Unlinkable: John McGrath

Yes, I was taking a blogging break but had to drop in long enough to declare John McGrath, “columnist” at The News Tribue(Washington) an unlinkable for a worthless piece of tripe he wrote questioning Roy Williams HOF credentials:

I knew Williams was drawing paychecks at North Carolina. But after watching his team succumb to stage fright in its East Regional final against Georgetown, I wasn’t aware he still was an active coach. The Tar Heels had a 10-point lead midway through the second half, with three Hoyas nursing four fouls, and then they stopped attacking the basket in a futile attempt to milk the clock.

If this was the work of a Hall of Fame coach, then I suppose it’s time to consider Sanjaya for a lifetime-achievement Grammy.

Williams began his head-coaching career at Kansas, where in the fall of 1988 he inherited a defending national championship program temporarily confined in the NCAA’s doghouse. He won 524 games with the Jayhawks, wept after the season-ending games he annually lost, got involved in a minor dustup with the NCAA over a rules violation – he approved gifts to players whose eligibility had expired – and carried on a feud with the athletic director.

Facts can be pesky things. First of all when UNC had a 10 point lead against Georgetown Roy Hibbert had three fouls. By the time he picked up the fourth the lead was three points which led to the two free throws from Brandan Wright to make it a five point lead. Patrick Ewing Jr. picked up his fourth foul a minute later and they both ended the game with four fouls. It is true they became passive on offense and settled for some jumpers for a two minute stretch but after Roy called a timeout(which meant he was actually on the sideline coaching) the Heels returned to the normal offensive sets but had trouble sinking shots or stopping Georgetown on defense. And if you want a tell-tell sign of someone who is a piece of garbage columnist? They tend to make some current pop reference which is intended to insult the subject of the column. Comparing Roy Williams to some horrid American Idol singer who has no business singing karaoke is so ridiculous it hurts. And while we are in the process of fact checking, Roy did not win 524 games at Kansas, he won 418 at Kansas and 106 since he arrived at UNC. And “carried on a feud with the athletic director?” We know that does not make a difference since Bobby Knight is in the Hall of Fame.

Williams’ legacy at Kansas wasn’t any tactical innovation or signature strategy. His legacy was a clumsy confrontation with CBS reporter Bonnie Bernstein after the Jayhawks lost the 2003 title game to Syracuse. Furious that Bernstein would ask an obvious and necessary question about the possibility he’d return to fill he coaching vacancy at North Carolina – his alma mater – he used a casual vulgarity more appropriate for a “Cheech & Chong” movie than a postgame interview on national TV.

One name for you: Bobby Knight

Anyway, after denying he was interested in North Carolina – a reprise of a song-and-dance routine he put everybody through three years previous – Williams departed for North Carolina, violating the trust of the players who believed his assurances.

“I gave my right arm for that man,” forward Wayne Simien said at the time. Simien’s observation was merely figurative. What he gave was his right shoulder, dislocated midway through his sophomore season.

I cannot speak to this with total accuracy which does not really seem to be a problem based on the way this guy write but I never heard Roy make any such assurances that he was not interested. When he was asked about it before the 2003 Final Four I am quite certain he denied interest just as Billy Donovan has done. In fact Donovan was quote Tuesday as saying he was interested in staying at Florida, so I guess if he ends up leaving it will disqualify him for the HOF. And Wayne Simien? It was an idiotic statement at the time playing to a media hungry to show angry players reacting to a departing coach. Considering Roy went back for team banquet at Kansas the next week, the tension was probably overblown.

At UNC, Williams continued to win during the regular season, and weep after the season-ending games he annually lost. Finally, in 2005, Williams led the Tar Heels past Illinois for the national title.

Think about this: Here’s a guy who, for the past 19 seasons, has overseen two of the most storied college basketball teams in America, and he has won one more NCAA title than Lynn Nance and Paul Graham – and one fewer than Billy Donovan.

Donovan, in 1996, took over a Florida program that won 12 times the season before he got to Gainesville. Donovan’s ability to take the Gators to three Final Four appearances, and win back-to-back national championships, is far more impressive than anything Williams has accomplished.

But the 41-year-old Donovan wasn’t considered for election to the Hall of Fame this year, and he won’t be next year, either. It would look bad, a kid named Billy – a coach so young he’s not only a proponent of the 3-point shot, he mastered it in the college – joining the venerable likes of Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Williams in the Hall.

This guy must have attended the Dan Shanoff Seminar on Instant History. The real reason Donovan will not be enshrined in the HOF this year or the next is because he is not eligible according to the rules:

Coach: A coach must be either fully retired for five years or, if still an active coach, have coached as either a fulltime assistant or head coach on the high school and/or college and/or professional level for a minimum of 25 years. That person will then be considered for Enshrinement in the sixth year of retirement or 26th year of active coaching.

So, unless Donovan started coaching when he was 16 he is not eligible and probably will not be for another five to ten years I would imagine. The point is not that I think Donovan is less of a coach than Roy Williams. The point is Roy has a longer and more consistent history of success which includes never having lost a 1st round game in the NCAA Tournament, which is something Donovan cannot say. I tend to be more impressed with a coach’s ability to maintain a high level of winning over the course of many years and not just winning a national title or two in a short span. Donovan has been able to win the big one twice in a row which is a credit to him but also to his players for all coming back. A decade from now assuming Donovan does not go to the NBA he should have racked the same level of consistent winning which will put his resume on par with the others. Also, Rick Pitino is not in the HOF yet and his resume on the college level is less impressive than Williams and Donovan. Believe me fact checking is really easy if you try.

