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The Coolest Person in America – Andy Enfield

Monday mornings are the pits.  The worst part of the day is rolling into work first thing in the morning while the weekend’s exploits still weigh heavy on the mind, particularly the people that you were fortunate enough to share those exploits with. While inside jokes and witty digs float around your brain, you walk into your office and you’re suddenly neck deep in a sea of social mediocrity that doesn’t quite stack up. Then you’ve got to confront the reality that you’ll have to spend the next five days keeping your commentary PC and overselling other people’s bad jokes just so that you can continue to afford bottle service beers once happy hour ends on Friday and be cool again. What a racket.

Fortunately, the American consciousness is littered with people who manage to dominate Monday through Friday and right on through the weekend. They make the rest of us believe that one day we can do the same, and on Monday mornings from now on, TBSE will be telling you all about them in a new weekly segment that I’ve chosen to call “The Coolest Person in America.”  For the sake of full disclosure, I have no clue how to sustain this kind of awesome.  However, by pointing out who the coolest person in America is each Monday morning, I hope to find the common thread that weaved their dreams into reality and eventually sew dual Technicolor Dreamcoats of awesome for Tuna and I to rock on our way into high society.

Andy EnfieldLike 64 other coaches this year, Andy Enfield led the upstart Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast University into the NCAA tournament.  Like 32 other coaches, Enfield led the Eagles to an opening round victory, becoming only the seventh 15 seed in tournament history to do so.  Like 16 other coaches, Enfield and the Eagles logged a second victory, the first time that a 15 seed had ever moved on to the Sweet 16.  All of this is impressive, but it’s all only footnote to what makes Enfield the coolest person in America this morning.

Basketball is Enfield’s second career.  Previously he started a software company in New York called TractManager that manages contracts for healthcare companies. He left the $100 million company to his partner in 2006 to pursue a career as a basketball coach and still retains some ownership with no management responsibilities. Frankly, this would have been enough for me. I probably would have spent the rest of my life living off those royalties and maybe posting content to this blog more than once every six months.  Whatever. That’s probably a valuable insight into my mediocrity.  I’ll ignore it.

Before leaving the city he managed to pluck a stunning super model named Amanda Marcum for his wife.  According to Enfield, he took her to Taco Bell and a St. John’s basketball game on their first date, presumably because the Xbox console in his parents’ basement was unavailable that night. Somehow that worked out and he managed to get the former Amanda Marcum to agree to have her life go from this…

 Amanda Marcum

to this…

Amanda Marcum Mom

I’m convinced that Andy Enfield’s soul is the spiritual equivalent of John Ham’s wiener or Gene Keady’s combover: simply the best in the biz. So is his super model wife. So are the players he got to agree to come to an under-the-radar school like Florida Gulf Coast.  So is America.

Well played, Andy Enfield. The rest of America has a long way to go.

The Best No-Hitter Ever and Why I Love The New York Mets

It wasn’t long after Johan Santana struck out David Freese to complete the first no-hitter in New York Mets history when it became apparent that this no-no was different than any other that had preceded it. Never mind the fact that someone finally threw a no-hitter in Queens and didn’t immediately stroll into the visitors’ locker room.

First, the team went nuts.  So nuts in fact that none of the players in the postgame mosh pit with Johan seemed to be too concerned that a random fan sporting jorts and a Gary Carter jersey had come out to join them.  Half an hour later, the party continued into the Mets’ locker room when SNY’s postgame show interviewed R.A. Dickey in front of the shower and unwittingly broadcast an anonymous set of nuts to its viewers.  This franchise is literally so inept that in its greatest moment of the past quarter century it couldn’t keep yahoos off the field or penises off its viewers television screens.

And that, my friends, is why I fucking love the New York Mets.

The nine innings of no-hit baseball leading up to the security breach and unintentional soft-core porn transmission featured 134 pitches, five walks, a blown call that took a sure hit away from Carlos Beltran and a kamikaze grab in left field by Mike Baxter. Santana’s evening with destiny wasn’t exactly a model of efficiency, so much so that The St. Louis Post-Dispatch felt the need to report the fruits of his labor with an asterisk.

And you know what?  I don’t even care.  But that’s the thing about being a Mets fan: we’re not the type to turn up our noses at a hard day’s work, some good fortune and a little grit, even if there’s a team across town that would. And that’s what makes rooting for the Mets a worthwhile endeavor.  The grass is actually greener 13 miles away and for a variety of reasons, we’re compelled to stay put, united by irrationally believing that the 8,019 games prior to Friday night would be the one and savoring a season that’s led to this rag tag team to be unexpectedly relevant into the month of June.

