FanPost

Some Thoughts on the down years of KSU Hoops

Many of you who have GPC have seen this. I do not know how reliable the posters are on GPC so take this as the opinions of those posters. Nevertheless, I found it interesting to look back. These came to me through an email and I don't know how accurate the "former players" part even is. As for Altman, he did take us to the NCAA tournament – I think twice (?) IF we could have stuck with him, I think he could have developed here just as easily as Creighton. He gets a bit of a bum rap with these posters. Getting to the tournament wasn’t good enough for us back then because we had been used to having success in the tournament – at least getting past the first and second rounds – Kruger certainly did with Richman, Henson, Will Scott and that group that lost to the dreaded team from Larryville, Danny and the Munchers. Here is the text as I recieved it: "Awesome insights from some ex-players on why KSU basketball fell from being tops in the old Big 8 conference. I found these posts on GoPowerCats.com to be enlightening. Prefice: we suffered through 3 poor coaching regimes in the 1990's and 2000's, Dana Altman Tom (Tan Tom) Asbury Jim Woolridge ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From a poster known as Carl4Cats: (which has to be Carl Gerlach, former player on 1977 Big 8 Championship team, current mayor of Overland Park) Probably a combination of things. Yes football started to become the "main game" in town so there was less support for the basketball program albeit at times subconciously. Lon Kruger left the program in poor condition. Dana Altman seemed like a logical hire because of his recruiting skills. Altman left the program in a poor condition. He was not a good coach at KSU. He is a good coach today. Until Huggs was hired the program simply floundered under coaches who apparently lacked the ability to recruit. Martin and his staff seemed to be able to draw in better players. I don't know about Huggs since he was associted with only one class that had already committed to follow him. The jury is still out on BW and his recruiting abilities. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Altman shouldn't have been hired in the first place. He was lead recruiter on most of the players we had under Kruger. It was a similar situation to when Huggs leaving and Martin staying except that Altman had left for Marshall the year before. Everyone was afraid all the players were going to bail so they (influential donors) wanted to bring Altman back. Meanwhile, Eddie Sutton inquired about the job because he had been shown the door at Kentucky and wanted to come home to Kansas. Instead, we get Dana, Sutton goes to OSU the next year and goes to a couple final fours. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- From a poster known as ChiTwnCat: Dana Altman was hired because he was the inexpensive route at that time. He had left KSU as Lonnie Kruger's assistant the previous year to take the head job at Marshall. KSU hired him back a year later. Think about the time this all happened. Snyder had just completed his first year at KSU (1989) and if you remember Snyder had some pretty significant facility demands when he hired, namely enlarging and improving Vanier. If you don't remember the story... KSU was so short on money that Snyder volunteered to write the first $100,000 check. It was in that environment that KSU had to go hire a basketball coach and thus they went the easy and inexpensive route in hiring Altman back. Altman's failure was with the alums and donors. He didn't have the personaltiy to rub shoulders with them and thus those folks gave him a very short leash. The bottom line is he was at KSU about 6 years to early in his career. He was not seasoned enough yet to take on a high profile Big 8 program. A program that was always going to be compared to KU. Creighton University benefited from the lessoned that Altman learned at KSU and after a few years in Omaha without much pressure from the priests he finally got that program off the ground and the rest is history regarding Altman's success there. When Altman left for CU think about the time. KSU had just gone to the Copper Bowl and we had just borrowed a few million to build the Nelson Press Box, the indoor practice facility and do even more work on Vanier. Enthusiasm for football was kicking into high gear and (Athletic Director) Max Urick was tapping every resource he could find to dump into football. With that said, KSU was still ready to invest in a solid basketball coach. They went after Tubby Smith and got a verbal out of him but then he changed his mind and went to Georgia instead. Left at the alter and feeling burnt by a name coach they went back to the practice of hiring from a low major and unfortunately for us one of those programs just happen to make a splash in the NCAA tourney in Wichita when Pepperdine upset Michigan so KSU went and hired the Pepperdine coach in Tom Asbury. Then to make matters worse, in that first year in town Asbury's daughter died and that affected his work ethic that first year and he never recovered from that. His California personality also didn't really mesh with the alums and donors either.. But also remember who he was being compared to.... Snyder. When we finally cut the cord with Asbury, Urick reached out to Tex Winters for his recommendation. Tex was still with the Bulls at the time and was working with the current Bulls head coach Tim Floyd. Tex recommended Max go after Floyd because he wasn't that happy at Chicago and the marriage with the Bulls wasn't working all that well but Tex thought he would be a good coach at KSU because he knew and understood the triangle offense. Tex thought he had Floyd convinced but in the end he wasn't and thus to save face they went after Tim[s assistant in Wooly and made it seem that was the target all along. At this same time there were other things also going on in the athletic deparment. The Big 12 had told KSU that the baseball stadium wasn't up to Big 12 standards so the department had to fund a remake of the stadium. The department was being told by the federal government that had to get in Title IX compliant immediately or the unversity could be part of a lawsuit. So they department had to find the money to add at the time they assumed 3 women's programs to the department. But to save a significant amount of money Urick after adding rowing chose to add equestion because those two sports could meet the Title IX numbers instead of adding both softball and soccer like KU did. It wasn't as popular of choice but a whole lot more cost efficient for KSU. This also was going on when the department was adding the eastside addition to the football stadium and remember how cheap we were on that. During this time was also when Deb Patterson was hired and even she was told there was no money to give her and her staff offices at Bramlage. Instead they made room for them out at the Foundation building on Claflin. Bottom line is basketball never had a chance to get itself going again because there just wasn't enough money to go around. And, the other bottom line is not nearly as many alums and donors cared, as compared to the 1980's basketball successes, because everyone was infatuated with football. Snyder and his football program had the university, the alums, the entire state living and breating every move of KSU football. And, to this day we still see how the culture of KSU sports has changed compared to before Snyder.... when football is doing well, basketball does not get nearly the attention of fan interest as it did before the days of Snyder football. -----------------------–------------------------------------- These excerpts were copied from GoPowerCat.com.

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