Game #8-654: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Montana State BobcatsFebruary 27, 2012 9:00 pm
Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
I couldn't help myself.
I really, really couldn't help myself.
I first got an up-close, live glimpse of Northern Arizona interim head coach Dave Brown a few minutes before tip-off of what would become NAU's 16th consecutive loss, a new school record
, as MSU honored its two seniors by snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 79-60 victory that was close for only the first 10 minutes of the contest. Brown looked like all frail, 70-year-old men do: balding, slightly slumped and plain old tired. Actually, my first thought was to the TV show The Simpsons. The man looks like Mr. Burns crossed with Hans Moleman. I started laughing, softly but uncontrollably, for a minute. The Montana State SIDs asked me if I was nuts (in all fairness, they ask me that every day). I mean, what else can one think about a man who stepped away from his administrative duties
to take over a team after its head man for nearly 13 years resigned
Now, there has been much speculation as to why longtime coach Mike Adras left; the primary rumor is that his assistants ratted him out to the administration that he'd been violating NCAA practice rules. Normally, one of the current assistants gets elevated to interim status when a coach resigns mid-season, but you better believe having one rat out the big cheese is why the administration most likely went to Brown in the first place. Better to have someone they trust who was not involved with the team be a figurehead.
The Lumberjacks started off strong, winning three of its first four contests under Brown, including a last-second buzzer beater that downed Arizona State University
, but it's been all downhill from there. Despite some positive vibes the administration thought he brought
, the wins did not come in and the grumbling started. Player moves were scrutinized
, the fanbase got restless, and as the losses mounted, the talk turned to next season
. I'll say this -- when I first heard about it, I almost fell over laughing. Honestly. But then I understood, for the reason above. You can't trust a rat, per se. So you bring in someone as a figurehead, and leave it at that. And that's what Brown has been his entire time on the benc
On Monday, he barely did coaching at all. If he opened his mouth, either in the huddle or while sitting on the bench, it was to yell things like "We need to get a score! We need to get a score!" "Oh, that was a bad play!" and "Come on, guys! They keep scoring on us!" It's hard to not look over and think "Wow, superfan, get back on the couch." Brown knew he was just there to lend a face to the whole deal; his assistants knew the house-cleaning was imminent and that come as soon as maybe a week from game night, they'd be looking for new employment. It was a sorry, sad sight to see, and I felt sorry for Brown the most. I pitied him. Which made me feel worse than making fun of him.
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