“The Memphis football program is an utterly indistinguished, barely mediocre program that lives off SEC rejects and has no hope of improving unless the university makes radical changes,” writes the Commercial-Appeal’s Geoff Calkins, quoting himself after head coach Tommy Smith’s exit interview (above) left few bridges (fans, press, adminstration) unburned.
West said exactly what needed to be said. He said exactly what the Memphis administration — especially president Shirley Raines and athletic director R.C. Johnson — try their best not to hear.
“History will continue to repeat itself, folks, if they don’t do something about it,” he said. “Whoever they hire, they’ll hire a good guy, OK? And I’ll pull for him. But our fans have got to demand — you have to do one of two things. You have to demand that you give him an equal stick to fight with within our conference. You gotta give him a level playing field to fight. Give him that!”
By the end of his remarks, West’s voice was shaking. The assembled media members watched, stunned.
Johnson didn’t say he had a plan to transform facilities. He didn’t say he understood Memphis would have to be much more aggressive in the coming years.
He said, “I think this is a good situation.”
“I just think being in a populated area gives us a head start on some people,” he said.
Riiight. Because big cities are known for their college football teams.