Division I Diatribes-A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action

First, I wanted to wish all Lion fans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you all again for the support you have given to us, especially with how trying this sports year has been, but we know better days lay ahead. Also, Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish readers (I DO KNOW you are out there and you are appreciated).

With New Years coming up, people are going to stark making resolutions. For me, it will be to golf at least once a week, and have a beach body by the time Memorial Day rolls around, along with some other things. We make these promises to ourselves, but unless we actually do something, they are just words. Meaningless, pointless, waist of time words. Why even bother to discuss if you are not serious about it?

I am not a country music fan, but Toby Keith said it best, time for a “Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action.”

For years if you have been an alum at East Texas State or Texas A&M-Commerce, you have heard a lot of talk about certain things regarding improvements to the athletic facilities for over 20 years now. While the University has done a great job in the past decade with new housing and academic buildings, athletic facilities are essentially an afterthought. The University has built some tremendously impressive buildings recently. The Nursing and Sciences building is wonderful, the new residence halls are first class, the music building to the north of Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium, is superb and has a majestic performing arts center. Also, the Rayburn Student Center and McFarland Planetarium are also top of the line buildings. The school has also broken ground on a brand new Welcome Center that will be in front of the McDowell Administration Building and be a welcome addition to our campus for prospective students, current students, and alums alike.

Now, all of us would agree that making sure that our academic buildings are first priority is the proper way to go about things. After all, the main mission of our University, or any reputable school, is to educate and produce alums that will make a positive impact on the world. However, since we are now a Division I school, the standards are higher. For years we have been hearing talk about renovations to The Hawk/Memorial Stadium, or that we will have a new facility for Basketball and Volleyball, with every bell and whistle you can think of. However when it comes right down to it, we need to do the following things-

Renovate the West Side of Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium. The entire thing, and maximize all the wasted space that is there.

Either build a new facility or massively renovate the University Fieldhouse.

Build an indoor track facility that will more than pay for itself and would be a major improvement to the campus. (We have boosters and alums willing to front the money for this via an equity loan.)

Build a new strength and conditioning facility. Whitley Gym is essentially condemned. This is a must have.

Build a new set of tennis courts to host high school tournaments. We will eventually get tennis back and will need that.

Consider moving the track to The Lion Soccer Field and expanding it to be a major complex.

Partner with Commerce ISD to use their indoor practice facility for football. They have been using Memorial Stadium for years as a field, the relationship can continue to be symbiotic and beneficial to both Commerce ISD and Texas A&M-Commerce.

Now, all of these things have been proposed before, yet nothing has been done. Why not? Well, because all that has been done is talk. Talk, talk, talk. Well, talk is cheap. All of these thing I have noted above have all been said to be seriously considered. So, what does it take?

The first you have to do are take baby steps, and at this point, hiring an athletic director is a baby step. Eric Coleman has done a tremendous job of keeping the department afloat, but we MUST HAVE A NEW ATHLETIC DIRECTOR. Coleman is being worked to death by just doing the things that have to do in order to keep things above water. Honestly, the Man is earning his paycheck and much more, but you have to have an AD with a vision that is in keeping with the school.

That is why both Russ and I miss Tim McMurray. Tim was a visionary and under him, (and also Ryan Ivey for the time he was here), we got a top of the line softball facility and the program to go with it, a new football team facility, and one of the biggest jumbotrons in what was Division II. Tim was making so many strides in our facilities but that got essentially railroaded by the move to Division I. Remember the “Best In Class” mantra? Yep, that was Tim. You can thank him for whatever improvement in facilities we got recently. We need an athletic director that is in the vein of a Tim McMurray and Ryan Ivey. However, the move to Division I saw us without the facilities and funding that are needed to attract top quality coaches and top caliber athletes. We have been fortunate to have had a Coach like David Bailiff, and despite all that went on there, and a new Coach like Clint Dolezel. Ashley Gordon had a great first season in Soccer, and we also have great coaches in all the other sports.

First, we need to have an administration that understands what a good mid-major Division I program looks like and will do whatever is necessary to invest in that department in every way, shape, and form. Going into Division I like we did this past year on a whisper and a prayer is not going to work and is going to damage your brand more than anything, and we have already seen that carnage.

Second, coaches have to want to be here, and that is not a concern now, but they need to be fully funded and have a great place to call home. This includes paying them what they are worth.

