Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Night Dessert: Bringing on the Summer Doldrums

Nebraska baseball swept Baylor this weekend, ending the most dismal season since John Sanders left. It's nice to end the season on a positive note, but it doesn't ease the disappointment. It's interesting to note how some fans have developed a sense of entitlement over the baseball program. If AJ the Huskerh8er hadn't thrown in the towel on his blog, he could easily have spent this entire spring flaming bandwagon fans who turned on Mike Anderson after last season's post-season meltdown and this season's poor record. Tom Osborne has a better perspective than the "Fire Mike" crowd, at least. It was a bad season, to be sure, but the only man to ever win a College World Series game at Nebraska deserves a mulligan.

So, baseball season is over. Husker softball ended their NCAA tournament run. Track and field is still going on, but other than that, we're now in the summer doldrums of college sports locally for the next three months or so. That doesn't mean nothing newsworthy is going to happen; just that there aren't any games to talk about. Football season is still 111 days away, so we'll be previewing things there. We should start seeing some closure on the Sarpy County boondoggle and Trev Alberts seems to be ready to make some things happen off-ice for the UNO hockey program.

Had some discussions this week about how Omaha could possibly work thorugh the objections of the Pacific Coast League towards the College World Series. Let's face it, the NCAA is unlikely to compromise here. I don't think the NCAA is going to support a noon Royals game before a series game in the evening. But there are other options available. Perhaps moving a series or two to Haymarket Park in Lincoln, if the Saltdogs were willing. Or doing what other sports do: play an unbalanced home schedule, and play those games on the road. If the PCL needs to schedule Omaha and Fresno in late June, move the games to Fresno. Do those options cost the Royals money? Absolutely, and the Royals would deserve compensation for that. But the more I think about it, the PCL's concerns over the CWS schedule is something that could be negotiated. That would require more give from MECA, which they have been unwilling to do. That also would require more give from the Royals, who simply don't need to compromise as long as Sarpy County is willing to give the Royals everything they want.

And right now, it sure looks like Sarpy County is going to do just that, which is going to make the whole argument moot.

KMTV-Channel 3's Travis Justice and's Fiona Quick keep insisting that former Lancers coach Mike Hastings is the favorite to be named UNO's next hockey coach. In both cases, the logic seems pedestrian at best: Hastings spent 14 years in Omaha with great success with the Lancers, leaving to position himself for the next level. But one year's experience at Minnesota somehow makes him the "favorite"? A candidate, of course. But making him the "favorite" without explanation is just plain simplistic.

Nothing wrong with Hastings per 'se. But the list of better qualified potential candidates started off long, and only grows longer. I've suggested former North Dakota coach Dean Blais (two national titles) and Boston University assistant David Quinn (defending national champions). Some other names have been added to the list. Former Lancer coach and current Air Force head coach Frank Serratore is one name. Former Lancer player and Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley is another. Former Mav assistant and current Minnesota-Duluth assistant Steve Rohlik as well. Bottom line is that there are so many coaches out there with better resumes than Hastings, I'm hoping one of those applies for the job.

Besides that, Mike Hastings told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he's not pursuing the UNO job. Maybe that's political speak; maybe Gopher fan doesn't like the idea of their assistants looking into other jobs. But maybe, just maybe, Hastings realizes he's not ready to be a D-1 head coach yet either.


Ryan the Angry Midget said...

Why would Hastings leave Minnesota for UNO? He's an assistant at a top hockey program, and as much as we love our Mavs, he could probably find a head coaching gig at a program with less baggage. I hope we get someone of his caliber, but I'm not holding my breath.

Husker Mike said...

Down the line, once Hastings gets more D-1 experience, he could be an attractive candidate. But right now, UNO should be able to find candidates with much better resumes than Mike Hastings. Lancer fans should not expect UNO to settle for Hastings in 2009. At least, not until the more attractive candidates (i.e. Blais, Quinn, Serratore, Rohlik, etc.) decline to be considered.

I think UNO can, should, and must shoot higher.