I think I don’t know what to think about this baseball firing

It is only Tuesday and the Mavericks are having a pretty big news worthy week for mid-July.  Former track athlete Sami Spenner competed in the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials over the weekend, the men’s soccer season-ticket scarves are out, men’s basketball landed a local commit, oh, and the baseball coach was fired at what seemed to be random.

Weird is the only word that really came to mind when I heard about the Bob Herold firing.  After the first year of being post season eligible, the timing just seemed completely off for a coach who seemed to be completely thrilled with the challenges of becoming a growing project of a division one baseball program, even though Herold was in his 60s when the transition was announced.

One of the things of what seemed so off about the firing was that this did not appear to be anything in relation to Herold’s performance as a baseball coach.  Herold’s .464 winning percentage since transition was the second highest at UNO behind (now former) softball’s Jeanne Scarpello out of the Maverick coaches that lasted at least 4 seasons.  Herold also guided his program to two regular season championships in his first two seasons of officially being in the Summit League.

In no way do I think that women’s soccer coach Don Klosterman or volleyball coach Rose Shires should be let go, but neither have had the success that Bob Herold had at UNO since transition.  Granted, Herold had just a little more time to adjust to division one with his program being a spring sport.  Let me say it again, in no way do I think Klosterman or Shires should be let go.

I admit that when I heard of the firing my brain immediately went to the route of: they must have some new lofty goals with the spring sports.  This is what my Creighton basketball loving/Husker football loving/Husker basketball hating friends have conditioned me for.  I’m not saying they were right or wrong, but when Nebraska made the move to the Big 10 and Pinnacle Bank Arena, those friends presumed that Doc Sadler was going to get fired only because Nebraska “wanted to start fresh.”  He got fired, so maybe they were right.

With the only UNO coaches with wins over Creighton or Nebraska now out as head coaches, either by choice or not, I wondered if the pressures of division one became too much with administration expecting more out of each program wanting to build more revenues for a new baseball/softball complex in the works.  Or, if in Herold’s case, Trev Alberts saw Coastal Carolina of the Big South win the NCAA baseball championship among a field that was scripted to be nothing but ACC and SEC teams, and thought to himself that with a few tweeks, UNO baseball could be right there.  Actually UNO has been literally in that stadium where Coastal Carolina, but you get it.

I didn’t spend much time thinking if the pressures became too much for baseball and softball, both coaching staffs knew what they were getting into when transition happened, but both baseball and softball lost their first Summit League tournament games in dramatic fashion after having late leads.

This is what my brain had to paint a picture of since the few initial reports were basically just: Coach fired just because, interim guy could be fun…

The baseball/softball complex comes to mind because it is something that UNO threw into some future renderings of the university that still have not come about.  Also, when I was on Student Government and Trev was new to the job, he came and asked us why students weren’t going to sporting events and I had to tell him that I really liked UNO sports but I seriously had no idea where the baseball team played.  Like, I knew it was off campus and probably in Boys Town, but I had no idea how to get there.  Then everyone in Student Government awkwardly nodded their heads in agreement.   I think I actually went some time assuming UNO did not actually play some of their baseball games and that the UNO coaching staff just called another MIAA or NCC coaching staff and agreed on some stats over the phone and flipped a coin for wins.

Still, who wouldn’t want UNO to have a new baseball/softball complex?  I’d much rather go to a baseball game near the Aksarben area where UNO fans could potentially tailgait.  Or go to a softball game and not worry that I am going to get a flat tire or have a high chance of having my car’s windshield smashed in with little league softball and baseball games surrounding the entire parking lot.

The interim tag on Evan Porter added even more mysteriousness to the situation.  We’re only a few weeks separated from the 2016 season and the 2017 play does not start until late February; so why officially name an Interim Coach when interested candidates could be sending in their resumes to UNO in the following weeks?  Hell, I wondered if some big name available baseball coach called Trev Alberts and asked if he had any openings just to mess with Trev’s head.  It just seems odd with no interim tag being placed on any softball coach.  Sitting on this took away some of my initial thoughts that Alberts just had someone out there in mind that he wanted to throw a job offer to right away.

Then later in the day, there is some reporting mixed into this that Herold had an altercation with a player on the team bus after a loss to Nebraska.  Which seems like it is really nothing since the firing came exactly two months after the loss.  Athletic Administrations have to do actual investigations into these instances, which apparently take up a lot of time.  So maybe that did play a role in the firing, but Herold always came off as one of the nicest and well spoken coaches at UNO, so as a fan it is not something I can really put a lot of weight into until someone in athletics says that is exactly why the firing took place.