Finally, if you wanted Division I, it is time to start opening up your checkbooks and start acting like Division I fans and alums. This includes students. Tuition might have to go up, well that is what you are paying for. Remember, you wanted Division I. If you are in positions to influence people that can help the school, do it. Nothing great either comes easy, much less cheap.

Talk less.

Do More.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

17 thoughts on “Division I Diatribes-A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action

  1. Preach brother! U da man!

    The president of Texas A&M University many years ago said “the athletic department is the Front Porch of the university”. Such is true at our university also.

    Duane Leftwich

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. The Athletic Department is running ragged. Everyone knows that three young people are running it. Eric has no idea what he is doing. Rudin doesn’t care and refuses to pay anyone and letting them hire anyone else. It’s been a disaster. It was an absolute miracle that a D1 football season actually took place.

    • I’m pushing back on that third sentence. MR Coleman does know what he is doing, but our President is refusing to fund the Athletic Department anywhere near a D1 level. We had far more administrators when we were D2. It’s confusing.

    • I agree with everything you said except the part about Coleman not knowing what he is doing. He is working as hard as he can, but Rudin does not care. This foolish idea to go DI without being ready is totally on him. Great points. Thanks for the input Tim!

  3. Why has this site turned into a Tim McMurray PR firm?

    First it was “Tim is moving on to greener pastures” and now it’s “Tim was railroaded.”

    Well, which is it? And why was your story been changed?

    Did Tim give you a great Christmas present this year ?

    Turn the page on him. Or tell the truth. Maybe the department has no money become Tim lost a bunch of it and that is why he was forced out?

    It seems like you are saying that The University lost a bunch of money and they are making it seem like was Tim and the Athletic Department‘s fault and they are being punished.

    Even if is the case, we should move on. None of the few athletic people left who are not coaches were around who lost the money. They all quit or were arrested. We as an alumni are in a great debt to these few who have had to work so hard this last season. So we need to move on and stop being up up Tim.

    • I’ve been reading this site for 4 years and I appreciate what these two guys do. Also, as someone who has 3 degrees from Old ET, I can tell you this much, Mr. McMurray was a damn fine AD. I have heard that he rubbed a few malcontents the wrong way but if you want omelets you have to crack some eggs. I also doubt he was even a fan of the move to Division I. He raised funds, worked hard, and we were contenders is pretty much every sport. I heard from some friends that the President (who is a total west coast cry me a river in the tank liberal sissy boy) and who has the thinnest of skin, did not like Mr. McMurray and they had to divorce. Good job, Mr President, running off a great AD with solid business acumen. This cow manure about Mr McMurray not managing the funds is totally untrue. I requested an open records act and it looks like the Bleeding heart President made an “institutional decision” to go DIV I which was as stupid as pissing off 2/3 of your giving base by lying about a former President and changing two University landmarks. We had not had this kind of broad athletic success since I was getting my Undergrad degree in the 1970’s as we had under Mr McMurray. You self involved fools can try to fling mud hoping it sticks but any jackass can kick a door down but it takes a damn fine carpenter to build one, to quote our alum the late Sam Rayburn. Russell and Brian keep on and HAIL ET!

      Joe Carmichael
      BA 1974
      BBA 1976
      MBA 1979

  4. President’s Rudin’s First D1 season 8 part Masterplan:

    1. Announce the move to D1 less than a year before it occurs, so there is no time to plan ahead.
    2. Force the AD out by blaming a large University deficit on him.
    3. Refuse to hire a replacement AD or to even search for a replacement.
    4. Take Athletic Budget away from Athletics and put people in charge of it who have no idea about Athletics.
    5. Gut the Athletics administration staff. Because of the instability and no direction from the top, A dozen athletic staff quit in the summer.
    6. Refuse to let any of the dozen open positions be filled during the summer or the first d1 season except one (he was so bad apparently he lasted about a month before he was forced out in a big scandal).
    7. Make the few staff left work to death keeping the department operating by having them do duties which would be shared by half a dozen people at other same sized schools and while getting paid the least in the country.
    8. Fire a football coach who went 3-3 in conference play in the first year of d1 with a roster full of d2 players and was not fully funded and had terrible health at QB.

    Anything I miss?