Those “in the know” are already cautioning Mets fans that the light at the end of the tunnel created by Adam Wainwright’s knee-buckling curveball in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS is actually an oncoming train. I’m not buying it, and even if it’s true I won’t be hitting the eject button on this season. If there’s anything we’ve learned from Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino, it’s this: there’s nothing more revolting than someone who won’t go down with the ship.

And that’s the other thing about being a Mets fan; I know there will be plenty of people who bleed blue and orange right there with me. Whether that means irrationally believing in next year, appreciating crumbs of success or going nuts with the team we’ve defiantly stuck with through a brutal string of disappointments remains to be seen, but either way, it will be worth it.

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Clash of the Cards – March 28, 2012

Clash of the Cards logo

I sure do love Clash of the Cards. Another week, another winner. In last week’s battle, Frankenstein fans everywhere made a winner out of Clyde “Igor” Wright and his 1973 Topps card. Unfortunately for poor Elroy Face, his 1954 Topps card just didn’t make the cut.

Who’s going to take the cake this week?

1971 TOPPS – JAY JOHNSTONE

Day Man. Fighter of the night, man. Champion of the sun. You’re a master of karate, and friendship for everyone. During normal business hours, Jay Johnstone was just a mediocre outfielder for nine(!) major league clubs. But he’ll always be legendary for one thing – being the inspiration for Day Man. Going on a little tangent real quick, have you guys seen the dubstep music video of the Day Man theme song? It’s pretty terrific. Ok, back to Mr. Johnstone here. I can’t be entirely certain, but it looks like Jay is wearing some eye liner and blush. Either that or he got into a bar room scuffle the night before. Oddly enough, Johnstone preserved Clyde “Igor” Wright’s 1970 no-hitter against the Athletics by hauling in a long Reggie Jackson fly ball just in front of the wall. Anyway, pay the troll toll. You know what it is, bitch.

Key Stats: Inspiration for the immortal Day Man, ah ahh-ahh; probably looks really good in women’s clothing; legendary clubhouse prankster; would not fare well in prison; great at staring intently during photo shoots; has baseball bat growing out of shoulder

VERSUS

1962 TOPPS – ROGER CRAIG

Simply put, there’s just a ton to like about Roger Craig. He was a master of style. Craig was the first one to discover that you can make a receding hairline virtually unnoticeable by simply choosing to have a buzzcut. Craig was the first to discover that a little bit of chest hair popping out from under your shirt makes the girls swoon. Craig was also the first to discover that, by appearing to look older, people around you may overlook your subpar baseball skills and consider you a man of wisdom worth keeping around. Although Craig looks like he’s 65 in this photo, he’s really just 32. Though some people may consider wearing adult diapers a bit extreme, Craig knew exactly what he was doing. By keeping up the charade of being a senior citizen full of life experience, Craig was able to spend 11 years pitching poorly in the big leagues and then 15 more years as an awful manager. He was also able to take a shit whenever he wanted to. In fact, legend has it that he was taking a poop while posing for this card.

Key Stats: First person to wear adult diapers; looks a little like Elmer Fudd and a lot like every single old man from the 1960s; went 10-24 in 1962 and 5-22 in 1963 – led the National League in losses both years; oozes swag; can hear a whisper from a mile away

Who ya got?

 

Clash of the Cards – March 21, 2012

Last week’s inaugural Clash of the Cards was a rousing success. The 1982 Topps Tim Foli card narrowly edged out the 1977 Topps Bill Greif card to take the crown. Who will win this week’s battle? Well, that’s for you to decide, silly.

1954 TOPPS – ROY FACE

Ahh good ole’ Elroy Face. We all know I have a penchant for picking on people whose eyes don’t see eye to eye. Roy looks like one of those guys who’d treat you to a nice steak dinner at a fancy restaurant, then drug you, remove your kidney and leave you in a tub full of ice. Either that or he’d be one of the freaks hunting you through the desert with the rest of the Hills Have Eyes gang. If I had money, I would bet that ole’ Elroy was from the deep south, but he’s actually from a little place called Stephentown, New York. I just lost a dollar… to myself. There’s just something so ironic about his last name being Face, and the fact that his middle name is Leon. Seriously, how many purebred white dudes in the history of the world have the name Leon? In reality, Face was an excellent pitcher who is kind of the forefather of the modern-day closer in baseball. In 1959, he posted a record of 18-1 with a 2.70 ERA despite not starting a single game.

