Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Who Wears the Pants in the Amaker Household?

Okay, I missed the Michigan-Ohio State basketball game yesterday, opting to see Zodiac instead. Some might argue that my sports fan card should be suspended for that. I'd point to the Big Ten men's basketball standings in my defense, which would've supported a case for a blowout that I had no obligation to watch.

(Sitting through almost three hours of Zodiac wasn't necessarily more fun. It's not that I didn't like the movie, yet I'm not saying I liked it either, so there's your less-than-enthusiastic endorsement. Drink some coffee beforehand, or get a Pepsi from concessions; there's a lot of sitting and talking. But I digress...)

So I didn't get to see Michigan get their hopes crushed by the Buckeyes yet again. (To even make such a comparison between football and basketball is silly, of course.) But it looked like a close one, at least according to the score I saw on my cell phone after the movie. The mantra from the home locker room at Crisler Arena, however, was "Coming close doesn't mean anything."

Tommy Amaker argued that his team deserved more, but I don't think he knows what he's really saying. As the Ann Arbor News' Jim Carty points out, if those seniors deserved anything, it was to have a better team built around them, and a coach who could teach them how to develop into better players. And Amaker never managed to do that in their four years at Michigan.

Yet probably the worst kept secret in Ann Arbor is that there will be no coaching change in the men's basketball department. Maybe Amaker did enough to save his job this week by beating Michigan State and fighting the #1 team in the country to a four-point margin. Some have said that the decision has already been made to keep Amaker, regardless of how his team finished the season. How is that possible? Well, such a decision might not have anything to do with basketball. Check out this nugget from Drew Sharp's column in today's Detroit Free Press:

"... fueling the coach's job security most is that he's the second-most-popular Amaker on campus. His wife, Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, is an associate dean of students who co-chaired a large university fund-raising initiative. She's a rising star in the academic community, something that's not lost on university president Mary Sue Coleman, who remains an advocate of diversity despite recent legal challenges.

Do you think she'll risk losing a highly qualified African-American female educator because her basketball-coaching husband hasn't fulfilled expectations?

Of course, you could write that off as speculation (and many would dismiss it because of the byline "By Drew Sharp"). However, it might also explain a few things. Bill Martin is getting a lot of negative feedback for the state of the men's basketball program, and maybe he's to the point where he might want to make a change, too. But what if it's not ultimately his call? If you're a Michigan fan (I'm not going to say "Michigan basketball fan" because that applies to a smaller readership), how infuriating is that?

And if you're Tommy Amaker, how big should your budget be for Valentine's Day, birthdays, and Sweetest Day? Maybe throw in something for Mother's Day too, just for the hell of it.

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  • At March 04, 2007 4:06 PM, Anonymous ripismoney said…

    I'm almost 95% certain Michigan will retain Amaker. It's unfortunate that he hasn't been able to get the program going. Despite promising outlooks and high hopes before the past two or three seasons, Michigan has simply failed to deliver. I did see the majority of the OSU-Michigan game, and was pleased with the way the players played. A few uncoachable mistakes were made in crunch time that inevitably cost the team the game, but Michigan played their hearts out.

    Amaker may not have lived up to expectations in his time at Michigan so far, but it seems like eventually the Wolverines would be able to get back on track under Tommy's care. It may take a few more years however, and one wonders how much longer Michigan will keep him on board.

  • At March 05, 2007 12:19 PM, Blogger Al said…

    I guess the U of M fan base, what's left of it anyway, have to accept the fact that Amaker is coming back.

    Thing is, if Amaker had coached in the past the same way he has the last few games (with a fire and desperation we haven't seen in his entire tenure) I think the fans would be more receptive to keeping Amaker. In my mind, it's too little, too late...

  • At March 05, 2007 6:39 PM, Blogger Mini Me said…

    What an amazing haircut...how do you even do that?

  • At March 09, 2007 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you want a guy who will continue to get you to a 22-12 record who runs a clean program, then Amaker's your guy. His team isn't mentally prepared to win. None of his teams are mentally prepared. Nor will they ever be. Look back to his teams at Seton Hall - talented but always played mediocre basketball the second half of the season.

    Look at what Bob Huggins did at Kansas State in his first year. He finished 4th in the Big 12 with a team that was 9th the year before. A good coach will beat you with inferior talent.

    Let's all remember that Rick Pitino was our first choice and his wife convinced him to turn us down because she didn't like the cold weather. And look what he did with a young team the second half of this year.

    There is no excuse to keep Amaker unless we are going to be satisfied with being a bubble to NIT team every year. Offer Mark Few from Gonzaga whatever amount of money he wants to come to Michigan.

  • At March 18, 2007 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    looks like u michigan fans are wrong. Tommy is out of there!!!!!Good man, great wife, mediocre basketball teams.


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