Sunday, December 09, 2007

An Open Letter To Bama Basketball Fans

(and you know who you are):

The media publishers and those who attempt to drive public opinion have begun to pay a great deal of attention to those Bama Basketball fans who have decided not to support Coach Gottfried. Some of you remain loyal to our team and to our program but you continue to express your lack of confidence in our coach. I respectfully request that you consider perhaps keeping that particular opinion to yourselves until after this season is over, because you are harming our program and not helping it at this point.

Those who read this site late last season know that I too had lost confidence in our coach. Here is a link to just one of my posts on the subject. My criticism was more direct in other posts both on this blog and some private boards where I participate. I would not have been disappointed if Coach Gottfried had been fired at the end of last season. Guess what, fans: He was not fired! It's time his detractors learned to live with that fact.

Coach Hudson (who certainly has forgotten more about basketball than I will ever know and who has given more to our University that most in the present generation can ever appreciate) and Coach Moore decided to keep CMG for another season. Whether we liked the decision or not, nothing we do now is going to change that established fact.

Here's another news flash for you: They are not going to fire Coach Gottfried in the middle of the season. Nothing we do or say is going to change that either. On the contrary, every time a fan complains this early in the season that our coach should be replaced, he or she can do nothing but hurt our team and our program.

Coach Gottfried is our coach this season. If you have showed up at any of our games then you know he is trying to correct some of his prior teams' most glaring problems. Should he have required nine seasons to learn those lessons? The answer to that question has no relevance at this point. He is our coach and he finally is trying to fix the things that have been broken.

As this past football season should have instructed us, these sorts of problems cannot and will not be fixed over night. The players who have been around for a while had learned one way of doing things. Now they are having to learn new and more correct ways. Those new habit patterns will not be learned over night or even in a single season. Assuming Coach Gottfried sticks to his guns and assuming that he now is teaching the proper techniques, habits and attitudes, theb we should see progress this season (rather than the digression of last season) and the real fruit of their efforts will begin to evidence itself next season.

I honestly do not know whether Coach Gottfried can and will right the Bama Basketball ship; but I hope he can and will and I intend to support him while he tries. I also intend to support the team while they try to take our program in a more positive and productive direction. They probably will have to sacrifice some short term success to achieve long term goals, but that is one of life's lessons they are supposed to be learning from their participation in our program.

So please, lay off of the coach bashing for at least as long as it takes to see whether Coach Gottfried really has learned his lessons and is willing to change enough to improve as a coach and as a director of this program. He is a good man who has done many good things for our program and our University. He has attracted good players and good citizens to our program. Unlike some coaches he has refused to accommodate the off-court antics that have damaged other very good teams and programs. He cares about his kids and graduates all of them who stick around. He has not sold the soul of or program to those among the AAU ranks whose only goals are money, power and prestige. He does not tolerate and under the table payroll as some others are reputed to enjoy.

Coach Gottfried can be very, very good for our kids and for our program if he is committed to making the types of changes he mentioned after last season's debacle. So far I believe I see evidence of it on the court when the kids are playing and my student friends tell me they have seen it in practices. So please follow your mother's instructions and if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all. If your present concerns turn out to be accurate, you've already made your point I will be more than happy to hear you say "see I told you so" for as long as you like. For now, your whining and complaining is harming the program you claim to care for.

Roll Tide!


Anonymous said...

Overall I think supporting CMG and the team during the season is a must, but at the same time I don't mind seeing a little pressure turned up on CMG and the program. Too often coaches use their security to allow laziness and if there is some public pressure it sends a message. Mark hasn't faced much public scrutiny in his 9 years on the job so I'm interested to see how he handles it. Some coaches product better results when they are being questioned. The key is to find that fine line between support and criticism.

Anonymous said...

I believe the pressure generated during the second half of last season is responsible for the changes we now are seeing. To quote Master Po from "Kung Fu" the movie, "Even the emperor's nephew should not punish an old man twice for the same offense."


Thanks for the feedback.

bobbyjack said...

Ditto RMHT... some pressure should be given, but not to the point of undermining the program. That happens too much in today's college game (football and hoops).