      • So, I guess I am a better brand of baloney because I put my name and email address in a blog reply? I guess it is progress. Russell didn’t threaten me like he did with Justin & Tim. FYI, I will buy the beer when Rudin steps away as President.

              • I looked up the definition of tool this evening and found two:

                1. Someone whose ego FAR exceeds his talent, intelligence, and likeability. But, of course, he is clueless regarding that fact. He erroneously thinks he is THE MAN!

                2. Something that helps you to do a particular activity

                I am going to choose to believe you meant #2 when you called me a tool, but #1 sure reminds me of a certain someone!

    • Or….

      1. The move to D1 began in 2018 and Timmy just failed.

      2. He was asked to leave or be fired because of his lack fiscal control or desire to be
      held accountable.

      3. Timmy was always tolerated but never respected by the University Community. It
      is well known that he and his minions rubbed many respected employees of the
      Institution the wrong way, but Ray Keck tolerated him. In the words of Joe
      Carmichael “If you want omelets you have to crack some eggs”

      4. Rudin took the Athletic Department budget away from them because the fiscal mess
      created by Timmy. Maybe Rudin no longer trusted the Athletic Department and put
      people in charge of financials he could trust. Texas is a Right to Work State. The
      Athletic Director works at the pleasure of his supervisor which in this case is Dan
      Rudin the President of TAMUC. Rudin can’t possibly hire or place an
      adequate Athletic Director into this environment until this mess is cleaned up.

      5. The Athletics Administration staff is used to be gutted and instability. Timmy ran
      off on average 5 employees a year during his tenure as Athletic Director.

      6. To fill vacate positions you must be able to afford them, and people must want to
      come to work at Texas A&M University – Commerce. Under Timmy’s reign it was a
      well-known fact the salary structure was heavy at the top. Timmy only
      cared about himself. FYI, no employee at TAMUC is paid at fair market wage.
      Quit crying about the salaries of athletic personnel. During Timmy’s time at TAMUC
      the wins and losses of the athletics program had no significant impact on
      enrollment. Each year while he was Athletic Director the University’s enrollment
      declined. The Athletic Department prospered by charging an exorbitated student fee
      to every student and draining the resources from other far more important
      academic departments/divisions of the Institution who have a significant role in
      increasing or maintaining enroll.

      7. All Higher Education staffs are worked to death keep to their department operating.
      Every academic program at TAMUC is whining to Dan Rudin about work life balance
      and being paid a fair wage.

      8. The football coach needed to go. He had underperformed since riding Carthel’s coat
      tails during his first year. The football team’s record declined every year since the
      first season. Timmy hired one football coach during his time at TAMUC and he got
      it wrong. He gambled that hiring a former D1 football coach at a D2 program would
      bring success on the football field and help him with his plan to become a D1
      Athletic Program. Sometimes when you gamble you lose all the Athletic
      Department’s Budget.

      Did I miss anything?

      • Stevey,

        Huh?

        1. If that is the case, then Timmy should have been fired years ago. Not in the summer before the D1 move.
        And also, when schools go D1, they hire an outside firm for a report to see if they should go D1 or not and it gives them a plan on what they should do. That obviously wasn’t done. We went D1 on a prayer. And that has been obvious as well.
        2. I agree. That is well known. I don’t know why you are bringing that up. I’m not defending Timmy.
        3. Same as #2.
        4. I agree with the first part. But not having a timeline or a plan or having one and keeping the Athletic staff and coaches in the dark about it is not good leadership.
        5. While that is true, you can’t be going D1 with 5 staff members. It has never been this bad. More staff must be added when you go D1, not subtracted.
        6. This one is an absolute head scratcher. It seems you do not care about sports at all. Which is weird because you are commenting on a sports site. It’s okay if you don’t like sports or you want to cut sports and/or you are defending Rudin at all costs, but just admit it.
        You really showed yourself on that one.
        7. Ok. That does seems like a problem. Maybe Rudin should do something about it.
        8. That is a common opinion. I agree with some of that and I honestly was on the fence with keeping Bailiff or not.

        • 6. I am a huge sports fan. I have played and coached football at the High School and College levels. The last thing I would want to do is cut sports. I am also not a Rudin fan, but I do have some insight to how Athletics has been funded at TAMUC since Timmy arrived. He was not shy about boasting about his “so called plans, accomplishments, and vision” to become a Division 1 Athletic Program.

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