Thursday, March 23, 2006

I Wonder If Iowa's Steve Alford Is This Confusing To His Players During NCAA Games. It Could Be That's Why the Hawkeyes Don't Win More Of Them

I guess I’m wondering if Steve Alford is this confusing to his players during timeouts in NCAA games.

Maybe that’s why he doesn’t win more of them.

And maybe that's why he blew a 17-point lead to Northwestern State last week.

Honestly, I can’t figure the man out.

When everyone from the school president to the guys in the boiler room at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., guessed he’d be the next coach at Indiana after Mike Davis said in February that he’d be leaving, Alford said nothing.

He kept his boss, his own players, Indiana’s players and fans of both Iowa and the Hoosiers confused.

He went through the rest of the regular season, the Big Ten postseason tournament and the first few days of the NCAA tournament without addressing the situation.

Then, when Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan made it obvious that Alford wasn’t going to be interviewed, Alford evidently went into shock. .

It turned out he could pout with the worst of them.

The next development saw Missouri athletic director Mike Alden –- of all people –- asking Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby if it could interview Alford.

“Sure, go ahead,” Bowlsby said.

I’m surprised Bowlsby didn’t say, “Hang on, I’ll put you through to Alford’s office right now.”

I’m still not sure if it was Alden or if it was Alford who initiated the Stevie Wonder-to-Columbia rumor.

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.

Then, the minute people heard that he was making himself available to the Big 12 Conference school, he said, “I’m not interviewing with anyone.”

No one except Indiana, that is –- which doesn’t want him.

No one except Missouri, that is –- which, for some silly reason, apparently still has him among its candidates.

Well, wait a minute on that.

If Bob Huggins, one of the biggest thugs in the coaching business, can get the Kansas State job and be happy in the ridiculous outpost of a place called Manhattan, Kan., I guess anything can happen.

Now back to Alford, who apparently intends to say no more about this unbelievable situation in which he's involved.

Iowa fans want answers, and they deserve to get them from a man who is looking like a fool.

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[Ron Maly is a four-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year and also is the best-selling author of "Tales from the Iowa Sidelines," which is in its second printing as both a hardback and softback book. The book is about the rich football tradition at the University of Iowa. Maly has a heck of a lot of fun doing what he's doing. Ron's columns about sports, newspapers, his family, medicine, travel, the people he knows, the people he doesn't know, a few people he'd like to know better, a few people he once knew and is trying to forget, a few people he has already forgotten, and anything else that trips his trigger appear regularly at and]