12.Jan.2010 Leave it to OSU to Extend the Contract…
of a coach who doesn’t want to leave.
Funny that the blogs and papers are spinning the move as brilliant. Yeah, brilliant if you’re a masochist who enjoys being pinned into a corner with your hands tied behind your back. Hey, maybe that’s your thing. But I digress.
The truth is that it’s short-sighted to call this a good move. The Beavers are now committed to Mike Riley for 9 years, and if he continues to reach the Las Vegas Bowl, Emerald Bowl, and Sun Bowl, well, tack on another year for each of those. Essentially this is a lifetime contract for a man who didn’t want to coach anywhere else. Such a scenario begs the question: what motivates Riley now?
Is it reaching a bowl game higher than the Sun? I guess you can make that argument. But I know quite a bit about human psychology, and the fact is that people lose their passion, fire, and motivation when they have security. Insecurity, the energy that comes from the unknown and unstable, fuels momentum and greatness.
Another argument I’m sure to hear is that stability is good for recruiting. Sure, that is true. But Riley was locked in for 6 years, which I consider a pretty stable situation. Why add 3 more before you have to or even know if you want to? Remember 2005? Each of us was calling for Riley’s head. It happens annually after the slow starts and bad loses. Say we have back to back years like 2005 and Bronco Mendenhall comes on the market, then what?
The bottom line is that in the world of athletics it’s never good to tie your hands for this long. Was signing A-rod a smart move by Texas? What about Giambi and Oakland? What about Beltran and the Mets? I pose this question: when has a ten year contract ever been a success? It’s always disaster, because things go wrong over long periods of time. In this case it was especially stupid. Why? Because you have the horse’s mouth saying he was never contacted by USC and would have rejected their offer had he been contacted. And shame on Riley if that isn’t true. That is, if he was contacted and used it as leverage. He knows the athletic department is strapped for cash, so to lie about being contacted and hold your athletic department hostage would be a cold negotiating tactic. Before you praise Riley for being a good, shrewd businessman think about that.
This entry will be archived and in a few years people will want Riley gone after some bad games/seasons and say, “Angry was right.” I take pleasure in little things like that, but I also take pleasure in being wrong when if it benefits the Beavers. Unfortunately, history hints that this signing will be disaster, and the beautiful thing about patterns like that is they are unbiased and simply do not lie. Of course, now I’ve set myself up to have to defend the Joe Pa argument. Oh brother.