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 At what point do we recognize decline and do something? 
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Post At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
So here we sit nearing the end of another baseball season. The end of the regular season used to be greeted with excitement & hope, as baseball was the shining star of our mens athletic program. Unfortunately, the days of us talking about seeding in CWS regionals seem like ancient history, as the program has steadily and precipitously declined. Hell, I remember us talking seriously about making it out of a regional in 2009 before we found a way to shit the bed against Boston College & Army. An opportunity to actually escape the regionals while Texas was down has been missed. We've accomplished nothing since departing the Southland.

2017 so far: 23-23; 9-12
2016: 31-28; 16-14
2015: 24-32-1; 14-16
2014: 30-28; 16-16
2013: 29-29; 16-11 (WAC)
2012: 32-24; 19-14 (Southland)
2011: 41-23; 24-9 (Southland) - Our last appearance in CWS regional
2010: 38-22; 23-10 (Southland)
2009: 41-17; 24-7 (Southland)
2008: 30-27; 19-11 (Southland)

I didn't bother with end-of-season RPI, because that'll just be depressing.

It has become increasingly clear change is needed. We've all watched games be mismanaged. Player development and S&C appears to be a significant issue. At some point we have to ask exactly what is Harrington doing? At some point we have to acknowledge a program that has declined into mediocrity, and it cannot be explained away by saying competition around us has gotten better.

But the question that always comes up makes another appearance here: Will Larry actually do anything about it? Does he even care? Do we trust him to hire competence?

Essentially, for our baseball program, where do we go from here as we stare at another year floating around 0.500?

Quite honestly, I haven't seen much this season to give me hope for the future.

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Wed May 03, 2017 9:28 am
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
No culture of winning in SM . . . And no desire to implement a culture of winning.

A winning, not whining Larry, though you're pretty good at that . . . Culture starts at the Top, with the (so called) Leaders of the institution. The current "leaders" seem content with the year in, and year out, Mediocre Results that we routinely produce.

Until there is new leadership, committed to developing a culture of winning, and holding those in the Athletic Department accountable for producing a product that students, fans, and Alum can be proud of, we will continue to get what we've always gotten: Mediocrity.

DISCLAIMER:

Any winning that may have occurred in the past in SM was coincidental and unintentional. It in no way reflects the views, feelings, and/or philosophy of those presently in charge of Bobcat Athletics, where "gettin' by be good enuff."

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Wed May 03, 2017 11:09 am
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
The question is: what specifically has caused the decline. And since it's likely multiple things, what were the biggest contributors and who, if anyone, was most at fault.

I can see 3 primary factors likely at work here:
1. Mismanagement by coaching staff
This is obviously a factor at some level and the one factor that you can blame specific individuals for. The question is how much of the decline was caused by this factor compared to the next couple I'm about to spew off which nobody can really be held accountable for. That's for Teis to decide. Even if it's decided that this is the primary factor, would LT pull the trigger on any changes anyway? In my opinion, which I know is shared by many, Teis himself is responsible for the multitude of issues we have across all our athletic programs, but that's another topic we've discussed a million times.

I think our biggest weakness from the coaching staff's perspective from 2011 to now is recruiting and development as BG noted. Our new guys started to fail the eyeball test around 2012 (Kevin Sah, JD Stinnett, Matt Smith, Preston Dorsey, Taylor Bailey, Matt Sanchez). JD Stinnett was an opening day starter as a freshman in 2013 at 5-9 160lb and didn't even make the 2014 roster. Probably because he slugged .248 and had 2 extra base hits all year. Surprising a guy of that size didn't have more power, eh? Some of the offensive players we brought in during 2014 physically looked like HS sophomores. Taylor Bailey was listed as 5-9 145lb. 145 lbs!!!!! Not surprisingly we couldn't hit worth a damn in 2015. But we could pitch. Then we began to over-recruit hitters and neglect pitching. Now in 2017 we can hit but we can't hold anybody under 6 runs to save our lives.

I don't see much physical development typically from when a guy arrives to when a guy leaves either. I look at guys like Cody Lovejoy, Granger Studdard, Tanner Hill, Ben McElroy, etc. and wonder how they haven't appeared to have gotten in better shape through the course of their careers here. I'm not sure if the team has any kind of strength and conditioning program at all, but it has to be half-assed at best if there is one at all. Paul Goldschmidt left TXST looking like a pudgy lazy guy who could really hit and is absolutely jacked now with the Diamondbacks. No reason he couldn't have looked closer to how he does now when he was with us if he was in a serious S&C program.

2. Harrington's sickness
I really don't think this can simply be overlooked. Yes, the beginning of the decline happened while Harrington was healthy. But our only losing season during the entire stretch is the season Harrington missed the entire season. Losing a head coach for an entire season has a big impact on the program not just that year, but for years to follow as well. He was sick enough to have to pretty much completely leave the program altogether for an extended period of time. Some type of consideration must be made as to what long-term effect that had on the program. 2016 may not have been a season up to our standards, but it sure was an improvement over 2015. I'll also throw Teis a bone here, which I rarely do. Firing a guy for performance who missed an entire year of work trying to stay alive and get healthy can't be an easy thing to do.