Key Stats: Related to The Cryptkeeper; can see in two different directions at once; much like Jesus Christ, became a carpenter following baseball career; nicknamed The Baron; doesn’t have to dress up for Halloween

VERSUS

1973 TOPPS – CLYDE WRIGHT

There’s just something off about this cool cat named Clyde. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the fact that his legs look disproportionately skinny. Maybe it’s the fact that the look on his face makes you wonder if he has special needs. Or maybe it’s the fact that the card claims he’s a pitcher in the big leagues despite the fact that he has the spine of a 96-year old man. Either Wright hates milk and became the victim of osteoporosis or he has the worst posture in the world. It’s not just this card’s particular pose either. See? Good for the Angels though – it probably took a lot of guts for management to sign the Hunchback of Jefferson City, Tennessee. Wright was actually able to pitch a no-hitter in 1970, a season in which he won 22 games. My guess is the opposing teams just felt bad.

Key Stats: Related to Igor; champion limbo player; became an alcoholic after his playing days; nicknamed Skeeter; receives pity discounts at Denny’s and Shoney’s; recently learned how to read

So, who ya got?

Clash of the Cards – March 14, 2012


So I was sitting indian-style in my garage yesterday poking some holes in old baseball cards to put in the spokes of my Huffy when a great idea formulated. Each week, TBSE will be the host of a battle royale between two classic cards. I was so excited by the idea that I took my bike out for a spin to enjoy the warm weather. Unfortunately, I got too close to Mrs. Newman’s yard and she came out of her house in a bathrobe yelling and shaking a rolled-up newspaper at me. You know how that goes though. Crazy old cat women.

1982 TOPPS – TIM FOLI

I can’t tell if Pim Poli here is a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Pirates of the Northwest Wisconsin Men’s Softball League. What I am certain of is that this picture was taken during a game at a high school field. In fact, I’m pretty sure I see a brand spankin’ new 1982 Oldmobile Cutlass Supreme parked just outside the fence in center field. Don’t let Foli’s terrible signature or high-school-chemistry-teacher looks fool you, this cat could play. He was the first overall pick in the 1968 amateur draft by the New York Mets. Of course, he hit a measly .251 with 25 home runs in 16 seasons.

Key Stats: Porn stach; nerd glasses with oversized frames; thinks name is Pim Poli; teaches 11th grade chemistry during the offseason; looks damn good in black

VERSUS

1977 TOPPS – BILL GREIF

That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age. Alright, alright. Bill Greif is David Wooderson… Wooderson is Greif! Greif’s the man! The shaggy I-don’t-give-a-damn haircut… the long, bushy sideburns… the handlebar stache – William Briley Greif is the personification of swag. And to put the cherry on top, Greif looks suspiciously stoned in this photo. Billy Boy pitched in the big leagues for six seasons in the 1970s. He had an impressive stretch with the Padres between 1972 and 1974 when he posted a fantastic win-loss record of 24-52. The ’74 season was his crowning achievement, when he went 9-19 with a robust 4.66 ERA and led the National League with 14 hit batsmen.

Key Stats: Stoner; handlebar stache; middle name is Briley; either has a strange-looking head or his hat is way too small; knows he is the shit

The only question that remains is, who ya got?

Was Abner Doubleday a Pervert?

Simple question, really. Was the so-called inventor of baseball a perv?

You won’t find a bigger baseball fan than me, so I feel as though I’m an expert on the subject. If this was a court of law, I would undoubtedly be asked to present some evidence to support such an outrageous claim. Luckily, I came prepared.

Exhibit A: Doubleday sounds a lot like Double D, which was said to be old Abner’s favorite bra size. In fact, he married his wife, Mary, on the sole basis that she wore a Double D cup.

Exhibit B: The pitcher’s mound on a baseball field is modeled after a boob.

Exhibit C: The main feature of a baseball field is the diamond-shaped infield. As everybody knows, a diamond is the universal sign for vagina. They say diamonds are a woman’s best friend. Doubleday was convinced that diamonds were, are and always will be a man’s best friend.

