Monday, February 21, 2022

Juwan Howard should go

He should go so everyone can move on.  Sadly, there is no other way.

This is a watershed moment for the University of Michigan.

I used to have a writing problem.  I could write marketing and research reports just fine but I had an issue when it came to creative writing.  It concerned writing in the passive voice.  

"You can get away with it in reports," a friend and English professor finally said to me.  "You can't in creative writing."

Juwan Howard needed his aggressive and competitive nature as a player.  He needs it as a coach too, but he simply cannot get away with it.  Therein lies the paradox, and the difficulty in the decision.

It has happened before.  If someone doesn't stop it, it will happen again.

All the incidents and signs are there.  (That is passive voice.)  I can see the signs and others, e.g., Warde Manuel, should be able to see them too.

The spotlight is too bright.  The incidents and evidence are too obvious.

At this point, Monday morning, no one knows.  Everyone and their brother has an opinion and they are diverse.   Talk of suspensions and anger management training are appropriate.  Maybe after they are completed and there is something to hold on to in terms of progress and maturation Howard can be reevaluated as a college head coach.  For now, that is what he needs, and Michigan needs a coach.

In today's world it is all about appearances and being perfect.  Howard is far from it and he needs help.  Just like an addict, an alcoholic, a stalker, a rapist, or any number of criminal or behavioral addictions he needs to solve his problems.  Monday morning and still there is no apology or allocution.  He doesn't get it, and he is going to have to if he is to move forward.

For Michigan basketball, the season is basically over.  The team will likely lose players as well as its head coach for at least a while.  Recruiting, and signed recruits may be affected.  Perhaps there will be an interim coach or a replacement coach.  Somehow, for the remainder of this year and the future, the team needs to heal and move on too.

I vehemently disagree with those who say it isn't a big deal.  "I'm gonna remember that shit" Howard yelled at the opposing coach because he called a timeout and coached his team on an in-bounds play, and from there it was a gross and disgusting brawl.  Howard had two technicals in the previous game and almost lost it there too.  And of course we are all reminded of when he did it at Maryland.

It is sick.  A thug as the head basketball coach at the University of Michigan.  My God, you can't even send a nasty email to a fraudulent seller on eBay these days--or on Facebook and elsewhere--and you're going to assault and threaten opponents at a sports game?  Disgusting.  The head coach has to understand that there are lines that you do not cross. 

And then, of course, there is the disgrace to your employer, its employees, and all us alumni.

It is a tough decision, Mr. Manuel.  That is what sometimes you have to do.  But it is also very clear and if you see it for what it is it is a simple one because it is linked to the exact personality of the team and the way he coaches.   Howard is a pretty good basketball coach--this year's Michigan team is decent only because of the tenacity that coach has instilled...

Nonetheless, for the team now and for the team and the university in the future, Juwan Howard needs to go.

I agree, Wisconsin folks and Michigan players will end up suspended too.  Howard caused it.

What the writer of the above link does not appreciate is that it is a trend.  

On the one-hand he (Howard) is a sore loser.  There is stress around the team--not the least of which is the highest-ranked recruit ever who is actually a doorknob on the court--because it is not good and a path for the future is not evident.  Howard coaches it up to the max in each game and for every play.  The only way is to keep trying and get more experience.  He is very hands-on and involved.

Howard does not know how to, or has not yet learned how to, channel that in acceptable ways.  Advice or censure from his employer has either not been delivered or it has been ineffective.  

Earlier today, Mgoblog was down.  You can find anything; the knowledgeable fanbase extends beyond this one site.  Those of us who watch closely realize Howard is "a ticking time bomb."  He is a contentious individual, right down to the BLM patches.

Manuel and Mary Sue Coleman are already involved.  My belief is they will come down very hard on Howard, to the tune of you will do this, this, and that or you will be fired.  These things will include a suspension, fine, counseling and education, and perhaps things like a pay cut.  And it will include, "zero tolerance."

Can he coach and succeed under these conditions?  That will be up to him.

In addition, for players and others involved, there will be Big Ten and/or NCAA punishment.



I watched the game.  Michigan did a good job to hang with Wisconsin in the first half and in the second the better team at home dominated.  If I recall, the first half was some kind of record for poor, combined 3-point shooting.  Michigan's defense or scheme was working.  On offense it was all Hunter Dickinson, with a short spurt of Eli Brooks.

The game was a lopsided loss, which has happened to Michigan in most of the games that were not a grind it out win.  They drag on.  Howard and the team do no give up, which I think is mostly to teach exactly that and to provide experience and get minutes for a young team.  Strategy-wise, pressing down 15 under a minute is pointless and it is a lot like not acknowledging that you have lost.

I watched right up until the end and didn't see anything particularly unexpected.  When it ended, I turned it off, so I didn't see live.  I also agree with the poster who wrote "The video does Howard no favors."  

In all this I haven't seen one person repeat the cliche of, if you are a 300 pound football player, you don't go around pushing people. Or, hitting women.  Howard is imposing physically.  When you actually do it, it makes all the threats that much more real.  He is 49 years old and I have to think he has never learned that.

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