundamentally sound, and he'll seldom get out-coached. But he'll quickly find out that life in the Big 12 is much different than life in the Missouri Valley. I don't see him attracting top-flight recruits, but he will cut into the shallow recruiting pool we have in this state, which will hurt the Hawkeyes. That said, I really like the guy and will be pulling for him."

Jasper from Jefferson

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It's going to take quite an adjustment in recruiting and X's and O's for McDermott, who has done well at Northern Iowa. With coaches like Rick Barnes at Texas, Bill Self at Kansas, Bobby Knight at Texas Tech and now Bob Huggins at Kansas State, the job suddenly got harder for McDermott].

* * *

A central Iowa woman identified as "Alice in Wonderland," not her real hometown, writes:


"Wasn't there the same kind of love-hate relationship with Lute Olson when he coached Iowa? Wasn't he vilified because his hair was too perfect and he was thought to be arrogant? Didn't he go on to Arizona and do great things for them?

"I don't really understand why Alford is not liked. He has turned into a good coach and probably will be a great one, since he is so young now. Why are we driving him out? I wouldn't stay in Iowa either, with the kind of support he has had from us."

Alice in Wonderland

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: You're right, Alice. Olson was well-liked at first by most Iowa fans, but some later turned on him because he became so arrogant in his last few seasons in Iowa City. His family thought he had "created a nonster" by being fairly successful with the Hawkeyes. He went on to have some excellent seasons at Arizona, and is still coaching there].

* * *

Rev. David P. Mumm [pictured at the middle left] of Des Moines writes:

"Hello, Ron,

"The basketball coaching shuffle sure is making the postseason interesting for Iowans. I like Iowa State's new pick, but I was not at all pleased by the dismissal process for Wayne Morgan and staff. I was not surprised, a new A.D. usually means new staff in several sports. From my perspective. Morgan did a very commendable job during his three years. If he finds another college coaching position, and if that school provides him the resources to be successful, I see no reason why he could not be a very successful coach.

"As far as the NCAA men's tournament goes, so far my brackets have worked out at about 75 percent correct, which is about normal for me. The place where my percentages die is the Sweet 16 on to the end. Every one of these games could easily go either way. I think it's about as balanced a tournament as we have seen in quite a while. The one surprise on my picks is that all of my original Elite-8 are still in play.

"From my perspective, there have only been two suprises so far. Iowa losing in the first round, they should have handled their first two opponents, which would have brought them to a showdown with Texas. Texas - Iowa would have been an interesting game. I don't think Iowa could have handled Texas, but I would have liked to see it. The other surprise was Tennessee losing to Wichita State. My favorite of the Sweet 16 matches is UConn and Washington. I asked my dog 'Bandit' who is a Husky, who to pick, and he just shook his head and walked away. I think that was his way of saying, 'Pick UConn,' but I'm not sure.

"Have a great day."

David P. Mumm M.Div.
Senior Pastor
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Rev. Mumm wrote his comments before Sunday's games, which saw George Mason make it to the Final Four and become just about everyone's darling team. I would have picked George Mason to win it all, but LSU isn't such a bad choice, either].

* * *

Don Timm of Cedar Rapids writes:


"I am really losing interest in pro sports. Baseball is all I care about anymore. College is something else again. I think Iowa and USC getting back into the running has helped a lot. Now Iowa basketball. I don't know what to think about Steve Alford. I was always a Bucky O'Connor fan and I remember the 1955-1956 team. I was pacing the living room floor out on the farm when they were playing San Francisco. Mom, dad and my sisters went somewhere and I was home alone watching the game on TV. I think trading Alford for Mike Davis would have been a good trade, if they could do that in college. I even think Wayne Morgan would be better than Alford,
I also hard that Indiana isn't that in love with Alford."

Don Timm

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Lots of people were pacing the living room floor, Don, when Iowa was playing Bill Russell and San Francisco on March 23, 1956. But the pacing didn't help. Iowa lost the national championship that year with an 83-71 defeat as Russell scored 27 points and grabbed an incredible 26 rebounds].

* * *

Gordy Scoles of Bennettsville, S.C., writes:


"I think I've commented to you in a few of my e-mails that the SEC was a vastly overrated conference. Based on this year's Final Four, could you arrange to send me a large, corn-fed, Iowa crow that is cooked well-done for me to eat? Go, George Mason!"