 

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Summit League Men’s Soccer Blind Resume Game

So even though the men’s basketball team is heading to Italy, we are still still a few months away from the regular season; but hey UNO has other sports to keep me from debating a chemically induced coma to ride out the wait until mid-November.

My wife and I recently took a much needed 10 day vacation, half of it was in Portland and the other half was in Vegas.  While we were in Portland, our friends were talking a lot of Portland Timbers talk and I just stood there and did the smile and nod to pretend to know that I knew what they were talking about.  A majority of our friends in the Northwest are Washington State alumni and fans, so they absolutely hate the University of Washington and I have jumped in that circle of hate (for the conformity).  Since the Cougars do not have a men’s soccer team, I have allowed them to join in on the Mavericks soccer bandwagon.  They were actually pretty satisfied to join the Mavericks bandwagon since UNO plays an exhibition against their bitter rival Washington Huskies.  We have a few more fans!

I know very little about soccer.  I sit there and watch it, and I am generally pretty entertained, but I am a lot like a woman trying to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron as her first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Offense?  I do not understand how to formulate an offense in soccer.  Whenever I have played open soccer, my strategy is to just kick it the ball in that one direction that gets less people getting mad at me.

So instead of being that guy that opens the hood of his car and pretends to know what he is doing until breaking his pride realizing that his man card is about to expire, I am just going to throw out some blind resumes and hope for the best here.

In the 2014 season: Denver, Omaha, Oral Roberts, and Western Illinois all tied for the regular season championship.  Denver won the conference championship, but how about we take a look to see if anyone can overthrow them as Summit League champions by looking at the blind resumes of those four teams based on some 2014 statistics. Aside from these four teams, IUPUI looks like they can actually be pretty good this season.  I based that on very little.

If you were a die hard fan, you probably already know who all of these teams are, so yeah, I am dumb.


Team 1-

RPI: 91

Overall Record:  11-8-1

In 2014, they had 6 All Conference players, one of which was on the 1st Team.  Of those six players, they are losing 2 of those players.  If you are keeping track, they are returning four 2nd Team players.

Best RPI win was against # 55, and they also had a win against # 57.

Worst RPI loss was against # 146, also lost to # 142.

Goals on the year: 32 (1.6/game)

Opponents Goals:  25 (1.25/game)

Steaks:  3 separate two game winning streaks


Team 2-

RPI: 99

Overall Record: 10-5-2

In 2014, they had 5 All Conference players, three of which were on the 1st Team.  Of those five player, they are losing three of those players.  They will be returning one 1st Team player and one 2nd Team player.

Best RPI win was against # 91, also had a tie with # 55.

Worst RPI loss was to # 166.

Goals on the year: 25 (1.47/game)

Opponents Goals: 18 (1.05/game)

Steaks:  3 separate three game winning steaks


Team 3-

RPI: 117

Overall Record: 9-7-3

In 2014, they had 5 All Conference players, four of which were on the 1st team.  Three of those players have graduated.  They will be returning one 1st Team player and one 2nd Team player.

Best RPI win against # 99

Worst RPI loss to # 189

Goals on the year: 22 (1.15/game)

Opponents Goals: 18 (0.95/game)

Streaks: 6 game winning streak (all shutouts), 2 separate two game losing streaks


 

Team 4-

RPI: 143

Overall Record:  8-8-2

In 2014, they had 2 All First Team Conference players, both of which have graduated.

Best RPI win was against # 76.

Worst RPI loss was to # 183

Goals on the year: 24 (1.33/game)

Opponents goals on the year: 25 (1.38/game)

Streaks:  4 games in a row without scoring a goal (3 losses, 1 tie).  3 shut out wins in a row


Based on this very little amount of information, I would have to say Team 1 is the favorite, but there is also very little information because I know very little…

 

 

 

 

 

I do not get why you still got beef on Trev

The UNO Mavericks hockey team made their first Frozen Four appearance.  UNO Men’s soccer tied for a regular season Summit League championship.  UNO baseball won a pair of regular season Summit League championships.  UNO volleyball has improved their record each season in the transition period.  UNO softball can compete with just about any team in the NCAA.  UNO men’s and women’s basketball are both still growing and gearing up to be at the top of the Summit League.  A brand new arena in Aksarben is being built to be the centerpiece of a strong foundation of the UNO athletics program.  Also, a few of the UNO teams are competing nationally with ranking their teams with some of the highest team GPAs in the NCAA.  With all of this, there are still people who claim they will never support UNO athletics as long as Trev Alberts is involved.

The transition to a higher status in athletics came with a great price, the price of UNO’s football and wrestling programs, and this did not sit well with many Omahans and it still does not sit well with many.  Much of the controversy surrounds around the fact that he cut the wrestling program after three straight national championships, and I totally agree that one is a hard one to still process.  Still, the overall decision to make the transition to division one came with several mixed emotions.

