Tyler Smith, the Iowa basketball player for all of one year until Steve Alford left Iowa for New Mexico, had a fine year for an extremely fine Tennessee team last season.
Then he wanted to turn pro.
Then he got worked out and worked on on by an extremely persuasive person. That’s his current coach, Bruce Pearl.
Smith said he thinks he would have been a late first-round NBA draft pick. But mock drafts dropped him steadily into the second round. There’s no guaranteed money there. Pearl convinced him to stay at Tennessee one more season to try to work his way up to higher part of the first round of the 2009 draft.
Smith bought it. He was just named the Southeastern Conference Preseason Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, former Iowa quarterback and assistant coach Chuck Long is at the other end of the spectrum. His team is 1-6 after a 70-7 loss at New Mexico last week.
Nothing provides less confidence than a vote of confidence from an athletic director. Nonetheless, that’s what Long got from his AD, Jeff Schemmel.
Schemmel said Long will be his coach through at least the end of the 2009 season.
“He has done everything as well as any football coach I’ve seen during my 20 years (in collegiate athletics), with the exception of putting wins on the scoreboard,” Schemmel said, “and I believe he’ll do that.”
Long’s career record is 8-23. He inherited a lousy program, and it has remained that way. Long’s team has had a ridiculous number of injuries.
One of the reader comments on the San Diego Union-Tribune story about this didn’t concur with Schemmel.
“I for one would like to know what EXACTLY Long does ‘just as well as any coach’ Schemmel has seen in 20+ years. . . . Give us some specifics to back up the general comment. Otherwise it just seems like a hollow and desperate plea. . . . From Long’s very first year the marks of a well coached team have been missing (discipline, motivation, preparation, physical health). Sometimes I wonder if Schemmel is in cahoots with the professors who want to abolish the program.”