Exhibit D: In addition to the diamond, you have a slew of boxes all over the field. As everybody knows, a box is often used to describe a vagina. You have the batter’s box, the catcher’s box and the coach’s box.

Exhibit E: Many baseball terms are oddly similar to dirty words, especially when combined with a less-than-savory adjective. For example:

  • Loose pitches
  • Moist bunts
  • Perky hits
  • Perfectly-shaped triples
  • Hairy balls (well, that one really doesn’t work… but you get the point)

Exhibit F: Being the poor man’s prophet that he was, Doubleday knew that, at some point, his beloved baseball and hooking up would go hand-in-hand. Indeed, they are now locked forever. We describe making out as “getting to first base,” we describe feeling a girl up as “getting to second base,” and so on and so forth.

A quick sidenote for the jury.

Do girls’ definitions of “getting to first base,” “getting to second base,” etc. coincide with the guys’ definitions? Or are they different? I’m interested to learn this.

Exhibit G: I’m not completely sure, but I believe the gay community uses the terms “pitchers” and “catchers.” And by not completely sure, I mean I am completely sure. Completely.

After reviewing the evidence, it is my strong opinion that Abner Doubleday was, in fact, a perv. Good for him.

But now you, the jury, must decide.

The WNBA: A Hotbed of Hotness

Today, I really wanted to step outside the box and challenge myself. I looked in the mirror and said, “BallsDeep, you need to do something pithy and quirky today.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue as to what I could do, but then my fortunes changed. I was sitting at a red light, patiently waiting for it to turn green and rocking out to some Savage Garden. I looked to my right and, to my delight, spotted a tall, hefty woman wogging down the sidewalk.

For those who’ve never heard the term “wogging,” I can’t condemn you since I just made it up. Wogging is a method of exercise reserved for the elderly and overweight. It’s an attempt to jog, only the participant is too porky or old to successfully move the legs fast enough to run. The outcome is an odd spectacle, a sort of snail’s-pace speed walk where the upper body wants to run but the lower half is having none of it.

Anyway, good on this woman for getting out there and exercising. In all of her wogging glory, she was kind enough to give me an idea for a TBSE post.

As most men undoubtedly know, the WNBA is a veritable hotbed for attractive females. With that in mind, I’ve decided to compile an All-WNBA Hot Squad. I know it’s a virtually impossible task given the large number of delicious-looking women that comprise WNBA rosters… but like I said, I wanted to challenge myself today.

Guard – Betty Lennox, Tulsa Shock

Needless to say, Betty Lennox is an enigma. Her smile is warm and she possesses that girl-next-door look. But growing up in rough and tumble Grant, Oklahoma, has clearly left its mark on this 5-foot-8 beauty. The tattoos on her body, especially the barbed-wire ink that goes only halfway around her right arm, let a man know that you don’t want to fuck around with this tigress. There’s not a whole lot that’s more invigorating than getting it on with a hot chick, but knowing in the back of your mind that she has the potential to snap and pull a knife on you. That’s Betty in a nutshell. All she needs now is a neck tattoo and she’ll instantly become the hottest woman in the entire WNBA.

 

 

 

Guard – Belinda Snell, Seattle Storm

As one would expect given her name, Belinda Snell is the personification of beauty. This gorgeous 5-foot-11 specimen is a force from Down Under. It’s tough to be beautiful and one of the best in the game, but that’s precisely what Belinda has been during her six-year career. In 2009, Belinda averaged a league-best 6.2 points per game and was also voted to the WNBA’s prolific “I’m Not a Lesbian, I Just Ball Like a Guy” team, which honors the league’s top performers.

 

 

 

Forward – Amber Holt, Tulsa Shock

Let’s just cut right to the chase on this one – Amber Holt is hot. There’s no arguing it, no fighting it. At the end of the day, she’s just damn hot. This attractive 6-foot forward started wooing the boys and lesbians of Norcross, Georgia, at an early age. Immediately after birth, Amber’s mother, Cassandra, was quoted as saying, “My little boy will someday be a star in the NBA. Oh, this is a girl? Well then, my little girl will someday be a star in the WNBA.” It’s scary how accurate Cassandra’s prediction would prove to be. In 2010, Holt averaged an astonishing 8.7 points per game and has a terrific career average of 7.1 ppg. During her rookie season of 2008, Holt was seventh in the entire league with 48 successful lay-ups… no small feat for a country girl from Georgia!

