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MGB: Baker talks about why he waited to fire Tony Benford


Brett Vito
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1 hour ago, outoftown said:

I would like to thank Brett Vito for having followed up on this question.

Whether I like the answer depends on the future. Right now a lot of what he said sounds like the AD version of "coach speak" to me. If he is generally against mid-season changes that is not a disaster. But if he turns out to pair that with being too slow at the trigger even after the season, then that is a problem. I want to believe that he would not have given Benford a fourth , much less a fifth year, had he been here for all his tenure. So far however, I have not seen anything that makes me certain he would have. That said, the n is small so far. Softball -depending on how things go- might be the next test.

I can see that WB has organisational talent and he sure is communicating better than RV. But the Wren also needs to hold his coaches accountable, which will mean he has to be a mean man sometimes and so far -from the outside without seeing all the details-  it feels like he wants all coaches to think he is their best friend.

I don't see how you can make a statement about holding coaches accountable when he's only been here five months.  We have one example and he fired that coach the day after the season ended.  

Would Baker have given Benford a fourth or fifth year?  I don't think he would have hired him in the first place.  If we hire the next bball coach to a five year contract and struggles for the first three season, I believe Baker is smart enough to know the difference between someone who isn't getting the job done to someone who is rebuilding and it's just taking longer than we'd like for some reason.  The first example I believe Baker would let the guy go assuming there's money to do so.  The second I think Baker would stick with despite howling from some fans. 

Before ... someone ... pipes in to argue that there's no proof that Baker would fire a coach before the end of a contract ... remember that there's no evidence that he wouldn't.  However, I believe there's more evidence that he will make better hiring decision ... and better evaluations of coaches ... and hold hire expectations than we've seen around here in a long time. 

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2 hours ago, UNTFan23 said:

Would you agree he held Benford accountable for the season he just had?

I'm torn. If he truely believes that coaches should not be fired mid season no matter the W-L record but only if they mess up academics/ethics then in a way yes, he held him as accountable as he could. However, as somebody else pointed out, that also happened to be the safest play possible, with no feelable consequences of note for TB, and when the person in question feels no consequences, then that does not feel like accountability. In a way it is also a problem as now any future coach doing badly can point to this example and say: "well, you let Benford coach out his season, why not me. I believe I can turn it around!". In a way he has taken an option away from himself.

To me personally, I take note of this, and will determine its meaning depending on WBs future behavior. If he is consistent like this in the future, then he was truthful and methodical (altough we will probably still discuss the merrits of the method in the future). If he starts firing people in the middle of the season in the future, then he wasn't quite honest in this interview.

Edited by outoftown
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1 hour ago, NorthTexan95 said:

However, I believe there's more evidence that he will make better hiring decision ... and better evaluations of coaches ... and hold hire expectations than we've seen around here in a long time. 

There is more evidence?

Belief I can see, I'm curious what evidence there is of that.

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I looked this morning and found yet another article about how firing a coach in mid-season does not help the team, doesn't help recruiting and doesn't help the university find a new coach. As the article puts it, "But hey, at least the North Carolina State — or whatever school’s — fan base is happy an entire month earlier!"

I'm extremely happy for the transparency by Mr. Baker. He told us his reasoning in both not firing mid-season and why he didn't fire Bedford on first meeting him. I am quite happy that Baker does not get emotional and does a full analysis of a situation before just firing someone. And, yes, in some cases lack of support or other factors could be a reason a coach isn't winning. But that turned out not to be the case here but Baker couldn’t know that until he looked at the situation. 

I'm sorry, Army of Dad, but waiting till a contract is almost over and then telling the person they won't be getting a new contract is exactly how you hold a contract person accountable. First, a contract means you are no longer an "at will" employee. Secondly, unless someone does some really bad - steals, drunk on the job, etc - you let them finish out their contract. Having worked on contract from 1989 thru 2000, I have some personal experience in this. 

My favorite part of the article was the ending. 

Quote

“This is a job where you are trying to please a lot of people, but I wasn’t raised to try to try to please people,” Baker said. “I felt like the right thing for our kids and program going forward was to do what I said I would do and that was to evaluate at the end of the year.

“People can disagree with that and I can respect a difference of opinion,” Baker said. “I am friends with people who have different opinions on politics, religion and what is the best restaurant in town. I felt like it was the right thing to do and at no point did I feel like the safety of our student athletes was in jeopardy.”

Athletic directors don't just make decisions to please fans - even small but extremely loud groups of fans. People are free to disagree with the way Baker handled the situation, but the reality is Baker is the one who has to handle it and not loud, angry, over emotional fans.

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1 hour ago, VideoEagle said:

I'm sorry, Army of Dad, but waiting till a contract is almost over and then telling the person they won't be getting a new contract is exactly how you hold a contract person accountable. First, a contract means you are no longer an "at will" employee. Secondly, unless someone does some really bad - steals, drunk on the job, etc - you let them finish out their contract. Having worked on contract from 1989 thru 2000, I have some personal experience in this. 

