This past Saturday I was going through some old Football photos that had been provided to me from the glory years, and I ran across something I have been looking for for years, the National Championship Trophy from 1972. There was only one huge problem, it had been neglected along with tons of other trophies for Conference championships and other sport awards.
I was incensed beyond words.
This unacceptable nature of the way the trophies were treated all has to do with the neglect of athletic department from 2007-2012. Our sports were terrible, with the exception of Soccer and a few track teams, and it was a reflection on the worst hire we ever made in former AD Carlton Cooper. I remember when Cooper was hired by former President Keith McFarland. Everyone has spoken about how TAMUC had made Conference history by hiring the first Black AD. I could not care less about the guy’s color, I was just happy he said he wanted to be a leader in intercollegiate athletics. The first thing he did was address the facilities which I am very glad he did. The stadium east side renovation and the upgrades to the Fieldhouse can be attributed to him, but that is about it. It was his arrogance and do nothing attitude that really drove us into the ground. The story that drives this diatribe is the following. A group of boosters found a ton of awards and trophies that had been boxed up and moved into storage areas, and the trophy and plaque notating the National Championship in Football was covered in dust and in a pathetic case. The booster group contact Cooper and said that they would pay to have the trophy redone and the case created for the 1972 team. Cooper said he would take care of it, which he never did, and then finally when pressed he said that the athletic department would handle all of it, of course they never did.
This is what you get when you make hires based on making history or bringing in big names from big schools rather than bringing in people who can do the damn job. Cooper was a former associate AD at SMU. Who cares, their athletic program was in the pot for years. Guy Morriss, as much as I like the guy, had been brought in due to his head coaching being at Baylor and Kentucky. Morriss was worthy of his position, but the way he was micromanaged, not even being allowed to hire his own coaches just made it so much worse on him. It is one thing for an AD to be a disaster, it is another when they display the utter arrogance and contempt Cooper did to those who wanted to show the pride and traditions of the school. It really amazes me how much better the situation has gotten, and how quickly things have changed. If you see my interview with Ryan Ivey, we addressed this in detail, and he did not just say “We will do this, that and the other.” He showed me specific, tangible plans to restore that glory and show it off. Another example, we won the North Division Championship in Football back in 2009. A banner was promised for the Fieldhouse, it has been almost 5 years, and that was another Cooper promise.
I have a theory, I believe when we finally get to a point when we are able to show what an athletic powerhouse program we were for so many years, and can be again, we will see the revived spirits of the alums and fans, and also you will see young recruits coming to Commerce and seeing the great teams of the past, and feeling immersed in tradition. That my friends is worth showing off. A few years ago, our Homecoming them was “Wear your pride out.” I think it is time for the athletic department to do that, and from what I can see, they are on the right track.
That is it for today, I will have a preview of the Tarleton St. game tomorrow.