Friday, April 8, 2011

ODU's Larry deserves better from her boss

Wendy Larry says she has a contract to coach at Old Dominion through the next two years. ODU athletic director Wood Selig says it's a one-year deal and delivered a strong message with his language in a recent newspaper story.

"I told her she had done nothing in the past three years that I could take to the board to get an extension," Selig said Thursday. "It would have been D.O.A. (dead on arrival)....

How would you like to work for this guy? Has the Lady Monarch program declined in the past three years? Definitely. We can't argue that. Do you air your coach out to dry in the media? Hell no.

We're a media outlet that loves a candid answer -- a rarity these days from anyone who gets quoted regularly. But this is a little too much candor about a personnel matter. If Selig wants Larry to go, so be it. But don't try to humiliate her in the process.

We have a series of reflections we're planning on each of the 13 teams starting next week, and in our ODU piece we will share our thoughts on the direction of the program. Our point here is when you embarrass your coach publicly, you embarrass the program and fail to give someone who has earned it a fair shake. What chance does she have now? Selig needs to see progress to extend her contract. We assume that means ODU must get to the NCAA Tournament next year given the Constant Center is hosting the first two rounds. (Making it as far as the conference championship and losing on the opponent's home court can't be enough; ODU did that last year at JMU.)

One starter is coming back. Five freshman are coming in. Everyone knows the illustrious history of the CAA and at-large bids. Win and win the CAA Tournament or off with your head.

So if you're Larry right now, what do you do? Maybe give Pat Summitt a call and tell her you can't go to Knoxville next year to continue the storied series, because essentially your boss has issued an ultimatum? What is it you're telling recruits who wonder if they sign with ODU, will Larry be there? Could Selig have given the details about Larry's contract without using an expression like "dead on arrival"?

Sadly, there's little room for sentiment in sports -- something Debbie Ryan could attest to. Selig wasn't around for the glory years -- 17 straight CAA championships -- essentially ancient history in his mind. ODU set the bar in the league and is now playing catchup after dominating the race for nearly two decades. It was a standard that men's basketball struggled to match. For years Larry elevated ODU to a place where no CAA team dared to go -- in the Sweet 16, wins over ranked foes, in the national limelight.

Three years of disappointment -- dare we say at the hands of one class -- and show her the door?

We admit that we don't like what's happened to the Lady Monarchs of late. We like even less how Selig handled it.

1 comment:

  1. Wendy deserves better. Mr.Wood Selig's comments and actions are unprofessional and disrespectful. This is a sad situation he has created at ODU.