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Basketball pool should cost Neuheisel his job

Published Sep. 1, 2005

It wasn't just the Calcutta. Rick Neuheisel is a serial offender. I wouldn't trust him to coach my school's team.

Hiring the Blond Blunder was the University of Washington's original mistake, but then his gambling idiocy provided an escape hatch. It would've been institutional insanity for the Huskies not to pounce on an opportunity to purge.

Neuheisel was a $1.5-million-a-year jock living in a $5-million lakefront estate, but the arrogant nose of the 42-year-old former UCLA quarterback refused to sniff the potential for disaster in the comparatively cheap thrill of a $5,000 pool on the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Talk about March Madness.

UW's judgment was equally rotten, with compliance officer Dana Richardson writing a memo to Neuheisel that expressed no harm in the hoops pool. A mindless conclusion by the Huskies administrator in charge of policing NCAA compliance in an era when college athletes such as Teddy Dupay and Adrian McPherson are being destroyed by gambling misadventures.

Long before now, there was a Neuheisel portfolio of questionable actions that should remind NCAA football programs from Hawaii to Florida that hiring Rick is a dumb idea. NFL franchises that often scrimmage with character issues should also beware.

At his previous post, the Seattle Times reported, Neuheisel assured Colorado boosters and recruits he was wed to Boulder for the long run. It was an untruth but not against the law. But then Neuheisel jumped to Washington and leaves the Buffaloes to deal with NCAA investigations of more than 50 alleged violations. We'll see what turns up in his wake at UW.

Earlier this year, he conversed with the 49ers about their coaching opening but did not keep UW athletic director Barbara Hedges apprised. She was a sucker to hire Neuheisel away from Colorado.

Neuheisel can charm he can fool.

Universities with large stadiums and even bigger dreams can become mesmerized by some coach who seemingly could bring more wins, higher rankings, bigger visibility, extensive bowl money and ballooning Saturday afternoon egos.

Too often, with the supply of proven coaches far smaller than the escalating demand, chances will be taken on shady gunslingers as schools desperately scratch to create a hot run to rival those of Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Tom Osborne or Steve Spurrier.

Who could've imagined, a year ago, the shocks and disgrace that would bring down the chaps who were coaching the two dominant football schools in the state of Washington?

Mike Price, with some terrific achievements at Washington State, got a late-in-life shot with SEC colossus Alabama. But before he could coach the Crimson Tide in a single game, the 57-year-old bloke would go brain dead and be squashed by a drunken Florida Panhandle binge.

Price gone from 'Bama at 0-0.

Now, the Neuheisel mess.

While maneuvering and politicking for another chance with the Huskies, the tarnished coach told ESPN he was fighting for the job, "because it's about what's right."


QUICK HITTERS: Lisa Guerrero, new Monday Night Football sideline sidekick of Al Michaels and John Madden, says her age is "39 but if some 18-year-old guys think I'm hot, then I embrace that." Jimmy Delach of Spring Hill reports, re recent whatever happened? subject Dr. Tom Davis, that the successful but bounced Iowa coach is the new 64-year-old boss of basketball at Drake University. Ah, equal rights, or more accurately, equal wrongs, as two female boxers do the dumb, predictable thing by exchanging phony taunts and shoves at a news conference, putting themselves in the same low class with male boxers prone to such promotional garbage. Has rookie quarterback Carson Palmer still said nothing bad about the Bengals because a criticism of his NFL franchise can, by contractual agreement, cost the Heisman Trophy winner his $10-million signing bonus?

PACIFICALLY SPEAKING: Always, a new nugget is showing up to remind of the imposing breadth of cyber world e-mail from USMC Gunnery Sgt. Max Sweat "on a ship somewhere between Hawaii and Taiwan" says that "you, Hubert Mizell, would not believe how many military personnel around the globe use newspaper and TV Web sites every day to stay as attuned as possible to what's happening with our favorite sports back in the States.

"I catch every Sunday Punch you write and like your attitude toward pro leagues and college football. I'm dialing up ESPN all the time. I am a big Florida State fan who is now worried about the 'Noles as Bobby Bowden gets older and the NCAA troubles mount. I do like Miami coming into the ACC. I also follow NASCAR closely. It's the stuff guys talk about, along with women, of course, for at least half our waking hours on posts so far from home."

Semper Fi.

Whatever happened to Leeman Bennett?