3. Conference Instability:
I also don't think it's a coincidence our decline started at the same time we began transitioning between conferences. And not just 2 conferences, but 3 separate conferences in 3 years. We lost all familiarity with our old conference opponents we were used to playing and lost all the familiar road trips we were used to taking. We had to play a bunch of new opponents out on the west coast in strange ballparks we had never been to before in the WAC in 2013 then instead of getting to play those guys a 2nd time around we picked up and moved to the Sun Belt to start playing a whole new group of strangers. While the WAC may not have been a huge jump up from the Southland, some consideration also has to be made to the step up in competition when we entered the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt isn't the ACC or Big 12 or anything but we weren't facing Louisiana's and South Alabama's and now defending national champions in the Southland either. Some decline probably should have been expected during the transition, particularly to the Sun Belt, I'm not sure it should have been as big as it has been.

To me you really have to balance the 3 factors above and ask yourself is factor 1 the primary and determining factor that is mostly responsible for the decline? Where would we be right now if we never left the Southland (ugh) and Harrington never lost his health?

To answer your question as to if I trust Teis to make a competent hire. Absolutely not.
While I'm more pleased with the last couple hires (Withers, Kaspar) there have still been too many Wright's and Davalos's for me to feel comfortable. At this point when a head coaching vacancy needs to be filled I think it's best to hire a search firm and utilize their recommendations. I don't trust Teis to make those decisions on his own.

And as for your last sentence about hope for the future:
I disagree some there. We only have 3 seniors on the roster (Powell, Courville, Atwood) and really only one guy that I think has any reasonable shot at getting drafted (Hoffman). Both pitching and hitting should be better in 2018 unless we lose a lot to attrition which has happened before. Maybe someone will read this and decide someone aside from just Hoffman should get in shape this offseason....


Wed May 03, 2017 11:41 am
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
Bobcat87 wrote:
Any winning that may have occurred in the past in SM was coincidental and unintentional. It in no way reflects the views, feelings, and/or philosophy of those presently in charge of Bobcat Athletics, where "gettin' by be good enuff."


There sure seems to be some truth to this.

There has been some subtle comments from both Withers and Kaspar that lead me to believe they aren't fully supported by the administration to a level required to be truly successful (Withers just said a few weeks ago they surprised people in the athletic dept. and "came in swinging" at them as well as the players).

Harrington has been here so long he's probably accepted the way things are in the administration offices at this point unfortunately. Withers and Kaspar seem to have the mentality they are going to do what it takes to be successful no matter what. I'm not sure Harrington still has that at this point in his career. If he did we would maybe have locker rooms and offices at the ballpark by now.


Wed May 03, 2017 11:55 am
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
I'm glad x jumped on this. Our program's struggles are complex, which is kind of why I threw this out here. The causes are a little beyond simple coaching.

The player development issue is beyond frustrating for me. We've got a mix of scrawny & out-of-shape kids that haven't physically matured at all since high school. I really don't understand how that happens. Goldy's success after the program clue me in that it is a coaching problem, and a significant one at that. Not saying he should have been MLB shape, but I do think failing to better develop him physically caused us to leave some chips on the table while he was here. You look at a number of other teams in our conference, and their players actually look like adults.

Harrington's sickness is where I've gone back & forth the most. I've seen personally how a prolonged illness of a leader in a professional work environment can affect job performance of the rest of the staff, and even after that person's return there was still a lull. I imagine that is even worse when it involves athletic performance in which emotion can have a huge influence on outcomes, and where the leader has such a pronounced instructional and strategic role. Plus, you're dealing with college students that are still maturing. At the same time, I think the performance issues transcend illness--that more is at play and that it is a result of coaching quality. I would give Teis a pass for exactly what you said--firing a guy over performance that a year prior was just trying to stay alive is something I don't think I'd be capable of doing without having more water pass under the bridge. Except that I tend to doubt that played any role in how Teis considers Harrington.

Conference bouncing plays some role, but to me it can only explain away maybe a few extra losses a season initially. We're in our 4th Sunbelt season now, so that reason has lost a good bit of steam even with the increased competition. We should be playing to that competition by now, yet here we sit much closer to the cellar than most of us would've imagined years ago. We've gone from complaining about other teams dragging down our RPI to becoming the team that others complain about.

Teis is a substantial part of the problem. Even for the Davalos' & Wright's of the world, I'm a bit curious how they would've performed with a different athletic director. Even Fran, for that matter. Would Kaspar have found success faster? Withers & Kaspar are clearly ready to take on support issues with the AD, but I doubt Harrington has the fire in his belly to do that at this point in his career.

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Wed May 03, 2017 12:25 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
I know that the initial post had to do with "fixing the Baseball Program."

