Friday Follies: Deficiencies, Omissioncies & Efficiency

Western Kentucky Hilltopper coach Ken McDonald was given his walking papers today.

Rumors that his firing was imminent have been floating about for weeks. I recall chatting about it in the press room before U of L’s W over the Toppers several weeks back. Not only was WKU losing a lot of games, but the buzz was that McD had a randy streak in him and was out and about a lot in not so big Bowling Green. (Not unusual gossip about local personalities on the downturn, but these were especially rampant.)

Plus the school showed its support in the off season by lowering his salary, to which he agreed in order to keep his job.

Coincidentally the team lost last night to Louisiana Lafayette, which won on a last second shot while the inattentive zebras allowed it to play 6 on 5.

Which coincidence allowed the incident some time on PTI this evening. During which Kornheiser vs. Wilbon you-are-a-stupid-ignoramus-smackdown, the two delightful pundits incorrectly zeroed in on last night’s gaffe as the main reason for the firing. As in, McDonald needed to be canned because he didn’t recognize the situation and protest to the refs.

I love TK and MW, watch them every night, but must now admonish them to do more homework. Last night’s provocation was apparently the last straw, allowing Western to do what it’s been wanting to do for awhile.

Roy Harper’s sitting in the first chair temporarily. Names I’ve heard thus far to get the spot “permanently” are Little Ricky Pitino, John Pelphrey, a return of Ralph Willard and Bellarmine’s Scott Davenport. Who knows, if they’re thinking old really school, perhaps they’ll bring back Coach Combover, Gene Keady?

* * * * *

There’s a hoops website called “The Basketball Dispatch” or something like that. It’s for statistics wonks, you know, erstwhile Bill Jameses for college hoops.

Anyhow, someone there who would portend to know what he’s talking about has developed a stat called Efficiency Impact. Which, I suppose, measures a player’s, duh, impact while on the court. It mixes in +/- numbers with other stuff.

According to this stat, Jared Sullinger is the most impactful player for his team in the country.

Number two is none other than Cardinal Russ Smith.

Of course, U of L fans don’t need no stinkin’ statistics to understand just how truly mediocre their favorite team would be this season if not for the instant offense, instant excitement, instant fearlessness that is #2 on their scorecards, but #1 in their hearts.

* * * * *

Loyal reader SmartGuy wrote, questioning some info contained in the NY Times obit of former Memphis State, UAB & UCLA coach Gene Bartow.

The paper said he was coach at UK for one day in ’85. That would have been after the tenure of Joe B. Hall ended.

SmartGuy couldn’t remember that. Nor, to be honest, could I.

So I wrote and asked Rick Bozich and Pat Forde what they recall? Forde must be stumbling from the Napoleon House to Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter in search of a unique angle to the LSU/ Bama game. Meaning he hasn’t responded.

Bozich vaguely recalls Bartow’s name being mentioned as Kentucky coach, also remembering the candidacy of Lute Olson. He doesn’t recall any announcement or publication of Bartow’s acceptance.

What is stunning is how different times are now than in ’85. Back then it was apparently possible for a really high profile coach like Bartow to take the super high profile UK job, if only for 24 hours, without a press conference or statement or press. How darn charming.

Anyway, rest in peace Gene Bartow, a decent gentleman by all accounts.

– Seedy K


  1. cbcard
    Posted January 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I nominate Pitino for the WKU job. Rick, not Richard.

  2. Margo
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 12:40 am | Permalink

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