 

 

Forward – Danielle Adams, San Antonio Silver Stars

There is nothing in this world sexier than a blazing-hot female who can literally break a man in half. Luckily for all of us guys, Danielle Adams is alive. At a sleek 6-foot-1, 239 pounds, Danielle can handle anything you might throw her way. Whether it’s a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, a foot-long steak and cheese from Subway or a horse, Danielle has the capability to post it up and scarf it down, all with that trademark smile of hers. It’s not shocking to learn that instead of cuddling after a long, romantic night with a man, Danielle would rather take part in a Greco-Roman wrestling match with cooking duties on the line. Once her opponent waves the white flag, which he always does, he must cook Danielle yet another meal. Ah, the things we do out of love and fear for our life.

 

 

Center – Kia Vaughn, New York Liberty 

If Glee’s Lea Michele and Shaquille O’Neal had a baby, the beautiful Kia Vaughn would be the result. Of course, that’s only if the petite Lea Michele was able to have sexual intercourse with Shaq and then survive giving birth to a baby that would probably be as big as her. Regardless, in terms of looks and talent, I’m not sure they get any better than Kia. Standing at an imposing 6-foot-4 and sporting a mind-boggling vertical leap of 11 inches, Kia Vaughn is a formidable force on the basketball court. But beneath all that natural ability, there is a girl who just wants to be loved. Kia once told a reporter from the New York Post, “I almost feel like there are two of me. There’s the 3-foot, 2-inch basketball player who wants to dominate every time she steps on the court, and then there’s the 3-foot, 2-inch hopeless romantic who craves to find a 6-foot-6 guy she can love for the rest of her life.” Oh Kia, if you only knew how absolutely stunning you are, love would find its way to you.

 

The Sixth Man-Crusher – Jessica Davenport, Indiana Fever

You can’t find anything not to like about Jessica Davenport - she’s tall, she’s strong and she’s straight fire in a bikini. At 6-foot-5, Davenport may turn some guys off. Not us here at TBSE. The taller, the better. What’s the point of having a pretty girl who is 5-foot-5 when you can have a pretty girl who is 6-foot-5? It’s all about quantifying value, and Jessica has that in spades. She’s beautiful from head to the toes on her size 18 foot. Sure, it might take you a few days to explore every nook and cranny on her 78-inch body… but believe you me, that will be time well spent. As they say, “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” Well in this case you can add, “The taller the tree, the stickier the sap.” And that’s why Jessica Davenport makes the cut as the Sixth Man-Crusher on BallsDeep’s All-WNBA Hot Squad.

 

 

Schiano’s Departure and the Death of a Dream

Like everyone who grew up with Rutgers football, I remember exactly where I was the night of November 9, 2006. That night the 8-0 Scarlet Knights were headed into a showdown with 8-0 Louisville, the third ranked team in the country, while my brother Andrew and I were clawing our way to the finish line of our second week in Colorado.

We’d left New Jersey 15 days earlier intent on scoring jobs that offered free season passes so we could spend the winter on the slopes, but after two weeks of rejection, all we had to show for our efforts were a stack of classified sections in our apartment and dwindling bank accounts. After two weeks of paper cuts and unproductive phone calls, Greg Schiano, Brian Leonard and the rest of the Scarlet Knights were going to provide a much needed respite from the monotony. In spite our financial distress, Andrew and I made our way to a local brewery to take in the game. Amazingly, on this Thursday night, there was a palpable buzz for the game at a bar 1,800 miles west of New Brunswick. Considering the state of Rutgers’ football team only six years ago, this was a minor miracle.

Rutgers hired Greg Schiano on December 1, 2000 after his predecessor Terry Shea had posted a 3-8 record and failed to win a game in the Big East. The program was such an embarrassment that prior to his final season with the Scarlet Knights, Terry Shea’s son, the short stop for a rival high school, routinely got heckled during his high school baseball games. By me. And a bunch of other people from my school. “RUT-GERS… RUT-GERS… RUT-GERS.” Just mentioning the name of his father’s program sent him into such a state that he had no recourse but to launch a ball over the first baseman’s head and into our student section during warm-ups. (Which was probably unintentional, but screw it, he went to Immaculata and I’m still bitter. Sorry, Z.)

Schiano didn’t fare any better in his first two seasons in New Brunswick, posting a combined record of 3-20 and failing to win a Big East game in 14 tries. The program was such an afterthought that my friends and I could head to Rutgers Stadium on Saturdays, wait until halftime and then sneak our way to field level through apathetic stadium security and a sea of empty seats.