The feelings of the Omaha community thinking that the Mavericks should go division one started long ago.  When I was in high school we would always talk about it.  Imagine if they did it, what would it be like?  The basketball team could play in the Civic (we were so young and naive).  The baseball team could definitely take recruits away from Nebraska and Creighton, those guys that want to play right away would come to UNO.  How fun would it be to add a third team to the instate rivalry?  Oh, and what if Kear…never mind.  We were high school kids, we just thought of the positives if it were to happen, we never thought of the negative consequences.

The same thing happened while I was in college.  My friends and I would ask ourselves, will they ever become division one?  The Mavericks certainly have the resources to do it.  Obviously though we were not looking at any of the financial aspects of it, we were mainly looking at it in terms of a fine sports culture in the Omaha metro.  If the North Dakota and South Dakota schools could make the transition, then why could the Mavericks not do it?  Those were the questions we really sat around and debated as young college studs.  I mean young college students…students.  My sophomore year I was in an English course, and one of the assignments was an argumentative paper that you would eventually have to present to the class.  There were two softball players that wrote about the possibility of UNO becoming division one and what impacts that would have on the university.  Those girls knew that it would mean UNO would have to sacrifice post season play, and they were completely for it.  It was a five page paper, so it is not like those girls put together a bunch of financial charts and did as much investigation as a professional staff would have put together, so they did not really think that cutting a program or two would have been a part of the conversation.

After the university lost an Athletic Director, who you could sum up his tenure at UNO as “did not give a shit” after trying to get the program back in the green after a scandal that embarrassed the athletics department, the search for a new person in charge started.  There were some names thrown around, nothing really all that exciting, but how exciting could a Division 2 Athletic Director search get?  When Husker legend Trev Alberts’ name came up as a possibility, interest grew around that.

Alberts is a bit of a household name in the state of Nebraska, he is kind of a big deal.  When he took interest in being the Athletic Director at UNO, the people around here listened, and they thought he was trying to gear up to be the next Athletic Director at Nebraska.  From what I heard from other employees at UNO, Alberts was the only one who actually got an official interview for the job, it was just his if he wanted it from the second he took interest.  When he officially took the job at UNO, there was buzz around the athletics department for the first time in a long time.

When Alberts made the announcement that the Mavericks were headed to division one, some were in shock and others thought it was about freaking time.  When those people heard that the football program and the back to back to back championship wrestling program would be cut though, more came to be in shock than anything.  Many of positive feelings for Alberts turned negative.  How dare he?  Where does he get off?  Who does he think he is?  Not only were people critical of the decision to cut wrestling and football, when people heard the programs were being cut they automatically tried to turn him into the emperor and claim he must have forced Mike Kemp out.  Basically, Trev could do no right in the eyes of some.  If you think Trev was a just a prick 24/7, he is not.  He engages with students when he has the time, he engages with fans and boosters, which is something you will see from any Athletic Director.  He has a little fun with all the negative things people say about him too.  When there was a career fair for student employees in the newly renovated HPER building, he jokingly came in and asked for an application because he may be out of a job soon.

There were some people that wanted Trev’s head.  They claimed he always had it out for wrestling, that he had an agenda from the second he walked on campus, and he does not actually care about the UNO Mavericks, he just cares about his giant ego.  That concept of being upset with someone for that should irritate you.  Of course Trev had an agenda, but just because he cut two programs does not mean that was his intention from day one.  His agenda was to be a successful Athletic Director and to have an athletic department that the university could be proud of for their on the field achievements as well as their off the field achievements.  If you ever take a business class at UNO, one of the first things a professor will ask is “what is the number one goal of a business?”  Many students throw out an easy answer of “to make money.”  But the answer is to survive.

Trev took over an Athletic Department that was in trouble thanks to the past.  Other than hockey, there was little support from the community.  People just genuinely did not care a great deal about the UNO Mavericks.  In his first year, when the Mavericks were still in division two, I was on Student Government, Trev came and asked us all for our opinions on a few matters.  He never once asked how to get the Omaha community behind the Mavericks, he wanted to know how to get the student population to come out to UNO games.  He spoke of how when the university would try to recruit a professional to be a member of the administration, they would take the recruit to a sporting event, and the professionals would ask where the students were.  He talked about in his first meeting with the UNO athletics department staff that he asked the staff how many Division 2 national championships the program had, and no one knew the answer.  Even people in the athletic department were not completely engaged.  Now from what I have heard, everyone is engaged, and they appear to be proud members of the Maverick family (from the sound of it at least).