But to me, it's not that simple . . . There's far more wrong with TXST Athletics than just the visible decline of the Baseball Program. It's a systemic issue, and therefore; I believe, impossible to "fix" baseball independent of addressing the larger issues plaguing Bobcat Athletics.

You may achieve limited/temporary success, but in the current environment, you won't achieve the goal of building a sustained winning program that garners the kind of attention we all wish it had . . . Say that of a Rice . .

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Wed May 03, 2017 2:15 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
I am ready for a young energetic coach. We need some freshness. Is that an appropriate term.

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Wed May 03, 2017 7:30 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
baseball may never be the same again, if Goldy and Donnie Hart,Carson Smith,Martinson, Kubitza,McVaney,Mattlage and all of those pitchers drafted between the 08'-13' time frame to go on to the AA or AAA couldn't put or keep us on the map I don't have an answer to what can or will

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Last edited by Bobbumman on Thu May 04, 2017 1:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Thu May 04, 2017 1:24 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
bleed gold wrote:
2017 so far: 23-23; 9-12
2016: 31-28; 16-14
2015: 24-32-1; 14-16
2014: 30-28; 16-16
2013: 29-29; 16-11 (WAC)
2012: 32-24; 19-14 (Southland)
2011: 41-23; 24-9 (Southland) - Our last appearance in CWS regional
2010: 38-22; 23-10 (Southland)
2009: 41-17; 24-7 (Southland)
2008: 30-27; 19-11 (Southland)


well for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction that in which is the softball team.

2005: 26-27 (southland)
2006: 34-22 (southland)
2007: 32-26 (southland) #87 RPI
2008: 35-18 (southland) #72 RPI
2009: 40-18 (southland) #67 RPI
2010: 29-29 (southland) #92 RPI
2011: 33-25 (southland) #73 RPI
2012: 39-17 (southland) #43 RPI
2013: 18-38 (WAC) #175 RPI
2014: 26-30 (SBC) #110 RPI
2015: 32-21 (SBC) #67 RPI
2016: 40-22 (SBC) #42 RPI
2017: 38-11 (SBC) #30 RPI with 3 extemely winable games left in regular season play, 5 very winable games cancelled, conf and regional play also remaining

**With Rupp and Quincy pitching we have a serious chance to crack 45 wins (Woodards teams' batting for average has only become worst over the years it seems and she still finds ways to win)

in the last 2 decades I can only FIND that Woodard has fallen outside the top 100 RPIs 2 seasons (we'll call those rebuilds after the classes that put together 79 wins between the 2009 and 2012 season graduated)

Woodard took 2 seasons to rebuild (13-14') and the last 2 seasons she has put together what might be the highest ranked division 1 season of any of our major varsity sports in the history of our school

**Until softball or volleyball falls off the deep end I won't get too worked up over the baseball or basketball results. I was a huge fan or our baseball program, one of my favorite past times being the rainy Oregon series sweep in 2012. It was als really cool to have watched all of those 51/52 straight scoreless innings pitched by our staff even though our hitting was below average that 2012 season.
Admittedly, I fell of the baseball wagon about around the time that SFA knocked us out from going to regionals in 2012 with the pitching that was made for a super regional or cws run that year

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Thu May 04, 2017 1:25 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
Bobbumman wrote:
the time that SFA knocked us out from going to regionals in 2012 with the pitching that was made for a super regional or cws run that year


Thanks a lot, asshole. I worked hard to block that out of my mind.

To the whiskey cabinet...

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Thu May 04, 2017 4:32 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
Yeah, me too!


Fri May 05, 2017 11:40 am
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
I am willing to give it one more year after this one before I start banging the drums for change. I am willing to give a partial pass for all that has gone on with the program over the past few years. My other concern is trusting Larry to find somebody better. While baseball isn't living up to expectations, its our only program of the big 3 that hasn't been an overall dumpster fire over the last decade. Got a young up and coming coach on the hook? I'm all ears. If it's another "nationwide coaching search" to find one of Larry's fishing buddies a job, Ill stick with Harrington.


Fri May 05, 2017 12:25 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
LT Spider wrote:
Got a young up and coming coach on the hook?


Look in the dugout. Steven Trout is already in there. Look at the dramatic turnaround our hitters have had since he showed up. He is not long for this school.


Fri May 05, 2017 12:37 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
I wanted Harrington gone 3-4 years ago. He is an awful coach. Even when we did have really good players he would over manage games. Any time we were in a big game he would be so worked up that our players never played loose.

Larry will never get rid of him. We are stuck with a sorry team until Harrington retires.

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Mon May 08, 2017 7:41 pm
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Post Re: At what point do we recognize decline and do something?
Something tells me Harrington is gone after this year. Maybe next. I don't like saying this, but his illness did buy him some time.

Anyone have any thoughts on who would be a good replacement?


Tue May 09, 2017 3:18 pm
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