Friday, April 07, 2006

Borton - Whalen = Mess

[photo caption] University of Minnesota womens' basketball coach Pam Borton with the player she owes her job to -- former Gopher All-American Lindsey Whalen. (photo courtesy Augusta Chronicle)

With regard to the exodus en masse from the University of Minnesota womens' basketball team, Tuffy has learned so Tuffy must report the following:

--Contrary to media reports elsewhere, the reason that five players announced that they were quitting the team is fairly straightforward. Keep reading.

--According to Tuffy's sources, exit meetings for all players took place early last week. During one of these meetings, Coach Pam Borton was told by one prominent outgoing senior in no uncertain terms that

1) The players no longer respected Borton, largely based on her treatment of forward Jamie Broback this season, which included a month-long suspension early in the season and repeated benchings late in the season
2) The players were disgusted at the way that Borton ripped Broback in the media, especially late in the season
3) The players were tired of Borton openly and often publicly calling some of her players "selfish"
4) The players felt that the only capable and knowledgeable coach on the staff was Assistant Coach David Stromme
5) The players felt that certain players were being discriminated against

--Following this pivotal meeting, Coach Borton notified Stromme that his contract would not be renewed, essentially firing the coach most popular among the players.

--While Stromme's firing was announced to the media on Tuesday, both he and the team had been notified last week. It was Stromme's firing that "broke the dam", so to speak.

--Soon after Stromme's release, Lauren Lacey and Brittney Davis requested and received release from their scholarships at the university to pursue transfers.

--Then, on Monday, Broback announced she was leaving the team. Broback did not seek a release.

--On Tuesday, Broback's roommate Liz Podominick also announced she was leaving the team. Podominick will continue at the U, focusing on her abilities as an Olympic-class thrower on the track and field team.

--Then, on Wednesday, Natasha Williams announced that she too was leaving the school, requesting a release from her scholarship.

Where do we go from here?
--Athletic Director Joel Maturi is risking setting a dangerous precedent if he would fire Borton due to complaints leveled at her by her players. This is dangerous because it could put a seed in other athletes' minds in other sports at the U that if they complain loud enough, Maturi just might listen.

--Based on the concern above, Tuffy is predicting that Maturi will wait until after next season to fire Borton. The logic used at that time will be declining success of the team, as the team went to the Sweet 16 in Borton's first year, the Final Four in year two, the Sweet 16 in year three, and a first round NCAA loss this season. It looks to be nearly impossible for next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, making Maturi's decision next spring fairly easy.

--Something else to consider is how much of Borton's success should actually be attributed to former Head Coach Brenda Frese. Frese, known as Brenda Oldfield during her year with the Gophers, coached the team during the 2001-02 season and recently took her new team, the University of Maryland Terrapins, to the NCAA Championship. And it was Frese, not Borton, who recruited a lot of the talent that allowed the Gophers to make the Final Four in 2004.


Blogger AdamB said...

Well, if by complaining loud enough you mean quitting and transferring. I say fire her now and start rebuilding a year early.

Fri Apr 07, 09:47:00 PM 2006

Blogger AdamB said...

I have no doubt that your prediction is correct, however. I'm just saying I think it's a bad move to wait.

Fri Apr 07, 09:49:00 PM 2006

Anonymous super rookie said...

funny thing...

I had season tickets to the womens team in 2001. That was the year when they played the first half of their games at the sports pavillion before it "flooded" and chris voelz moved the remaining games to Williams Arena. It was during this time that I made signs that read:

Axis of Evil;
North Korea

and my personal favorite,
"Canada Was Robbed." of course this sign was in reference to the Salt Lake City scandal surrounding the pairs figure skating program.

I digress.....

I also dug how people dissed Brenda Frese for leaving the team and doing real shitty with Maryland her first year away.....and now she has the trophy and the gophers are back to the days of Cheryl Littlejohn.....oh that name brings back the chills....

Super Rookie
Leslie Hill Fan Club #23

Sun Apr 09, 10:08:00 PM 2006

Anonymous Blue said...

Too bad Tuffy and his/her sources don't have access to the facts :(

Fri May 19, 07:45:00 PM 2006


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