The difference Schiano had made in only five seasons wasn’t lost on me as Andrew and I weaved our way through the crowd to find a spot to post up and watch the game. For the first time, outside of a few rowdy Saturdays I’d spent at the Olive Branch, Knight Club or Old Queens, a Rutgers football game mattered. Not just in New Jersey, but to an audience without a rooting interest in anything other than a good football game. “I don’t care who wins tonight,” I thought to myself, “Rutgers football has arrived.”

That thought was quickly contradicted when Louisville raced out to a 25-7 lead through a quarter and a half. I looked up at Andrew and asked, “You wanna head home so that we can get drunk and yell at the TV?” He didn’t even bother answering; he just got up, headed towards the car and we went home to watch the meltdown without being judged.

But a funny thing happened, Rutgers didn’t melt down. In his first season with the team, Schiano brought a sports psychologist in to speak with the team. The psychologist gave the team an image of being stuck in a dark, dense jungle, where the only escape was to chop their way out of the darkness and into the light. “Keep choppin’” became the program’s mantra. That night, Rutgers kept choppin’. Choppin’ away at Louisville’s high powered offense, choppin’ away at their lead and choppin’ away at the doubt anyone may have had that Rutgers was a team to be reckoned with. When it was all said and done, the defense didn’t surrender another point, Jeremy Ito split the uprights with 13 seconds left to give the Scarlet Knights a 28-25 win and its student section a reason to pour onto the field, creating a scene that still puts a lump in my throat.

1,800 miles away, Andrew and I raged. We went out the back door and screamed at the top of our lungs, shotgunned beers, ripped heaters, shook our heads in disbelief and started the process all over again. The next morning I woke up still drunk, but reality had managed to creep its way into my head. Greg Schiano was the hottest name in coaching, and every respectable college football program in the country with a vacancy was going to do their damndest to lure him away from New Brunswick. I was so distraught over the idea of Schiano leaving that I actually sat down and wrote him a letter, which I realized was absurd a paragraph in, but continued to write nonetheless. I told him how much appreciated how earnestly he went about his work, that he had succeeded in creating “a state of Rutgers,” that thousands of miles away to the team was relevant and that if he just kept choppin’ he would achieve legend status in the Garden State. I never sent the letter, but simply writing down my thoughts helped me to come to peace with the inevitable and head off to a successful job interview at a hotel in Breckenridge with a clear head and a Rutgers hoodie on.

After the season, Miami came calling. Schiano didn’t waste much time in turning them down, despite making the trip to Coral Gables to hear his previous employer’s sales pitch. A year later it was Michigan. Schiano would ultimately remove his name from consideration for the job in Ann Arbor as well, although his flirtation with the Wolverines was a bit more substantial. The day news broke that Schiano had turned down the Michigan job, I talked to a stunned college football coach that I worked with who told me, “There are certain jobs that you just don’t turn down, and Michigan is one of them.” I explained to him that Rutgers was Schiano’s baby and he wasn’t going to leave it for a program that someone else built. Schiano was going to be doing his choppin’ at Rutgers for the long haul.

Three years and three bowl games later I returned to New Jersey, and one thing that I’ve enjoyed most is the opportunity to immerse myself in Rutgers football. Whether that’s following the program through the Star-Ledger, seeing the block “R” whenever I step out my front door or tailgating outside Rutgers Stadium on game days, it’s been something that’s helped me appreciate coming home. In a way I can’t fully explain, I felt like the football team’s growth somehow mirrored my own. I was so into Rutgers football that some friends and I were even batting around the idea of buying season tickets together and making game day tailgates at the stadium six or seven sacred Saturdays every autumn. I was looking forward to aging along with Schiano’s program and continuing to use one another as a measuring stick for our progress.

Yesterday, we learned that wasn’t to be when Schiano signed on to be the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m happy for him in a lot of ways. The move to the NFL is a strong career move by any standards, and Schiano spent more seasons with Rutgers than anyone could reasonably have expected given the success he’s had. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to rally the support of New Jersey behind Rutgers football the way that Schiano has.  His departure suggests that, at best, Rutgers will be a stepping stone job and fans can expect a revolving door at the head coach position to rotate every four or five years, regardless of the team’s success or failure on the field.

For everyone who expected to keep choppin’ with Schiano for years to come, it’s a cruel fate.

 
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