Oddly enough, I wore my UB “March Madness” tee shirt today for the first time since game day in Columbus, when my wife and I headed to Ohio to watch our beloved alma mater take on West Virginia in the NCAA tourney (We brought our kid and stopped at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn, UB got off to a really slow start and lost, but it was fun).
It’s odd because, by now you’ve heard, UB men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley has accepted the same gig at Arizona State. I don’t blame him, even after he dropped the, “My heart is in Buffalo” line last week. He’s gotta keep recruits, he liked his job, and fellow Duke alum Jeff Capel was being tabbed for the ASU job, anyway.
No, among the only things that bother me about this whole idea is the folks acting like Hurley’s betrayed them. For hardline UB honks, I’ll pardon them a little bit on account of passion, but in looking into the Hurley to ASU rumors this morning, this Tweet popped up that perfectly encapsulated why he should leave (Besides the obvious “going to a place that lured James Harden”):
Yep, that’s a guy or gal begging Hurley to stay at UB… with a Syracuse logo as his icon. I think about Bobby Hurley reading that, and laughing. If he sees this Tweet down the road, with ASU and Buffalo replaced by UCLA and Tempe, it won’t be by a fan with a Northern Arizona Lumberjacks avatar.
For a long, long while people have asked me why I don’t take so much offense at our area’s love for Syracuse football and basketball. I’ve usually joked that it has to do with my many friends in local journalism who went to Cuse, but it’s almost always been bigger than that.
When I was in sixth grade, my lucky “under the hockey jersey” sweatshirt was Syracuse, and I wanted to play for Red Berenson at Michigan. I discovered the latter school watching Bowl Day games with the flu as a youngster, and the former when my cousin handed me down the shirt. I can never claim I was a Syracuse fan, so to speak, but I didn’t have a problem with them until I realized our area’s big support of them rings so counterproductive to growing this flagship institution at UB (let alone your choices of D-1 programs at Canisius, Niagara and St. Bonaventure). That same cousin from above took me to a UB football game during its first D-1 season, and I was like, “Cool, this will be my
awful team now.”
I understand that you can be a fan of multiple schools. I root for this entire area in college hockey, soccer and basketball (unless our Bulls are involved as the opposition). I don’t take any actual offense from the unnamed gentleman’s above Tweet, but I also don’t support it. It’s going to take a special coach to keep turning down better jobs because he’s rooted with UB. And they fired one of them to hire Hurley. So let’s not act wronged when we got we paid for (and part of that was a first tourney berth).
Also, as an afterthought, UB is going to be fine. For every thought you have about Coach X wasting Justin Moss, remember that Reggie Witherspoon fans had the same fears about Hurley and Javon McCrea. And those were only founded in the sense that it took Hurley another year and a different forward.
Now bring on Cherokee Parks and let’s start a punk rock era at Alumni Arena.
Other (real) names I’ve heard are worth considering: Jeff Boals, Turner Battle, Jamion Christian, Will Brown.