I remember walking to class before a football game, and Trev hosted a mini pep rally outside the student center and trying to promote a football game for the upcoming week.  Students walked by him like he was one of the crazy people on campus telling you…well crazy things.  That is just a couple of examples, about a total of 30 minutes that I viewed in my last year at UNO.  Do you really think he did not care about the UNO Mavericks and it was just all about him?  Or do you think he was doing what many adult professionals fail to do, he was actually trying to do his job.

It was difficult to lose the football and the wrestling programs, I agree.  I knew a few guys from each of the teams.  Some of them were genuinely nice guys, and some others were absolute dicks, but that is probably something that you could say about any social group of dudes.  I always felt awkward about the football program.  Pat Berhens was kind of a weird guy to begin with, but aside from that, the scheduling was always weird in my opinion.  A decent number of their games always seemed to mix right in with a Husker game, so you know those games would have a low turnout.  I remember one year they tried to have their spring game the exact same day as the Huskers’ spring game.  I was there for the start of it for an event that took place before the game, and I can tell you that literally no one showed up.  The wrestling program was a big shock, and pretty much why there was and still is so much animosity toward Trev.  Mike Denney was and is a great solid guy, he brought some impressive guys to UNO, and his accomplishments were obviously extraordinary.

Even with the great accomplishments of the wrestling program, the program was not greatly contributing to the longevity of the athletic department’s survival.  Even growing up for several years around rumors that UNO would make the jump to division one, there were, at some points, also many rumors that UNO would just cut a few athletic programs or even the entire thing.  If you get into a conversation with anyone who claims to have loved the UNO wrestling program, you will learn that they did not actually have a dying love for the UNO wrestling program.  They liked wrestling, and successful wrestling, but they did not actually like UNO so much to where they supported it by going to matches or keeping up with it unless they heard the UNO name in the national championship.  They regularly cannot name one wrestler, or clearly identify what years the program won a championship.  Yet, these are the same people who say they will never support UNO athletics as long as Trev Alberts is involved.

How freaking dumb is that?  So if he stepped down today, you will all of a sudden support the program again?  You are going to take your hate of Trev Alberts out on student athletes involved in the UNO athletics program?  It is not like the current athletes at UNO banned together as underclassmen in high school and held a gun against Trev’s head until he made them go division one.

Consider this you rummy…  Downtown Omaha became a vibrant atmosphere after the city of Omaha was able to build the CenturyLink Center from the popularity of the Creighton men’s basketball program.  That little area where TD Ameritrade Park is was once a step above a ghetto.  I do not know the appropriate unit of measure to use for the number of restaurants and bars that have moved in near the CenturyLink and TD Ameritrade Park since the two have been introduced to Omaha.  I will just say a crap ton.  Real estate in downtown has become more valuable, the recreation in downtown has become more attractive.  The rest of the state benefits off of purchases from the two arenas to build more arenas and recreation where it is suitable.  Much of downtown’s success could be contributed to Creighton basketball, as much as some people would hate to admit that, it is true.

Now look at the Aksarben area.  In 2010, the area was basically empty, it was an area that had UNO faithful asking what the hell was ever going to happen with the area.  A few things were being put up, but nothing anyone was bragging about.  Now look at it, the area is becoming a hot commodity.  You could probably contribute about 90% of that off of what UNO as a whole and what UNO athletics has brought to the area, and Aksarben is just getting started (again).  So in turn, because much of that area has been reborn thanks to the future of UNO athletics, are you going to not support Aksarben?  Or are you too proud to say you do not like Trev just because of his unsuccessful NFL career and it embarrasses you somehow as a Husker fan?  By the way, I never hear anyone whine about UNO cutting football.  Everyone seems okay with it.  They want to cry about how it was such a travesty to take away the opportunities for the wrestlers to wrestle and get an education, but then they easily forget that UNO had a football program.

The athletics program may have cut football and wrestling, but it is not like Trev got up on a microphone on a stage and pulled a Half Baked moment and pointed at Wrestling and said “F you” then pointed at football and said “F you” and then pointed at basketball and said “you’re cool.”  The athletics program and the university helped the student athletes move on, find new colleges, or finish their education at UNO.  By the way, I am pretty sure Northwest Missouri State and UNK bitch the least about UNO cutting the programs.

Look around as we are finally nearing the end of this transition.  Look at how many students and Mav fans made it to Boston for the Frozen Four. Look at how the attendances are gradually rising each year for all sports.  Do you see how many UNO students actually care about athletics right now, and we are not even at a status of being fully division one yet?  Look at the facilities that have been renovated and the ones that are about to come, and the ones that are still being imagined.  You may dislike Trev for whatever reason, but are you going to sit there and say he does a poor job?