So given the number of errors this guy has made with the facts alone, I think I can safely assume his opinions are just as credible.

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9 Responses to Unlinkable: John McGrath

  1. Triadboy says:

    I’ll bet he hates Carolina in general – because of the Four Corners. It always amazes me when I come across people who just hate Dean Smith/Carolina because of the Four Corners. I always ask them, “Do you play pool?” “Have you ever made a ‘safe shot’?” If they answer ‘no’ – then I know they aren’t good pool players. And they might not understand the strategy. If they answer ‘yes’ – the light comes on and they realize the beauty of it.

    Roy inherited the Carolina haters. (McGrath may be upset that Marvin went to Carolina too)

    When Wojo takes over for Coach Kryrshevcioski (sp?) – he will get the same treatment.

  2. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Wojo is hated on his own merits.

  3. w says:

    i can see wojo as the big man coach….makes perfect sense….

  4. Wayne says:

    I was having a nice day, then somebody brings up Coach Rat and Wojo. What a downer!

  5. Wayne says:

    This reminds me of something that, to me, is funny. I often hear fans of schools other than UNC claim the media is biased towards UNC because UNC has a journalism school and “all” of the sportswriters are UNC graduates and thus aren’t objective when talking about, well other ACC schools.

    It would be interesting to know which sportswriters are UNC grads and which are not. Also, it would be interesting to know which of the sportswriters were journalism majors and which sportswriters majored in something else.

    Although I don’t know, if I were a betting man, I’d bet “Unlinkable John McGrath” is not a UNC grad and would bet he’s an ABCer from way back. Also, I’d bet “Unlinkabe Ed Hardin” is not a UNC grad and is also an ABCer from way back.

    But, I’ve been wrong before.

  6. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Wayne,

    That is a regular argument you see on Pack Pride. The media in the Triangle is the UNC propaganda machine. I think there are few UNC grads in media positions that most think though it is not something the N&O advertises.

  7. Tom says:

    Here is the entire email I just sent this clown.

    Dear Sarcastic, Unfunny Excuse for a Journalist:

    My initial question is this. Are you serious?

    Why didn’t you just entitle this article:

    “I Hate Carolina (or maybe it’s just Roy Williams), I’m In a Position Of Having the Opportunity to Print Garbage, So Shut Up and Listen.”

    At least that would have been more descriptive.

    UPON FURTHER REVIEW: You’re right. Fastest to 500 wins. A national championship…Numerous Conference Titles (tournament and regular season). One of the highest winning percentages ever… ON and ON and ON. Not a Hall of Famer, as you belittle all of those accomplishments conveniently glossing over, or ignoring his record.

    “I wasn’t aware he was still an active coach.” You’re a clown. You’re a complete joke. Even people who absolutely abhor everything Carolina blue admit he’s a Hall of Famer. Perhaps you have the “anti-East Coast Bias”… I wasn’t aware the Pacific Northwest participated in College Basketball.

    “Carried on a feud with the Athletic Director”… Speculation at best.

    You’re right. Roy Williams legacy at Kansas wasn’t any tactical innovation or signature strategy. His legacy has been one thing. Winning. Period.

    By the way, it’s hammerheads like you and Bonnie Bernstein that create some of the emotion that Roy unleashed after the National Championship game in 2003. Your team just got beat for the national title and all that Bobblehead Bernstein wants to talk about is Carolina. And you wonder why Roy reacted that way. (And by the way, Roy Williams has completely apologized for that remark, and to this day sends Bernstein Christmas cards)

    You write “Donovan, in 1996, took over a Florida program that won 12 times the season before he got to Gainesville. Donovan’s ability to take the Gators to three Final Four appearances, and win back-to-back national championships, is far more impressive than anything Williams has accomplished” While I agree that Donvan has had an impressive run in Gainesville, this has nothing to do with the article at hand. This leads me to believe you are a Florida alum… I’ll bet they’re really proud of you, if you are an alum.

    Face it. You’d give your left you-know-what for the team you follow to have a coach with the pedigree, skills, emotion, and success that Roy Williams brings to the table. That’s if you’d every actually watched college basketball. Which, by reading your article, I sincerely doubt.

    You are out of your mind. Your bosses should pull you off the editorial line, and put you into the comic section. Because that’s what you are: Completely Laughable.

    Have a nice one, you pathetic waste of foolscap.

  8. Tom says:

    Amazingly, my email just got bounced back … twice as “undeliverable”. That’s one thing that is broken in America. You can have free speech. No problem. It’s the lack of accountability for what you write that is the problem.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Tar Heel Fan!

  9. Keith says:

    Mr. McCrap should actually look at the facts when comparing Donovan to Roy. Any idiot, well maybe not McCrap, would realize that UNC (and Roy) would have won back to back Championships in 2005 and 2006 except for the fact that the top 7 scorers left which would have kept Donovan from ever winning his 1st National Championship. Imagine the following lineups: Starting: May, McCants, Marvin WIlliams, David Noel and Raymond Felton; Bench: Terry, Psycho T, Frazier, Ginyard, Green, and W. Miller. There is NO WAY that Florida would have beaten that lineup. The only issue would be whether or not they would go undefeated! If only they would have stayed.

    Whoever said ignorance is bliss must have never met McCrap!

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