Gordy Scoles

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: You're not the only guy who needs to chow down on some corn-fed Iowa crow, Gordy. It's been a strange tournament].

* * *

Californian Mark Robinson writes:

"Hi, Ron;

"What a conundrum, but that's the way it is with Alford at Iowa.

"You wrote: 'The best I can figure is that Alford –- naïve man that he is –- evidently thought he could go through the interview process with Missouri in secrecy.'

"I hadn't thought of that, and knowing Alford with his Radar O'Reilly naiveté, it could be true.

"Then, there is the report that the Missouri A.D. just blew up the search committee. He jettisoned Sunvold and a few others who, it was reported, didn't want Alford and wanted--gulp--Huggins to be interviewed. The A.D. didn't want to touch Huggins, to his credit. If you're trying to change the direction of a program like Missouri's, you don't start with Huggins. Watch for the NCAA to nail Kansas State with violations in the next few years.

"It comes as no surprise, then, that Alford is still listed as being on Missouri's coaching search radar.

"Bowlsby may have taken delight in allowing Missouri to talk with Alford. To paraphrase Henny Youngman: Take my coach, PLEASE!

"Keep writing,"

Mark Robinson
Valencia, CA

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It took forever, but Missouri finally settled on Mike Anderson of UAB as its new coach. I still can't believe that Alford let his name be connected with the Missouri search I wonder what Iowa's players thought when they saw that their coach was making himself available to the Tigers. What an embarrassment].

* * *

A man identified as Midwest Guy checked in with this e-mail:


"Once again you hit the mother lode. I don't blame you for scratching your head over Brian Larson being named captain of the 4-A tournament team over Ray Miller. The media makes their selections of the all-tournament teams at the before the beginning of the fourth quarter every year at each championship game. It's standard operating procedure. Once they make their choices, they can not change their votes. They are locked into their picks.

"Come to think of it, I'm not surprised that this isn't the first time the captain of the tourney team was from a runner-up team or a semifinalist. If memory serves me correctly, in 1991, newest Hall of Fame inductee Fred Hoiberg (of Ames), Rodney Wallican (East Waterloo), and Hurl Beechum (North Des Moines) were named tri-captains of the 3-A tournament team. Ames defeated North in the semifinal, and then defeated East, 79-63 for the championship. Hoiberg had a career night in which he didn't miss. But the the votes were so close between all three players, it was a compromise decision.

"It's interesting that you noticed about the late starts for the championship games. I never thought of it until you brought it up. You are on to something here. The 4-A title game started very late, due to the overtime game between MOC-Floyd Valley and Harlan. I have always wondered if it would be a good idea to start the championship games either one hour early, at 5:30pm on Friday and Saturday evenings, or eliminate the consolation games, and move the title games in all four classes to Saturday.

"This is an example of how they can do all the title games on Saturday, if they get rid of the consolation games:

(11:00am) or 12:00pm: 1-A title game
(1:30 pm) or 3:00pm: 2-A title game
(4:00 pm) or 5:00pm: 3-A title game
(7:00pm) or 7:30: 4-A title game
(x): denotes my preferred choices for times

"The girls tournament doesn't play consolation games, neither has the NCAA since the early 80's (Iowa played in the one of the last consolation games held!). If hardly anyone shows up for these games, then what is the rationale to continue the third- place game? Both teams are not going to care much to play and it will show by their actions on the floor. It wouldn't mean a thing to them."

Midwest Guy

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I like your tournament schedule for Saturday, Midwest Guy. I know it would bring me into Wells Fargo Arena for the games. Let's try it next season].

* * *

Here's a change of pace. Central Iowa Woman writes:

"Hey, Ron,

"What's the latest on Jason Berryman and is he coming back this fall? Just curious."

Central Iowa Woman

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I hope Berryman has transferred to Guam University. I hear they're starting a team over there. Besides, they have cheap cell phones].

* * *

Bud Appleby of Des Moines writes:

"Interesting editorial on older workers in the Register yesterday, but I doubt that they are going to start practicing what they preach."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I agree with you, Bud. When did they ever practice what they preach?].

* * *

Barry Crist of West Des Moines has a question in this e-mail:

"Iowa's next coach -- Stacy Johnson-Klein of Fresno State? [pictured above]. She's a good recruiter."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I'm sure she'll be on the short list if and when Alford finds another job].