Apology accepted. ?

"Secondly" that's not how it works in the sports world and you should know that. Coaches and ADs or GMs in the pros are fired as a normal course of business. They are rarely fired 'for cause' and you still owe them the money subject to the stipulations in the contract.

I sincerely hope you weren't as much a failure in one of your major metrics as Benford, but I don't think your situation is exactly analogous to the major sports world. 

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2 hours ago, Army of Dad said:

Apology accepted. ?

"Secondly" that's not how it works in the sports world and you should know that. Coaches and ADs or GMs in the pros are fired as a normal course of business. They are rarely fired 'for cause' and you still owe them the money subject to the stipulations in the contract.

I sincerely hope you weren't as much a failure in one of your major metrics as Benford, but I don't think your situation is exactly analogous to the major sports world. 

Never the less, the vast majority of coaches and GMs are allowed to finish seasons and are not fired in mid-season. There are many articles that looked at the statistics and show that in basketball, a mid-season coaching change makes almost not difference in wins and losses. And that fact is probably why most changes happen at the end of seasons, not during them. 

By the way, I didn't give you any down votes on your response! 

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8 minutes ago, VideoEagle said:

There are many articles that looked at the statistics and show that in basketball, a mid-season coaching change makes almost not difference in wins and losses.

Based off what I saw and overheard at home games this season I think there would have been a positive bump in the win column and we don't finish dead last, but probably get bounced in the first round of the conference tournament. 

We will never know for sure of course, but I think we would have improved the record some.

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13 minutes ago, Army of Dad said:

Based off what I saw and overheard at home games this season I think there would have been a positive bump in the win column and we don't finish dead last, but probably get bounced in the first round of the conference tournament. 

We will never know for sure of course, but I think we would have improved the record some.

While possible that we could have improved, the stats show it's unlikely. Replacing coaches just doesn't make much difference one way or another. But it could have happened! And on that note I'm off to get gas and probably by a lotto ticket! 

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17 hours ago, UNT90 said:

There literally is zero evidence that Baker will make a good or bad hire.

You know, because he has never hired any FBS level coach. 

I know people want to wish it so, but at some point you have to at least concede basic facts.

Then why do you keep claiming he is a bad hire and just carrying the torch that RV lit?  You can't have it both ways.

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3 hours ago, VideoEagle said:

Never the less, the vast majority of coaches and GMs are allowed to finish seasons and are not fired in mid-season. There are many articles that looked at the statistics and show that in basketball, a mid-season coaching change makes almost not difference in wins and losses. And that fact is probably why most changes happen at the end of seasons, not during them. 

By the way, I didn't give you any down votes on your response! 

Actually most coaches don't finish their contracts, they retire. move on, or get fired. A coach in the last year of his contract is a lame duck coach and it is really hard for them to recruit. Mid-season is a different story but that is now changing and the trend is getting stronger every year for mid season terminations. 

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19 minutes ago, KingDL1 said:

Actually most coaches don't finish their contracts, they retire. move on, or get fired. A coach in the last year of his contract is a lame duck coach and it is really hard for them to recruit. Mid-season is a different story but that is now changing and the trend is getting stronger every year for mid season terminations. 

Stronger how? That it is happening more often or that a midseason firing (in college basketball) actual makes a positive impact on the team?

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10 minutes ago, UNTFan23 said:

Stronger how? That it is happening more often or that a midseason firing (in college basketball) actual makes a positive impact on the team?

The trend is more often, I have not seen stats on college basketball with regards to firing the head coach mid-season and what the impact may be. Sorry if I was vague. I have found it for college football before and what I read talked about a positive pop in play for a few games if not the rest of the season. 

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9 hours ago, UNTLifer said:

Then why do you keep claiming he is a bad hire and just carrying the torch that RV lit?  You can't have it both ways.

Do you read? Or are you just trying to twist a narrative? Or are you trying to say an AD should be purely judged on coaching hires? ?

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“Generally speaking, mid-season coaching changes – other than making some fans happy – do more harm than good,” Baker said. “Less than five percent of coaching changes are made mid-season. It’s more destructive the constructive. It rarely greatly changes the trajectory of a season.”

 

I guess he doesnt know about "Lock the Gate"  Firing TD and having Chico as the interm was better for the program.

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Meh, not a big deal, imo. He fired Benford at season's end. The team struggled his entire tenure and we all knew the ship already sank. Firing him mideason wouldn't accomplish a whole helluva a lot. The staff had to have known their jobs were numbered as well.  One of them would've had to take over the dumpster fire. How enticing is that?

The right thing to do was fire him after year 3. That's where the AD failed miserably. 

Edited by Got5onIt
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