Clem Haskins

Recent Articles

Gopher fans’ website doesn’t play fair

 

Some all-sports websites and fan “chat rooms” are as fair and balanced as Fox News. MSR Columnist Ron Edwards recently was double-roasted by readers on GopherHole.com, a pro-Minnesota college sports website. Edwards is regularly featured on the editorial page. His column on former Minnesota coaches Clem Haskins’ and Tubby Smith’s treatment as Gopher coaches (“Was it Tubby Smith’s fault?” March 27) got reposted on the site and drew seismic-like comments, some of which crossed the line of fairness. It’s unfortunate that many readers on that site totally missed Edwards’ main points: Black coaches, whether in Minnesota or elsewhere, are unfairly held to double standards unlike their White counterparts, and many U of M Black players left the school with bad tastes in their mouths. Continue Reading →

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Was it Tubby Smith’s fault?

Gophers miss 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament

 

A year ago this month, the Minnesota Gophers Men’s Basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament. The African American Head Coach, Tubby Smith, had retooled the team. It was on the move again. But even when 15-1, Star Tribune started a series of negative, anti-Tubby columns. To his credit, Sid Hartman didn’t agree (writing the day before Smith was fired that it would be a “big mistake by the Gophers”). Continue Reading →

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March madness continues

 

 

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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Had to watch Whitney Young beat Apple Valley on TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest high school boys’ basketball game of the year, and I couldn’t make it. Parent-teacher conference duties as a social studies teacher at a St. Paul public high school prevented me from attending the Apple Valley-Chicago Whitney Young matchup featuring the nation’s top-ranked player in JAHLIL OKAFOR (Whitney Young) and No. 4-ranked TYUS JONES (Apple Valley). Jones, the No. Continue Reading →

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Bobby’s back, and he’s not the same guy

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Bobby Jackson this week begins his first season as Minnesota Timberwolves player development coach.  He returns to the area where some of his greatest athletic exploits are well-documented. Jackson starred for two seasons at the University of Minnesota (1995-97), where in his senior year he was named the Big Ten’s top player and helped the Gophers reach the 1997 NCAA national semifinals. From there, the guard became an NBA draft pick and logged a dozen seasons (1997-2009) with six teams, including the Wolves (1998-2000), and was the 2003 NBA Sixth Man during his tenure with Sacramento. “I think I had a decent career at both levels,” says Jackson humbly. After retiring as a player, Jackson first became a scout, then an assistant coach at Sacramento for two seasons. Continue Reading →

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Another View Extra — Coaching Gopher basketball a career killer

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

 

Only two coaches in Minnesota men’s basketball history have ever led teams to a national championship: Clem Haskins won two NIT crowns in the 1990s, and Tubby Smith won the 1998 NCAA title at Kentucky. Both Black men have the most 20-win seasons: seven for Haskins and five for Smith. However, both men also have the dubious honor to have been fired at Minnesota. Despite a 511-226 career record in 22 seasons, Smith unfortunately is a victim of college sports’ “What have you done for me lately?” philosophy. “When you let a guy go with the character and the skill of Tubby Smith, you better have an idea of somebody who can turn things around, and I don’t know of any of the elite coaches [seeking the Gophers job],” says Washington, D.C. radio host Mark Gray.  “I don’t know what direction they are going, but you are trading a sense of value when you disrespect a guy who’s a Hall of Fame-caliber coach.”

Minnesota AD Norwood Teague thinks that the next coach will have an easier time than Smith did selling the idea to blue-chippers that playing in a “classic” Williams Arena, a place that only looks good when it’s full of people, is an urban hoopster’s dream. Continue Reading →

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Gophers fire a great coach rather than build a great team — Tubby’s gone. Who’s next?

 
 
 

Former U of M coach Tubby Smith was not fired last week but weeks earlier by the information bubble-blowing media. One knuckleheaded bubble-blower said on local sports radio a few weeks earlier that the only active Black coach to win a national championship “had no credibility.”

“We live in a state where we’re used to inconsistency and a lot of fair-weather fans,” notes former KFAN host Henry Lake. “They went all in emotionally when the Gophers got ranked eighth in the country, and when they started to struggle the fans got bitter… Also factor in the media pressure from certain individuals in town that built the momentum up and ramp it up for changes to be made.”

“I think [Smith] did a masterful job rebuilding a dead program in Minnesota,” says Washington, D.C. radio talk host Mark Gray.  

Gophers AD Norwood Teague, during his March 25 press conference following the announcement earlier that day of Smith’s firing after six seasons, claimed, “We made this decision based on an evaluation of the overall body of work.”

Then let’s look at Smith’s “body of work” and compare it to his three predecessors after their six years at Minnesota:

Tubby Smith (2007-12): 124-81

Jim Dutcher (1975-81): 108-61

Clem Haskins (1986-92): 89-90

Dan Monson (1999-2004): 100-86

Unfortunately, too many locals got Gopher-giddy when the team’s No. 8 ranking in early January ultimately didn’t mean Bo Diddly. Continue Reading →

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Walter Bond credits Clem Haskins with making men of boys

 

Before he became a big-time motivational speaker, Walter Bond played big-time hoops at Minnesota (1988-91) and played three NBA seasons. After an appearance last week at the North Community YMCA as the featured speaker at its business speaker series (Bond’s remarks are featured on the Metro page of this week’s edition), he told the MSR, “Clem Haskins was a phenomenal leader — he was the one who told me to be a motivational speaker. The one thing that I respect and love him for is [that] at age 18 he had an amazing impact on me not only as an athlete but also as a person. He turned me from a little boy to a man. He could do things that probably my dad couldn’t do because he had a different role.”

After he retired from basketball, Bond said he tried entering the business world but was routinely turned away. Continue Reading →

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Motivational speaker transfers NBA skills to the business world

Walter Bond teaches audiences the importance of connecting

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

After leaving the NBA, Walter Bond was told he didn’t have enough experience during his job searches. “We’re looking for someone with more experience,” he vividly recalls being told by interviewers who didn’t think playing against and with the world’s best athletes in both college and the pros qualified him for the business world. “You won’t find [any]one more experienced than me,” he told the interviewers. Looking back, Bond said that not getting hired was the best thing that could have happened to him. He has been a motivational speaker for over a decade, appearing before nearly 75 major corporations around the country and teaching his audiences around the world basic principles for success through speeches, workshops, and through his books and CDs. Continue Reading →

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HBCU Tennessee State plays Gophers here this week

Cupcakes — this is the insulting term local media often uses to undervalue, underestimate and margainize the Gophers men’s basketball non-conference opponents each season. Former coach Clem Haskins hated such annual references to his early-season schedule, which included at least one Historically Black College and University (HBCU) school each year. “Not only is it financially beneficial to them [the visiting team gets a guaranteed payout plus a portion of the gate receipts], but it also exposes them to a great city and a great atmosphere and Big Ten basketball,” explains Gopher Coach Tubby Smith on scheduling Tennessee State (TSU) at Williams Arena this Thursday at 7 pm. “That’s what we try to do on a yearly basis.”

Nearly 20 players who played at TSU, including Dick Barnett, Leonard “Truck” Robinson and Anthony Mason, were later drafted and distinguished themselves with long pro careers in the NBA. The late John McLendon, who learned and put into practice the fast break from James Naismith, won over 87 percent of his games as head coach in the 1950s. Continue Reading →

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