Reaction to Sanderson coping with ISU backlash
Posted on June 4, 2009 by kjpilcher
Maybe I?ve been inside for way too long or I?m tired of watching daytime TV but I was somewhat bothered by former Iowa State and new Penn State coach Cael Sanderson?s reaction in a story by Eric Petersen of The Gazette. Read EP?s article at http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pb...706039901/1008
Can someone tell me what the difference is between him and someone who gave up? You can dress it up all you want. Claim it?s the great talent pool out East, a chance to be financially secure with a raise or discuss facilities. Two of three you likely could have bargained for at ISU with the leverage of being courted by another major program.
In my view, Sanderson waved a white flag, and it?s one that, if recruiting got to be dirty, other coaches could use against him. He couldn?t get it done at his alma mater and split. He had talent in Ames, and some believe that he couldn?t motivate them to get over that hump on the biggest stage at Nationals.
Something Iowa?s Tom Brands has been able to do, which may be another reason he left. Brands has continually won in-state recruiting wars. To be honest, in-state recruits in Iowa aren?t necessarily going to propel you to a title on the mat, but they build depth and excitement within the program. Sanderson couldn?t get the better of Brands in that aspect. It won?t be hard to have more success getting in-state talent over Pittsburgh and Lehigh.
Sanderson is Sanderson. You don?t have to coach at PSU to attract top-level talent. He brought talent to Ames. Ummm, Jake Varner anyone? Jon Reader? David Taylor? Did he really need to go out East to get a stranglehold on its talent? He?s Cael Sanderson, the only undefeated collegiate wrestler and an Olympic champion, so I?m not buying it. They?ve come and would come.
He was successful owning the Big 12 tournament, but couldn?t get it done at Nationals. I think Penn State will receive plenty of the same. Get ready for plenty of high Big Ten finishes with a top 5 National placing. Not sure if I?d clear space for a title trophy fromthe national tournament until he proves he can lead a squad to the top prize as a coach. Right now, I?d be higher on Ohio State and what they?re doing.
Leaving is leaving and I fail to see how his action isn?t the same as tapping out and saying, ?Can?t win here. Can?t beat Iowa. I?m going to go somewhere else where it might be easier. I quit.? What happens when five years from now Penn State has one national champion, a handful of finalists and five top five finishes highlighted by a runner-up trophy and a couple thirds? Obviously, coming back to Ames is out of the question.
This does not resemble Dan Gable?s situation - the first time where an ISU wrestling icon left for another program. Gable was embarking on his coaching career. He was starting what became a storied career and ISU let him get away. Sanderson was hand-picked and given the keys to the car in order to avoid that reoccurring. After a joyride he handed the keys back and opted for another model. He was anointed as the leader and then left. Big, big difference.
I will say one thing in defense of the Sandersons. When I read a fan actually went to the house and threw ISU apparel at his wife and two-year-old, I was appalled. I do stupid stuff all the time, but this type of behavior is unacceptable. I hope they find the person who did it and let Sanderson have seven minutes with him in a wrestling room then deny him ice for his ankles after Cael ankle-picks the cartilage out of them. Is society that ridiculous that a display toward a coach?s wife and young son at their home is an option of showing your displeasure? Geesh?
Despite skipping out (My opinion and I would expect people to disagree) on his alma mater, Sanderson and his family don?t deserve the wrath of overzealous fans.