‘What is it with introducing football coaches at basketball games, anyway?’ A second opinion
Feast your eyes, ladies and gentlemen—this here sports column has moved over from the right to the left side of the Spectator homepage for your reading pleasure. It’s number one of many for this first semester, so let’s get to it with A Second Opinion.
At the men’s basketball game on Saturday night, I was surprised by something that probably shouldn’t have caught me off guard as a Spec Sports writer. It wasn’t Mark Cisco’s 20 rebounds, it wasn’t the blisteringly loud PA system music. In fact, it really didn’t have to do with the basketball game at all.
Midway through the second quarter, it was announced that the Lions’ new head football coach, Pete Mangurian, would speak at halftime.
I’ve always thought that the practice of having a new football coach talk to the crowd the half at a basketball game is somewhat awkward—mostly because, among other things, basketball ≠ football. And shouldn’t we be focusing on basketball (or any of the various other winter sports) in January anyway?
The thing is, for whatever reason plenty of colleges and universities do this—college football juggernaut Ohio State did it a few weeks ago to introduce Urban Meyer. Of course, there wasn’t the same kind of fanfare in Levien on Saturday as there was in Columbus, but nevertheless I think Mangurian gave everyone a pretty good idea of his attitude going into the 2012 football season.
The past is dead—Mangurian killed it
I thought Mangurian said a few striking things, but maybe none more than this statement when talking about the losing culture of Columbia football:
“It is over, it is done. We had the funeral Monday night, it is finished,” Mangurian said, in what could perhaps be regarded as an allusion to Jesus.
Regardless, this is exactly the type of attitude the Lions need to adapt, if you ask me. I’ve written it before—the Lions have a very unfortunate tradition of losing.
By and large, I am an advocate for looking to the past to try and bring back the glory days and evoke a sense of pride. But what do you do when there isn’t anything close to a winning foundation?
Well, I say you throw the baby out with the bath water—exactly Mangurian’s approach.
“When you come to the games, leave all that baggage of what happened the last 50 years outside the gates,” Mangurian said.
That was his request of students for coming to football contests next fall. I’m happy to oblige, as long as they start developing a winning culture in the next few years. He wants to use the “W” word around here, and so do I.
However—and I figure this isn’t the last time I’ll write this—I’m going to need to see consistent, tangible progress for me to have any faith that the process is working.
It’s just my Cleveland nature.
But you know something else, from everything I’ve seen, heard and/or read about Mangurian so far, he seems like he has zero tolerance for bull—whether it comes from his players, assistant coaches, and based on his, “You already got your Mulligan,” comment to the band, I think that extends to the fans as well. Maybe even me!
In a sort of backward way, I think I really like that. I respect a man that demands my respect, you know? And if he demands my respect as a fan and a writer, imagine the kind of respect he demands from his players. That’s why I sincerely think he’ll quickly get his team going on the right track.
Look, no one can dispute the fact that there are so many apathetic—at best—students on the subject of sports around these parts. And time will tell whether or not we’ve got the football coach to bring the first Ivy title to Morningside since 1961.
But when it comes to getting people fired up about a season that’s nine months away during halftime at a men’s basketball game?
Pete Mangurian has got it in the bag.
Myles Simmons is a Columbia College sophomore. He’d like to see the Giants win the Super Bowl this year because he’s from Cleveland and they don’t win Championships there. Trust him, you’d want to see at least one victory parade before you die, too.
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