By Kwame JC McDonald
Teams and coaches winning in week 11 were PITTSBURGH (MIKE TOMLIN) 35, OAKLAND 3; CINCINNATI (MARVIN LEWIS) 31, BUFFALO 3; CHICAGO (LOVIE SMITH) 16, MIAMI 0; TAMPA BAY (KAREEM MORRIS) 14, SAN FRANCISCO (MIKE SINGLETARY) 0. The losers, in addition to Singletary, were INDIANAPOLIS (JIM CALDWELL) 14 to NEW ENGLAND’S 28, leaving the Black coaches with 4-2 for week 11. For the season, Black coaches are 35-28.
Individually, the Black-coached teams and their records are: CHICAGO 8-3, TAMPA BAY 7-3, PITTSBURGH 7-3, INDIANAPOLIS 6-4, SAN FRANCISCO 3-7 and CINCINNATI 2-8.
Minnesota fortunate to have Tubby
It is no surprise to those of us who have been Gopher watchers for 50+ years that it was necessary for a coach of TUBBY SMITH’s caliber to show up now, because it’s time for Minnesota to reclaim its former status in the NCAA basketball world. It’s ironic that the Puerto Rico Tip Off is the last time the Gophers had a top-drawer coach, CLEM HASKINS, in 1997.
The Gophers matched the feat of the 1996-97 team and can use the championship of the then-San Juan Shootout as a launching pad for a trip to the Final Four.
While this championship may not guarantee a trip to the Final Four, it certainly raises the excitement of a sports-crazy community whose passion has been threatened by the shortfalls in its college and pro sports teams such as its football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams.
It will be interesting to see if the likes of AL NOLEN, BLAKE HOFFARBER, TREVOR MBAKWE, RALPH SAMPSON III and RODNEY WILLIAMS can match the performance of Haskins’ group, which included such players as QUINCY LEWIS, BOBBY JACKSON, JOHN THOMAS, SAM JACOBSON and MILES TARVER.
Coach Smith’s deft handling of his players, the time clock, and very tough opposition such as North Carolina and West Virginia was a display of genius.
Now it is time for all of us — the fans, citizens, the university hierarchy and all of Minnesota — to give maximum support when we have a first-class person coaching and the recent hiring of a clearly first-class university president in the person of ERIC KALER.
C’mon, Minnesota, let’s get a university football coach of the same kind.
Kwame McDonald welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-398-5278.