Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Firing Alford would only anger the Lord

(First, a heads-up to "Head Hawks" for the first link. Don't wanna know how you got that nickname, friend.)

Steve Alford's a Christian. That's fine, in and of itself; this isn't ancient Rome or anything. We've all seen the WWJD bracelet (I have my own qualms about that, but that's another issue). But as it turns out, a few Christian organizations have found out Alford wears God's armor (whatever that means), and they couldn't be happier.

From the first, an interview with the 700 Club:

Steve says God opened doors he never imagined. In 1984 he won Olympic gold as a member of the U.S. Men’s team. In 1987 he reached the mountaintop of college basketball -- culminated by realizing his dream of playing in the NBA. But after four years in the league, he decided coaching was his true love.
Well! Now we know why there are never any Jews in the NBA (take THAT, Moses!). Anyway, I like how he just "decided" that coaching was his true love, and that in no way was his lack of NBA talent responsible for him not playing any more than four years.

But lying's a sin, or something, right? I mean, it really ought to be. Either way, someone ought to spend time in a confessional after writing this:
Steve’s career reached the next level when he accepted the coaching position here at the University of Iowa. Eight years later he’s the most successful coach in the program’s history. [All italicized emphasis mine]
I cannot come up with a single measure to judge the coaches by that makes Alford the most successful in Iowa history. He's not even the best in the last ten years--that guy hosted Alford back in December, and I think you remember how that turned out. As a matter of fact, here are the last six coaches in Iowa history:
  • Ralph Miller - Two Big Ten titles, 14-0 in Big Ten in 1970, Two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, one NCAA tournament bid (before advent of at-large bids), leads all Iowa coaches with .634 winning percentage in Big Ten
  • Dick Schultz - Had a winning season once. Mercifully left after four seasons
  • Lute Olson - Five straight NCAA appearances, one Final Four appearance, seven NCAA tournament wins
  • George Raveling - Two NCAA tournament appearances in three seasons, averaged 18 wins
  • Tom Davis - Most wins in Iowa history, one Elite Eight appearance, 13 NCAA tournament wins
  • Steve Alford - Spiffy hair
The article goes on, and it's not a very good read by any stretch. There were a few other curiosities, though:
There’s a sign in Steve’s locker room that reads: “Victory favors the team that makes the fewest mistakes.” It means a lot to Steve. “That was a sign I took from Indiana,” he says.
Uh, Steve, I'm pretty sure stealing is not what Jesus taught. And as far as making the fewest mistakes--WHAT?! Mr. "Let's bring back Pierre Pierce and see what happens" is preaching about not making mistakes? That would be like Ron Artest hanging up a sign in the locker room that says "Never Lose Your Composure."

Now, the second piece is from FCA, or the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They love the SHIT out of God and Christ and all that. So, needless to say, the article isn't very readable, either. Lots of stuff that I don't remember Jesus ever talking about.
“Whatever it is, we find a way to make sure in our program that at least our student-athletes are being challenged academically, socially, physically and most important of all, spiritually.”
That's the most important part? The Jesus part? Really?
Last March, Alford received FCA’s John Lotz “Barnabas” Award at the Final Four in Indianapolis. The meaning of the name Barnabas from the New Testament is “son of encouragement,” and both the award’s namesake John Lotz (University of Florida coaching legend) and Steve Alford are synonymous with that often-neglected character trait.
That's right--if there's one trait everyone thinks about when it comes to Steve Alford, it's "encouraging." Certainly not "dickbag."
Still, no matter how successful a coach is, some people are bound to demand more, and dealing with criticism can be difficult. But Alford reminds himself that it is not about what one person or another says, but “really is all about, ‘Can you be pleasing to Almighty God?’” he asks. “If my eyes are fixed on God and I’ve surrendered everything to Him, it’s amazing how those things just take care of themselves."
That would be great, if the problems were really taking care of themselves. But they're not, and that's a huge part of the criticism and the negativity surrounding the program. Alford doesn't solve problems, and here he's admitting to taking the "head in the sand" approach. All he does is take the incredibly selfish approach of thinking about his own spirituality instead. That's not what accountability is, and he can't keep getting a free pass on it.
“There’s a sign in our locker room that says, ‘Victory favors the team that makes the fewest mistakes.’ I can relate to that spiritually. When you’ve got the full armor of God on, it’s easier to make the right choices. If you put on the armor of God, you have the protection of God with you. If you don’t have it, you’re going to make more mistakes, and you’re not going to be able to handle them as easily.
Back to that fucking sign. And now he's talking about the armor of God. Yep. That's what our coach believes. And it protects him from making mistakes.

Just imagine if he'd been born into a house without religion. He'd probably have killed a prostitute in front of some children by now.


Patrick said...

No, certainly not "dickbag." I'm still laughing at that one.

Kim said...

Dear God,

I love this blog. Please smite Alford. He stole a sign. It's only fair.


He hung a stolen Hoosier artifact in the locker room? This why we suck! It's probably cursed unto the seventh generation or something.

God is a vengeful deity.

Anonymous said...

I was glad to provide this link I am sure someone else would have but only 1 could have written one of the finest articles out of it. I am emailing this to everyone I know rather they be a hawk or not!! Time to EXXXpose this nut!!

Thanks for such a wonderful site

Jim in SC (Head hawks)

Anonymous said...

I like this gem from the FCA article:

"His first win at Iowa sent a clear message about the kind of coach Alford was as his Hawkeyes defeated the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies at Madison Square Garden, 70-68."

No, it sent a clear message about the kind of coach we HOPED Alford was. Sadly, that may have been the high point.

Chris said...

This guy sounds like ex-Lobo hack coach Ritchie McKay...totally...so why would anyone believe we/UNM is interested AT ALL!
But, beyond the profanity of the post, I find it quite humorous and to the point. Christianity is a good thing, wearing the armor of God (which is meaningful to a disciple of Christ in terms of being a disciple) is a good thing, but why can't these Christian coaches coach with Christian principles instead of using their faith as a judge or as a crutch? Jesus didn't use his identity on earth to keep Him from being who He is, it defines His being. Leaving it "up to God" or "fixing your eyes" isn't a cure-all, it's a commandment which requires follow through. And alienating everyone at the expense of your faith is nothing Jesus taught us.
I feel your pain Iowa fans, but we've had our share and need no more.

Anonymous said...

I think this is why they say Alford is the best bball coach in Iowa program...

• Seven consecutive winning seasons from 2001-07 is the longest in Iowa basketball history

• Alford's 308 career wins are the most among NCAA Division I basketball coaches who are 42 years old or younger

• In his second season at Iowa, Alford guided the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Tournament title. Iowa became just the seventh Division I team to win a conference postseason tournament with four wins in four consecutive days.

• In 2006, Alford led Iowa to its second Big Ten Conference Tournament title with wins over Minnesota, Michigan State and Ohio State

Over the past 16 seasons, Alford's team have led the league in scoring five times and finished second three times